Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Characterizes New Syndrome Of Allergy, Apraxia, Malabsorption

Date:
July 15, 2009
Source:
Children's Hospital & Research Center at Oakland
Summary:
Scientists have revealed a new syndrome in children that presents with a combination of allergy, apraxia and malabsorption.

A landmark study conducted by Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland is the first to reveal a new syndrome in children that presents with a combination of allergy, apraxia and malabsorption. Autism spectrum disorders were variably present. Verbal apraxia has until now been understood to be a neurologically based speech disorder, although hints of other neurological soft signs have been described.

The new study, led by Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland scientist and pediatric emergency medicine physician, Claudia Morris, MD, and Marilyn C. Agin, MD, a neurodevelopmental pediatrician at Saint Vincent Medical Center in New York, however, suggests that the symptoms of verbal apraxia are, at least for a sub-group of children, part of a larger, multifactorial, neurologic syndrome involving food allergies/gluten-sensitivity and nutritional malabsorption.

"While it is critical to treat verbal apraxia symptoms that often include severe delays in expressive speech production with speech therapy, we need to start asking why these kids are having these problems in the first place so that we can identify mechanisms we can actually target to treat the cause of the symptoms," says Dr. Morris.

Published in the July/August issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, the new study takes a major step toward identifying the potential mechanisms that may contribute to apraxia symptoms. In the study, Dr. Morris collected information from nearly 200 families with children who suffered from verbal apraxia in order to better characterize the symptoms and metabolic anomalies of a subset of children. The data clearly demonstrated a common cluster of allergy, apraxia and malabsorption, along with low muscle tone, poor coordination and sensory integration abnormalities. In addition, Dr. Morris was able to gather laboratory analyses in 26 of the children, which revealed low carnitine levels, abnormal celiac panels, gluten sensitivity, and vitamin D deficiency among others.

All children genetically screened carried an HLA gene associated with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. "The sample size is still small and should be interpreted with caution," says Dr. Morris. "However this is of particular interest given the recent publication by Eaton and colleagues in the July 6 online edition of Pediatrics demonstrating a greater than 3-fold risk of autism in children born to mothers diagnosed with celiac disease. This brings some credibility to the anecdotal reports of gastrointestinal and behavioral improvements in children with autism spectrum disorders and/or verbal apraxia when eliminating gluten from their diets. Although the implications of these observations remain to be determined, this association and the utility of dietary modifications warrant further investigation, particularly if we can identify a genetically vulnerable group".

Most significantly, the data indicate that the neurologic dysfunction represented in the syndrome overlaps the symptoms of vitamin E deficiency. While low vitamin E bioavailability may occur due to a variety of different causes, neurological consequences are similar, regardless of the initiating trigger. The study suggests that vitamin E could be used as a safe nutritional intervention that may benefit some children. Growing evidence support the benefits of omega 3 fatty acid supplementation in a number of neurodevelopmental disorders. Anecdotally children with verbal apraxia will often demonstrate leaps in their speech production when taking high-quality fish oil. The addition of vitamin E to omega 3 fatty acid supplementation in this cohort of children induced benefits that exceeded those expected from just speech therapy alone, according to parental report.

"While data from a case series is by no means conclusive, the results clearly point to the need for further attention to this poorly understood disorder, and a placebo-controlled study to investigate the potential role of vitamin E and omega 3 supplementation in this group of children," says Dr. Morris.

She points out that it is equally important for children given an apraxia diagnosis to receive a more comprehensive metabolic evaluation than what is current practice. Many of the nutritional deficiencies like low carnitine, zinc and vitamin D are easily treated. By not addressing the nutritional deficiencies, the child will continue to suffer from significant medical consequences of those deficiencies. The first step is to identify and treat the deficiencies. The next step is to try to figure out why they have these deficiencies and a fat malabsorption syndrome in the first place. However, Dr. Morris does advise families to work closely with a physician rather than trying promising but unproven interventions on their own.

In the mean time, however, Dr. Morris's study provides the essential foundation for identifying the children who may need these treatments.

"By identifying these early red flags of the syndrome, we've provided a way to get these kids treatment at the earliest possible moment. While 75 percent of the time kids identified as late bloomers really are just that, 25 percent of the time there is a true pathologic condition. To miss it is to miss critically valuable time for early intervention. If a child has all these symptoms, chances are they are going to fall into the 25 percent who have a condition that needs further evaluation and treatment."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Children's Hospital & Research Center at Oakland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Children's Hospital & Research Center at Oakland. "Scientists Characterizes New Syndrome Of Allergy, Apraxia, Malabsorption." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090714104002.htm>.
Children's Hospital & Research Center at Oakland. (2009, July 15). Scientists Characterizes New Syndrome Of Allergy, Apraxia, Malabsorption. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090714104002.htm
Children's Hospital & Research Center at Oakland. "Scientists Characterizes New Syndrome Of Allergy, Apraxia, Malabsorption." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090714104002.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins