Promising New Environmental Links Surface as Science Continues to Search for Autism’s Roots

200114153-001Many disorders of the mind and the majority of bodily illnesses are now considered to be “caused” by some combination of a genetic predisposition or marker and some type of environmental “trigger”. A more specific version of the classic “Nature vs. Nurture” argument. Even diseases and disorders that go beyond manageable to the realm of being progressively treatable or even in some cases curable often have pathologies or beginnings that are not completely understood or not verifiable in the strict scientific sense.

One previously hotly debated environmental factor thought by some to be related to autism and specifically the rise in its prevalency is immunizations. The decade from 1993-2003 saw an 800% increase in the Autism rate. In the 1980′s children by the age of 6 were given a maximum of 10 vaccines and the incidence of Autism was roughly 1 in every 10,000 children. Based on data from 2006, the current official rate of children with Autism is 1 in 110 and the CDC’s official recommendation totals 36 vaccines by age 6.However during this same period of time two indisputable factors contributed to the apparent dramatic increase. Both parents and doctors are now much more likely to notice and diagnose Autism and the diagnostic criteria have also been expanded to a more inclusive spectrum.

Regardless of whether Autism is on the rise, the most recent study released by esteemed Harvard University points to the environmental factor of the mother’s nutrition (specifically Iron)just before and early on in pregnancy as a link to lowering risk of the disease occurring. Another new report finds specific types of air pollution to cause an increased risk of having an Autistic child. These latest study findings are very exciting because of course if environmental factors are found to be a direct cause for Autism, then there are ways intervene or change the environment and prevent this disease from developing and save countless future children form a difficult or unfullfilled life.

Undervaccination Linked to a Decreased Need for Healthcare Utilization

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New research investigated undervaccination in 8 managed care organizations across the United States. Researchers examined trends of undervaccination in children (2-24 months) to compare health care utilization rates between undervaccinated and age-appropriately vaccinated children.

Results of this study were not less than I anticipated based on what we do know about vaccines and the effects it can have on the body’s immune system. They found that undervaccinated children had lower outpatient visit rates compared with children who were age-appropriately vaccinated, however undervaccinated children had increased inpatient admission rates compared with age-appropriately vaccinated children. A second analysis of the data found that children who were undervaccinated because of parental choice had lower rates of outpatient and emergency room visits than age-appropriately vaccinated children.

It appears that children who are undervaccinated tend to have different healthcare utilization needs that can translate into having less need perhaps due to better health? Just speculating…

Autism and Vaccination Rates in Cuba and the United States – Part Two

There is one difference between Cuban and American vaccination practices. In the United States acetaminophen is routinely advised in conjunction with childhood vaccinations to control fever and discomfort. The Cuban perspective is that fever is a natural response to the vaccination which doesn’t need treatment unless the fever persists or rises above 104 degrees. Acetaminophen is also a controlled drug in Cuba available only in limited amounts by prescription.

While there is no conclusive proof that acetaminophen causes autism, further study is warranted. Dr. William Shaw of Great Plains Laboratories has identified a historical pattern of increased use of acetaminophen whenever autism rates have risen. He has also identified how the drug breaks down in the body and how metabolic byproducts can interfere with neural development. With additional study, perhaps the key to unlocking autism’s causes is close at hand.

Interesting isn’t it?

Autism and Vaccination Rates in Cuba and the United States – Part One

With rates of autism in the United States reaching near-epidemic proportions, efforts to identify autism’s causes continue. Researchers are working diligently to discover why the U.S. has one of the highest rates of autism in the world while small less-developed nations like Cuba have a much lower incidence. While there has been much discussion whether differences in vaccination rates between the two countries may account for the disparity in autism prevalence, there are some theories that exist.

The Cuban childhood vaccination schedule includes protection against 13 diseases in 11 vaccines in a total of 34 doses while the United States requires 11 vaccines in 36 doses. About 99 percent of Cuban children are fully vaccinated versus about 85 percent of American children. With two very similar vaccination schedules it makes one question whether vaccinations themselves are causing the alarming rise in autism in the U.S. or if it is due to something else?

There is a marked difference in the two nations’ autism rates. Cuba reports a rate of only 0.00168 percent while the U.S. rate stands at 1.13 percent. Both nations vaccinate for similar diseases such as polio and measles so the idea that vaccinations somehow cause autism would seem to be discounted.

Where do you think the difference may lay?

Why Are Autism Rates in Israel So Low?

Approximately 1 in 88 children in the United States have some form of Autism. Only 1 out of every 208 Israelis children have this condition. There have been several studies done to examine why Israel has such lower rates of Autism. Below are some of the possible explanations:
Fewer vaccinations
Vaccinations have been a subject of controversy for the past 10 years. The number of vaccinations that the children are required to have has increased, and many are speculating that there is a correlation between Autism and vaccinations. Even though health experts assert that Autism is not caused by vaccines, it is quite interesting that this condition is less common in Israelis children. Children in Israel are not required to have as many vaccines as American children.

Diet

Many Israelis today still maintain kosher lifestyle. The kosher diet forbids the eating of swine and other foods that have been deemed unclean. There have been studies done to confirm that a poor maternal diet can lead to Autism. It is possible that poor dietary has an effect on pregnant women to cause autism.

Fewer environmental toxins

If a mother is exposed to toxins in the environment during her pregnancy, her growing child could be at an increased risk for developing autism. Is it because Israel has far fewer environmental toxins and that could be another possible explanation for the lower autism rates.

