Autism is a disease that has puzzled scientists about its treatment, especially since it is one of the neurological disorders that lead to developmental and developmental problems, but recently new innovative ways have been found to treat autistic patients through food, and it has been proven by experiencing that food, its type and quantity have positive results on the progress of children’s recovery level And adults with this type, given the presence of sensitivity when they eat certain types of food or problems eating in general.
For example, people with autism may refuse to eat unless they sit in the same place at the table, eat the same plates, use the same tablecloth, eat the same food every day without a change, and just a small change in routine can cause a enormous amount of anxiety or fear in a child or person with autism, and can often lead to refusal to eat.
Dr. Rehab Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, researcher in the Department of Special Food and Nutrition at the Food Technology Research Institute at the Agricultural Research Centre, says that autism is one of the disabilities that attracts the attention of researchers and specialists, as its impact is not limited to just one aspect of the personality of the child with disabilities, but rather goes beyond this to include various aspects, including cognitive, social, linguistic and emotional, and this influence does not stop at this point, but extends to the families of these children and society as a whole.
And she adds that among the disorders that a child with autism can suffer from are eating disorders and food selection, so that they only eat food that has a certain color and texture and of a specific brand, and these are common characteristics among autism cases, and note that due to the fact that autism is a very difficult and intractable condition. It has no cure, so many families turn to alternative medicine solutions. Some families have reported positive results in reducing symptoms associated with autism by following a special diet and other alternative treatments such as gluten-free and casein-free meals.
Dr. Rehab Ibrahim explains that the main positive indicators for the administration of these meals, which appeared on a group of autistic patients, are an increase in the rate of focus and attention, a decrease in hyperactivity and aggressive behavior, and an improvement in eating and sleeping habits, and that diets have become one of the alternative treatments for autistic patients, even for a short period of time, as long as there are no side effects that these diets can cause than the issue of food alternatives in feeding autistic patients taken into account and to supplement any deficiency in the various nutritional needs.
She claims that autism is a double Greek term, the first meaning the self, self or self-motivation, and the second meaning the abnormal or unstable state In development, usually related to growth, and it appears during the first three years of a child s life, especially between 15-22 months of age, as these children lose an acquired neurological function, such as language and other interactive skills and abilities Frequent and difficult verbal and interpersonal communication, including food pickiness.
Dr. Rehab Mohamed Ibrahim says that autistic patients are not at the same pace and behavior pattern, but rather they are different, some of them are severely autistic and some of them have a less severe autism disorder, adding that the symptoms of autism appear during the first three years of life, and he has a gender bias with 5 percent Male to 1 female, and the global incidence of the disease is about 1%.
She pointed out that the number of children with autism is constantly increasing, despite it being a rare disorder, as it occurred in 3-4 out of every 10,000 people during the 1980s, while current estimates indicate that 10 to 15 out of every 10,000 children autism, and that there One child out of every 88 children in the United States of America develops a form of ASD. In France 1/150 children have autism, and in Egypt 1/160 children have autism, while in Saudi Arabia there are 200-400 children with autism per year.
Dr. Rehab Mohamed Ibrahim explains that the main symptoms of autism are severe impairment in communication, awareness or social interactions in language, communication, imagination and skills, and the presence of restrictive and stereotyped patterns of behaviour, interests and activities, adding that there are some other behavioral disorders, such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and seizures Anger, aggression or self-harm.
Causes of autism
Dr. Rehab Ibrahim points out that there are causative factors, the first of which is “genetic”, as more than a billion dollars have been spent on genetic research on autism in the last ten years, and scientists have found that hundreds of genes play a role in the prevalence of autism, and that no single gene represents More than 1-2% as a cause of autism. While most genetic studies conclude that each hereditary cause of autism must be treated differently, autism is often associated with a number of genetic disorders such as Darwin’s syndrome and epilepsy, and that the heritability of autism is up to 90% of cases , and that the incidence rate in monozygotic twins is 36-96% versus 0-27% in dizygotic twins.
She adds that there are “non-genetic factors”, which are various factors involved in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) such as poor immune responses, abnormal neuritis, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, endocrine disorders, stress, vaccinations, food additives and environmental toxins ( Lead, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, organophosphates, organophosphates, arsenic), car exhaust gases, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polybrominated biphenyls, ethers and perfluorinated compounds.
