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Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2002 Jun;4(3):251-8.

Autism and gastrointestinal symptoms.

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1
Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 22 South Greene Street, N5W70, Box 140, Baltimore, MD 21201-1595, USA. E-mail: khorvath@umaryland.edu

Abstract

Autism is a collection of behavioral symptoms characterized by dysfunction in social interaction and communication in affected children. It is typically associated with restrictive, repetitive, and stereotypic behavior and manifests within the first 3 years of life. The cause of this disorder is not known. Over the past decade, a significant upswing in research has occurred to examine the biologic basis of autism. Recent clinical studies have revealed a high prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms, inflammation, and dysfunction in children with autism. Mild to moderate degrees of inflammation were found in both the upper and lower intestinal tract. In addition, decreased sulfation capacity of the liver, pathologic intestinal permeability, increased secretory response to intravenous secretin injection, and decreased digestive enzyme activities were reported in many children with autism. Treatment of digestive problems appears to have positive effects on autistic behavior. These new observations represent only a piece of the unsolved autism "puzzle" and should stimulate more research into the brain-gut connection.

PMID:
12010627
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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