Endoscopy Study Results Show Higher Rates of Esophagitis and Duodenal Abnormalities in Children with Autism

February 12, 2024

GI Dysfunction Rates Remained Higher in ASD Group vs. Controls Despite Similar Acid Blockade Medication Use

A team of researchers, including long-time autism pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Tim Buie, have recently published a large cross-sectional study comparing esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) results in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to age- and gender-matched children with Developmental Delay (DD) and typically developing children (TD). This research set out to shed light on the gastrointestinal (GI) pathophysiology in children with ASD, an area previously identified as a research priority. Results from this work indicate a unique pattern of GI findings in children with ASD compared to DD and TD controls, with significantly higher rates of esophagitis despite similar acid blockade use (e.g., Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec, etc…) between the three groups. The study also highlights the prevalence of duodenal abnormalities and the association between ASD and increased risk of esophagitis, potentially driven by factors like gastroesophageal reflux disease and esophageal dysmotility. This research emphasizes the importance of collaborative diagnosis and close monitoring of atypical GI symptoms in children with ASD, offering insights into the need for gastroenterology referrals and endoscopy considerations. However, the authors point out that the limitations in data collection methods and the single-center nature of their study warrant further prospective investigations to validate their findings and inform clinical decision-making effectively.

Original Study Abstract

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