Environmental Factors and Autism – Part 3

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We know based on research that growth and development can be severely impaired by chemicals, pesticides, metals and other toxic substances. Is there anything that we can do now?

  • We can support green efforts to decrease environmental pollutants.
  • We can prepare for pregnancy by detoxifying 3-6 months before trying to conceive.
  • We can address nutrient deficiencies and correct them.
  • We can eat a diet rich in good quality protein, green leafy vegetables and complex carbohydrates.
  • We can choose supplements like omega-3 and antioxidants to protect our cells.
  • We can breastfeed our babies as it has been shown to decrease rates of ASD and ADHD.

Children with autism can benefit from increasing nutrient and antioxidant status.  Correcting nutrient deficiencies, taking essential fatty acids and increasing antioxidant levels show positive improvements in language, social and cognitive development.

Environmental Factors and Autism – Part 2

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From the time of conception, babies are de-methylated and as they grow and develop, they go through a process called methylation.  Both methylation and detoxification form an important balance that supports growth and development.  They work hand-in-hand so that as one slows down, so does that other.  Children with autism have shown to have impairments in these cycles, which may begin to explain why children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) are quite susceptible to environmental toxicity.

A 2009 study completed by researchers at the University of Texas, found startling evidence that the environment plays a large role in autism.  The study was designed to determine if living close to sources of mercury pollution in 1998 were related to autism prevalence in 2002. They found that for every 1000 pounds of industrial release, there were a 2.6% increase in autism rates and a 3.7% increase associated with power plant emissions. Overall, for every 10 miles away you got from industrial or power plant sources, there was a decrease in autism rates.

The same researchers revealed an association between environmentally-released mercury and autism rates also in Texas.  For each 1,000 lb of environmentally released mercury, there was a 61% increase in ASD.

Toxins play a large role in the health of our bodies. Lead levels have been linked to ASD, ADHD and learning disabilities.  The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a study that found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from 10 babies born in U.S. hospitals in 2004.  Further tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in this group of children. The umbilical cord blood identified pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage. It is clear that environmental toxicity is impacting all children and adults.

 

Environmental Factors and Autism – Part 1

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As a health care practitioner who specializes in autism, the relationship between autism spectrum disorder, genetics and environmental toxicity is first in my mind always and this has also been the subject of research for many years.  What we do know now is that one of the key reasons for the dramatic rise in autism rates in the last 15-20 years can be attributed to environmental toxicity.

Children with autism are more susceptible to oxidative damage and environmental toxins than other children. Autism research has shown that oxidative stress levels are high and antioxidant levels are low.  Antioxidants protect our bodies from harmful chemicals and substances circulating in food, air, water and soil.  They are essential for normal development.  Environmental toxins such as heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides and other harmful substances lower a person’s antioxidant status.

In each of our bodies there are 7 detoxification pathways that are supported by antioxidants.  There is a relationship between normal development and detoxification that is necessary to be in balance for children to grow, thrive, and learn new skills.

Research has shown that children with autism have depleted stores of glutathione, one of the body’s most important antioxidants that support detoxification of toxic substances. Researchers have identified that children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) had up to 80% of this important compound depleted.  The brain relies 100% on glutathione to support development, therefore as glutathione levels decrease, so does the “fuel” needed for development.

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.

Is There a Connection Between Autism Electromagnetic Radiation?

Research has established a potential link between autism and fetal/neonatal exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation. Based on epidemiological data, there has been a dramatic increase in the incidence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Recent evidence indicates the incidence of ASD to be roughly 1 per 110 children.

Some data suggest a possible correlation between autism incidence an environmental toxin known as radiofrequency (RF) radiation. This is a biologically active substance. It is known that human exposure to RF radiation has increased during the past 20 years. It is suggested that fetal or neo-natal exposures to RF radiation may be associated with an increased incidence of autism.

Dr. George Louis Carlo PhD studied risks associated with cell phones funded by a government grant. The results he obtained initially indicated no correlations, however, by 1999, Dr. Carlo had obtained significantly more evidence pointing to a risk to DNA, eye cancers, and brain tumors.

