Gluten/casein free diet may not help autism
May 21, 2010
A US study has concluded that a gluten and casein free diet does not appear to help children with autism.
Autism affects as many as 1 in 100 children in the US and these findings are going to be a disappointment to parents who have been following this diet to try to manage their childs autism.
The small study tested 14 children aged 2 to 5 who had been screened for coeliac (celiac) disease and was led by Dr. Susan Hyman of the University of Rochester in New York. The study found that the diet didn't show significant benefits or demonstrate a change in any of the core symptoms of autism or activity and sleep levels, however early behavioural treatments did.
After four weeks on the gluten & casein free diet the children were randomly given snacks containing gluten, casein, both or a placebo and then their behaviour monitored. Researchers reported to the International Meeting for Autism Research in Philadelphia that they found no differences in behaviour after being given these gluten and/or casein foods, however early childhood education appears to work in helping symptoms of autism.
Dr. Hyman said that while children with autism didn't show any improvement, it is possible that autistic children with lactose intolerance or coeliac disease may be help by the diet.
More research is needed to investigate if alternative dietary regimes may help.