New Research in Vaccines: Infant Monkeys Given Standard Doses of Vaccines Develop Autism Symptoms

Recently, new findings have been released showing that infant monkeys given vaccines recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) exhibited autism-like symptoms. Laura Hewitson, lead investigator, of the University of Pittsburgh and colleagues presented study results at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in London. Often, safety studies of drugs are conducted in monkeys prior to use in humans, however this research on the current childhood vaccination regimen has never before been done.

The abstracts presented at IMFAR described biological changes and altered behavior in vaccinated macaques which are similar to what is seen in autistic children. Animals that were unvaccinated did not show any adverse outcomes. The animals were given vaccines that had been recommended of infants in the USA during the 1990s, including the controversial MMR with the mercury preservative thimerosal. During the 1990s, rates of autism spectrum disorder among children rose dramatically, from about 1 in 5,000 to 1 in 150 children.

The request of the research group is similar to that of Dr. Bernadine Healy, Former NIH Director, in an earlier interview on CBS. Dr. Healy asserted that public health officials have been too quick to dismiss an autism-vaccine connection when the research has been insufficient.

Certainly a few things to think about and to question. Always make informed and educated decisions when it comes to your child’s well-being.

What is Chelation and How Can it Help My Child with Autism? Part 2

Chelating agents can be given through an IV, or by mouth. The most common chelating agents for removing heavy metals (lead, arsenic or mercury) include dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA), 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid (DMPS), alpha lipoic acid (ALA), and Calcium disodium EDTA.

Agents and what they typically chelate:

  • DMSA: lead, mercury, arsenic. DMSA also normalizes glutathione levels.
  • DMPS: mercury.
  • Calcium disodium EDTA: lead, other heavy metals, and some minerals.

Although conventional scientific institutes don’t recognize the link between chelation and improvement in an autistic child’s behavior, many parents opt for chelation therapy as a means of aiding their autistic children.

Since 1967 The Autism Research Institute has collected “Parent Ratings of behavioral Effects of Biomedical Interventions.” Tens of thousands of responses have been logged so far. Chelation therapy was recently added to the list of biomedical interventions, and of the 470 parents who reported their children using chelation, 75% reported “good” results. That’s fairly strong evidence!

What is Chelation and How Can it Help My Child with Autism? Part 1

Chelation is the process utilized to remove damaging heavy metals from the body. Mercury, iron, and other metals are often found in the Autistic body and can have negative effects on the brain making Autism symptoms even worse. Another source of damaging metals is Thimerosal, which is found in many childhood vaccines. Chelation Therapy includes the administering of chelating agents to remove heavy metals. Chelation has been proven to remove excess or toxic metals before they can damage the body and was first used in the 1940s by the Navy to treat lead poisoning.

Our bodies have natural methods of eliminating these toxins from our bodies. In the very young and the very old, it can be more difficult to rid the body of heavy metals, which can therefore accumulate faster than they can be removed.

Heavy metals are tested in various regions of the body depending on which heavy metal it is. One of the most sensitive tests available at most labs is called a Porphyrin Profile.

Can Autism be Prevented? What are some Preventative Measures Parents Can Take?

These are not 100% definitive and guaranteed measures that will ensure your child do0es not develop autism, but they certainly are some well-respected options and choices that you can make.

During Pregnancy

  • Avoid consuming alcohol.
  • Avoid eating known food allergens.
  • Get prompt treatment for any infection.
  • Avoid exposure to heavy metals.

During Infancy

  • Parents need to become well-informed on the pros and cons of infant vaccinations in order to make educated decisions as to which vaccinations their child receives.
  • In autism that is caused by allergies, symptoms may become visible during early infancy. Should a child show excessive thirst, excessive sweating (at night), low blood glucose, diarrhea, bloating, rhinitis, inability to control body temperature, red face and/or ears, and dark circles under the eyes, it is important to act quickly and aggressively to identify and remove potential allergens.
  • Some children may have autism triggered by food and/or chemical intolerances with the main offenders being wheat, dairy, corn, sugar, and citrus fruits. However, allergies may be a reaction to virtually any substance.

 

What is Defeat Autism Now (DAN!)?

Defeat Autism Now (DAN!) is a project that was founded in the 1960s by Dr. Bernard Rimland. Doctors trained in the “DAN! Protocol,” are taught an approach to autism which begins with the idea that autism is a biomedical disorder. This approach was developed by the Autism Research Institute (ARI) which has more than 1,000 documented cases of autistic children who have recovered.

The belief among DAN! doctors is that autism is a disorder caused by a lowered immune response, issues caused by some foods, and external toxins from vaccines and other sources.

What Type of Treatments do DAN! Doctors Prescribe?


  • Supplements such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and essential fatty acids.
  • Gluten- and dairy-free diets.
  • Food allergy testing.
  • Treating dysbiosis in the gut using non-pharmacological medications (i.e. intestinal bacterial/yeast overgrowth).
  • Heavy metal detoxification.

What can I expect at my DAN! Doctor Appointment?

You can expect that your child will go through some testing mostly revolving around the state of their internal body. A test for hidden food allergies will be conducted to be sure that any dietary changes that are made as part of your child’s treatment plan are beneficial and not more damaging to them.

You should leave with your questions answered and a customized treatment plan for your child’s needs. If you have questions, ask, ask, ask. Remember, these doctors chose to be DAN! doctors. They believe in this treatment method, and want to see your child healthy!