Monday, November 18, 2013

Large Study Supports GI Link to Problem Behaviors in Kids with Autism

A large new study on a diverse group of children supports earlier evidence that children with autism experience high rates of GI distress. The findings also linked this distress to more frequent behavior problems such as social withdrawal, irritability and hyperactivity. The study, funded in part by Autism Speaks, appears in this month’s Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. “This study brings forward evidence that adds further support to what parents have been telling the scientific community for years," says Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Rob Ring. “Gastrointestinal dysfunction in autism is real.” Last year, Autism Speaks-Autism Treatment Network helped develop the firsttreatment guidelines for managing GI disorders in children with autism. At medical conferences and community meetings, its clinicians have been urging doctors to look for and treat underlying medical conditions – including GI distress – that may be contributing to autism-related behaviors. This is especially important before considering any behavior-modifying medications, says Autism Speaks Vice President for Medical Research Paul Wang. “Whenever medical issues are exacerbating behavioral problems, treatment should be directed at the underlying root causes, rather than using psychoactive medications as Band-Aids,” he says. “Doctors taking care of these children should proactively evaluate them for these problems, especially since many of these young patients can’t communicate the pain and distress they feel.”

 Read more here.