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The Prevalence Of Autism Spectrum Disorder Essay

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The apparent increase in the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United States has been a growing public concern. The lifelong condition can cause severe neurodevelopmental problems characterized by symptoms such as impaired communication, diminished social interaction, and unusual ritualistic behaviors (Johnson, Handen, Zimmer, Sacco, & Turner, 2010). Unfortunately, doctors and researchers have not been able to agree on the direct cause for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or ways to treat the various conditions on the Spectrum. With little definitive information, families affected by ASD seek alternative interventions. One of the more popular interventions is based off the hypothesis that “the physiology and psychology of autism might be explained by excessive opioid activity” due to gluten and casein (Millward, Ferriter, Calver, & Connell-Jones, 2008). According to research, people with ASD can have excess levels of gluten and casein peptides in their urine and spinal fluid; this is attributed to “abnormally porous intestinal membrane(s)” (Whiteley, Rodgers, Savery & Shattock, 1999; Knvisberg, Reichelt, Høien, & Nødland, 2002). Because gluten and casein are not properly digested in children with ASD, the peptides can enter the circulatory and central nervous systems. From there, research suggests that the peptides bind to opioid receptors, disrupting brain chemistry, thereby impairing cognitive function. In accordance with this hypothesis, some promote a
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