Autistic Kids Twice as Likely to Suffer from Food Allergies

Posted on June 12, 2018

A new study finds that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more than twice as likely to suffer from a food allergy than children who do not have ASD. The study’s findings add to a growing body of research that suggests immunological dysfunction as a possible risk factor for the development of ASD.

For the study, researchers analyzed the health information of nearly 200,000 children gathered by the U.S. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), an annual survey of American households conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The children were between the ages of 3 and 17 and the data was gathered between 1997 and 2016. The study found that 11.25 percent of children diagnosed with ASD have a food allergy, significantly higher than the 4.25 percent of children who are not diagnosed with ASD and have a food allergy.

The new study also found that 18.73 percent of children with ASD suffered from respiratory allergies, while 12.08 percent of children without ASD had such allergies. It also found that 16.81 percent of children with ASD had skin allergies, well above the 9.84 percent of children without ASD. This indicates there could be a shared mechanism linking different types of allergic conditions to ASD.

According to researchers, this study could not determine the causality of this relationship given its observational nature. However, previous studies have suggested possible links, such as increased production of antibodies, immune system overreactions causing impaired brain function, neurodevelopmental abnormalities, and alterations in the gut biome. A longitudinal follow-up study of children since birth would be needed to discover which of these factors comes first.


Category(s):Autism spectrum disorders, Child and/or Adolescent Issues, Child Development

Source material from Psych Central


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