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Asperger's & Crohn's

Since I have a psych evaluation for Social Security Disability I have been doing some research into some mental conditions that are connected to Crohn's Disease.

I came across Asperger's Syndrome and noticed that I have a lot of the symptoms associated with it. Some of the symptoms I've experienced are:
1. an affinity to facts & science
2. Clumsiness
3. atypical nonverbal communication (ie: don't keep eye contact for too long)
4. adherence to schedules and become upset when missing them (ie: missing class because of having to take a sick day)
5. feel content when left alone
6. does not understand social cues and thus might act inappropriately; appearing rude
7. has a dry sense of humor
8. unable to keep a conversation going (ie: when finished speaking about a topic I usually then stay quiet until another interesting topic comes up)
9. under-sensitive to pain & smell
10. have depression accompanied by suicidal thoughts (I know it's stupid to think about it, and I would never try it, but they keep popping in my head)
11. oversensitive to sound (I don't go to concerts, live events or the movies because it's too loud)
12. tends to notice patterns; tends to notice license plates numbers; often notices details that other people do not

And finally the biggies:
13. might be especially sensitive to mind-affecting medicines (when I was on effexor for depression, I would get violent mood swings that were way worse than pred mood swings)
14. greater risk of immune system disorders related to digestion, such as Crohn's disease


Super Moderator
Over the years I have come across various articles that have suggested that many gifted children, gifted children with Aspergers and savants have auto immune disorders.

Dusty. :)


Bourbon Bandito
It's possible, there are lots of people with Asperger's that are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
My little brother has Asperger's and until they nailed it down he had been diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia and a whole slew of other things. It wasn't until he came across a teacher with experience with autism spectrum disorders that they started to figure it out.
Crohns disease is not connected to Aspergers disease. It is also not connected to Autism. Majority of digestive problems with humans who suffer from these diseases are from food allergies.
Depression is a symptom of Crohns.
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i would imagine that most kids who've been through the school system within the last 2 generations, would have been recognised by teachers as having an autistic condition such as Asperger's Syndrome, if not by the parents or health workers... people are much more aware of conditions such as this, and ADHD, Dyspraxia, than they used to be.

my son was diagnosed with this when he was in primary school, but the signs were there from very early on, well before toddlerhood.

Asperger's presents in very defined ways, the only differing element between one sufferer and the next is the degree to which they're affected. normal childhood milestones are reached later than usual, there are muscle tone, motor skills, co-ordination issues, frustration, poor social skills, inability to settle down, and behaviour which is often classed as odd or inappropriate, to mention but a few manifestations of the condition..
It is entirely possible that I have Asperger's syndrome, although I haven't sought a firm diagnosis, the counsellor and psychologists I went to when I was a teen thought I had it but weren't qualified to make the diagnosis. However I was a gifted child so are my social problems etc resulting from that or are they all part of Asperger's? Who knows!


I teach kids with ASD, more so the Aspergers.

For a diagnosis, you have to meet all the criteria of The Triad of Impairments

1. Impaired Imagination, as in flexibility of thought or resistance to change
2. Impaired Communication
3. Impaired Social Interaction

Your list sounds very familiar! But you need to have all 3 of the diagnostic criteria.

As regards to ASD and Crohns, there could/may be a corellation, a debate that has been raging over here for years about the MMR vaccine.
here's a link

and a recent thread


Quite a lot of students in my school have Crohns


Bourbon Bandito
Crohns disease is not connected to Aspergers disease. It is also not connected to Autism. Majority of digestive problems with humans who suffer from these diseases are from food allergies.
Depression is a symptom of Crohns.
To say there is no link is preposterous. One can say there might be a link, but can never say outright that there is no link. As the complete causes of both Asperger's and IBD are still unknown. And it has been proven that people with with Asperger's and other autism spectrum disorders are susceptible to other health issues, I can"t recall any other besides type 2 diabetes.

While there is most likely a link between diet and IBD in general, this can be seen in Japan where the diet is slowly becoming closer to the Western world (more meat less fish, ie less omega 3s). Allergies are developed due to exposure, and unless the exposure is done in utero (which is why a lot of pregnant women avoid exposure to peanut products). There should be no reason that a person with IBD has a reaction to something they have never eaten before, but as we all know it happens regularly.

I have UC, I have a brother with Crohn's and another brother with Asperger's. Do not make definitive statements, unless you have proof to back up every aspect of your claims. I apologise if this post sounds in any way hostile or angry, but this thread touches home.
I searched and have found no connection. I would gladly read medical facts that prove they are related.
You were angry and hostile. The same as I feel when people post false information about pg.


