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Medicine Science

Rare Form of Autism Could Be Curable With Protein Supplements 163

Posted by samzenpus
from the social-eaters dept.
ananyo writes "A rare, hereditary form of autism has been found — and it may be treatable with protein supplements. Genome sequencing of six children with autism has revealed mutations in a gene that stops several essential amino acids being depleted. Mice lacking this gene developed neurological problems related to autism that were reversed by dietary changes (abstract). According to Joseph Gleeson, a child neurologist at the University of California, San Diego, who led the study, 'This might represent the first treatable form of autism.' It is possible that some other forms of autism may also be linked to uncommon metabolic disorders — and so treatable through dietary changes, according to the scientists quoted in the piece."
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Rare Form of Autism Could Be Curable With Protein Supplements

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  • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @09:37PM (#41256321) Homepage

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/autism-research-discovery_b_794967.html [huffingtonpost.com]
    http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/neurological-conditions/autism/ [vitamindcouncil.org]

    It sounds from those two sources like many cases of autism could be prevented by higher vitamin D levels of pregnant women and better diet, but in the first few years of life after birth, some aspects of autism can be reversed with vitamin D supplements and good diet. How far and for how many kids is still an open question.

    Also of general interest on eating healthier:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/food-industry_b_1559920.html [huffingtonpost.com]
    https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/foodpyramid.aspx [drfuhrman.com]

  • Tangentially... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by florescent_beige (608235) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @09:44PM (#41256361) Journal

    I have a metaphorical way of making sense of autistic behaviors. Let's say the brain has some kind of sensory input buffer. Defects in that buffer might lead the brain to be overstimulated with sensory input and become preoccupied with them. The other thing the buffer might do...and this is where it gets more metaphorical and maybe less factual...is serve as a feedback path for brain-generated inputs, to sort of test things. Like when someone says "Imagine what it feels like when..." or even when you just think about real experiences you had. I think of dreams as maybe working like that too: brain generated inputs get cycled back through the buffer to serve as virtual experiences for...whatever dreams are for. That way of thinking about it leads to a way of understanding stimming behaviours: they can be thought of as dream-related movement that we don't do during sleep dreams because of sleep paralysis.

    I find having a (metaphorical and maybe not correct) mechanistic way of understanding autistic bahaviours makes it a lot easier to deal with them.

  • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @09:48PM (#41256375) Homepage

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=vitamin-d-and-autism [scientificamerican.com]
    http://richardlouv.com/books/last-child/ [richardlouv.com]

    BTW, eating more veggies can help with the some of the disease you mentioned:
    http://www.drfuhrman.com/disease/Other.aspx [drfuhrman.com]
    "Fibromyalgia is a disease highlighted by discomfort, pain and tenderness all over the body. The cause is unknown. Typical treatments involve pain medication and anti-depressants used to aid sleep. Better sleep has been shown to be of benefit.
        I have been utilizing a high antioxidant, acrlyamide-free diet for many years with marked success. Acrylamides are toxic substances produced by baking and frying carbohydrates. The diet-style I recommend for fibromylagia patients is rich in natural plant foods especially organic berries and green vegetables and restricted in animal products and baked grains. Vegetable soups and steamed vegetables are encouraged. Fibromyalgia patients routinely get well, and they get well quickly.
        Studies in the medical literature support this method of treatment.[ii] Though the researchers do not seem to have the experience and understanding of why what they are doing works, the effects are dramatic.
        Similar to the nutritional treatment of most diseases, it is not one photochemical compound or the removal of one toxic habit that works; it is the symphonic combination of removing multiple nutritional stresses along with the addition of multiple beneficial nutritional compounds that results in consistent and sustained results. The high intake of polyphenolic compounds such as quercetin, myricetin and kaempherol, and the high intake of lignans and bioflavonoids are just a few of the hundreds of nutrients with unpronounceable names that can only be obtained in large amounts from a diet rich in natural plant foods."

  • by TCQuad (537187) on Friday September 07, 2012 @10:07AM (#41260285)
    My socially awkward and geeky personality led to pretty much every pre-med I met in college trying to diagnose me with autism. One of the diagnosis criteria that I remember them mentioning was food acceptance or preference issues (eating the same thing all the time, refusing to try new things, etc.). It's since been removed from the diagnostic criteria (it's not nearly selective enough), but it still occurs in a significant majority of cases. I'm curious if there could be a link here. The mice in the study were treated with a diet high in branched chain amino acids. According to livestrong, those foods are... well, I'd generally call those "kids food": red meat, chicken, nuts and cheese. I wonder if food acceptance issues in autism have a biological underpinning and kids are, essentially, trying to self-medicate with chicken fingers.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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