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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Lifetime Health Problems

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss health care issues for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Lauren Bishop-Fitzpatrick and colleagues have an article at Autism Research titled "Using Machine Learning to Identify Patterns of Lifetime Health Problems in Decedents with Autism Spectrum Disorder."  The lay summary:
This study looked at patterns of lifetime health problems to find differences between people with autism who had died and community controls who had died. People with autism had higher rates of most health problems, including cardiovascular, urinary, respiratory, digestive, and motor problems, in their electronic health records. They also had lower rates of cancer. More research is needed to understand these potential health risks as a large number of individuals with autism enter adulthood and middle age.
From the article:
Although we were unable to explore causal factors in the current study, it may be that a combination of underlying biological vulnerability, coupled with life-style factors and difficulties interacting with the healthcare system, lead to differential diagnostic patterns indecedents with ASD compared to decedent communitycontrols. Our findings confirm well-established reportsof heightened epilepsy [Woolfenden et al., 2012] in individuals with ASD. In addition, the pattern of heightened cardiovascular problems identified by ouranalysis of comorbidities is consistent with a potential increased biological vulnerability related to broad cardiac parasympathetic hypofunction in ASD found inprevious literataure [Ming, Patel, Kang, Chokroverty, &Julu, 2016]. Previous studies have suggested heightened cardiovascular risk factors in ASD [Cashin et al., 2016], but this is the first study, to our knowledge, that identifies heightened rates of cardiovascular disease, including higher rates of coagulopathy, congestive heartfailure, and valvular disease, in individuals with ASD compared to controls.