Open access article: ( https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33588579/ )
This study explores autistic women’s experiences of eating disorder services. Estimates suggest that 20%–30% of women in treatment for anorexia nervosa display diagnostic features characteristic of autism. Research suggests that autistic individuals’ needs are not being met by standard anorexia nervosa treatments. In the current study, in-depth interviews were conducted with 15 autistic women with experience of anorexia nervosa, 12 parents of autistic women with anorexia nervosa, and 11 eating disorder healthcare professionals. Using thematic analysis, three overarching themes were identified: misunderstanding autism and autistic traits, one treatment does not fit all, and improving accessibility and engagement within services. We found that there were diverse barriers facing autistic women when in treatment for anorexia nervosa, and these were accentuated by a lack of autism understanding within eating disorder services. Future research should focus on developing interventions that are tailored to the specific needs of autistic individuals with anorexia nervosa.
This study explores autistic women’s experiences of eating disorder services. About 20%–30% of people with anorexia nervosa are also autistic, and current treatments seem not to work as well for them. We interviewed 15 autistic women with experience of anorexia nervosa, 12 parents of autistic women with anorexia nervosa, and 11 healthcare professionals working in eating disorder services. We asked autistic women and parents about their experiences of eating disorder services, and we asked healthcare professionals about their experiences treating autistic women with anorexia nervosa. Participants’ views were represented by three overall themes: misunderstanding autism and autistic traits, one treatment does not fit all, and improving accessibility and engagement within services. We found that autistic women face many barriers when in treatment for anorexia nervosa, often because of a lack of autism understanding within eating disorder services. Future research should look at developing anorexia nervosa treatments that can specifically help autistic individuals.
Citation: Babb C, Brede J, Jones CRG, Elliott M, Zanker C, Tchanturia K, Serpell L, Mandy W, Fox JRE. 'It's not that they don't want to access the support . . . it's the impact of the autism': The experience of eating disorder services from the perspective of autistic women, parents and healthcare professionals. Autism. 2021 Jul;25(5):1409-1421. doi: 10.1177/1362361321991257. Epub 2021 Feb 15. PMID: 33588579; PMCID: PMC8264634.
Open access article: (https://www.ej-med.org/index.php/ejmed/article/view/1156 )
Introduction: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a set of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by a deficit in social behaviors and nonverbal interactions onset in the first 3 years of life. Therefore, the present study aimed to study the clinical features, nutritional status, risk factors, and behaviors of children with autism.
Methods: Across section study involved a total of 100 subjects 74 (76%) male and 26 (24%) female. The ages of the children were ranging from 3-17 years old. The self-administration questionnaire containing questions on behavior, health problems, nutritional status, and risk factors was also completed. Bodyweight and height were measured to calculate the BMI percentile. Laboratory tests such as blood glucose and HbA1C, vitamin D were included. Clinical and behavioral information is also involved. All samples were analyzed through either mean ±SEM or Chi-square to determine significant differences.
Results: The present study shows that the majority of the children have age 7 years old, and autism increased significantly at ages between 6-10 years (P<0.05). In comparison to females, a male has three times more affected by autism (P=0.000). There were many points identified in the study including autism onset started between 1-3 years, blood groups of parents O+ significant resultant in offspring with O+ blood groups, 20% of subjects have positive family history and consanguinity for each. The behavior of autistic children shows that children like playing with electronic IPAD, dislike hearing crying, and less sleeping hours than normal people but they have similar food attitudes and consumption compared to normal counterparts. Impairment in communication was the most common sign of autism and less like hours for play. Obesity was a common nutritional disorder and food behavior has been seen toward some foods. The common health problems reported were epilepsy, respiratory diseases, constipation, and UTIs.
Conclusion: The present study revealed that some behaviors, risk factors, health problems, and abnormal levels of calcium, hemoglobin, and vitamin D were determined. Furthermore, increase body weight some behaviors toward certain types of foods have been identified. This study suggested that routine monitoring of children with autism should include assessment of blood groups, dietary habits, as well as anthropometric measurements.
Citation: Childhood Autism: Clinical Characteristics, Nutritional Status, and Psychosocial Features, European Journal of Medical and health sciences, (2022), Sara Almsmary, Waala Alwarfaly et al.
