European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 20, Issue 11–12, pp 599–601 | Cite as

Psychiatric comorbidities in autism spectrum disorders: findings from a Danish Historic Birth Cohort

  • Morsi W. AbdallahEmail author
  • Kirstin Greaves-Lord
  • Jakob Grove
  • Bent Nørgaard-Pedersen
  • David M. Hougaard
  • Erik L. Mortensen
Letter to the Editor

Dear Editors,

Several psychiatric comorbidities are common among patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) [1, 2]. In contrast, fewer studies have indicated lower rates of alcohol related disorders (ARD) and substance abuse in ASD patients [3, 4]. The aim of this brief report is to estimate the psychiatric comorbidity rates in ASD patients utilizing a Danish Historic Birth Cohort (HBC) which consists of maternal biologic samples of more than 1,00,000 pregnant women collected during their antenatal visits from 1980 to 2004 and kept at Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark [5].

Danish nation-wide health registers were utilized to follow-up individuals in the HBC until September 2009. All singleton ASD cases born between 1982 and 2000 in the HBC were identified based on the ICD-8 codes 299.xx up to 1993, and ICD-10 codes DF84.xxsince 1994. Controls were non-ASD singleton individuals in the HBC frequency-matched with cases on gender and year of birth. All psychiatric...


Autism Spectrum Disorder Autism Spectrum Disorder Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Psychiatric Comorbidities 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The Danish Historic Birth Cohort was established at Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen with a grant from The Danish Medical Research Foundation and The Danish Ministry of the Interior and Health (Project no 271-05-0523/09-060179). This study is funded by Aarhus University Faculty of Health Sciences, Aarhus, Denmark and Statens Serum Institute, Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Immunology, Copenhagen, Denmark (Project title: Intrauterine exposures and childhood psychiatric disorders, Project ID: 494028). The authors thank Vibeke Munk from Copenhagen University for her administrative assistance.

Conflict of interest



  1. 1.
    Simonoff E, Pickles A, Charman T, Chandler S, Loucas T, Baird G (2008) Psychiatric disorders in children with autism spectrum disorders: prevalence, comorbidity, and associated factors in a population-derived sample. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 47(8):921–929PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    de Bruin E, Ferdinand R, Meester S, de Nijs P, Verheij F (2007) High rates of psychiatric co-morbidity in PDD-NOS. J Autism Dev Disord 37(5):877–886. doi: 10.1007/s10803-006-0215-x PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Santosh P, Mijovic A (2006) Does pervasive developmental disorder protect children and adolescents against drug and alcohol use? Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 15(4):183–188. doi: 10.1007/s00787-005-0517-0 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bejerot S, Nylander L (2003) Low prevalence of smoking in patients with autism spectrum disorders. Psychiatry Res 119(1–2):177–182. doi: 10.1016/s0165-1781(03)00123-9 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Nørgaard-Pedersen B (2005) Statens Serum Institut: etablering af en ny historisk prospektiv mor-barn biobank kohorte baseret på ca. 100.000 gravidscreenings prøver [Grant application: establishing a new historic prospective mother–child cohort based on approximately 100,000 antenatal screening samples at Statens Serum Institut]. Statens Sundhedsvidenskabelige Forskningsråd, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Lauritsen M, Jørgensen M, Madsen K, Lemcke S, Toft S, Grove J, Schendel D, Thorsen P (2010) Validity of childhood autism in the Danish psychiatric central register: findings from a cohort sample born 1990–1999. J Autism Dev Disord 40(2):139–148. doi: 10.1007/s10803-009-0818-0 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Andersen TF, Madsen M, Jorgensen J, Mellemkjoer L, Olsen JH (1999) The Danish national hospital register: a valuable source of data for modern health sciences. Dan Med Bull 46(3):263–268PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Knudsen L, Olsen J (1998) The Danish medical birth registry. Dan Med Bull 45(3):320PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Leyfer O, Folstein S, Bacalman S, Davis N, Dinh E, Morgan J, Tager-Flusberg H, Lainhart J (2006) Comorbid psychiatric disorders in children with autism: interview development and rates of disorders. J Autism Dev Disord 36(7):849–861. doi: 10.1007/s10803-006-0123-0 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mortensen EL, Sorensen HJ, Jensen HH, Reinisch JM, Mednick SA (2005) IQ and mental disorder in young men. Bri J Psychiatry 187(5):407–415. doi: 10.1192/bjp.187.5.407 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Morsi W. Abdallah
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Kirstin Greaves-Lord
    • 4
    • 5
  • Jakob Grove
    • 6
  • Bent Nørgaard-Pedersen
    • 2
  • David M. Hougaard
    • 2
  • Erik L. Mortensen
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of EpidemiologyAarhus University School of Public HealthAarhusDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Biochemistry and ImmunologyStatens Serum InstituteCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Unit of Medical Psychology, Institute of Public Health and Center for Healthy AgingUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen KDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryErasmus MC, Sophia’s Children’s HospitalRotterdamThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Yulius AcademieRotterdamThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Department of Biomedicine, Faculty of Health Sciences and Bioinformatics Research Centre (BiRC)Aarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark
  7. 7.Unit of Medical Psychology, Institute of Public Health and Center for Healthy AgingUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations