Discover Magazine front page: "Understanding Autism: The Answer May Lie in the Gut, Not in the Head"

discover The cover of the April 2007 issue of Discover magazine is titled:

Understanding Autism: The Answer May Lie in the Gut, Not in the Head

The article gives an overview of the topic, citing many studies underway, but not going into specifics regarding diets. However, it does emphasize that autism is now thought of as more than a brain disorder:

"In spite of so many years of assumptions that a brain disorder like this is not treatable, we're helping kids get better. So it can't just be genetic, prenatal, hardwired, hopeless," says Harvard pediatric neurologist Martha Herbert, author of a 14,000-word paper in the Journal Clinical Neuropsychiatry that reconceptualizes the universe of autism, pulling the brain down from its privileged perch as an organ isolated from the rest of the body.

And more:

"I no longer see autism as a disorder of the brain but as a disorder that affects the brain," Herbert says. "It also affects the immune system and the gut. One very striking piece of evidence many of us have noticed is that when autistic children go in for certain diagnostic tests and are told no to eat or drink anything ahead of time, parents often report their child's symptoms improve--until they start eating again after the procedure. If symptoms can improve in such a short time frame simply by avoiding exposure to food, then we're looking at some kind of chemically driven 'software'--perhaps immune system signals--that can change fast. This means that at least some of autism probably comes from a kind of metabolic encephalopathy--a systemwide process that affects the brain, just like cirrhosis of the liver affects the brain."

This is encouraging, as mainstream medicine begins turning in this direction, so do research dollars . . . and more resources for parents using "alternative" treatment.