Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

It is not possible for a health care worker to avoid a condition with a prevalence of 1-2%. Autism occurs across the globe and low and low-to-middle income countries harbour most cases. ASD is a neurodevelopmental condition defined by behavioural features. Although there are several biomarkers being investigated (eye tracking, EEG, smart phone assessment of facial expressions, and others), these are not yet of use in the clinic. This condition mostly presents early in life and may be diagnosed as early as 12 months of age. Research is ongoing to identify biomarkers for an even earlier diagnosis. There has been a growth explosion of basic brain science in the past two decades, but much of the research is not yet translatable into tangible benefits, thus the focus of this summary will be a clinical perspective.

The latest on ADHD and obesity: Relationship and contributing factors

In the last number of years, evidence has been increasing showing the association between ADHD and obesity. Published in 2018, the first genome-wide association study of ADHD (GWAS), demonstrated that obesity-related phenotypes show significant genetic overlap with ADHD. The results of the GWAS suggested a shared genetic transmission for ADHD and obesity. This significant relationship was also shown to be true for forty-two other disorders including major depression, educational outcomes, smoking, insomnia, and mortality. A genetic link may therefore partly explain the wide-ranging comorbidity seen in ADHD (Demontis et al., 2018).

Tics and ADHD – does methylphenidate cause tics in ADHD?

The presence or emergence of tics in children with ADHD can complicate their management. Many medical professionals treating children with ADHD and tics may still have concerns about using methylphenidate as the first line medication in children who have ADHD and also exhibit motor or phonic tics. This article seeks to give some historical context to the widely-held belief that methylphenidate causes tics in ADHD, strives to examine the relationship between tics and ADHD and looks at the available evidence in causality and concludes with management recommendations.


Health Professions Council of South Africa


2 Clinical


Attempts allowed: 2

70% pass rate

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ADHD Briefcase - Edition 5 - 2022