Autism Research: Effect of Additional Arachidonic Acid on Communication and Social Withdrawal

Autism Research:

Autism Research Studying Effectiveness of Additional Arachidonic Acid (ARA) on Communication and Social Withdrawal
Autism Study Demonstrates Effectivenss of Additional Arachidonic Acid (ARA) in Improving Social Withdrawal and Communication

Previous research has demonstrated that arachidonic acid (ARA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are important elements in the formation and maturation of the brain network.  Additional research has shown that arachidonic acid plays a key role in the process of signaling neurons to mature.  This study attempted to demonstrate the efficacy of supplementation with additional arachidonic acid (ARA) in individuals with autism.  The findings were published in an article titled Therapeutic Effects of Larger Doses of Arachidonic Acid Added to DHA on Social Impairment and its Relation to Alterations of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

The study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that lasted 16 weeks.  An additional 16-week open-label study was performed afterward to confirm the findings.

The purpose of the research was to determine the effectiveness of additional arachidonic acid and the relationship to changes in levels of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs).  Outcomes were measured using the Social Responsiveness Scale and the Aberrant Behavior Checklist.

Arachidonic Acid Benefits:

The research demonstrated that additional arachidonic acid added to DHA resulted in significant improvements in communication as measured by the Social Responsiveness Scale.  More specifically, 87% of autistic individuals in the treatment group showed improvement compared to only 44% of autistic individuals in the placebo group.

The study also found that additional arachidonic acid resulted in significant improvements in social withdrawal as measured by the Aberrant Behavior Checklist.  More specifically, 88% of individuals in the treatment group showed improvement in social withdrawal compared to only 54% in the placebo group.

The study also showed a significant change in arachidonic acid (ARA) levels in the treatment group compared to levels measured at the beginning of the study.  A difference between arachidonic acid levels in the treatment group compared to the control group was found as well, although not a significant difference.

The open-label portion of the study was not sufficiently powered to show differences in communication and social withdrawal outcomes, or changes in plasma arachidonic acid levels.

The authors suggest the findings indicate that additional arachidonic acid added to DHA causes an increase in neuronal functioning, possibly resulting in the improvements seen in communication and social withdrawal.

The article was epublished in June 2011 in the Japanese Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Additional Information:

Previous Autism Research Article ······· Autism Research ······· Next Autism Research Article

Autism Research: Phospholipids and Fatty Acids in Plasma of Autistic Children from Saudi Arabia

Autism Research:

Research Looks at Plasma Levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Omega-6 Fatty Acids, and Phospholipids in Children with Autism Compared to Healthy Controls
Autism Research Compares Plasma Levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Omega-6 Fatty Acids, and Phospholipids in Autistic Individuals and Controls

Omega-3 fatty acids have been suggested for use in individuals with autism.  A study conducted in April 2011 may provide data demonstrating why many claim benefits from omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in autism.  The research article is titled Impaired Plasma Phospholipids and Relative Amounts of Essential Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Autistic Patients from Saudi Arabia.

The purpose of the study was to compare plasma levels of essential fatty acids (EFAs), long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (long chain PUFAs), omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, and phospholipids between individuals with autism and individuals in a control group.

The study consisted of 25 autistic individuals and 16 individuals in the control group.  Participants were between the ages of 3 and 15 years old.

Several elements of the plasma were studied.  These included the ratio of various essential fatty acids/long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, the ratio of various omega-3 fatty acids/omega-6 fatty acids, and the levels of the phospholipids phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylserine, and phosphatidylcholine.

The study found that autistic individuals had significantly lower levels of plasma phospholipid levels compared to the control group.  The results also demonstrated that individuals with autism had significantly higher ratios of specific essential fatty acids/long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and significantly higher ratios of specific omega-3 fatty acids/omega-6 fatty acids compared to controls.

The authors state that these differences could possibly be used as biomarkers to identify how autism develops.  They also state that these findings might impact autism treatment and prevention approaches.

The article was published on April 22, 2011 in Lipids in Health and Disease.

Additional Information:

 

Previous Autism Research Article ······· Autism Research ······· Next Autism Research Article