Searching for the Cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder
In 2007 the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an average of 1 in every 150 8-year-old children in the United States had a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. As many as 673,000 Americans age 21 or under cope with an autism spectrum disorder. Without knowledge of causative factors, the search for a cure for autism has been severely hampered and the search for effective treatment has branched in many directions, with few approaches that are evidence-based and many that range from conjecture to malpractice. Parents seeking effective treatment for their children with autism or a related disorder travel a minefield of scientific claims and counterclaims. Brain tissue from individuals with autism shows a 60 percent reduction in Purkinje cells of the cerebellum, cells that are vital to the neuro-circuitry of the brain. The most commonly reported food intolerances among children with autism have been those with gluten and with casein.