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Papers of the Week

Papers: 16 Feb 2019 - 22 Feb 2019

Human Studies

2020 May

J Autism Dev Disord



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


Vaughan S, McGlone F, Poole H, Moore DJ
J Autism Dev Disord. 2020 May; 50(5):1607-1620.
PMID: 30771132.


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.