Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Gut to Brain Connection.

girls-60660_640-300x199Numerous studies have documented the link of Autism Spectrum Disorder and impairment of the GI tract. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are serious developmental disorders with soaring prevalence, affecting 1 in 91 children in the United States. ASD are characterized by a spectrum of symptoms, including decreased verbal skills and social withdrawal, repetitive behavior, insistence to routines, and unusual response to sensory stimuli.

A 2002 study initiated by the Department of Pediatrics at the university of Maryland documented the connection between ASD and GI disturbances and that ASD symptoms decreased significantly as GI symptoms were addressed.

A recent 2011 study in the Journal of Developmental Pediatrics examined the prevalence of gastrointestinal problems in children across the United States with autism spectrum disorders from families with multiple affected members. It was found that increased ASD symptoms was characterized with a higher incidence of GI symptoms.

Parents reported significantly more GI problems in children with ASD (249/589; 42%) compared with their unaffected siblings (20/163; 12%) (p < .001). The 2 most common Gl problems in children with ASD were constipation (116/589; 20%) and chronic diarrhea (111/589; 19%). Conditional logistic regression analysis showed that having Full Autism (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 14.28, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.22-32.77) or Almost Autism (AOR = 5.16, 95% CI 2.02-13.21) was most highly associated with experiencing GI problems. Increased autism symptom severity was associated with higher odds of GI problems (AOR for trend = 2.63, 95% CI: 1.56-4.45).

Parents should be encouraged to explore nutrition based alternative treatment modalities rather than the traditional drug regiment associated with treating ASD.

Source

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2011 Jun;32(5):351-60.The prevalence of gastrointestinal problems in children across the United States with autism spectrum disorders from families with multiple affected members.

Eur J Pharmacol. 2011 Sep;668 Suppl 1:S70-80. Pathways underlying the gut-to-brain connection in autism spectrum disorders as future targets for disease management.

Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2002 Jun;4(3):251-8. Autism and gastrointestinal symptoms.

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