The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has increased considerably in the past decades. The primary care paediatrician plays an important role not only in the early recognition of ASD but also in its chronic management. Paediatricians need to be comfortable with the global care of children with ASD. The diagnostic assessment of children with ASD comprises the medical investigations to identify associated or underlying medical conditions. The most important associated conditions are seizures, feeding and gastrointestinal problems, sleep disturbances and dental abnormalities. The care of ASD patients is very demanding since along with the purely medical issues there are challenging behavioural and psychiatric conditions that need consideration and professional skills.
"However, due to the nature of the condition, the child’s caregivers often seek help from a number of different specialists, and as a consequence, the diagnosis of the disease often comes very late. The care of autistic children is also very demanding since along with behavioral and psychiatric conditions, there are other medical issues, that are in focus of many medical specialities . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infantile autism is a serious comprehensive developmental disorder. The diagnosis of hearing loss or its exclusion, which often suggests suspected autism, is very important for early ENT, psychotherapy, and psychiatric treatment. One hundred children diagnosed with autism aged from 3 to 18 years, with a median age of 5 years, were evaluated. The control group of healthy children consisted of 100 children, aged from 3 to 18 years, with a median age of 6 years. Anamnesis and physical examination, including pediatric assessment and otoscopic examination, were carried out on children in both groups. Each child underwent bilateral otoacoustic emission examination in the 0.7, 1, 2, and 4 kHz bands and impedance audiometry examination. The data obtained were subjected to a basic statistical assessment. Chi2 Pearson's test was used to compare results of tests in both groups. The absence of otoacoustic emission for the 1 and 2 kHz bands was significantly more frequent in the group of autistic children than in the control group. Furthermore, types B and C2 tympanometric curves were significantly more common in the group of autistic children than in the group of healthy children.
European Journal of Pediatrics 03/2013; 172(8). DOI:10.1007/s00431-013-1980-0 · 1.89 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The autism spectrum disorders (ASD) comprise a group of neurobehavioral phenotypes of heterogeneous etiology. In spite of a worldwide extensive research effort to unravel the genetic mystery of autism, medical geneticists are still facing an embarrassing lack of knowledge in dealing with the diagnosis, and consequently prognosis, of a child with autism. However, some lessons can be learned from accumulating experience in the clinical and molecular genetic evaluation of children with this condition. Patient evaluation, indications for molecular testing and counseling are the three aspects that will be discussed in this review.
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part C Seminars in Medical Genetics 05/2012; 160C(2):104-10. DOI:10.1002/ajmg.c.31326 · 3.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disrupted sleep patterns in children with epilepsy and their parents are commonly described clinically. A number of studies have shown increased frequency of sleep disorders among pediatric epilepsy patients; however, few have characterized the association between epilepsy and parental sleep quality and household sleeping arrangements. The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of pediatric epilepsy on child sleep, parental sleep and fatigue, and parent-child sleeping arrangements, including room sharing and cosleeping.
Parents of children 2 to 10 years of age with and without epilepsy completed written questionnaires assessing seizure history, child and parent sleep, and household sleeping arrangements. Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ) scores were used to evaluate sleep disturbances for the child. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the Iowa Fatigue Scale (IFS) were used to evaluate parental sleep and fatigue, respectively. The Early Childhood Epilepsy Severity Scale (E-Chess) was used to assess epilepsy severity.
One hundred five households with a child with epilepsy and 79 controls participated in this study. Households with a child with epilepsy reported increased rates of both parent-child room sharing (p < 0.001) and cosleeping (p = 0.005) compared to controls. Children with epilepsy were found to have greater sleep disturbance by total CSHQ score (p < 0.001) and the following subscores: parasomnias (p < 0.001), night wakings (p < 0.001), sleep duration (p < 0.001), daytime sleepiness (<0.001), sleep onset delay (p = 0.009), and bedtime resistance (p = 0.023). Parents of children with epilepsy had increased sleep dysfunction (p = 0.005) and were more fatigued (p < 0.001). Severity of epilepsy correlated positively with degree of child sleep dysfunction (0.192, p = 0.049), parental sleep dysfunction (0.273, p = 0.005), and parental fatigue (0.324, p = 0.001). Antiepileptic drug polytherapy was predictive of greater childhood sleep disturbances. Nocturnal seizures were associated with parental sleep problems, whereas room sharing and cosleeping behavior were associated with child sleep problems. Within the epilepsy cohort, 69% of parents felt concerned about night seizures and 44% reported feeling rested rarely or never. Finally, 62% of parents described decreased sleep quality and/or quantity with cosleeping.
Pediatric epilepsy can significantly affect sleep patterns for both the affected child and his or her parents. Parents frequently room share or cosleep with their child, adaptations which may have detrimental effects for many households. Clinicians must not only be attentive to the sleep issues occurring in pediatric patients with epilepsy, but also for the household as a whole. These data provide evidence of a profound clinical need for improved epilepsy therapeutics and the development of nocturnal seizure monitoring technologies.
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