Dr. Beversdorf discussed the relationship between gastrointestinal disorders and psychophysical markers of stress reactivity in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). He presented data on the relationship between several indices of sympathetic and parasympathetic activity, as determined by heart rate variability and Galvanic skin response, and measures of gastrointestinal sypmtomatology. Dr. Beversdorf is a Cognitive and Behavioral Neurologist specializing in ASD. He is an Associate Professor of Radiology, Neurology, and Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri and at the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders and is the William and Nancy Thompson Chair in Radiology.
Dr. Veenstra-VanderWeele discussed elevated blood serotonin levels, or hyperserotonemia, the most well-replicated and most heritable biomarker in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). He described the background, hypotheses, and preliminary results of a recent project to evaluate the relationship between this biomarker, gastrointestinal symptoms, and restricted and repetitive behavior in children with ASD. Dr. Veenstra-VanderWeele is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and molecular neuroscientist. He is the Mortimer D. Sackler Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.