Developmental language disorder – a comprehensive study of more than 46,000 individuals

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Developmental language disorder (DLD) is characterized by enduring low language abilities with a significant functional impact, in the absence of biomedical conditions in which language impairment is part of a complex of impairments. There is a lack of awareness of DLD even among healthcare professionals. Here we estimated the prevalence of DLD and its links to reading and learning difficulties and physical and mental health in the Danish Blood Donor Study (N = 46,547), where DLD-related information is based on questionnaires (self-report). We compared the questionnaire-derived DLD status with the relevant language-related diagnoses from hospital registers. We also investigated the genetic architecture of DLD in a subset of the cohort (N = 18,380). DLD was significantly associated with reading and learning difficulties and poorer mental and physical health. DLD prevalence was 3.36%–3.70% based on questionnaires, compared with 0.04% in hospital registers. Our genetic analyses identified one genome-wide significant locus, but not a significant heritability estimate. Our study shows that DLD has health-related implications that may last into adulthood, and that DLD may be undiagnosed in general healthcare. Furthermore, DLD is likely more genetically heterogeneous than narrower developmental language phenotypes. Our results emphasize the need to raise awareness of DLD and consider criteria for molecular studies of DLD to reduce case heterogeneity.

TidsskriftPsychiatry Research
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
We thank the Lundbeck Foundation for Grant R209-2015-3500 (to KSB), The Danish Administrative Regions, The Danish Blood Donor Research Foundation (Bloddonorernes Forskningsfond), Rigshospitalet's Research Foundation, The Novo Nordisk Foundation (NNF14CC0001 and NNF17OC0027594) and CANDY foundation (CEHEAD).

Funding Information:
We thank the Danish blood donors for their valuable participation in the Danish Blood Donor Study as well as the staff at the blood centers making this study possible.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023

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