"Risk of autism spectrum disorder screening status in children with congenital heart defects was higher than expected from population rates."
So said the findings reported by Jessica Bean Jaworski and colleagues  who set about "to assess the rates of autism spectrum disorders in a large sample of children with a history of congenital heart defects and to assess medical, behavioral, and individual factors that may be associated with the risk of autism spectrum disorders." Covering a topic that has graced this blog before (see here) the results reiterate that there may be many roads to, and correlates associated with, a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Congenital heart defects by the way, is a blanket term covering various issues related to the structure and function of the heart that are present at birth.
Based on the examination of nearly 200 children "with a history of congenital heart defects" the data produced invites quite a bit more investigation on (i) the prevalence of autism/ASD in cases of congenital heart defects and (ii) the mechanism of how said heart issues might *link* to the presentation of autism. On that last point, my previous post on this topic (see here) provided a few research ideas. Given also that congenital heart defects do require care across the lifespan, I assume that such care will also be similarly afforded to those diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and autism, save any further health inequalities appearing.
 Bean Jaworski JL. et al. Rates of autism and potential risk factors in children with congenital heart defects. Congenit Heart Dis. 2017 Mar 16.
Bean Jaworski JL, Flynn T, Burnham N, Chittams JL, Sammarco T, Gerdes M, Bernbaum JC, Clancy RR, Solot CB, Zackai EH, McDonald-McGinn DM, & Gaynor JW (2017). Rates of autism and potential risk factors in children with congenital heart defects. Congenital heart disease PMID: 28299880
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