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  Autism  
 
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Isolated in worlds of their own, people with autism appear indifferent and remote and are unable to form emotional bonds with others. Although people with this baffling brain disorder can display a wide range of symptoms and disability, many are incapable of understanding other people's thoughts, feelings, and needs. Often, language and intelligence fail to develop fully, making communication and social relationships difficult. Many people with autism engage in repetitive activities, like rocking or banging their heads, or rigidly following familiar patterns in their everyday routines. Some are painfully sensitive to sound, touch, sight, or smell. Children with autism do not follow the typical patterns of child development. In some children, hints of future problems may be apparent from birth. In most cases, the problems become more noticeable as the child slips farther behind other children the same age. Other children start off well enough. But between 18 and 36 months old, they suddenly reject people, act strangely, and lose language and social skills they had already acquired.

As a parent, teacher, or caregiver you may know the frustration of trying to communicate and connect with children or adults who have autism. You may feel ignored as they engage in endlessly repetitive behaviors. You may despair at the bizarre ways they express their inner needs. And you may feel sorrow that your hopes and dreams for them may never materialize.

But there is help and hope. Gone are the days when people with autism were isolated, typically sent away to institutions. Today, many youngsters can be helped to attend school with other children. Methods are available to help improve their social, language, and academic skills. Even though more than 60 percent of adults with autism continue to need care throughout their lives, some programs are beginning to demonstrate that with appropriate support, many people with autism can be trained to do meaningful work and participate in the life of the community.

It has been thought that autism is found in every country and region of the world, and in families of all racial, ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds. Emerging in childhood, it affects about 1 to 2 people in every thousand and is three to four times more common in boys than girls. The incidence is increasing, with some parts of the world experiencing 17 cases per thousand children. Girls with the disorder tend to have more severe symptoms and lower intelligence. In addition to loss of personal potential, the cost of health and educational services to those affected exceeds $3 billion each year. So, at some level, autism affects us all. [Taken from NIH Publication No. 97-4023 Printed 1997. Booklet. 60p.]

However, one reporter set out to analyze the autism rates among Amish communities.

Since they have been cut off for hundreds of years from American culture and scientific progress, the Amish may have had less exposure to some new factor triggering autism in the rest of population. The likely culprit: vaccines.

Traveling to the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country in search of autistic Amish children, the reporter, based on national statistics, should have found as many as 200 children with autism in the community -- instead, he found only three, the oldest age 9 or 10:

The first autistic Amish child was a girl who had been brought over from China, adopted by one family only to be given up after becoming overwhelmed by her autism, and then re-adopted by an Amish Mennonite family. (China, India and Indonesia are among countries moving fast to mass-vaccination programs.) The second autistic Amish child definitely had received a vaccination and developed autism shortly thereafter. The reporter was unable to determine the vaccination status of the third child.

In some vaccines, they use a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal that keeps multiple-dose vials from becoming contaminated by repeated needle sticks. After health officials became concerned about the amount of mercury infants and children were receiving through thimerosal-tainted vaccines, the toxin was phased out of U.S. vaccines starting in 1999. [Washington Times April 18, 2005 ]

The increase in reported cases of autism has not only slowed, but actually reversed now that thimerosal, a mercury-based vaccine preservative, has finally been removed from childhood vaccines. Studies of two government databases indicate that autism rates went up as thimerosal dosages increased, then began to decline as thimerosal was removed. [Association of American Physicians and Surgeons March 6, 2006]

However, a new MUHC study provides conclusive evidence that the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine is not associated with the development of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The study, published in the scientific journal Pediatrics (Oct 16, 2006), reveals fundamental errors in previous molecular studies that falsely implicated the MMR vaccine as a risk factor for autism. This study arose from a cross-disciplinary collaboration between Dr Brian Ward, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the MUHC, and Dr Eric Fombonne, Director of Pediatric Psychiatry at the Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC

The biological evidence from this new MUHC study correlates with the epidemiological evidence from another previous MUHC study that also proves that the MMR vaccine has no link to autism. The previous study, led by Dr. Fombonne, was published in the July 5 issue of Pediatrics. All well-conducted epidemiological studies have found no association between the MMR vaccine and autism at the population level. The MUHC team's new data now demonstrate that the putative MMR-ASD link can no longer be argued even at the level of the individual child with autism.

