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While adult outcome in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is generally measured using socially valued roles, it could also be understood in terms of aspects related to health status – an approach that could inform on potential gender differences.
We investigated gender differences in two aspects of outcome related to health-status, i.e. general functioning and self-perceived health status, and co-occurring health conditions in a large multi-center sample of autistic adults. Three hundred and eighty-three participants were consecutively recruited from the FondaMental Advanced Centers of Expertise for ASD cohort (a French network of seven expert centers) between 2013 and 2020. Evaluation included a medical interview, standardized scales for autism diagnosis, clinical and functional outcomes, self-perceived health status and verbal ability. Psychosocial function was measured using the Global Assessment of Functioning scale.
While autistic women in this study were more likely than men to have socially valued roles, female gender was associated with poorer physical and mental health (e.g. a 7-fold risk for having three or more co-occurring physical health conditions) and a poorer self-perceived health status. Psychosocial function was negatively associated with depression and impairment in social communication. Half of the sample had multiple co-occurring health conditions but more than 70% reported that their visit at the Expert Center was their first contact with mental health services.
To improve objective and subjective aspects of health outcome, gender differences and a wide range of co-occurring health conditions should be taken into account when designing healthcare provision for autistic adults.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is underdiagnosed and undertreated in schizophrenia, and has been strongly associated with impaired quality of life.
To determine the prevalence and associated factors of MDD and unremitted MDD in schizophrenia, to compare treated and non-treated MDD.
Participants were included in the FondaMental Expert Centers for Schizophrenia and received a thorough clinical assessment. MDD was defined by a Calgary score ≥6. Non-remitted MDD was defined by current antidepressant treatment (unchanged for >8 weeks) and current Calgary score ≥6.
613 patients were included and 175 (28.5%) were identified with current MDD. MDD has been significantly associated with respectively paranoid delusion (odds ratio 1.8; P = 0.01), avolition (odds ratio 1.8; P = 0.02), blunted affect (odds ratio 1.7; P = 0.04) and benzodiazepine consumption (odds ratio 1.8; P = 0.02). Antidepressants were associated with lower depressive symptoms score (5.4 v. 9.5; P < 0.0001); however, 44.1% of treated patients remained in non-remittance MDD. Nonremitters were found to have more paranoid delusion (odds ratio 2.3; P = 0.009) and more current alcohol misuse disorder (odds ratio 4.8; P = 0.04). No antidepressant class or specific antipsychotic were associated with higher or lower response to antidepressant treatment. MDD was associated with Metabolic syndrome (31.4 v. 20.2%; P = 0.006) but not with increased C-reactive protein.
Antidepressant administration is associated with lower depressive symptom level in patients with schizophrenia and MDD. Paranoid delusions and alcohol misuse disorder should be specifically explored and treated in cases of non-remission under treatment. MetS may play a role in MDD onset and/or maintenance in patients with schizophrenia.
Declaration of interest
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