Researchers can hardly agree upon the conclusions of studies in which
data is collected from 50,000 or more subjects, so what value can a study of
just one subject hold for the scientific community?
The answer is
often complex and revealing.
When a therapy works on just one, it is
often repeated on another and another and another until word gets around in
the medical community and such novel therapies become commonplace standard
In today's Notmilk column, we present only the
abstract from a paper published in an Asian journal. The subject is Autism.
JOURNAL: Chang Gung Med J.
CITATION: 2009 Jul-Aug;32(4) :459-65
TITLE: The effects of a gluten and casein-free diet in children with autism:
a case report.
AUTHORS: Hsu CL, Lin CY, Chen CL, Wang CM, Wong MK.
AFFILIATION: Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Chang Gung
Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Chang Gung University College of Medicine,
"A boy with autism, growth and
developmental retardation was brought to our clinic. He was diagnosed with
CHARGE syndrome. Subsequently, various therapies were introduced when he was
5 months old yet the developmental delays persisted.
"Gastrointestinal problems such as frequent post-prandial vomiting and
severe constipation were noted as well. At the age of 42 months, the boy was
subjected to a gluten and casein-free diet. Soybean milk and rice were
substituted for cow's milk, bread and noodles.
"After 2.5 months,
interpersonal relations including eye to eye contact and verbal
"At 5.5 months the boy was capable of
playing and sharing toys with his sibling and other children, behavior noted
to be closer to that of an unaffected child. In addition, the decreased
frequency of postprandial vomiting led to a significant increment in body
weight, body height (from below the third percentile to the tenth
percentile) and vitality after 11 months on the diet.
"In view of
the lack of consensus on the benefits of dietary intervention in patients
with autism, we are suggesting an adjuvant therapy that is simple, safe and
economical. In addition, the therapy may be more feasible in Taiwan as
opposed to western countries because of cultural factors such as dietary
preference and product availability."
No comment is necessary on the Notmilkman's part other than a suggestion
that you share this with friends, family, and pediatricians just in case
such future challenges present themselves closer to your own home.