Celiac.com Sponsor (A1):



Celiac.com Sponsor (A1-m):


  • Join Our Community!

    Ask us a question in our celiac / gluten-free forum.

  • Jefferson Adams

    Is an Inflammatory Immune Disorder at the Root of Autism?

    Jefferson Adams
    0
    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 12/21/2012 - Over the past several years, researchers have made substantial progress in understanding the causes of autism, which now afflicts about 1 in 88 children. However, very little news of this progress seems to have spread into popular consciousness, much of which continues to focus on the possible role of vaccines.

    CC--Animal Kingdom Pet HospitalRecent discoveries indicates that one-third or more cases of autism look to be a kind of inflammatory disease, which begins well before birth.



    Celiac.com Sponsor (A12):






    Celiac.com Sponsor (A12-m):




    In the August 25th issue of the New York Times, Moises Velasquez-Manhoff has very interesting article in which he discusses the widening view among researchers that autism is, in fact, an inflammatory disease. The article is long and comprehensive, and cites numerous studies, findings and experiments.

    Inflammation is the body's natural response to certain kinds of threats. In a normal body, the immune system uses inflammation in a very precise, targeted way, before returning to a normal state.

    In autistic individuals, inflammatory signals become the dominant condition, and there is no balancing anti-inflammatory response. A state of chronic inflammation becomes normal. And the more skewed toward inflammation, the more acute the autistic symptoms.

    This inflammatory deregulation adversely impacts the brains of autistic individuals. Velasquez-Manhoff also cites a number of studies that trace these inflammatory effects back to the inflammatory responses of the mother during pregnancy.

    Among the studies cited in the article is a population-wide study from Denmark spanning two decades of births, which indicates that infection during pregnancy increases the risk of autism in the child. The study found that hospitalization for a viral infection, like the flu, during the first trimester of pregnancy triples the odds of autism. Bacterial infection, including of the urinary tract, during the second trimester increases chances by 40 percent.

    Another large Danish study, which included nearly 700,000 births over a decade, found that a mother’s rheumatoid arthritis, a degenerative disease of the joints, elevated a child’s risk of autism by 80 percent. Rates of autism in children of mothers with celiac disease were 350 percent higher than normal. Genetic studies had similar findings. Variations in genes associated with regulating the immune system also increase the risk of autism, especially when they occur in the mother.

    A mother’s diagnosis of asthma or allergies during the second trimester of pregnancy increases her child’s risk of autism. So does metabolic syndrome, a disorder associated with insulin resistance, obesity and, crucially, low-grade inflammation.

    Yet, viral and bacterials infections themselves do not seem the cause of the autism epidemic. The epidemiology doesn’t support that conclusion.

    A far more likely culprit is maternal immune dysregulation. Basically, the mother’s attempt to repel invaders, her inflammatory response, seems to be at fault. Research by Paul Patterson, an expert in neuroimmunity at Caltech, supports this idea. In his research, he introduces inflammation in pregnant mice artificially, without a live infection. This causes behavioral problems in the young. In this model, autism results from collateral damage. It’s an unintended consequence of self-defense during pregnancy.

    Since infantile autism was first described by Leo Kanner in 1943, diagnoses have risen tenfold. During that same period, viral and bacterial infections generally declined. However, overall rates of inflammatory diseases have risen sharply since then.

    As a group, these diseases include asthma, now estimated to affect 1 in 10 children, rates that have at least doubled since 1980, along with autoimmune disorders, which now afflict 1 in 20.

    Recently, William Parker at Duke University has chimed in. Some years back, he began comparing wild sewer rats with clean lab rats. The bodies of wild rats tightly controlled inflammation, but those of the lab rats did not. Parker found that the bodies of the wild rats contained high levels of parasites. Parasites are noted for limiting inflammation.

    One lesson from these rodent experiments is that fixing the maternal dysregulation will most likely prevent autism. That theory is supported by Swiss researchers, who created a lineage of mice with a genetically reinforced anti-inflammatory signal. They then inflamed the pregnant mice. The babies emerged fine, with no behavioral problems. This suggests that if inflammation is controlled during pregnancy, it won’t interfere with fetal brain development.

