Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Broccoli and Autism and Seizures, Oh My

Carlsbad, CA 1997

Sulforaphane is believed to prompt a cellular stress response in the body much like a fever does when a person is ill. Researchers said they were inspired to try the treatment after hearing anecdotally from families that fevers seemed to trigger improvements in autism symptoms.“We believe that this may be preliminary evidence for the first treatment for autism that improves symptoms by apparently correcting some of the underlying cellular problems,” said Paul Talalay of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a co-author of the study.

That quote is lifted out of an article that I read today with the title Autism Symptoms Eased By Broccoli Extract, Study Finds. Despite reading it on my Disability Scoop digest, I almost thought it to be a joke, but I clicked anyway and was blown away, especially by the sentences I've highlighted about high fevers. I have probably written about it here before, but in case I haven't, Sophie has always had a near-complete cessation of seizures during periods of high fever. In the days leading up to illness, she might have increased seizure activity, but once the fever begins, they nearly always have stopped. She doesn't really get sick like that anymore, though, so I'd forgotten about it. I do remember that we'd joke about instigating a treatment of provoked fever as an anti-epileptic. She is markedly calmer and more relaxed then, too, and while we've always attributed that to fatigue or a symptom of the fever/illness itself, the cessation of seizures (as opposed to exacerbation, like most people with epilepsy) is remarkable. No one has ever responded to that observation, though -- at least not her doctors.


I have also heard of the improvement in behaviors that some people with severe autism experience during fever, and I know that while Sophie has never been technically diagnosed with autism, the two diseases share many characteristics and many people with autism will also experience seizures at some point in their life. Anyway, this article is fascinating, and I'm thinking about finding some broccoli extract and adding that to The Regime.

Here's the link.


  1. Just sent the link to a dear friend with an autistic child.

  2. Interesting! Just goes to show that broccoli really IS good for us. :) Our moms were right!

    Seriously, I never imagined that broccoli extract could produce a response similar to fever at a cellular level. Maybe our bodies sometimes need the "reset" provided by getting sick and then getting better again. Idle speculation on my part, but interesting.

    LOVE the photo, by the way.

  3. Fascinating indeed. Stunning picture.

  4. There is so much you intuitively know; trust yourself always. That is an extraordinary photo of you and sweet Sophie.

  5. Evie too has NO seizures during fever. I love the idea of a cellular reset button. Thanks for posting this.

    Orbitz sent me an offer for a flight to CA from NE for only $232 today. One of these days I will take them up on that offer and Evie and I will help you change sheets.

  6. Researchers said they were inspired to try the treatment after hearing anecdotally.....

    I'd love to see that sentence more often.

  7. Interesting isn't it....how little we know about the brain. Children with PWS have a hypothalamus that is dysfunctional and as a result do not get a fever in response to an infection....so I absolutely believe that there is something to all this.

  8. I love that there are folks out there who are looking at non-lab-created solutions to medical issues. I would certainly welcome a return to the days of the herb healers who were intimately connected with the land and could guide us toward things that are easier on the body as they promote our own healing responses.



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