Gastrointestinal symptoms in children with an autism spectrum disorder and language regression

Pediatr Neurol. 2008 Dec;39(6):392-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2008.07.019.


Few studies have compared gastrointestinal problems in children with an autism spectrum disorder with and without a history of language regression. A cross-sectional study was conducted with structured interviews in 100 children with autism spectrum disorder, using a gastrointestinal questionnaire and a familial autoimmune questionnaire. By parental report, children with language regression more frequently exhibited an abnormal stool pattern (40% vs 12%, P = 0.006) and had an increased family history of celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease (24% vs 0%, P = 0.001) and of rheumatoid arthritis (30% vs 11%, P = 0.03). Among 35 children with a family history of autoimmune disease, an abnormal stool pattern was reported more frequently in those with language regression (78% vs 15%, P = 0.001) than in those without. An association was observed between children with language regression, a family history of autoimmune disease, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Additional studies are needed to examine a possible shared autoimmune process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autistic Disorder / complications*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / genetics
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Language Development Disorders / complications*
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies