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 keeping 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 notably 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 women and men, however we did take a look at this affiliation between autism and consuming issues. And we wished to know if that was totally different between females and males,” stated examine creator 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.

“These things had been, for instance, ‘I discover it troublesome to eat with mates’ or ‘I discover it troublesome to eat in class or in a office or in a restaurant,'” Remnelius stated. “And we truly noticed once we regarded nearer at this subscale that it was solely these social objects that autistic females report or had larger scores in.”


The examine additionally discovered that autistic traits predicted elevated consuming issues. This might not be that autism additionally causes consuming issues however that sure genetic elements could possibly 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 could possibly be that among the genes that enhance the probability of an individual having autism may also enhance the probability 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 form of larger probability of getting consuming issues.”


The examine included almost 200 similar 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 inside the twin pairs.


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

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 recommended, saying there needs to be extra analysis on the problem.

The findings had 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, 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 threat issue for disordered consuming, she stated.

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


“I do assume that turns into necessary,” 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 can be laborious for households to have experiences when consuming is so restricted, Feliciano stated. Remedy may also 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 kids will eat solely fewer than 5 meals or solely meals of a sure shade.

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


Extra info

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