By Lisa Ackerman
A new study was just published on March 8th highlighting individuals with autism and common issues with their gastrointestinal systems called “Identification of Unique Gene Expression Profile in Children with Regressive Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Ileocolitis (1.) As with many TACA families, we are so grateful for this research. This research echoes what parents have been telling their doctors for years.
We are grateful to the researchers for the following findings:
“Gastrointestinal symptoms are common in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and are often associated with mucosal inflammatory infiltrates of the small and large intestine. Although distinct histologic and immunohistochemical properties of this inflammatory infiltrate have been previously described in this ASDGI group, molecular characterization of these lesions has not been reported.
In this study we utilize transcriptome profiling of gastrointestinal mucosal biopsy tissue from ASDGI children and three non-ASD control groups (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and histologically normal) in an effort to determine if there is a gene expression profile unique to the ASDGI group. Comparison of differentially expressed transcripts between the groups demonstrated that non-pathologic (normal) tissue segregated almost completely from inflamed tissue in all cases. Gene expression profiles in intestinal biopsy tissue from patients with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and ASDGI, while having significant overlap with each other, also showed distinctive features for each group. Taken together, these results demonstrate that ASDGI children have a gastrointestinal mucosal molecular profile that overlaps significantly with known inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), yet has distinctive features that further supports the presence of an ASD-associated IBD variant, or, alternatively, a prodromal phase of typical inflammatory bowel disease.”
There is a lot to this study. It is worth the read and to discuss with your physician team. At TACA, we have seen hundreds of children receive proper assessments, testing and treatments yielding amazing results. Some of the results include: children acting better, feeling better and learning happening in typical classroom settings. We want nothing more but THESE types of results for those in need.
We are also grateful for the American Academy of Pediatrics in recognizing the importance of gastrointestinal issues plaguing many that are diagnosed with autism. Their study and consensus report (2) is driving more treatment for individuals suffering with very treatable issues.
As parents, we always want to know: Does the window close? Is it is ever too late? The answer is never (3). Parents can investigate and start these treatments right now. There is so much good that can come from being healthier, starting with the gut.
TACA provided over 15,000 incidences of support to families living with autism in 2012. It is rare that a conversation doesn’t include a discussion about their kid’s gastrointestinal issues. Parents can read more about the signs, symptoms, testing and treatments available (4.)
We hope to see many more studies just like this one. Hopefully researchers can utilize the valuable clues provided by families living with autism and their children so no one has to suffer from a treatable condition.