Friday, May 20, 2016

Self-Injury in Autism May Be Sign of Pain

People with autism who engage in severe self-injurious behaviors may be experiencing 
heightened sensations to pain and acting out accordingly, researchers said here, 
contradicting a commonly held belief that such individuals are insensitive to pain.
Patients with lower functioning autism are most likely to engage in self-injurious behavior, 
said lead study author James W. Bodfish, PhD, of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn., based on two studies comprising 447 adults and children with intellectual or developmental disabilities. These individuals may have an altered nociceptive function so they perceive pain even from nonpainful stimuli, and may exhibit biological changes in skin nerve 
fibers or chemicals like cortisol related to pain and stress, Bodfish said.