Bourbon Bandito
I never said they Asperger's and Crohn"s were related.
What I said was there was there was no way to say that there was no connection, the complete causes of both are unknown. Until the complete causes of both are proved you cannot say there is no connection. There is no conclusive proof to say that people with Asperger's do not have a higher tendency to develop Crohn's.
Just because there is nothing online it doesn't mean there is no connection. People with Asperger's and people with Crohn's make up a very small portion of the population, and the percentage of people with both would be even smaller.
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I believe this thread was created because a member felt that there was a connection of the two.
As of now there is no proven connection. Admitted by yourself.
I am not going to argue with you. Like I said, I will read any medical data.
In the mean time, this a public forum and it is very important that data is relayed in an informative matter more then a personal opinion.
A friend of mine has a child who is autistic. He has many many many food allergies. This article is proof that they are studying the relation, but not proof that it is related. The article states that they need to do furhter study.
I personally would hate to think that Crohns is related to these diseases. I would more prefer argueing they are not related then seeking out articles trying to prove they are.


Super Moderator
I would imagine most if not all data relating to Autism Spectrum Disorders and Autoimmune disorders are derived from studies and observation much like this:

Immune Factors

The review of relevant studies completed by Krause et al (2002) describes how recent research into autistic aetiology has focused upon genetic mechanisms, pre-natal trauma, and brain function as well as immunological and neuro-chemical factors.

However, the results have been inconclusive for four basic reasons :

Participants have not been systematically grouped on the basis of consistent assessments so that research samples have not been well matched or comparable
Autistic disorders are still relatively rare so that sample sizes have tended to be too small for significant inferences
Participants may have been non-cooperative and unassessable
Most studies do not involve adequate control groups
Nevertheless, various immune system abnormalities have been reported among children with ASD with the possible implication that immune factors are somehow involved in the initiation or evolution of the neurological disorders.

The primary function of the immune system is to differentiate self from foreign antigens and to clear the foreign antigens ; and malfunctioning in terms of response to self antigens may result in autoimmune disease, while defects in clearing foreign antigens may increase susceptibility to infection.

A familial clustering of autoimmune diseases is characteristic, suggesting the significance of genetic predisposition.

For example, Comi et al (1999) studied the families of children with autism and control families to evaluate the frequency of autoimmune disorders, and it was found that the mean number of disorders was greater in the families which had children with autism. The most common disorders were type1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, and lupus.

The increase in familial autoimmune disorders was thought suggestive of a link in some genetically susceptible families between autoimmunity and autism.

Meanwhile, other studies reviewed by Krause et al (op.cit) led to their conclusion that there is circumstantial evidence to support an hypothesis that autoantibodies targeted at the CNS may be a causative factor for the development of ASD ... but this hypothesis requires more comprehensive investigation.

The authors continue to speculate in terms of the possible effect of neuro-receptor specific antibodies upon the CNS in triggering some of the structural anomalies seen in ASD, such as increased brain volume or altered frontal lobe and corpus callosum.

In respect of immune defects, it is reported that the reduced or skewed response to foreign antigens may induce anomalous functioning of immune cells. Such defects have been implicated in ASD.

Krause et al review a range of studies and highlight the inconsistency of findings commonly linked to the heterogeneity of participants, but acknowledge that they do, in general, point towards a dysregulated immune system in children with autism.

However, it is still not known whether these immune defects have some direct causal impact. Further, the impaired immune functions would increase susceptibility to infections, and persistent viral infections could lead to some altering of functioning of the immune system or of the CNS leading to some neurodevelopmental disorder, including ASD.

These hypotheses are described as plausible but as needing substantiation by thorough research evidence.

Finally, in regard to the issue of MMR and its alleged link with ASD, Krause et al join the consensus that there is compelling and much-replicated evidence for the safety of the MMR vaccination. However, they do comment that there may still be some public (parental) concern over this issue and there is a risk to public health from the failure to vaccinate ; and they suggest that a further and over-arching study may be desirable to settle once and for all these ongoing anxieties.
Full article:


These types of studies and observations would explain why, over the years, I have read on many occasions of there apparently being a link between giftedness and auto immune disorders.

I personally don't have an issue with these type of matters being discussed in an open support forum as I believe differing opinions should be brought to the fore therefore allowing robust and respectful discussion to take place. To me it opens up the opportunity to ponder differing points of view and experiences and take away from that what I wish.

Of course YMMV.

Dusty. :)
I know it doesn't prove there is a link. However, the fact that 30% of autistic people have digestive disorders compared with 10% of non-autistic people does suggest a link.

