We went to a 3 day autism conference recently and learned a lot. One of the most amazing things we heard about was Magnetic Resonance Therapy (MRT). In mom language, MRT is pulsing a big, super strength magnet on your child’s forehead to re-set the brain’s electrical system. This therapy is very new and very expensive (one month is $11,500) so we won’t be using it with our children any time soon. But we wanted to make others aware of it, especially since Dr. Bradstreet is about to open clinical trials for this procedure. If your child is selected, the procedure will be completely free.
If you want to learn more about MRT, check out this website. They have information about the cost and side effects as well as video testimonials. Dr. Bradstreet said he will post information on how to apply for the clinical trial today on his blog. You can also scan here to look for information on the trial once it is posted.
You have to watch this amazing video of an 18-year-old boy with severe autism. Warning… the video is disturbing. In the “before” video the boy is violent… punching himself over and over and attempting to hit his mom. After MRT, he is able to play ping-pong, shoot hoops, and he can laugh! The quality of life for both the boy and his mother is remarkably improved.
Disclaimer: We are not patients of Dr. Bradstreet and we know nothing about the effectiveness or safety of this therapy. Please do your own research. We are simply passing along information.
Dr. William Shaw of Great Plains Laboratory recently published a new article about the connection of acetaminophen to autism, asthma, and ADHD. He will be holding a free webinar on October 30, 2013 from 7:00 – 9:00pm CDT.
According to Dr. Shaw, it seems that the marked increase in the rate of autism, asthma, and attention deficit with hyperactivity throughout much of the world may be largely caused by the marked increase in the use of acetaminophen in genetically and/or metabolically susceptible children, and the use of acetaminophen by pregnant women.
Items he will be discussing are:
- Could the use of certain antipyretic drugs, especially in conjunction with vaccines, be a cause of autism?
- Metabolism of Acetaminophen
- Immune Abnormalities Associated with Acetaminophen Use
- Purkinje Cell Abnormalities, Autism, and GSH Depletion
- Special Concerns about the Long-Term Defective Quality Control of Acetaminophen Products
To register for the webinar, go to:
We attended Dr. Shaw’s first webinar on this subject, so if you are interested in this topic and won’t be able to attend the webinar, feel free to view our summary here:
“Knowledge of environmental causes of neurodevelopmental disorders is critically important because they are potentially preventable.” This is according to Philip Landrigan, MD, MSc, a leader in children’s environmental health and Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC) at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC) developed a list of ten chemicals found in consumer products that are suspected to contribute to autism and learning disabilities. The top ten chemicals are:
- HOUSE PAINTS: Before 1950, lead-based paint was used on the inside and outside of most homes. It was used to make several colors including white, and was known to dry to a hard, durable surface. In 1977, federal regulations banned lead from paint for general use. But homes built before 1977 are likely to contain lead-based paint.
- SOIL: Soil (dirt) near heavily used streets and roads may contain lead because lead used to be used in gasoline. Lead may also be found in the soil next to homes that previously had been painted with lead-based paint. Lead in the soil can contribute to high levels of lead in household dust.
- DRINKING WATER: Lead may get into drinking water when materials used in plumbing materials, such as pipes, lead-based solders, brass and chrome plated faucets, begin to corrode (break down).
- OTHERS: Lead has recently been found in some plastic mini-blinds and vertical blinds which were made in other countries. In addition, lead may be present in old toys, some imported toys, lead-glazed or lead-painted pottery, leaded crystal, and some inks, plasters, hobby and sports materials (such as artists’ paints, ammunition, stained glass treatments, or lead sinkers used in fishing). Lead contaminates are in some imported candy, especially from Mexico. Lead has been found in some traditional (folk) medicines used by East Indian, Indian, Middle Eastern, West Asian and Hispanic cultures. Cosmetics and hair dyes may contain lead.
Mercury is emitted from waste incinerators and coal-fired power plants. Fish is the main source of human exposure to methylmercury.