Autistic children’s problems
The researcher at the Food Technology Research Institute reveals that the problems that autistic children suffer from are digestive problems, such as constipation, diarrhoea, stomach distention or gastroesophageal reflux, as well as problems with eating behavior or food selectivity, explaining that 67% of parents said that food selectivity in their children associated with texture (69%), appearance (58%), taste (45%), smell (36%) or temperature of food (22%), as well as reluctance to try new foods (69%) and ‘ a limited range of acceptable foods (60%). Other studies indicate that more than half (53%) of the sample were reluctant to try new foods, while 83% of parents reported that their children had limited food.
Dr. Rehab Ibrahim confirms that there are several nutritional theories related to autism, the first of which is the theory of sulfation process, the theory of intestinal leakage and the theory of opium excess, and emphasizes that scientists have noticed a high rate of iron deficiency. in children with autism, and that 69% of pre-adolescent school children and 35% of autistic school children suffer from iron deficiency, indicating that these results are supported by controlled studies of scientists who found that iron intake was significantly lower in a sample of children with autism than in normal preschool children. .
The researcher points to studies that confirmed that the intake of calcium and vitamin D or both, in addition to dietary fiber, is insufficient in autistic children, and that other studies confirmed that the daily diets of children with autism were characterized by low effects of dietary fiber. calcium, potassium, iron and vitamin (D), excessive levels of protein (especially of animal origin), sodium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin A.
Another study also noted, according to our update, lower intakes of vitamin D, as well as B12, protein and calcium, and that intakes of total energy, protein, fats and carbohydrates are higher than recommended by the Institute of Medicine .
Dr. Rehab Ibrahim confirms that there is no cure for autism so far, but the recommended treatment includes educational “educational” therapies such as speech therapy, sensory integration therapy, speech therapy and auditory therapy, noting that modern methods of treating autism have included non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatment Dietary interventions and supplements, treatment of gastrointestinal disorders and detoxification, treatment of neuroinflammation, immunotherapies and psychotropic medications have been found effective in treating the various behavioral symptoms of autism.
Complementary and alternative medicine
The researcher at the Food Technology Research Institute says that the food provided to autistic patients should contain vitamin C, which plays an important role in various body functions and in many metabolic pathways, as it has been found that the intake of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) lead to a reduction in the emergence of their stereotyped behavior. , as well as pyridoxine and magnesium, which have beneficial effects for autistic patients, and melatonin, which is useful in sleep disorders in patients with developmental disorders, as well as “probiotics”, where in some children with autism, relatively higher levels of pathogenic organisms are present, And that many studies have reported that the use of probiotics provides beneficial effects in these children, since probiotics include strains that constitute a strategy for treating the integrity of the intestines and mucosa, and have beneficial effects in alleviating the symptoms of autism .
She adds that the food should contain vitamin “B” to maintain natural methylene and antioxidants, and it is also important in the methionine cycle, as many studies have suggested that vitamin “B” is useful in combating oxidative stress in children with autism , as well as acids.Omega-3 fatty acids, a supplement and alternative commonly used in the medical treatment (CAM) for autism, where it was found that about 27.8% of families use “omega-3” to child, and several studies have reported that children with autism have low levels of omega-3 acids compared to normal children.
Dr. Rehab Ibrahim goes on to emphasize that almost all patients with autism suffer from a lack of essential fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids, and although the possible mechanism of omega-3 action to improve ASD symptoms is unknown, it the nerve tissue was found to contain a concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. High in DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), this fatty acid is essential for growth and development of the human brain.
The researcher at the Food Technology Research Institute noted that there are useful antioxidants in autism, because dietary intervention can be an important strategy to reduce oxidative stress in autistic patients, and a high diet and eating organic plants, fresh fruits and vegetables is appropriate to reduce oxidative stress in autistic patients, excluding all foods containing wheat, oats and barley, as well as not eating dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, cream or ice cream and others. She concluded her speech by emphasizing that the foods allowed for a child with autism are fresh and dried fruits, fresh vegetables, potatoes, yams, corn, rice, beans, meat, chicken and fish.