Monday, April 28, 2014

GI Symptoms and Autism: A Meta-Analysis Worth Digesting

Photo by Hey Paul Studios via Flickr
Patients with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often complain of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, or so it appears, yet just what are those symptoms, how common are they, and are they part of an underlying common pathophysiologic mechanism that links ASD with a gastrointestinal problem?

McElhanon et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds. 2013-3995) have performed a thorough meta-analysis of studies involving GI symptoms and children with ASD. The results may confirm your suspicions. They may also leave you wanting more in regard to specific GI disorders responsible for those symptoms, whether the symptoms are the result of an ASD, and how they can happen pathophysiologically. If anything, this study will show an increased prevalence of GI symptoms—and hopefully lead to even better studies to further define the causal nature of these symptoms in ASD patients.

What’s your opinion on GI symptoms in your ASD patients? Do you see them more often that you might expect? Are there some symptoms more common than others (e.g. abdominal pain)? It would be great if you did a gut check on this topic and share your thoughts via a response to this blog, an eLetter, or through Facebook or Twitter.

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