Open access article: (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8814970/ )
The sex bias in autism diagnosis suggests the involvement of sex-specific endocrine mechanisms during prenatal development, but these hormones affect health throughout life. Therefore, the current study examined the association of autism and autistic traits with conditions and symptoms related to the sex-steroid system in adult women. In total, 1230 women (361 autistic), aged 15–77 years, reported on autistic traits and medical history. Medical diagnoses and symptoms were grouped by unsupervised factor analysis, and associations with autism diagnosis and autistic traits were explored. Higher rates of reproductive system diagnoses (odds ratio = 1.035, p = 0.024), prediabetes symptoms (odds ratio = 1.319, p = 0.001), irregular puberty onset (odds ratio = 1.458, p = 0.009), and menstrual length (odds ratio = 1.368, p = 0.034) and lower rates of metabolic and vascular conditions (odds ratio = 0.654, p = 0.013) were associated with diagnosis. Reproductive system diagnoses (β = 0.114, p = 0.000), prediabetes symptoms (β = 0.188, p = 0.000), menstrual length (β = 0.071, p = 0.014), irregular puberty onset (β = 0.149, p = 0.000), excessive menstruation symptoms (β = 0.097, p = 0.003), and hyperandrogenism symptoms (β = 0.062, p = 0.040) were also associated with autistic traits. Many of the conditions and symptoms found to be associated with autism or autistic traits are also related to conditions of steroid hormones and, specifically, the sex-steroid system. The study suggests an important role for steroids in autistic women, beyond prenatal development. Clinical implications are discussed.
Sex-steroids, such as testosterone, are thought to be one of the biological factors implicated in autism. This relies on the sex bias in the diagnosis of autism (boys are approximately four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls) and findings of associations with fetal testosterone levels in traits and abilities related to autism. The current study aimed to examine the association between medical conditions and physical symptoms, which tend to manifest in adulthood, and autism in females. Moreover, we examined their association with autistic traits throughout the spectrum. We focused on autistic women because there is little research focusing on the healthcare needs of autistic women, but those that exist suggest heightened vulnerability, and lower access to medical care. We find that conditions related to steroid hormones function are more frequent in autistic women and that they correlate with autistic traits. Specifically, we found that body mass index, reproductive system diagnoses, prediabetes symptoms, irregular puberty onset, and menstrual irregularities were significantly more frequent in autistic women and were significantly correlated with autistic traits in neurotypical women. The findings have important implications for raising awareness in autistic women of the possibility of medical conditions which might need medical attention. In addition, healthcare providers should consider these associations when performing healthcare maintenance checks and/or screening for autism.
Citation: Simantov T., Pohl A., Tsompanidis A., Weir E., Lombardo MV., Ruigrok A., Smith P., Allison C., Baron-Cohen S., Uzefovsky F., (2022). Medical symptoms and conditions in autistic women. Autism, 26(2):373-388. doi: 10.1177/13623613211022091.
Open access article: ( https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35040592/ )
Sensory features (i.e., atypical responses to sensory stimuli) are included in the current diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder. Yet, large population-based studies have not examined these features. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of sensory features among autistic children, and examine associations between sensory features, demographics, and co-occurring problems in other areas. Analysis for this study included a sample comprised of 25,627 four- or eight-year-old autistic children identified through the multistate Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (2006-2014). We calculated the prevalence of sensory features and applied multilevel logistic regression modeling. The majority (74%; 95% confidence interval: 73.5%-74.5%) of the children studied had documented sensory features. In a multivariable model, children who were male and those whose mothers had more years of education had higher odds of documented sensory features. Children from several racial and ethnic minority groups had lower odds of documented sensory features than White, non-Hispanic children. Cognitive problems were not significantly related to sensory features. Problems related to adaptive behavior, emotional states, aggression, attention, fear, motor development, eating, and sleeping were associated with higher odds of having documented sensory features. Results from a large, population-based sample indicate a high prevalence of sensory features in autistic children, as well as relationships between sensory features and co-occurring problems. This study also pointed to potential disparities in the identification of sensory features, which should be examined in future research. Disparities should also be considered clinically to avoid reduced access to supports for sensory features and related functional problems.
LAY SUMMARY: In a large, population-based sample of 25,627 autistic children, 74% had documented differences in how they respond to sensation. We also identified significant associations of sensory features with adaptive behavior and problems in other domains. Sensory features were less common among girls, children of color, and children of mothers with fewer years of education, suggesting potential disparities in identification.
Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; children; epidemiology; logistic models; prevalence; sensory.
Citation: Kirby AV, Bilder DA, Wiggins LD, Hughes MM, Davis J., et al., (2022). Sensory features in autism: Findings from a large population-based surveillance system. Autism Res. 2022 Apr;15(4):751-760. doi: 10.1002/aur.2670. Epub 2022 Jan 18.