Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD, previously called "autism") is a poorly understood family of related conditions. People with ASD generally lack normal social interaction skills and engage in a variety of unusual and often characteristic behaviors, such as repetitive movements. There is no specific medical treatment for ASD and its cause remains unclear. Anecdotal evidence of remarkable cures with the use of the substance secretin had raised hopes, but these hopes faded when numerous formal research trials found secretin ineffective.
Despite public concerns that the measles, mumps, and rubella [MMR] vaccine may cause autism spectrum disorder, the balance of the evidence strongly suggests that this is not true.
Proposed Natural Treatments
Some physicians involved with natural medicine believe that autism spectrum disorder as well as many other illnesses are caused by genetic defects in the body that interfere with the metabolism of certain nutrients. For example, there is some evidence that children with autism spectrum disorder may have trouble metabolizing vitamin B 6 . 18 Based on this theory, various supplements have been advocated for the treatment of autism spectrum disorder. However, despite a number of favorable anecdotal reports, as yet there is no reliable supporting evidence from meaningful studies. As the secretin example shows (see above), anecdotes can easily be misleading.
Another double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study found indications that very high doses of
It has been suggested that combining magnesium with vitamin B
could offer additional benefits, such as reducing side effects or allowing a reduced dose of the vitamin. However, the two reasonably well-designed studies using combined vitamin B
Other Natural Approaches
An eight-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 31 children found preliminary evidence that the supplement
It has been suggested that food additives,
2. Unis AS, Munson JA, Rogers SJ, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of porcine versus synthetic secretin for reducing symptoms of autism. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2002;41:1315–1321.
4. Corbett B, Khan K, Czapansky-Beilman D, et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study investigating the effect of porcine secretin in children with autism. Clin Pediatr. 2001;40:327–331.
12. Findling RL, Maxwell K, Scotese-Wojtila L, et al. High-dose pyridoxine and magnesium administration in children with autistic disorder: an absence of salutary effects in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Autism Dev Disord. 1997;27:467–478.
Last reviewed February 2010 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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