MONDAY, Feb. 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The risk for mortality is increased significantly for persons with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published online Feb. 14 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Ferrán Catalá-López, Ph.D., from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues, conducted a systematic review to examine the risk for mortality among persons with ASD or ADHD and their first-degree relatives. Data were included from 27 studies, with 642,260 individuals.

The researchers found that all-cause mortality was increased for persons with ASD and for those with ADHD (rate ratios, 2.37 [95 percent confidence interval, 1.97 to 2.85] and 2.13 [95 percent confidence interval, 1.13 to 4.02], respectively) compared with the general population. Increased deaths from natural causes and from unnatural causes were seen among persons with ASD (rate ratios, 3.80 [95 percent confidence interval, 2.06 to 7.01] and 2.50 [95 percent confidence interval, 1.49 to 4.18], respectively). No significant increase was seen for deaths from natural causes (rate ratio, 1.62; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.89 to 2.96), but deaths from unnatural causes were significantly higher than expected among persons with ADHD (rate ratio, 2.81; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.73 to 4.55).

“Understanding the mechanisms of these associations may lead to targeted strategies to prevent avoidable deaths in high-risk groups of children and young people as an approach to improve public health,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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