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University of Gothenburg
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laboratory
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Mary Coleman's contribution

A summary of Mary Coleman's contributions to autism research

Definition

  • Established that autism was a number of different diseases rather than one disease (as was thought at the time) by a large, blind study of 100 children with autism matched against 100 normal children who were age/sex/parent-income controls.
The Autisms book cover

 

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Laboratory

Laboratory results

  • Showed that although many children with one of the autisms had a high level of 5-hydroxytryptophan (serotonin) in the blood, this was dependent upon the child’s underlying disease. Other children with one of the autisms who had other different diseases had normal levels or low levels of serotonin. Published evidence showing that high levels of serotonin in the blood actually reflected low levels in the brain.
  • Laboratory result: Established that a major subset of children with the autisms had hyperuricosuria (too much uric acid in their urine).
  • Laboratory result: Established that a major subset of children with the autisms had hypocalinuria (too little calcium in their urine).
  • Laboratory result: Established that a very tiny subset of children with the autisms had lactic acidosis.
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Boy on tricycle

Clinical

  • Emphasised the role of minor physical anomalies in diagnosing a child with one of the autisms.
  • Classification of adventitious movements of children with one of the autisms.
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Books in a vortex

Academic

  • Edited or co-authored six books on The Autisms

Treatment

  • Established that individuals with autism who had ocular self-injurious behaviour also had hypocalinuria, and that the self mutilation of the eyes could be completely stopped by giving individual doses of oral liquid calcium supplementation at the level needed to restore normal levels of calcium in that person’s urine.