Latest News » Researchers discover new component in autism

Children with autism may have higher levels of chloride in their brains.

Autism is an incredibly complex condition that affects roughly one in 50 children born in the United States. Though there is no cure for this disorder, there is a growing body of research to support specific diets for children with autism and various forms of therapeutic intervention. The end goal of most of these treatments is to help manage physical and communication-based symptoms and enable individuals with autism enjoy full and happy lives.

In a bid to devise more effective approaches to treatments, researchers are constantly striving to learn more about the genetic and neurological components of autism. Recently, French scientists from the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) released new findings on the link between autism and a specific birth hormone. According to a press release published by ScienceDaily, the hormone oxytocin may affect levels of chloride in the brain.

What does this mean for the autism spectrum? The source notes that children with the condition have been shown to have high levels of chloride at birth, and consistently throughout their lives. In fact, the demonstrated link between chloride (a form of chlorine) and autism is what led researchers to investigate ways of mediating this element of brain health. Because chloride is present at birth, the researchers speculated that blocking or inhibiting this ion during infancy or pregnancy could have a substantial effect on the severity of autism as a child ages.

Further research is necessary to confirm this connection and determine how oxytocin may be applied, but it presents an interesting new approach to autism nutrition and support.