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Section A.4 - Stress and Autism

Several researchers have postulated that stress is at the core of autism. In 1994, Groden et al presented the first systematic framework for using the concepts of stress and anxiety to describe and treat autism and proposed that those with autism may have a special vulnerability to stress. More recently, Tordjman et al offered a stress based model of autism, integrating biological and behavioral profiles of individuals with autism. They proposed that stress and anxiety may be core problems of autism. Similarly, Porges et al have documented hyperarousal and vagal disruptions in children with autism. Researchers have subsequently gained a better understanding that the clinical patterns often associated with stress, such as anxiety, are more prevalent among people with pervasive development disorders than in the general population.

Most recently, Dhossche has argued that rather than originating in the brain, developmental disorders including autism arise from dysregulation of a unified brain / gut system and are the result of a cascade of interrelated psychological, neurological and immunological reactions to unmodulated stress. Dhossche believes that it is possible to ameliorate development and behavioral disorders, regardless of etiology, by intervening in stress mechanisms with treatments that target both the brain and periphery simultaneously...

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