Posts Tagged ‘heavy metals’

Autism & MTHFR Explained

Sunday, April 1st, 2018

From the work of Jill James, Amy Yasko, and others

I have attempted to write this explanation – about the MTHFR gene – for more than a year now, often surrendering because it just gets so complicated (see diagram on right – and that is a simplified version)!

However, almost daily now, I need to explain the testing and interventions that revolve around the MuthrF#$Ker gene, which produces an enzyme that can assist in the brain’s ability to process (among many other important body reactions) in patients with ASD.

So, here is my simplified version, which covers the important steps for our understanding about testing and treatment for autism:

1. Folate (natural), folic acid (synthetic), Folinic acid (active) and 5-methyl folate (active) are not exactly the same a form of Vitamin B9.

2. There are several reasons why the levels of the B9 might be reduced:
Reduced intake. Picky eaters and kids don’t usually savor green leafy vegetables or lentils.
Problems with internal state of health will affect availability. Synthetic folic acid must go through the liver, natural folate is metabolized through the intestines.
Antibodies that bind to, or block the active compound. This is why doctors check the Folate Receptor Antibody Test (FRAT). The presence of such inappropriate barriers implicates reduced activity, so administration of additional vitamin should help alleviate difficulties.
Any ‘weakness’ in the body’s inability to convert the vitamin – that includes the MTHFR gene that regulates the enzyme called methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase.

3. The most studied and concerning genetic variations are often designated as C677>T, A1298>C. Hieroglyphics aside, we  inherit a ‘C‘ and an ‘A’ from each parent, and each deviation yields a less potent enzyme, so the implication is that giving the active forms of the vitamin can be beneficial. (Dr. Google, and many labs will report variations as pertains to the risk of hyperhomocysteinemia, a medical condition observed in approximately 5% of the general population, associated with an increased risk for many disorders.) For ASD, improved communication is the goal of treatment.

4. The supplements include L-methyl folate, available as a prescription under Deplin®. A web search of this product will often result in a call from parents, “My child doesn’t have schizophrenia or depression!” Marketing. Improved outlook is just one of the treatment outcomes. As noted previously, in ASD the aim is more efficient neural processing.

5. Another intervention is available as folinic acid (<1 mg dosages) and as the prescription, Leucovorin. An Internet inquiry may stimulate a call, such as, “My child doesn’t have cancer or get chemotherapy.” Different market. At a recent MedMaps.org conference, I asked two top researchers whether they prefer one or the other active form. Each doctor replied with the opposite answer. Availability and cost help determine choice, and sometimes we try both.

Conclusion
The various forms of folate appear to be safe, effective interventions that can address weaknesses in the area of oral-motor functioning in individuals with ASD. In practice, agitation is the principle side effect, and too much ‘stimming’ or aggression is reason for discontinuance.

The gene controlling MTHFR production is important, but not the only one affecting multiple enzymatic pathways that lead to successful data processing. We are already discovering other critical genetic steps (SOD, COMT, etc.) and there are thousands of other genetic crossroads that will improve our understanding and lead to successful interventions.

For our more advanced readers – please feel free to submit any corrections, etc. that you feel might be necessary.

FDA Warning About Autism Treatment

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

The FDA took the time, this week (4/2017), to sound an alarm about their notion of potentially dangerous off-label ASD treatments, by issuing, “Autism: Beware of Potentially Dangerous Therapies and Products“.

The consumer update begins, “One thing that is important to know about autism up front: There is no cure for autism. So, products or treatments claiming to “cure” autism do not work as claimed. The same is true of many products claiming to “treat” autism or autism-related symptoms. Some may carry significant health risks.” Really?

What are the approved therapies?
According to the document, the antipsychotic drugs Risperdal (risperidone) and Abilify (aripiprazole) are apparently not considered to be that dangerous. Increased death rates are noted in the Physicians Desk Reference, due to the the former medication. The latter pharmaceutical agent contains this caution, “A causal role has been demonstrated with antidepressant use and emergence of suicidality in pediatric patients and young adults…”

Clinically, patients who have taken these drugs have shown markedly increased appetites (leading to obesity), exhibited new tics, demonstrated a ‘zombie-like’ affect, and have been very difficult to dose correctly. Breast enlargement and lactation have been reported with these meds, as well.

What does the FDA consider dangerous?
About metal-removing therapy, “FDA-approved chelating agents are approved for specific uses that do not include the treatment or cure of autism, such as the treatment of lead poisoning and iron overload, and are available by prescription only.” So, this government organization has determined that environmental poisoning is not a cause of autism.

Hyperbaric oxygen treatment has been cleared by the “FDA only for certain medical uses, such as treating decompression sickness suffered by divers.” The document failed to mention that it has been proven effective for non-healing wounds and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well.

Clay baths, and “… various products, including raw camel milk and essential oils. These products have been marketed as a treatment for autism or autism-related symptoms, but have not been proven safe and effective for these advertised uses.” Don’t expect millions of dollars to be poured into research about the effectiveness of these innocuous interventions.

If you wish to utilize essential oils,
do so at your own peril !

Discussion
The medical literature continues to question the usefulness of Abilify or Risperdal for the treatment of signs and symptoms of ASD. But it is perfectly clear that, even the supporting literature never makes any statement about apraxic children. Stopping the banging doesn’t produce speech. Plus, socialization only improves to the extent that these ‘safe’ drugs reduce unusual behaviors or decrease aggression.

Moreover, the body systems that are in need of repair and optimization do not get addressed – indeed, are even masked – by such a pharmacological bandaid, which leads to further complications. Often, this makes the child with increased resistance to pain even more stuck with their autistic behaviors. Difficulties in the gastrointestinal, immune, and nervous systems, go unrecognized. Mitochondrial functioning is affected, compounding metabolic challenges in this vicious cycle.

Parents seek ‘risky’ therapies because of the inadequacies of the medical profession in just about every aspect of autism diagnosis, prevention, treatment and care. Rather than elevating autism anxiety over the dangers of mostly mild, possibly helpful, but unproven interventions, we would be better served by an honest evaluation about the overuse of the ‘on-label’ products. This is especially true in disadvantaged populations. When functional medicine doctors, such as myself, utilize these drugs, it is usually as a last resort, after explaining risks/benefits to parents, with close follow-up of the patients’ condition.

Conclusion
TV commercials tout incredibly risky medications, for diseases that range from restless leg syndrome to cancer. “Ask your doctor,” we are told, “if this is a good drug for you!” Then, a list of very scary side effects is enumerated. Well, you could just ‘ask your doctor’ if camel milk will cause seizures or death.

Parents of children with developmental challenges have plenty of work to do, just getting through each day. This useless memorandum will, most probably, simply be ignored. For those who feel that the consumer update was produced to pursue some financial and/or political motivation, and/or is another example of bureaucratic waste, you may feel compelled to address the (ir)responsible organization (click here).

Some Thoughts on Alternative Medical Alternatives to Autism

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

Dr. Udell & Vicki Martin RN


This month’s Autism Society of Broward Speaker Series featured autism expert, Ms. Vicki Martin, who gave an interesting and thorough discussion assessing the medical causes of behavior in ASD, and my talk covering some of the latest biomedical treatments for autism.

Purpose – Improve our Understanding of the Range of Treatment Possibilities
Doctors get questions about these more-than-off-label treatments quite often, so it’s necessary to be current about the literature in order to give a learned response. It’s like homework.
I have an opportunity to give something back to The Autism Society of Broward. It has been my pleasure to have served on this Board for over 6 years. This not-for-profit (and, trust me, we have very few $) organization brings services, such as yoga, sensory-friendly movies, and golfing, etc., to the family level.
Public speaking is always a networking opportunity. There are parents who may not know about The Child Development Center of America and how simple protocols may improve outcomes, especially when they are combined with the traditional therapies. Attendees ask questions and learn about our medical practice.
It’s fun to discuss these topics, and more interesting than reviewing epidemiological data that questions whether autism is an epidemic.

Topics of Discussion
These were not necessarily chosen because they are truly the most recent or popular, but mostly because they have been hyped a great deal, lately, by social and other media.

Cannibidiol
Improvements have only been accurately documented, so far, in ASD patients with seizures. Any other use of the product at this time is purely trial-and-error, and the safety of hemp oil extract safety in children has yet to be proven. To the extent that patients may be able to take equivalent dosing, more information will emerge. The myriad of patients who try it, however, complicates evaluation about efficacy.

Helminth Therapy
While this unusual treatment of administering live organisms to successfully restore-reset immune function has been documented in adults with specific conditions, as concluded in a recent review, “Studies are neededto move helminth-related interventions that show promise in animals, and in phase 1 and 2 studies in human beings, into the therapeutic development pipeline.”

Chlorine Dioxide (CD)
Following up on that ‘worms or elimination of worms?’ question was a discussion about Chlorine Dioxide (CD) treatment. I ain’t sayin’ that it cannot/does not work in some individuals, but there are problems.
1. The science is weak and contradictory. There is no supporting research for terms, such as “Parasitological Vaccinosis.”
2. The main proponents, so far, are, the mother of an affected child, and scientist with questionable credentials.
3. Treatment can be risky.
4. Treatment involves a fair amount of resources; including frequent administration (every hour, sometimes), adjustment of dose, and which specific sites on the body to administer a dose (systemic, eyes, ears, rectum, etc.).

Oxytocin
This peptide, which is produced in the brain, has been called the ‘love hormone’, and has been shown to be deficient in some patients with ASD. Animal models have demonstrated improvement, though humans haven’t responded the same way.

The most recent prospective, controlled, double-blind crossover study that involved 31 patients, demonstrated improvement. This has not necessarily been the experience at The Child Development Center of America, where it has been used for over 4 years, yet only a handful of parents continue to administer the product.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
This type of mechanical device has been used for over a decade outside of the US, but has recently received FDA approval as a device for “major depression in adults who failed to improve on medication.” This is an expensive treatment option, in the range of $6,000 – $12,000 or more, and requires daily 1/2 hour treatments.
Adverse effects are listed as fainting, possible seizures, pain or discomfort, mania, changes in cognition, and transient hearing  and memory loss.

A recent review stated, “Though preliminary data suggests promise, there is simply not enough evidence
yet to conclusively support the clinical widespread use of TMS in ASD,
neither diagnostically nor therapeutically.”

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1513142/" target="_blank">Essential Oils
There is a paucity of literature to support the use of these products for patients who exhibit signs and symptoms consistent with ASD. On the other hand, they are relatively safe, have been around since the beginning of civilization, and do not cost a great deal to try. Furthermore, there are many studies demonstrating improvement in processing with occupational therapy and other ‘sensory diets’.

As in many of the other treatments, this has demonstrated the least improvement in our most apraxic and/or disruptive individuals.

Conclusions
Present medical therapies are woefully inadequate.
Many treatment options have been offered, but few have undergone sound scientific scrutiny.
Parents, desperate to help their non-typically developing child will be tempted to pursue less-than-helpful, less-than-safe protocols.
For the lesser affected patients, many forms of treatment will help.
For the most affected patients, such protocols offer only spotty improvements.
More research is needed. Physicians, who are in the best position to understand the complicated science, must understand the variety of presentations of autism and the myriad of treatment options in order to give families the best advice.

Five Steps to Improving Vaccination Compliance

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

In a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, “The Anti-Vaccination Epidemic”, Dr. Paul I-never-met-a-vaccine-I-didn’t-like Offit whined about the ignorant public, The Wakefield Effect, “fringe” doctors, foolish families and the “inaccurate” media. The subtitle, Whooping cough, mumps and measles are making an alarming comeback, thanks to seriously misguided parents, sums up the position of Dr. He-ain’t-Jonas-Salk.

The mainstream approach to the childhood vaccination-autism controversy is that there is no blame on the part of the ‘experts’ or the doctors who follow the pharmaceutical industry’s dogma. The logic that says,”If you knew how bad those diseases were, you would believe,” doesn’t work on me. I have lived through many previous epidemics.

The major problem is trust. Confidence in the government is at an all-time low. More than half of the population doesn’t trust the FDA. That bureaucracy can’t manage to stop antibiotics in our food, even when there is evidence of negative effects.

The CDC has similar problems. The current whistle-blower incident, involving questionable data inclusion/exclusion affecting an association with MMR and autism in African-American males, hardly discourages vaccine skeptics. Furthermore, the present viral epidemics appear to reinforce public fear about the competence of that prestigious organization. It was media scrutiny that prompted investigators to secure the living quarters of the Texas ebola patient!

How to Improve Vaccine Compliance:

1. It is difficult to believe that an agency has ‘learned from its mistakes’ when they don’t even own up to them. There have been problems in the past. A neurologic illness has been related to some vaccines, and the Swine Flu ‘epidemics’ were debacles. Public trust would best be furthered by declaring, “We understand what happened and those issues are behind us,” if it’s true. If it isn’t, caution is warranted.

2. Pediatricians need to give better advice. Often, the doctor who professes vaccine safety also missed the child’s ASD diagnosis. Parents are not “bad”, “ignorant”, or misinformed. They simply don’t agree, and professionals should be armed with the facts, not paternalistic warnings.

3. Doctors need to listen. A previous sibling or relative with autism is cause for concern. Fevers or illness that followed other vaccinations should be highlighted in the chart, not dismissed. Co-morbidities, such as eczema or asthma need to be controlled, before adding to the immunologic load.

4. Research that challenges the norm warrants evaluation, not immediate dismissal. Instead of proclaiming the autism-vaccination question a dead issue, confidence would be elevated by experts who calmly declare, “That study deserves further attention.”

5. A practitioner’s willingness to agree to an individual family’s reasonable request to adjust the number and frequency of ‘shots’ will be met with more, not less, compliance. Furthermore, kicking an insubordinate family out of the practice is neither ethical nor helpful.

The present strategy of threats and intimidation is not working to decrease the number of families who either choose an alternative schedule, or the risky position of total noncompliance.

Further understanding and kindness is the best prescription for a more successful approach.

Miracle Mineral Solution Treatment for Autism

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

I hadn’t really expected MMS to gain any traction as a viable autism treatment. It seems complicated and scary, and the FDA first issued a warning about it four years ago. Perhaps there is no measurable re-emergence, but it seemed so when I attended the Autism Today Second Conference in Miami this week.

I sat among eighty mostly-bewildered parents, representing children who are so affected that they are attracted to outlier theories and treatments. This is largely because the information supplied by the conventional medical community is so woefully inaccurate, incomplete, and unproductive for many patients.

Due to some scheduling glitches, this conference ended up focusing on the very controversial topic of MMS. The treatment was explained by Ms. Kerri Rivera, “a biomedical consultant for an autism clinic in Puerto Vallarta,” and mother of recovered child. Her experience was then authenticated by Dr. Andreas Ludwig Kalcker, inventor of “The Parasite Protocol,” which is an essential element in the therapy.

The Chlorine Dioxide Protocol is not about bleaching your kid. That was the first message. Well, it’s not about making your intestines white, but the word does mean “to sterilize.” Anyway, that refers to sodium hypochlorite, according to Ms. Rivera, not the chemical that MMS is utilizing. In that sense, it’s not about dipping your child in Clorox. Except that Chlorine dioxide is used in “stripping textiles and industrial water treatment,” and it does involve purging and cleaning the “excess of pathogens.”

  • The diet – organic vegetables and meats. GF/CF/SF/sugar free (especially fruits).
  • Supplements – Stay away from all anti-oxidants.
  • Main Ingredient – Ocean water and acid (lemon juice, e.g.), to make a dilute solution of Chlorine Dioxide.
  • How it is administered – Doses and administration depending on a pre-established protocol, plus alterations depending on symptoms and response to treatment. In the gut, it is supposed to remove the biofilm and so expose organisms that get flushed through the G-I tract. Breathed into the lungs, it addresses asthma and bronchitis. The cutaneous route helps eliminate bad skin cooties and detoxify. Enemas and rectal suppositories to directly address lower intestinal issues. There is also and Eye and Ear spray form.
  • What happens – The elimination of bad bacteria (and, admittedly some good ones – but they have a product to fix that), viruses, fungi, and worms. Lots of worms. Plenty of worm pics. Worms that no laboratory in the world, apparently, can document.
  • Acceptable additional treatments listed as HBOT, chemical chelation and GcMAF, probiotics, l-carnosine, carnitine, plant fatty acids, GABA, digestive enzymes, tryptophan, DMG and TMG (the last 2 are anti-oxidant precursors).
  • She claims to have helped over 6000 families, and 131 cases of patients losing the diagnosis.

The ‘Parasite protocol’ was presented by Dr. Andreas Ludwig Kalcker, who recommends Chlorine Dioxide treatment.  He lists his credentials as, “… first licensed in economics and later in biophysics and alternative health (Ph.D).” Addendum – I found other evidence that he received a Doctor of Philosophy in Alternative Medicine and Natural biophysics from the Open University of Advanced Sciences Inc., which is a fake diploma mill based in Florida, but lists Spain as the main address.
Although his German accent is compelling, the science that he presented was not. He listed the symptoms of parasites and noted similarities to many autistic behaviors (?cause and effect?). He claims that his key discovery was that regressive autism is due to “Parasitological Vaccinosis“. That term describes toxins that are later released by parasites in susceptible children who become vaccinated.
“Dr.” K made many grand overstatements, using real research papers that only prove the one point, frequently mixing apples and oranges. Slides such as “Larval migraines induced by vaccine,” not only lack a scientific citation, I couldn’t find any match over the entire Internet.

In the Q&A session, I asked a simple question, “131 ‘cured’ is the numerator, what is the denominator?” This resulted in Ms. Rivera and Dr. Kalcker blustering about how that number couldn’t be documented, and how it wasn’t really important. That begs the comment, “Well, if you don’t know how many have been treated in this manner, you also wouldn’t really know how many have experienced significant negative reactions.”

As expressed by top autism researcher, Dr. Martha Herbert, I do not believe that parents who attend these conferences are “gullible, dangerous, and/or don’t love their children, and the people who pass them off are snake oil salesmen.” I was there to learn about new ways to approach our most resistant patients, not to criticize. Advertising MMS in this manner is not the way to go about proposing innovative and controversial treatments. It promotes The Wakefield Effect.

Dismissing conventional medicine as being completely ignorant and challenging treatments from all sides takes strong scientific proof. Proof of concept in animal models and proof of efficacy and safety in appropriate human treatment trials. To be specific: no, I would not recommend this treatment for my patients. There is too much missing information. A few pictures of recovered children and parental testimonials should not sway a prudent professional.

At The Child Development Center, we have improved the lives of many of our patients by addressing and treating G-I health with a proven, safe, well-tolerated protocol. Nutritional status must be evaluated, treated and monitored. With appropriate behavioral therapies, child development gets on the right track.

For successful autism treatment, each piece in the puzzle has to fit into the bigger picture.

The Polarized World of Autism Diagnosis and Treatments

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Last week, Forbes’ science writer, Emily Willingham, decided to spice up Halloween with one of her usual autism-themed stories. How timely. The 5 Scariest Autism ‘Treatments’ warned readers that there are money hungry snake oil salespeople posing as caring practitioners, who are scheming to steal your money without a shred of scientific proof that their protocol is either safe or effective.

The story might have actually been newsworthy had she been more up-to-date by including such controversial protocols as Fecal Transplantation or Worm Therapy. Anyway, I felt the need to write that we can’t merely dismiss families with overwhelming problems as misguided idiots who can’t figure out that dipping a kid in chlorine is probably not a good idea. Don’t worry Emily (and the other “pro-science commenters”), MMS never had any real traction.

I replied that her ‘Scary Story’ was missing the point. Autism leads to desperation, born of mis- and missing information, about everything ASD; from diagnosis, to incidence and prevalence, to DSM IV vs. DSM-5, to… What the hell, when are you doctors gonna get your act together and help us?

The re-replies displayed a surprising degree of vitriol. All or none, black or white. Do I support Dr. W’s position or not? TheAutismDoctor.com is an entire website consisting of hundreds of pages of hyperlink-supported information about all of my experience over a 36-year medical career. I address as many of the controversial and cutting-edge protocols as I can research. I figure that castrating your child is going to be pretty extreme to any parent, so I don’t cover it unless queried.

I wrote that the conventional medications are not only ineffective for correcting core signs and symptoms, they may be harmful and even deadly. That leaves families concerned about believing the ‘regular’ doctors who suggest giving potent CNS drugs to their young child. Many feel that exploring alternative treatments is their only alternative.

How many patients have I listened to, who have complained that, “We have been doing ABA, S&L, PT, OT, etc., and we hoped to see more progress”? That’s it? No fighting for your kid. No trying to figure out why your beautiful child isn’t keeping up. That’s what one of the commenters commented. “As a doctor you should know that conventional, evidence based medicine has no interventions that address the core symptoms of autism. Parents do not “turn to unconventional therapies.” They are persuaded that conventional medicine is wrong about autism by purveyors of therapies.” Even if he actually believes what he wrote, if he had an affected child, his spouse (or vice versa) would seek further information.

Shortly, the comments turned to a discussion about vaccinations. I was accused of “pandering to my base” and “shamelessly trying to steal readers” from the Forbes blog. Parents of special-needs children will continue to search for answers and help. Pedantic warnings from non-practitioners and ESPECIALLY the non-involved are not welcomed advice. Working with a trusted professional is their best hope.

I thought that my reply was completely noncontroversial. Who could argue with the dilemma faced by today’s affected families? The Home page of this website states “I hope that my essays and our discussions breathe a breath of fresh air into the polarized world of autism diagnosis and treatment.”

It seems that there is still more work to be done in order to bring all interested parties toward a more reasonable and compassionate position.

MAPS Fall Conference 2013 – Day 3

Saturday, October 5th, 2013
Last eve's Mojito Bar! We needed a break.

MAPS Friday Night Dinner

Saturday:

Allergies in Special Needs Children

Dr. Jeffrey Bradstreet – Introduction to Allergies in Special Needs Children
With a less-than-healthy intestine, there is loss of tight cellular junctions, allowing toxins and food proteins to be exposed to blood, leading to immune activation in susceptible individuals. Dr. B described inflammatory reactions in the gut and brain of patients with ASD. Eventually, behaviors, not merely mucus membranes, are affected. The presentation concluded with the case of an ‘allergy kid’ – a patient affected with autism who significantly improved with an aggressive workup and treatment of the patient’s immune system.

Dr. Dan Rossignol – Review of Nutritional Supplements for Allergies
…As always, a thorough, interesting and pertinent literature review. Supplements for allergies, which appear commonly in ASD patients, were reviewed. Seasonal behavioral regressions could be a clue to an environmental (over) reaction.
Dr. R discussed naturopathic supplements, many of which demonstrate equal improvement to the traditional anti-allergy meds.

Dr. Theoharis Theoharides – Allergy of the Brain
The question to be answered, “Is a Subtype of Autism an Allergy of the Brain?” Dr. Theo showed that activation of specialized cells (mast cells), could occur in the absence of allergens (including stress, organisms, etc.). He helped discover that the manner in which the mechanism works is much more complicated than previously thought, and how that process leads to inflammation.
Further evidence was presented that allergic diseases have influence on ADHD and ASD. Mast cells exist in the lining of the brain, and what happens when they are activated could lead to symptoms. He concluded with a therapy that decreases mast cell activation (Neuroprotek, officially not mentioned by name). Oh well, he says any profit goes to charity, and I believe him.

Dr. Michael Elice – Treatment for Allergies
I saw a presentation by this allergist ~ 6 years ago, and his philosophy really set the stage for how I think about ASD.
Taking a detailed environmental history was stressed. “Autism Spectrum represents a collection of system disorders that are treatable and recovery is possible.”
He discussed traditional allergy testing and buildup of tolerance, but that takes time. “With a low ‘specific dose ‘intranasal therapy, responses are often observed in 2- 6 weeks as opposed to the 4-6 month buildup. This type of treatment has resulted in decreased hyperactivity, improved sleeping habits, better socialization and loss of deterioration during allergen exposures.”

Dr. Anju Usman – Low Dose Antigen therapy, also known as Ultra Low Dose Enzyme Activated Immunotherapy.
This is a broad-based treatment that is meant to desensitize to allergens (a bit differently than Dr. Elice’s protocol). Dr. Usman talked about environmental pollutants such as inhalants, products, chemicals and bacteria as well as food allergies.
She described a couple of patients in whom this type of treatment improved skin, G-I, and some behavioral signs and symptoms.

Dr. Richard Frye – N-acetyl-L-Cysteine Treatment in Autism
This learned child neurologist described the recent good news about successful treatment with NAC. The preparation is utilized in mitochondria, requires energy, and detoxifies. He described the ability to detect the subsequently derived protein, glutathione, in autistic brains, especially in those areas that seem to be functioning incorrectly in ASD. This reaction is helped by folinic acid and B12.
I questioned Dr. Frye about the use of glutathione itself (instead of its precursor), such as that which we use at The Child Development Center. His response was that he wondered whether or not balance is achieved with an oral glutathione. Is that all, doc? Well, he helped me with some other patients.

Dr. Dan Rossignol – Update on Clinical Findings and Treatments
This was a review of the 2013 literature about ASD.
First, there was a discussion about the new DSM-5 definitions, which may change the reported incidence of autism.
Then, Dr. Dan gave his signature rapid-fire, research-paper-a-minute (literally, 39 papers reviewed in 45 minutes), insightful, clinically useful, understanding of that research.

Acceptance by the AAP and the traditional medical community is important because it will help patients. Doctors need to be more open-minded and respect our colleagues and the other professionals who are addressing the autism epidemic.

The MAPS conference has gotten very green, btw. All of the material was downloaded from the Internet, saving lots of trees (hundreds and hundreds of pages provided to ~120 participants).

This was a great conference with the most up-to-date scientific information provided by experts who are helping to recover many affected patients. Plus, there was lots of networking and brain-picking.

Home, sweet Fort La-De-Dale. Starting Monday, more patients and a bit more wisdom.

Day #1 (click)
Day #2 (click)

Environmental Toxins and Autism

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Advancements aside, the 21st century is experiencing the perfect storm, as far as infant development is concerned. Minor genetic variations that would have gone unnoticed in a less toxic world have resulted in vulnerability to certain presumably ‘safe’ foods, materials and the environment. Sometimes, if the stuff is harmful enough, it apparently might not even take impairment in identifiable detoxifying mechanisms.

The possible offending substances are ubiquitous, and the myriad of potential deadly combinations is infinite, making specific identification difficult. Although such discourse often turns to childhood vaccinations, that controversy only plays a part in the complicated matrix of possible poisons that lead to ASD.

Some may appear benign, such as the artificial sweetener aspartame. A more obvious culprit could be prozac in the water, or medications taken during pregnancy. Studies in California and Texas warn of pollution and childhood developmental problems. Plastic is in everything now. Then, there are the consequences of antibacterial (mis)management that have led to resistance and an abnormal gut-brain loop. Steroids are administered to make the animals more productive.There are new electrical fields, more powerful old ones, and increasing reliance on such energy sources. There are local energy fields in our houses and our pants and our ears. Remember that nuclear thing a couple of years ago? It was across the world, but the world is round.

This past week, the journal Pediatrics published research implicating levels of lead that were previously thought to be innocuous “…were associated with lower reading readiness at kindergarten entry. The high prevalence of elevated <LEAD> warrants additional investigation in other high-risk US populations.” Additional investigation?

Here is some of what the CDC recommended 8 months ago:

  • Experts now use a reference level of 5 micrograms per deciliter to identify children with blood lead levels that are much higher than most children’s levels
  • … CDC is no longer using the term “level of concern” and is instead using the reference value to identify children who have been exposed to lead and who require case management.
  • … The new lower value means that more children will likely be identified as having lead exposure allowing parents, doctors, public health officials, and communities to take action earlier to reduce the child’s future exposure to lead.
  • What has not changed is the recommendation for when medical treatment is advised for children with high blood lead exposure levels. The new recommendation does not change the guidance that chelation therapy be considered when a child has a blood lead test result greater than or equal to 45 micrograms per deciliter.

There are so many disconnects between what we are told by government agencies, what we are fed by mega-food producers and big pharma, and what we experience as the ASD epidemic unfolds. Suspicions become heightened and less-than-scientific theories evolve and abound. The parents of children affected by developmental challenges continue to visit practitioners who appear clueless as regards their specific challenges. Often, doctors with broader points of view are derided and dismissed as kooky by those “in the know”.

Important information and treatment is available. Unanimity of opinions would be great, but there is a great deal more knowledge that needs to be achieved in order to make specific recommendations. “State-of-the-art” in ASD treatment has yet to be defined. Families are left discover the most useful course for their child suffering with an autism diagnosis. Parents can’t fix the outside environment, but they can do something about the internal one.

Cranial, Sacral, Vagal and other Pathway Therapies for Autism

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

In the previous century, I had occasion to train in Philadelphia, where I became acquainted with the treatments provided at The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential. The disorder that attracted my interest was cerebral palsy and the neurological outcomes of various protocols were the pursuit of my personal investigation.

At the time, I believed whatever the Hippocratic elders declared to be true, so I sided with the AAP on the issue of efficacy. “On the basis of past and current analyses, studies, and reports, the AAP concludes that patterning treatment continues to offer no special merit, that the claims of its advocates remain unproved, and that the demands and expectations placed on families are so great that in some cases their financial resources may be depleted substantially and parental and sibling relationships could be stressed.” 

When I interviewed parents who sought those services, I simply thought of them as unfortunate families who were desperate, but ignorant of medical facts. I no longer think that confused families who get relief wherever they find it are just misguided. Their experiences add to my knowledge, and patients deserve my appropriate support.

In one fashion or another, the aim of such treatment is to re-invigorate dormant, damaged, or otherwise under-functioning or unused neural pathways, so that they will/can wake up, grow, mature, lay down proper connections and so function properly. This usually involves physical input of one sort or another; from massage, to acupuncture, to electrical stimulation, to sound activation, to visual excitation. Similarly, there seems to be a consistent requirement for practice (as in, more parental work & time and/or practitioner visits) in order to solidify progress.

One of my earliest severely affected ASD patients was a great kid who suffered speech apraxia and experienced the best relief from CranioSacral therapy. “How can I believe in that stuff?” Well, in one case there was a parent and child who claimed improvement. I recently cared for a 6 year-old who was prescribed prozac for obsessive compulsive stims. Which therapy is safer? Which is harmful? Effective? (eyes of the beholders). Which treatment advertises to actually address the core problem, and isn’t just a weak Band-Aid, at best?

I am no expert on the many treatments that excite the spine, spinal cord, associated nerves and ultimately the whole CNS. Certainly, some of the various “alternative” treatment centers may take exception to comparisons because of ‘this or that’ technicality. I don’t have an issue with their services, however. Parents hoping to help their developmentally challenged offspring will continue to seek such treatments. Doctors who scoff at such thinking can’t really understand their dilemma.

Pediatricians, neurologists and psychiatrists wishing to lead the medical team that helps to recover function in children should consider all reasonable treatment protocols. Programs can be checked for safety, documentation of efficacy (if possible), be performed by practitioners in good standing with their community, who keep records of their services, have referrals from other patients and don’t experience outrageous complaints.

To the extent that all traditional therapies, biomedical evaluations and treatments, and other alternative protocols are safe and do not deplete the family’s resources, they can play a part in the puzzle that assists problem children.

As in all other medical epidemics, as the scientific community becomes more precise in diagnosis and effective protocols, the ones that work will take hold and others may be retired or find their way address other enigmatic conditions.

More M-B12 FAQs

Sunday, March 31st, 2013
mb12

30º angle

Search Engine Statistics @ TheAutismDoctor.com indicate that many readers come to this venue looking for ‘B12 shot’ information. Since you can read that first round of explanations here, I will use this post to add to our B12 frequently asked questions knowledge base.

Can you have too much?
I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Neubrander‘s opinion about this at the recent MAPS conference. He compared responders with higher-than-expected levels of vitamin B12 to insulin resistance in diabetes mellitus; where pharmacologic dose, rather than physiologic dosages of sugar-lowering hormone may be required for optimal effects. Interestingly, drugs such as Prevacid and Tagamet, which are frequently prescribed for many ASD patients with GERD, can interfere with B12 absorption. Furthermore, when there are problems such as stomach and small intestine disorders, B12 levels may be reduced, reducing cognitive function.

According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements “no adverse effects have been associated with excess vitamin B12 intake from food and supplements in healthy individuals”. In clinical trials, vitamin B12 supplementation did not cause any serious adverse events when administered in very high doses for 3 to 5 years. When there is kidney failure, liver disease and some blood diseases, B12 levels can be high, but it’s not the other way around.

High cobalt levels (as in methylcobalamin, as in MB-12) have also been reported as possibly leading to neurologic symptoms. Some artificial implants in adults have been implicated. In one study examining metal levels, cobalt was not implicated as a factor in autism, however. Other reports did not show significantly elevated blood or hair levels in ASD. And, recent papers even reported a slight decrease in cobalt in ASD patients. If their is significant concern, blood cobalt levels could be checked in non-responding patients who are receiving plenty of MB-12.

What is the best way to administer MB-12?
Since it is a water soluble vitamin, getting the compound into the body is pretty straight forward. Sublingual, intranasal spray, liquids, gummies and lollipops will all raise the MB-12 levels. However, excretion is very prompt and so repeated doses throughout the day (and night) would be the only similar manner to the subcutaneous route.

There isn’t literature other than anecdotal information that documents similar improvement to the preferred route. Even the advertisements for Dr. David’s Original B-12 Patch claim superiority only to pills.

Aren’t the injections painful?
The subcutaneous injection is the most common, documented, successful method of administration. In our experience at the Child Development Center, expensive anesthetic creams, such as EMLA, are rarely required or even that helpful. “After the child falls asleep, apply to the skin, mark the area and wait 45 minutes?” Many a parent has fallen asleep themselves waiting for that. The idea is to get the liquid into the most likely tissue to let it leak out into the circulation, so a 30º angle with a tiny needle into the upper outer area of the buttocks is great.

Bottom line:
If this preparation works, it should be thought of as insulin to a diabetic. For some reason, those parents, and the children, accept that reality (of shots) more freely. So, the parent who complains that “Every time we even enter the room, he wakes up,” or “It’s impossible to give it to her,” is simply in denial. If you want the child to improve, and B12 shots have a fair chance of being part of that improvement, then do what is necessary.

And, as in all things medical, protocols should be followed under the direction of a trusted and trained practitioner.

Addendum:
http://www.theautismdoctor.com/vitamin-b12-reflux-and-autism/

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