Gastrointestinal symptoms in a sample of children with pervasive developmental disorders.
ABSTRACT Objective To evaluate gastrointestinal (GI) problems in a large, well-characterized sample of children with pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs). Methods One hundred seventy two children entering one of two trials conducted by the Research Units on Pediatric Psychopharmacology (RUPP) Autism Network were assessed comprehensively prior to starting treatment and classified with regard to GI symptoms. Results Thirty nine (22.7%) were positive for GI problems, primarily constipation and diarrhea. Those with GI problems were no different from subjects without GI problems in demographic characteristics, measures of adaptive functioning, or autism symptom severity. Compared to children without GI problems, those with GI problems showed greater symptom severity on measures of irritability, anxiety, and social withdrawal. Those with GI problems were also less likely to respond to treatment.
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ABSTRACT: Based on clinical experience, we hypothesized that rigid-compulsive behaviors are associated with severe constipation and co-occurring diarrhea or underwear staining in children with autism spectrum disorder. Using data from the Autism Treatment Network, we evaluated the association between these gastrointestinal symptoms and measures of rigid compulsive behavior in children ages 2-17. Following statistical correction, four of five primary measures were significantly associated with constipation and diarrhea or underwear staining, including parental report of repetitive behavior, parental report of compulsive behavior, clinician diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder, and report of rituals observed on the autism diagnostic observation schedule. This association could point to a causal connection between these symptoms or to a common biological pathway that impacts both gut and brain.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 11/2013; 44(6). DOI:10.1007/s10803-013-2009-2 · 3.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study investigated the association between gastrointestinal symptoms and a broad set of emotional and behavioral concerns in 95 children with high-functioning autism and IQ scores ≥ 80. Gastrointestinal symptoms were assessed via the Autism Treatment Network's Gastrointestinal Symptom Inventory, and data were gathered on autism symptom severity, adaptive behavior, and multiple internalizing and externalizing problems. The majority (61%) of children had at least one reported gastrointestinal symptom. Emotional and behavioral problems were also common but with a high degree of variability. Children with and without gastrointestinal problems did not differ in autism symptom severity, adaptive behavior, or total internalizing or externalizing problem scores. However, participants with gastrointestinal problems had significantly higher levels of affective problems. This finding is consistent with a small body of research noting a relationship between gastrointestinal problems, irritability, and mood problems in autism spectrum disorder. More research to identify the mechanisms underlying this relationship in autism spectrum disorder is warranted. Future research should include a medical assessment of gastrointestinal concerns, longitudinal design, and participants with a range of autism spectrum disorder severity in order to clarify the directionality of this relationship and to identify factors that may impact heterogeneity in the behavioral manifestation of gastrointestinal concerns.Autism 10/2013; 18(5). DOI:10.1177/1362361313485164 · 3.50 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The purpose of this literature review was to provide an overview of the research on gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in autism spectrum disorder. Topics explored include the prevalence of GI symptoms, the importance of studying GI symptoms, the difficulties in diagnosis, as well as the questionnaire measures used to assess gastrointestinal symptoms. Research on the relationships between gastrointestinal symptoms and developmental regression, language and communication, autism severity, challenging behavior, comorbid psychopathology, sleep problems, and sensory issues is also discussed. The use of special diets is discussed also. Finally, recommendations for treatment are given as well as areas where future research is needed.03/2013; DOI:10.1007/s40489-013-0007-0