ScanBrit Dietary Intervention in Autism

This study has been completed.
Norway: Bo Nils og Seim Family Settlement
The Robert Luff Foundation, United Kingdom
Eric Birger Christensen Fond, Denmark
Norsk Proteinintolerance, Norway
Information provided by:
Center for Autisme, Denmark Identifier:
First received: January 31, 2008
Last updated: August 31, 2010
Last verified: May 2010

A growing body of research indicates that dietary intervention excluding foods containing the proteins, gluten and casein, from the diet of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have a positive effect on behaviour and developmental outcome.

In this single-blind, randomised-controlled, matched-pair adaptive trial, we introduced a gluten- and casein-free (GFCF) diet to a group of pre-pubescent children diagnosed with ASD concurrently with an abnormal urinary profile. Following random allocation to a diet or non- diet group, stage 1 of the study saw an intervention group follow the GFCF diet for eight months initially - progressing to 12 months if required. A non-diet control group continued with a normal diet.

Assuming significant changes for the dietary group on the various outcome measures of behaviour and development, stage 2 of the study saw both groups assigned to GFCF dietary intervention for a further 12 months when outcome measures were again assessed at study end.

Condition Intervention Phase
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Other: Gluten- and casein-free diet
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: The ScanBrit Randomised Controlled Study of Gluten- and Casein-free Dietary Intervention for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Center for Autisme, Denmark:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Change in Diet Groups Scores on One of Several Measures Used Against Pre-defined Statistical Thresholds as Evidence of Improvement. [ Time Frame: Baseline - 8 months - 12 months - 24 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule): module 1 cutoff scores (communication+social): autism=12, autism spectrum (AS)=7; module 2 cutoffs: autism=12, AS=8; module 3 cutoffs: autism=10; AS=7. GARS (Gilliam Autism Rating Scale): <80 low probability of autism, 81-90 below average, 91-110 average, >110 above average probability of autism. VABS (Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale): <69 (low ability), 70-84 (moderate/low), 85-115 (adequate), 116-130 (moderate/high), >130 (high). ADHD-IV: 0=no problems indicated. >11 attention & >11 hyperactivity = ADHD diagnosis.

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Changes to Appearance of Multiple Compounds in Urine Samples [ Time Frame: Baseline - 8 months -12 months - 24 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Enrollment: 72
Study Start Date: April 2006
Study Completion Date: October 2008
Primary Completion Date: October 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Gluten- and casein-free diet
Stage 1: Gluten- and casein-free dietary intervention for first 8 or 12 months. 8 or 12 months: Interim analysis based on surpassing statistical thresholds. If showed group significant improvements then progressed to stage 2 (continued on a gluten- and casein-free diet for a further 12 months).
Other: Gluten- and casein-free diet
Removal of foods containing gluten (cereal produce) and casein (dairy produce)
Other Name: Gluten-free (wheat-free), casein- free (milk-free) diets
No Intervention: No dietary intervention
Stage 1: No special dietary intervention for first 8 or 12 months. 8 or 12 months: Interim analysis based on surpassing statistical thresholds. If gluten- and casein-free dietary group showed group significant improvements then progressed to stage 2 (introduction of a gluten- and casein-free diet for 12 months).

Detailed Description:

Eligibility criteria: diagnosis of autism, no co-morbid diagnosis of Fragile X syndrome, epilepsy or tuberous sclerosis, aged between 4-10y11m.

Experimental hypothesis: children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) on a GFCF diet would show a significantly improved group developmental outcome in the medium- and long-term with regards to core autism and/or secondary symptoms.

Main outcome measures: change in scores of dietary participants on one or more measures against predefined statistical thresholds as evidence of improvement, alongside changes to intra- and inter-group scores at study endpoint.

Main outcome measures ascertained by: Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), Gillam Autism Rating Scale (GARS), Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales (VABS), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - IV (ADHD-IV) scales.


Ages Eligible for Study:   4 Years to 11 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Diagnosis received at Centre for Autism or a psychiatric clinic
  • Abnormal urinary peptide profile

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Medical treatment
  • Epilepsy
  Contacts and Locations
No Contacts or Locations Provided
  More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: Director Demetrious Haracopos, Center for Autisme Identifier: NCT00614198     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: KA 0503g
Study First Received: January 31, 2008
Results First Received: May 17, 2010
Last Updated: August 31, 2010
Health Authority: Denmark: The Danish National Committee on Biomedical Research Ethics

Keywords provided by Center for Autisme, Denmark:
autism spectrum disorder
Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS)
Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS)
adaptive design
Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale (VABS)
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)-IV Scale

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Autistic Disorder
Child Development Disorders, Pervasive
Mental Disorders Diagnosed in Childhood
Mental Disorders
Chelating Agents
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Pharmacologic Actions processed this record on April 15, 2014