The Relationship of Autism and MSG!

Autism is a multifactorial, pervasive developmental disorder that is most noted for its incapacity to integrate and adapt to social changes.  Additionally, language and communication and behavioral skills are altered so that the individual while still interpreting the information fully around them cannot convey an adequate two-way dialog.  This leads to internalizing behavior that is often focused on a very narrow range of repetitive interests that sometimes leads to supernormal intelligence and sometimes ends in learning disability.  The primary behaviors seen in Autism are three:  impulsivity, obsessive-compulsiveness, and inattention with hyperactivity.  An individual has varying proportions of each behavior; the behaviors vary with age as the hormones modify each behavior.  Parents, who desire medical assistance, need to choose which of the three behaviors is most problematic at the time when seeing a child and adolescent psychiatrist, since only one can be addressed medically, at a time.  The remaining two are addressed through family coaching and ancillary support services.  The positive role of the family in treating an autistic family member cannot be overstated.

There are, in reality, several subcategories of Autistic disorder depending upon clinical presentation and individual capacity.  Some are high functioning such as Asperger’s Disorder with intact language skills, high mental intellect, and social cue incapacity that with education is often compensated.  Others such as Autism carry a high probability of learning disability. There is a marked difference between a child who has Autism and a learning disabled child.  Autistic children comprehend practically everything that is around them, and suffer the agony of not having the capacity to integrate or share sufficiently in the process.  The social connection is all that is missing.

Autism is often diagnosed in the third year of development. Those individuals who are diagnosed with the Autistic disorder carry about 66% probability of learning disorder in addition to the primary diagnosis.  It was officially prevalent in 5 of 10,000 children or 5/100ths percent of the time.  Now, it is considered to be 30 to 60 of 10,000 children or 3 to 6 cases in every 1,000 children (Rutter, 2005).  Autism is 5 times more frequent in boys than girls.  However, with increased vigilance for diagnosing children, more are being diagnosed, and less are being missed and inadvertently labeled, “retarded” or learning disabled.  This marked elevation in prevalence, simply from greater awareness has been errantly ascribed to environmental factors (Blaxill, Redwood, & Bernard, 2004).  Rather, Autism is a multifactorial disorder derived by mutations or translocations on as many as three, separate chromosomes during parental pairing.  To consider environmental damage as the cause requires a disease to have only one chromosomal region, which codes for a susceptible protein.

Many fears of vaccinations and food additives have come and gone over recent years.  Each was considered to have association with Autism.  However, with time, each study that heralded the initial fear was eventually discovered a flawed design as was the case in a hypothesis about thimerosal initially published by Wakefield, et al. (1998) and later justified by Bernard, Enayati, Redwood, Roger, and Binstock (2001).  Moreover, after the offending agent was removed, the statistical reality from a lack of association was proven (Fombonne, 2008).  Thimerosal has been used in many vaccines, specifically the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine, since the 1930’s.  It is an organic compound that contains ethylmercury, used as a preservative to keep bacteria and fungus from destroying the vaccine.  It is used in much greater quantities in most people’s dental fillings.  A biological link was needed to show the preservative caused Autism over mere chance (as in flipping a coin and wondering if it would land as heads or tails).  A biological link was never produced.  Meanwhile, countless children were suffering the real illnesses that the vaccines were intended to protect.

Now, its MSG.  López-Pérez, Ureña-Guerrero & Morales-Villagrán (2010) conducted the only known published study of Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and mental function, which researched MSG injected into rats. Undoubtedly, the MSG triggered the glutamate receptors of the brain causing hyperexcitability.  There was a study by Leitner & Bartness (2009) studying MSG to reduce cold sensitivity of fat tissue in Siberian hamsters, but it was not studied on mental function. NO studies exist associating MSG to Autistic disorder. There is a webpage on the Internet by a dietitian trying to promote these two studies, incorrectly, and create a false connection.

Impulsivity is one of the three known components of Autistic behavior. So, any individual who has Autistic disorder will be predisposed to hypersensitive, glutamic receptors of the brain.  It is common sense that removal of MSG from the diet is prudent for individuals with Autistic disorder.  Extending the idea of MSG as a causative agent to Autistic disorder would be equivalent to saying drinking coffee just before going to bed keeps many of us from sleeping.  The idea of eating a healthy diet with balanced nutrients is wise.  Gluten and casein have similar neurostimulatory effects on opioid receptors, which is why some but not all individuals notice behavior changes modifying the diet.  Still, extending this to all Autistic disordered children has not been supported in several studies, including a Cochrane Database review. Again, each has a unique and changing mix of behavioral manifestations; what works well for one may not work well for another.  This has been the nemesis of treating Autistic disorder for parents who desire a quick and decisive remedy.  Several studies have shown sound diets full in vitamins such as folate can promote good brain development.



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