(HealthDay News — Adults with neurologic conditions are more likely to have had adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), according to a study published online Sept. 22 in Neurology: Clinical Practice.

Adys Mendizabal, M.D., from the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study involving 198 adults seen for outpatient neurology follow-up at the University of Pennsylvania to describe the prevalence of high ACEs. Participants completed the ACE questionnaire and depression/anxiety screenings; high ACE scores were defined as scores ≥4.

The researchers found that compared with U.S. population estimates, neurology patients were more likely to have elevated ACE scores (23.7 versus 12.6 percent). High ACE scores were associated with increased emergency department utilization, hospitalizations, and telephone encounters (odds ratios, 21, 5.2, and 3.0, respectively). There were also associations observed for high ACEs with medical and psychiatric comorbidities (odds ratios, 5.8 and 4.5, respectively) and for high depression and anxiety scores (odds ratios, 6.9 and 4.3, respectively).


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“Early recognition of these high adverse childhood experiences in people with neurologic conditions may be a way to improve their health,” Mendizabal said in a statement. “Appropriate referral to social work and behavioral health resources may provide people with support that may reduce their need for health care and improve their neurologic health.”

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