How a Healthy Gut Can Help Children with Autism


Balancing the microbes in the gut can lead to improved digestion, stronger immunity and overall better health. The flora of the gut of a child can be disrupted by things such as antibiotics, mom having a c-section, drugs, processed foods, infections and digestive issues.  What is important for healthy gut repair is a regime that includes many, many different strains of good bacteria.  Probiotics, healthy bacteria, that include multiple strains and between 10 – 50 billion per dose should be administered. These probiotics will function to repair the gut and prevent harmful microbes like yeast or clostridia from over-populating.

The healing process of the gut is so important because the digestive tract is responsible for making the majority of serotonin in the body and helps to produce and regulate dopamine. Both of these neurotrasmitters are out of balance in children with autism. Also important is the gut’s responsibility for regulating inflammation and supporting healthy immune function.

A large number of children with autism have digestive issues. The gut is important in regulating inflammation and according to recent research, it is believed that autism is an inflammatory issue.  An effective regime that involves healing the gut can have a dramatic role in decreasing the inflammatory load and show remarkable progress in helping children recover language, social and cognitive function.

A Closer Look at the DAN! Protocol

Standard autism treatments focus on behavior modification techniques, improving developmental delays, speech-language therapy and learning to cope with sensory issues. While these therapies can improve the quality of life for a child with autism, they do nothing about the underlying medical conditions and imbalances that challenge an autistic child’s daily life. The Dan! Protocol is a medical intervention that seeks to correct the physical issues not addressed by traditional autism therapies.

The Dan! Protocol’s overwhelming success comes from its unique, individualized approach as well as its biomedical focus. Since treatment is always preceded by extensive lab work, a Dan! doctor knows the biological deficiencies, imbalances and maladaptive responses for each child before an individualized treatment plan is designed and implemented.

There is not a standard protocol for every child. While many autistic children have similar medical issues such as food intolerances, digestive problems, yeast overgrowth and vitamin or mineral deficiencies, children are always treated according to their individual lab tests. For one child that might mean a gluten-free casein-free diet, digestive enzymes and probiotics to help restore intestinal bacteria balance. Another child might need a strong vitamin and mineral supplement, mb-12 injections, IV glutathione and other chelation methods to address a high level of heavy metals in the body.

Each treatment method has a specific medical reason for being used. Yeast overgrowth impairs digestion and creates malnutrition. Food intolerances cause inflammation, absorption issues and pain. When you correct an autistic child’s medical problems, many undesirable behaviors automatically improve.

Autism and Stem Cells – Part 2

Mercury

Mercury

Last week, I wrote about how some scientists believe that stem cells can treat autism because they believe that autism is characterized by hypoperfusion (a reduction in the oxygen supply to the brain) and immune dysregulation. Scientists like Dr Leonard Smith believe that stem cells can increase blood flow, and therefore oxygen, to the brain and also treat inflammation in the gut. This sounds like great news but can stem cell treatment really “cure” autism?

Well, the simple answer is that it depends what you think is the cause of autism and autism symptoms. If you are of the opinion that autism is caused by a birth injury, a lack of oxygen at birth, then you will believe that stem cell treatment can be beneficial. However, if you believe, as I do, that there are many factors involved in causing autism and exacerbating symptoms, then you cannot believe that stem cell treatment is going to effectively “cure” autism, although it may offer short-term relief and recovery.

Environmental factors that may be involved in causing autism include:-

  • Heavy metal exposure – Heavy metals in our environment include mercury, cadmium, manganese and lead.
  • Pollutants – Chemicals like phenol, PCBs, dioxins, nicotine etc.
  • Vaccines – The MMR vaccine, vaccines containing thimerosal and our program of childhood vaccines.
  • Vitamin and nutrient deficiencies – Vitamin A, B and D deficiencies, deficiencies in essential nutrients like amino acids, Essential Fatty Acids and minerals.
  • Food intolerances – Foods like gluten and casein causing gut inflammation or causing the production of peptides which acts as opiates on the brain.
  • Candida Yeast – An overgrowth of candida yeast in the gut.

