Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rochester autism researchers present new findings at IMFAR

16.05.2011
Studies include complementary medicine use, medication use, risk for lead toxicity and nutrition

Much about autism is unknown, but researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) are working to learn more about the neurodevelopmental disorder and its most effective treatments. A team of researchers from URMC joins researchers from across the world in San Diego this week for the 10th annual International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR).

Rochester researchers are presenting six abstracts on topics ranging from complementary medicine-use rates to nutritional insufficiencies in children with autism spectrum disorders. They even looked at how artificial food dye might affect children with autism.

"It's incredibly important that we find the most effective interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders," said Susan Hyman, M.D., chief of Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at URMC's Golisano Children's Hospital and an active autism researcher and clinician. "We also need to examine whether traditional and non-traditional treatments may be helping or causing harm, and what roles environmental factors may be playing in autism."

Hyman said that participation in the Autism Treatment Network (ATN) funded by Autism Speaks and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and partnering with the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) has allowed the growth of clinical research related to autism at URMC. The abstracts presented this week reflect Rochester data and analyses of the ATN database of more than 3,000 children and youth across 15 ATN sites in the U.S. and Canada.

Autism and nutrition

Patricia Stewart, Ph.D., R.D., director of Bionutrition for the CTSI at URMC, examined the nutritional intake of children with autism, including supplement use. It is important to understand how the significant food related behaviors and aversions that children with autism impact their current and future health. Her abstract shows that two-thirds of children with autism are taking supplements, twice the rate in the general pediatric population (32 percent). She reports that the nutrients most likely to be deficient in the children, were not included in adequate amounts in the supplements used. For example, most of those supplements contain vitamin D (97 percent), few contain choline (37 percent), vitamin K (11 percent) and potassium (8 percent). None contained any fiber, which is important for bowel health and is eaten in limited amounts by picky eaters.

In addition, there were several nutrients in supplements – folate, niacin and vitamin A – that exceeded recommended levels, even before adding in the nutrients from food. Excessive amounts of these nutrients don't usually cause a problem, but there are known side effects that families and their health care providers need to be aware of. Too much folate can mask a neurological complication of vitamin B12 deficiency and some evidence shows that high levels can provoke seizures in patients on anti-convulsant medications. Too much niacin can cause flushing, gastrointestinal distress and liver damage. And too much vitamin A can have teratological effects (birth defects and other abnormalities of development), liver toxicity, reduced bone mineral density resulting in osteoporosis and central nervous system disorders.

"It's important for dieticians and health care providers to know the potential nutritional insufficiencies and excesses children with autism may be experiencing," Stewart said. "Diet and supplement use can impact their health and some nutritional problems may also affect their behavior. There is a great need for additional research in this area."

Food dyes and sleep

Many families – who have children with autism or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or who have typically developing kids – eliminate food dyes from their diet, hoping to avoid behavior issues. Some studies suggest artificial food dyes may increase hyperactivity in children, but the effect on children with autism has not been examined. Hyman, Stewart and their collaborators, in the course of conducting a study of the diet and nutrition of children with autism spectrum disorders, performed a pilot study on the effect of food dye consumption on a small group of children with autism. Food dye intake was determined from a three-day food record and examined relative to parent questionnaires regarding behavior.

Among the 25 children enrolled, five had no food dye in their diet. Hyman found no correlation between artificial food dye consumption and repetitive behaviors or externalizing behaviors; however, she did find a correlation between yellow food dye consumption and sleep disturbances.

"While this is only a pilot study and needs to be interpreted conservatively, it merits a clinical trial to determine whether food dye might aggravate behaviors in children with ASD who are at greater risk for sleep problems than other children," Hyman said.

Complementary treatments

Another abstract authored by Hyman and colleagues was based on an analysis of the national dataset collected by the Autism Treatment Network on the use of complementary and alternative medicine in children with autism. It highlights the need for physicians to keep track of what other treatments parents may be using for their children. About 450 of the almost 2,500 children in the registry at the time the data were analysed, reported use of complementary therapies. About one-fifth of these 450 children were given a special diet at the time they entered the Autism Treatment Network. However, that rate changed throughout the first year of follow up. Between 5 and 10 percent of families who were followed over the next year stopped using a special diet and about the same number started diets over the next year.

"Many children with autism are put on special diets by their families to see if elimination of specific foods such as those containing gluten or casein will help with development or behavior. Health care providers need to ask about the use of dietary interventions so appropriate nutritional counseling can take place in the context of primary and specialty care," Hyman said. "When it comes to complementary therapies, doctors do need to ask and families do need to tell."

Heather Hare | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rochester.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Correct connections are crucial
26.06.2017 | Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Extensive Funding for Research on Chromatin, Adrenal Gland, and Cancer Therapy

28.06.2017 | Awards Funding

Predicting eruptions using satellites and math

28.06.2017 | Earth Sciences

Extremely fine measurements of motion in orbiting supermassive black holes

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>