Archive for June, 2010
It’s no secret that there are dozens of autism treatments touted by parents across the country as a miracle cure for the disorder. In this blog we have examined several—from probiotics and heavy metal detox, to the elimination of certain foods from the diet. One of the most popular modus operandi is to eliminate all wheat and dairy products, which many parents say effectively curbs the detrimental affects of autism.
A recent article in New Scientist mentioned a new study that showed no evidence the diet worked. But try telling that to the parents who have implemented it and seen amazing results. The same can be said of heavy metal detox, which has little scientific evidence to support it but hundreds of avid advocates. I’m certainly not a doctor, but perhaps there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to the disease. As we’ve seen, autism is a spectrum of disorders which have myriad causes, so it seems natural that there are multiple ways to treat it, and they all might not work for everyone.
In our previous post, we expounded the various advancements in heavy metal detox technology, and while ridding your body of these toxic elements is essential for long-term health, it can have some side effects. One of the most common is a flare up of Candida that was already present in the body, particularly when mercury is removed. In these instances, a Candida cleanse will likely be necessary.
Two of the most effective products for this are BioGuard and Probiotics-Rx which, when used in conjunction, can effectively stifle a Candida outbreak. In addition to taking these products, you should maintain a healthy diet rich in natural foods. Since Candida thrive on carbohydrates—sugars in particular—lean proteins and organic vegetables are optimal.
In recent years, new heavy metal detox technologies have vastly improved the process of ridding our bodies of harmful elements. Through chelation therapy and dialysis, the eradication of these toxic metals is easier and safer than ever. For years, detox diets and other products have been marketed as means of accomplishing this task, but there is little evidence that supports their claims.
Exposure to these metals occurs in manifold ways, but one of the most common is digesting large amounts of seafood, particularly big predatory creatures like tuna or sharks. And while research has shown that the mercury in these fish probably aren’t harmful to the average person, fetuses and young children are particularly vulnerable to heavy metal exposure, which can lead to birth defects and health problems. This is the reason pregnant and nursing mothers are advised to curtail their seafood intake.
One of the reasons that the prospect of mercury poisoning is so frightening is the fact that many of the mercury poisoning symptoms entail the disruption of basic mental faculties. Among the most troubling are mental disturbances, memory loss, and the impairment of aural and vocal capabilities. In addition, many people also experience difficulty walking and an extreme lack of coordination.
And while the psychological effects are considerable, there is a litany of other health concerns associated with over-exposure to mercury. Swelling and discoloration of the skin is common, as is excessive sweating and increased saliva production. Although it is easier to contract mercury poisoning in vitro or as a young child, mercury exposure is a concern for all.
It seems like everyday there is a new study released that sheds more light on the autism mystery. But with every new discovery, more questions are being raised—it’s as if autism is the hydra of the medical world. With so many different theories pointing to separate causes of autism, it appears that scientists may never be able to pinpoint a singular cause of the spectrum of disorders.
A recent study by Dr. Ditza Zachor of the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University found that there is a strong correlation between mild to moderate autism and in vitro fertilization. Dr. Zachor found that 10.5% of the 461 children with autism that she studied were conceived through in vitro fertilization. In the general Israeli population, the autism rate is just 3.5%.
The names SYNGAP1, DDX53 – PTCHD1 and DLGAP2 probably don’t mean anything to you, but they could hold the key to unraveling the autism mystery. These are just a few of the genes that researchers at Mount Sinai and the Autism Genome Project Consortium have identified as having a direct link to autism. The group’s findings, which are published in the current issue of Nature, were gathered from a study involving over 2,000 participants.
While the immediate impact on autism therapy and treatment will likely be minimal, scientists are optimistic that within a few years they will be able to run blood tests to determine a child’s risk of autism. The autism genes may also pave the way for advancements in autism drugs, as researchers now have a clear picture of what it is they need to combat. Although the genes affected are varied in their nature and function, many are close together and communicate with the brain in similar fashions.
There is constant debate in the quest to develop a comprehensive treatment for autism, but at this point, no definitive answer has been found. Although there isn’t a drug or set of supplements that have consistently proven capable of alleviating the symptoms of the disease, dietary changes have garnered results. While foods are not the cause of the disorder, allergies and intolerances to specific foods may cause behavioral issues.
Foods containing the proteins gluten and casein have proven particularly difficult for many autism sufferers to digest. Gluten is the protein found in whole grains like wheat and oats, while casein is the protein common in dairy products. Children with autism may have trouble breaking down these proteins completely, which can disrupt biochemistry and brain function. As foods containing these proteins are a staple in most diets, it is important to remove them from your child’s diet incrementally, if you decide to do so.
Scientifically, thimerosal is an organomercury compound commonly utilized as an antifungal agent and antiseptic. Many people now know the compound by its trade name Merthioltae, which Eli Lilly and Company gave it in order to market it as a preservative in vaccines, skin test antigens and other medical products. Several interest groups, countries and international organizations have called the use of thimerosal into question.
The concern stems from the fact that thimerosal is mercury-based. This has led many to believe that thimerosal’s presence in vaccines are responsible for the increase in autism cases and instances of other brain development, although there is no scientific evidence. Mercury and other types of heavy metal exposure are associated with several neurological disorders, but a link between thimerosal in vaccines is yet to be found.
Over the last several weeks, autism news headlines have been by Dr. Wakefield—from the retraction of his highly influential paper linking autism and MMR, to the revocation of his license by the U.K. medical register. Due to unethical practices, including drawing blood from children at a birthday party and other invasive procedures, Wakefield has been largely discredited in the medical community. However, several people still espouse his controversial views.
Wakefield’s vendetta against MMR vaccines began in 1989, when he put forth several theories linking the vaccine with various disorders. Since then, all of these claims have been disproven by other medical sources. Originally, Wakefield had tried to show a correlation between the vaccines and Crohn’s disease, but to no available. In the years following the publication of his autism study, there has been a resurgence of measles in the U.K.—going from 56 in 1998 to 1,300 in 2008—and around the world.