A new study has found that children with autism who have severe
gastrointestinal disease have a significant level of
autoantibodies, which attack an individual's own tissue instead of
"The more autoantibodies the individual had, the more severe
their disease was," says Dr. A.J. Russo, research director of the
Health Research Institute at the Pfeiffer Treatment Center, which
conducted the research in collaboration with the Thoughtful House
Center for Children.
The findings give a better understanding of how children's own
immune system can be involved in problems in the GI tract, he says.
In the future, this may help doctors use less invasive techniques,
such as an endoscopy, to measure the severity of disease. "As far
as the actual practical use of these findings, it's a little bit
too early," Russo says. "But maybe in the future we'll be able to
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