Autistic Traits: A Plus for Many Careers

There are multiple career choices for those who are autistic. In fact, there are many careers for which autism could be beneficial. Many people with autism tend to have a very narrow focus when it comes to their interests, and this can be turned into a very successful career.

The field of science is well suited for those with autism. Most of the scientific disciplines require an intense attention to detail as well as the ability to strictly follow procedures and routine practices. The majority of the population find these kinds of demands tedious and stifling, but someone with autism could flourish in this type of environment. Scientists, lab technicians, researchers and assistants are all excellent positions for someone with autism.

Manufacturing offers an excellent opportunity for the autistic as well. Many manufacturing jobs involve repetitive tasks that the average person would find monotonous. But, these tasks are perfect for someone with autism because the monotony can be very soothing making assembly line work actually enjoyable.

Animals are comforting for everyone. But for someone who is autistic and has difficulty relating to other people, working with animals can be the perfect choice. There is no risk of miscommunication. A veterinarian technician or even a veterinarian could be a fulfilling career.

Technology is another option for those who have difficulty interacting with people. Working with computers and software can be ideal for the autistic person with a gift for math and complex systems. Computer programmers or software engineers are excellent choices.

Foods to Eat that Support Detoxification

Foods rich in factors that help improve the liver’s detoxification ability include:

  • high-sulfur-content foods such as garlic, legumes, onions, and eggs.
  • good sources of soluble fibers such as pears, oat bran, apples, and legumes.
  • cabbage-family vegetables, especially broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
  • artichokes, beets, lemons, carrots, dandelion, and herbs and spices including turmeric, cinnamon, and licorice.

GFCF Mac ‘n Cheese Recipe!

1 cup cooked rice elbow macaroni
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon margarine
1 tablespoon tapioca or corn starch
Dash black pepper
1 ¼ cup Rice Milk
1 roll of Teese (cheddar style – cheese substitute)

Cook rice macaroni according to directions.
In a saucepan, cook onion in margarine until tender. Stir in flour and pepper.
Add rice milk.
Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
Add cheese. Stir until melted.
Stir macaroni into cheese.
Transfer to a 1 quart casserole.
Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes – until bubbly.

This recipe was adapted from: http://gfcfrecipes.blogspot.ca/

How Brain Exercises Can Benefit Your Child

When your child has Autism, or any condition for that matter, one of the first places you surely go is to Google to find Autism Therapies. With so many therapies, which is the right one to go with?

Of course, this all depends on what sort of result you’re looking for. One of the therapies we’re looking at today is Brain Exercise.

As you know, exercising the body is a key. The same goes for brain exercises.

Brain exercises can be used to help improve neurological connections in the brain of autistic children. effective are those that involve important factors such as consistency, repetition, and intensity.

Music therapy and art therapy utilize sensory integration. Music therapy brain exercises, involve using verbal and non verbal parts of the brain. Autistic children sometimes express themselves using grunting or crying. The use of music therapy patients are encouraged to sing, listen and play instruments, allowing them to express feelings in a comfortable environment.

Social skills benefit from use of Art Therapy. Art therapy stimulates the visual system by using differentmaterials such as clay and paint to represent emotions. Imaginative Play—By using this brain exercise a parent or therapist can enter a child’s mind by playing the same game he or she is playing. New ideas are brought into play time over a period of time. An example of this is having a favorite toy do something different each time, and possibly adding a new toy to the game.

The Brain-Gut Connection

Our miraculous body has some amazing connections. Think about it, when you stub your toe, your brain sends a message down to your toe that it hurts. When you have a toothache, sometimes the pain can be felt in another tooth because of how many nerves there are. One of the most fascinating connections, however is that of the brain and gut.

Some often call the gut a second brain, as it sends a number of messages throughout the body, just as the brain does. Remember the last time you had butterflies? Some may argue that this is your brain sending a nervous signal to your stomach. How about when you eat a lot of food in one sitting – it takes your stomach a little bit of time to tell your brain that you are in fact full. (This is why many doctors and health counselors suggest eating more slowly to give the stomach time to communicate with the brain. Before even eating, the brain can get the stomach’s juices flowing in anticipation.

In Autism cases,  and as a reverse to this brain-gut connection, a troubled intestine can also send messages to the brain. Because the gastrointestinal system is so closely related to the brain, they should be considered one.

A sick or disrupted gastrointestinal system can cause behavioral symptoms as well. Just as being hungry causes anyone to be a little grumpy, this is the same in many other instances. Because GI problems are common in Autism cases, one might be inclined to ask, “Could it be a gut issue that is causing my child’s behavioral issues?”

From being anti-social and extra anxious to overly sensitive and lacking focus, the malfunctioning stomach can be the cause of many neuro-symptoms.  Other symptoms that can be attributed to poor gut function are depression, lack of interest, short temper, loss of memory, trouble recalling things, headaches, and sleep problems.

It could be a diet change, or an allergic reaction, or gut flora that could be affecting your child. While every case of Autism is different, it’s very interesting to consider the connection between the brain and the gut and how seemingly brain-related symptoms could originate in the stomach and vice-versa.

 

How Common Are Food Allergies in the United States?

sneeze

How common are food allergies?

If you’re anything like most people, you probably assume that they’re common, but not THAT common. You occasionally hear about a child who is allergic to nuts or coconut, or sometimes milk.

A new study has found that nearly 6 million children in the United States suffer from food allergies.  The study analyzed 40,000 households in the US that had children less than 18 years old. This 6 million number accounts for about 8% of the child population in the United States.

Even more interesting is that of that 6 million, 30.4% had multiple food allergies, not just one. And 38.7% had a history of severe reactions to their trigger foods.  The most commonly reported allergies according to US Bio Tek, were:

Peanuts (25.2%)
Milk with (21.1%)
Shellfish with (17.2%)

Frighteningly, the number of children with food allergies has been on the rise. What can account for this? One contributing factor is that parents who have allergies are more likely to give birth to children with allergies. Of course, this is not the sole cause. The rise in allergies is a combination of genetics, environmental effects, and nutrition.

What causes allergic reactions?

Did you know it’s not necessarily the food that is making the body sick, so much as the body making itself sick?

By definition, an allergy is typically a response by the immune system to a food or substance that is not usually harmful to the body. The immune system protects the body against unknown or foreign substances – called antigens – by producing antibodies to fight them. Usually, the immune system pays no attention to substances that are not harmful, such as food, and only fights things that are harmful, like infections. When the body cannot tell the good from the bad is when an allergic reaction occurs. The body produces histamine to fight these ‘harmful substances’, but the histamine itself produces the symptoms of allergies, such as stuffy nose, racing heart, hives, etc.

Immunoglobulin E or IgE is an antibody found in the body, and is very common in Type I allergies, or hypersensitivity. It is very powerful in triggering the most powerful immune responses. When IgE levels are heightened, it is a good sign that the body is attacking something- be it a food or infection. Because of this, IgE levels are a good way to detect allergies that the body might have.

Several different exposure tests can be conducted via blood testing to target allergies and determine the effect that they have on the body.  The allergin-specific IgE test can also be used in immunotherapy or desensitization to see if a child has outgrown a specific allergy.

A Trip Back In Time: Metchnikoff’s Contribution To Modern Immune System Studies

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image026We often mention current research that is being performed in the Autism / Aspergers world. From exploring gluten to taking a look at HBOT, there are countless studies being performed. I always find it interesting to take a look back at the original minds behind the studies. The men and women who started questioning different aspects of the disorder long before DAN! conferences and World Autism Days where we recognize Autism.

One such man is Elie Metchnikoff , a Russian microbiologist. Elie died in 1916, but not before contributing a great deal to the study of Autism. Metchnikoff became known as the “Father of Modern GI”, and though his work was done almost a century ago, they relate to modern day studies and research of GI disorders.

One study that Metchnikoff is known for is his investigation into Scavenger Cells. When it comes to cellular defense (or, our body’s ability to attack infection), it is usually the case that infectious agents are repelled by chemicals in the body. However, if this does not happen, the foreign agents will come in contact with cells whose goal is to eliminate them before they cause more damage. Scavenger cells, as their name implies, are cells that find and attack infectious agents directly. Other cells, such as natural killer cells attack cells of the body that harbor these infectious cells.

