November 21, 2009
The Ideas that Strict Diets and Vitamins can Cure Your Childs Autism
For years now researchers, scientists, and parents have been looking for the cure to autism. Victoria Beck was one of those parents and thought she cured autism by using secretin, but it turned out she was wrong. Then Andrew Wakefield also gave false hope to parents around the world believing that he found the cure to autism (Offit, 2008). Most recently we have the argument that certain forms of diets can cure autism in children. A major promoter in this area is Jenny McCarthy. She has been Oprah, Good Morning America, and Larry King Live promoting that “gluten-free and casein-free diets with vitamin supplements” (Offit, 2008) helped her son’s autism. Does this treatment of gluten-free and casein-free diets with vitamin supplements help cure autism or is it just another false hope for parents with autistic children?
The idea that vitamin therapy helps biochemical errors in the body came from Pauling’s orthomolecular hypothesis in 1968 (Pfeiffer, et al., 1995). Orthomolecular pertains to the treatment of disease by increasing, decreasing, or otherwise controlling the intake of natural substances. The idea was to give vitamin B6 and Magnesium to children with autism. In this certain study a double-blind group was used and a placebo controlled group was also used. The treatment would range “from a low of 14 days to a high of 240 days with a mean of 42” (Pfeiffer, et al., 1995). Out of the twelve studies behavioral changes were found in ten of the twelve. “All reported a degree of behavioral improvement with descriptions ranging from “moderate” to “marked” (Pfeiffer, et al., 1995). This could mean that B6 and magnesium is a major contributor for autistic children who lack these vital vitamins. While “two reported significant decreases in autistic behaviors” (Pfeiffer, et al., 1995). These two have just shown more improvement then the other eight, but all together ten have shown improvement. Others believe it is “potentially harmful due to its capability of providing false hope to family members” (Morgan 1986 as quoted in Pfeiffer, et al., 1995). This is another big step for researchers and scientist. Having some reports that combining B6 and magnesium helps effect behaviors in autistic children, can lead us down other paths eventually leading to a cure. Future research will tell us more and more about the ideas of vitamin B6-magenisum is a contributor to the cure of autism.
Gluten-free and casein-free diets originally came from studies on schizophrenia. “Dohan asserted that individuals with schizophrenia may have genetic defects that lead to an overload of peptides from milk protein (casein) and/or gluten” (Harrison, et al., 2006). Now these gluten-free and casein-free diets are being used to see if they have any affects on children with autism. Since then there have been many studies involving gluten-free and or casein-free diets. A case study of 270 individuals with 120 diagnosed with schizophrenia and 149 with autism was started. This study used a “double-blind repeated measures crossover design” (Harrison, et al., 2006). The gluten-free and casein-free diet was used in those individuals who had autism. This study was used to help find out whether this diet worked. “Treatment with a gluten-free and casein-free diet was accompanied by reports of improvement in 81% of children within three months” (Harrison, et al., 2006). In another study that evaluated amino acids in autistic children showed us that “children with autism in the study had higher deficiencies in essential amino acids compared to the control group . . . . These findings suggest that children with autism may benefit from a structured diet” (Harrison, et al., 2006). Another study involving the gluten-free and casein-free diet with twenty subjects showed...