Stories about: Developmental Medicine

Expert’s Corner: Consider autism in children with ADHD-like symptoms

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Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have symptoms that look like those of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Could this similarity delay an ASD diagnosis in some children? A national study last month in Pediatrics, involving nearly 1,500 children with an ASD diagnosis, found the answer is yes.

Of the 1,500 children, about 20 percent were initially diagnosed with ADHD. On average, they received their ASD diagnosis about three years later than those who were first diagnosed with ASD or with both ASD and ADHD simultaneously. This made them 30 times more likely to be over the age of 6 when diagnosed with ASD, missing a vital intervention window.

Notes talked to the paper’s first author, Amir Miodovnik, MD, MPH, of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Division of Developmental Medicine. (Miodovnik currently practices at The Maimonides Infants & Children’s Hospital in Brooklyn, NY.) …Read More

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Think chronically ill teens aren’t drinking or using marijuana? Think again.

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The teenage years are prime time for experimenting with risky behaviors. One might assume that for teens growing up with a chronic disease like diabetes or cystic fibrosis, that wouldn’t be the case since alcohol can cause very serious problems for these kids.

But if Boston Children’s Hospital’s Elissa Weitzman, ScD, MSc, and Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, are right, that assumption could be completely wrong. According to a recent study the pair published in Pediatrics, chronically ill teens do exhibit risks for alcohol and marijuana use, and at levels similar to those reported for healthy youth. Those behaviors carry all the usual risks related to teen substance use (e.g., accident, injury), as well as unique risks related to their condition and its treatment.

Their study represents one of the first forays into understanding how chronically ill teens navigate the experience of growing up.

“Unprecedented numbers of young people are growing up with a chronic disease,” says Weitzman, who works in the hospital’s Division of Adolescent Medicine. “But by and large, while there are studies of chronic disease and studies of teen risk behaviors, little has been done to understand teen risk behaviors in the context of chronic disease.” …Read More

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