Other sources of mercury exposure include:
- Dental amalgams used to fill cavities — the major source of inorganic mercury exposure in the general population
- Drugs and related products, including topical mercury-based skin creams, infant teething
- Powders, cosmetics, contact solutions, nasal sprays
- Some vaccines
- Breaking of household items that contain mercury, such as old thermometers or fluorescent light bulbs (for how to clean up breaks, click here)
- Some folk remedies
3. POLYCHLORINATED BIPHENYLS (PCBs)
Found in fluorescent lights, pesticides, fire retardants, plasticizers, transformers, capacitors, paints, wood treatment, printing inks, recycled paper, roofing materials, and landfills. PCBs are in hundreds of items. For a full list, go to http://www.deq.state.or.us/lq/cu/nwr/PortlandHarbor/docs/SourcePCBs.pdf
4. ORGANOPHOSPHATE PESTICIDES (OP)
These chemicals are applied to crops, buildings, ornamental plants, and lawns. Agricultural uses include field applications on corn, cotton, canola, alfalfa, produce, and nuts. Exterminators use OP pesticides in residential and commercial structures and certain pest control products for cats and dogs contain OP compounds.
Products containing OPs include Dursban and Lorsban (containing the OP chlorpyrifos), Spectracide (containing the OP diazinon), and Sevin (containing the carbamate carbaryl).
People are commonly exposed to OP pesticides through eating fresh and processed vegetables, contacting pesticide-contaminated surfaces, breathing air near pesticide applications (both indoors and outdoors), and drinking pesticide-contaminated water. The multiple uses and ubiquitous nature of these chemicals result in routine exposures to many different OP pesticides for most people.
5. ORGANOCHLORINE PESTICIDES
- ON LAND: agricultural fields, golf courses, sports fields, playgrounds, roadsides, gardens and lawns
- AT HOME: professional exterminations and carpet treatments, flea sprays and dips for dogs and cats
- INSIDE SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITY BUILDINGS: professional exterminations and carpet treatments, pressure-treated (CCA) lumber
- ON BODIES: head lice treatments, insect and tick repellants
- ON FOOD: during cultivation on farms as well as after harvesting to deter fungal growth during shipping
6. ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS
Chemicals that are known endocrine disruptors include diethylstilbestrol (the synthetic estrogen DES), dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDT, and some other pesticides.
- BISPHENOL A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.
- Di(2-ethylhexyl) PHTHALTE (DEHP) is a high production volume chemical used in the manufacture of a wide variety of consumer food packaging, some children’s products, and some polyvinyl chloride (PVC) medical devices.
- PHYTOESTROGENS are naturally occurring substances in plants that have hormone-like activity. Examples of phytoestrogens are genistein and daidzein, which can be found in soy-derived products.
7. AUTOMOTIVE EXHAUST
According to an article on cbsnews.com written by Sammy Rose Saltzman, “A new study shows that children in families who live near freeways are twice as likely to have autism as kids who live off the beaten path.”
A short list of the likely pathogens in car exhaust:
- Carbon Monoxide
- Nitrogen dioxide
- Sulphur dioxide
- Suspended particles, PM-10 particles less than 10 microns in size.
- Polycyclic hydrocarbons
8. POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS (PAHs)
PAHs are a group of approximately 10,000 compounds. Most PAHs in the environment are from incomplete burning of carbon-containing materials like oil, wood, garbage or coal. Many useful products such as mothballs, blacktop, and creosote wood preservatives contain PAHs.
Sources of PAHs include:
- BREATHING: Most people are exposed to PAHs when they breathe smoke, auto emissions or industrial exhausts. Most exhausts contain many different PAH compounds. People with the highest exposures are smokers, people who live or work with smokers, roofers, road builders and people who live near major highways or industrial sources. Automobile exhaust, industrial emissions and smoke from burning wood, charcoal and tobacco contain high levels of PAHs. In general, more PAHs form when materials burn at low temperatures, such as in wood fires or cigarettes. High-temperature furnaces produce fewer PAHs.
- DRINKING/EATING: Charcoal-broiled foods, especially meats, are a source of some PAH exposure. Shellfish living in contaminated water may be another major source of exposure. PAHs may be in groundwater near disposal sites where construction wastes or ash are buried; people may be exposed by drinking this water. Vegetables do not take up significant amounts of PAHs that are in soil.
