Researchers investigated inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and found that patients with ASD are more likely to develop any IBD, ulcerative colitis (UC), or Crohn’s disease. The meta-analysis was published in Autism Research.

The investigators reviewed observational studies evaluating associations between ASD and IBD that were published to the PubMed, Embase, and PsycInfo databases by January 2021. They enrolled 6 studies, which included 8 datasets comprising more than 11 million patients. The primary end point was the association between ASD and subsequent development of IBD.

According to the report, the researchers determined that ASD was significantly associated with future incidence of any IBD (odds ratio [OR], 1.66; 95% CI, 1.25-2.21; P<.001), UC (OR, 1.91; 95% CI, 1.41-2.6; P<.001), and Crohn’s disease (OR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.15-1.88; P=.002). Additionally, ASD was associated with IBD for any diagnoses time sequence (any IBD, OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.28-1.93; P<.001; UC, OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.36-2.12; P<.001; Crohn’s disease, OR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.12-1.69; P=.003). The authors added that the included studies generally displayed good quality and low bias.

The researchers ultimately suggested IBD screening in patients with ASD and recommended that future studies should examine high-risk factors and shared mechanisms of ASD and IBD.

Reference: Kim JY, Choi MJ, Ha S, et al. Association between autism spectrum disorder and inflammatory bowel disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Autism Res. 2022;15(2):340-352. doi:10.1002/aur.2656