Sunday, May 9, 2021
Home Health Eating Issues Common in People With Autism

Eating Issues Common in People With Autism

By Cara Murez
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, May 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) — While it is properly established that autism and sure consuming points go hand in hand, does gender additionally play a task?

Apparently it does, in response to Swedish researchers who got down to higher perceive whether or not being male or feminine influenced consuming points in individuals who have autism.

The examine discovered that autistic traits predicted consuming issues, however the hyperlink was extra pronounced notably amongst women or ladies. These points round consuming would possibly enhance the chance of social isolation for females with autism, the researchers additionally discovered.

“We didn’t study the potential genetic difference between males and females, but we did look at this association between autism and eating problems. And we wanted to know if that was different between females and males,” mentioned examine creator Karl Lundin Remnelius, a PhD pupil at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

The particular consuming issues that had been famous by females concerned social settings, Remnelius mentioned.

“These items were, for example, ‘I find it difficult to eat with friends’ or ‘I find it difficult to eat in school or in a workplace or in a restaurant,'” Remnelius mentioned. “And we actually saw when we looked closer at this subscale that it was only these social items that autistic females report or had higher scores in.”


The examine additionally discovered that autistic traits predicted elevated consuming issues. This is probably not that autism additionally causes consuming issues however that sure genetic elements may very well be answerable for each, Remnelius mentioned.

“We don’t know if this is causal, is autism causing eating problems, or if there might be some other factor that might be influencing both autism and eating problems. One thing could be that some of the genes that increase the likelihood of a person having autism might also increase the likelihood of a person having eating problems,” Remnelius mentioned.

“Sometimes you describe that as genetic confounding, so it’s not really autism causing eating problems,” he mentioned. “It’s more that people who have autism also have a sort of higher likelihood of having eating problems.”


The examine included practically 200 equivalent and fraternal twins between the ages of 15 and 33, together with 28 people identified with autism, who had been all a part of the Roots of Autism and ADHD Twin Study in Sweden. The examine checked out associations throughout the entire pattern after which throughout the twin pairs.


Participants reported their consuming points in a questionnaire that coated consuming issues in a broad approach, Remnelius mentioned. Participants additionally had neurodevelopmental assessments, and researchers collected parent-reported autistic traits data.

Eating issues included selective consuming, sensory sensitivity regarding meals and signs of consuming issues.

These social consuming issues would possibly restrict females from having alternatives for social interplay, Remnelius prompt, saying there needs to be extra analysis on the difficulty.

The findings had been introduced Monday on the International Society for Autism Research digital annual assembly. Such analysis is taken into account preliminary till revealed in a peer-reviewed journal.

The examine confirms outcomes seen earlier than, mentioned Pamela Feliciano, scientific director of SPARK (Simons Powering Autism Research), who was not concerned with this examine.

Past analysis has proven a hyperlink between autism or having autistic traits and having consuming selectivity. Cognitive inflexibility could be a threat issue for disordered consuming, she mentioned.

The thought that there’s a gender distinction in consuming points is fascinating and a brand new facet that must be understood extra, Feliciano mentioned.


“I do think that becomes important,” she mentioned. “If a kid with autism will only eat three things, it will be really hard for that kid to integrate into social situations.”

It may also be arduous for households to have experiences when consuming is so restricted, Feliciano mentioned. Therapy will help change this by slowly constructing an individual’s consuming repertoire.

Many dad and mom of youngsters who’ve autism report selective consuming, she famous. Some kids will eat solely fewer than 5 meals or solely meals of a sure colour.

“It’s complicated. I think the repetitive behavior, the tendency for repetitive behavior and wanting to do the same thing over and over again plays into it, but there’s also — and research has shown this — is a sensory component of it,” Feliciano defined. “So, if kids have a sensory sensitivity to loud noises and can’t stand it, eating a crunchy food is going to be painful to them.”


More data

The Autism Society is a analysis group that provides data on autism.

SOURCES: Karl Lundin Remnelius, PhD pupil, Karolinska Institutet and Center for Neurodevelopmental Disorders at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Pamela Feliciano, PhD, Simons Powering Autism Research (SPARK), New York City, International Society for Autism Research digital annual assembly, May 3, 2021

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