- TOUCHING: PAH can be absorbed through skin. Exposure can come from handling contaminated soil or bathing in contaminated water. Low levels of these chemicals may be absorbed when a person uses medicated skin cream or shampoo containing PAHs. They are also found at low concentrations in some special-purpose skin creams and anti-dandruff shampoos that contain coal tars.
9. BROMINATED FLAME RETARDANTS (BFRs)
BFRs have been used for many years as the primary flame retardant in many products. These chemicals are commonly found in high concentrations in:
- Electronic plastic casings (televisions, computers, etc.)
- Foams in furniture
- Textiles (drapes and children’s clothing)
- Products that have a potential to burn quickly
- The largest source of BFRs in the home is actually house dust, because these chemicals tend to be released from their products and settle throughout the home.
10. PERFLUORINATED COMPOUNDS
- PFCs are broadly used in manufacturing, including protective coatings for carpets and other non-stick coatings, airplanes, computers, cosmetics, and household cleaners. Some well known PFC containing products include Teflon, Stainmaster, Scotchgard, and Gore-Tex.
- For a comprehensive look at PFCs, including information on what you can do, visit the Environmental Working Group report of PFCs at the Environmental Working Group website.
To read the full article, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120425140118.htm
What are the questions that keep us up at night? Here they are:
- Why did this happen to our children? Was it something we did or didn’t do? Was it something in their environment that we could have controlled?
- How can we help our children recover or at least live life to their fullest potential?
- What will happen to this generation of sick children as they grow into adults?
- How do we prevent this from happening to future generations… to our grandchildren?
- How can we ever die? Who will take care of our children?
- Why does it seem that so few people and organizations are interested in getting to the root cause of the autism epidemic? Why doesn’t it get the same amount of tv time and funding as other childhood diseases that are not nearly as prolific?
- What are these “canaries in the coal mine” trying to tell us as a society and why is nobody listening?
These are the questions we’re often too afraid to verbalize because it takes us to a place of such fear and anxiety that it’s hard to continue on with daily life and be the moms we are called to be. But we’re going to discuss them because we need your help. If we (parents who are struggling to find answers for their children) banded together to demand answers and share our knowledge, we know we could move mountains.
Please join our crusade for answers. Forward this post to your friends and ask them to join with us too.
For more on our crusade for answers, please visit our facebook page and perhaps give us a like: https://www.facebook.com/healthinducedautism
Back in January, we did a post summarizing what we learned from a webinar we attended given by Dr. William Shaw of Great Plains Lab. He discussed the connection between autism and acetaminophen. Dr. Shaw did not release any official information or transcripts after the webinar, despite tremendous public interest, because he had not yet released his official study. But just yesterday, we got Dr. Shaw’s e-newsletter, with an official statement about the autism acetaminophen connection.
Here is a summary of what the update said (in mom-lingo):
- “It appears that the marked increase in the rate of autism throughout much of the world may be largely mediated by the marked increase in the use of acetaminophen in genetically and/or metabolically susceptible children and perhaps the use of acetaminophen by pregnant women.”
- Because many children with autism have defective sulfation, they cannot properly detoxify acetaminophen. Therefore, it becomes toxic.
- This then leads to intestinal Clostridia bacteria overgrowth.
- Then the Clostridia bacteria cause overproduction of brain dopamine and reduced concentrations of brain norepinephrine.
- Too much dopamine leads to obsessive, compulsive, and stereotypical behaviors.
- Too little norepinephrine leads to reduced exploratory behavior and learning in new environments.
- Because sulfation is often defective for people with autism, the body cannot use proper pathways to get rid of acetaminophen. Therefore, the body sends a larger than normal amount of acetaminophen to be detoxified by a pathway called cytochrome p450 2E1.
- The problem with this pathway is that it leads to excessive production of N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI), a very toxic metabolite.
- NAPQI is dangerous because it depletes glutathione which then reduces the body’s ability to detoxify a host of toxic chemicals in the environment.
- In addition, the increase of NAPQI creates oxidative stress which leads to protein, lipid, and nucleic acid damage from free radicals. It also causes an increased rate of damage to mitochondrial and nuclear DNA.
- NAPQI production has been found to be increased in humans at recommended dosages of acetaminophen and would be expected to be even higher in people with diminished sulfation capacity (as is often seen in autism).
- BOTTOM LINE: Question your acetaminophen use.
