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Eating disorders and related symptoms in adults with autism spectrum disorder and/or ADHD

Participants: Louise Karjalainen, Christopher Gillberg, Maria Råstam & Elisabet Wentz.

Background: Difficulties with food and eating in individuals with neuropsychiatric disorders like ASD and ADHD are clinically well known but not well studied. In a previous study PhD student Louise Karjalainen, Associate Professor Elisabet Wentz and Professor Maria Råstam, have developed an instrument to systematically investigate disturbed eating behaviours and mealtime problems in ASD.

Method: We will be processing data from the ”Adult Project” carried out at CNC (The Gothenburg Child Neuropsychiatric Clinic)” where over 600 individuals with neuropsychiatric conditions, primarily ASD and ADHD, were assessed between 2000 and 2006. The evaluations included assessments of psychiatric comorbidity, personality disorders, intelligence and background variables such as height, weight and somatic health. More than half of the project's patients were men. A large group completed a questionnaire about eating disorder symptoms and related difficulties, The Eating Attitudes Test (EAT). The instrument is well validated for use in clinical populations when screening for Axis I and II disorders. The instrument is however not well suited for screening in the population. EAT has not previously been used in studies of individuals with neuropsychiatric disorders. The project’s hypothesis is that individuals with ASD and/or ADHD display more difficulties with food and eating and more traditional eating disorders than the general population. Furthermore, individuals with ASD and ADHD are assumed to represent the extreme ends of the normal distribution with respect to BMI (weight/height), i.e. it is more common for these individuals to be either underweight or overweight. In this project Louise Karjalainen will be analysing data from the adult project and study the relationship between different neuropsychiatric diagnoses and eating disorders/eating disorder symptoms, intelligence, BMI and somatic health. The prevalence of personality disorders will also be related to the degree of eating disorder symptoms.


Page Manager: Anna Spyrou|Last update: 3/20/2014

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