Improved social and language skills after secretin administration in patients with autistic spectrum disorders

J Assoc Acad Minor Phys. 1998;9(1):9-15.


We report three children with autistic spectrum disorders who underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and intravenous administration of secretin to stimulate pancreaticobiliary secretion. All three had an increased pancreaticobiliary secretory response when compared with nonautistic patients (7.5 to 10 mL/min versus 1 to 2 mL/min). Within 5 weeks of the secretin infusion, a significant amelioration of the children's gastrointestinal symptoms was observed, as was a dramatic improvement in their behavior, manifested by improved eye contact, alertness, and expansion of expressive language. These clinical observations suggest an association between gastrointestinal and brain function in patients with autistic behavior.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Autistic Disorder / physiopathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastric Juice / chemistry
  • Gastroscopy
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Secretin / therapeutic use*


  • Secretin