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ABNORMAL GASTROINTESTINAL PATHOLOGY IN AUTISTIC CHILDREN
B Chen3, S Girgis2, W El-Matary1 1Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Stollery Children's Hospital; 2Department of Pathology, University Hospital; 3University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta
AIMS: The significance of the association between many gastrointestinal pathologies and autism is yet to be discovered. The aim of this review is to evaluate available evidence that documents any link between autism and gastrointestinal pathology in children.
METHODS: The following sources were searched: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE (1980- August week 2 2009), EMBASE (1980- August Week 2 2009), Pubmed (last 180 days), Web of Science, and Scopus, using these terms: "autism" or "autistic spectrum disorder" AND "intestinal" or "gastrointestinal" or "colitis". In addition, relevant studies were identified through browsing the reference lists of the included articles for relevant citations. Cohort studies/case series reporting gastrointestinal pathological examination findings in autistic children <18 years old were included. Only studies written in English were included.
RESULTS: Only 8 studies have looked into the histopathological features of gastrointestinal tract in children with autism. The majority of these trials did not include comparison/ control groups. Apart from intestinal lymphonodular hyperplasia, the majority of these findings were not reproducible.
CONCLUSIONS: Gastrointestinal pathological findings in children with autism have been inconsistent. The current available evidence does not support a link between gastrointestinal pathology and child autism. The significance of intestinal lymphonodular hyperplasia in these children is unknown. Large properly conducted prospective controlled trials are needed.