Research Topic

Comorbidity and Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Nearly three quarters of individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) suffer from an additional medical condition. In many of these instances the comorbid condition has a higher prevalence than when found by itself in the general population. In this regard, the concurrence of attention deficit ...

Nearly three quarters of individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) suffer from an additional medical condition. In many of these instances the comorbid condition has a higher prevalence than when found by itself in the general population. In this regard, the concurrence of attention deficit hyperactivity, seizures, intellectual disability, and mood disorder along with autism is well recognized. Other conditions, like gastrointestinal, sleep disorders, allergies, immunodeficiency and autoimmune problems, although commonly associated with autism, have been the object of debate in both the medical and layman literature. Still other conditions, ranging from eczema to diabetes have been mentioned but remain poorly studied. Clarifying comorbidities in autism is of importance as their co-concurrence points to possible etiologies in certain phenotypic clusters and to the large variety of possible genetic and environmental factors playing an etiopathological role in ASD. Since treatment of comorbidities improves the quality of life of both affected individuals and parents, extensive medical assessments are necessary in order to identify these comorbidities whenever an autistic individual comes to the medical office.

This Research Topic in Frontiers aims to overcome the sparsity of studies regarding comorbidity in ASD. It asks potential participants to explore, question, and when necessary, challenge conventional knowledge regarding ASD. Are standard screening instruments capable of delineating the full range of impairment in ASD in the presence of comorbidities? Given the difficulties in communication for many autistic patients, what red flags point towards the presence of comorbidities and what should constitute appropriate medical screening? How do comorbid conditions relate to maladaptive behaviors? This Research Topic will seek answers to these and other questions while raising awareness of how comorbid conditions increase both mortality and morbidity in ASD. Appropriate contributions will include research articles, case reports as well as population-based studies, information for healthcare providers, assessments for clinical management, and position statements from relevant policy making organizations.


Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder, comorbidity, medical conditions, medical complication, prevalence


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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