Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have identified a rare, hereditary form of autism that may be treatable with nutritional supplements, a new study reports.
The scientists sequenced the genomes of six children with both autism
and epilepsy from three Middle Eastern families — in each case, the
children’s parents were first cousins — and found that they had
mutations in a gene that normally prevents the breakdown of certain
amino acids. The end result is that children had low levels of these
proteins — known as branched chain amino acids — which the body doesn’t
make on its own and must be gotten through food.