Monday, January 4, 2010

Science vs. celebrity

An expert panel says there's no rigorous evidence that digestive problems are more common in children with autism compared to other children, or that special diets work, contrary to claims by celebrities and vaccine naysayers.

Painful digestive problems can trigger problem behavior in children with autism and should be treated medically, according to the panel's report published in the January issue of Pediatrics and released Monday.

"There are a lot of barriers to medical care to children with autism," said the report's lead author, Dr. Timothy Buie of Harvard Medical School. "They can be destructive and unruly in the office, or they can't sit still. The nature of their condition often prevents them from getting standard medical care."

. . . Diets have been promoted by actress Jenny McCarthy, whose best-seller "Louder Than Words" detailed her search for treatments for her autistic son.

Nearly 1 in 5 of children with autism are on a special diet, according to a project that tracks what treatments parents are trying. Most of them were on diets that eliminate gluten, found in many grains, or casein, a protein in milk, or both, according to the Interactive Autism Network at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Md.

Again, listen to your doctor.

Don't waste your time listening to television talk show hosts and celebrity victims.

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