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Autism not tied to bowel patterns

Children with autistic spectrum disorders do not have bowel movement patterns that suggest gastrointestinal problems.

Autism not tied to bowel patterns

Despite some reports to the contrary, children with autistic spectrum disorders do not have bowel movement patterns that suggest gastrointestinal problems.

Autistic spectrum disorders are a group of developmental conditions that hinder people's ability to communicate and build relationships. Previous studies, though inconclusive, have described gastrointestinal symptoms in children with autism. Some studies have suggested that a non-specific enterocolitis plays an important role in the onset and clinical expression of autism. Controversy also exists whether gut symptoms are intrinsic to autistic spectrum disorders, or are secondary to dietary and behavioural changes in these children.

Researchers from Bristol came to the conclusion that the bowel habits of young children with autistic spectrum disorder, in general, are no different from the rest of population after studying data from 78 children recognised as having autistic spectrum disorders and 12,906 other children without such disorders. During the first three and a half years of life, there were no major differences between the groups in such factors as stool color, consistency, the frequency of diarrhoea or constipation, and of stomach pain. There were some children who began to have more stools per day at 30 months of age, but that may be a secondary phenomenon related to differences in diet.

Children with autistic spectrum disorders do not have symptoms suggestive of underlying enterocolitis and their early stool pattern is very similar to that of typically developing children. The findings of this study do not support the hypothesis that the cause of autistic spectrum disorders is associated with enterocolitis.

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