It is very different saying there is no connection rather than saying there is no evidence of a connection.
I know it doesn't prove there is a link. However, the fact that 30% of autistic people have digestive disorders compared with 10% of non-autistic people does suggest a link.

It is very different saying there is no connection rather than saying there is no evidence of a connection.
Very good point, Rebecca :)
Well I did some further reading and found that people with asperger's have problems with creating personal relationships with the opposite sex (ie: finding a girlfriend).

Well, I'm 24 and have never had a girlfriend and will even admit that I am still a virgin. I guess it may be because I can't tell when a woman my age likes me, perhaps because I don't read the body language correctly, or just don't notice them. At my college sometimes I'll notice a girl smiling at me and in response I just give a blank stare or look away. I want to smile back but for some reason don't (perhaps because of the depression). The fact that I have never been in a personal relationship really does add on to the depression.

Another good reason why I may have it is because when I was a child I had speech problems. I would stutter badly and even had to take speech therapy classes all through elementary. As an adult I do sometimes slur my words but most times it's so subtle many people don't notice. I was also hyperactive as a child but not really attention deficit. I would be able to pay attention to a teacher or a movie, but be rocking back and forth in my chair or be very figity.
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Sci-fi - when the child psychologist first mentioned that my son's diagnosis may turn out to be Asperger's, i went out a bought the book on this condition by Tony Attwood. this book became my bible in those early days - i learnt so much, and in the section about signs of the condition, i cried because it could have been talking about my son.. if you want to investigate further as to whether you may have Asperger's, i would wholly recommend you get hold of this book. Tony Attwood also has a website you might find helpful.... http://www.tonyattwood.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=37&Itemid=178

regarding some of the comments on this thread, i agree that none of us should try to appear as if we have a definitive answer as to whether or not there is a connection between autistic and immune disorders.... the truth is none of us know, probably not even the medical profession know for sure every possibility and knock-on effect of these two conditions.... being a public forum, we have a responsibility to any readers to ensure that facts being posted are either provable, or are our personal opinions or experiences.

discussions and debates do not need to resort to sarcasm or aggression.


Tony Attwood came to our school as a guest speaker! Awesome man!

Pyoderma, did you mean to say Autism is a disease? Or the allergies?
Autism, Aspergers and ASD are not diseases, they are developmental disorders.
Thanks for correcting me. I am aware that allergies are not a disease.

From what I have read, food allergies are more connected to Aspergers Syndrome and Autism then Crohn's, Ibd, or Ulcerative Colitis.

A friend of mine is now studying to be a dietician after the years of struggling to feed her son who has Autism.

In my opinion, food allergies seem to be a huge challenge feeding children with Autism.

You can call me Kim.


I can't say asperger and ibs are any linked but both conditions run in my family.

My older daughter has been dx with crohns. My middle daughter has dx of asperger. One thing I will say is not all asperger children are dx young. My daughter was dx just before her 13 year birthday and all ready in secondary school.

I do wonder about the dx of ibs in my family, as most if not all were given the dx without any testing at all.

Can't see a link to vaccines in my family either as we have cases of aspergers dating back to well before vaccines were ever given.

This is a my personal opinion.
Asperger's is a developmental disorder, if you had it then you would have had it since childhood (although sometimes symptoms don't become apparant until older, looking back the signs are there).

Stacking, obsessions etc for 30 years sounds more like OCD, or an anxiety disorder.
I have Crohns- my kids have allergies and asthma. Aspergers is a form of Austim. One does not cause the other. But, I am pretty much a main stream kinda person. I have worked for alot of Drs (one large grp) We treated both problems in our group and there was never any talk of one causing the other or of a higher percentage either.

Scifi- Alot of you symptoms could be depression and anxiety caused by your IBD. I think alot of us withdraw for periods of time

Good luck to you.


tots' message was to original poster SciFi about his depression and anxiety

Ulcerative colitis is an IBD - Inflammatory Bowel Disease


I do not think Asperger's and Crohns are related. There seems to be a lot of topics lately suggestions crohns is the cause to multiple things and I think people should understand that sometimes we do have multiple "issues" in our lives. Crohns is NOT the cause of everything


Wait.. reading back at your posts (that you haven't deleted) you were being serious.

Thinking back, I guess asthma causes brain disorders too..........


I noticed in an earlier post from you that you said you have UC. Where is it? My brother has UC in his lungs and it causes symptoms like you've mentioned. They thought it had asthma too until they did proper tests. I'm not sure what he takes for it now because I live away from "home" but it might be an option for you.


Super Moderator
Hi Ian,

I feel I have no choice but to ask you to stop posting on this thread. The discussion is going nowhere and the repeated deleting of your posts has disrupted the flow of the thread considerably.