In children with autism, repetitive behaviours and gastrointestinal problems could also be connected, new research has found.
The study found that increased severity of other autism symptoms was once also associated with more severe constipation, belly pain and other intestine difficulties.
The research, which appears in the publication Autism, found no organization between social and communication difficulties and gastrointestinal symptoms.
The study doesn’t give an explanation for the organic mechanism for the relationship between repetitive behaviours, such as rocking from side to side and hand flapping, and intestine problems. But it helps establish that gastrointestinal symptoms may exacerbate repetitive behaviours, or vice versa, a finding that could someday help lead to helpful interventions, said Payal Chakraborty, a graduate student in The Ohio State University College of Public Health who led the study.
Children with autism spectrum disorder are much more likely than their most often developing peers to experience a range of gastrointestinal abnormalities, including chronic diarrhoea, constipation, food sensitivities and abdominal pain. These symptoms have been associated with higher levels of irritability and aggressive behaviour, but less is known approximately their relationship with other autism spectrum disorder symptoms.
“In the general population, there’s a reasonable amount of evidence approximately the connection between temper and mental disorders and gastrointestinal difficulties. In autism, we wonder whether the intestine problems children experience is a core a part of the disease itself or if they’re brought on by other symptoms that children with autism experience,” Chakraborty said.
Chakraborty began the study as a student at Duke University, where she worked at the Center for Autism and Mind Development and became interested in the potential connection between the intestine and other characteristics of the developmental disability.
The usage of data from a study designed to test the viability of cord blood transplants as an autism remedy, Chakraborty looked at detailed clinical measures and reports given by the families of 176 children who were 2 to 7 years old to see whether she could find any insights into the drivers of gastrointestinal problems. Nearly the entire children, 93%, had a minimum of one gastrointestinal symptom.
“GI problems are a remarkable issue for many of us with autism and there’s evidence that these symptoms might exacerbate sure autism behaviours, which may end up in greater developmental challenges,” she said.
The specifics of the relationship are unclear, but it’s conceivable that repetitive behaviours in children with autism can be a coping mechanism that helps them manage their gastrointestinal discomfort, Chakraborty said, adding that the symptoms of autism frequently emerge at a time when children aren’t ready to adequately communicate their physical suffering with words.
“Gastrointestinal problems are a major concern for plenty of children with autism and we still have a lot to be informed approximately the complicated intestine/mind axis,” she said.
Other researchers who worked on the study are Kimberly Carpenter, Samantha Major, Saritha Vermeer, Brianna Herold, Lauren Franz, Jill Howard and Geraldine Dawson, all of Duke University, and Megan Deaver of Eastern Virginia Medical School.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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