Michael G. Chez, M.D., Cathleen P. Buchanan, Ph.D., Jamie L. Komen, M.A., Marina Becker, R.N. Journal of Child Neurology (accepted for publication 2003). Pediatric Neurology, Lake Forest Hospital, Illinois 60045, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org (PubMed – Abstract)
Objective: L-Carnosine is an amino acid dipeptide that may enhance frontal lobe function. We therefore sought to investigate whether L-Carnosine supplementation for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) results in observable, objective changes in language and/or behavior in contrast to placebo.
Design/Methods: Thirty-one children (21 M, mean age= 7.45; range = 3.2-12.5 yrs) meeting inclusion criteria were enrolled in an 8 week blinded trial of either 400 mg BID powdered L-Carnosine or placebo. Children were assessed at a pediatric neurology clinic with the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS), the Expressive and Receptive One-Word Picture Vocabulary tests (E/ROWPVT), and biweekly parental Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGI), at baseline and 8 week endpoint. Dr Michael G. Chez is specialist and associate professor in Child Neurology Results: Children who were on placebo (n=17) did not show statistically significant changes on any of the outcome measures. After 8 weeks on L-Carnosine, children (n=14) showed statistically significant improvements on the GARS total score, GARS Behavior, Socialization, and Communication subscales, and the ROWPVT (all p’s<.05). E/ROWPVT and CARS showed trends in improvements, which were supported by parental CGI.
Conclusions: Oral supplementation with 400mg L-Carnosine resulted in demonstrable improvements in autistic behaviors as well as increases in language comprehension that reached statistical significance. Although the mechanism of action of the amino acid is not well understood, it is believed that it acts to modulate neurotransmission and affect metal ion transfer of zinc and copper in the entorhinal cortex. This may enhance neurological function or act in a neuroprotective fashion.