Brudnak, M. A., B. Rimland, et al. (2002). "Enzyme-based therapy for autism spectrum disorders -- is it worth another look?" Med Hypotheses 58(5): 422-8.
Autism is a developmental disease usually manifesting within the first three years of life. To date, no causative agent has been found. Similarly, treatment options have been limited. Of the treatment options available, a number of them have been nutritionally based in an attempt to address one or more of the theories regarding the etiology of the disease. An example would be enzyme therapy for the digestion of purported offending neuroactive peptides collectively known as exorphins. This paper discusses the exorphin theory of autism and subsequent treatment with dietary enzyme therapy. Novel data are presented in support of the theory that enzymes play a critical role in autism. Forty-six patients between the ages of 5 and 31 were selected for inclusion in the study based on a diagnosis placing them in the category of the autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The diets were supplemented with a novel dietary enzyme formulation, ENZYMAID, for a period of 12 weeks. Progress was tracked according to the Symptom Outcome Survey (SOS) (1) form method of symptom charting and presented in a table for further analysis. The novel enzyme formula, ENZYMAID, beneficially and safely affected all 13 of the parameters measured. Improvements ranged from 50-90%, depending on the parameter measured. Enzyme therapy to treat ASD may indeed a viable option in treatment protocols. These results indicate that further controlled studies are warranted.
Chez, M. G., T. Dowling, et al. (2007). "Elevation of tumor necrosis factor-alpha in cerebrospinal fluid of autistic children." Pediatr Neurol 36(6): 361-5.
Recent reports implicating elevated cytokines in the central nervous system in a small number of patients studied with autism have reported clinical regression. These studies have not focused on tumor necrosis factor-alpha as a possible marker for inflammatory damage. A series of 10 children with autism had clinical evaluation of their serum and spinal fluid for inflammatory changes and possible metabolic disease as part of their neurological evaluation. Elevation of cerebrospinal fluid levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha was significantly higher (mean = 104.10 pg/mL) than concurrent serum levels (mean = 2.78 pg/mL) in all of the patients studied. The ratio of the cerebrospinal fluid levels to serum levels averaged 53.7:1. This ratio is significantly higher than the elevations reported for other pathological states for which cerebrospinal fluid and serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha levels have been simultaneously measured. This observation may offer a unique insight into central nervous system inflammatory mechanisms that may contribute to the onset of autism and may serve as a potential clinical marker. More controlled study of this potentially important observation may prove valuable.
Elder, J. H., M. Shankar, et al. (2006). "The gluten-free, casein-free diet in autism: results of a preliminary double blind clinical trial." J Autism Dev Disord 36(3): 413-20.
This study tested the efficacy of a gluten-free and casein-free (GFCF) diet in treating autism using a randomized, double blind repeated measures crossover design. The sample included 15 children aged 2-16 years with autism spectrum disorder. Data on autistic symptoms and urinary peptide levels were collected in the subjects' homes over the 12 weeks that they were on the diet. Group data indicated no statistically significant findings even though several parents reported improvement in their children. Although preliminary, this study demonstrates how a controlled clinical trial of the GFCF diet can be conducted, and suggests directions for future research.
Fayad, M. N., R. Choueiri, et al. (1997). "Landau-Kleffner syndrome: consistent response to repeated intravenous gamma-globulin doses: a case report." Epilepsia 38(4): 489-94.
PURPOSE: Although several treatments have been tried for Landau-Kleffner syndrome (LKS) too many patients are refractory to known therapies. We report an 8-year-old girl who failed other therapies but who had a consistent response after treatment with intravenous (i.v.) gamma-globulin. METHODS: We monitored the girl from the age of 6 years, when she presented with a 6-month history of loss of language with normal hearing, normal brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), increased cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) IgG index, and an EEG showing almost continuous, predominantly left-sided spike- and slow-wave complexes. She had no clinical seizures and did not respond to consecutive trials of valproate (VPA), clonazepam (CZP), prednisone, and carbamazepine (CBZ). She received three courses of intravenous (i.v.) gamma-globulin; after each course, clinical and electrographic improvement lasted a few months. After each of the initial two courses, clinical improvement lasted 3-4 months but was followed by recurrence of the spikes on the EEG and by speech deterioration. RESULTS: However, her last remission has been continuous for the past 16 months. Her CSF IgG index became normal after the first i.v. gamma-globulin infusion. CONCLUSIONS: Based on our experience with this patient and on other investigators' experience, we believe that further research into immunologic mechanisms and therapies of this syndrome are warranted.
Feasby, T., B. Banwell, et al. (2007). "Guidelines on the use of intravenous immune globulin for neurologic conditions." Transfus Med Rev 21(2 Suppl 1): S57-107.
Canada's per capita use of intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) grew by approximately 115% between 1998 and 2006, making Canada one of the world's highest per capita users of IVIG. It is believed that most of this growth is attributable to off-label usage. To help ensure IVIG use is in keeping with an evidence-based approach to the practice of medicine, the National Advisory Committee on Blood and Blood Products (NAC) and Canadian Blood Services convened a panel of national experts to develop an evidence-based practice guideline on the use of IVIG for neurologic conditions. The mandate of the expert panel was to review evidence regarding use of IVIG for 22 neurologic conditions and formulate recommendations on IVIG use for each. A panel of 6 clinical experts, one expert in practice guideline development and 4 representatives from the NAC met to review the evidence and reach consensus on the recommendations for the use of IVIG. The primary sources used by the panel were 2 recent evidence-based reviews. Recommendations were based on interpretation of the available evidence and, where evidence was lacking, consensus of expert clinical opinion. A draft of the practice guideline was circulated to neurologists in Canada for feedback. The results of this process were reviewed by the expert panel, and modifications to the draft guideline were made where appropriate. This practice guideline will provide the NAC with a basis for making recommendations to provincial and territorial health ministries regarding IVIG use management. Recommendations for use of IVIG were made for 14 conditions, including acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, dermatomyositis, diabetic neuropathy, Guillain-Barre syndrome, Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome, multifocal motor neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, opsoclonus-myoclonus, pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections, polymyositis, Rasmussen's encephalitis, and stiff person syndrome; IVIG was not recommended for 8 conditions including adrenoleukodystrophy, amyotropic lateral sclerosis, autism, critical illness polyneuropathy, inclusion body, myositis, intractable childhood epilepsy, paraproteinemic neuropathy (IgM variant), and POEMS syndrome. Development and dissemination of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines may help to facilitate appropriate use of IVIG.
Golubchik, P., M. Lewis, et al. (2007). "Neurosteroids in child and adolescent psychopathology." Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 17(3): 157-64.
Neurosteroids play a significant role in neurodevelopment and are involved in a wide variety of psychopathological processes. There is accumulating evidence on their role in adult psychopathology, including Alzheimer disease, schizophrenia, mood disorder, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. Little is known, however, about the possible role of neurosteroids in child and adolescent psychopathology although there is increasing evidence for their critical role from the early stages of brain development until adolescence. In this review we focus on the involvement of neurosteroids in neurodevelopment and mental disorders in children and adolescents. Adequate physiological levels protect the developing neural system from insult and contribute to the regulation of brain organization and function. Neurosteroids may be involved in the pathophysiology and pharmacotherapy of a variety of disorders in children and adolescents, including schizophrenia, depression, eating disorders, aggressive behavior and attention deficit. The complex interaction between neurosteroids, neurodevelopment, life-events, genetics and mental disorders in children and adolescents merits further investigation.
Gupta, S. (1999). "Treatment of children with autism with intravenous immunoglobulin." J Child Neurol 14(3): 203-5.
Gupta, S. (2000). "Immunological treatments for autism." J Autism Dev Disord 30(5): 475-9.
Several investigators, including ourselves, have reported significant changes in various immune responses in children with autism. These changes demonstrate dysregulation of the immune system (deficiency in some components of the immune system and excesses in others). In addition, certain genes in the major histocompatibility complex (that regulates immune responses) appear to be involved in autism. Based upon immunological abnormalities, various treatment modalities have been applied to children with autism. In this brief review, these immunological changes and various biological therapies are analyzed and summarized.
Gupta, S., S. Aggarwal, et al. (1996). "Dysregulated immune system in children with autism: beneficial effects of intravenous immune globulin on autistic characteristics." J Autism Dev Disord 26(4): 439-52.
Gupta, S., B. Rimland, et al. (1996). "Pentoxifylline: brief review and rationale for its possible use in the treatment of autism." J Child Neurol 11(6): 501-4.
