16.05.2016 change 16.05.2016

Olsztyn scientists are working on nourishing and treatment formulation for patients with autism and allergies

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

Olsztyn scientists are working on a nourishing and treatment formulation for patients with autism and allergies. The main objective of the research project is to create a nutrient that would be widely available and inexpensive - argue scientists.

Studies on the nutridrink formulation, which contains selected cow\'s milk proteins, probiotics, vitamins and trace elements are conducted by scientists from the Medical Biochemistry team of the Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn under the supervision of Prof. Elżbieta Kostyra.

"In recent years specialists have observed an increase in the incidence of autism. The cause of the disease is still not fully understood, there is talk of genetic, environmental or neuroimmunological conditions. Children in Poland are diagnosed late, about the age of 3, while, for example, Americans recognize this disease already in a one year old patient" - emphasised Prof. Elżbieta Kostyra.

Autistic people often suffer from gastrointestinal disorders caused not only by altered metabolism, but also monodiet. For example, children prefer only sausages or sweet cheese and refuse to eat anything else. Such diet adversely affects the patient\'s body, because it lacks other nutrients that ensure proper development. Monodiet also adversely affects the GI microflora, promoting the development of mainly anaerobic bacteria - explained Prof. Kostyra.

Children with autism often have food allergies. They do not fully absorb protein products derived from cows\' milk, e.g. casein, or from cereal products - gluten. Research of Olsztyn scientists has shown that the elimination of cereal and cow\'s milk proteins results in a better health of autistic and allergy patients - explained Prof. Kostyra. "This proven fact is the main driving force behind our work on the nourishing and treatment formulation that would assist the immune system of patients with autism and allergies" - she added.

The formulation, although based on cow\'s milk proteins, does not contain the adverse casein. The milk comes from genetically selected cows. Such selected milk is enriched with trace elements, unsaturated fatty acids and vitamins.

Research is conducted in vitro on digestive system cells. By entering the formulation into the model gastrointestinal tract, researchers observe how the substances it contains affect the patient\'s body. The product is still in the research stage - noted Prof. Kostyra.

She added that the diet helps to improve the patients\' condition, increase their comfort, quality of life and well-being. The product, which in our assumption should not be expensive, will be designed not only for patients with autism, but also for people with food allergies - added Prof. Kostyra.

The members of the Medical Biochemistry Team, Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology UWM, headed by Prof. Elżbieta Kostyra, are: Dr. Beata Jarmołowska, Dr. Stanisław Krawczuk, Dr. Edyta Sienkiewicz-Szłapka, Dr. Anna Cieślińska and Dr. Ewa Fiedorowicz. The team conducts research on gene expression, genetic polymorphism and their relationship with human diseases, including autism.

For five years the researchers from the University of Warmia and Mazury have been working with specialists from the Regional Specialist Children\'s Hospital in Olsztyn, which runs the Centre for Autism Diagnosis, Treatment and Therapy. According to the researchers, autism is a developmental disorder characterized by the occurrence of irregularities in the three spheres of human activity: social interaction, communication and behaviour.

Autism is a lifelong disorder, but its symptoms are not constant and change with human development. Neglecting the disease leads to disability and social exclusion, hence the need for public education and dissemination of knowledge about the autism and ways to counter its negative effects. It is estimated that in Poland approx. 1 in 160 children is born with autism - report specialists from the Centre for Autism Diagnosis, Treatment and Therapy.

Autistic people react to external stimuli differently than the average person; they exhibit unusual behaviour. The senses of people with autism, including taste, sight, hearing, touch, can be either hypersensitive to stimuli from the outside, or insufficiently sensitive.

Therefore, depending on the degree of sensitivity, these people either require enhanced stimulation to be able to respond to external information, or quite the opposite: stimuli that for ordinary people communicate neutral information, for them are very strong.

People with autism may be hypersensitive to touch, temperature, they can perceive simple sounds from the outside as too noisy, they may dislike bright colours, or quite the opposite: they may stare at light bulbs or like intensive scents, such as paint and gasoline.

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