Estimating the Burden of Disease for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Spain in 2003


Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are lifelong neurodevelopmental disabilities. Burden of Disease is an indicator that provides important information on health status and outcomes such as premature mortality and disability. In order to estimate the burden of disease of ASD in the Spanish population during 2003, we followed the procedures used in the WHO Global Burden of Disease Study. ASD generated 43,928 Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) in Spain in 2003, from which 33,797 were attributable to Autistic Disorder and 10,131 were caused by Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified. DALY could be a useful tool for health policy makers for setting health service priorities, allocating available resources effectively and providing a comparable measure of output for early intervention.

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The authors wish to thank Elena Álvarez, from the International Health Department, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Consuelo Morant, from the Regional Mental Health Co-ordination Office, Madrid Autonomous Region, Spain and Ricard Gènova from the Institute of Public Health, Madrid Autonomous Region, Spain for their expert opinion on the burden of diseases subject. The study was financed by the RETICS programme at Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Grants n.G03/123. REpIER (Epidemiology Research Network for Rare Diseases) and C03/05. INERGEN (National Institute of Genetic Rare Diseases).

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Correspondence to Manuel Posada.

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Sánchez-Valle, E., Posada, M., Villaverde-Hueso, A. et al. Estimating the Burden of Disease for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Spain in 2003. J Autism Dev Disord 38, 288–296 (2008) doi:10.1007/s10803-007-0393-1

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  • Pervasive developmental disorders
  • Autistic spectrum disorders
  • Burden of disease
  • Disability adjusted life years
  • DALY
  • Epidemiology