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Depression affects 20 percent of young adults with autism

Gorkha Post

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Depression affects almost 20 percent of young adults with autism, a new research has revealed, a rate that’s more than triple that seen in the general population.

And young adults with autism who were relatively high-functioning — meaning they did not have intellectual disabilities– were actually at higher risk of depression than people with more severe forms of autism, British researchers found.

In the study published online on Aug 31 in JAMA Network Open, this higher-functioning subgroup was more than four times as likely to suffer from depression, compared to people without autism. The study was led by Dheeraj Rai, of the University of Bristol.

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In the study, Dheeraj’s group looked at data that tracked almost 224,000 Swedes living in a particular county between 2001 and 2011. A total of 4,073 had been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

People with autism without intellectual disabilities “may be particularly prone to depression because of greater awareness of their difficulties,” the researchers theorized.

Tracking the participants’ mental health, the study found that by their mid-to-late 20s, 19.8 percent of people with autism had a history of depression, compared to just 6 percent of those in the general population.

“Given the considerable social struggles that individuals with an autism spectrum disorder experience, it is not surprising that they are at significantly increased risk for depression,” said Dr Andrew Adesman. He directs developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, NY.

Not all of the increase in risk for depression was caused by genetics, Dheeraj’s group added, because people with autism still had double the odds for depression compared to a full sibling who did not have the disorder.

That suggests that something other than DNA — perhaps the stress of living with autism — may play a role in depression risk.

The finding that autism without intellectual disability carried higher odds for depression highlights the need for earlier diagnosis, the researchers said.

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“Many individuals with autism spectrum disorder, especially those without cognitive impairments, receive a delayed diagnosis, often after experiencing other psychiatric problems,” the study authors wrote.

That can take a big psychological toll, perhaps contributing to depression risk, Rai’s team suggested.

“Individuals receiving a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder later in life often report long-standing stress in relation to social isolation, bullying, exclusion, and the knowledge they are different without the explanatory framework of a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder,” the team pointed out.

Agencies

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Sudden cardiac arrests are more likely to happen on any day at any time : Study

Raghu Kshitiz

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A new study has showed that sudden cardiac arrests are more likely to happen on any day at any time, challenging previous claims that weekday mornings — especially Mondays — were the danger zones.

Previously heart experts have long believed that weekday mornings were the danger zones for unexpected deaths from sudden cardiac arrests.

“While there are likely several reasons to explain why more cardiac arrests happen outside of previously identified peak times, stress is likely a major factor,” said Sumeet Chugh, a Professor of medicine from the Smidt Heart Institute in the US.

“We now live in a fast-paced, ‘always on’ era that causes increased psycho-social stress and possibly an increase in the likelihood of sudden cardiac arrest,” Chugh added.

Almost 17 million cardiac deaths occur annually worldwide while the survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest is less than one per cent.

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For the study, published in the journal Heart Rhythm, Chugh’s team analysed data on 1,535 from the community-based Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study between 2004 to 2014, among which only 13.9 per cent died in the early morning hours, the findings revealed.

All reported cases were based on emergency medical service reports containing detailed information regarding the cause of the cardiac arrest.

“Because sudden cardiac arrest is usually fatal, we have to prevent it before it strikes,” Chugh said. “Our next steps are to conclusively determine the underlying reasons behind this shift, then identify public health implications as a result,” he added.

Apart from stress, other contributing factors may be a shift in how high-risk patients are being treated, as well as inadequacies in how past studies have measured time of death caused by sudden cardiac arrest.

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