Archive for the ‘Autism’ Category

 


Reporting Amelia Santaniello MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) ― Like most young boys, Will Johnson is all about dinosaurs, not necessarily dairy. In fact, he's allergic to milk and eats gluten- and dairy-free.

But the lack of dairy in his diet might actually be helping him grow in new ways. He is on what has become known as the autism diet, which he said does everything.

"He was diagnosed with high-functioning autism about a little over a year ago," said Will's mother Janette Johnson. She added he was very hyper and energetic at the time.

Swings and ball pits weren't enough to get the meltdowns and sensory needs associated with Will's autism under control.

"Even a few months ago, he wouldn't be able to be around here at all," Janette Johnson said.

She decided to start her son on a gluten-free, casein-free diet after hearing from other parents it could work miracles. But, to fully understand the science behind the diet, it's important to note what gluten and casein actually are.

Gluten is a protein found in foods like wheat, rye, oats and barley. It helps hold things like breads together and makes them soft. Casein is a protein found in dairy products, and one of the things that makes cheese melt.

Some doctors say these two proteins act like the drug opium in children with autism, impairing both the immune system and the brain.

"We're not 100 percent sure, but what's happening is that the body may not be completely breaking down those proteins," said Dr. Paul Nash, a nutritional wellness practitioner.

Nash, who is what's known as a "DAN" (defeat autism now) doctor, said the partially digested proteins are getting absorbed, which can have effects. DAN doctors believe gluten and casein can change how some kids on the autism spectrum think and act.

"They've done studies where they've injected lab animals with these compounds and they've seen behaviors similar to autism and schizophrenia," Nash said.

On the contrary, medical doctors have been slow to embrace the idea that the diet could change a child's behavior.

"I think a lot of it is just the history of what autism used to be thought of, as a behavior disorder and that there was no medical link," said Dr. Bryan Jepson, a biomedical expert on autism who is considered an expert in the biomedical field and practices at an autism-focused clinic called the Thoughtful House Center for Children in Texas.

Jepson is one doctor who said the diet does work, but that those in his profession are often skeptical. He said with some children, you can see an immediate response, but it will often take about a month or sometimes even a few months.

"I think a lot of the argument from the doctors would say well, it's expensive, it's hard, you're wasting money, it's a false hope," he said.

At the same time, Jepson said that, in reality, 60 to 70 percent of his patients who have tried it have in fact had a response.

Janette Johnson is cognizant of the controversy. When reporter Amelia Santaniello asked her what the traditional allergist said, she said he told her she was wasting her time, money, and socially impairing her child further than he was.

But like so many parents with kids on the spectrum, she was willing to try anything to help her son.

"His behavior has changed quite a bit," she said.

She said some parents say it is drastic, like if a child starts talking, but she thinks for Will it's more subtle. He now has better eye contact and talks to more people. During their interview, he told Santaniello he likes the food his mother makes for him.

"It's a lot of work on the parent to make sure that the child is getting what he needs," Johnson said.

At the same time, shopping, label reading and learning to cook a whole new way are getting easier. Penni Ruben, director of store operations at Lakewinds Natural Foods, said they do what their customers ask for. At Lakewinds, every item in the store is coded with colored dots.

"The green is wheat-free, the red is gluten-free, the yellow is yeast-free and the blue is dairy-free," Ruben said.

The store also hosts cooking classes for parents who are just starting out, taught by those who have experienced the same thing.

Cooking instructor Angela Litzinger, whose daughter is gluten-intolerant, said she does it because she doesn't want anybody to start from scratch.

"I think everybody deserves a cookie," she said.

Litzinger added that sometimes it is hard being a mother, and that having a kid with special needs can sometimes puts an extra layer of pressure on your time.

"I don't want anybody to start from scratch like I had to," she said.

Janette Johnson said the classes are a huge help and she is now experimenting with everything from brownies to rolls. She admits the diet is a lot of work and very expensive, upwards of $100 or more per month, but she doesn't think of it as a diet. She thinks of it as another therapy -- a food therapy.

"It's something that he needs to help his body so he can think and he can be better," she said.

Source: http://wcco.com:80/health/autism.diet.nutrition.2.779448.html


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Special diets for special kids: Autism and casein- & gluten-free diets

Can food affect your kid's autism?

"Leaky gut"

One of the reasons the GFCF diet is often recommended for autistic individuals is due to a medical condition known as “leaky gut,” in which the intestinal lining is more permeable than normal. A leaky gut does not properly absorb nutrients, and as a result can lead to symptoms of bloating, gas, cramps, fatigue, headaches, memory loss, poor concentration of irritability. Healing of the gut is being seen in individuals who have gluten and casein eliminated from their diets.

