Neuroimaging findings in children with cerebral palsy with autism and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a population-based study

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2022 Jan;64(1):63-69. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.15011. Epub 2021 Aug 9.


Aim: To compare neuroimaging patterns according to the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Classification System (MRICS) in children with cerebral palsy (CP) with and without autism and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Method: This population-based study assessed 184 children (97 males, 87 females) with CP born from 1999 to 2006 from the CP register of western Sweden, who had completed comprehensive screening and clinical assessment for neuropsychiatric disorders and undergone neuroimaging.

Results: Autism (total prevalence 30%) and ADHD (31%) were common in all neuroimaging patterns, including normal. Autism and ADHD were not more prevalent in children with bilateral than unilateral lesions, contrary to other associated impairments. Children with predominant white matter injury, related to insults in the late second or early third trimester, had the highest prevalence of autism (40%). Children who had sustained a middle cerebral artery infarction had the highest prevalence of ADHD (62%).

Interpretation: Although autism and ADHD are common regardless of neuroimaging patterns, timing and localization of insult appear to be of importance for the occurrence of autism and ADHD in children with CP. Neuroimaging may be of prognostic value for these associated impairments. Further in-depth neuroimaging studies may lead to a better understanding of the association between CP and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnostic imaging*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnostic imaging*
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebral Palsy / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neuroimaging
  • Prevalence
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Young Adult