As part of an on-going campaign called Got Autism, PETA, People for the ethical treatment of animals, have linked milk and all dairy products as one factor in the onset of autism.
On their webpage they state:
“Autism and autism spectrum disorder are complex disorders of brain development that may be associated with a wide range of symptoms, such as limited verbal communication and difficulties with social interactions. PETA has created a billboard to alert the public to the connection between this condition and dairy-product consumption.
More research is needed, but scientific studies have shown that many autistic kids improve dramatically when put on a diet free of dairy foods.”
The science they quote is this study which looked at gluten and casein-free diet for children with autistic syndromes and urinary peptide abnormalities over a period of one year (incedentally casein is found in cow’s milk), and this study Food allergy in infantile autism, which skin tested 36 autistic patients and then had them on an elimination diet for two months.
Tracy Reiman, PETA’s Executive Vice President, responded to The Wire on Wednesday with the following statement:
PETA’s website provides parents with the potentially valuable information that researchers have backed up many families’ findings that a dairy-free diet can help kids with autism. Dumping dairy—the consumption of which has also been found to contribute to asthma, constipation, recurrent ear infections, iron deficiency, anemia, and even cancer—is a healthy choice that the late Dr. Benjamin Spock recommended for all families, and it also spares mother cows from being repeatedly impregnated and forced to produce milk for humans after their calves have been taken away from them so that they will endure the same fate. Cow’s milk might be the perfect food for baby cows, but it might also be making kids sick.)
Part two of this article rounds up the community’s reaction and can be found here.