Johnson, S. M. and E. Hollander (2003). "Evidence that eicosapentaenoic acid is effective in treating autism." J Clin Psychiatry 64(7): 848-9.
Knivsberg, A. M., K. L. Reichelt, et al. (2002). "A randomised, controlled study of dietary intervention in autistic syndromes." Nutr Neurosci 5(4): 251-61.
Impaired social interaction, communication and imaginative skills characterize autistic syndromes. In these syndromes urinary peptide abnormalities, derived from gluten, gliadin, and casein, are reported. They reflect processes with opioid effect. The aim of this single blind study was to evaluate effect of gluten and casein-free diet for children with autistic syndromes and urinary peptide abnormalities. A randomly selected diet and control group with 10 children in each group participated. Observations and tests were done before and after a period of 1 year. The development for the group of children on diet was significantly better than for the controls.
Knivsberg, A. M., K. L. Reichelt, et al. (1995). "Autistic symptoms and diet: a follow-up study." Scand J Ed Research 39: 223-236.
Millward, C., M. Ferriter, et al. (2004). "Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder." Cochrane Database Syst Rev(2): CD003498.
BACKGROUND: It has been suggested that peptides from gluten and casein may have a role in the origins of autism and that the physiology and psychology of autism might be explained by excessive opioid activity linked to these peptides. Research has reported abnormal levels of peptides in the urine and cerebrospinal fluid of persons with autism. If this is the case, diets free of gluten and /or casein should reduce the symptoms associated with autism. OBJECTIVES: To determine the efficacy of gluten- and/or casein- free diets as an intervention to improve behaviour, cognitive and social functioning in individuals with autism. SEARCH STRATEGY: Electronic searching of abstracts from the Cochrane Library (Issue 3, 2003), PsycINFO (1971- May 2003), EMBASE (1974- May 2003), CINAHL (1982- May 2003), MEDLINE (1986- May 2003), ERIC (1965-2003), LILACS (to 2003) and the specialist register of the Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field (January 2004). Review bibliographies were also examined to identify potential trials. SELECTION CRITERIA: All randomised controlled trials involving programmes which eliminated gluten, casein or both gluten and casein from the diets of individuals diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Abstracts of studies identified in searches of electronic databases were read and assessed to determine whether they might meet the inclusion criteria. The authors independently selected the relevant studies from the reports identified in this way. As only one trial fitted the inclusion criteria, no meta-analysis is currently possible and data are presented in narrative form. MAIN RESULTS: The one trial included reported results on four outcomes. Unsurprisingly in such a small-scale study, the results for three of these outcomes (cognitive skills, linguistic ability and motor ability) had wide confidence intervals that spanned the line of nil effect. However, the fourth outcome, reduction in autistic traits, reported a significant beneficial treatment effect for the combined gluten- and casein- free diet. REVIEWERS' CONCLUSIONS: This is an important area of investigation and large scale, good quality randomised controlled trials are needed.
Plioplys, A. V. (1998). "Intravenous immunoglobulin treatment of children with autism." J Child Neurol 13(2): 79-82.
Since autism has been associated with immunologic abnormalities suggesting an autoimmune cause of autistic symptoms in a subset of patients, this study was undertaken to investigate whether intravenous immunoglobulin (i.v.Ig) would improve autistic symptoms. Ten autistic children with immunologic abnormalities, demonstrated on blood tests, were enrolled in this study. Their ages ranged from 4 to 17 years, with two girls and eight boys. Eight children (1 female and 7 male) historically had undergone autistic regression. Intravenous immunoglobulin, 200 to 400 mg/kg, was administered every 6 weeks for an intended treatment program of four infusions. In five children, there was no detectable change in behavior during the treatment program. In four children, there was a mild improvement noted in attention span and hyperactivity. In none of these children did the parents feel that the improvement was sufficient to warrant further continuation of the infusions beyond the termination of the program. Only in one child was there a very significant improvement, with almost total amelioration of autistic symptoms over the time period of the four infusions. Once the treatment program was completed, this child gradually deteriorated over a 5-month time period and fully reverted to his previous autistic state. In this treatment program, five children had no response to intravenous immunoglobulin. In the four children who showed mild improvements, those improvements may simply have been due to nonspecific effects of physician intervention and parental expectation (ie, placebo effect). However, in one child there was a very significant amelioration of autistic symptoms. There were no distinguishing historic or laboratory features in this child who improved. Given a positive response rate of only 10% in this study, along with the high economic costs of the immunologic evaluations and the intravenous immunoglobulin treatments, the use of intravenous immunoglobulin to treat autistic children should be undertaken only with great caution, and only under formal research protocols.
