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bumble
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07 Dec 2013, 5:26 pm

http://www.autismspeaks.org/science/sci ... ouse-model

Discuss.

What is your opinion in regards to links between diet and Autism? If you feel it plays a role, which dietary factors do you feel to be most likely?

If not dietary, what do you feel are the most likely contributory factors in regards to the cause/s of autism?

Which research do you personally favour at this moment in time (if any?)



btbnnyr
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07 Dec 2013, 5:34 pm

Over the summer, I talked to one of the profs on this study about this topic: maternal activation, immune system, autism, probiotics. The behaviors of the rodents in the rodent models sounded more like anxiety than autism, so we can only say that they are perhaps autism-like or anxiety-like, not that the model is similar to hoooman autism. They are going to do trials in hoooman children in collaboration with uc davis, so we can await those results to see if some subgroup of autistic children respond significantly to probiotic therapy.

For rodent model studies, it's best to take the result as something that happened in some specific models which may or may not be modeling something similar to hoooman autism. Other profs working in related areas have told me that they have created many different rodent models attempting to model autism, but it is verry merry berry difficult to know if these are doing so. Also, genetic models based on rett syndrome or 16p11 deletion syndrome, for eggsample, are probably far from similar to idiopathic autism or high functioning autism, as in the absence of intellectual disability, the genetic changes found in certain subgroups of syndromic autism are not found with increased frequency.


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The_Walrus
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07 Dec 2013, 6:32 pm

bumble wrote:
http://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/good-bacteria-ease-autism-behaviors-mouse-model

Discuss.
Attempting to model autism in rodents is probably futile. Autism is primarily a sensory and communication disorder. Rodents and humans have extremely different ways of communicating, and our senses differ a lot too (for example, rodents generally have a better sense of smell).
Quote:
What is your opinion in regards to links between diet and Autism? If you feel it plays a role, which dietary factors do you feel to be most likely?

Currently, all the evidence suggests there is no link between diet and autism.
Quote:
If not dietary, what do you feel are the most likely contributory factors in regards to the cause/s of autism?

It is at least partially genetic. Identical twins are more likely to share autism than non-identical twins. There are known causes, such as Rett's and exposure to rubella in the womb. It would be foolish of me to speculate further.
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Which research do you personally favour at this moment in time (if any?)

Cohort studies on babies. Chances are they'll be useless, but we basically have no leads, so it is worth a try.



The_Walrus
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07 Dec 2013, 7:09 pm

For anyone interested, here is the evidence that there is no relationship between diet and autism:
Cochrane: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... 3/abstract
"Research has shown of high rates of use of complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) for children with autism including gluten and/or casein exclusion diets. Current evidence for efficacy of these diets is poor. "

(There are other Cochrane reviews of other specific diets and supplementations, such as Omega 3 and Vitamin B6 supplementation, but none of the studies are any good)

The NHS:

Quote:
There is little evidence to support this theory, and no evidence that so-called 'treatments' for 'leaky gut syndrome', such as nutritional supplements and a gluten-free diet, have any beneficial effect for most of the conditions they are claimed to help.

While it is true that certain factors can make the bowel more permeable, this probably does not lead to anything more than temporary mild inflammation of an area of the bowel.
...
Exponents of 'leaky gut syndrome' – largely nutritionists and practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine – believe the bowel lining can become irritated and 'leaky' as the result of a much wider range of factors, including an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria in the bowel, a poor diet and the overuse of antibiotics.

They believe that undigested food particles, bacterial toxins and germs can pass through the 'leaky' gut wall and into the bloodstream, triggering the immune system and causing persistent inflammation throughout the body. This, they say, is linked to a much wider range of health problems and diseases, including:

food allergies
migraine
tiredness and chronic fatigue syndrome
asthma
autoimmune diseases (where the body's immune system attacks its own tissues) such as lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis
skin diseases like scleroderma
autism

The above theory is vague and currently largely unproven.
...
Some websites even promote various nutritional 'treatments' for autism, despite conflicting evidence. A 2006 review explored the potential effect of manipulating the diet of people with autism, concluding that the dietary treatments were "cumbersome" and not proven to be effective.

Generally, eliminating foods from the diet is not a good idea unless it's strictly necessary (for example, if you have coeliac disease), as it can lead to nutritional deficiencies.


The experiences of yourself and a few other individuals are not statistically significant. The swelling mass of people who have not been helped by cumbersome, eccentric dietary changes outweighs you. Please do not respond to me until you have understood the concepts of statistical significance, natural variation, regression to the mean and the placebo effect. We've already looked at this and found that it is a dead end.



