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2B Sandhu, 1C Steer, 1J Golding, 1A Emond. 1University of Bristol, Bristol, UK, 2United Bristol Healthcare Trust, Bristol, UK

Aims: To investigate whether gut symptoms in children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) are concordant with those known to be associated with enterocolitis and precede the onset of, as opposed to being a consequence of, autistic behaviour.

Background: There is some evidence that older ASD children have an increased prevalence of gut symptoms and it has been hypothesised that non-specific enterocolitis is associated with the onset of ASD. However, it is controversial as to whether gut symptoms are intrinsic to ASD or are secondary to dietary and behavioural changes in these children.

Methods: Information on children’s stool patterns and gut symptoms were reported prospectively by mothers taking part in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Data collected by questionnaire at 4 weeks and 6, 18, 30 and 42 months of age were available for 12 984 children. Data on the 78 children identified by local health and/or education systems to have special educational provision for ASD were compared with the 12 905 remaining children in the cohort.

Results: Comparison of the ASD and control group during the first 3.5 years of life showed no major differences in stool colour or consistency or in the frequency of diarrhoea, constipation, bloody stools or abdominal pain. The ASD children had similar stool frequency up to 18 months, but at 30 and 42 months there was a trend for ASD children to pass more stools at 32 months (odds ratio (OR) 3.73, 95% CI 1.11 to 12.6; p = 0.004) and at 42 months (OR 6.46, 95% CI 1.83 to 22.7; p<0.001), although only three children passed more than four stools per day. Repeating the analysis on only …

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