By the way, acetaminophen is not just linked to the increase in autism. It has also been implicated in the rise in asthma. For more information, please read the following article http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/02/20/147002356/does-tylenol-worsen-asthma-for-kids.
For more information on Dr. Shaw’s original webinar about this topic, please read: http://ventography.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/acetaminophen-and-its-possible-connection-to-the-rise-in-autism/.
If you want to stay updated about news on this topic and future studies, please visit Dr. Shaw’s facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/acetaminophenandautism.
Summary of New Study on Vitamin D Deficiency During Pregnancy:
- Adequate vitamin D levels among pregnant women may be important for the optimal development of their baby.
- Language difficulties increased twofold for children whose mothers had the lowest level of vitamin D, compared with children whose mothers had normal levels of vitamin D.
- Vitamin D levels among pregnant women have decreased steadily over the past 20 years.
- Dr. Michael F. Holick, a professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine, noted that vitamin D deficiency increases the risk for preeclampsia (a condition marked by increased blood pressure and protein in the urine during pregnancy) and the need for a cesarean delivery.
- Taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy may relieve the problem.
- Pregnant women should be increasing their vitamin D intake to levels recommended by the Endocrine Society, which is 1,500 to 2,000 IU a day.
- Women who are deficient in vitamin D may need as much as 10,000 IU a day.
We both know that we had low levels of Vitamin D during our pregnancies with Annie and Brody. We wish we would have known this information. One more piece of the autism puzzle.
To read the full article, http://news.yahoo.com/moms-vitamin-d-levels-linked-language-problems-kids-170207935.html.
We came across this YouTube video, Vaccines Have Elements of Neurotoxins and Pollutants, on the blog, My News Page. We think this should be required viewing before any parent decides whether or not they want to vaccinate their child.
We know there are two sides to every issue and we respect an individual’s right to choose what is best for his/her child. However, we think everyone should be informed any time a foreign substance is introduced into a child’s body. We should not rely on doctors to provide us with this information.
The point that we found most enlightening was that a child’s immune system is not fully formed until he/she is 3 years old. Therefore, if a parent decides to vaccinate, it is likely better to wait until a child is at least 3 years old, versus vaccinating from the first day of life as is often the case now.
We believe that vaccinating before the immune system is fully formed is contributing to the rise in illnesses like autism, allergies, asthma, ADHD, and autoimmune diseases.
Nancy Turner Banks, MD, MBA
Dr. Nancy Banks is a graduate of Harvard Medical School. As a senior medical student she was awarded a scholarship from the American College of Surgeons to study surgery and tropical medicine at the Benin Medical College in Benin, Nigeria. She was a Galloway Fellow in gynecological oncology at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Banks also holds a masters degree in finance.
Banks spent 25 years practicing general obstetrics and gynecology during which she was also the director of outpatient gynecology at The North General Hospital in Harlem, New York and served as an attending physician at not only North General, but Nyack, Hospital in Nyack, New York, The Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and the Mt. Sinai Hospital and Medical Center.
After being challenged with two back to back life threatening illnesses, Dr. Banks realized that she would have to look outside of her own discipline of allopathic medicine to learn how to heal. This was her personal “dark night of the soul”. It was a journey that gave her the courage to question the fundamental assumptions and mythologies of western medicine. Dr. Banks resides in Bowie MD where she continues to support others in their search for health knowledge by lecturing and writing on current health, social, political and economic topics.
We received a comment to our post that summarized Dr. William Shaw’s webinar about the link between autism and Acetaminophen. Our commenter made us realize that we needed to clarify our position on a few points in case others had the same misunderstandings. The commenter’s points are in black and our response is in red. See http://ventography.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/acetaminophen-and-its-possible-connection-to-the-rise-in-autism/#comments for original comment.
This “A Ventography” site is stated to be a place for ‘non-medically qualified individuals’ to vent their opinions, AND it seems to me that those 2 Moms were promoting this Dr. Shaw’s idea that autism is not caused by vaccines but rather by acetaminophen. We have never met Dr. Shaw, nor are we receiving any sort of payment from him. We wish we were, as our children’s medical, therapy, and education bills are the same as paying college tuition every year. We truly are just 2 moms, sitting at a table in our kitchen, blogging on our daily life and what we feel passionately about.
Now who would be behind Dr. Shaw’s theory….the pharmaceutical companies or the FDA perhaps? Sounds like brainwashing propaganda to me. We are a little confused by this because Tylenol is a product owned and promoted by a company with a pharmaceutical division. We truly believe Dr. Shaw is a friend to the autism community. In fact, he has a step daughter with Rett’s Syndrome. We do not agree that Dr. Shaw is promoting propaganda for big pharma or the FDA. His agenda, in our opinion, is to find out the cause of the autism epidemic. Furthermore, we don’t believe he was saying that Acetaminophen is the sole cause of autism. We just think he genuinely wants to educate people on possible autism contributors. His website discusses many other factors linked to autism (see http://www.greatplainslaboratory.com/home/eng/interview.asp if anyone is interested).
I saw a minor flaw in their theory when stating the Cuban rate of autism as compared to that in the USA(which they say is 298 times higher in the USA). The statement that vaccine schedules in Cuba are similar to the U.S. & that children by age of 6 typically receive 34 vaccine agents & 99% of the population complies with the vaccine requirements.” Well, that may be so BUT how do we know if those vaccines in Cuba had the same amount of thimerasol in them that they do in the U.S. or maybe none at all? We think this is a really good question. We do not know who supplies Cuba with their vaccines nor the specific ingredients. We too, would really like to know the facts. If anyone has this information, please pass it along and we will share it.
Sounds like someone is trying to shift the blame again toward something else…now it is acetaminophen…give me a break! We agree with our commenter that there does seem to be quite a few organizations trying to sweep autism under the rug, shift blame, and make “us parents” out to be wack-a-doodles when we talk about how toxins caused our children to regress into autism.
My grandchildren, at the time , were ages 1-1/2 & 2-1/2 when they received the vaccine and both now have developmental delays & autism. HOWEVER, they were fine & developing right on target prior to the vaccines but afterward, regressed, one began having speech problems & the other stopped talking at all & would wakeup many times with excruciating pain in her head at night. We are so sorry for your pain. We relate more than you know. We too are mad that our children were in essence, stolen from us. Annie regressed at 21 months and I will never get over that loss. Brody had a very adverse reaction to the DTP vaccine at 2 months of age and Annie had a severe reaction to the Varicella vaccine at 12 months. We believe vaccines to be one of the major culprits causing children to regress into autism. We cannot say it was the sole cause for our children, but we most definitely believe it played a part. And we do not believe it is just the “thimerosal” in the vaccines causing the problem. We feel it is also all the other junk they put in them, like aluminum, formaldehyde, embryos, and yeast causing our children to have negative reactions. If anyone is interested in specific vaccine ingredients (according to the CDC) or our position on vaccines, we listed them on our website at http://www.healthinducedautism.com/cdc-vaccination-information.html.
Thanks to therapy & specialists who have worked with them to overcome theses issue, they are both now doing well although they will always have the problem We are so glad your grandchildren are doing better. We can never hear enough positive stories about progress… it gives us hope and keeps us going.
….AND they still take Tylenol for headaches. fever, flu, etc with absolutely no indication of the autistic behavior becoming worse. Wouldn’t you think that if a child continued to Tylenol they would become worse instead of better? This is where we seem to have a difference of opinion. Perhaps their recovery could be even greater or faster if they stopped taking substances that suppress glutathione (and thereby, their immune systems).
On my 30 something birthday last night Leah and I spent 3 hours watching a very interesting webinar given by Dr. William Shaw (Great Plains Labs). We signed up for this webinar months ago and have been anxiously counting down the days ever since. What got us so excited was the teaser that said, “Why is the autism rate in Cuba so much lower than in the US and is there a single environmental factor that is causing the rise in autism?” We couldn’t wait to find out! The following is a summary of what we learned.
Disclaimer: This is a summary off the top of our heads. It is how we would explain it one mom to another. If you are really interested in this, we suggest you get the facts straight from “the horse’s mouth” by attending Dr. Shaw’s next free webinar, “Unraveling the Cause of the Autism Epidemic: Identifying the Single Most Important Factor” on Friday, January 20th. Register at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/357651425.
