Research has its place but no need for any more guilt

Guardian columnist Jo Worgan.
Guardian columnist Jo Worgan.

This week I read the article, ‘Autism Diets’ Do Not Provide Children With Adequate Supplementation, Can Lead To Overuse, on The Medical Daily website.

In a nutshell, the study claims that autism diets, also known as gluten free and casein free diets (GFCF) are ‘ineffective’, with many children lacking in nutrients that they need and that the diet can be harmful.

Dr. Patricia A. Stewart, assistant professor of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, stated that: “Many families try a GFCF diet in an attempt to improve symptoms of ASD.”

Well, yes this is true, but many also do so with the guidance from a paediatric dietician, as we did for our son. He was suffering from stomach pains, having four to five loose bowel movements a day and we just knew that something had to be done.

His behaviour was altered due to the problems he was having with his gut. Four years on it is the best thing we could have done for him.

He is no longer suffering from stomach cramps, has better concentration skills, and has formed bowel movements. So reading research such as this, well it makes me quite angry.

This study only included 368 children. I also worry that parents will read this and then be plagued by guilt in thinking that they have made the wrong decision in giving their child a GFCF diet.

It was also interesting to find out that Autism Speaks played a part in their research, with participants in the study gained from Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network. I am not a big fan of theirs, especially with their latest research initiative in conjunction with Google in which they hope to create a database containing the genetic information from 10,000 individuals who have autism.

This is so that the evidence gained can be used in future research to discover the genetic components associated with autism. This sends a cold shiver down my spine and like many others I supported the #notMMSNG campaign.

Research has its place, but please do not place any more guilt on our shoulders.