Autism – Protecting our Children’s Brain Health from Environmental Toxins
Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are both common terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are all categorized, in different degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors. Typically there is a rapid onset of symptoms in a child that had been normally developing. All Autism disorders were combined into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were known as specific subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome.
What causes Autism?
Not very long ago, the answer to this question would be “We have no idea.”
As Autism awareness grows, studies are now providing answers. First and foremost, we now understand that there is no one cause of Autism, just as there is no one type of Autism. Yet there is some pretty compelling evidence in connection with ASD children who developed full blown Autism shortly after one or more Thimerosal (ethyl mercury – a potent neurotoxin) containing vaccines.
- 0.5 parts per billion (ppb) mercury = Kills human neuroblastoma cells (Parran et al., Toxicol Sci 2005; 86: 132-140).
- 2 ppb mercury = U.S. EPA limit for drinking water.
- 20 ppb mercury = Neurite membrane structure destroyed (Leong et al., Neuroreport 2001; 12: 733-37).
- 200 ppb mercury = level in liquid the EPA classifies as hazardous waste.
- 25,000 ppb mercury = Concentration of mercury in the Hepatitis B vaccine, administered at birth in the U.S., from 1990-2001.
- 50,000 ppb Mercury = Concentration of mercury in multi-dose DTaP and Haemophilus B vaccine vials, administered 4 times each in the 1990’s to children at 2, 4, 6, 12 and 18 months of age.
- 50,000 ppb Mercury = Current “preservative” level mercury in multi-dose flu (94% of supply), meningococcal and tetanus (7 and older) vaccines. This can be confirmed by simply analyzing the multi- dose vials.
Flu shots seem to be big offenders as far as the mercury content both for pregnant woman and children alike. Flu shots are big money makers because we are supposed to get them every year. Recently, one of my very good friends and his wife who was pregnant with twins endured a scolding from their primary care doctor because she would not get her ethyl mercury containing flu shot, but they said no anyway. It was bullying, pure and simple. They now have healthy twins. The freedom to choose what to do with your own body and how to protect the health of your unborn babies, and children is a basic human right.
As far as vaccines being the “cause” of Autism, it seems more likely to say that theses vaccines may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back in the case of some children. Over the last five years, scientists have found a number of rare gene changes, or mutations, that correlate with Autism in children. A minimal number of these are able to cause Autism on their own. Many cases of Autism, however, appear to be caused by a combination of Autism risk genes and ALL the environmental factors influencing early brain growth, not just mercury. Some children of course do fine with vaccines. They detoxify the mercury in the vaccine and go on to thrive. As stated earlier, Autism is multi-factoral. Not everyone responds to toxins the same way.
Other Environmental factors that have increased the risk of Autism
- Over 100,000 chemicals have been patented and put into use in this past century. Our foods are routinely sprayed with neuro-toxic pesticides. Newborns all have pesticides in them. Without exception.
- Several centuries of industrialization has also contaminated our food supply with cadmium, nickel, lead, arsenic, and tungsten
- The oceans are suffering from drastically increasing amounts of mercury accumulation in seafood and the anti-vaccine groups sometimes forget this. What if a pregnant or breast feeding mother eats tuna every day? It’s something to consider.
- There is also sound evidence that the mercury in a mother’s silver amalgam fillings invades the placenta and crosses over into her growing fetus.
Pharmaceutical related causes
What about other drugs? Any parent of an Autistic child will tell you, their child has a gut that is a wreck. One M.D. who presented at an A.C.I.M. conference and was dealing with an autistic son who became symptomatic right after several vaccines stated that explosive diarrhea is the norm, and even included pictures in his PowerPoint. He said if you have an autistic child you better get used to poop. These digestive problems present as food allergies, gluten and dairy intolerance, overgrowth of numerous toxin producing intestinal microbes, and so on. Many of these children had repeated infections and were given antibiotics over and over prior to succumbing to Autism. To what extent did the destruction of the delicate balance of intestinal bacteria have a role in their ASD?
What are the symptoms of Autism?
A number of the early signs of Autism in toddlers and babies are as follows:
- Doesn’t respond to his or her name or to the sound of a familiar voice.
- Doesn’t follow objects visually.
- Doesn’t point or wave goodbye or use other gestures to communicate.
- Doesn’t follow the gesture when you point things out.
- Doesn’t make noises to get your attention.
Symptoms of Autism in older children
As children get older, the red flags for Autism become more diverse. There are many warning signs and symptoms, but they typically revolve around impaired social skills, speech and language difficulties, non-verbal communication difficulties, and inflexible behavior. You can request an Autism test with a trained specialist if any of the previous symptoms begin to occur in your child.
Conventional Treatment Options
Conventional Autism treatment options often include things designed to manage the child day to day, possibly allow parents to work, and to train and develop the ASD child as much as possible. This is very necessary of course, but not aimed at reversal of physiological root causes. Really conventional medical treatments (patented, chemical based, pharmaceutical meds) that address root causes of Autism are essentially nonexistent. Thus practical management as follows is needed.
- The child receives structured, therapeutic activities for at least 25 hours per week.
- Highly trained therapists and/or teachers deliver the intervention. Well-trained paraprofessionals may assist with the intervention under the supervision of an experienced professional with expertise in Autism therapy.
- The therapy is guided by specific and well-defined learning objectives, and the child’s progress in meeting these objectives is regularly evaluated and recorded.
- The intervention focuses on the core areas affected by Autism. These include social skills, language and communication, imitation, play skills, daily living and motor skills.
- The program provides the child with opportunities to interact with typically developing peers.
- The program actively engages parents in the intervention, both in decision making and the delivery of treatment.
- The therapists make clear their respect for the unique needs, values and perspectives of the child and his or her family.
- The program involves a multi-disciplinary team that includes, as needed, a physician, speech-language pathologist and occupational therapist.
These professionals deserve praise for their efforts. It is not easy work.
Autism is reversible. There is hope.
As noted though, many of the treatment options listed above are based on working with something that is thought to be irreversible. But is that true? Is one in denial if they refuse to believe their child can’t recover? Some would say so, but then we also have examples of children whose parents have brought them out of the ASD haze using holistic methods. Tami Duncan who is an associate of mine and founded the L.I.A. (Lyme Induced Autism) foundation is one example. She diligently explored the Lyme disease and co-infection aspect as a cause of chronic brain inflammation and brought some of the best holistic doctors in the country on board. Her son recovered and was able to return to a normal school and do well. Was she in denial when she refused to accept that her child was just a statistic? There are undeniable success stories out there.
One thing is for certain, if an autistic child has mercury poisoning, pesticide poisoning, severe intestinal dysbiosis, multiple chronic infections inducing brain inflammation, and auto-intoxication, these things should be reversed as quickly as possible using nontoxic methods. It is not merely that an autistic child received brain injury from environmental toxins, something snapped and the damage is done; the damage seems to be ONGOING! While completing my training as a traditional naturopathic practitioner, I had the privilege to work directly with Lee Cowden M.D. as he used holistic methods in the many autistic children he treated with quite amazing results. He generously taught me these completely natural, holistic and nontoxic methods such as Laser Energetic Detox, safe mercury detoxification, restoring nutrients, and healing the damaged gut. Lee Cowden MD, and other holistic doctors have proven from the success stories that follow them that Autism can be reversed/ significantly improved/ and in some cases the children becomes more high functioning than their non-autistic peers. This is a fact. There is hope. No one has all the answers, but the goal in any health condition is to establish as many healing modalities and lifestyle changes as can be done and let the body heal itself.
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