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Gastrointestinal Problems in Chinese Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Authors Lai KYC, Leung PWL, Hung SF, Shea CKS, Mo F, Che KKI, Tse CY, Lau FLF, Ma SL, Wu JCY, So S, Dadds MR

Received 6 May 2020

Accepted for publication 6 July 2020

Published 24 July 2020 Volume 2020:16 Pages 1807—1815


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Yuping Ning

Kelly YC Lai,1 Patrick WL Leung,2 Se Fong Hung,1 Caroline KS Shea,3 Flora Mo,3 Kiti KI Che,3 Chun-Yu Tse,2 Fanny LF Lau,1 Suk Ling Ma,1 Justin CY Wu,4 Suzanne So,2 Mark R Dadds5

1Department of Psychiatry, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong; 2Department of Psychology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong; 3Department of Psychiatry, Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital, Tai Po, Hong Kong; 4Department of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong; 5School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Correspondence: Kelly YC Lai
Department of Psychiatry, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
Tel +852 26076025
Fax +852 26671255

Purpose: Gastrointestinal symptoms in individuals with autism spectrum disorder may constitute a subgroup with complex gut-brain interactions underlying the pathogenesis. This study examined the prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms in a sample of Chinese children with autism spectrum disorder, as well as the factors related to them.
Participants and Methods: The participants included a clinic sample of 107 children with autism spectrum disorder and 249 gender- and age-matched typically developing community children.
Results: Results found children with autism spectrum disorder to be twice as likely to suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms, reporting increased rates of constipation, abdominal migraine and aerophagia. Autism spectrum disorder diagnosis remained a significant predictor of gastrointestinal symptoms after taking into account the potential confounders that included comorbid psychopathologies, diets, and parental anxiety and depression.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that autism spectrum disorder with gastrointestinal symptoms may constitute a subgroup within the autism spectrum disorder population that warrants further investigation.

Keywords: autism spectrum disorder, gastrointestinal symptoms, subgroup, children, Chinese

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