Archive for the ‘Autism’ Category

 

Gluten Free Diets May Reduce Autistic Behavior

November 9th, 2010 by Deborah A. Klein, MS, RD


                                                  

The CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network released data in 2007 that found about 1 in 150 (8-year-old) children in multiple areas of the United States had an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The number of diagnosed cases of autism is on the rise; the reason(s) for this is unclear.   Autism knows no racial, ethnic or social boundaries.  Family income, lifestyle, and educational levels do not appear to affect the chance of occurrence.

Fortunately, dietary changes can make a significant change in people with autism.  Research is profound on the positive impact that a gluten and casein free diet can make on children with autism.  Gluten and/or casein free diets have been implemented to reduce autistic behavior, in addition to special education, since the early eighties {Autism, Vol. 3, No. 1, 45-65 (1999)}.  The scientific studies include (more…)


A new documentary produced by Gary Null, a natural health advocate and activist, takes aim at our modern medical establishment and the various ways it could possibly be contributing to chronic illness, neurological phenomenon and conditions, and specifically, Autism.

Null delves into the relationship between vaccines, food, environmental pollutants, the childhood Autism pandemic in America and what can be done about the increasing numbers. According to the Center for Disease Control, as of 2010, 1 in every 110 children will be diagnosed with Autism. (more…)

The debate about autism and the effectiveness of the gluten-free, casein-free diet continues – this time due to irresponsible reporting of the mainstream news media who seem to have chosen sensationalism over objective journalism when covering an important medical paper on gastrointestinal disorders in autism.

This week, a panel of medical experts led by Timothy Buie, MD at Harvard Medical School published a consensus statement on the Evaluation, Diagnosis and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders in Individuals with ASDs (Autism Spectrum Disorders) in the medical journal Pediatrics. You can find the full paper here.

The panel covered 23 topics in a document that is 20 pages in length, dealing with the diagnosis and care of individuals with autism spectrum disorders and gastrointestinal issues. The panel based its conclusions on available information which they agreed was limited and incomplete.

The Key Topic

“Individuals with autism spectrum disorders who present with gastrointestinal symptoms warrant a thorough evaluation, as would be undertaken for individuals without autism spectrum disorders who have the same symptoms or signs. Evidence based algorithms for the assessment of abdominal pain, constipation, chronic diarrhea, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) should be developed.”

Some of the other topics include recommendations for the banking of DNA samples, the complexity of diagnostic evaluation when ASD and gastrointestinal disorders present, the need for studies to determine the prevalence of intestinal permeability in neuropsychiatric manifestions of ASD, and the need for large studies to determine the effectiveness of the gluten-free, casein-free diet. (more…)

A five year old Canadian boy, diagnosed with severe autism, was cured when the true cause of his mental disorder was found to be celiac disease and he was treated with a gluten-free diet and nutritional supplements.

Photo originally posted to Flickr as "Jack"

Photo originally posted to Flickr as “Jack”

His autism was cured because he was never really autistic in the first place. He had celiac disease, an immune response to wheat, barley, rye and oats that damages the intestines leading to malabsorption of nutrients.

Gluten-restricted diets have become increasingly popular among parents seeking treatment for children diagnosed with autism.(1)

What if certain children who are diagnosed with autism actually have celiac disease?

Neurological disorders stemming from celiac disease have been widely documented in medical literature. Some of these conditions include poor balance, tremors, migraines, chronic fatigue, schizophrenia, epilepsy, apathy, depression, insomnia, behavioral disorders, inability to concentrate and anxiety.(2)

Many of these issues are due to nutritional deficiencies resulting from the intestinal damage that celiac disease causes. If caused by celiac disease, they improve once gluten is removed from the diet and the intestine heals and functions properly.

Genuis and Bouchard, researchers at the University of Alberta, recently published the case of the 5-year-old boy who had been diagnosed with severe autism at a specialty clinic for autistic spectrum disorders. After an initial investigation suggested underlying celiac disease and varied nutrient deficiencies, a gluten-free diet was instituted.(1) His diet and supplements were adjusted to secure nutritional sufficiency.

The patient’s gastrointestinal symptoms rapidly resolved, and signs and symptoms suggestive of autism progressively abated.(1)

This case is an example of a common malabsorption syndrome (celiac disease) associated with central nervous system dysfunction and suggests that in some cases, nutritional deficiency may be a cause of developmental delay.

Genuis and Bouchard recommended that all children with neurodevelopmental problems (more…)