Plioplys, A. V. (2000). "Intravenous immunoglobulin treatment in autism." J Autism Dev Disord 30(1): 73-4.
Robinson, P., D. Anderson, et al. (2007). "Evidence-based guidelines on the use of intravenous immune globulin for hematologic and neurologic conditions." Transfus Med Rev 21(2 Suppl 1): S3-8.
In Canada, intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) use has increased by 115% over the past 7 to 8 years. Given this increased usage, Canadian Blood Services and the National Advisory Committee on Blood and Blood Products for Canada identified the need to develop and disseminate evidence-based guidelines to facilitate appropriate IVIG use. As a result, guidelines for IVIG use in hematologic and neurologic conditions have been developed and are published in this supplement of Transfusion Medicine Reviews. This commentary provides a brief description of the process used to develop these guidelines and includes a summary of the recommendations for IVIG use in the various conditions evaluated.
Rossignol, D. A., L. W. Rossignol, et al. (2007). "The effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on oxidative stress, inflammation, and symptoms in children with autism: an open-label pilot study." BMC Pediatr 7(1): 36.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Recently, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has increased in popularity as a treatment for autism. Numerous studies document oxidative stress and inflammation in individuals with autism; both of these conditions have demonstrated improvement with HBOT, along with enhancement of neurological function and cognitive performance. In this study, children with autism were treated with HBOT at atmospheric pressures and oxygen concentrations in current use for this condition. Changes in markers of oxidative stress and inflammation were measured. The children were evaluated to determine clinical effects and safety. METHODS: Eighteen children with autism, ages 3-16 years, underwent 40 hyperbaric sessions of 45 minutes duration each at either 1.5 atmospheres (atm) and 100% oxygen, or at 1.3 atm and 24% oxygen. Measurements of C-reactive protein (CRP) and markers of oxidative stress, including plasma oxidized glutathione (GSSG), were assessed by fasting blood draws collected before and after the 40 treatments. Changes in clinical symptoms, as rated by parents, were also assessed. The children were closely monitored for potential adverse effects. RESULTS: At the endpoint of 40 hyperbaric sessions, neither group demonstrated statistically significant changes in mean plasma GSSG levels, indicating intracellular oxidative stress appears unaffected by either regimen. A trend towards improvement in mean CRP was present in both groups; the largest improvements were observed in children with initially higher elevations in CRP. When all 18 children were pooled, a significant improvement in CRP was found (p = 0.021). Pre- and post-parental observations indicated statistically significant improvements in both groups, including motivation, speech, and cognitive awareness (p < 0.05). No major adverse events were observed. CONCLUSIONS: In this prospective pilot study of children with autism, HBOT at a maximum pressure of 1.5 atm with up to 100% oxygen was safe and well tolerated. HBOT did not appreciably worsen oxidative stress and significantly decreased inflammation as measured by CRP levels. Parental observations support anecdotal accounts of improvement in several domains of autism. However, since this was an open-label study, definitive statements regarding the efficacy of HBOT for the treatment of individuals with autism must await results from double-blind, controlled trials. Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov NCT00324909.
Schneider, C. K., R. D. Melmed, et al. (2006). "Oral human immunoglobulin for children with autism and gastrointestinal dysfunction: a prospective, open-label study." J Autism Dev Disord 36(8): 1053-64.
Immunoglobulin secretion onto mucosal surfaces is a major component of the mucosal immune system. We hypothesized that chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances associated with autistic disorder (AD) may be due to an underlying deficiency in mucosal immunity, and that orally administered immunoglobulin would be effective in alleviating chronic GI dysfunction in these individuals. In this pilot study, twelve male subjects diagnosed with AD were evaluated using a GI severity index (GSI) while receiving daily dosing with encapsulated human immunoglobulin. Following eight weeks of treatment, 50% of the subjects met prespecified criteria for response in GI signs and symptoms and showed significant behavioral improvement as assessed by the Autism Behavior Checklist and parent and physician rated Clinical Global Impression of Improvement.
Shenoy, S., S. Arnold, et al. (2000). "Response to steroid therapy in autism secondary to autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome." J Pediatr 136(5): 682-7.