First, Dr. Shaw discussed the difference in the autism rates between Cuba and the USA. In Cuba, the autism rate is .00168% where as, in the USA it is .50%. Putting this into perspective, the autism incidence rate in the USA is 298 times higher than the rate in Cuba! So, the first question to be answered was, do vaccinations have anything to do with this difference? The answer was no!
Cuba has a similarly aggressive vaccine schedule to the USA. Children by the age of 6 typically receive 34 vaccine agents and about 99% of the population complies with the vaccine requirements (which is significantly higher than the compliance in the USA). Vaccinations were clearly not the reason for the difference in the autism rates between the USA and Cuba.
Then, Dr. Shaw began to investigate if there was a link between acetaminophen (Tylenol) and autism. He presented a graph showing the autism rate prior to the 1980s where the rate held steady for years and years at about 1 in 10,000. Then, in the 1980s there was the Reye’s Syndrome scare about Aspirin. Aspirin sales went into the toilet. At that time, Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol sales began to significantly increase. What’s interesting is that as Tylenol sales increased, so did the rate of autism. And even more interesting was that, when there were two separate scares about Tylenol (when Tylenol was tampered with and there were several deaths as a result) and Tylenol sales dipped, so did the rate of autism! And guess what, in Cuba there are no over the counter sales of acetaminophen. It is prescription only and you are only allowed 20 tablets maximum. In addition, Cuba does not use acetaminophen prophylactically (i.e., they do not give it before and after vaccines to prevent pain, fever, and swelling). As a side note, Cuba uses a product called Metamizole for fevers. So, Dr. Shaw began to suspect that there is a strong correlation between autism and acetaminophen use.
Next, Dr. Shaw went over the four pathways used by the body to get rid of acetaminophen. If for some reason your body can’t use three of the four healthy pathways (like is often the case in autism), your body ends up using a pathway called “NAPQI” which causes liver damage and depletes your glutathione. In a nut shell, acetaminophen lowers glutathione which then inhibits key enzymes and binds and deactivates proteins (essentially it messes up everything in the body).
The adverse effects of acetaminophen use associated with autism were discussed next. Acetaminophen can cause immune system disorders, allergies, asthma, cholesterol problems, difficulty getting rid of clostridia, elevated dopamine, defective sulfation, and mitochondrial disorders.
As a side note, acetaminophen is even more dangerous when taken on an empty stomach (when sick) or after you’ve been drinking which is often exactly when we use it! Acetaminophen is the number one cause of acute liver failure in the USA.
Bottom line: Question your acetaminophen use.
Something else we found interesting. There have been several fairly recent violations pertaining to acetaminophen. Plants were shut down because the true amount of the drug per dose was more than what was on the label (leading to overdose), another plant was shut down for grime, and there have been several product recalls for Tylenol having a “mold like odor.”
Dr. Shaw dropped a bomb at the end of the presentation. We highly suggest you stay on the call until the bitter end in order to hear it for yourself. It was a jaw dropping moment for us! We really want you to take the time to listen to Dr. Shaw so we are just going to give you a teaser here… Johnson & Johnson, Autism Research Institute (ARI), Thoughtful House, Dr. Wakefield, and Defeat Autism Now (DAN!).
Enjoy connecting the dots and let us know your thoughts.
For an update on this topic please read http://ventography.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/update-from-dr-shaw-acetaminophen-and-autism-connection/.
If you want to stay updated about news on this topic and future studies, please visit Dr. Shaw’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/acetaminophenandautism.
We believe there are many types of autism… some are genetic and some are triggered by environmental factors. Some types of autism have nothing to do with health and some have everything to do with health. When referring to health induced autism, we agree with Mark Hyman, MD, who said in his book The UltraMind Solution, “Autism is a hologram for chronic disease. Remove the diagnostic labels from a patient with autism and a patient with Alzheimer’s, and you will discover the same biological forces at work — inflammation, oxidative stress, impaired protein synthesis and detoxification, mitochondrial dysfunction, and damaged DNA.”
