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Autism Research and Treatment
Volume 2011, Article ID 129795, 7 pages
Review Article

Dysautonomia in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Case Reports of a Family with Review of the Literature

1Preventive Medicine Group/Private Practice, 24700 Center Ridge Road, Westlake, OH 44145, USA
2Department of Pathology, School of Medicine Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
3King James Medical Laboratory, Westlake, OH 44145, USA

Received 7 October 2010; Accepted 10 April 2011

Academic Editor: Mohammad-Reza Mohammadi

Copyright © 2011 Derrick Lonsdale et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Case histories of a mother and her two children are reported. The mother was a recovered alcoholic. She and her two children, both of whom had symptoms that are typical of autistic spectrum disorder, had dysautonomia. All had intermittently abnormal erythrocyte transketolase studies indicating abnormal thiamine pyrophosphate homeostasis. Both children had unusual concentrations of urinary arsenic. All had symptomatic improvement with diet restriction and supplementary vitamin therapy but quickly relapsed after ingestion of sugar, milk, or wheat. The stress of a heavy metal burden, superimposed on existing genetic or epigenetic risk factors, may be important in the etiology of autism spectrum disorder when in combination. Dysautonomia has been associated with several diseases, including autism, without a common etiology. It is hypothesized that oxidative stress results in loss of cellular energy and causes retardation of hard wiring of the brain in infancy, affecting limbic system control of the autonomic nervous system.