An additional study was led by Dr. W Ian Lipkin of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, New York, New York, and is published as an online open access article on 4th September in PLoS One, the journal of the Public Library of Science. According to MedPage Today (September 4, 2008), Lipkin told the press: "We are persuaded that there is no link."

There are many sites dedicated to the subject of Autism. Useful examples include autism.com, autism.org and Autism Research Institute.

It is important to determine whether the child has health problems. These problems may include a need for essential vitamins and minerals (vitamin B6 with magnesium, DMG (TMG), vitamins A and C), gastrointestinal problems (leaky gut, yeast overgrowth, viral infection), high levels of heavy metals and other toxins (mercury, lead), and food sensitivities. The majority of autistic individuals have one or more of these problems.

Scientists have renounced their conclusions in a study that suggested a link between childhood vaccinations and autism.
Ten of the 13 authors involved in the study signed a formal retraction stating the main author was being paid on the side by lawyers for parents who claimed their children were harmed by the immunizations. The scientists wanted to make it clear in the retractions that although there was no casual link between the vaccine and autism, the possibility of such a link was raised. [Yahoo! News March 3, 2004]

While it's highly unlikely that any one vaccine is responsible for the autism epidemic, there are many signs indicating that we may be giving our children too many vaccines, and that vaccines of all kinds may be less innocuous than previously believed.

Research in 2012 has discovered that exposure to low levels of antidepressants, such as found in water supplies, can turn on the same genes found in fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) as those found in autism. Please see the link with Conventional Drugs on this page.
 

 
 

Risk factors for Autism:
 
 
Allergy  Environmental Illness / MCS
 Please see the link between Autism and the treatment Environmental Medicine.

Circulation

  Hypercoagulation (Thickened Blood)

Drug Side Effects

  Prescription Drug Side-Effects
 July 2011. Children whose mothers take Zoloft, Prozac, or similar antidepressants during pregnancy are twice as likely as other children to have a diagnosis of autism or a related disorder, according to a small new study, the first to examine the relationship between antidepressants and autism risk.

Using Kaiser Permanente's patient database, which includes more than 3.2 million people, Croen and her team identified 298 children with an ASD who were born between 1995 and mid-1999, and matched them with 1,507 children without autism who were roughly the same age and were born in the same hospitals.

The authors then cross-checked whether their mothers, in the year before delivery, filled prescriptions for an SSRI, including Prozac, Zoloft, Luvox, Celexa, and Paxil (or their generic versions). The researchers could not confirm whether the mothers actually took the medication, however.

A larger study needs to be done to confirm this relationship, but based upon this discovery, it would seem wise to avoid antidepressants, if possible, during pregnancy.
 
 

Autism suggests the following may be present:
 
 
Allergy  Allergy / Intolerance to Foods (Hidden)
 Children with autism are sensitive. Of the thousands of children I have known in thirty years as a doctor, the few hundred with problems in the spectrum related to autism stand out as the most distinctively sensitive of them all. Touching, tasting, hearing, smelling, and seeing involve an enterprise that is not only characterized by difficulties in processing and organization but is also involves a heightened, often painful, sensitivity.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that “autism is caused by allergy”. I am saying that children who have problems in the autistic spectrum (as well as children who have significant attention problems) are sensitive not just in the area of their senses, but also in their immune system’s reaction to the environment.

Should you change the diet of a child who has decided to live on French fries, chocolate milk, pretzels, Twinkies and diet coke, rejecting all alternatives with an iron will? Yup! And when you get over the hump, you are likely to be rewarded with changes in sleep, behavior, attention and “sensitivity” that make the struggle worth it. There are several ways of checking for food allergy. Trial and error changes in diet are tedious but inexpensive. IgG ELISA blood testing is a reliable way also.

Excerpted form an article by Dr. Sidney Baker, MD, Connecticut.

  Environmental Illness / MCS
 Please see the link between Autism and the treatment Environmental Medicine.

Circulation

  Hypercoagulation (Thickened Blood)

Nutrients

  Antioxidant Need/Oxidative Stress w/ Supplements
 Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine discovered that children with autism showed signs of abnormal blood-vessel function and damaging levels of oxidative stress compared to healthy children. The children with autism possessed levels of biochemicals that indicate the presence of constricted blood vessels via the endothelium (the cells that line vessels) with a higher tendency to form clots (through cells called platelets).

By exploring the relationship between oxidative stress and blood-vessel function in autistic patients, investigators hope to find new therapeutic options for this syndrome. The researchers, led by Domenico Pratico, MD, Associate Professor of Pharmacology, published their findings in the August 2006 issue of the Archives of Neurology.

