Diet & Movement Disorders, Tics,
Tourette Syndrome


Home ||| Research Menu Page ||| Last update 9/05/2011

Listed in reverse date order:
Cortese 2008Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, and restless legs syndrome: The iron hypothesis.
Young 2008Thimerosal exposure in infants and neurodevelopmental disorders: an assessment of computerized medical records in the Vaccine Safety Datalink.
Gorman 2006Ferritin Levels and Their Association With Regional Brain Volumes in Tourette's Syndrome.
Lau 2006Synergistic Interactions Between Commonly Used Food Additives in a Developmental Neurotoxicity Test.
Gerrard 1994Neuropharmacological evaluation of movement disorders that are adverse reactions to specific foods.
Wurtman 1992Effects of foods on the brain. Possible implications for understanding and treating Tourette syndrome.
Augustine 1980   Neurotransmitter Release from a Vertebrate Neuromuscular Synapse Affected by a Food Dye.
Levitan 1977Food, drug, and cosmetic dyes: Biological effects related to lipid solubility.


Note: Many parents report that the Feingold diet consistently improves or controls Tourette Syndrome. We are still waiting for the research to show WHY this happens.
Natural Treatments for Tics and Tourette's: A Patient and Family Guide
This is a book worth reading, by Sheila Rogers of the Association for Comprehensive NeuroTherapy.

Click on the picture to order through the Feingold Bookstore, or see the ACN website for more information.

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  1. Neurotransmitter Release from a Vertebrate Neuromuscular Synapse Affected by a Food Dye, G.Augustine, H.Levitan, Science Magazine, March 28, 1980, Vol. 207, pp. 1489-90
    "...FD&C No.3 ... produced an irreversible, dose-dependent increase in neurotransmitter release ... These results suggest that erythrosine might prove a useful pharmacological tool for studying the process of transmitter release, but that its use as a food additive should be re-examined."
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  2. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, and restless legs syndrome: The iron hypothesis Cortese S, Lecendreux M, Bernardina BD, Mouren MC, Sbarbati A, Konofal E., Med Hypotheses. 2008;70(6):1128-32. Epub 2007 Dec 27.
    " Preliminary but increasing evidence suggests that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Tourette’s syndrome (TS), and restless legs syndrome (RLS) may be comorbid. . . . Iron deficiency might lead to ADHD, RLS and TS symptoms via its impact on the metabolism of dopamine and other catecholamines, which have been involved into the pathophysiology of ADHD, TS, and RLS. We speculate that the catecholaminergic systems are differently impacted in each of the three disorders, contributing to a different specific phenotypic expression of iron deficiency. MRI studies assessing brain iron levels in ADHD, TS, and childhood RLS, as well as genetic studies on the specific molecular pathways involved in iron deficiency, are greatly needed to confirm the iron hypothesis underlying ADHD, TS, and RLS. ... "

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  3. Neuropharmacological evaluation of movement disorders that are adverse reactions to specific foods. Gerrard JW, Richardson JS, Donat J, International Journal of Neuroscience 1994 May;76(1-2):61-9
    "Three cases are reported of patients who had episodic movement disorders triggered by foods or components of the diet. In the first patient, the movement consisted of shaking the head from side to side that was triggered by milk and a number of other foods. In the second patient, the movement consisted of a repeated shrugging of the shoulders that was triggered by egg and coffee. In the third, the movement consisted of rhythmic contractions of the arms and legs that were triggered by aspartame. ... These observations suggest that, in susceptible individuals, foods can trigger movement disorders through an action on dopamine and other neurotransmitter pathways in the brain."
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  4. Ferritin levels and their association with regional brain volumes in Tourette's syndrome. Gorman DA, Zhu H, Anderson GM, Davies M, Peterson BS., Am J Psychiatry. 2006 Jul;163(7):1264-72.
    ". . . The authors measured peripheral iron indices in a large group of Tourette's syndrome and comparison subjects and explored associations of ferritin levels with regional brain volumes. . . . Ferritin and serum iron were significantly lower in the Tourette's syndrome subjects, although still within the normal range. . . . The lower peripheral ferritin and iron levels in persons with Tourette's syndrome are consistent with findings in other movement disorders and suggest that lower iron availability may have a causal role in the pathophysiology of tic disorders. Lower iron stores may contribute to hypoplasia of the caudate and putamen, increasing vulnerability to developing tics or to having more severe tics. Lower iron stores may also contribute to smaller cortical volumes and consequently to reduced inhibitory control of tics."
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  5. Synergistic Interactions Between Commonly Used Food Additives in a Developmental Neurotoxicity Test. Lau K, McLean WG, Williams DP, Howard CV., Toxicol Sci. 2006 Mar;90(1):178-87, 2005 Dec 13; [Epub ahead of print]
    " Exposure to non-nutritional food additives during the critical development window has been implicated in the induction and severity of behavioural disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). . . We therefore examined the neurotoxic effects of four common food additives in combinations of two (Brilliant Blue and L-glutamic acid, Quinoline Yellow and aspartame) to assess potential interactions. . . Neurotoxicity was measured as an inhibition of neurite outgrowth. . . . Theoretical exposure to additives was calculated based on analysis of content in foodstuff, and estimated percentage absorption from the gut. Inhibition of neurite outgrowth was found at concentrations of additives theoretically achievable in plasma by ingestion of a typical snack and drink. . . both combinations had a straightforward additive effect on cytotoxicity. These data have implications for the cellular effects of common chemical entities ingested individually and in combination. "
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  6. Food, drug, and cosmetic dyes: Biological effects related to lipid solubility. Levitan H (1977). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 74, 2914-2918.
    "The synthetic coloring agents increased the resting membrane potential and conductance of the neurons in a dose-dependent manner by increasing the potassium permeability of the membrane relative to that of other ions."
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  7. Effects of foods on the brain. Possible implications for understanding and treating Tourette syndrome. Wurtman RJ. Adv Neurol. 1992;58:293-301.
    Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139.

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  8. Thimerosal exposure in infants and neurodevelopmental disorders: an assessment of computerized medical records in the Vaccine Safety Datalink. Young HA, Geier DA, Geier MR., Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 2008 Aug 15;271(1-2):110-8. Epub 2008 May 15.
    "The study evaluated possible associations between neurodevelopmental disorders (NDs) and exposure to mercury (Hg) from Thimerosal-containing vaccines (TCVs) by examining the automated Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD). . . . Exposures to Hg from TCVs were calculated by birth cohort for specific exposure windows from birth-7 months and birth-13 months of age. . . Consistent significantly increased rate ratios were observed for autism, autism spectrum disorders, tics, attention deficit disorder, and emotional disturbances with Hg exposure from TCVs. . ."
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