Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Children with Autism


Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Children with Autism

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Mitochondria are responsible for generating energy or the power source ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in the cells.  The Mitochondria found in granulocytes, a type of immune cell that fights infection and protects the body from invasion, has one third the capacity it normally should in ASD children.  This means far less oxygen is found in the cells of ASD children.  As a result, oxidative stress and free radicals in the blood cells of ASD children were far greater than those without the disorder.  Symptoms such as low cellular energy, abnormal fatigue, gastrointestinal distress, muscle weakness, hypotonia (low upper body muscle tone), low stamina, seizures, motor delays, neuropsychiatric behaviors, language and social impairment, and endocrine disturbances were identified.  Treating Mitochondrial Dysfunction with nutritional supplementation under the supervision of a physician has found to improve symptoms of autism.

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Related Sites

Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Diverse Medical Symptoms
Description:  This site describes mitochondrial dysfunction and its relationship to prevalent childhood conditions like autism.

Mitochondrial Disorder Overview
Description:  This site provides parents with overall information of Mitochondrial Disorders including additional symptoms and further resources for parents.

Mitochondrial Disorders and Autism
Description:  This site provides all the latest neurological research on Mitochondrial Disorders and autism.

About Autism and Mito (Mitochondrial Dysfunction)
Description:  This site provides information and support for families who are seeking information about ASD and the Mitochondrial Dysfunction.


Living Well With Mitochondrial Disease: A Handbook for Patients, Parents, and Families by Cristy Balcells R.N. M.S.N.
Description:  Living Well with Mitochondrial Disease is the perfect handbook for parents and families. Many children with autism are suffering not only from gastrointestinal difficulties but also from debilitating fatigue. Mitochondrial defects cause problems with energy levels and muscle tone. This book will address many of the questions that families have about their child.

Mitochondrial Disorders in Neurology by A. H. V. Schapira, Salvatore Dimauro
Description:  Mitrochondrial Disorders in Neurology is a comprehensive overview of the effects of mitochondrial diseases on the neurology of the brain including the biochemistry and molecular genetics. This book is an excellent guide for physicians and students.

Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism Fourth Edition
Description:  Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism provides parents with a go-to handbook which has over 90 autism experts’ contributions with their evaluations, therapies, extensive research information and treatment centers. The Fourth Edition also has the latest up-to-date information regarding Mitochondrial Disorders and autism.

My Mighty Mito Book: A Book for Children Who Have Mitochondrial Disease (Pocketbooks for Children) (Volume 1) by Cara Koscinski
Description:  This book, designed for children with mitochondrial disease, tells the story of how a boy named Joshua deals with mitochondria as well as many other conditions. In addition, this book allows for children to personalize it by filling in their own information so that they can understand they are not alone in living with the effects of mitochondrial disease.


Can Autism be a Mitochondrial Disease?
Description:  In this video, Dr. Richard Frye discusses the potential link between autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and mitochondrial dysfunction.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI) Testing for Mitochondria Disorder
Description:  Research by Richard Frye, MD, PhD, Director of Autism Research, ACHRI.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Description:  A video by Suzanne Goh, MD discussing mitochondrial dysfunction in children with autism.

Can Autism Be a Mitochondria Disorder?
Description:  In this video, Richard Frye, MD, PhD, discusses the role of seizures in Mitochondrial Dysfunction and how seizures in ASD are very similar to Mitochondria Dysfunction — they have similar presentations.

Understanding Mitochondrial Disease
Description:  This United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation site provides possible mitochondrial symptoms in key areas of the body.

Interview with Dr. Richard Frye
Description:  Dr. Frye discusses his approach related to endophenotypes which means to define the underlying conditions related to specific subsets of children with ASD. He specializes in such conditions as Mitochondria Disorders, seizures, and Cerebral Folate Deficiencies.

Parent Forums/Blogs

Some forums require you to sign in to Yahoo or Facebook to locate forum names.

Forum/Blog Name:  Mitochondrial Disease Awareness and Education
Description:  This group is a place to share ideas and promote awareness and education regarding mitochondrial disease.

Forum/Blog Name:  Mito Action
Description:  Parent forum for Mitochondrial Dysfunction.

Forum/Blog Name:  Breakthrough Discovery on Causes of Autism
Description:  Mark Hyman, MD, shares an amazing recovery story of a young boy with autism and Mitochondrial Dysfunction. He outlines his medical approach to normalizing the disturbances in the energy metabolism.

Forum/Blog Name:  Mitochondrial Autism
Description:  A growing body of research is showing that a number of children diagnosed with Autism may have an underlying mitochondrial or metabolic disorder causing it. This group is to support those on this journey and raise awareness about the connection between mitochondrial disease and autism.