Stress May Aggravate GI Symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorder Interview with:

David Q. Beversdor MD Center for Translational Neuroscience University Hospital University of Missouri Health System Columbia, MO 65212

Dr. David Beversdor

David Q. Beversdor MD
Center for Translational Neuroscience
University Hospital
University of Missouri Health System
Columbia, MO 65212 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Altered stress reactivity, alterations in cytokines and a high incidence of gastrointestinal disturbances have all been observed in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We wished to examine the interactions between these factors.

What we found was that patients with greater stress reactivity, as indicated by cortisol response in the testing environment, had greater symptomatology involving the lower gastrointestinal tract, which was predominated by constipation. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: In autism spectrum disorder, there may be a range of contributors to comorbid conditions, including constipation. Stress reactivity may be one factor related to constipation in ASD. Constipation is currently treated with laxatives in this population. This raises the question as to whether treatment addressing other factors may be beneficial in some of these patients. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: It will be of particular interest to see if treatment of constipation in autism spectrum disorder, can be augmented by targeting the mechanisms of stress reactivity, particularly for those least responsive to laxatives and those with the greatest stress reactivity. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: This research would not have been possible without the support of the Autism Treatment Network and the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health by the Health Resources Services Administration (UA3MC11054), and our collaborators at Vanderbilt University, Columbia University and Massachusetts General Hospital. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Associations between cytokines, endocrine stress response, and gastrointestinal symptoms in autism spectrum disorder

Bradley J. FergusonSarah MarlerLily L. AltsteinEvon Batey LeeMicah O. Mazurek, , Aaron McLaughlinEric A. MacklinErin McDonnellDaniel J. DavisAnthony M. Belenchia,,Catherine H. GillespieCatherine A. PetersonMargaret L. Baumani, Kara Gross Margolisj, Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeeleDavid Q. Beversdorf
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity
Volume 58, November 2016, Pages 57–62

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on January 5, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD