Zone in with Zon–Broccoli and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Dr. Gerald Zon’s latest “Zone in with Zon” blog post, dated December 8, 2014, and published by TriLink BioTechnologies of San Diego, is entitled, “Broccoli May Reduce the Symptoms of Autism.” Although initially skeptical, Dr. Zon was persuaded to investigate the assertion because autism is such a common and difficult disorder and because the ABC News report (“Broccoli Sprout Extract May Help Curb Autism Symptoms”) referred to a supportive article in PNAS, a highly reputable scientific journal. In his blog, Dr. Zon first describes what autism is, saying that “autism is more accurately referred to as “autism spectrum disorder” (ASD) because it covers a wide range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior. Classical ASD is the most severe form of ASD, while other conditions along the spectrum include a milder form known as Asperger syndrome, as well as childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Although ASD varies significantly in character and severity, it occurs in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and affects every age group. Experts estimate that 1 out of 68 persons have an ASD. Interestingly, males are four times more likely to have an ASD than females.” With regard to the causes of autism, Dr. Zon notes that scientists are still not sure what causes ASD, although there seems to be agreement that both genetics and environment play roles. He notes that “thankfully for many children, symptoms improve with treatment and with age; however, children whose language skills regress early in life—before the age of 3—appear to have a higher than normal risk of developing epilepsy or seizure-like brain activity.”
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