Daily consumption of a chemical called sulforaphane that is a common component of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage has been shown to improve both cognitive and social skills in people with autism. The improvement in the symptoms of autism took between four weeks and 18 weeks of treatment. Investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported the discovery in the Oct. 13, 2014, edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The 44 study participants were all males that had been diagnosed with moderate to sever autism. The age range of the participants was between 13 years of age and 27 years of age. The participants received a placebo or sulforaphane extracted from broccoli sprouts for 18 weeks.