Study identifies challenges faced by people with learning disabilities and diabetes


There is now significant evidence of under-diagnosed, inadequately managed preventable health conditions in people with learning disabilities and we have posted previously about this as well as drawing attention to a US study that found people with learning disabilities had significantly higher prevalence of diabetes than adults with no disability: 19.4% vs. 3.8%. Despite this, [read the full story…]

Case study of man with Asperger syndrome highlights impact of late diagnosis and lack of intervention on risk of offending


This paper describes a case study of a young man with Asperger syndrome who set a fire in his home. The authors point out that offences may be committed by people with autistic spectrum disorders because of deficits in social skills, co-morbid mental health problems or abuse of drugs and alcohol. There may also be [read the full story…]

High prevalence of substance abuse found by audit of service users in forensic learning disability service


Last week we posted about a study in the Netherlands which called for more cross sector collaboration to tackle the issue of substance misuse , but there is little in the literature about possible links between the prevalence of substance abuse and links to offending behaviour among people with learning disabilities. The authors of this [read the full story…]

Services call for more cross sector collaboration to deal with substance abuse in people with learning disabilities


This study from the Netherlands looked at the perspectives of staff to substance use and misuse among people with learning disabilities. The authors point out that the use of psychoactive substances is a growing problem among clients of learning disability services in the Netherlands. However, there are few official statistics and rates of use are [read the full story…]

Rate of comorbid disorder higher than expected in young people with autism

person looking sad

The researchers in this study set out to investigate the rates and types of co-morbid disorders in a group of 84 young people (mean age 19.5 years) with autism. They assessed mental disorder with a semi-structured comprehensive clinical interview with the participants and with caregivers and also used quantitative questionnaires. The diagnoses were made according [read the full story…]

Impact on families caring for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems poorly understood review suggests

family on beach

Estimates of the numbers of people with learning disabilities who have co-morbid mental health problems vary considerably between studies, from 14 to 39%. This review of literature focused on families of individuals diagnosed with both learning disability and co-morbid mental health problems. The author looked at the impact of caring such individuals on things like [read the full story…]

Adults with learning disabilities and epilepsy have increased risk for developing psychiatric disorders

Young girl and nurse

The authors of this study set out to investigate the influence of epilepsy on the development of psychiatric disorders in adults with learning disabilities. The researchers measured psychiatric symptoms a year among two groups – 45 adults with learning disabilities who had active epilepsy and 45 without epilepsy. Both groups were carefully matched on level [read the full story…]

Audit of antipsychotic prescribing shows good efficacy reviewing but poor monitoring of side effects

medicine in blisterpack

Antipsychotics are widely used for the management of behavioural problems in people with learning disability, despite concerns about the lack of a good evidence base for this practice (see Cochrane review) The researchers in this study set out to audit clinical practice of prescribing anti-psychotics against standards of good practice. The authors collected data from [read the full story…]

Mental disorder in children and adolescents with learning disabilities between 30 and 50%

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The extent to which mental disorder and learning disability co-occur varies substantially between studies. This review set out to identify studies in children and/or adolescents with acceptably rigorous methods and to ascertain key risk factors. The review found nine studies with acceptable methods, 4 which compared prevalence of mental disorder in populations of those with [read the full story…]