Asperger syndrome epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Epidemiology and Demographics

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Prevalence estimates vary enormously. A 2003 review of epidemiological studies of children found prevalence rates ranging from 0.03 to 4.84 per 1,000, with the ratio of autism to Asperger syndrome ranging from 1.5:1 to 16:1;[1] combining the average ratio of 5:1 with a conservative prevalence estimate for autism of 1.3 per 1,000 suggests indirectly that the prevalence of AS might be around 0.26 per 1,000.[2] Part of the variance in estimates arises from differences in diagnostic criteria. For example, a relatively small 2007 study of 5,484 eight-year-old children in Finland found 2.9 children per 1,000 met the ICD-10 criteria for an AS diagnosis, 2.7 per 1,000 for Gillberg and Gillberg criteria, 2.5 for DSM-IV, 1.6 for Szatmari et al., and 4.3 per 1,000 for the union of the four criteria. Boys seem to be at higher risk for AS than girls; estimates of the sex ratio range from 1.6:1 to 4:1, using the Gillberg and Gillberg criteria.

Anxiety and depression are the most common other conditions seen at the same time; comorbidity of these in persons with AS is estimated at 65%. Depression is common in adolescents and adults; children are likely to present with ADHD.[3] Reports have associated AS with medical conditions such as aminoaciduria and ligamentous laxity, but these have been case reports or small studies and no factors have been associated with AS across studies. One study of males with AS found an increased rate of epilepsy and a high rate (51%) of nonverbal learning disorder.[4] AS is associated with tics, Tourette syndrome, and bipolar disorder, and the repetitive behaviors of AS have many similarities with the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.[5] Although many of these studies are based on psychiatric clinic samples without using standardized measures, it seems reasonable to conclude that comorbid conditions are relatively common.

References

  1. Fombonne E, Tidmarsh L (2003). "Epidemiologic data on Asperger disorder". Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 12 (1): 15–21. doi:10.1016/S1056-4993(02)00050-0. PMID 12512396.
  2. Fombonne E (2007). "Epidemiological surveys of pervasive developmental disorders". In Volkmar FR. Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders (2nd ed ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 33–68. ISBN 0-521-54957-4.
  3. Ghaziuddin M, Weidmer-Mikhail E, Ghaziuddin N (1998). "Comorbidity of Asperger syndrome: a preliminary report". J Intellect Disabil Res. 42 (4): 279–83. PMID 9786442.
  4. Cederlund M, Gillberg C (2004). "One hundred males with Asperger syndrome: a clinical study of background and associated factors". Dev Med Child Neurol. 46 (10): 652–60. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8749.2004.tb00977.x. PMID 15473168. Unknown parameter |doi_brokendate= ignored (help)
  5. Gillberg C, Billstedt E (2000). "Autism and Asperger syndrome: coexistence with other clinical disorders". Acta Psychiatr Scand. 102 (5): 321–30. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0447.2000.102005321.x. PMID 11098802.




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