People with autism die much earlier than estimated, revealed a new study.
The study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry
analyzed data of 27,000 autistic adults and used 2.7 million people as a control sample for the general population. The study was carried out by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
‘The charity, Autistica UK proposes a £10 million research program to investigate why autistic adults are dying decades before their time.’
The study found that autistic adults who had a learning disability died 30 years earlier at an average age of 39 while those without a learning disability died on average 12 years younger - at 58 years old rather than 70.
The reason behind early death among autistic adults with the learning disability was epilepsy while suicide was the leading cause of death among those without a learning disability.
The autism link with epilepsy is not known and the suicidal tendency has been attributed to bullying and depression among the autistic children. Until now, premature death was not taken as a serious issue in autism, but this study raises the need for extensive research to find out the actual cause of early death.
Now, a charity called Autistica is launching a five-year £10 million research program to investigate why autistic adults with autism die young.
Autistica Chief Executive Jon Spiers said, "This new research confirms the true scale of the hidden mortality crisis in autism. There is no single issue that is causing these huge rates of premature death. It could be social factors, biological factors as we know more people with autism are prone to mental health problems and epilepsy. It really needs an enormous research effort."