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New Study Finds People With Autism Are More Likely To Experience Neurological Problems

People with autism are more likely to experience brain problems, such as headaches and epilepsy, than non-autistic people, according to a new study from researchers in Sweden. According to a Spectrum News report this month, the study is the first to examine the link between autism and physical health problems in twins. The study found no link between autism and gastrointestinal problems or infectious diseases. Sven Bolte, the lead investigator in the study, said it was “Remarkable that our results are so clear in terms of confirming that [autism] but also autistic traits are associated with neurological alterations, and no other somatic issues are equally associated.” In the study, researchers surveyed 172 pairs of identical and fraternal twins who had been enrolled in the Roots of Autism and ADHD Twin Studies Sweden. 75 pairs in the group have at least one twin with autism. 18 pairs of identical twins have only one twin with autism. The participants, ranging between eight and thirty-one years old, were given diagnostic exams and a standard survey of autism traits known as the Social Responsiveness Scale. The researchers discovered that people with an autism diagnosis have more neurological and immunological health problems than those without autism. Lior Brimberg, an assistant professor of neuroimmunology at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, pointed out that the researchers weighted common problems like headaches as equal to rarer problems, such as heart defects. Brimberg, who was not involved in the study, believes this may have affected the results, and that the findings should be confirmed with a larger sample size. For their next step, the researchers hope to analyze the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden, a larger database with over 32,000 participants. They hope their work will eventually help scientists identify autism subtypes and pathways underlying the condition. Source: https://www.spectrumnews.org/news/autistic-people-have-increased-incidence-of-neurological-problems/

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