Dr. Aneta Krakowski receives the Dan Offord Resident Research Award for her research into Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Aneta KrakowskiCan Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) be considered part of one underlying disorder or construct?

PGY 4 resident Dr. Aneta Krakowski set out to explore this question, earning her the Dan Offord Resident Research Award from the Association of Professors of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry of Canada.

Dr. Krakowski, who will be starting the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Subspecialty Program in the Department of Psychiatry in July 2018, noted considerable co-morbidity between ASD and ADHD; however, the mechanism of that association is unclear.

One possibility is the two disorders share an overlapping phenotypic structure. To investigate this issue, Dr. Krakowski and her supervisor Dr. Peter Szatmari conducted a systematic review of studies that examined the factor structure of ASD and ADHD symptoms within the same clinical or general population group.

One study supported a three-factor solution composed of a social factor, inattentiveness factor, and a factor in which rigidity and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms grouped together. Three other studies found that ASD and ADHD symptoms mapped onto separate factors. She found that a lack of data, methodological limitations of studies, and variation across available datasets, highlight a need to further investigate whether there is measurement independence between ASD and ADHD symptoms.

In the future, Dr. Krakwoski hopes to work with children with neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders and continue researching the overlap between ASD and ADHD.