How can stem cell treatment possibly combat any of these factors?

It can’t.

[Read more...]

Horse Therapy

Although Horse Therapy, or Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL), is not a DAN! protocol biomedical treatment, it’s something that I feel can be of real benefit to autistic children.

Just this week, I saw a post on an autism forum from one parent whose son was really benefiting from this type of therapy, so I asked her more about it and what it involved. She explained to me about how everything was done in small steps:-

  1. Horse and ChildChild introduced to the trainer and taken around the stables to see the horses and other animals, like chickens.
  2. Child offered the chance to touch the animals or touch the straw bedding if touching the animals was too much for him. The child even got to look at the horse poo and to sniff it! The parent remarked how good this was for desensitizing the child.
  3. Sitting on the horse – The final step was the parent lifting her son onto the horse. The trainer sat behind the child and the horse was surrounded by the child’s mother and three helpers, so the child felt completely secure.

In just 5 months, this sensory sensitive child is now able to ride the horse alone, with the help of a special harness and the trainer and a helper walking alongside. Wow!

The parent felt that this therapy was extremely beneficial to her son because the horse had a calming effect on him and he would often come out of himself during these sessions. She is combining the EFL therapy with biomedical treatment.

The Theory Behind EFL

Franklin Levinson, who has taken EFL and the work of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association over to the UK, says:-

“It’s been clinically proven that just being in the vicinity of horses changes our brainwave patterns…They have a calming effect…giving them [the rider] a really positive experience.”

and the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association say that EFL:-

“encourages personal explorations of feelings and behaviors to help promote human growth and development.”

The idea behind EFL is that the child builds a partnership with the horse. A horse is always on the lookout for a leader and, by being calm and peaceful, a child can become the horse’s leader and so manage and command the horse. This type of therapy has been shown to be beneficial for children with autism, bipolar disorders and ADD, helping to calm them and making them more communicative. Being able to control a horse, and seeing it obey commands, also gives the child’s self-esteem a real boost.

It sounds to me that this type of therapy could be a great addition to a program of biomedical treatments. You can find out more at http://www.narha.org/ and read an article on it at http://www.wayofthehorse.org/Articles/horse-therapy.html.

The GFCF Diet

The GFCF or Gluten Free Casein Free (wheat free, milk free) Diet is just one of the biomedical treatments recommended by the DAN! Protocol. The diet has found to be very effective in helping children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) recover from autism and the diet has had a significant amount of publicity due to Jenny McCarthy’s success story.

Jenny’s Success with the GFCF Diet

Jenny McCarthy is an autism “crusader” who has appeared on many TV shows, including Larry King and Oprah, has spoken at many events and has written various books on the subject of autism, its causes and the biomedical approach to treating it. Jenny believes that it was starting the GFCF Diet with her autistic son, Evan, that started him on the road to recovery. This diet combined with other biomedical treatments, such as chelation, vitamin supplements and anti-fungal treatment, has led to Evan recovering from autism and no longer being on the autism spectrum. Jenny does not use the word “cured” but Evan no longer displays any signs or symptoms of autism.

Many other children have also benefited from the GFCF Diet. Watch the video below to hear about another family’s experience:-

[Read more...]

The DAN! Project

What is “DAN!”?

DAN! stands for “Defeat Autism Now!” and is a project which was initiated by The Autism Research Institute to educate parents, caregivers and therapists about the biomedical approach to healing autism and biomedical testing and research.

happychild

The Autism Research Institute (ARI) believe, as do I, that autism is a treatable condition and that psychotropic drugs, with all of their side effects, are not the best way to treat autism spectrum disorders. The ARI, and many physicians and researchers, believe that there are more effective ways to alleviate, and sometimes cure, these disorders.

Mission Statement

The Defeat Autism Now! project’s mission statement is:-
“Defeat Autism Now! is dedicated to the exploration, evaluation and dissemination of scientifically documented biomedical interventions for individuals within the autism spectrum, through the collaborative efforts of clinicians, researchers and parents.”

[Read more...]