Emory University
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Autism and tummy troubles

Children with autism are more than four times as likely to experience general gastrointestinal discomfort as their peers.

BabyChildren with autism are more than four times as likely to experience general gastrointestinal discomfort as their peers, three times as likely to have constipation and diarrhea, and twice as likely to have abdominal pain, found researchers from Emory School of Medicine, the Marcus Autism Center, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, in a study published in the journal Pediatrics.

"Our findings corroborate a history of anecdotal reports and case studies suggesting increased risk of GI concerns in autism," says coauthor William Sharp, director of the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program at Marcus Autism Center and assistant professor of pediatrics. In many cases, say the researchers, the children may not be able to communicate these problems or pains directly, and the only indication might be an emergence or escalation of problem behaviors like self-injury, aggression, or irritability.

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