Thursday, November 7, 2013

Behavioral issues in children with autism may be due to stomach problems

Kids with autism have significantly more problems with diarrhea, food sensitivity and constipation than their typically developing peers. Furthermore, these gastrointestinal problems (GI) may be the cause of social withdrawal, irritability and repetitive behavior, according to a study published on the 6th of November.

Researchers from the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis studied nearly 1,000 children with autism and developmental delays. The kids with autism and GI problems also had more problems with irritability, social withdrawal, repetitive behavior and hyperactivity.

“After years of parents raising concerns about such symptoms, the huge differences we see between parental reports on children with autism spectrum disorder versus those on children with typical development puts to rest the idea that gastrointestinal problems among children with autism spectrum disorder are just an accumulation of case reports,” said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, principal investigator for the study. “Our data clearly show that gastrointestinal problems are very common in children with autism.”

The research team concluded that the pain and discomfort of GI problems could cause or contribute to social withdrawal and irritability in children with autism. They recommend that any child with autism and GI problems have a full GI screening. Then any potential GI problems found could be addressed and that may lead to a decrease in behavioral issues.

The study, “Gastrointestinal Problems in Children with Autism, Developmental Delays or Typical Development” is published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.


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