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Unique Autism Experiments
Offer Parents Hope

By Rachel Evans

Every year, the number of autism sufferers rises around the globe, and as a reaction to this growth, the medical industry and the alternative medicine industry have both reacted by taking on this mental disorder through an array of different forms of autism experiments.

These tests come in many different forms, but all have the same ultimate goal: allowing autism sufferers to live happy lives and function at their fullest.

Autism experiments currently under way include carnosine supplements, light and sound, music, and diet. These tests are being performed on children and adults alike.

Carnosine is a protein that is now receiving attention from researchers interested in studying autism. Dr. Chez of Chicago is using the synthetic form of carnosine, called L-carnosine, to supplement the diet of autism sufferers.

He initially carried out a double blind 8-week trial where those children receiving the L-carnosine supplements showed improvement in varying degrees, including better socialization and communication, augmented awareness of their surroundings, better use and comprehension of language, more eye contact, and improved fine motor planning. The children who were given placebos showed no significant improvement.

The 31 children who took part in the trial were assessed, using various autism rating scales, at both the beginning and of the eight-week period and parents were also interviewed for their opinions. In Dr Chez’s study sixteen percent of cases saw improvements in their communication and behavior, and twenty seven percent had better socialization.

More research is required on the impacts of supplementing with L-carnosine.

DAVID – the digital audio visual integration device – is a machine used by Mind Alive in order to send sound pulses and flashing lights to participants in their autism experiments, to produce different results. The thought is that by stimulating the visual and auditory receptors, parts of the brain will also be stimulated in a controlled way.

To different degrees, participants have experienced a reduction in their autism symptoms through desensitization to different auditory and visual problems that are common to the disorder. They include decreasing hypersensitivity to sound and touch, better eye contact, improved social skills, less aggressive behaviors, and a wider overall appreciation of food.

Taking those autism research a step further is the Music Therapy Department of the ASU School of Music. These tests involve investigations into the way that different sounds and forms of music impact autism sufferers and how they may be used to encourage desirable behaviors and functions. This program uses these different sounds very carefully for specific circumstances with the hopes of particular results.

Different music types are applied, as well as more basic noises such as clapping hands or the ringing of a bell. In the case of the more simplistic noises, the result is usually the ability for the autism sufferer to regain focus after concentration has been lost. Other favorable results include better communication, a higher level of overall function, and better interactions with others.

When it comes to experiments that deal with diet, one of the most prominent includes the gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet, which, as the name suggests, eliminates gluten and casein entirely from the autism sufferer’s diet. Gluten is protein found in wheat, barley, and rye and casein is a milk protein.

Parents, doctors, and sufferers alike have witnessed improvements of varying degrees including better communication. Digestion appears to be easier and more effective on this diet as well, as the number of cases of diarrhea and loose stools are decreased. Increased eye contact, better focus and overall disposition have also been reported alongside reductions in tantrums, self-stimulatory and aggressive behaviors.

Currently underway is a long-term double-blind study that is looking at the impacts on autistic behavior when following a GFCF diet – the results are due out in 2008.

Stay up to date with the latest autism research news by signing up for the Autism newsletter below.

There are approximately 12 studies a week published on autism and every year brings another list of new strategies and autism experiments to help sufferers gain functionality and quality of life.

Author- Rachel Evans

The Essential Guide to Autism