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A chemical found in broccoli and other vegetables - sulforaphane - has shown promise for improving some behavioral symptoms of autism. This is according to the results of a small clinical trial led by researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, and Massachusetts General Hospital for Children.
Researchers found that sulforaphane - a chemical found in broccoli and other vegetables - improved behavioral symptoms in some individuals with autism.
The team's findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Autism is a developmental disability characterized by problems with social, emotional and communication skills, as well as repetitive and routine behaviors. Onset usually occurs before the age of 3 years, and the disorder is almost five times more common among boys than girls.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism is the fastest growing disability in the US, with prevalence of the disorder increasing 289.5% over the past 12 years. More than 3.5 million Americans are living with autism.
At present, there are no medications that can treat the core symptoms of autism. But in this latest study, researchers found that sulforaphane could reduce certain behavioral symptoms of the disorder by targeting underlying cellular problems.