Shared familial transmission of autism spectrum and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders

Authors


  • Conflicts of interest statement: No conflicts declared.

Abstract

Background

To determine whether familial transmission is shared between autism spectrum disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, we assessed the prevalence, rates of comorbidity, and familial transmission of both disorders in a large population-based sample of children during a recent 7 year period.

Methods

Study participants included all children born to parents with the Kaiser Permanente Northwest (KPNW) Health Plan between 1 January 1998 and 31 December 2004 (n = 35,073). Children and mothers with physician-identified autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were identified via electronic medical records maintained for all KPNW members.

Results

Among children aged 6–12 years, prevalence was 2.0% for ADHD and 0.8% for ASD; within those groups, 0.2% of the full sample (19% of the ASD sample and 9.6% of the ADHD sample) had co-occurring ASD and ADHD, when all children were included. When mothers had a diagnosis of ADHD, first born offspring were at 6-fold risk of ADHD alone (OR = 5.02, p < .0001) and at 2.5-fold risk of ASD alone (OR = 2.52, p < .01). Results were not accounted for by maternal age, child gestational age, child gender, and child race.

Conclusions

Autism spectrum disorders shares familial transmission with ADHD. ADHD and ASD have a partially overlapping diathesis.

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