How Can Eating Broccoli Help Autisim?

Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the United States, was a fan of broccoli, importing the seeds from Italy to plant at Monticello. He recorded planting the vegetable there as early as May of 1767. Did he know something that we don't, or we have all forgotten? Our mothers maybe didn't forget – Johnny, eat your broccoli, it will make you smart. Well, maybe I made that last bit up, but we all know that Broccoli does contain certain nutrients like Vitamins A & C which aid our bodies in many ways. The following article explores a looming challenge that is known to be on the rise in young children, and for which there is yet a cure to be found.

A compound extracted from broccoli sprouts may improve some social and behavioral problems that affect people with autism, a new study suggests.

…in the new study, reported on Oct. 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online, researchers chose to test sulforaphane as an autism therapy.Why study a broccoli sprout extract? According to Singh, one reason is related to a phenomenon known as the “fever effect,” seen in some children with autism — where problems such as repetitive behavior temporarily fade when the child has a fever.

The researchers theorize that the improvement stems from the fact that fevers trigger a heat-shock response — a cascade of events designed to shield body cells from stress. In lab research, sulforaphane has been found to spark such a heat-shock response, according to the researchers.

To test the compound, Singh's team recruited 44 boys and young men, aged 13 to 27, with moderate to severe autism. They were randomly assigned to take either sulforaphane capsules or identical-looking placebo capsules every day for 18 weeks.

Based on parents' reports, many of the boys taking the extract started showing improvements in irritability, repetitive behaviors, hyperactivity and communication by the fourth week, according to the study.

The study staff, who did not know which boys were on the extract or the placebo, noticed similar changes.

Based on their ratings, 46 percent of the sulforaphane group were showing improved social interactions by week 18. Another 42 percent were faring better with verbal communication, and 54 percent were reining in various “aberrant” behaviors, according to the study.

For more information on this interesting subject, be sure to check out the full article by Amy Norton in WebMD

 

 

Source: WebMD

Photo: Pixabay

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