Metchnikoff became very interested in cellular research, especially Microbes. He drew the connection between the digestion of starfish and larvae was essentially the same as the process carried out by the white blood cells. He believed that some white blood cells had the ability to destroy bacteria, although Louis Pasteur was very skeptical of Metchnikoff’s claims. During this time, the majority of researches believed that white blood cells absorbed infection and bacteria and carried it  throughout the body.

Another interesting study that Metchnikoff did was on aging. He claimed that aging was due to toxic bacteria in the gut. He also believed that lactic acid could lengthen life, so he drank sour milk every single day. He wrote a three books including Immunity in Infectious Diseases, The Nature of Man, and The Prolongation of Life: Optimistic Studies. The Prolongation of Life inspired other researchers to look into the possibilities of good bacteria that could help the immune system and promote good intestinal health. These studies are where Probiotics were based on.

In 1908, only 10 years before he passed away, Metchinkoff received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on immunity, especially cellular immunity and the Phagocytosis process.

So what’s all of this mean, and why should we talk about it?

Metchnikoff has been gone for quite some time, but Probiotics? We hear about them very often. Next week, we’ll take a look at Probiotics and the effect that they have on Autism.

If nothing else, let this serve as a reminder that even though some research cases or studies you read may seem outrageous, keep in mind that the great Louis Pasteur doubted Metchnikoff, but he kept on going in the direction that he believed in, and we got some great benefits from his persistence.

Healthy Diet Options For Autism

dietThe majority of people these days are focusing on a healthy diet. People are going the vegetarian or vegan route in order to be sure their bodies are receiving beneficial vitamins and minerals that will enable it to function better. Many people who switch their diets for healthier options report better digestion, health, mental state, and overall well being. Could the vegetarian’s be onto something? Could eating a healthier diet be the key to healing the autistic body?

Along with Autism often comes problems with the gut and digestive system.  Multiple research studies have found that the Autistic body is often lacking essential enzymes that are needed in order to digest food properly.  Along with the enzyme deficiency, there are a high level of food allergies that are found in Autism cases as well.  For these reasons, it’s important that your child’s diet be a priority. It’s a relatively inexpensive treatment, and really just comes down to monitoring what they eat, and making sure it’s conducive to their individual needs.

One of the most commonly practiced Autism diets is the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free diet. When wheat and dairy products are broken down, their peptides bind themselves to the neuroreceptors of the brain, just as opiates do. It’s important to also be sure that if you decide to practice the GFCF diet, that you’re sure to omit all gluten and casein sources from your child’s diet. Additionally, there are hidden sources of gluten that you should be sure to avoid as to not contaminate the body.

Another diet that is beneficial to Autism is the SCD or Specific Carbohydrate Diet. The SCD diet removes all starches and complex sugars from the child’s diet and it’s goal is to rid the intestines of bacterial overgrowth. Studies show that microorganisms in the gut damage the GI tract and cause digestive problems along with brain problems.  The damaging microorganisms survive because they feed on carbohydrates that are difficult for the body to digest. By practicing the SCD diet, and eliminating the pathogens “fuel”, it starves them out and prevents them from surviving.

The Feingold Diet promotes the function of the PST enzyme which is weak in those with Autism. Typically, vegetables with high color contents and food dyes are the biggest culprit. When you eat foods with Yellow #5, you lose Zinc through your saliva and urine. Zinc is essential for the proper digestion of protein, fat, and alcohol. Additionally, Zinc is necessary for wound healing, immune system function, thyroid function, and cognitive function.

No matter if you’re utilizing one of the above diets, or a physician ordered diet, it’s important they you’re certain that you’re still giving your child the vitamins and minerals that they did for their health. For example, while fish has a high level of Omega 3,  some types have Mercury, which is damaging to the brain. Omitting fish is okay, but that missing Omega 3 needs to be supplemented.  Pro-biotic supplements are mandatory for children who are completely dairy free.

Why Biofilm Protocol Works in Treating Autism

biofilm-image

It is believed that Mercury plays a large role in adversely affecting brain cells in people with Autism. Those who don’t believe that Mercury is the culprit mostly stand by the results of tests being done on the brain, and mercury not being found. It makes sense – if there is no Mercury being found, then how is it affecting the body? Out of sarcasm, some naysayers say “What, is the Mercury hiding or something?”