Callista
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07 Dec 2013, 8:10 pm

The relationship between autism and diet seems rather simple to me:

Healthy autistic people learn better and cope better. When people eat a varied, nutritious diet, they become healthier; when people avoid foods that cause irritation or allergic reaction, they are more comfortable. So, the goal should be a nutritious diet--enough food to sustain you, the nutrients you need, without eating things that cause indigestion, allergies, or similar problems.

Psychologically, food can also be a good morale-booster. We focus a lot on "comfort food addiction" and on eating too much when we're upset, but those are the extremes of a very healthy phenomenon--the fact that humans can take pleasure in eating. Learning what you like and enjoying your food can fight stress and increase your well-being quite apart from the nutrition and calories in the food sustaining your body. Personally, I find that a good hot cup of peppermint tea makes me feel much less stressed--and there's practically no nutrition in it; it's essentially just flavored water. (Well, it does have menthol, which is good for fighting colds and stuffy noses. But I don't need to have a stuffy nose to feel pleasure from drinking peppermint tea.)

The experiment with the mice... Honestly, I'm not convinced. It's known to be a bad thing if you take antibiotics and they kill off the symbiotic bacteria in your large intestine, and yeah, you can fix that by restocking the bacteria. Understandable. So these mice got healthier when their intestinal tracts worked better; I can buy that. It's just... there's no real evidence that autistic people have a huge amount of trouble with the bacterial populations in their large intestine. If an autistic person does have that problem, then it would make sense to fix it, but there isn't really enough evidence to convince me that it would improve the life of an autistic person beyond just the improvement that you would have when you resolved any similarly bothersome health problem.


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07 Dec 2013, 8:42 pm

I posted this in another thread earlier. Callista's theory seems to match mine. It matches the varied results from diets:

My opinion is that being physically healthy can make it easier to cope thus improvements in physical health can improve functioning. This does not mean diet =cure

Example:

1) NT born with autistic traits(maybe BAP but not diagnosable) and a food sensitivity grows up very aspie-like, and definitely diagnosable. Why? He/she is physically ill causing traits to be amplified. Later, this person tries an elimination type diet in which he/she eliminates the food he/she is sensitive to. Now this person is NT with some nondiagnosable traits. Does this mean this is a cure for autism? No, the person in this example was never actually autistic but had traits worsened by being sick.



2) autistic person with same food sensitivity tries same diet. Although not NT, noticed significant improvements. Why? This person cured their physical illness and can now cope better due to having increased energy and overall well being.

3) another autistic person tries the same diet and notices no changes. Why? This person does not have food sensitivities. There was no physical illness making autistic traits worse. Later this person adopts bad health habits, gains a lot of weight, and is sedentary. Now this person is functioning worse. Why? He/she is no longer at his/her physical best. He/she changes health habits to a generally healthy diet(not a special diet just a healthy one) works out, and loses weight and is physically healthy again. Functioning level returns to where it was before developing poor health habits. Why? He/she is physically healthy again and can cope better.


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btbnnyr
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07 Dec 2013, 9:23 pm

There may be subgroups of people in which immune problems or gut problems do cause autism+anxiety behaviors diagnosed as autism, and perhaps probiotic therapy would be helpful for that subgroup, but not nearly the whole spectrum.


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cathylynn
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07 Dec 2013, 11:16 pm

goldfish, walrus posted lots of good evidence contrary to your claim. you may have taken statistics, but you don't understand the basics.



littlebee
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08 Dec 2013, 10:38 am

Quote:
If not dietary, what do you feel are the most likely contributory factors in regards to the cause/s of autism?

Genetic factors and/or parenting, either of which or a combination of both (creating all kinds of autism subgroups) can lead to autistic encapsulation.

I have put the word parenting in italics because it has become politically incorrect to acknowledge that parenting can be a contributing factor (and in some instances even the primary factor) and this lack of acknowledgment is imo detrimental to people who are autistic and even to society in general.



bumble
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08 Dec 2013, 11:08 am

Maybe people learn from their parents?

I had a parent with autistic traits...lived in his own world, unable to read social cues, unable to make friends/maintain friendships, people avoided him due to his being socially inappropriate, had a weird gate, could not show empathy and did not know how to express his emotions and had a liking for routine ( and would become most upset if his routine was altered). I don't remember him having a particular interest though unless horse riding counts (he was a national hunt jockey in his youth but had an accident which ended his career).

Always had to buy 2 of everything and would only drive a mini...preferably a red one. No idea why.

However he did acquire brain damage during said accident. Now the vote is out as to whether or not his problems were a result of that...according to relatives he was the same before his accident except for his memory problems which he did not have before.

I am a strange mix of my mother and my father (my mum was academically bright like myself whereas my father was not) but I have many of my fathers social problems all the same. It could be I learned from him or it could be genetic...I will never know.

I was also a premature baby born to a diabetic mother in her mid 40s so that may be a factor in regards to some of my problems...might explain why I didn't develop like my peers. I was around 2 months early and not very well at birth (repeated convulsions/seizures, bad jaundice and hypocalcemia...low levels of calcium etc). Was in special care for some time.

