What is Autism?
Autism is classified as one of the pervasive developmental disorders of the brain. It is not a disease. People with classical autism show three types of symptoms: impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual or severely limited activities and interests. These symptoms can vary in severity. In addition, people with autism often have abnormal responses to sounds, touch, or other sensory stimulation. Symptoms usually appear during the first three years of childhood and continue through life. Researchers have identified a number of genes that play a role in the disorder. In some children, environmental factors also may play a role. Studies of people with autism have found abnormalities in several regions of the brain which suggest that
autism results from a disruption of early fetal brain development. Autism affects an estimated 10 to 20 of every 10,000 people, depending on diagnostic criteria used, and strikes males about four times more often than females.
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Is there any treatment?
There is currently no cure for autism, but appropriate treatment may foster relatively normal development and reduce undesirable behaviors. Educational/behavioral therapies and drug interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms. Educational/behavioral therapies emphasize highly structured and often intensive skill-oriented training. Doctors also may prescribe a variety of drugs to reduce symptoms of autism Other interventions are available, but few, if any, scientific studies support their use.
What is the prognosis?
People with autism have normal life expectancies. Symptoms in many children improve with intervention or as the children age. Some people with autism eventually lead normal or near-normal lives. Adolescence can worsen behavior problems in some children, and parents should be ready to adjust treatment for the child’s changing needs. About a third of children with autistic spectrum disorders eventually develop epilepsy. The risk is highest in children with severe cognitive impairment and motor deficits.
What research is being done?
NINDS supports studies aimed at identifying the underlying brain abnormalities of autism through new methods of brain imaging and other innovative techniques, and at identifying genes that increase the risk of autism. Researchers also are investigating possible biologic markers present at birth that can identify infants at risk for the development of autism. Other studies are examining how different brain regions develop and function in relation to each other, and how alterations in these relationships may result in the signs and symptoms of autism. Researchers hope these studies will provide new clues about how autism develops and how brain abnormalities affect
Helpful nutrients for Autism
|Child’s||Adult||Murray – for||Our comments|
|Vitamin A||2500 IU||5000 IU||5000 IU|
|Carotenes*||***||***||5000-25,000 IU||Best with mixed carotenes (not only beta-carotene)|
|B1 Thiamin||0.6 mg||1.2 mg||10-100 mg|
|B2 Riboflavin||0.6 mg||1.3 mg||10-50 mg|
|B3 Niacin||8 mg||16 mg||10-100 mg|
|B5 Pantothenic||3 mg||5 mg||25-100 mg|
|B6 Pyridoxine||0.6 mg||1.7 mg||25-100 mg||We recommend about 8 mg of B6 per pound bodyweight (with some children needing significantly less or more) and about 3-4 mg of magnesium per pound bodyweight (B6 must be
taken with magnesium). In the P5P form of B6, use 1-2 mg per pound bodyweight Start at a lower dose of B6, and increase gradually.
|B12 Cobalamin||1.2 mcg||2.4 mcg||400 mcg|
|Biotin||12 mcg||30 mcg||100-300 mcg||500-1000 mcg|
|Folic Acid||120 mcg||240 mcg||Take extra if taking DMG (see DMG note)|
|Choline*||250 mg||550 mg||10-100 mg||follow new RDA/AI guidelines of 250 mg for children, 550 for adults|
|Inositol*||***||***||10-100 mg||optimal dosage unclear, but dosages of 12,000 mg have been used to
effectively treat depression and panic disorders, since it is
required for the function of serotonin and other neurotransmitters.
|C||25 mg||90 mg||100-1000 mg||250-500 mg, 2x/day. Some people recommend higher doses. If diarrhea results, lower dose.|
|Bioflavonoids||***||***||***||Enhances effects of vitamin C. Mixed bioflavonoids are best.
A ratio of 1:2 bioflavonoids to vitamin C seems reasonable.
|D||200 IU||200 IU||100-400 IU||Fat-soluble, so do not take excessive doses (over 1000 IU/day).|
|E||7 mg||15 mg||100-800 IU||150-250 IU. Fat-soluble, so be cautious of overdosing|
|K||55 mcg||120 mcg||60-300 mcg||Fat-soluble, so be cautious.|
|* not an official vitamin, but closely related and beneficial. *** Amount not determined|
|Minerals:Calcium||800 mg||1000 mg||250-1250 mg||Especially important in dairy-free children. Don’t trust calcium
carbonate-enriched foods. Split into 3 even doses for best
|Magnesium||130 mg||420 mg||250-500 mg||See note on B6. If absorption problems, use Mg-glycinate, Epsom salt baths, or Epsom transdermal cream.|
|Potassium||1500 mg||2000 mg||2000 mg|
|Zinc||5 mg||11 mg||15-45 mg||1-2 mg per kg bodyweight, and higher if pyrroluria exits (can test urinary
pyrroles at Biocenter Lab, Wichita, Kansas).
Balance with 1 mg of manganese for every 5 mg of zinc.
|Iron||10 mg||8 mg||(15-30 mg)||Take only if known deficiency exists or for menstruating women. Use only non-heme form.|
|Manganese||1.5 mg||2.3 mg||10-15 mg||If taking extra zinc, also take extra manganese in a ratio of 1 mg
manganese for every 5 mg zinc
|Copper||0.4 mg||0.9 mg||1-2 mg||AVOID!!! Almost everyone with autism has excess copper|
|Chromium||15 mcg||35 mcg||200-400 mcg|
|Iodine||90 mcg||150 mcg||50-150 mcg||Avoid in cases of a hyperthyroid condition|
|Selenium||30 mcg||55 mcg||100-200 mcg||For small children, stay below 50 mcg.|
|Molybdenum||22 mcg||45 mcg||10-25 mcg|
|Fluoride||1 mg||4 mg||*****||Do not supplement. Fluoridated water/toothpaste contains
Excess fluoride increases absorption of toxic metals.