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Open Access Research article

Neuropsychopathological comorbidities in learning disorders

Lucia Margari*, Maura Buttiglione, Francesco Craig, Arcangelo Cristella, Concetta de Giambattista, Emilia Matera, Francesca Operto and Marta Simone

Author Affiliations

Child Neuropsychiatry Unit, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neurosciences and Sense Organs of the “Aldo Moro” University of Bari, Piazza Giulio Cesare 1, Bari, Italy

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BMC Neurology 2013, 13:198  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-13-198

Published: 13 December 2013

Abstract

Background

Learning Disorders (LD) are complex diseases that affect about 2-10% of the school-age population. We performed neuropsychological and psychopathological evaluation, in order to investigate comorbidity in children with LD.

Methods

Our sample consisted of 448 patients from 7 to 16 years of age with a diagnosis of LD, divided in two subgroups: Specific Learning Disorders (SLD), including reading, writing, mathematics disorders, and Learning Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (LD NOS).

Results

Comorbidity with neuropsychopathologies was found in 62.2% of the total sample. In the LSD subgroup, ADHD was present in 33%, Anxiety Disorder in 28.8%, Developmental Coordination Disorder in 17.8%, Language Disorder in 11% and Mood Disorder in 9.4% of patients. In LD NOS subgroup, Language Disorder was present in 28.6%, Developmental Coordination Disorder in 27.5%, ADHD in 25.4%, Anxiety Disorder in 16.4%, Mood Disorder in 2.1% of patients. A statistically significant presence was respectively found for Language and Developmental Coordination Disorder comorbidity in LD NOS and for ADHD, mood and anxiety disorder comorbidity in SLD subgroup.

Conclusions

The different findings emerging in this study suggested to promote further investigations to better define the difference between SLD and LD NOS, in order to improve specific interventions to reduce the long range consequences.

Keywords:
Learning disorders; Comorbidity; Language disorder; Motor coordination disorder; ADHD; Mood and anxiety disorders