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Autism treatment: Can special diets help?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/autism-treatment/AN01519
- With Mayo Clinic emeritus consultant
Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.read biographyclose window
Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.Jay Hoecker, M.D.
Dr. Jay Hoecker, an emeritus member of the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, brings valuable expertise to health information content on primary care pediatrics. He has a particular interest in infectious diseases of children.
He's a Fort Worth, Texas, native, certified as a pediatrician by the American Board of Pediatrics and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He was trained at Washington University's St. Louis Children's Hospital, and in infectious diseases at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He has been with Mayo Clinic since 1989.
"The World Wide Web is revolutionizing the availability and distribution of information, including health information about children and families," Dr. Hoecker says. "The evolution of the Web has included greater safety, privacy and accuracy over time, making the quality and access to children's health information immediate, practical and useful. I am happy to be a part of this service to patients from a trusted name in medicine, to use and foster all the good the Web has to offer children and their families."
Risk factors (1)
- Paternal age: How does it affect a baby?
Treatments and drugs (2)
- Autism treatment: Can chelation therapy help?
- Autism treatment: Can special diets help?
Autism treatment: Can special diets help?
Can special diets help children who have autism?
from Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.
There's no evidence that special diets are an effective autism treatment.
Some people believe that diets that are free of a protein found in dairy products (casein) and a protein found in many grains (gluten) affect the brain development and behavior that causes autism in children. However, there's little evidence that diet triggers autism or that restricting gluten and casein improves autism symptoms. And for growing children, restrictive diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Research is ongoing on the effectiveness of casein- and gluten-free diets.
Autism is a complex brain disorder that has no known cure. For this reason, many frustrated parents turn to unproven alternative treatments — such as restrictive diets that eliminate gluten and casein — in an attempt to help their children.
If you're considering an alternative autism treatment, talk to your child's doctor. He or she can help you identify the treatments that are most likely to be effective for your child, as well as local resources that may provide additional support. If you decide to pursue a restrictive diet, work with a registered dietitian to create an appropriate meal plan for your child.Next question
Paternal age: How does it affect a baby?
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- Whiteley P, et al. The ScanBrit randomised, controlled, single-blind study of a gluten- and casein-free dietary intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders. Nutritional Neuroscience. 2010;13:87.
- Millward C, et al. Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2008;2:CD003498.
- Peregrin T. Registered dietitians' insights in treating autistic children. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2007;107:727.