Developmental, behavioural and somatic factors in pervasive developmental disorders: preliminary analysis

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ObjectivesTo ascertain the frequency of parental reporting of selected variables related to development, behaviour and physiology in subgroups diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs) and identify any significant intragroup differences.DesignRetrospective cross-sectional analysis of records of patients (n = 512) held on a computerized database with a chronological age between 3 and 11 years resident in the UK/Republic of Ireland and with a formal diagnosis of autism, Asperger syndrome (AS) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD).MethodsNon-parametric analysis (P > 0.01) of the frequency of specific variables for PDD subgroups reported by parents/primary caregiver.Variables includedtiming of symptom onset, presence of skills acquired prior to symptom onset, indications of regression and regression events, current language, history of viral infections, history of ear problems, achievement of continence, current skin complaints, current bowel habits and adverse events at parturition.ResultsPreliminary results showed general agreement with the principle diagnostic differences between the PDD subgroups with patients diagnosed with AS showing an increased frequency of skills acquired before symptom onset (two- to three-word phrase speech, toileting skills) and a decreased frequency of regression in acquired skills when compared with other PDD subgroups. Developmental milestones such as the achievement of bowel and bladder continence were also more frequently reported for the AS group. Infantile feeding problems defined as vomiting, reflux, colic and failure to feed were more frequently reported for the AS group as was a reported history of the bacterial skin infection impetigo. Results are discussed with reference to relationships between behavioural and somatic factors in PDD.

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