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Autistic boys have poor bones (most likely due to low vitamin D) – Nov 2016

Bone Accrual in Males with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Journal of Pediatrics, online 22 Nov. 2016, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.10.080
Ann M. Neumeyer, MD1, 2, , aneumeyer at mgh.harvard.edu, Natalia Cano Sokoloff, MD1, Erin McDonnell, MS3, Eric A. Macklin, PhD2, 3, Christopher J. McDougle, MD1, 2, Madhusmita Misra, MD2, 4


Autism treated by Vitamin D: Dr. Cannell - video June 2013

+ includes many reasons why he believes Autism is related to Vitamin D

  1. Both have strong inheritance features – Vitamin D about 60%
  2. Both have gotten substantially worse in last 30 years
  3. Vitamin D is known to be involved in brain development
  4. All autistic children are VitD deficient, but not all children who are deficient are autistic: genes are involved
  5. When giving vitamin D to cure children of rickets “mental dullness” decreases as well
  6. Children with genes which give them too much (Williams Syndrome) have to reverse of autism – too sociable
  7. Mothers having lots of fish (and thus more vitamin D) give birth to kids with less autistic symptoms
  8. Both associated with weak bones
  9. Both worse around the age of weaning
  10. Autism is more common in rich families – more likely to apply sun screen and stay indoors
  11. Autism increases with drugs which lower levels of vitamin D
  12. Seizures are common with Autism - Vitamin D has been shown to reduce seizures
  13. Fewer autistic symptoms (such as sleep problems) during summer: when child gets more vitamin D from the sun
  14. Both worse with latitude
  15. Both vary with Ultraviolet light
  16. Both vary with time of year (more birth of autistics in March in Northern hemisphere)
  17. 2X more urban autism – less UVB in urban environments
  18. Both worse with pollution
  19. Both worse with increased clouds and rain
  20. Both worse with closely spaced pregnancies
  21. Autistics have abnormal immune response – similar to that of vitamin D deficiency
  22. Low levels of vitamin D in mother animals reduces brain function in offspring
  23. Vitamin deficient rat pups have similar brain abnormalities to that of human autistic children
  24. Autistic children get less vitamin D in their blood for the same amount of sun exposure
  25. The 4 males/1 female ratio - Note estrogen increases vitamin D in the brain (testosterone does not)
  26. Both worse in African Americans (A-A 2-3 increased autism rate)
  27. Both worse in Dark-skinned immigrants in Europe

Objective: To test the hypothesis that bone accrual over a 4-year period is reduced in boys with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with typically developing controls.

Study design: Twenty-five boys with ASD and 24 controls were assessed for bone outcomes. Fourteen boys with ASD and 11 controls were assessed both at baseline and after 4 years. The mean subject age was 11.0 ± 1.6 years at study initiation and 14.9 ± 1.6 years at follow-up. Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured at the spine, hip, and whole body using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and normalized for age, race, and sex (BMD z-scores). Height adjustments were performed as well. We assessed medical history, physical activity using questionnaires, vitamin D and calcium intake using food records, and serum calcium, phosphorus, 25(OH)-vitamin D, and pubertal hormone levels.

Results: Boys with ASD had lower spine, hip, and whole body BMD z-scores compared with controls. In those subjects assessed both at baseline and after 4 years, bone accrual rates did not differ between the 2 groups; however, spine and hip BMD z-scores remained lower in the boys with ASD than in controls at follow-up. Notably, the ASD group was less physically active at both time points.

Conclusion: Although pubertal bone accrual was similar to that in controls, BMD in children with ASD remained low over a 4-year follow-up period, suggesting that low BMD is a consequence of prepubertal factors, such as low physical activity. Studies are needed to investigate the causes and consequences of decreased BMD, to assess BMD in females and adults with ASD, and to evaluate therapeutic interventions.

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