Autism Spectrum Disorder can be truly devastating for both the victim and their family. I remember years ago visiting a co-worker’s house and meeting his autistic son. The boy was angelic, gentle, and absolutely incapable of understanding normal human interactions. I have no idea how he would be able to get along without his parents and older sister.
It has been claimed that Autism is tied to consumption of sugar, but not for the reasons I’ve described for metabolic syndrome. In the journal Clinical Epigenetics, Dufault, et al, propose that high fructose corn syrup consumption by mother and child interfere with normal nervous system development for some chidren. Here’s the actual article– Autism:HFCS. They say that HFCS solutions are contaminated with mercury in some cases and the HFCS interferes with riding the body of mercury. This can affect developing young nervous systems.
An epidemiological study published in 2015 points in the general direction of elevated sugar linking to autism. In the Journal of the American Medical Association, Xiang et al report a significant correlation between gestational diabetes mellitus and incidence of autism. Gestational diabetes in the pregnant mother is characterized by insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar in the mom, exposing the developing fetus to a high sugar environment. That’s already well known to cause sometimes excessive growth of the developing fetus, resulting in larger than normal birth weights.
Can anything be done? There is evidence that “ketogenic diets,” i.e. high fat diets could help. Here’s an article from Trinity College about that research, and the actual research article in PLOS One.
Lots more work needs to be done to valid these ideas and findings. I really hope we see aggressive movement in this realm in the medical and public health community.