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Zhu J1, Guo M, Yang T, Lai X, Lei YY, He ML, Chen J, Li TY.


Objective: To investigate the relationship between gastrointestinal disorders (GID) and core symptoms or behavioral problems among the children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) . Method: Totally 328 children with ASD and 202 normal controls were enrolled in this cross-sectional study from August 2013 to October 2016. The information about the gastrointestinal disorders, behavioral and emotional problems was collected by using questionnaires. Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), Autism Behavior Checklist (ABC) were used to assess the core symptoms of the children with ASD. Neurodevelopmental status was evaluated with Gesell Developmental Scale (GDS). These variables were analyzed by using student’s t-test and chi-square test. Result: The prevalence of GID was significantly higher in the children with ASD than in the normally developing children (49.4% (162/328) vs.25.7% (52/202), χ(2)=29.039, P=0.000), especially the symptoms of constipation (33.2% (109/328) vs. 13.9% (28/202)), diarrhea (9.5%(31/328) vs. 1.5% (3/202)), nausea and vomiting (9.5% (31/328) vs. 3.5% (7/202)), and foul defecation (16.5% (54/328) vs. 5.0% (10/202)) (all P<0.05). Among the ASD children, the prevalence of GID was similar between male and female (46.7% (133/285) vs. 46.5%(20/43), χ(2)=0.006, P=0.938), as well as among all age groups (χ(2)=1.907, P=0.862). There was no significant difference in scores of GDS in the ASD children with or without GID (all P>0.05). Compared with ASD children without GID (n=166), the ASD children with GID (n=162) got higher scores in the “Body and Object Use” of ABC scale ( (16.4±9.3) vs. (12.3±6.7) scores, t=2.258, P=0.028), and had more emotional problems (63.6% (103/162) vs. 49.4% (82/166), χ(2)=6.707, P=0.010). Moreover, the score of behavior problems questionnaire was higher in the ASD children with GID ( (35.3±16.8) vs. (16.1±13.6) scores, t=5.748, P=0.000). Conclusion: Children with ASD have higher risk of GID than the normal developing children. While the stereotyped behaviors, problem behaviors and emotional problems are severer in the ASD children with GID. Hence, it is important to provide comprehensive treatment and management for these groups of children.


Autism disorder; Behavior; Child; Gastrointestinal tract

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