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 line with 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 ladies or girls. These points round consuming may enhance the danger 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,” mentioned examine creator Karl Lundin Remnelius, a PhD pupil at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

The precise consuming issues that have been famous by females concerned social settings, Remnelius mentioned.

“These things have 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 mentioned. “And we truly noticed once we regarded nearer at this subscale that it was solely these social gadgets that autistic females report or had greater 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 elements may very well be accountable for each, Remnelius mentioned.

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

“Generally you describe that as genetic confounding, so it is probably not autism inflicting consuming issues,” he mentioned. “It is extra that individuals who have autism even have a kind of greater probability of getting consuming issues.”


The examine included practically 200 similar and fraternal twins between the ages of 15 and 33, together with 28 people identified with autism, who have 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 coated consuming issues in a broad means, Remnelius mentioned. 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 must be extra analysis on the problem.

The findings have been offered 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, mentioned 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 is usually a danger issue for disordered consuming, she mentioned.

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


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

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

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

“It is difficult. I feel the repetitive conduct, the tendency for repetitive conduct and eager to do the identical factor over and over performs into it, however there’s additionally — and analysis has proven this — is a sensory element of it,” Feliciano defined. “So, if youngsters have a sensory sensitivity to loud noises and might’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 Issues 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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