It is green, chunky and looks like trees. Many children dread it despite mom insisting that it is good for you. If you guessed brocholli, then you are correct. In the paper “Sulforaphane treatment of autism spectrum disorder” a study showed the broccoli aided in the improvement of the behavioral and social skills of those with autism.
The key element is sulforaphane which is found in broccoli. The study was comprised of 40 males who ranged from ages 12 – 27. They registered at the moderate to severe level on the autism spectrum. 26 of the subjects received the broccoli extract on a daily basis. The other subjects were given a placebo as a control. Within the 18 weeks of the study, it was discovered that 46% of those taking the broccoli extract has noticeable signs of improvement in social interaction. Moreover, 54% demonstrated improvement in behavior and 42% showed better verbal skills.
Is this the cure for autism? Well not so fast. The study is being viewed as preliminary and more studies will be done with a larger sample of subjects to see if the results can be repeated or perhaps improved. Autism effects 1 out of every 68 children and 1 out of 42 boys. It is more prevalent in boys than girls. Psychologists, geneticists, and neurologists still do not have a definite cause to autism but studies show that early detection and therapy can allow a person with autism to function better in society.
This is one of my areas of research as I worked for my psychology degree. I am extremely interested on the topic and still research it. See more: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2013/04/world-autism-awareness-day-autism-and.html