Relation of childhood gastrointestinal disorders to autism: nested case-control study using data from the UK General Practice Research DatabaseBMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7361.419 (Published 24 August 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:419
- Corri Black (), research associate,
- James A Kaye, senior epidemiologist,
- Hershel Jick, associate professor of medicine.
- Correspondence to: C Black
- Accepted 20 June 2002
Objectives: To assess whether children with autism are more likely to have a history of gastrointestinal disorders than children without autism.
Design: Nested case-control study.
Setting: UK General Practice Research Database.
Subjects: Children born after 1 January 1988 and registered with the General Practice Research Database within 6 months of birth.
Outcome measures: Chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, coeliac disease, food intolerance, and recurrent gastrointestinal symptoms recorded by the general practitioner.
Results: 9 of 96 (9%) children with a diagnosis of autism (cases) and 41 of 449 (9%) children without autism (matched controls) had a history of gastrointestinal disorders before the index date (the date of first recorded diagnosis of autism in the cases and the same date for controls). The estimated odds ratio for a history of gastrointestinal disorders among children with autism compared with children without autism was 1.0 (95% confidence interval 0.5 to 2.2).
Conclusions: No evidence was found that children with autism were more likely than children without autism to have had defined gastrointestinal disorders at any time before their diagnosis of autism.
The Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Program is supported in part by grants from AstraZeneca, Berlex Laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline, Hoffmann-La Roche, Ingenix Pharmaceutical Services, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, LLC, Pharmacia Corporation, and Novartis Farmacéutica. This study was not funded.
Competing interests None declared.