At this time he developed a theory that low frequency cell phone signals are harmful to the functioning of cells. What can result of this impaired functioning is that cells which normally move wastes and toxins out of the body started to protect themselves and this cellular movement stopped. Without the ability to move wastes outside cells results in a buildup of toxins. Dr. Carlo’s hypothesis suggests that autistic children are less able to process heavy metals, so these remain in their bodies and cause neurological damage, including autism.

Further research conducted by Dr. Carlo along with Tamara Mariea and published in the Journal of the Australian College of Nutrition and Environmental Medicine in November 2007, demonstrated the positive effects that autistic children could experience in an Electromagnetic-free (EM-free) clinic. This was a trial with 20 autistic children, involving spending at least four hours, 2-3 times a week, in the EM-free clinic. In three months, analyses showed that heavy metals were beginning to be excreted by the children.

Food for Thought:

  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sets standards for the amount of radio frequency that can be emitted by a cell phone based on the size and structure of a man’s head.
  • Radio-frequency signals can reach deeper into children’s head because their skulls are thinner and their brains contain more fluid.
  • In 2004, standards relaxed and roughly doubled the amount of radio frequency that could reach an adult brain and quadrupled that reaching a child’s.
  • A child’s brain doubles in size during the first two years of life and keeps on developing until their early 20s.

Although it is impossible to pinpoint one single cause of autism or one single barrier to an autistic child’s successful recovery, we are continuing to take steps forwards in identifying contributing factors. It is definitely reasonable to agree with researchers who believe that the increase in exposure to EMR from all of the wireless devices in our lives in combination with environmental and genetic factors is creating the perfect storm to increase the incidence of autism.

 

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!

Flu Season and Autism

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As another flu season quickly approaches us, masses will flock to their local doctor’s office and pharmacies to get the flu shot. With the economy the way it is, no one can afford to miss a day of work. With education as important as it is, children can’t afford to miss a day of school. However, with the dangers that can come along with getting a flu shot, can you afford to risk the health of your child? Especially if they have Autism?

Commercials, doctor’s offices and advertisements are urging Americans to rush out and get the flu shot. Other countries, such as Australia, Finland, and Sweden have either banned the flu shot, or at the very least opened up investigations to their danger. Sweden launched an investigation into the link between nacrolepsy and the swine flu vaccine after several reports of adverse reactions in children were made.

One of the primary ingredients in the Flu Shot is Thermisol; a mercury based preservative. In many of our blogs here, we visit the subject of chelation, that is, the removal of toxic heavy metals from the autistic body. It has already been determined that Mercury and many of its forms can cause Autism and other neurological disorders just as the flu itself does. We spend time and research on finding ways to rid the body of such heavy metals, and the Flu Shot directly injects it.

So, is it worth getting the shot?

This ends up what your own personal preferences are. Do you avoid the shot and pray that your child does not get the very risky flu? Or, do you chance getting the shot and play Russian Roulette with whether or not your child will suffer very detrimental health effects? Unfortunately, we don’t have a definitive answer for you. What we can say, is to be sure you ask your doctor (or even more than one doctor) what their honest suggestion is regarding your Autistic child receiving the shot.

Last year, we met Melissa, a woman who went to the Emergency Room and received a Tetanus shot. It is believed that as an effect of this routine vaccine, that Melissa almost died when her body rejected it. The doctors told her it was routine, she believed it to be routine, but then this routine vaccine ended up nearly costing Melissa her life.

Know the risks. Understand the potential outcomes.

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.

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Heavy Metal Toxicity

Many studies suggest that the epidemic rise of autism spectrum disorders is due to the fact that we are living in an evermore hostile environment, a world filled with pollution and toxins. We know that our toxic environment is to blame for many diseases and conditions, and now it seems that we can add autism to this list.

toxic

Environmental toxins include pesticides, emissions, dioxins and PCBs, Nicotine, Solvents and heavy metals. In this blog post, we will examine the link between heavy metal exposure and autism, and how this can be combated.

Heavy Metals

Some research has linked autism with heavy metal exposure, but what are heavy metals and how are our children exposed to them?

  • Mercury – Mercury is used as a preservative (thimerosal) in certain medicines and some vaccines, and is also a by-product emitted by various industrial processes. Mercury is poisonous in high doses and the symptoms of mercury poisoning are incredibly similar to autism symptoms.

[Read more…]