Federico Balzola, MD, shares findings on gastrointestinal symptoms and pathological microscopic histological alterations found during upper and lower endoscopy with biopsies in more than 400 patients with autism.

Study Overview

The major prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with autism compared to healthy controls has been extensively proved, with a potential secondary impact on children’s behaviours. From a physio-pathological point of view, dysbiosis associated to impaired gastrointestinal permeability has been suggested as a potential trigger thus altering the normal nervous system functions. Dietary or pharmacological interventions are often utilized, however, results are still debated. In this uncertain context, the existence of a possible link between gastrointestinal inflammation and neuropsychiatric disorders needs to be clarified in the way to find the right dietetic and pharmacological tools to obtain the best effects on bowel and neurological inflammatory process and for this reason improvement of gastrointestinal and autistic symptoms. Our study confirmed the high prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms and pathological microscopic histological alterations in more than 400 patients with autism that underwent upper and lower endoscopy with biopsies in our unit. A significant association between clinical manifestations and histological alterations has been identified with a significant improvement of clinical and neuropsychiatric symptoms after dietetic and pharmacological treatment of the intestinal inflammation. Further controlled prospective studies are required in order to confirm these correlations and permit to treat this category of patients at the very early onset of gastrointestinal symptoms in the way to obtain better clinical results unfortunately nor reachable if later attempted for the natural achievement of the complete altered neurological development.

This is a joint presentation by ARI and The World Autism Organisation.

The speaker:

Federico Balzola, MD,  holds board certification in Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy in 1994 in Italy at the Modena University School of Medicine. He attended medical school in the Turin University School of Medicine, graduated in 1989, where he then completed his gastroenterological residency. He was awarded a training from 1994 to 1995 at Royal Free Hospital in London on measles implication in inflammatory bowel disease as well as from 1995 to 1998 at the Clinical Nutrition Department of the Molinette Hospital of Turin on the small bowel syndrome management. Following his fellowship in Gastroenterology and Clinical Nutrition at the Molinette Hospital in Turin, he has been a consultant in the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Department since 1998 where he oversaw the gastrointestinal clinic and consultation service with a special interest in inflammatory bowel disease and liver/bowel transplantation. He is currently working in the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Intensive Care Unit of Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino. He has numerous scientific publications in international medical journals and he presented in several international meetings his research results. At present, he maintains his practice in gastroenterological fields with a special research interest on autistic patients. He is driving several clinical research in Italy on the identification and treatment of the autistic enteropathy with dietetic and pharmacological approaches. He lives in Turin with his wife, Paola,  and two daughters, Beatrice and Margherita.

Take the knowledge quiz

Can’t see the quiz below? Take it online HERE

  • autism comorbidities

Co-Occurring Conditions and Autism

January 10th, 2022|News, Uncategorized|

Research suggests that individuals with autism experience some conditions―including underlying medical issues, neurodevelopmental differences, and mental health issues―more frequently than the general population. Learning about these potential medical needs can help you