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Rochester autism researchers present new findings at IMFAR
Date:5/13/2011

vity in children, but the effect on children with autism has not been examined. Hyman, Stewart and their collaborators, in the course of conducting a study of the diet and nutrition of children with autism spectrum disorders, performed a pilot study on the effect of food dye consumption on a small group of children with autism. Food dye intake was determined from a three-day food record and examined relative to parent questionnaires regarding behavior.

Among the 25 children enrolled, five had no food dye in their diet. Hyman found no correlation between artificial food dye consumption and repetitive behaviors or externalizing behaviors; however, she did find a correlation between yellow food dye consumption and sleep disturbances.

"While this is only a pilot study and needs to be interpreted conservatively, it merits a clinical trial to determine whether food dye might aggravate behaviors in children with ASD who are at greater risk for sleep problems than other children," Hyman said.

Complementary treatments

Another abstract authored by Hyman and colleagues was based on an analysis of the national dataset collected by the Autism Treatment Network on the use of complementary and alternative medicine in children with autism. It highlights the need for physicians to keep track of what other treatments parents may be using for their children. About 450 of the almost 2,500 children in the registry at the time the data were analysed, reported use of complementary therapies. About one-fifth of these 450 children were given a special diet at the time they entered the Autism Treatment Network. However, that rate changed throughout the first year of follow up. Between 5 and 10 percent of families who were followed over the next year stopped using a special diet and about the same number started diets over the next year.

"Many children with autism are put on special diets by their families to see if elimination of specific
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Contact: Heather Hare
heather_hare@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-2840
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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