Not much is known about what causes autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), a group of developmental
While they can't be cured, there are some
treatments that may help manage the disorders. Early intervention is
encouraged to obtain the best outcomes with a child’s development,
and include behavioral therapy to teach a child how to talk, walk and
socialize with others. Dietary methods
may be employed, which involve avoiding certain foods that may cause
allergies. Medication may help mange some of the symptoms like high
levels, tantrums, aggression and depression.
But, doctors are
still searching for more ways to treat those with autism. One new trial that
has shown some early success uses whipworms (Trichuris suis), a parasitic intestinal worm.
Doctors at Montefiore
Medical Center in New York City gave 10 high-functioning adults with autism
whipworm eggs for 12 weeks. In total, they ate about 2,500 eggs every 2 weeks. They also spent 12 weeks taking
The doctors found their patients were less likely to engage in
repetitive behaviors and found it easier to adjust to their surroundings when on the worm egg regimen.
"We found these individuals had less discomfort
associated with a deviation in their expectations," Dr. Eric Hollander,
director of the Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Program at Montefiore
Medical Center, told HealthDay. "They were less likely to have a temper
tantrum or act out."
The researchers believe the worms help based on the theory that autism may be
an autoimmune disease. That theory suggests some of these disorders happen
because a person doesn’t have enough microbes or parasites earlier in their
life. The worms may help the body build an immune response.
have been deemed safe for human consumption, Hollander noted. The gut naturally
gets rid of the whipworms every two weeks.
"The whipworm doesn't reproduce in the gut, and it
doesn't penetrate the intestines, so it doesn't cause illness in humans,"
I found this story at CBSNews.com