food allergy

Study: Kids with Autism More Likely to Suffer from Allergies

Study: Kids with Autism More Likely to Suffer from Allergies

A study published in the medical journal, JAMA Network Open, suggests that children with autism spectrum disorders or ASDs, are more prone to have food, respiratory, or skin allergy. ASDs are neurodevelopmental disorders that begin early in childhood and last throughout a person's life. People with ASDs have difficulty communicating and interacting socially.

The study used data from the National Health Interview Survey, gathered between 1997 and 2016, and involved 199,520 children between the ages of 3 and 17.Their parents indicated that they had food, respiratory, or skin allergy. The researchers found that compared to those without ASD, children with autism were more likely to have food allergy (11% versus 4%), respiratory allergy (19% versus 12%), and skin allergy (17% versus 10%).

The study also indicated that the odds that someone with ASD would have food allergy were more than twice that of someone without ASD. For respiratory allergies, the odds were 28% higher, and for skin allergies, they were about 50% higher.

Senior study author Dr. Wei Bao, an assistant professor at the University of Iowa, suggested that a problem in the immune system might cause these conditions. Another theory is that the gut microbiome, or the natural bacteria in our digestive system, might be different or altered in people with ASD, and may trigger inflammation.

ASD may also complicate the diagnosis and treatment of allergies, according to Dr. Punita Ponda, associate division chief of allergy and immunology at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y. This is because children with autism may not be able to communicate the symptoms they're experiencing.


Xu G, Snetselaar L, Jing J, et al. Association of food allergy and other allergic conditions with autism spectrum disorder in children [published online June 8, 2018]. JAMA Network Open. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.0279

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