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Case Reports in Psychiatry
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 325061, 6 pages
Case Report

Beneficial Effects of Palmitoylethanolamide on Expressive Language, Cognition, and Behaviors in Autism: A Report of Two Cases

1Biomedical Centre for Autism Research and Treatment, 70126 Bari, Italy
2Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources, National Research Council of Italy, 80128 Naples, Italy
3Department of Experimental Medicine, Second University of Naples, Via S. Maria di Costantinopoli, 80138 Naples, Italy
4Centre for Autism-La Forza del Silenzio, 81036 Caserta, Italy
5Cancellautismo-No Profit Association for Autism Care, 50132 Florence, Italy

Received 30 June 2015; Revised 15 September 2015; Accepted 16 September 2015

Academic Editor: Masaru Mimura

Copyright © 2015 Nicola Antonucci 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.


Introduction. Autism spectrum disorders are defined by behavioral and language atypias. Growing body of evidence indicates inflammatory mediators may contribute to the condition. Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is naturally occurring and has been available as a nonprescription medical food supplement in Europe since 2008. PEA has been tested in thousands of human subjects without any noted significant side effects. Here we report the first cases of the administration of PEA to two children with autism. Case Presentations. The first 13-year-old male child (Subject 1) presented with a total IgE of 572 IU/mL (nl < 200) and with low mature CD57+ natural killer cell counts (32 cells/µL; nl = 60–300 cells/µL) and with significant eczema and allergic stigmata. Expressive language, as measured by mean length of utterance, and overall autism severity as measured by the Childhood Autism Rating Scale, Second Edition, improved significantly. Atopic symptoms diminished. No side effects were reported. The second male child, age 15 (Subject 2), also displayed noticeable and rapid improvements in cognitive, behaviors, and sociability. Conclusion. Currently, there is no definitive treatment for autism condition. Palmitoylethanolamide could be an effective treatment for autism syndrome. We propose appropriate double-blind clinical trials to further explore palmitoylethanolamide efficacy and safety.