Autism Spectrum Disorder linked with food allergy among children
Having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is challenging. Many kids who have it endures several other complications that go with it, including allergies. A recent study explored the association of food allergy and other allergic conditions with autism spectrum disorder in children and found that there’s a stronger link between ASD and food allergy.
The Epidemiology department of the University of Iowa College of Public Health, conducted a population-based, cross-sectional study of data provided by the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) from 1997-2016. The analysis featured 199,520 children aged from 3-17 years old.
To recognize the relationship between allergic conditions and ASD, the researchers Led by Guifeng Xu, defined the categorized “allergic conditions” as children having reported in the past 12 months a food or digestive allergy; any respiratory allergy; or eczema or other skin allergies in the NHIS data. ASD was defined by physicians’ diagnoses, per the survey.
According to MD magazine, the researchers found that the odds ratio of ASD with among children with food allergy are three times higher than those with respiratory and skin allergies. Researchers noted the association between food allergy and ASD remained significant in all patient subgroups for age, sex, and race or ethnicity.
The direct correlation between the two is yet to be further explored. There had been a research that shows that Animal studies have reported that food allergy in mice can induce autistic-like behavioral changes, including reduced social interaction, increased repetitive behavior, and impaired spatial memory.
Initially, the basis for the study were limited and suggestive evidence indicating that food allergy is related to increased irritability and poorer functional outcomes in ASD and that exclusion of hyperallergenic foods might improve behavior in children with ASD.
Though the study showed strong link between ASD and food allergy, “the underlying mechanisms that connects both conditions remain to be expounded.” The study reads.