  Antioxidant Need/Oxidative Stress w/o Supplements
 Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine discovered that children with autism showed signs of abnormal blood-vessel function and damaging levels of oxidative stress compared to healthy children. The children with autism possessed levels of biochemicals that indicate the presence of constricted blood vessels via the endothelium (the cells that line vessels) with a higher tendency to form clots (through cells called platelets).

By exploring the relationship between oxidative stress and blood-vessel function in autistic patients, investigators hope to find new therapeutic options for this syndrome. The researchers, led by Domenico Pratico, MD, Associate Professor of Pharmacology, published their findings in the August 2006 issue of the Archives of Neurology.
 
 

Recommendations for Autism:
 
 
Diet  Specific Carbohydrate / GAPS Diet
 This treatment must begin early in life to have any profound effect on autism.

Drug

  LDN - Low Dose Naltrexone
 Please see the link between Autism and Reading List.


Not recommended:
  Conventional Drugs / Information
 A new scientific study has uncovered evidence suggesting a link between low levels of anti-depressants and other psychoactive drugs in drinking water supplies and the triggering of Autism.

The New Scientist [PLoS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032917 (June 2012)] reports that a study, undertaken by professor of evolutionary biology Michael Thomas of Idaho State University in Pocatello, found that just traces of selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as prozac, a common anti-depressant medication, had significant effects on the neurological activity of fish.

Thomas exposed fathead minnows to the drugs for a period of just under three weeks in doses comparable with the highest estimated environmental levels, and found that the exact same genes turned on in people with autism were also triggered in the fish after exposure.

“While others have envisioned a causal role for psychotropic drugs in idiopathic autism, we were astonished to find evidence that this might occur at very low dosages, such as those found in aquatic systems.” Thomas said. Thomas notes that his findings could indicate that residues of psychiatric medications found in the drinking supply may be a cause of autism in humans.

The study notes that its findings dovetail with previous research indicating that pregnant women who take SSRIs are more likely to have autistic children. It also adds weight to research that has previously found a link between Psychiatric drugs and autism-like symptoms in rats exposed to the medicines. []

Environmental

  Environmental Medicine
 A groundbreaking theory has been suggested by a study published in the Journal of the Australasian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine: electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from cell phones, cell towers, Wi-Fi devices and other similar wireless technologies as an accelerating factor in autism.

The study, which involved over five years of research on children with autism and other membrane sensitivity disorders, found that EMR negatively affects cell membranes, and allows heavy metal toxins, which are associated with autism, to build up in your body.

Meanwhile, the researchers pointed out that autism rates have increased concurrently along with the proliferation of cell phones and wireless use.

EMR, the researchers say, could impact autism by facilitating early onset of symptoms or by trapping heavy metals inside of nerve cells, which could accelerate the onset of symptoms of heavy metal toxicity and hinder therapeutic clearance of the toxins .

Speaking in reference to the huge rise in autism rates, Dr. George Carlo, the study’s co-author, said, “A rise of this magnitude must have a major environmental cause. Our data offer a reasonable mechanistic explanation for a connection between autism and wireless technology.”

They also suggest that EMR from wireless devices works in conjunction with environmental and genetic factors to cause autism.

Primary researcher for this article is Tamara Mariea. Her clinic is called Internal Balance™ Inc.(www.internalbalance.com) and is a state-of-the-art Detoxification Clinic located in the Nashville, TN area. Her objective is to provide high quality and current up-to-date information on the hottest topics in the natural health industry including sound advice on how to implement a personal wellness and detoxification program that works.

One of the most successful programs offered at Internal Balance is the unique strategies implemented for autistic children. In working backward through the autistic child’s life, making changes to their environment, diet and implementing State-of-the-Art detoxification strategies, the Internal Balance team has witnessed numerous changes and improvements in the lives and families of these children. In a few cases, they have witnessed miracles that have changed lives forever, including Mariea’s team.

Parents consistently report back that during and after the detoxification process and most importantly after making modifications to their home, they see huge changes in their children’s developmental progress and a decrease in the children’s general sensory discomfort.

Extract

  Glyconutrients
 Many parents have reported improved functioning in their autistic children when taking some of the glyconutrient containing products available on the market from companies such as ZZZZZZ*.

