A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised-designed GABA tea study in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Conditions: A feasibility study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Research has shown an association with sensorimotor integration and symptomology of Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC). Specific areas of the brain that are involved in sensorimotor integration, such as the cerebellum and basal ganglia are pathologically different in individuals with ASC in comparison to typically developing (TD) peers. These brain regions contain GABAergic inhibitory neurons that release an inhibitory neurotransmitter, γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). Brain GABA levels are decreased in ASC. This study explored, for the first time, the effect of introducing a non-invasive GABA substitute, in the form of GABA Oolong tea, on the sensorimotor skills, ASC profiles, anxieties and sleep of children with ASC. Nine children took part: (5 male, 4 female). Each child participated in three tea conditions: high GABA, high L-Theanine (a compound that increases GABA), tea with low GABA content as a placebo. A double blind, repeated measures design was employed. Measures were taken after each tea condition. Sensory and ASC profiles were scored using parental questionnaires. Motor skills were assessed using a gold standard coordination assessment. Sleep was monitored using an Actiwatch and anxiety measured through cortisol assays. Subjective views were sought from parents on ‘best’ tea. Results showed significant improvement in manual dexterity and some large individual improvements in balance, sensory responsivity, DSM-5 criteria and cortisol levels with GABA tea. Improvements were also seen in the L-Theanine condition, although were more sporadic. These results suggest that sensorimotor abilities, anxiety levels and DSM-5 symptomology of children with ASC can benefit from the administration of GABA in the form of Oolong tea.
LanguageEnglish
Pages(In-Press)
JournalNutritional Neuroscience
Volume(In-Press)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Feb 2019

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Feasibility Studies
Tea
Autistic Disorder
gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
Placebos
Anxiety
Hydrocortisone
Sleep
Brain
GABAergic Neurons
Motor Skills
Aptitude
Basal Ganglia
Cerebellum
Neurotransmitter Agents
Parents

Keywords

  • Autism, motor coordination, sensory, sleep, anxiety, GABA, tea

Cite this

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title = "A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised-designed GABA tea study in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Conditions: A feasibility study",
abstract = "Research has shown an association with sensorimotor integration and symptomology of Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC). Specific areas of the brain that are involved in sensorimotor integration, such as the cerebellum and basal ganglia are pathologically different in individuals with ASC in comparison to typically developing (TD) peers. These brain regions contain GABAergic inhibitory neurons that release an inhibitory neurotransmitter, γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). Brain GABA levels are decreased in ASC. This study explored, for the first time, the effect of introducing a non-invasive GABA substitute, in the form of GABA Oolong tea, on the sensorimotor skills, ASC profiles, anxieties and sleep of children with ASC. Nine children took part: (5 male, 4 female). Each child participated in three tea conditions: high GABA, high L-Theanine (a compound that increases GABA), tea with low GABA content as a placebo. A double blind, repeated measures design was employed. Measures were taken after each tea condition. Sensory and ASC profiles were scored using parental questionnaires. Motor skills were assessed using a gold standard coordination assessment. Sleep was monitored using an Actiwatch and anxiety measured through cortisol assays. Subjective views were sought from parents on ‘best’ tea. Results showed significant improvement in manual dexterity and some large individual improvements in balance, sensory responsivity, DSM-5 criteria and cortisol levels with GABA tea. Improvements were also seen in the L-Theanine condition, although were more sporadic. These results suggest that sensorimotor abilities, anxiety levels and DSM-5 symptomology of children with ASC can benefit from the administration of GABA in the form of Oolong tea.",
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N2 - Research has shown an association with sensorimotor integration and symptomology of Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC). Specific areas of the brain that are involved in sensorimotor integration, such as the cerebellum and basal ganglia are pathologically different in individuals with ASC in comparison to typically developing (TD) peers. These brain regions contain GABAergic inhibitory neurons that release an inhibitory neurotransmitter, γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). Brain GABA levels are decreased in ASC. This study explored, for the first time, the effect of introducing a non-invasive GABA substitute, in the form of GABA Oolong tea, on the sensorimotor skills, ASC profiles, anxieties and sleep of children with ASC. Nine children took part: (5 male, 4 female). Each child participated in three tea conditions: high GABA, high L-Theanine (a compound that increases GABA), tea with low GABA content as a placebo. A double blind, repeated measures design was employed. Measures were taken after each tea condition. Sensory and ASC profiles were scored using parental questionnaires. Motor skills were assessed using a gold standard coordination assessment. Sleep was monitored using an Actiwatch and anxiety measured through cortisol assays. Subjective views were sought from parents on ‘best’ tea. Results showed significant improvement in manual dexterity and some large individual improvements in balance, sensory responsivity, DSM-5 criteria and cortisol levels with GABA tea. Improvements were also seen in the L-Theanine condition, although were more sporadic. These results suggest that sensorimotor abilities, anxiety levels and DSM-5 symptomology of children with ASC can benefit from the administration of GABA in the form of Oolong tea.

AB - Research has shown an association with sensorimotor integration and symptomology of Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC). Specific areas of the brain that are involved in sensorimotor integration, such as the cerebellum and basal ganglia are pathologically different in individuals with ASC in comparison to typically developing (TD) peers. These brain regions contain GABAergic inhibitory neurons that release an inhibitory neurotransmitter, γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). Brain GABA levels are decreased in ASC. This study explored, for the first time, the effect of introducing a non-invasive GABA substitute, in the form of GABA Oolong tea, on the sensorimotor skills, ASC profiles, anxieties and sleep of children with ASC. Nine children took part: (5 male, 4 female). Each child participated in three tea conditions: high GABA, high L-Theanine (a compound that increases GABA), tea with low GABA content as a placebo. A double blind, repeated measures design was employed. Measures were taken after each tea condition. Sensory and ASC profiles were scored using parental questionnaires. Motor skills were assessed using a gold standard coordination assessment. Sleep was monitored using an Actiwatch and anxiety measured through cortisol assays. Subjective views were sought from parents on ‘best’ tea. Results showed significant improvement in manual dexterity and some large individual improvements in balance, sensory responsivity, DSM-5 criteria and cortisol levels with GABA tea. Improvements were also seen in the L-Theanine condition, although were more sporadic. These results suggest that sensorimotor abilities, anxiety levels and DSM-5 symptomology of children with ASC can benefit from the administration of GABA in the form of Oolong tea.

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