In this issue of JAMA Pediatrics, Catalá-López et al1 report the findings of a systematic review and meta-analysis assessing the risk of mortality among persons with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and their first-degree relatives. The takeaway message is not subtle or nuanced, but clear, direct, and sobering—individuals with ASD or ADHD frequently die of preventable natural causes (eg, cardiac events) and unnatural causes (eg, unintentional injury, suicide). As such, this knowledge demands widespread recognition and the implementation of systematic screening and preventive approaches. Higher mortality rates have been documented in the field of ASD for longer than they have in the field of ADHD, owing to the well-established higher risks for drowning, pedestrian-auto crashes, suicide, seizure disorders, and other medical conditions associated with ASD that can lead to a shorter life expectancy.
Identify all potential conflicts of interest that might be relevant to your comment.
Conflicts of interest comprise financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including but not limited to employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speaker's bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued.
Err on the side of full disclosure.
If you have no conflicts of interest, check "No potential conflicts of interest" in the box below. The information will be posted with your response.
Not all submitted comments are published. Please see our commenting policy for details.
Barkley RA, Dawson G. Higher Risk of Mortality for Individuals Diagnosed With Autism Spectrum Disorder or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Demands a Public Health Prevention Strategy. JAMA Pediatr. 2022;176(4):e216398. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.6398
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.