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  • 40% of ASD Children Have Anxiety


    Brain Signals Reflect Social Anxiety and Performance Fears in ASD Posted on January 4, 2018 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tamara Rosen, Graduate student in Clinical Psychology Stony Brook University

  • Obesity 50% present with Autism


    **Research adds heft to link between autism and obesity** BY NICHOLETTE ZELIADT / 17 SEPTEMBER 2018 **SPECTRUM** **Heavy risks: Autistic children with severe features are at an increased risk of obesity.** Nearly half of American children with autism aged 10 to 17 are overweight or obese, compared with less than one-third of their typically developing peers, according to a new study1. And those with the most severe autism features appear to be at the greatest risk of being obese. The study, based on data from nearly 26,000 children, is among the largest of its type. A 2010 analysis looked at weight in 85,000 children, including 483 with autism, in the United States2. The findings confirm a pattern reported by other studies, says lead investigator Seán Healy, assistant professor of behavioral health and nutrition at the University of Delaware in Newark. Of the 21 studies on this topic published since 2012, 16 indicated that children on the spectrum are at an increased risk of obesity. Most of those studies did not look at autism severity, however. The new study found that the risk of obesity is highest among the children with the most severe autism features. The results appeared 13 August in Autism Spectrum. “That is kind of a new contribution to this topic, recognizing that those that have a more severe presentation may be at even higher risk,” says Carol Curtin, co-director of the Healthy Weight Research Network at the University of Massachusetts in Worcester, who was not involved in the study. “We’ve got to delve into why that might be, and how we can help those kids and their families.” A second paper published in the same issue of the journal suggests that children with autism are more likely to gain weight rapidly during infancy than their typical peers3. And those who do are the most likely to be overweight or obese at 2 to 5 years of age. “Rapid weight gain may be one of the risk factors as to why kids with [autism] may be at higher risk for obesity,” says Tanja Kral, associate professor of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who led the second study but was not involved in the first. **Weighty matter:** Healy and his colleagues analyzed data for 750 children with autism and 25,173 typical children aged 10 to 17 years. The data were collected in 2016 as part of the National Survey of Children’s Health. Parents completed a questionnaire about various aspects of their child’s health, including height, weight, autism diagnosis, severity of autism features and medication use. The researchers used a statistical method to extrapolate the responses to represent a population-sized sample containing 875,963 children with autism and nearly 32 million typical children. They calculated that 19.4 percent of children with autism in this projected sample were overweight, and 23 percent were obese. (Overweight is defined as having a body mass index between the 85th and 95th percentile for the age group, and obesity is greater than the 95th percentile.) By comparison, about 15 percent of typical children were overweight, and 16 percent were obese. After controlling for race, ethnicity, income, age and sex, the researchers estimate that children with autism have 1.48 times the odds of being overweight, and 1.49 times the odds of being obese, compared with their typical peers. Among autistic children, those with severe autism traits — based on parent reports — are more than three times as likely to be obese as those with milder traits. This subset of children may be at increased risk of obesity because they tend to be less active and have more restricted diets than other autistic children. However, some experts say the results should be interpreted with caution because they rely solely on parent ratings. “It will be important for future studies to replicate these findings using standardized criteria for [autism] severity,” Kral says. **Risk factors:** It is unclear why children with autism are more likely than their peers to be overweight or obese. Some medications prescribed for autism have been linked to weight gain, but medication use does not track with weight in the new study. The risk may originate early in life, according to the second study. Maternal obesity and rapid weight gain during infancy are known risk factors for obesity in typical children, but their role in autism has been unclear. Kral and her colleagues analyzed height and weight data from 2,466 children enrolled in the Study to Explore Early Development, an ongoing study of children aged 2 to 5 years with autism or other developmental conditions. The analysis includes 668 children with autism, 914 with developmental delay and 884 controls. The researchers used the children’s medical records to determine how rapidly they gained weight in the first six months of life. The children’s mothers self-reported their own height and pre-pregnancy weight; their weight at delivery was extracted from medical records. The researchers used these data to classify each woman as either meeting or exceeding established recommendations for weight gain during pregnancy. Women who were overweight or obese before pregnancy were about 2.4 times as likely to have an overweight or obese child as those who were not. Women who gained more weight than recommended during pregnancy were about 1.5 times as likely to have an overweight or obese child as women who met weight-gain recommendations. These trends appeared across all the children in the study, regardless of whether they have autism, suggesting that increased maternal weight does not underpin the risk of obesity in autistic children. The study also revealed that children with autism are more likely than their typical or developmentally delayed peers to experience rapid weight gain during infancy: Among children with autism, those with rapid weight gain during infancy were 3.5 times more likely to be overweight or obese than those who did not gain weight rapidly. Kral and her colleagues are trying to understand how rapid weight gain in infancy relates to obesity risk in childhood. “It may reflect a genetic predisposition to obesity and early feeding patterns that evolve during infancy and other metabolic or endocrine effects that we don’t really understand very well,” she says. With additional reporting by Jen Monnier. ________________________________________ REFERENCES: 1. Healy S. et al. Autism Epub ahead of print (2018) PubMed 2. Curtin C. et al. BMC Pediatr. 10, 11 (2010) PubMed 3. Kral T.V. et al. Autism Epub ahead of print (2018) PubMed

