Author(s): Chen MH, Su TP, Chen YS, Hsu JW, Huang KL
OBJECTIVE: Previous studies have found a temporal concordance in the increased prevalence of atopic diathesis/atopic diseases, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) worldwide. But, the temporal association among these 3 distinct diseases is unknown. METHOD: 14,812 atopic subjects diagnosed with any atopic disease (asthma, atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, or allergic conjunctivitis) before the age of 3 (atopic cohort) and 6944 non-atopic subjects with no lifetime atopic disease (non-atopic cohort), born between 1997 and 2000, were enrolled and followed to December 31, 2010 to identify the development of ADHD and ASD. RESULTS: The presence of any atopic disease in early childhood increased the risk of developing ADHD (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.97) and ASD (HR: 3.40) in later life. Greater numbers of atopic comorbidities (4 comorbidities: ADHD: HR: 2.53; ASD: HR: 4.29) were significantly related to a greater risk of developing ADHD and ASD. DISCUSSION: Atopic diathesis in early childhood elevated the risk of developing ADHD and ASD in later life, with the dose-dependent relationship of more atopic comorbidities with a greater likelihood of ADHD and ASD.