Docosahexaenoic acid and autism: praying for hope, or preying on hope

By: James V. Kohl | Published on: December 20, 2011

This link  takes you to an article about applications from behavioral analysis, which are currently used in the psychotherapeutic treatment of autism. But what if the key to autism is as relatively simple as improved nutrition either for the mother, for the infant, or for both? If, for example, levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are represented in important cellular aspects supporting hippocampus-related cognitive function?
Should the behavior analysts’ approach be compared to a biologically-based approach with a dietary supplement? DHA is important to neurite growth, synaptogenesis, synapsin, glutamatergic synaptic function and glutamate receptor expression. What may be a direct effect of DHA on glutamate receptor expression could link nutrition directly to autism during development in the womb, or in the postnatal period, especially during the first two years.  It might also link nutrition to genetically prediposed olfactory deficits, if any can be detailed in autistics — as well as to nutrient dependent /enzymatically-influenced deficits in the development of mirror neurons.
In this regard, my discussion attempts with participants in the human ethology yahoo group have led to complaints of psychology bashing (as indicated in my title here by “preying on hope”). I would be grateful to learn of where such things can be discussed — without such complaints.  Indeed, the article I have linked to in this post might be considered psychology bashing, if only because it focuses on claims of benefits compared to scientific evidence that supports the claims.

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