By Cara Murez
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Might 4, 2021 (HealthDay Information) — Whereas it is nicely established that autism and sure consuming points go hand in hand, does gender additionally play a job?

Apparently it does, in response to Swedish researchers who got down to higher perceive whether or not being male or feminine influenced consuming points in individuals who have autism.

The examine discovered that autistic traits predicted consuming issues, however the hyperlink was extra pronounced significantly amongst women or girls. These points round consuming may improve the chance of social isolation for females with autism, the researchers additionally discovered.

“We did not examine the potential genetic distinction between men and women, however we did have a look at this affiliation between autism and consuming issues. And we wished to know if that was completely different between females and males,” stated examine writer Karl Lundin Remnelius, a PhD pupil at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

The precise consuming issues that had been famous by females concerned social settings, Remnelius stated.

“This stuff had been, for instance, ‘I discover it troublesome to eat with buddies’ or ‘I discover it troublesome to eat at school or in a office or in a restaurant,'” Remnelius stated. “And we truly noticed after we appeared nearer at this subscale that it was solely these social objects that autistic females report or had increased scores in.”


The examine additionally discovered that autistic traits predicted elevated consuming issues. This will not be that autism additionally causes consuming issues however that sure genetic components may very well be liable for each, Remnelius stated.

“We do not know if that is causal, is autism inflicting consuming issues, or if there could be another issue that could be influencing each autism and consuming issues. One factor may very well be that a number of the genes that improve the chance of an individual having autism may additionally improve the chance of an individual having consuming issues,” Remnelius stated.

“Generally you describe that as genetic confounding, so it is probably not autism inflicting consuming issues,” he stated. “It is extra that individuals who have autism even have a type of increased chance of getting consuming issues.”


The examine included almost 200 an identical and fraternal twins between the ages of 15 and 33, together with 28 people recognized with autism, who had been all a part of the Roots of Autism and ADHD Twin Examine in Sweden. The examine checked out associations throughout the entire pattern after which throughout the twin pairs.


Contributors reported their consuming points in a questionnaire that lined consuming issues in a broad approach, Remnelius stated. Contributors additionally had neurodevelopmental assessments, and researchers collected parent-reported autistic traits data.

Consuming issues included selective consuming, sensory sensitivity regarding meals and signs of eating disorders.

These social consuming issues may restrict females from having alternatives for social interplay, Remnelius prompt, saying there ought to be extra analysis on the problem.

The findings had been introduced Monday on the Worldwide Society for Autism Analysis digital annual assembly. Such analysis is taken into account preliminary till revealed in a peer-reviewed journal.

The examine confirms outcomes seen earlier than, stated Pamela Feliciano, scientific director of SPARK (Simons Powering Autism Analysis), who was not concerned with this examine.

Previous analysis has proven a hyperlink between autism or having autistic traits and having consuming selectivity. Cognitive inflexibility generally is a danger issue for disordered consuming, she stated.

The concept that there’s a gender distinction in consuming points is attention-grabbing and a brand new facet that must be understood extra, Feliciano stated.


“I do suppose that turns into vital,” she stated. “If a child with autism will solely eat three issues, it will likely be actually laborious for that child to combine into social conditions.”

It will also be laborious for households to have experiences when consuming is so restricted, Feliciano stated. Remedy will help change this by slowly constructing an individual’s consuming repertoire.

Many mother and father of kids who’ve autism report selective consuming, she famous. Some kids will eat solely fewer than 5 meals or solely meals of a sure coloration.

“It is difficult. I feel the repetitive habits, the tendency for repetitive habits and eager to do the identical factor time and again performs into it, however there’s additionally — and analysis has proven this — is a sensory part of it,” Feliciano defined. “So, if youngsters have a sensory sensitivity to loud noises and may’t stand it, consuming a crunchy meals goes to be painful to them.”


Extra data

The Autism Society is a analysis group that offers information on autism.

SOURCES: Karl Lundin Remnelius, PhD pupil, Karolinska Institutet and Heart for Neurodevelopmental Problems at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Pamela Feliciano, PhD, Simons Powering Autism Analysis (SPARK), New York Metropolis, Worldwide Society for Autism Analysis digital annual assembly, Might 3, 2021


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