Dietary Change May Cure Or Treat Rare Form Of Autism
Researchers have discovered a treatment for a rare type of autism, suggesting that dietary changes in those with the condition could have positive effect.
The version of autism in question stems from branched chained amino acids, an important protein in brain chemistry, the L.A. Times reported. The body gets the proteins from food, and, in most people, a gene slows down the metabolism of the protein to regulate supply. Mutations in the gene result in the protein being broken down too fast, and the result is a severe, rare variety of autism. People with this type of autism have social and communication deficits as well as conditions like epilepsy and mental retardation.
The study, published in the online journal Science, is encouraging because it suggests a simple treatment: Eat more branched chain amino acids, which KPLCTV.com reports can be purchased at health food stores. In studies in mice, symptoms were able to be controlled simply with the dietary change.
Like most medical studies, even the synopsis sounds a bit jargon heavy for the average person, but the last sentence of the reseachers’ summary is easy enough to understand.
“Thus, autism presenting with intellectual disability and epilepsy caused by BCKDK mutations represents a potentially treatable syndrome,” the report said.
While any progress in medical treatments is a good thing, it will likely be of little to no benefit for most people with autism, as the mutation is thought to be very rare, accounting for only a small percent of autism cases.