Pain Sensitivity and Observer Perception of Pain in Individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, RHSC Yorkhill, Glasgow G3 8SJ, UK.
The Scientific World Journal (Impact Factor: 1.73). 06/2013; 2013:916178. DOI: 10.1155/2013/916178
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The peer-reviewed literature investigating the relationship between pain expression and perception of pain in individuals with ASD is sparse. The aim of the present systematic PRIMSA review was twofold: first, to see what evidence there is for the widely held belief that individuals with ASD are insensitive to pain or have a high pain threshold in the peer-reviewed literature and, second, to examine whether individuals with ASD react or express pain differently. Fifteen studies investigating pain in individuals with ASD were identified. The case studies all reported pain insensitivity in individuals with ASD. However, the majority of the ten experimental studies reviewed indicate that the idea that individuals with ASD are pain insensitive needs to be challenged. The findings also highlight the strong possibility that not all children with ASD express their physical discomfort in the same way as a neurotypical child would (i.e., cry, moan, seek comfort, etc.) which may lead caregivers and the medical profession to interpret this as pain insensitivity or incorrectly lead them to believe that the child is in no pain. These results have important implications for the assessment and management of pain in children with ASD.

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    ABSTRACT: Background Social defect and chronic pain are 2 major health problems and recent data has demonstrated that they generally exist concurrently. However, a powerful evaluation model on the behavioral change is lacking. This study was designed to evaluate the behavioral curves using a statistically modeled trajectory analysis in neuropathic animals with or without social defect exposure. Material and Methods After approval by the institutional animal care committee, Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized into different interventional groups with 15 animals each. Sprague-Dawley rats underwent spared nerve injury (SNI) to establish the neuropathic pain model, of which the mechanical withdrawal threshold was measured using von Frey filaments for a period of 105 days. Otherwise, a modified version of the resident (Long-Evans rats)-intruder paradigm was applied to produce a social defect animal model through the elevated plus maze (EPM). After raw data collection, we modeled them into a powerful statistical effects analysis to build up the behavioral change tendency in single SNI or in combined SNI and social defect animals. Results The random and fixed effects analyses of the pain behavior after SNI were successfully modeled and demonstrated a gradient recovery tendency during the 15-week post-injury observational period. Correspondingly, SNI rats exhibited increased social defected symptoms, as indicated by the increased anxiety-like behavior in the EPM test. In addition, continuous social defect stress for 5 days or 10 days, respectively, partially attenuated and exacerbated SNI-induced allodynia in both random and fixed effects models. Five days but not 10 days social defect ameliorated SNI-associated anxiety-like behavior. Conclusions These data suggest that statistically powerful analysis of nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain is a highly sensitive model to determine the behavioral change tendency and distinguish them among behavior curves with or without social defect, and the combination of SNI with resident-intruder paradigm may be a suitable model for behavior evaluation of neuropathic pain with social defect.

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