Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Scurvy and autism continued

"Scurvy as a Manifestation of Food Selectivity in Children with Autism" read the title of the paper by Nina Ma and colleagues [1] continuing a topic of some interest to this blog regarding the need for more research and practical focus on nutritional insufficiency and deficiency when it comes to the label of autism (see here for example).

As per other occasions when scurvy - a condition linked to a deficiency of vitamin C - has been talked about in the context of autism (see here), the Ma paper continues an all-too familiar theme of how "a long-standing history of food selectivity" when it comes to at least some autism, can have some pretty serious onward health implications (see here). Alongside reporting on how "an elaborate panel of tests and procedures were undertaken before the diagnosis of scurvy was made" in seven children, all of whom had a developmental disorder, Ma et al highlight how vitamin C treatment "led to rapid recovery of symptoms." Without doing a Linus Pauling special on the wonders of vitamin C (accepting that in some respects he might not have been too far off the mark) I would draw your attention to some very preliminary work looking at vitamin C supplementation (sorry, ascorbic acid) with autism in mind [2].

That none of the children included in the Ma study "were supplemented with a multivitamin" at the time of their clinical evaluation is also relevant, especially in light of some rather sweeping generalisations made about other autism research on the use of dietary/nutritional supplementation and autism (see here). Certainly, what this and other related research suggests is that (a) a diagnosis of autism may indeed place someone at risk of certain dietary or nutritional issues and (b) appropriate screening should be in place to mitigate any potential health effects from such dietary-related problems. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the horror that is a gluten- and casein-free (GFCF) diet when done correctly, is probably not to blame for cases of scurvy in relation to autism (see here)...

Music: Nothing But Thieves - Trip Switch.


[1] Ma NS. et al. Brief Report: Scurvy as a Manifestation of Food Selectivity in Children with Autism. J Autism Dev Disord. 2015 Nov 21.

[2] Dolske MC. et al. A preliminary trial of ascorbic acid as supplemental therapy for autism. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 1993 Sep;17(5):765-74.


ResearchBlogging.org Ma NS, Thompson C, & Weston S (2015). Brief Report: Scurvy as a Manifestation of Food Selectivity in Children with Autism. Journal of autism and developmental disorders PMID: 26590972