  • Genomics with patient generated health data to be top information sources in five years, survey finds.


    With patient-generated data and genomic data, healthcare leaders will be able to customize medical options specific to each patient’s needs, giving a boost to priorities such as care coordination and improved decision support, the survey indicated. "This rejiggering of the top useful sources of healthcare data tells us that people realize cost matters,” Compton-Phillips added. “What’s more, they expect that personalized medicine, powered by data, will reduce the costs of care while simultaneously improving patient outcomes

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  • Multiple Diagnoses


    **Autism is a complex spectrum of disorders, and it’s not at all uncommon for children with the disorder to have other psychiatric problems: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and mood disorders, among others.** **In fact, 95 percent of these children have at least three other psychiatric disorders, and 74 percent have five or more, according to a study in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.** **More than 80 percent of kids with autism have ADHD, making it the most common co-diagnosis; 61 percent have two or more anxiety disorders — notably, agoraphobia — and 56 percent have major depression.** **The data is based on 2,323 children who sought psychiatric care at a large medical center between 1991 and 2008. The children were all referred to the clinic for emotional or behavioral difficulties, and not for any specific disorder.** **Given their multiple burdens, it’s no wonder children with autism have more trouble functioning typically: According to the study, they are more likely to be in a special education class, to repeat a grade and to receive a combination of drugs and counseling compared with controls. Diagnosing the full spectrum of these children’s psychiatric problems could make a big difference to their treatment. For instance, the only two drugs approved for autism — risperidone and aripiprazole — treat irritability and aggression, which are more likely to occur in a child who has several disorders.**

  • Comorbidity Behavioral Statistics for Autism


    **Autism's Behavioral Comorbidity** According to the **Journal of the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry**, a study of autistic children assessed for other child psychiatric disorders, found that DSM-IV diagnoses for childhood anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, oppositional defiant and conduct disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, tic disorders, trichotillomania, enuresis, and encopresis were identified. Usually, when one disorder also comes with a myriad of others on its tail, we call it “comorbidity”, meaning that two or more exist at the same time. In this case, the numbers were rather interesting. What the study found was that: * 70% of participants had at least one comorbid disorder * 41% had two or more comorbid disorders * 29.2% had social anxiety disorder * 28.2% had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder * 84% of this with ADHD had a second comorbid disorder as well. Other examples of Comorbidity include: 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry claims that 30% of those with bipolar I disorder also have ASD. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders stated that adults with ASD in their lifetime suffered from a higher burden of psychiatric disorders, including major depressive disorder and multiple anxiety disorders Another study from 2011 states that **39.6% of young people with ASD had at least one comorbid DSM-IV anxiety disorder, the most frequent ones being: * Specific phobias(29.8%) * OCD (17.4%) a * Social Anxiety Disorder (16.6%) If you have a child on the spectrum, chances are that they will also be diagnosed with 1 or more other disorders which have connections to the autistic traits the children portray regularly. **Source: JACAP (Journal of the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) May 2015**