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Complement Ther Med. 2012 Dec;20(6):437-40. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2012.08.004. Epub 2012 Sep 19.

A pilot study to evaluate nutritional influences on gastrointestinal symptoms and behavior patterns in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Author information

1
Department of Nutrition & Exercise Science, School of Natural Health Arts & Sciences, Bastyr University, NE Kenmore, WA 98028-4966, United States. charris@bastyr.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

One in 110 children in the US have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a debilitating and life-long disorder that affects the health, relationships, and learning of affected children. Existing research on the etiology, contributing factors, and treatment for ASD is limited and controversial. Studies suggest that GI symptoms are related to behavior issues in children with ASD, which may be improved by a gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet.

OBJECTIVES:

To evaluate the relationship between a GFCF diet and gastrointestinal symptoms and behavior patterns in children with ASD.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Cross-sectional design in which parents completed an online survey regarding general health, diet (adapted food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ)), gastrointestinal symptoms, and behavior patterns of their children with ASD.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Scores on the Gastrointestinal Symptoms Rating Scale (GSRS) and Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS).

RESULTS:

Seven of thirteen children (median age 9years) were on a GFCF diet, consuming significantly fewer gluten- and casein-containing foods than those not on a GFCF diet. GSRS and CARS scores did not differ significantly according to diet. Parents of all the children on a GFCF diet reported improved GI symptoms and behavior patterns.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study provides evidence that the adapted FFQ is an effective tool for evaluating adherence to a GFCF diet. Continued well-controlled research is necessary to elucidate the gut-brain relationship in ASD.

PMID:
23131376
DOI:
10.1016/j.ctim.2012.08.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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