Conference Coverage

VIDEO: ASD doesn’t appear any more prevalent in children with type 1 diabetes

Key clinical point: Overall, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder among Colorado youth with type 1 diabetes is similar to the prevalence of ASD in the general Colorado pediatric population.

Major finding: The prevalence of pediatric patients in Colorado with type 1 diabetes and ASD was 1 in 87 (1.15%), which was similar to the prevalence of ASD in the general Colorado pediatric population, 1 in 85 (1.18%).

Data source: An analysis of 2,360 patients with type 1 diabetes aged 18 months to 18 years old who were cared for at a single center in Colorado.

Disclosures: Dr. Majidi and Dr. Stanek reported having no relevant financial disclosures.


 

AT THE ADA SCIENTIFIC SESSIONS

References

NEW ORLEANS – The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes appears to be similar to that in the general pediatric population, according to a study conducted in Colorado.

“There is no known literature on management of patients with autism spectrum disorder and type 1 diabetes to assess if management is different in this population,” Dr. Shideh Majidi said in an interview at the annual scientific sessions of the American Diabetes Association.

Dr. Shideh Majidi Doug Brunk/Frontline Medical News
Dr. Shideh Majidi

In what she said is the first study of its kind conducted in the United States, Dr. Majidi and her associates investigated the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in a large diabetes center to better understand the diabetes characteristics and management of those with both type 1 diabetes and ASD. The researchers evaluated 2,360 patients aged 18 months to 18 years cared for at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado, Aurora. Of the 2,360 patients, 30 (28 males and 2 females) had ASD, for a prevalence of 1 in 87 (1.15%). This was similar to the prevalence of ASD in the general Colorado population, which is estimated to be 1 in 85 (1.18%).

Patients with type 1 diabetes and ASD had a mean age of 12.9 years and had the disease for a mean of 5 years. There were fewer females with type 1 diabetes and ASD, compared with those who had type 1 diabetes only (7% vs. 48%, respectively; P less than .001).

Compared with patients who had type 1 diabetes, those with type 1 diabetes and ASD had similar hemoglobin A1c levels (a median of 8.2% vs. 8.8%, P = .17) and number of blood glucose tests per day (a median of 5.1 vs. 4.9, P = .32), but were less likely to be on an insulin pump (43.3% vs. 57%, P = .14).

The overall findings suggest that management in patients with ASD and type 1 diabetes does not necessarily need to differ from those without ASD. “For instance, it is possible for ASD patients to do well on an insulin pump,” said Dr. Majidi, who is a pediatric endocrinologist at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes. “Also, A1c and blood sugar checks are similar between those with and without ASD, and thus similar intensive management can be recommended for this group. So just like in patients without ASD, diabetes should be managed on an individual basis, looking at individual needs, but having a diagnosis of ASD does not have to limit our views as providers of what types of management we can offer for ideal diabetes management.”

She acknowledged certain limitations of the study, including its single-center design and relatively small sample size. “It would be beneficial to obtain larger numbers of patients with ASD and type 1 diabetes via multicenter studies in order to get a larger group of patients with both diagnoses, in order to see if our results remain when looking on a larger scale.”

In a video interview at the meeting, Dr. Majidi and Dr. Kelly Stanek of the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes discussed the study's findings and the next steps for research, including a closer examination of the challenges parents face in caring for children with type 1 diabetes and ASD.

Dr. Majidi and Dr. Stanek reported having no relevant financial disclosures.

dbrunk@frontlinemedcom.com

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