In a sense, yes.

In order to remove Mercury or other heavy metals, they must first be located. The brain is showing signs of effects similar to mercury, but it’s not being found. The mystery has stunned and stumped researchers. Until now.

A few weeks ago, we talked a bit about Biofilm. (Feel free to catch up by reading the post here).  As a brief summary, Biofilm is the substance that bacteria, parasites,  and other microbes often hide themselves in to avoid antibiotics and other treatment methods. Not only are the hidden bacteria damaging, but it has been found that the biofilm itself may contain damaging contents, particularly heavy metals.

For some time, we were unable to break down the Biofilm, or find out what its contents are. Researchers have found that digestive enzymes from the earthworm family can be utilized to assist in the digestion of the Biofilm and to release not only what the protective matrix is holding onto within it’s walls, but also what it’s covering up, which is often infections, bacteria, parasites and other gut disturbing particles.

It has been found that heavy metals often are part of the Biofilm matrix. Because the Biofilm is negatively charged, it attracts things like heavy metals which are positively charged and holds tight to them. The Mercury and other heavy metals being in the digestive system cause the same effect on brain cells as they would if they were actually contained in the brain.

In order to detoxify the body of such metals, they have to be released out of the grips of the biofilm. Once they’re released Chelation therapy can be initiated in order to remove the metals.

Sounds good, right?

As with many things, the proof ends up being in the results. As logical and simple as this all sounds, what have been the results of finding biofilm in the stomach, breaking it down, releasing the metals and bacteria, and detoxing the body?

There are several posts throughout the Autism Message boards discussing biofilm protocol. One testimonial in particular that I’d like to share is from Grace.

Grace has a young daughter, Jaden who has Autism. They began the Biofilm Protocol, and while very rigorous and time sensitive dosing of medication was involved, she saw results. Grace reported that Jaden was very ornery, and learned to lie and steal. She also was having very large and interesting bowel movements. In a nutshell, Jaden is a handful. Grace says:

“Why do we put up with this?, you might be asking. Because all of those difficult moments mean the yeast and bacteria are being pulled from their mucousy biofilm, where they were safe before, and killed! Once the protocol is over  Jaden will likely not need antifungals very often. We sent off her urine two weeks ago and received the results today–proof that the protocol is going to work for Jaden!

The good things we have seen: much independence! Getting out of bed on her own and turning on the TV and petting the cat while waiting for me to come out. Getting dressed completely on her own. Getting her own drinks from the cooler and the refrigerator. Using words like ‘disgraceful’ and ‘gross’. Having a phone conversation with her sister and answering every single question–correctly! Enjoying (and asking to go to) the public library and picking out books for herself. Then making me read them over and over and over. She learned to zipper and isn’t afraid of the vacuum anymore!”

Study shows similar mercury levels in autistic children

It’s one of those stories that you hear relatively often in the world of Autism. For as many studies as there are supporting the idea that Mercury, a metal found in medication, dental fillings and water, has an affect on those with Autism, there is another study that disproves the theory. Though it’s known that one of the symptoms of Mercury Poisoning is impairment of speech, hearing, walking and other developmental elements, it’s not completely proven that it in fact causes Autism, despite its ability to cause developmental impairments in children.

A recent study done at the University of California-Davis aimed at comparing the mercury levels in children.

“We looked at blood-mercury levels in children who had autism and children who did not have autism,” said lead author Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a professor of environmental and occupational health.

“The bottom line is that blood-mercury levels in both populations were essentially the same. However, this analysis did not address a causal role, because we measured mercury after the diagnosis was made.”

The study itself focused on children ages 2-5 years old, and investigated their mercury intake in things such as fish consumption, nasal sprays, and vaccinations.

Children who had dental fillings made of mercury and were known to chew gum had higher mercury-blood levels. Also, children who consumed fresh water fish, such as tuna.

The study was carried out on 452 children: 249 were diagnosed as autistic, 143 were deemed to be developing normally and 60 showed retarded development such as Down Syndrome.

“Just as autism is complex, with great variation in severity and presentation, it is highly likely that its causes will be found to be equally complex. It’s time to abandon the idea that a single ‘smoking gun’ will emerge to explain why so many children are developing autism,” said Hertz-Picciotto.