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Other Health Issues May Exacerbate Autism


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Concurrent medical problems affect many with autism, new research suggests, and may be responsible for troubles at home and school.

In a study of nearly 3,000 children and adolescents with autism from across the country, researchers found that nearly a quarter have gastrointestinal issues. What’s more, the study found that those facing the stomach problems in addition to autism were more likely to experience anxiety and sensory problems.

The findings are significant, researchers say, because collectively these struggles can affect quality of life, particularly if they go unrecognized.

“These problems can have a very real impact on daily life,” said Micah Mazurek of the University of Missouri who led the study, which was published recently in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. “Parents need to be aware that these problems may underlie some of their children’s difficulties, so if they notice any symptoms, they should talk to their doctors or therapists about treatment options.”

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Comments (3 Responses)

  1. fairlady68 says:

    I am one of those with the GI issues. Sometimes I think that my sensory/tactile issues include not only my exterior body but my innards as well. I am usually acutely overaware of my own digestive processes.

  2. Brooks says:

    My child has history of GI troubles since shortly after birth. The doctors dismissed it as “withholding” but when I took my son off Dairy, then later, Wheat and Gluten, I noticed changes in focus and attention, not to mention his verbal skills increased. He also experiences fragrance intolerance, and sun sensitivities that often make him sneeze at the sight of the sun. These issues have been present all eighteen years of his life. I never dismissed them as coincidental, they are very much related to his autism. The nervous system is indeed an interesting bedfellow in Autism diagnosis.

  3. Trudy says:

    *agrees with Brooks* There’s been research done actually linking autism to GI issues, available through I know that I’ve always had GI issues (I’m an Aspie), and so has my father, who likely has mild Aspergers. It’s definitely something I think people – especially parents, caregivers, and the professional support system – should be aware of. Just wanted to add my 2 cents.

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