IS GASTROINTESTINAL (GI) DISORDER A CAUSE OF AUTISM?
Findings from a recent research study found no support for GI disorders as a cause of autism.
GI symptoms do appear to occur in many children with autism and should be clinically evaluated and appropriately treated. The research sample consisted of 111 children with GI symptoms, of whom 61 had been diagnosed with autism and 50 were non-autistic.
Observations of gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities in autistic children had led to speculations that GI disorders cause autism. Restriction of gluten and casein in diets of persons with autism was a frequent response to that speculation. Gluten and casein free diets are known treatments for celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine. The effectiveness of gluten-free and casein-free diets for reducing symptoms of autism has not been supported by medical research.
Reference: Rafail I. Kushak et al, 2016. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition; also, Wolters Kluwer Health, in www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160225153612