The Sunday New York Times Magazine ran a lengthy article, “The Kids Who Beat Autism”. 


The article is focused mainly on how intensive behavioral therapy has helped cure about 10% of autistic kids. The scientists interviewed basically said they didn’t know why these particular children did so well….or why most kids don’t benefit nearly as much from the therapy.  And they can’t predict in advance which children will benefit and which won’t. But they do know that it is expensive, costing many thousands of dollars for each child. 


As for food-nutrition related antidotes to autism, that subject received this kiss-off. “Most doctors have long dismissed as wishful thinking the idea that someone can recover from autism. Supposed cures have been promoted on the Internet — vitamin shots, nutritional supplements, detoxifiers, special diets, pressurized rooms filled with pure oxygen and even chelation, the potentially dangerous removal of heavy metals from the body. But no evidence indicates that any of them can alleviate any of the core symptoms of autism, let alone eradicate it.”

Autism has been terribly vexing, and there has been so much published about it in terms of studies and possible treatments, so I don’t expect the author of the NYTimes article to know everything. Still and all, there has been some recently published data indicating that raw milk, in particular camel milk, can have important positive effects on autism. Two items in particular stand out:


1. A small study out of Saudi Arabia, published in early 2014, offers serious encouragement. It studied the potential benefits of camel milk, which has long been consumed in the Middle East for its perceived health benefits. 


In the Saudi study, 45 children with autism were divided into three groups of 15; one was given raw camel milk, one was given boiled camel milk, and a third was given a placebo, for a total of two weeks. The results? “Camel milk administered for two weeks significantly improved clinical measurements of autism severity,” the authors concluded. “Subsequent studies are recommended.” 


2. In late 2013, the scholarly journal, Global Advances in Health and Medicine, published an article by the mother of a boy with autism about his remarkable progress after he started on camel milk. The mother, Christina F. Adams, recounted how she consulted with her physician so he could write what amounted to a prescription to order the camel milk from a supplier she had found in Israel:


“On October 10, 2007, 2 weeks before my son’s tenth birthday, he drank his first half cup (4 oz) of thawed raw unheated camel milk….On the morning after my son ingested camel milk, he demonstrated astonishing improvements in behavior including eye contact, communication, emotional expression (‘I really love you; you’re awesome; you do so much for me’), and self-organization. He ate breakfast more neatly, noted his schedule, put on his shoes, and got his backpack for school while conversing at the same time.

“He continued consuming 4 oz of camel milk daily with rapid continued improvement in behavior and motor planning. For example, he started looking both ways when crossing streets and parking lots. His erratic behavior stopped, and my frequent offerings of extra protein, which had only somewhat mitigated the problem, were no longer needed. Within 3 weeks, there was also a marked improvement and smoothing of his skin condition. Increasing the daily amount of camel milk to 8 oz seemed to cause new facial grimaces and jerking in one arm, which disappeared when his intake returned to 4 oz. His pragmatic language and vocabulary skills were improved, and other academic skills tested above average and exceptional in some areas.

“Interruption of camel milk consumption on several occasions resulted in behavioral and physiological lapses. Just before he turned 12, while I was away from home for two and a half weeks, he did not take camel milk. His school behavior deteriorated to the point that he was in danger of being moved to a special education classroom. Within 24 hours of resuming the camel milk intake, he returned to prior functioning levels.” 


I reported recently on a new American supplier of raw camel milk. Other parents have reported positive results—to dairy producers and to each other— about raw cow and goat milk in relieving autism symptoms in their children.


Yes, there is much we don’t know about autism—its causes and cures—except that it is becoming ever more common (one in every 68 children), and feared. I reported a few weeks back about correlations between the rise in autism and the increased use of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide used with GMO foods. 


But we do know that when it comes to raw milk, even the most promising health research, such as European research on asthma and allergies, is ignored in the U.S. Why? Maybe because it doesn’t hold out the promise of huge financial incentives to the  medical profession, or to the drug companies that covet “annuity” drugs,  or to the oligopoly that controls milk production in the U.S. 

My sense is that we’ll never discover a single “cure” to autism, but rather multiple antidotes that work differently with different children. For that reason, we owe it to ourselves to check them all out, and not allow special financial interests to determine the research direction.