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A Quantitative Sensory Testing Approach to Pain in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Authors
  • Vaughan, Sarah1, 2
  • McGlone, Francis1, 3
  • Poole, Helen1
  • Moore, David J4, 5
  • 1 School of Natural Sciences and Psychology, Psychology Department, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, L3 3AF, UK.
  • 2 Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Psychology, Chester University, Chester, CH1 4BJ, UK.
  • 3 Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L69 3GL, UK.
  • 4 School of Natural Sciences and Psychology, Psychology Department, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, L3 3AF, UK. [email protected]
  • 5 Department of Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, L3 3AF, UK. [email protected]
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
May 01, 2020
Volume
50
Issue
5
Pages
1607–1620
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10803-019-03918-0
PMID: 30771132
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Sensory abnormalities in autism has been noted clinically, with pain insensitivity as a specified diagnostic criterion. However, there is limited research using psychophysically robust techniques. Thirteen adults with ASD and 13 matched controls completed an established quantitative sensory testing (QST) battery, supplemented with measures of pain tolerance and central modulation. The ASD group showed higher thresholds for light touch detection and mechanical pain. Notably, the ASD group had a greater range of extreme scores (the number of z-scores outside of the 95% CI > 2), dynamic mechanical allodynia and paradoxical heat sensation; phenomena not typically seen in neurotypical individuals. These data support the need for research examining central mechanisms for pain in ASD and greater consideration of individual difference.

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