Just like there are different treatments for various types of cancer, we believe the same should be true for the types of autism. In our opinion, it is wrong for the medical community to ignore the real and devastating health symptoms of a subset of children with autism (e.g., food intolerances/allergies, viral markers, bacteria and yeast overgrowth, encephalopathy-like symptoms, frequent ear infections, seizures, gastrointestinal issues, eczema, hives, fatigue). Because autism is labeled a developmental disorder (rather than a disease), parents are told, “well, that’s just his/her autism…there’s nothing you can do” when they inquire about their child’s health symptoms.
We strongly disagree…we believe there is a lot you can do! Which is why we developed our website, Health Induced Autism (www.healthinducedautism.com). According to Harvard’s Martha Herbert, “the evidence suggests that between 3 and 25 percent of children reportedly lose their ASD diagnosis and enter the normal range of cognitive, adaptive and social skills.” We believe the majority of the children who lose their ASD diagnosis are children who have health induced autism. As their parents improved their health, the symptoms of autism went away. Will improving health “cure” or “recover” every child with health induced autism? Unfortunately, the answer is no. This type of autism is so complex, so unique to the individual, and so few people are trying to figure out the causes that sometimes, the right combination of treatments cannot be found. But… will improving health better the quality of life and overall happiness of every child with health induced autism? To that question we can give an emphatic YES!
Taking this a step further, we believe that health induced autism may not really be autism at all. While they share some of the same symptoms, Children with the health induced autism (that emerged in the 1990s) have key differences from those with Classic Autism (Kanner’s Autism) such as:
- gross or fine motor problems
- regression (the loss of previously developed skills)
- affection (one of Kanner’s two main criteria defining those with autism was they avoided affection)
Instead of focusing on the symptoms that didn’t fit the diagnosis of Classic Autism and investigating whether a new disease was attacking our children, the definition of autism was simply broadened. Thus, the “autism spectrum” was born.
We believe that health induced autism (not just better diagnosis) is one of the main factors driving the rise in autism- from 1 in 10,000 children in the 1980s to the latest CDC statistic stating that, on average, 1:110 children have autism spectrum disorder in 2011. While plenty of people dispute it, we believe an epidemic affecting the youth of today truly exists. We don’t know if it should be called an autism epidemic or given another name. Time will tell which side of the debate had it right…we don’t care to devote the energy to arguing. But if we’re right and there is an epidemic, it is important to recognize that science says epidemics cannot be genetic or developmental in nature. They can only be caused by disease. Therefore, we believe that an equal amount of the funds allocated to autism should be spent on figuring out what is triggering the diseases seen in children with the health induced type of autism versus spending the majority of the dollars on early intervention, behavioral treatments, and finding a genetic cause as it is today.
We have come to believe that health induced autism should be given a new name. Perhaps “Neuro Immune Disease” as some have proposed (http://www.nids.net/). We used to say, “who cares what you call it… just focus on treating it so it will get better or go away all together”. But now we realize we need to care what it is called. If Neuro Immune Disease (health induced autism) continues to be lumped in with Classic Autism or Asperger’s Disease, children who are seriously ill will never get the treatment they need. As Dr. Michael Goldberg says, “children diagnosed with autism should have the same right to quality medical care as any other child diagnosed with a disease. Continuing to ignore this epidemic is unfair to the children who are ill, to the parents who provide for their care and comfort, and to the society that must bear the financial consequences of what could turn out to be the most disabled generation the world has ever known.”
We have always been the type of people who believe that “things happen for a reason”. When we ask ourselves what possible reason there could be for all the pain and suffering that accompanies the autism epidemic, the only answer we can come up with is that we are supposed to learn something from these children. It all made sense when we read article called Autism’s Puzzle by Pamela Weintraub that said, “Autism might just be our wake-up call. Some experts now posit that individuals with autism are early indicators — canaries in a coal mine of pervasive health threats that are affecting increasing numbers of us. If we can unravel the immune, metabolic and genetic problems at play, we may have a head start in treating not just autism but a great many other chronic and environmentally triggered forms of disease”.
If we continue to ignore this wake up call, we shudder to think about the implications for civilization as we know it. Please join us on our journey to figure out what caused this health crisis for our children and how to fix it. The only way we can do this is by “refusing the status quo and rethinking what we’ve been told.”
“The Myth of Autism: How a Misunderstood Epidemic Is Destroying Our Children” by Dr. Michael Goldberg