*The manufacturer of these products has requested that unauthorized health claims which go beyond stating that ZZZZZ (company name) nutritional products promote the maintenance of health and general well-being be removed.

Lab Tests/Rule-Outs

  Test Essential Fatty Acid Profile

Miscellaneous

  Reading List
 See the book by Natasha Campbell-McBride MD calledGut and Psychology Syndrome orThe Specific Carbohydrate Diet by Elaine Gottschell, B.A.,M.Sc..

The Promise Of Low Dose Naltrexone Therapy: Potential Benefits in Cancer, Autoimmune, Neurological and Infectious Disorders. By Elaine Moore, co-author SammyJo Wilkinson Foreword by Dr. Yash Agrawal, MD, PhD.

This is perhaps the first, and so far only book on LDN, and as such represents a milestone in the effort to bring LDN into mainstream use. Written by Elaine Moore, a high level science writer with a portfolio of previous accomplishments, her LDN book is perhaps somewhat technical and may be difficult for the untrained non-professional to follow. It delves into the sophisticated jargon of the medical research world. For example, in Chapter 5 on LDN and Cancer, there is a discussion of Zagon's work on Cyclin dependent kinases, P53 and protein 21 and how this relates to inhibition of cancer by LDN.

However, in addition to the esoteric technical sections of the book, there are also chapters devoted to the lay reader interested in learning how LDN can help them on a practical level. A listing of dispensing practitioners was included which I found contained my own office address and phone number.

The book is highly recommended for other health care practitioners who wish to get quickly up to speed in this new area of medicine which is destined to become the medical paradigm of the 21st century, casting a giant shadow over the rest of mainstream medicine.[ Comments on the LDN book by Jeffrey Dach MD]

Here is a website with some good information on the nutritional treatment of autism.

Also see the book by Natasha Campbell-McBride MD calledGut and Psychology Syndrome orThe Specific Carbohydrate Diet by Elaine Gottschell, B.A.,M.Sc..
 
 


KEY
Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Proven definite or direct link
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
May have adverse consequences







GLOSSARY

Allergy:  Hypersensitivity caused by exposure to a particular antigen (allergen), resulting in an increased reactivity to that antigen on subsequent exposure, sometimes with harmful immunologic consequences.

ELISA:  (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay): A test that detects the presence of the AIDS virus or Lyme Disease antibodies.

Epidemic:  Describes a disease occurring in extensive outbreaks, or with an unusually high incidence at certain times and places.

Gastrointestinal:  Pertaining to the stomach, small and large intestines, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

Immune System:  A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.

Iron:  An essential mineral. Prevents anemia: as a constituent of hemoglobin, transports oxygen throughout the body. Virtually all of the oxygen used by cells in the life process are brought to the cells by the hemoglobin of red blood cells. Iron is a small but most vital, component of the hemoglobin in 20,000 billion red blood cells, of which 115 million are formed every minute. Heme iron (from meat) is absorbed 10 times more readily than the ferrous or ferric form.

Magnesium:  An essential mineral. The chief function of magnesium is to activate certain enzymes, especially those related to carbohydrate metabolism. Another role is to maintain the electrical potential across nerve and muscle membranes. It is essential for proper heartbeat and nerve transmission. Magnesium controls many cellular functions. It is involved in protein formation, DNA production and function and in the storage and release of energy in ATP. Magnesium is closely related to calcium and phosphorus in body function. The average adult body contains approximately one ounce of magnesium. It is the fifth mineral in abundance within the body--behind calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. Although about 70 percent of the body's magnesium is contained in the teeth and bones, its most important functions are carried out by the remainder which is present in the cells of the soft tissues and in the fluid surrounding those cells.

Mineral:  Plays a vital role in regulating many body functions. They act as catalysts in nerve response, muscle contraction and the metabolism of nutrients in foods. They regulate electrolyte balance and hormonal production, and they strengthen skeletal structures.

TMG:  Tri-methyl-glycine. After supplying a methyl group, TMG becomes di-methyl-glycine. DMG, a natural component of animal and plant metabolism, positively influences the immune response in laboratory animals and humans and boosts physical and mental performance.

Vitamin B6:  Influences many body functions including regulating blood glucose levels, manufacturing hemoglobin and aiding the utilization of protein, carbohydrates and fats. It also aids in the function of the nervous system.

Yeast:  A single-cell organism that may cause infection in the mouth, vagina, gastrointestinal tract, and any or all bodily parts. Common yeast infections include candidiasis and thrush.