    Interestingly, asthma researchers are coming to similar conclusions: preventing inflammation in pregnant women will likely prevent asthma.

    Dr. Parker has introduced a more aggressive approach. He suggests that by using specially developed worms to restore “domesticated” parasites doctors can correct immune dysregulation.

    To determine if this is feasible, a trial is under way at the Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The trial is using a medicalized parasite called Trichuris suis, known as a whipworm, to treat autistic adults.

    The whipworm is native to pigs, and was first used medically to treat inflammatory bowel disease. It has shown anecdotal benefit in autistic children.

    The article suggests that the future of treating immune dysregulation, and thus preventing diseases like autism and asthma, may lie in reintroducing parasites into the human body. Stay tuned for more updates on this truly fascinating science.

    Read the full article by Moises Velasquez-Manhoff in the New York Times.

    0

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Interesting, but why has the rate of autism increased in the last 30 years so much? Surely inflammation would have been present in mothers in prior generations.

    Why has inflammation increased in the last 30 years? the parents have been over vaccinated. We are eating GMO foods now. We eat more grains. We eat more pesticides. We eat more sugar than ever before. We are more obese which causes inflammation. We have other things like WIFI EMF, cancer causing agents in our toothpaste, BPA and worse in our plastic dishes... lots of reasons for inflammation.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Join eNewsletter

    Yes, this is the answer. I have been experimenting with my own condition for 30 years. I received an allergy test and discovered that there were only 5 foods that my body was compatible with. When I ate these foods, I was calm, centered and able to deal with people. When I went off the foods, I had headaches, massive amounts of gas and my ability to deal with others took a savage decline. I firmly believe celiac is the cause of Autism.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Join eNewsletter



    Join the conversation

    You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


  • Celiac.com Sponsor (A17):
    Celiac.com Sponsor (A17):





    Celiac.com Sponsors (A17-m):




  • Related Articles

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 05/08/2007 - A recent news release by the American Academy of Neurology claims that results of a recent Iranian study find no link between autism in children and the development of celiac disease. The study was conducted by a team of researchers led by Dr. Samra Vazirian of Tehran University of Medical Sciences.
    The researchers compared blood samples from 34 children with autism and 34 children without autism. All blood samples were tested for antibodies used to detect celiac disease: anti-gliadin and anti-endomysial antibodies. Six children tested positive for these antibodies (four with autism, two without autism). These children...

    Carol Frilegh
    Celiac.com 12/26/2007 - Can children with Autism Spectrum Disorder eat their way out of their cocoons?
    Eight yearsago I knew little about autism. Fifty years ago I heard that a distantacquaintance of mine had an autistic child. It was extremely unusual at thetime. I needed it explained to me and was told that the child was almost totallyunresponsive.
    Recent statistics show that between one and one and ahalf million people in the USA are afflicted with autism, making it the fastest growing developmentaldisability. There has been a thirteen percent increasein autism since 1990.
    The term "autism" wasfirst coined by Eugen Bleuler a Swiss psychiatrist...

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/08/2009 - Kids whose moms have autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease face a risk of autism that is up to three times higher than that of the general population, according to a new study.
    Although earlier studies have documented a connection between autism and a maternal history of type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, this is the first study to document a link between autism and celiac disease, according to the study's authors.
    A team of researchers led by Dr. William W. Eaton, chairman of the Department of Mental Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University...

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 10/15/2013 - Most case reports suggest an association between autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) and celiac disease (celiac disease) or positive celiac disease serologic test results, but larger studies are contradictory.
    A team of researchers recently set out to examine the association between ASDs and celiac disease according to small intestinal histopathologic findings.
    The research team included Jonas F. Ludvigsson; Abraham Reichenberg; Christina M. Hultman; and Joseph A. Murray. They are variously affiliated with the Department of Medicine, Clinical Epidemiology Unit, and the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at...