Monthly Research Review April 2016

The previous month in the Monthly Research Review highlighted studies showing the benefits of supplements that parents are commonly using to supplement their ASD children. I was surprised to find more studies being published in the month of February on trials of supplements and an interesting study on the herb Korean Red Ginseng.


Potency of pre-post treatment of coenzyme Q10 and melatonin supplement in ameliorating the impaired fatty acid profile in rodent model of autism. Full text. “Melatonin and coenzyme Q were effective in restoring normal level of most of the impaired fatty acids in PA-intoxicated rats which could help suggest both as supplements to ameliorate the autistic features induced in rat pups.”

Association of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene C677T polymprphism with autism: evidence of genetic susceptibility. “present meta-analysis strongly suggested a significant association of the MTHFR C677T polymorphism with autism.”

Plasma amino acid profile in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Full text. “We found significant differences in levels of ammonium, phosphoethanolamine, histidine, homocysteine, carnosine, methionine, cystathionine, cystine, threonine, 3-methyl histidine and phenylalanine/tyrosine ratio between patient and control groups. Both vitamin B12 and D were significantly lower in the ASD group compared to controls.” Autism is treatable. The evidence continues to accumulate that there are biochemical and nutritional abnormalities in these individuals.

Exposure to Folate Receptor Alpha Antibodies during Gestation and Weaning Leads to Severe Behavioral Deficits in Rats: A Pilot Study. Full text. “Folate deficiency and folate receptor alpha autoantibodies (FRα-AuAb) have been associated with pregnancy-related complications and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Blocking and Binding Folate Receptor Alpha Autoantibodies Identify Novel Autism Spectrum Disorder Subgroups. Full text. “Folate receptor α (FRα) autoantibodies (FRAAs) are prevalent in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They disrupt the transportation of folate across the blood-brain barrier by binding to the FRα. Children with ASD and FRAAs have been reported to respond well to treatment with a form of folate known as folinic acid, suggesting that they may be an important ASD subgroup to identify and treat.” This study and the study above indicate that there is a subgroup of children that benefit significantly with the active form of folate.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Autism: The Question of Omega-3. “In this article, we address the role of omega-3 in the treatment of ASD, reviewing the relevant literature highlighted by searches of PubMed from 1949 to the present. According to the criteria of evidence-based medicine (ie, randomized clinical trials), the data do not support the effectiveness of omega-3 treatment in children with ASD. However, based on anecdotal experiences and on nonrandomized trials, we cannot exclude that there might be a subset of people with ASD who do respond to this type of approach.”

Gender Dependent Evaluation of Autism like Behavior in Mice Exposed to Prenatal Zinc Deficiency.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Fecal Microbiota Transplantation: Current Applications, Effectiveness, and Future Perspectives. Full text. “The high success rate and safety in the short term reported for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection has elevated FMT as an emerging treatment for a wide range of disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, ……and autism.”

The microbiota-gut-brain axis and its potential therapeutic role in autism spectrum disorder. “Research continues to show that the gut in autistic children is a promising area of treatment. Parents treating their children’s gut issues are seeing some amazing improvements in their children. The US, Canadian and UK Paediatricians have guidelines recommending that all ASD children should have a comprehensive gastrointestinal assessment. Unfortunately, Australian Paediatricians have not adopted similar guidelines.”

Multiple inflammasome complexes are activated in autistic spectrum disorders. “…intestinal fatty acid binding protein (IFABP), an index of altered GI permeability, was significantly increased in serum of ASD

Heavy Metals and Environmental Pollutants

Metals and Neurodegeneration. Full text. “Epidemiological and clinical studies have shown a strong correlation between aberrant metal exposure and a number of neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autism spectrum disorders ….

Perinatal exposure to lead (Pb) promotes Tau phosphorylation in the rat brain in a GSK-3β and CDK5 dependent manner: Relevance to neurological disorders Although this is an animal study it does confirm that lead “in whole blood below 10μg/dL, considered safe for humans”, can lead to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases as well as autism.

Increased Release of Mercury from Dental Amalgam Fillings due to Maternal Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields as a Possible Mechanism for the High Rates of Autism in the Offspring: Introducing a Hypothesis. “There are some evidence indicating that perinatal exposure to mercury is significantly associated with an increased risk of developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)…..exposure to MRI or microwave radiation emitted by common mobile phones can lead to increased release of mercury from dental amalgam fillings…..our findings can lead us to this conclusion that maternal exposure to electromagnetic fields in mothers with dental amalgam fillings may cause elevated levels of mercury and trigger the increase in autism rates.”

Plasma phthalate and bisphenol A levels and oxidant-antioxidant status in autistic children. “Phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) are endocrine disruting chemicals (EDCs) that are suggested to exert neurotoxic effects. Plasma BPA levels of children with PDD-NOS were significantly higher than both classic autistic children and controls.”

Association of current phthalate exposure with neurobehavioral development in a national sample. “…increased phthalate exposure exhibited supralinear associations with social, thought and attention problems in children aged 6-11 years, who showed greater vulnerability to phthalate exposure.”

Alzheimer’s disease and Autistic Spectrum Disorder: Is there any Association?Modern technology resulting in genetically modified crops and increase in gadgets emitting electromagnetic frequencies have resulted in enhanced risks for neurological dysfunctions and disorders like ASD and AD. Subsequent advances in the psychological, pharmacological, biochemical and nutritional aspects of the disorders have resulted in the development of newer therapeutic approaches.”

Neuro-inflammatory mechanisms in developmental disorders associated with Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder: a neuro-immune perspective. “These results may reflect an inappropriate immune response to environmental factors, such as infectious or toxic exposure. The role of microglia as sensors of pre- and post-natal environmental stimuli and its involvement in the regulation of synaptic connectivity, maturation of brain circuitry and neurogenesis has recently emerged.”

Parent/ Carer Stress and ASD Adults Quality of Life

The impact of caring for an adult with intellectual disability and psychiatric comorbidity on carer stress and psychological distress. “Carers of people with ID and comorbid psychopathology were found to have significantly higher levels of stress and psychological distress than carers of people with ID alone. Autism was found to be the only significant predictor of both stress and psychological distress among measures of psychopathology.”

Stress and Parents of Children with Autism: A Review of Literature. “The daily challenges of caring for the child are endless and effect all aspects of the child’s care as well as the parent’s mental health and ability to manage the needs of the child and family.”

People with autism ‘die younger’, warns charity

Aging and autism spectrum disorder: Evidence from the broad autism phenotype

Realizing a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder as an adult.

More research

Perioperative and Anesthesia Guidelines for Children with Autism: A Nationwide Survey from Sweden.

Autism and sleep disorders. Full text. Improvement in sleep can make a significant improvement to the quality of life for the ASD individual and their family.

Epilepsy and Autism. “Epilepsy and autistic spectrum disorder frequently coexist in the same individual. Electroencephalogram (EEG) epileptiform activity is also present at a substantially higher rate in children with autism than normally developing children.”

Case 3: Regression in an adolescent with autism spectrum disorder. Full text.

For more research into ASD that your medical professional is not reading. Just follow the link to my Autism page, and scroll down to Current Research – Selected research articles of interest.

Be informed, NOT misinformed!