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Feature Autism Research

Wakefield’s “autistic enterocolitis” under the microscope

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 15 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1127

Rapid Response:

Wakefield’s Lancet Paper Vindicated – [Yet Again]

New independent research presented at the 2010 Pediatric Academic
Societies Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada confirms unequivocally the
findings of Dr Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet paper of an association
between autism and serious gastrointestinal disease in children [1].

The new study was conducted by the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment
Network and covered data from 15 treatment and research centers in the
United States and Canada. Of 1185 children aged 2 to18 years with an
autistic condition 45% were reported to have GI symptoms. Abdominal pain
was most common (59%) followed by constipation (51%), diarrhea (43%),
other (40%), nausea (31%) and bloating (26%). Reports of GI symptoms
increased with age. Sleep problems occurred in 70% of children with than
those without GI symptoms (30%). The problems affected all children
regardless of gender, ethnic background or intelligence.

This is not the first time Wakefield’s research has been confirmed by
independent researchers around the world [2], [3].



[1] "GI Symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD): An Autism
Treatment Network Study"

[2] Papers Replicating The Original Finding

Gonzalez, L. et al., “Endoscopic and Histological Characteristics of
the Digestive Mucosa in Autistic Children with gastro-Intestinal
Symptoms“. Arch Venez Pueric Pediatr, 2005;69:19-25.

Balzola, F., et al., “Panenteric IBD-like disease in a patient with
regressive autism shown for the first time by wireless capsule
enteroscopy: Another piece in the jig-saw of the gut-brain syndrome?”
American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2005. 100(4): p. 979- 981.

S. Walker, K. Hepner, J. Segal, A. Krigsman “Persistent Ileal Measles
Virus in a Large Cohort of Regressive Autistic Children with Ileocolitis
and Lymphonodular Hyperplasia: Revisitation of an Earlier Study” (last
accessed June 2007) (paper submitted for publication)

Balzola F et al . “Autistic enterocolitis: confirmation of a new
inflammatory bowel disease in an Italian cohort of patients.”
Gastroenterology 2005;128(Suppl. 2);A-303.

[3] Papers Supporting the Original Finding

Furlano R, Anthony A, Day R, Brown A, Mc Garvey L, Thomson M, et al.
“Colonic CD8 and T cell filtration with epithelial damage in children with
autism.“ J Pediatr 2001;138:366-72.

Sabra S, Bellanti JA, Colon AR. “Ileal lymphoid hyperplasia, non-
specific colitis and pervasive developmental disorder in children”. The
Lancet 1998;352:234-5.

Torrente F., Machado N., Perez-Machado M., Furlano R., Thomson M.,
Davies S., Wakefield AJ, Walker-Smith JA, Murch SH. “Enteropathy with T
cell infiltration and epithelial IgG deposition in autism.” Molecular
Psychiatry. 2002;7:375-382

Wakefield AJ, Anthony A, Murch SH, Thomson M, Montgomery SM, Davies
S, Walker-Smith JA. “Enterocolitis in children with developmental
disorder.” American Journal of Gastroenterology 2000;95:2285-2295

Ashwood P, Anthony A, Pellicer AA, Torrente F, Wakefield AJ.
“Intestinal lymphocyte populations in children with regressive autism:
evidence for extensive mucosal immunopathology.” Journal of Clinical
Immunology, 2003;23:504-517.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 May 2010
Clifford G Miller
Commercial lawyer, former University lecturer and graduate physicist