New podcast released regarding dual diagnosis of cerebral palsy and autism

February 13, 2014
The journal Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology has released a podcast featuring Dr. Deborah Christensen and NeuroDevNet’s ASD research group co-lead Dr. Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, discussing a recent article exploring the prevalence of cerebral palsy co-occurring with autism.
Christensen describes her findings and responds to questions from Zwaigenbaum, who authored a commentary on “Prevalence of cerebral palsy, co-occurring autism spectrum disorders, and motor functioning -- Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, USA, 2008” at the time of its publication.
The study presents the findings of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, which monitors the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and cerebral palsy (CP) in eight-year-old children across the United States. According to Christensen, the co-occurring cases of ASD among children with CP may help researchers understand more about the causes and risk factors for these conditions. From this study, it was found that 3.1 per thousand of eight year old children had CP, and from this number, 40% also had epilepsy and 70% also had ASD.
“There still work to be done to understand how these conditions such as CP, ASD, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities, how they are relate to each other and share some common pathways,” Christensen said in the podcast. “So the data provides us with some interesting clues to the next step to look at the perinatal factors and other factors as well as co-occurring conditions like epilepsy among children with co-occurring ASD and children without co-occurring ASD.”
When asked by Zwaigenbaum during the interview whether clinicians should increase ASD surveillance in their CP patients or have even broader surveillance, Christensen commented that the range of surveillance needs to be expanded to not only ASD but also to mental health and intellectual disorders. As mentioned in his commentary, Zwaigenbaum emphasizes that clinicians need to look beyond signs of ASD, to “more general challenges that require more holistic approach to follow-up.”
To listen to this podcast, download it from iTunes or listen here on YouTube.
Christensen, D., Van Naarden Braun, K., Doernberg, N. S., Maenner, M. J., Arneson, C. L., Durkin, M. S., Benedict, R. E., Kirby, R. S., Wingate, M. S., Fitzgerald, R. and Yeargin-Allsopp, M. (2013), Prevalence of cerebral palsy, co-occurring autism spectrum disorders, and motor functioning – Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, USA, 2008.
Zwaigenbaum, L (2013) The intriguing relationship between cerebral palsy and autism – Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12268