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: Recent studies suggest a role for the microbiota in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), potentially arising from their role in modulating the immune system and gastrointestinal (GI) function or from gut-brain interactions dependent or independent from the immune system. GI problems such as chronic constipation and/or diarrhea are common in children with ASD, and significantly worsen their behavior and their quality of life. Here we first summarize previously published data supporting that GI dysfunction is common in individuals with ASD and the role of the microbiota in ASD. Second, by comparing with other publically available microbiome datasets, we provide some evidence that the shifted microbiota can be a result of westernization and that this shift could also be framing an altered immune system. Third, we explore the possibility that gut-brain interactions could also be a direct result of microbially produced metabolites.
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ABSTRACT: Introduction: This study examined whether autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is associated with certain medical conditions. Certain psychiatric disorders were also examined. In addition, this study examined events prior to or associated with the onset of symptoms. Materials and methods: The study used an online survey of developmental and medical information from parents of 83 children with a diagnosis of autism, pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), or ASD. Results: Reportedly, in the study group of children, 74% had food allergies, 51% had constipation, 26% had diarrhoea, 17% had irritable/inflammatory bowel disease, 12% had Clostridia infection in the gut, 51% had environmental allergies, 14% had asthma, 12% had seizures, 28% had insomnia, and 23% had eczema. For co-morbid psychiatric diagnoses, 45% had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention deficit disorder (ADD); 17% had obsessive compulsive disorder; and, 18% had anxiety disorder. Acute physical symptoms associated with the onset of autism were fever (24%) and rash (22%). Events associated with the onset of autism were vaccinations (54%), a series of infections (52%), a viral infection (30%), a bacterial infection (19%), an allergic reaction (24%), and bronchitis (16%). Regression was reported in 55% of the children. Conclusion: The findings suggest that several medical and psychiatric conditions are frequently observed in children with an ASD diagnosis. In addition, certain medical events, including vaccinations and infections, are often observed by parents to be associated with the onset of ASD.