[Note: I have found it necessary_to use an inordinate amount of underscores within my text due to some program which inserts unwanted_hyperlinks. I am very sorry for any inconvenience. If I missed one, apologies. each time I edit, another set of words is chosen to be hyperlinked. I’d welcome a solution to anyone who has found one.]

Vacation_plus_Ha1loween! I’m as stuffed as a Chicago, deep-dish pizza. Post-Halloween remorse with a vengeance.

A few weeks ago, I posted a story about a Halloween party I attended, given by the agency that runs the group_home where my brother lived. Mike is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal. At the time, I marveled at the unbridled exuberance displayed by all the clients. On this one day of the year, all their strangeness disappears and they are like everyone else.

I didn’t really think about the logistics of that Halloween_party_, given for a group made up of members, each of whom has a prescribed diet. It must have been a nightmare! I know that my brother is a picky_eater. He doesn’t like what he is supposed to eat, and he tries to eat what isn’t good for him. The only thing that sticks in my mind is that he is not supposed to eat_chocolate. Not a good match up with the Halloween fare.

I started thinking about how tough it must be for the parents who have children with restricted diets. Do they stay away from Halloween altogether? Do they make a special celebration_with appropriate food… ahem… I mean_candy?

The state of research about nutrition and autism

Since autism itself is described on a spectrum, i.e., Autism_Spectrum_Disorder (ASD), and a single cause for autism has not been found, one cannot state that there is one diet or set of dietary principles that can be applied to all autistic individuals. An article written in 2008 concludes that nutrition plays a major role in ASD, but “Larger studies are needed to determine optimum multifactorial treatment_plans involving nutrition, environmental control, medication, and behavioral/education_/speech/physical_therapies..” [1]

Even in a more focused study addressing a recent finding that some autistic individuals may have a non-standard folate-methionine metabolism has not resulted in a definitive conclusion. The authors concluded that “further research is required… before any definitive conclusions can be made about the role for a dysfunctional folate-methionine pathway in the etiology of autism.” [2]

Both of the recent literature_reviews cited above conclude that more research is needed. Even the study focused on a single metabolic_pathway cannot draw conclusions without requiring more evidence. The lack of scientific consensus about the link of diet to autism plus the fact that some factions claim that a specific diet either cures or alleviates the symptoms_of_autism, makes it very confusing to the average person.

Even if there were a dietary cure, the fact that there are many autistic individuals with have feeding problems, [3] would make the solution very hard to implement.

Hopefully, falling off the dietary wagon once a year will not wreak too much havoc. Hope everyone had a fun Halloween.

[1] Curtis, L.T., Patel, K. Nutritional and environmental approaches to preventing and treating_autism and Attention_Deficit Hyperactivity_Disorder (ADHD): a review The Journal of Alternative and Complementary_Medicine. January/February 2008, 14(1): 79-85

[2] Main, P.A.E., et. al Folate and methionine metabolism in autism: a systematic review Am J Clin Nutr June 2010 91(6): 1598-1620

[3] Ledford, J.R., Gast, D.L. Feeding problems in children with autism spectrum disorders: a review Focus on Autism and Other Dev Disabl Fall 2006 21(3): 153-166 h

One thought on “Ugh!

  1. I’ve encountered that hyperlink problem too. Bizarre. No rationale that I could find for the words it chooses to hyperlink. The only way of getting rid of them I could find was to delete the word and re-type it. Annoying 🙁

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