Grownup autism diagnoses do not routinely comply with different diagnoses in childhood | Spectrum
Early history: Most people diagnosed with autism as adults did not receive a psychiatric diagnosis as children.
Most people diagnosed with autism in adulthood were not diagnosed with any psychiatric illness in childhood, according to a new study.
The finding suggests that childhood misdiagnosis cannot explain why some people with autism are only identified later in life, says lead investigator Laurent Mottron, professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal in Canada. Instead, these people could have their traits camouflaged during adolescence, late-onset traits, or some other condition similar to autism, he says.
However, others say that it is difficult to draw firm conclusions from the study because the diagnostic criteria for the condition have shifted over time and due to gaps in the data set that the researchers relied on.
Mottron and his team examined the medical records of 2,199 people with autism after age 18.
The childhood prevalence of 17 different psychiatric disorders was higher in autistic adults than in 460,798 non-autistic controls, the study shows. But only 39 percent of autistic women and 31 percent of autistic men were diagnosed with any of the other disorders as children or adolescents, the study shows. The work appeared in Molecular Autism in December.
TThe results likely reflect the fact that the diagnostic criteria for autism have changed several times since the birth of the oldest people in the cohort, says John Constantino, a professor of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who was absent from the study was involved. . Awareness of the disease has also risen steadily.
“When their Danish cohort was children, no one diagnosed high-functioning autism,” he says. “Therefore, these observations can be seen as epidemiological evidence of a period effect.”
In addition, the registry may not contain information about people who have been screened for autism by their general practitioners or other clinicians, such as school psychologists, outside of the Danish hospital system, says Catherine Lord, eminent professor of psychiatry and education at the University of California, Los Angeles. who was not involved in the work.
“We often think that registers mean that this is perfect data sent by God, and it isn’t,” she says. For comparison, she notes that adults are also increasingly being diagnosed with a variety of other disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, epilepsy, and intellectual disability, which are usually diagnosed in childhood.
Ultimately, concerns about the reliability of a diagnosis depend on whether a person will be helped by a diagnosis, Lord and Mottron say.
Mottron’s team plans to assemble a cohort of people who have been diagnosed with autism since childhood to see if they differ in key ways from people diagnosed as adults.
Cite this article: https://doi.org/10.53053/HRUF2298