Medical and Psychiatric Comorbidities in a Cohort of Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Thursday, May 14, 2015: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Imperial Ballroom (Grand America Hotel)
N. Brondino1, L. Fusar-Poli1, U. Provenzani1, M. Rocchetti1, C. Panisi1, R. Keller2, F. Barale1 and P. Politi1, (1)Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy, (2)ADULT AUTISM CENTER, ASL TO2, TURIN, ITALY, Turin, Italy
Background: it is well known that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) usually present a wide range of medical comorbidities. Some of these medical conditions, such as epilepsy, gastrointestinal disorders, asthma, autoimmune diseases or sleep disorders,  are usually more frequent in this patient group compared to the general population. Unfortunately, to date there is a paucity of data regarding medical and psychiatric co-occurring symptoms in adults with ASD.

Objectives:  the aim of the present study is to investigate the presence of medical and psychiatric comorbidities in a cohort of adults with ASD.

Methods: one hundred and fifty subjects were recruited. All participants were screened by a senior psychiatrist who diagnosed ASD and evaluate the current presence of other psychiatric or neurological symptoms. Medical status was evaluated by a physician specialized in internal medicine. Medical charts were thoroughly reviewed in order to obtain information about previous medical problems.  

Results:  in the entire sample, we observed numerous medical comorbidities such as epilepsy, tuberous sclerosis, celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, systemic lupus erythematosus, etc. We observed a discrepancy according to QI value: ASD patients with intellectual disabilities present more medical comorbidities then patients with higher QI values (p<0.05). The more frequent psychiatric diagnoses were major depression and anxiety disorder.

Conclusions: These preliminary results support the hypothesis of a specific medical risk associated with ASD, with a different pattern according to the presence of intellectual disability. These data will possibly enable physicians to carry on appropriate examinations and to provide prompt care and treatment.