We report a child who developed autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS) secondary to a heterozygous dominant negative mutation in the death domain of the Fas receptor. Previously developmentally normal, he had symptoms of autism with rapid regression in developmental milestones coincident with the onset of lymphoproliferation and autoimmune hemolytic anemia. Low-dose steroid therapy induced early and complete remission in the ALPS phenotype. There was subjective improvement, followed by objective improvement in speech and developmental milestones. We propose that autism may be part of the autoimmune disease spectrum of ALPS in this child, and this case represents a novel manifestation and target organ involvement in this disease.
Singh, V. K., H. H. Fudenberg, et al. (1988). "Immunodiagnosis and immunotherapy in autistic children." Ann N Y Acad Sci 540: 602-4.
Stefanatos, G. A., W. Grover, et al. (1995). "Case study: corticosteroid treatment of language regression in pervasive developmental disorder." J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 34(8): 1107-11.
The authors describe a child whose language and behavior regressed at 22 months and in whom pervasive developmental disorder was later diagnosed. At 6 years, he displayed a profound receptive-expressive aphasia accompanied by behavioral disturbances characterized by hyperactivity, impaired social interactions, tantrums, gestural stereotypies, and echolalia. A single-photon emission computed tomography scan and steady-state auditory evoked potentials suggested bitemporal and left frontal pathophysiology. The overall profile resembled Landau-Kleffner syndrome, but no electroencephalographic disturbance was evident. Corticosteroid treatment resulted in amelioration of language abilities and behavior. These findings suggest that the factors underlying language regression in pervasive developmental disorder can, in special circumstances, be amenable to pharmacological treatment.
Stubbs, E. G., S. S. Budden, et al. (1980). "Transfer factor immunotherapy of an autistic child with congenital cytomegalovirus." J Autism Dev Disord 10(4): 451-8.
Tsuru, T., M. Mori, et al. (2000). "Effects of high-dose intravenous corticosteroid therapy in Landau-Kleffner syndrome." Pediatr Neurol 22(2): 145-7.
Two children with Landau-Kleffner syndrome were successfully treated with antiepileptic drugs and a high-dose intravenous corticosteroid. A combination of valproate and a benzodiazepine (clonazepam or diazepam) ameliorated epileptic seizures and electroencephalographic spikes and waves, but speech disturbances persisted. Both patients were treated with an intravenous infusion of high-dose methylprednisolone sodium succinate (20 mg/kg daily) for 3 consecutive days. This infusion was repeated three times with a 4-day interval between treatments, which resulted in a rapid improvement in speech ability. After intravenous therapy, prednisolone was given orally (2 mg/kg daily for 1 month, then gradually withdrawn), which maintained the clinical improvement in speech.
Wakefield, A. J., J. M. Puleston, et al. (2002). "Review article: the concept of entero-colonic encephalopathy, autism and opioid receptor ligands." Aliment Pharmacol Ther 16(4): 663-74.
There is growing awareness that primary gastrointestinal pathology may play an important role in the inception and clinical expression of some childhood developmental disorders, including autism. In addition to frequent gastrointestinal symptoms, children with autism often manifest complex biochemical and immunological abnormalities. The gut-brain axis is central to certain encephalopathies of extra-cranial origin, hepatic encephalopathy being the best characterized. Commonalities in the clinical characteristics of hepatic encephalopathy and a form of autism associated with developmental regression in an apparently previously normal child, accompanied by immune-mediated gastrointestinal pathology, have led to the proposal that there may be analogous mechanisms of toxic encephalopathy in patients with liver failure and some children with autism. Aberrations in opioid biochemistry are common to these two conditions, and there is evidence that opioid peptides may mediate certain aspects of the respective syndromes. The generation of plausible and testable hypotheses in this area may help to identify new treatment options in encephalopathies of extra-cranial origin. Therapeutic targets for this autistic phenotype may include: modification of diet and entero-colonic microbial milieu in order to reduce toxin substrates, improve nutritional status and modify mucosal immunity; anti-inflammatory/immunomodulatory therapy; and specific treatment of dysmotility, focusing, for example, on the pharmacology of local opioid activity in the gut.
Zimmerman, A. W. (2000). "Commentary: immunological treatments for autism: in search of reasons for promising approaches." J Autism Dev Disord 30(5): 481-4.
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