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Kids with food allergies are twice as likely to have autism

But having the immune abnormalities doesn’t mean a child will develop the disorder

By
4:31pm, June 8, 2018
Nut-free food

FOOD ALLERGY LINK  A large population-based study finds a connection between allergies, including those to foods, and autism spectrum disorder in kids. But having such an allergy doesn’t mean a child will develop autism, scientists say.

American kids with food allergies are more than twice as likely to have autism spectrum disorder as kids without, a study of national health data finds. The population-based finding adds to experimental evidence that there may be a connection between false steps or overreactions by the immune system and the neurodevelopmental disorder.

Researchers looked only for an association between allergies and autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, among a total of 199,520 children ages 3 to 17 surveyed from 1997 to 2016 as part of the U.S. National Health Interview Survey. The study was not designed to discover what may be behind the link.

The team found that, out of 1,868 children with autism, 216 had a food allergy — or about 11 percent. By comparison, only about 4 percent of children without autism had a food allergy, the researchers report online June 8 in JAMA

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