In a study written by Stephen M Edelson, PhD, at the Center for the Study of Autism in Salem, Oregon, he says: “Some people suggest that the health status of the child’s intestinal tract should be examined first; and if there is evidence of a ‘leaky gut,’ then the child should be placed on a gluten- and/or casein-free diet. The intestinal permeability test is one way to determine whether a child has a ‘leaky gut.’ This test involves drinking a sweet-tasting solution and then collecting urine samples afterwards. Most physicians can administer this test. Parents have also sent their child’s urine samples to laboratories to test for the presence of abnormal peptides associated with gluten and casein in the urine. However, many people feel that these tests are not necessary and suggest that one should simply place the child on a restricted diet and then observe whether or not there are any improvements in the child.”

A GFCF success story

Miami mom Hilda Mitrani says she has seen significant improvement in her autistic son in the 10 years he has been on a gluten-free, casein-free diet. She initially found out about the diet through an email support group list of parents of children with autism. “On this list, Karyn Seroussi and Lisa Lewis, PhD, were commenting on children with autism whose behaviors had decreased after dietary changes,” says Mitrani. “Then I went to an autism conference and met Karyn and her husband, who was a scientist with Johnson & Johnson."

She says she quickly realized that her son fit the pattern of the children that were being helped by the GFCF diet. "He has frequent bouts of diarrhea, horrible gas attacks and allergic reactions that were visible on his skin," Mitrani says. "Also, I would describe his behavior as something like an addict’s. When he had his 'gluten fix,' he was pacified. Without it, his behavior was uncontrollable.”

After starting the diet, her son’s gastrointestinal system began to settle down with the diarrhea, gas attacks and allergic reactions disappearing, and his behavior stabilizing. The diet however, is hard to maintain, especially as a child may continue to seek gluten. “For more than a year, he sought out gluten in every place he went,” says Mitrani. “I would find him in a bathroom, covering himself with soap or gluten-based shampoos, or was told that he tried to eat paste at school. As he became older, I could speak with him rationally about not doing these things.”

In addition, Mitrani took special pains to make sure her son had a special treat at every birthday party and family event. “We made cakes, cookies, pizza and everything else that other people would be eating in a gluten-free version, so that he never felt left out.”

She offers the following advice to parents considering the GFCF diet for her or his child:

If you've heard how hard it is to maintain this kind of special diet, take heart in the fact that it's easier now than ever, with terrific gluten-free recipes and many types of flour with which to bake.

Try every recipe until you find ones that work for you.

Don’t forget to eliminate the gluten in over-the-counter products or pharmaceuticals as a potential contaminant.

For information on gluten intolerance -- and some tasty GF recipes -- check out these links:

  • 6 tips for gluten-free living
  • Gluten-free Raspberry Souffle
  • Gluten-free Banana Cake
  •    Source: You can find this article at http://www.sheknows.com/articles/804531.htm?page=2   About the author: Marla Hardee Milling is a freelance writer in Asheville, North Carolina. Her articles have appeared in a wide variety of publications, both online and in print, including Cooking Smart, Healthgate, Pinnacle Living, Blue Ridge Country, LowCarb Energy, Charleston Magazine, Smart Computing's PC Today, The Christian Science Monitor and several pregnancy and health/fitness publications, among others.  

    Maritza Velazquez, Staff Writer

    Article Launched: 03/12/2008 09:09:57 PM PDT

    Cries from a child shaken from his sleep instantly transformed into shrieks of joy. Little Royce Block had spotted his wicker basket. But it wasn't filled with candy or toys. It contained about 10 medicines he takes every day.

    The 2-year-old has autism.

    For about a year, Jess Block watched her son live his life without smiling, playing or leaving his stroller.

    After some research, Block found Dr. Hitendra Shah, who works at the Wellness Clinic in Diamond Bar. Shah diagnosed Royce with autism in February.

    The condition is not about a delay in a child's development; it's about regression.

    "One of the most common stories we hear with most children is that they were born normal," Shah said. "Maybe they were talking and saying some words, then they will completely stop talking."

    Shah is one of just a couple dozen in the state who practice the Defeat Autism Now, or DAN, approach.

    Instead of using psychiatric drugs to treat these children, the approach incorporates natural therapies.

    The most basic treatments include relieving the body of toxins and incorporating a casein- and gluten-free diet.

    "The most important thing we do is take out all the foods with casein and gluten," Shah said. "It makes them substantially improve."

    For now, Block is just excited to see her baby acting like a normal toddler.

    "For every parent it's a joy to see your child grow and develop," she said, "but to see your child stop regressing is just amazing."

    Source: http://www.sgvtribune.com:80/living/ci_8551563