General Autism Research


Altern Med Rev. 2002 Dec;7(6):472-99.

Autism, an extreme challenge to integrative medicine. Part 2: medical management.

Kidd PM.

Autism and allied autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) present myriad behavioral, clinical, and biochemical abnormalities. Parental participation, advanced testing protocols, and eclectic treatment strategies have driven progress toward cure. Behavioral modification and structured education are beneficial but insufficient. Dietary restrictions, including removal of milk and other casein dairy products, wheat and other gluten sources, sugar, chocolate, preservatives, and food coloring are beneficial and prerequisite to benefit from other interventions. Individualized IgG or IgE testing can identify other troublesome foods but not non-immune mediated food sensitivities. Gastrointestinal improvement rests on controlling Candida and other parasites, and using probiotic bacteria and nutrients to correct dysbiosis and decrease gut permeability. Detoxification of mercury and other heavy metals by DMSA/DMPS chelation can have marked benefit. Documented sulfoxidation-sulfation inadequacies call for sulfur-sulfhydryl repletion and other liver p450 support. Many nutrient supplements are beneficial and well tolerated, including dimethylglycine (DMG) and a combination of pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and magnesium, both of which benefit roughly half of ASD cases. Vitamins A, B3, C, and folic acid; the minerals calcium and zinc; cod liver oil; and digestive enzymes, all offer benefit. Secretin, a triggering factor for digestion, is presently under investigation. Immune therapies (pentoxifyllin, intravenous immunoglobulin, transfer factor, and colostrum) benefit selected cases. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids offer great promise. Current pharmaceuticals fail to benefit the primary symptoms and can have marked adverse effects. Individualized, in-depth clinical and laboratory assessments and integrative parent-physician-scientist cooperation are the keys to successful ASD management.



J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2005 Aug;15(4):671-81.

Treatment incidence and patterns in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.

Witwer A, Lecavalier L.

Department of Psychology and Nisonger Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210-1257, USA.

This study examined the treatment rates and patterns in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Data were collected on 353 nonreferred children and adolescents (mean age 9.5 +/- 3.9 years; range 3-21 years) with ASDs from public schools across Ohio. Parents provided information on the use of psychotropic medicines, vitamins, supplements, and modified diets. They also completed measures of social competence, problem behavior, and adaptive behavior. Results indicated that 46.7% of subjects had taken at least one psychotropic medication in the past year. In addition, 17.3% of subjects had taken some type of specially formulated vitamin or supplement, 15.5% were on a modified diet, 11.9% had some combination of psychotropic medication and an alternative treatment, and 4.8% had taken an anticonvulsant. Logistic regressions indicated that greater age, lower adaptive skills and social competence, and higher levels of problem behavior were associated with greater medication use. This was the first study to focus exclusively on a younger population, to survey patterns of modified diets, and to obtain standardized ratings of social competence, problem behaviors, and adaptive behavior in relation to medication use. The results of this study highlight the need for more research on psychotropic medication in children and adolescents with ASDs.



Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2005 Jul-Aug;44(6):515-26.

Teaching children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autistic disorder (AD) how to swallow pills.

Beck MH, Cataldo M, Slifer KJ, Pulbrook V, Guhman JK.

Kennedy Krieger Institute and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.

One barrier to medication adherence in pediatric populations is difficulty swallowing pills. Some children may not have prerequisite skills for pill swallowing, while others may have developed conditioned anxiety from repeated negative experiences. Eight children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or autistic disorder participated in behavioral training to increase cooperation with pill swallowing. A pill-swallowing protocol was utilized during practice sessions with placebo "pills" of increasing size to implement systematic desensitization. Seven of the 8 children swallowed medication with a therapist. Six of the 8 children maintained treatment gains over time. Interventions used to succeed with these children are presented along with methods to reduce conditioned behavioral distress.

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