Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 1464–1470 | Cite as

Brief Report: Scurvy as a Manifestation of Food Selectivity in Children with Autism

  • Nina S. MaEmail author
  • Cynthia Thompson
  • Sharon Weston
Brief Report


Scurvy was diagnosed in seven children at Boston Children’s Hospital. All of the children had a developmental disorder and autism was the most common. They had a long-standing history of food selectivity with diets devoid of fruits and vegetables, and none of the children were supplemented with a multivitamin. They presented with limp, and an elaborate panel of tests and procedures were undertaken before the diagnosis of scurvy was made. Treatment with vitamin C led to rapid recovery of symptoms. This report emphasizes the importance of considering nutritional causes of musculoskeletal symptoms in children with autism and restrictive diets.


Scurvy Vitamin C Autism Developmental disorder Sensory processing disorder Food selectivity Children 



We acknowledge the patients, their families, and the teams of dedicated providers at BCH for working together toward a diagnosis of scurvy, with special thanks to Drs. Susan Connolly and Jeannette M. Perez-Rossello in the Department of Radiology.

Author Contributions

N.S.M. conceived of the study, participated in its design, acquisition and interpretation of data, and participated in drafting the manuscript; C.T. participated in the design, acquisition of data, and participated in drafting the manuscript; S.W. made substantial contributions to analysis and interpretation of data, was involved in critically revising the manuscript, and contributed to important sections pertaining to nutrition in the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

For this type of study formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Endocrinology, Department of Pediatrics, Boston Children’s HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA
  3. 3.Center for Nutrition, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and NutritionBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA

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