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Study confirms increased prevalence of GI symptoms among children with autism
Date:4/29/2014

A new study conducted by researchers at Marcus Autism Center, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine indicates that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more than four times more likely to experience general gastrointestinal (GI) complaints compared with peers, are more than three times as prone to experience constipation and diarrhea than peers, and complain twice as much about abdominal pain compared to peers.

The results were reported in the April 28, 2014, online early edition of the journal Pediatrics.

While parents frequently express concern regarding GI symptoms among children with ASD in pediatric settings, this study is the first meta-analysis of all published, peer-reviewed research relating to this topic.

"Our findings corroborate a history of anecdotal reports and case studies suggesting increased risk of GI concerns in autism," says co-author William Sharp, PhD, director of the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program at Marcus Autism Center and assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. "This analysis reinforces the need for greater clinical and research scrutiny in this area to guide best standards of care and to address important questions regarding the detection and treatment of GI symptoms among children with autism."

The process of detecting and studying possible GI concerns in children with ASD is complicated by the unique combination of behavioral, neurological and medical issues associated with the condition. Most notably, limitations in verbal communication in patients with ASD make it difficult for them to communicate information about GI symptoms, making it more challenging for physicians to detect possible underlying GI issues. In such cases, parents and medical professionals must rely on non-verbal signs that fall outside of the routine GI diagnostic evaluation.

"In many cases, the only indication of a possible G
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Contact: Holly Korschun
hkorsch@emory.edu
404-727-3990
Emory Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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