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Complex, diverse and rarely appearing without comorbidity, the autism spectrum disorders continue to be a source of research interest. With core symptoms variably impacting on social communication skills, the traditional focus of many research efforts has centred on the brain and how genetic and environmental processes impact on brain structure, function and/or connectivity to account for various behavioural presentations. Alongside emerging ideas on autistic traits being present in various clinical states, the autisms, and the overrepresentation of several comorbid conditions impacting on quality of life, other research avenues have opened up. The central role of the brain in relation to autism may be at least partially influenced by the functions of other organs. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract represents an important biological system pertinent to at least some autism. The notion of a gut–brain–behaviour axis has garnered support from various findings: an overrepresentation of functional and pathological bowel states, bowel and behavioural findings showing bidirectional associations, a possible relationship between diet, GI function and autism and recently, greater focus on aspects of the GI tract such as the collected gut microbiota in relation to autism. Gaps remain in our knowledge of the functions of the GI tract linked to autism, specifically regarding mechanisms of action onward to behavioural presentation. Set however within the context of diversity in the presentation of autism, science appears to be moving towards defining important GI-related autism phenotypes with the possibility of promising dietary and other related intervention options onward to improving quality of life.
In June 2016, the United Kingdom shocked the world by voting to leave the European Union. As this book reveals, the historic vote for Brexit marked the culmination of trends in domestic politics and in the UK's relationship with the EU that have been building over many years. Drawing on a wealth of survey evidence collected over more than ten years, this book explains why most people decided to ignore much of the national and international community and vote for Brexit. Drawing on past research on voting in major referendums in Europe and elsewhere, a team of leading academic experts analyse changes in the UK's party system that were catalysts for the referendum vote, including the rise of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), the dynamics of public opinion during an unforgettable and divisive referendum campaign, the factors that influenced how people voted and the likely economic and political impact of this historic decision.