Children who received secretin in a carefully designed study fared no better than children who received a placebo, that is, a shot of an inactive substance. Reports suggested that secretin could help the developmental disorder autism after a 3-year-old autistic child showed improved behavior and language skills after receiving a shot of secretin during a medical procedure.
Researchers compared a single injection of secretin with a single injection of a saline (salt-water) solution in 56 children with autism or pervasive developmental disorder, a related condition. When compared with placebo, secretin provided no significant improvement in any of 16 different measurements of the children's communication skills or autism behaviors, the report indicates. Among the children for whom complete information was available, 9 of 27 in the secretin group responded to treatment, compared to 7 of 25 in the placebo group, the researchers report. None of the children experienced serious side effects from either treatment.
This is the first of at least one dozen secretin trials that are currently in progress. I suspect that most of them will come up with the same result; secretin does not work. I believe that this is true if secretin is not provided in a comprehensive natural program, the most important factor being integration of a gluten, casein, sugar and grain free diet. I doubt that we will see a study that reports on this combination for a number of reasons. The main reason is that traditional medicine does not believe that nutrition has anything to do with autism, or for that matter most chronic illness. The other important issue is that most researchers are highly reluctant to conduct a trial in which a number of variables are being studied.
The truth however, is that secretin does work. I have used it successfully for dozens and dozens of autistic children with highly favorable results. However, it clearly does not work for everyone, and the likelihood of it working seems directly proportional to the child?s compliance with the diet program.
My office has produced two videos that detail my approach to autism. The first is a two-hour lecture that I gave to about 100 parents of autistic children. I review my results with secretin and with the details of my recommendations for the program. We also produced a two-hour video on how to implement the diet strategies that has five parents of autistic children providing insights on how they implemented the program.
The New England Journal of Medicine 1999;341:1801-1806, 1842-1843.
COMMENT: Autistic disorder is a serious neuropsychiatric disorder with onset in the first years of life that is characterized by delayed and deviant social and communication skills, associated with various forms of unusual behavior (e.g., repetitive behavior and unusual responses to the environment). The term pervasive developmental disorder refers to a condition with symptoms suggestive of autism but that does not meet the full criteria for autism. In slightly less than half of cases, these children never develop communicative speech.