PN I am not sure I have autism so my problems might be something else entirely but I do wonder about prematurity and genetics etc in regards the effect they may have on a child being born with an ASD and/or other cognitive difficulties that might present similarly.

In what ways do you feel parenting may contribute?



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08 Dec 2013, 11:27 am

Callista wrote:
The relationship between autism and diet seems rather simple to me:

Healthy autistic people learn better and cope better. When people eat a varied, nutritious diet, they become healthier; when people avoid foods that cause irritation or allergic reaction, they are more comfortable. So, the goal should be a nutritious diet--enough food to sustain you, the nutrients you need, without eating things that cause indigestion, allergies, or similar problems.

Psychologically, food can also be a good morale-booster. We focus a lot on "comfort food addiction" and on eating too much when we're upset, but those are the extremes of a very healthy phenomenon--the fact that humans can take pleasure in eating. Learning what you like and enjoying your food can fight stress and increase your well-being quite apart from the nutrition and calories in the food sustaining your body.

I'd just like to clarify that I don't disagree with stuff like this- in fact that's partially why I disagree with talk of curing autism by making complicated dietary changes. It both risks malnutrition, and means you miss out on your comfort foods- neither of which are helpful.



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08 Dec 2013, 11:29 am

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Maybe people learn from their parents?

Yes, this for sure, but it's more about pain and pleasure. A child will form in a certain ways, using (manipulating) his own functioning to protect himself from emotional pain, as his own functioning is all he has to work with, except in the very beginning I do not think a disharmony is experienced so much as emotional pain, but more as anxiety or even terror. The subject is kind of complex to write about. I am trying to go into it little by little on various threads.

Thanks for your message. You gave a lot of interesting material, and I would love to reply in more detail and will, to the best of my capability, but have to go to work today and work a lot because of Christmas.



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08 Dec 2013, 4:55 pm

littlebee wrote:
Quote:
If not dietary, what do you feel are the most likely contributory factors in regards to the cause/s of autism?

Genetic factors and/or parenting, either of which or a combination of both (creating all kinds of autism subgroups) can lead to autistic encapsulation.

I have put the word parenting in italics because it has become politically incorrect to acknowledge that parenting can be a contributing factor (and in some instances even the primary factor) and this lack of acknowledgment is imo detrimental to people who are autistic and even to society in general.


It's not a matter of political correctness....it's a matter of epistemology (sorry I couldn't find a less obscure word). You can have seizures without having epilepsy. You can have shortness of breath and cough without having asthma.... It's no different with the symptoms of autism. People now recognize developmental, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral problems caused by parenting (some of which even have their own labels, like "Attachment Disorder") as separate from those that occur regardless of what type of parenting somebody receives.

It's a legitimate distinction, and it's made for good reason: At worst, you can do a lot of harm to someone trying to help them with problems they do not have (and harm was done to many autistic children who were removed from their parents and placed in institutions due to the widespread belief that parenting caused autism); At best, you do no harm but you fail to actually help.

Of course parenting can help or hinder an autistic person's development (as it would for anybody), but that doesn't mean parenting actually causes autism.


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08 Dec 2013, 5:01 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
I'd just like to clarify that I don't disagree with stuff like this- in fact that's partially why I disagree with talk of curing autism by making complicated dietary changes. It both risks malnutrition, and means you miss out on your comfort foods- neither of which are helpful.


Not eating a bunch of refined sugars doesn't risk malnutrition. It's only in the last 50 years or so that people have crammed their diets so full of refined sugars in the first place, and previous generations of humans were not malnutritioned for not eating them. (not-so) Coincidentally, it's also in the last 50 years or so that rates of mental health problems have skyrocketed. Missing out on comfort foods is a cost worth the benefit of mental and physical health, in my experience, and thus is very helpful.


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08 Dec 2013, 5:03 pm

goldfish21 wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
I'd just like to clarify that I don't disagree with stuff like this- in fact that's partially why I disagree with talk of curing autism by making complicated dietary changes. It both risks malnutrition, and means you miss out on your comfort foods- neither of which are helpful.


Not eating a bunch of refined sugars doesn't risk malnutrition. It's only in the last 50 years or so that people have crammed their diets so full of refined sugars in the first place, and previous generations of humans were not malnutritioned for not eating them. (not-so) Coincidentally, it's also in the last 50 years or so that rates of mental health problems have skyrocketed. Missing out on comfort foods is a cost worth the benefit of mental and physical health, in my experience, and thus is very helpful.


Good book, reading it now: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Primal-Body-Min ... rimal+mind

I agree that removing processed crud and sugars is not a bad move and won't in the least bit leave you with malnutrition.