Younger Siblings of Children with Autism or ADHD More Likely To Be Similarly Diagnosed

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Meghan Miller, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences UC Davis MIND Institute Sacramento, CA 95817

Dr. Miller

Meghan Miller, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
UC Davis MIND Institute
Sacramento, CA 95817

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study evaluated within-diagnosis sibling recurrence and sibling cross-aggregation of ADHD and autism spectrum disorder among later-born siblings of diagnosed children. We specifically chose to include only families who had at least one subsequent child after the diagnosis of an older child because failing to do so could bias recurrence risk estimates.

We found that, compared to later-born siblings of non-diagnosed children, later-born siblings of children with autism were more likely to be diagnosed with autism or with ADHD. Likewise, compared to later-born siblings of non-diagnosed children, later-born siblings of children with ADHD were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD or with autism.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: These findings provide further support for shared familial mechanisms underlying these two disorders and suggest that younger siblings of children with either diagnosis should be monitored for both. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Future research should attempt to further untangle the complex relationship between autism and ADHD, including shared causes and early behavioral markers. The autism field has gained much from studying the younger siblings of children with autism, particularly with respect to identifying early markers in infancy. This study suggests that similar methods would be useful in ADHD.

I have nothing to disclose.

Citation:

Miller M, Musser ED, Young GS, Olson B, Steiner RD, Nigg JT. Sibling Recurrence Risk and Cross-aggregation of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder. JAMA Pediatr. Published online December 10, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.4076

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