c improvements. But these claims are based on hope, lack factual basis and fall short of the required scientific evidence.
did observe improvements in behavior and cognitive skills in autistic children who were placed on special diets. But the research lacked specificity, as it was not corroborated with a control study. As a health condition that is variable and not well comprehended, researchers are willing to consider the notion that gluten and casein may aggravate the symptoms in autistic children, even if it is only by intensifying the gastro-intestinal discomfort.
Scientific research has been initiated recently
with the hope that it will provide the much-needed means to manage this little understood disorder. Although in its infancy, current studies hope to plug the loopholes created by the earlier studies. These ventures are difficult and demanding - recruiting participants remains the prime obstacle.
The following are the studies undertaken by some research groups -
Robin Hansen, of the University of California, Davis, has initiated a study where all the subjects will be on a gluten-free diet
for two months after which half the subjects will be provided gluten free snacks daily for another two months, while the other half will be provided snacks containing gluten. The snacks will remain indistinguishable to the researchers and the parents alike in order to avoid biased evaluations.
The effect of a gluten-free, casein-free diet, in combination with the omega-3 fatty acids
is being researched at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Susan Hyman, of the University of Rochester, is undertaking a study on the lines of Robin Hansen, in which she is evaluating the effect of both gluten and casein
on autistic children.
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