Risk of mortality among children, adolescents, and adults with autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and their first-degree relatives: a protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies

Ferrán Catalá-López, Brian Hutton, Matthew J Page, Manuel Ridao, Jane A Driver, Adolfo Alonso-Arroyo, Jaume Forés-Martos, Diego Macías Saint-Gerons, Eduard Vieta, Alfonso Valencia, Rafael Tabarés-Seisdedos
Systematic Reviews 2017 September 15, 6 (1): 189

BACKGROUND: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are childhood onset neurodevelopmental disorders that may persist into adulthood. ASD and ADHD tend to run in families and may have a significant negative impact on the health and longevity of those with the disorder and their relatives. The aim of this study will be to analyze the risk of mortality among children, adolescents, and adults with ASD or ADHD and their first-degree relatives.

METHODS/DESIGN: We will conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Searches of PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, SCOPUS, and ISI Web of Science will be used to identify epidemiological studies. Eligible studies will be observational studies reporting study-specific data for all-cause mortality or cause-specific mortality in children, adolescents, or adults with ASD or ADHD and/or their first-degree relatives. Cohort studies and case-control studies will be included. The primary outcome will be all-cause mortality. The secondary outcome will be cause-specific mortality. Two reviewers will independently screen references identified by the literature search, as well as potentially relevant full-text articles. Data will be abstracted, and study risk of bias/methodological quality will be appraised by two reviewers independently. The methodological quality of epidemiological studies will be appraised using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS). Conflicts at all levels of screening and abstraction will be resolved through discussion. Random-effects meta-analyses of primary studies will be conducted where appropriate. Subgroup analyses for exploring statistical heterogeneity, if feasible, will include gender, age group, ethnicity, comorbidities, classification of cause of death, and relevant study characteristics.

DISCUSSION: Our study will establish the extent of the epidemiological evidence underlying the risk of mortality among children, adolescents, and adults with ASD or ADHD and their first-degree relatives. We anticipate that our findings will be of interest to patients, their families, caregivers, healthcare professionals, scientists, and policy makers. Implications for future epidemiological research will be discussed.


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