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Increased prevalence of non-communicable physical health conditions among autistic adults.

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Warrier, Varun 
Baron-Cohen, Simon 


Previous research indicates autistic individuals die at a younger age than others and that this is possibly due in part to chronic physical health conditions. The present study used an anonymous, online survey to determine how common certain physical health conditions are among autistic adults, compared with non-autistic adults. We found autistic adults are more likely to develop heart conditions, lung conditions, and diabetes than non-autistic adults. Autistic females may be at higher risk of developing certain conditions (including respiratory conditions, asthma, and prediabetes) than autistic males. Finally, autistic individuals have increased health risks even when considering lifestyle factors (such as smoking, alcohol, and body mass index). This is still a relatively small study, and future research needs to confirm these findings and identify why these risks exist.



adults, autism spectrum disorders, health services, medical comorbidity, Adult, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Autistic Disorder, Chronic Disease, Female, Humans, Male, Prevalence, Surveys and Questionnaires

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SAGE Publications


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Rosetrees Trust (A2209 JS15/ M853)
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) (Unknown)
Medical Research Council (G0600977)
Wellcome Trust (214322/Z/18/Z)
Wellcome Trust (102199/Z/13/Z)
Funding for this project was generously provided by the Autism Research Trust, the Rosetrees Trust, the Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, and the Corbin Charitable Trust. The authors also received funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Wellcome Trust, the Templeton World Charity Foundation, the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care-East of England (CLAHRC-EoE), and the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 777394. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and EFPIA and Autism Speaks, Autistica, SFARI. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. The research was also supported by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre in Cambridge. Varun Warrier is also supported by the Bowring Fellowship at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge.