AUTISM: TESTS AND TREATMENTS I USE
My treatment program has helped hundreds of autistic children. It can also help your child. To make an appointment, call 212.717.1118.
My understanding of autism is rooted in systems theory, the theory that scientists use to explain the natural world. According to this theory, systems work together in nature and in the human body to produce the whole, and the whole is more than the sum of its parts. The new diseases of childhood, like autism, result from a poor and delayed development of this integration. My success in helping so many children with autism and ASD rests in my restoration of this integration. This requires not only knowing how to practice the science of medicine but also the art of medicine.
Information on the tests and treatments I do follows.
NOTE: This is a general outline, which needs to be individualized with each patient.
Autism begins in early childhood. It is mainly characterized by dysfunction in the immunological, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and neurological systems, and is much more likely to appear in boys than in girls. (Research has not yet disclosed why.) In healthy children, these systems work in a coordinated, integrated fashion. Children with autism lack this integration.
More and more studies are revealing the complex web of biological and environmental causes that underlies autism. As an internist and a holistic medical doctor for the past 15 years, steeped in the philosophy of medicine and science, I’ve woven together the strands of research on how autism develops, how the affected systems interrelate, and, most important, how to combine and sequence holistic treatments that quickly improve autistic children.
My most important contribution to this field is that hypothyroidism (low thyroid) has neared epidemic proportions in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Routine tests for hypothyroidism in autistic children, including the TSH test, frequently fail to detect low thyroid. I’m detecting this epidemic because I use a more sensitive thyroid test, the TRH stimulation test. Doctors relying on routine tests, even those who treat autism, frequently miss hypothyroidism in ASD patients for years.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a plausible explanation for the prevalence of low thyroid in so many autistic children. Perchlorate, one of many chemicals that developing children are exposed to, has been seeping into our drinking water and food crops. This chemical can adversely affects human health by interfering with iodine uptake into the thyroid gland. In children, the thyroid helps in proper brain development, and increased exposure to perchlorate may impair normal development in individuals prone to ASD.
Additionally, scientists have recently found that polychlorinated biphenals (PCBs), built up in our environment, not only cause brain dysfunction but also thyroid dysfunction. Production of PCBs was banned by the United States Congress in 1979 because of their toxicity and classification as a persistent organic pollutant. Concerns about the toxicity of PCBs are largely based on compounds which share a structural similarity and toxic mode of action with dioxins (polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, a group of organic compounds that have been shown to bio-accumulate in humans and wildlife and are known mutagens and suspected human carcinogens).
Based on the TRH stimulation test, I’ve been treating autistic children with natural thyroid hormone. I’ve found that hyperactive children became calm – sometimes, within a week. Some became more verbal. Within one to three months, over 90% of my autistic patients have experienced extraordinary improvement, and a smaller percentage a remarkable recovery. Attention span, cognitive function, language, and sociability have improved significantly in these children. (The use of thyroid hormone also helps other treatments work much better.)
I’ve found no other treatment for autism is as effective as thyroid hormone. If physicians miss hypothyroidism in autistic children, then one of the most significant factors in the etiology of their disorder will be left untreated and their brain will not be able to develop normally.
TESTS I MAY DO AFTER AUTISM IS DIAGNOSED
Most autistic children who come to me for treatment have had a confirming diagnosis. But a diagnosis by itself does not adequately detail the particular web of biological and environmental factors that is causing autism in an individual child. To begin to unravel this web for each child, I may order certain tests. The basic tests include:
Thyroid hormone levels. Hypothyroidism (low thyroid) can have a profoundly deleterious effect on the developing brain, significantly contributing to the development of autism. The routine thyroid blood tests (TSH, T4, and T3) are unreliable for detecting low thyroid.
The most sensitive thyroid test, called the TRH stimulation test (once the standard thyroid test, and the one I’ve used to discover the thyroid-autism connection), uses a hormone called TRH to stimulate the pituitary gland into releasing a hormone called TSH. If TSH is very high upon stimulation, the thyroid is low. (Read my article on the thyroid-autism connection).
Complete blood count (CBC). A CBC looks at the various kinds of blood cells for abnormal findings that relate to autism.
Complete metabolic panel (CMP). A CMP looks at the levels of electrolytes, minerals, and proteins to spot blood sugar problems, dehydration, kidney or liver disease, or malnutrition in general.
Amino acids. Levels of amino acids secreted in urine can provide important clues about contributory factors in autism. These acids are the biochemical building blocks of neurotransmitters that act on the brain to influence mood and behavior. The proper balance of these nutrients in children is necessary for healthy emotional and cognitive development. Deficiencies of essential and semi-essential amino acids, especially the sulfur amino acids methionine, cystine, and taurine, may also indicate chronic digestive dysfunction. This can lead to dysbiosis (imbalanced microbial flora in the gastrointestinal tract.).
Essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs, which can’t be made by the body, are required for many crucial biochemical processes. There are two groups: omega 3 and omega 6. The relative levels of these groups are critical to the development and health of the brain and the body. If the level of omega 6 is much higher than the level of omega 3 in the diet, there can be negative effects on behavior, cognition, and mood.
Organic acids. These are metabolic intermediates produced in pathways of central energy production, detoxification, intestinal microbial activity, and neurotransmitter breakdown. Accumulation of specific organic acids in urine often signals a metabolic inhibition or block, possibly due to a drug effect, an inherited enzyme deficit, nutrient deficiency, or toxic build-up. Testing for organic acids can reveal activity and changes at the metabolic level, helping practitioners discover hidden issues and pinpoint where therapeutic focus is needed.
Stool analysis. I do this test mainly to detect dysbiosis, a condition where there are abnormal bacterial, viral, or yeast populations in the intestines. The nature and severity vary from child to child. In autism, we need to find out if anaerobic bacteria – particularly bacteroides and clostridium – and yeasts such as candida are over-flourishing. The effect on brain function of two such peptides, Casomorphin and Gluteomorphin, have an effect on brain performance similar to that of morphine.
Casomorphin and Gluteomorphin in blood are produced by the bacteria from incompletely-digested casein and gluten (contained in milk and wheat products respectively). With autistic children unable to tolerate casein and/ or gluten, the levels of Casomorphin and Gluteomorphin in the blood and tissues can be high enough to cause an area of the brain known as the Amygdaloid body to stop functioning normally. This dysfunction affects nerve pathways which control learning and communication.
Some 80% of autistic children have some degree of dysbiosis - either constipation or loose, foul-smelling stools - and it is very important to detect and correct this.
Heavy metals. The most serious forms of environmental toxins that children are exposed to are heavy metals. Mercury and lead top the list, followed by aluminum, arsenic, and uranium. Several tests will measure heavy metal exposure.
Researchers have found very low levels of toxic metals in hair samples of infants later diagnosed with autism, suggesting that these children have defective detoxification mechanisms, which causes heavy metals to remain in their bodies. Eventually, the buildup of heavy metals results in digestive and neurological abnormalities.
Herpes Viruses 1, 2, and 6. These forms of Herpes can cause low grade intestinal inflammation in autistic patients. Some investigators believe there is an autism-spectrum subgroup wherein the infant or child’s gastrointestinal pathology provides the route by which herpes simplex virus migrates into the central nervous system to produce autistic symptoms.
Epstein Barr. This virus may cause chronic abdominal pain in children with autism.
I may also order a liver function test, (footnote 1) a vitamin and essential nutrient blood test, (footnote 2) a full evaluation for Lyme disease and co-infections, an IGG food allergy test, (footnote 3) and a porphyrin test. (footnote 4)
MY THREE-TIER (OR THREE LEVEL) TREATMENT FOR AUTISM
Over the many years that I’ve been treating autistic children, I’ve followed a three-tier (or three-level) approach to treatment. This approach produces the quickest, most effective results.
Note: It is vital to understand that treatments have to be given in correct sequence, which may vary from child to child. How these treatments may be given over time also varies from patient to patient.
Note well: These treatments must be administered by a physician extremely experienced in autism and these therapeutic compounds.
Dietary changes. I always start with dietary changes, recommending the avoidance or removal of foods likely to induce various aspects of autism.
Exclusionary diets. I also start autistic children on diets that exclude foods and components of foods known to trigger autistic behavior – casein and gluten, to cite common triggering components.
Low thyroid. Since low thyroid is a crucial factor in ASD, once I detect hypothyroidism through the TRH stimulation test, I immediately introduce corrective treatment with thyroid hormone.
At this level, nutritional supplements and natural compounds that improve metabolic function provide major benefits. Metabolic dysfunction is a characteristic of autism, which can lead to toxicity in the brain and also hypothyroidism.
Bear in mind that autism is a multifaceted disorder, with direct damage to the immune, gastrointestinal, nervous, and endocrine systems. After damage, these systems begin to injure one another in a vicious spiral of interwoven injuries. Consequently, autistic children may suffer mitochondrial damage and dysfunction, inflammation of the brain and gut, severe nutritional deficiencies, food reactions which have neurological ramifications, autoimmune attacks, and immune system over-activity and under-activity. Eventually, all this can lead to hormone deficiency, gastrointestinal dysfunction, and brain dysfunction.
The treatments I give in this second tier aim primarily at detoxification, correction of hormonal deficiencies, restoration of brain function, neurological-enhancement, and immunological modulation.
Here are elements, supplements, vitamins, and other natural substances appropriate for my second tier of treatment for autism:
Taurine. Levels for taurine, an amino acid, are low in many autistic children. Taurine helps cells detoxify and also helps prevent seizures.
Glutathione. A tri-peptide consisting of three amino acids -glycine, cysteine and glutamic acid. Glutathione is an anti-oxidant that helps protect the nervous system. In the liver, glutathione plays a crucial role in detoxification.
Methylcobalamin. The active co-enzyme form of Vitamin B12, Methylcobalamin is the only type present in the brain. It is required for transporting the vitally important methyl groups which activate neuro-transmitters and improve brain function. Methylcobalamin is crucial for the methylation pathway, which often is dysfunctional in autism and ASD. Methylcobalamin is essential for successful treatment of autism and ASD. It must be given by injection. There is no known toxicity.
Probiotics. Administered in adequate amounts, probiotics are live microorganisms which confer a health benefit. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria are the most common types of “friendly” microbes used as probiotics. Probiotics are commonly consumed as part of fermented foods with specially added active live cultures (such as in yogurt, and soy yogurt), or as dietary supplements. Autistic children are frequently deficient in probiotics, so probiotic supplementation improve gastrointestinal and immunological function
Saccharomycin Boulardi. Lactose and dairy free, this probiotic maintains healthy gut ecology, serves as an anti-toxin against harmful diarrhea causing pathogens, and supports healthy intestinal mucosal lining. It also modulates and improves immunological function. (See part 2 of this article for further discussion of the need and benefits of probiotics.)
Peridoxal 5 phosphate. This is the active form of Vitamin B6, an essential vitamin that is necessary for more than 60 biological processes in a healthy human body. The body converts Vitamin B6 into pyroxidal-5-phosphate (P5P), a compound that is used to release energy from carbohydrates and starches, and to break down proteins. P5P is also used in the production of important chemicals in the brain. In the treatment of ASD, P5P is given together with magnesium, an essential mineral necessary for the health of every cell in the body, including the proper functioning of brain and muscle cells. P5P is also important in methylation. (footnote 5)
Studies have shown that P5P and magnesium have significant positive effects on behavior in some autistic children.
Magnesium. Levels of this mineral are often low in children with behavioral, cognitive, and mood disorders. Magnesium deficiency symptoms include: anxiety or depression; constipation; muscle jerks, spasms, and tics; and poor appetite.
Magnesium is important in methylation and sulfation. (footnote 6)
Digestive enzymes. A lack of digestive enzymes may make it difficult to break down gluten and dairy products, or to metabolize proteins and fatty acids, leading to a condition known as “leaky gut.” Digestive enzymes, especially DPP-4, do not occur naturally in autistic children. Using them can increase tolerance to foods that might otherwise trigger symptoms of autism, such as aggressive or harmful behavior.
DPP-IV. A protein/enzyme, dipeptidyl peptidase IV, called DPP IV, helps digest casein and gluten. However, DPP IV has many different functions in the body besides digesting gluten and casein. This protein is known to influence T cells of the immune system. It is also a binding protein for purine, and adenosyl deaminase. Because of this, a problem with DPP IV can throw off the immune system, the amino acid profile, and methylation. In autistic patients allergic to casein and gluten, DPP-IV helps relieve stomach indigestion, gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
Vitamin E. A generic term for tocopherols and tocotrienols, vitamin E is a family of alpha, beta, gamma, and delta) tocopherols and corresponding four tocotrienols. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that stops the production of reactive oxygen species formed when fat undergoes oxidation. Of these, alpha tocopherol has been most studied as it has the highest bio-availability. But using alpha tocopherol alone leads to reduced serum gamma- and delta-tocopherol concentrations, so I give vitamin E in mixed tocopherols to obtain the greatest therapeutic benefit.
In autism, verbal apraxia is a common speech disorder. An estimated 50 per cent of children with autism have apraxia. According to new research published in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, daily supplements of vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids were associated with improvement in speech, imitation, eye contact, and behaviour.
Reportedly, 97 % of the participants with apraxia and/or on the autism spectrum reported dramatic improvements while taking this combination. The researchers discovered that they symptoms presented by children with apraxia mirror those of vitamin E deficiency. The study represents the largest summary of children with apraxia to date.
Omega 3 fatty acids. Considered essential fatty acids, these substances are necessary for human health. But the body cannot make them; they must be obtained through food. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development. I use krill oil because it contains anti-oxidants.
Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation. Together with Vitamin E, Omega -3 fatty acids improve speech.
Zinc. This element is typically deficient among autistic children. (One study of children with autism showed that 85% had low zinc levels.) Zinc deficiency impairs digestion, immune response, and methylation; it can also contribute to excessive levels of copper, which can be neurotoxic. Zinc deficiency often occurs because of gastrointestinal tract dysfunction. A major advantage of zinc supplementation is that it tends to increase the desire of autistic children to eat a wider range of food, in contrast to their usual limited preferences.
Calcium. Often deficient in ASD patients because of poor absorption or low dietary intake, this mineral may play a significant role in autism. Recent studies have suggested that a common variant of a gene called CACNA1G — which makes a channel that helps regulate calcium flow between cells — may increase the risk of developing autism. Because boys are more likely to carry the variant than girls, the finding could partially explain the disorder’s strong male bias.
Calcium channels are the cellular gatekeepers of calcium ions, which are required for muscle cells to contract and brain cells to fire. The new findings bolster emerging evidence that these channels play a critical role in autism and other neurological disorders.
Melatonin. Studies have shown that as many as 70% of children with autism suffer from sleep problems. Research points to a deficiency of melatonin — the body’s natural sleep hormone — as a likely cause. Secreted at night by the pineal gland in the brain, melatonin is thought to control sleep cycles, which are frequently disturbed in autistic children.
Vitamin C. A double blind 10-week trial reported excellent results in reduction of symptom severity with the use of 1 gram of vitamin C for every 20 lbs. of body weight. It may be that this positive benefit was a result of the well understood affects vitamin C has on a hormonal pathway typically damaged in autistic children.
Liposomal Vitamin C. Regular vitamin C is absorbed at approximately 19%, the balance remains in the gastrointestinal tract to attract water and loosen the bowels. Liposomalized vitamin C is absorbed at 93%, measurable in the blood stream, enhancing the anti-oxidant activity of vitamin C.
Oxytocin. A hormone that has effects on brain function, Oxytocin is best known for its role in facilitating labor, delivery, and breast-feeding. It is also important in promoting trust, love, and social recognition. Autistic children tend to have low levels of oxytocin. Studies have shown that oxytocin, used as a nasal spray, can significantly improve many symptoms associated with autism. I frequently use oxytocin and obtain impressive results.
Folinic Acid. Folate, folic acid and folinic acid are all forms of a water-soluble B vitamin. Folinic acid is used to promote higher levels of glutathione in individuals with autism. It plays a vital role in methylation.
Third Tier (and sometimes Fourth Tier)
DMG. A metabolic enhancer, N-Dimethylglycine (DMG) makes the process of metabolism (breaking down or building up of compounds in the body) quicker and more efficient. DMG also improves oxygen utilization, detoxification, cell protection, immune system modulation, and enhances healing. In autism, DMG acts as a methyl donor, adaptogen, as well as impacting the immune response, and enhancing neurotransmitter production. Its most important role is in the methylation pathway. It is a completely safe hypoallergenic nutrient.
TMG. An extract from sugar beets Trimethylglycine (TMG) is a natural polysaccharide and a good source of methyl groups that promotes healthier levels of the powerful pro-oxidant and free radical generator homocysteine. (Homocysteine is a toxic end product of the methylation of methionine, an essential amino acid.) TMG is also known as “Betaine.”In Autism, TMG improves verbal communication, social interaction, lethargy, and may reduce seizures.
Creatine. A nitrogenous organic acid that occurs naturally in vertebrates, Creatine especially helps supply energy to muscle cells. It is essential for energy storage and transfer. Creatine can be very useful for children who suffer from low energy, low muscle tone, lethargy and expressive language delays.
Carnosine. A naturally occurring amino acid found in high concentrations in muscle, heart and brain tissues, L-Carnosine possesses powerful antioxidant, free radical scavenging and neurotransmitter properties. In a recent investigation, researchers treated 31 autistic children, ranging from 3 to 12 years in age, with either 400 mg of L-Carnosine, twice a day, or a placebo, for 8 weeks. At the end of the study the children treated with L-Carnosine showed significant improvements in behavior, socialization, and communication, as well as increases in language comprehension and expressive language. L-Carnosine is considered an extremely non-toxic and safe substance. As with other antioxidants, it acts synergistically when taken with other antioxidants.
CoQ10. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an oil-soluble vitamin-like substance that can act as an antioxidant in the body. The Mayo Clinic says that the Coenzyme Q10 is recommended for a number of conditions. For instance, it is an acknowledged medication for mitochondrial disorders and for its benefits for people with congestive heart failure.
Most recently, CoQ10 has been used to treat brain disorders and neuro-degenerative diseases. It has been observed that autistic children have low levels of CoQ10. Since it works as an antioxidant, CoQ10 protects the brain by scavenging free radicals. It is known is that these free radicals can harm children with autism; they need CoQ10 supplements since, as mentioned earlier, they have very low levels of this enzyme.
Inositol. A naturally occurring nutrient found in various forms, the most common being myo-inositol. Inositol is found in phospholipids which function as cellular mediators of signal transduction, in metabolic regulation, and growth. Humans can make inositol in the body, which they do from glucose. Even though inositol is sometimes referred to as a vitamin, it is not a vitamin for humans.
A considerable body of research is accumulating that Inositol plays an important role in treating mental illnesses. Inositol is likely involved in signal transduction pathways involving serotonin, a neurotransmitter that becomes out of balance in several of these illnesses. Inositol’s efficacy in the absence of side effects makes it an attractive addition to treatment plans for specific mood disorders.
Studies have indicated that inositol helps with depression, anxiety, and OCD ( ). I’ve seen excellent results with inositol in children with autism or ASD in anxiety, hyper-activity, OCD symptoms and ADD ( ) symptoms.
Chelation. Where tests indicate the presence of toxic heavy metals in autistic children, I use chelation (with EDTA, DMSA, or both chelating agents) to remove traces of these metals. Chelation can be done orally, through a cream, or by suppository.
Pro-immune. This compound increases glutathione production. In autism, glutathione reserves are commonly low. This leads to an inability in many autistic-children to detoxify toxins - such as mercury and lead. These toxins adversely affect chemicals in the brain that support attention, focusing, and general awareness.
Curcumin. Children on the Autism spectrum have shown improvements with the use of substances that have curcumin as their active ingredients. One reason for this improvement could be because curcumin has been shown to have both anti-bacterial as well as anti-fungal effects in the body. Curcumin also has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory, which can be very helpful for many children with Autism. In addition, based on mounting evidence, curcumin may also raise glutathione levels. These are among a number of reasons that curcumin-containing supplements could be helpful for children on the Autism spectrum.
Luteolin. A plant flavonoid, luteolin is known to impede the inflammatory response in several types of cells, including certain brain cells. Researchers first studied the effect of luteolin on microglia. These brain cells are a key component of the immune defense. When infection occurs anywhere in the body, microglia respond by producing inflammatory cytokines, chemical messengers that act in the brain to orchestrate a whole-body response that helps fight the invading microorganism.
This response is associated with many of the most obvious symptoms of illness: sleepiness, loss of appetite, fever and lethargy, and sometimes a temporary diminution of learning and memory. Neuroinflammation can also lead some neurons to self-destruct, with potentially disastrous consequences if it goes too far.
Nootropic Piracitam. Scientists in Belgium first synthesized Piracetam in 1964. They were struck by its apparent ability to boost mental functioning in even healthy individuals and by its safety. Today, it is used as a treatment for childhood autism, a practice supported by clinical research. (Akhondzadeh, S et al, A double-blind placebo controlled trial of piracetam added to risperidone in patients with autistic disorder. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, Vol 39(3), Sep, 2008. pp. 237-245.)
Broadly speaking, nootropics (also referred to as smart drugs, memory enhancers, and cognitive enhancers), are drugs, supplements, nutraceuticals, and functional foods that appear to improve memory, intelligence, motivation, attention, and concentration. The word nootropic was coined in 1972 by the Romanian Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea from Greek words mean “mind” and “to bend/turn.” Nootropics are thought to work by altering the availability of the brain’s supply of neurochemicals (neurotransmitters, enzymes, and hormones), by improving the brain’s oxygen supply, or by stimulating nerve growth.
Hydergine. As with most other cognitive enhancing drugs, hydergine was originally intended as a treatment for people with various neurological or mental deficiencies or diseases. Hydergine works by dilating the blood vessels of the brain, allowing more oxygen to be delivered to neurons and other brain cells.
Valtrex. An anti-viral drug, Valaciclovir is used in the management of certain forms of herpes virus. It is marketed under the trade name Valtrex.
Actos. (Reduces brain inflammation, especially glial cells).
Exelon. (I use it because I’ve found that it improves neuronal function.)
Minocycline. (Weak antibiotic shown to reduce inflammation in astrocyte cells in brain.)
Aldactone. (Also reduces brain inflammation.)
Naltrexone. Research has shown that many autistic individuals have high levels of beta-endorphins in their central nervous system. Low dose naltrexone blocks the action of opiate receptors, thus reducing their level of endorphins. Improvements noted in autistic individuals who have taken low dose naltrexone include: increased socialization, eye contact, and general happiness; normalized pain sensitivity; and a reduction in self-injury and stereotypic (self-stimulatory) behaviors.
There are no known side-effects of low dose naltrexone.
Diflucan. Autistic symptoms are made worse by the overgrowth of Candida albicans, a yeast-like fungus. Overgrowth is made possible by a dysfunctional immune system. Many children afflicted with autism have had frequent ear infections as young children and have taken large amounts of antibiotics. These are thought to exaggerate the yeast problem. Other possible contributors to Candida overgrowth are hormonal treatments; immuno-suppresant drug therapy; exposure to herpes, chicken pox, or other “chronic” viruses; or exposure to chemicals that might upset the immune system. There is an increased probability, that a “general” environmental factor affecting our immune systems (i.e. ozone layer depletion, “toxic” chemicals, etc.) may be operative, affecting many children and adults.
Treatment with Diflucan, a potent anti-fungal, will cause most of the yeast to die off within two months (sometimes within a month). If the treatment is successful for autistic children, usually eye-contact improves and the child seems more aware and less “foggy.” Anecdotal reports claim that the frequency of inappropriate noises, teeth grinding, biting, hitting, hyperactivity, and aggressive behavior decreases. The child acts less silly and shows less inappropriate laughter.
Ritalin and Abilify. (Infrequently and in low doses.)
Anti-seizure Medication. A small but significant number of my autistic patients have seizures. But in some of these patients, the seizures (not noticeable). But these silent seizures can be causing delayed speech and other symptoms of autisms.
OTHER IMPORTANT TREATMENTS
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. A randomized, double-blind controlled study of 62 children found that those who received 40 hours of hyperbaric oxygen therapy over a month were less irritable, more responsive when people spoke to them, made more eye contact and were more sociable than kids who didn’t receive it. They were also less sensitive to noise (some autistic children experience a kind of sensory overload from loud sounds and background noise). The greatest improvement was observed in kids older than five (the study included children ages two to seven) who had milder autism.
Note: I have a hyperbaric chamber in my office.
Note. Some substances chiefly appropriate for tiers two or three can be used in both tiers.
As I stated at the beginning of this article, my treatment program has helped hundreds of autistic children. It can also help your child. To make an appointment, phone 212.717.1118.
1. Liver function test. Most people with ASD’s have compromised liver function. When something is going awry in the liver, other systems are affected and the liver is left far more vulnerable to toxicity by many substances; including prescription and over-the-counter medications.
2. Vitamin and essential nutrient blood test. Studies suggest that intestinal disorders and chronic gastrointestinal inflammation may reduce the absorption of essential nutrients and cause disruptions in immune and general metabolic functions that are dependent upon these essential vitamins. Other studies have shown that some children on the autism spectrum may have low levels of vitamins A, B1, B3, and B5, as well as biotin, selenium, zinc, and magnesium; while others may have an elevated serum copper to plasma zinc ratio, suggesting that they may benefit by avoiding copper and taking extra zinc to boost their immune system. Other studies have indicated a need for more calcium. Perhaps the most common vitamin supplement used for individuals with ASD is vitamin B, which plays an important role in creating enzymes needed by the brain. In several studies on the use of vitamin B and magnesium (which is needed to make vitamin B effective), almost half of the individuals with autism showed improvement. The benefits include decreased behavioral problems, improved eye contact, better attention span, and improvements in learning. Other research studies have shown that other supplements may help symptoms as well. Cod liver oil supplements (rich in vitamins A and D) have resulted in improved eye contact and behavior of children with autism. Vitamin C helps in brain function and deficiency symptoms like depression and confusion. Increasing vitamin C has been shown in a clinical trial to improve symptom severity in children with ASD.
3. IgG food allergy test. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) are antibodies that provide long term resistance to infections. The complete elimination of IgG positive foods may bring about important improvements in symptoms of autism and AD(H)D, as demonstrated in numerous clinical studies. The 93 foods tested in the IgG Food Allergy Test increase the identification of numerous offending foods. This test can be performed using either serum from a blood draw or dried blood from a finger prick.
4. Porphyrins. Pigments found in both animal and plant life, porphyrins are all chelates with metal. These chemicals are important in making red blood cells and carrying oxygen throughout the body. The body uses enzymes to convert porphyrins into heme. (Heme is found in all body tissues, with the largest amounts in red blood cells, bone marrow, and the liver.)
Recent studies, conducted in three separate continents, have examined urinary porphyrin profiles in ASDs. In each of the studies, mercury-associated urinary porphyrin profiles were found to be significantly increased across the autism spectrum, from mild to severe ASD diagnoses. Previous studies also demonstrated that chelation therapy in ASDs resulted in significant reductions in mercury-associated urinary porphyrin profiles. Furthermore, using the Childhood Autism Rating Scale, a recognized test of ASD severity, researchers found a significant increasing correlation between mercury-associated urinary porphyrin profiles and Childhood Autism Rating Scale scores prior to blinded laboratory testing. Providing further support for these correlations, other studies have shown that ASDs, relative to controls, had increased: brain mercury levels; blood mercury levels; mercury levels in baby teeth; and mercury in the urine/fecal samples following chelation therapy; as well as decreased excretion of mercury through first baby haircuts.
5. Methylation. An important metabolic process, defective in autism, Methylation pertains to the control of histamine excess, protection of DNA, promotion of serotonin production, and other brain functions. A number of experiments have suggested a relationship between methyl group metabolism and the exocrine secretion of the pancreas. These included nutritional studies which showed that ethionine, the ethyl analog of methionine which inhibits cellular methylation reactions, is a specific pancreatic toxin.
6. Sulfation. People with autism were found to excrete roughly twice as much sulfate in their urine, so that they had only 1/5 the normal level of sulfate in their bodies. Sulfur is an essential mineral, and is needed for many functions in the body. AIDS patients have also been found to exhibit a loss of sulfur in their urine, leading to a loss of extracellular sulfated structures in the brain. This has not yet been investigated in autism, but may be the same.