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Certain groups among the autistic tend to die 30 years earlier than their peers in the general population, and a charity is calling on Britain’s National Health Service to find out why.

The Guardian reports:

The striking figures amount to a “hidden crisis” in public health according to the charity, Autistica, which has called on the NHS to launch an immediate review into the scale and underlying causes of autism deaths in Britain.

The organisation’s report draws on published studies that reveal high rates of suicide among autistic people, with women at greatest risk of taking their own lives. Autistic people with no learning disabilities are nine times more likely to die from suicide compared to the rest of the population, the report states.

Some of the worst affected are those with secondary brain disorders, such as epilepsy, which is 20 to 40 times more common in people with autism. Those with such conditions on top of autism had an average life expectancy of only 39 years, according to research on 27,000 autistic people in Sweden that was published in November last year. Non-autistic people in the same study lived to an average age of 70. …

The charity’s report, Personal Tragedies, Public Crisis, goes on to highlight further results from the Swedish study, including data which suggest that autistic adults died, on average, 16 years younger than the general population. Those with no intellectual impairments died 12 years younger, and even those labelled as “high functioning” because of their intellectual abilities were twice as likely to die young, the study found.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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