Sulforaphane in autism. A treatment trial to confirm phenotypic improvement with sulforaphane treatment in a NJ population of individuals with autism.

Short Title

Rutgers University

Project Description

We propose a 2 year trial with sulforaphane in a NJ cohort of individuals with autism to independently replicate the findings of Singh as a precursor to a large multi-center trial in all ages.

One of the most promising findings in autism recently is that of Singh et al. which reported results of a trial using a chemical called sulforaphane that comes from eating natural foods such as broccoli. They used three tests that are often used to assess symptoms of autism. They saw significant improvement in behavior as measured by the Aberrant Behavioral Checklist (ABC) and by the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS). They also saw that a significantly greater
number of participants receiving sulforaphane had improvement in social interaction, less abnormal behavior, and better verbal communication as per the Clinical Global Impression (CGI).

While very promising, this study needs to be done in unrelated groups of individuals with autism to show that the results were not by chance. The test medicine called sulforaphane comes from
vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussel sprouts. It is also found in much higher concentrations in broccoli sprouts. Unfortunately, the cooking method and even how much someone chews make a big difference in how much sulforaphane is available for the body to use. The pill used in the previous study and ours avoids this problem.

Replicating the finding that sulforaphane helps improve some of the symptoms of autism in our study in NJ would suggest that the results of the Singh study were not by chance and will lead to a large scale, multi-center clinical trial for adolescents and adults with autism as well as trials in younger individuals with autism.

Selection Criteria

  • Males ages 13-30 years of age with Autistic Disorder diagnosis.

What's Involved

Subjects enrolled in this 18 week project will receive either sulforaphane or a placebo (a pill with no drug in it).


No monetary compensation.
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Team Members

William Johnson
Principal Investigator
(732) 235-4508

Edward (Scot) Strenos
Project Coordinator
(732) 235-5490