Premature mortality risk about 2.5 times higher in autism spectrum disorder

Autism: early death risk a ‘hidden crisis’


A registry study conducted at Karolinska Institutet shows that the risk of premature death is about 2.5 times higher for people with autism spectrum disorder than for the rest of the population.

Mortality has been suggested to be increased in autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

To examine both all-cause and cause-specific mortality in ASD, as well as investigate moderating role of gender and intellectual ability.

Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated for a population-based cohort of ASD probands (n = 27 122, diagnosed between 1987 and 2009) compared with gender-, age- and county of residence-matched controls (n = 2 672 185).

People with autism run a higher risk of premature death, Karolinska Institutet, 21 March 2016.

During the observed period, 24 358 (0.91%) individuals in the general population died, whereas the corresponding figure for individuals with ASD was 706 (2.60%; OR = 2.56; 95% CI 2.38–2.76). Cause-specific analyses showed elevated mortality in ASD for almost all analysed diagnostic categories. Mortality and patterns for cause-specific mortality were partly moderated by gender and general intellectual ability.

Premature mortality was markedly increased in ASD owing to a multitude of medical conditions.

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