Monday, September 22, 2008


The success rate experienced by families who undertake a biomedical approach for autism is often excellent, for those who stick with it. A major problem is that by the time people hear about Biomedical interventions for Autism, they have been convinced by their pediatrician or family doctor that there is nothing that can be done for autism, and since we live in a society that tends to value a physician's word as being on par with "the word of God" this can be a big hurdle to overcome.

A related problem is that most traditionally-trained physicians are not taught about nutrition or methods of disease prevention. They are taught to suppress symptoms with pharmaceutical drugs and to remove body parts when they decay or stop working - often because the symptoms of underlying disease are masked with pharmaceutical drugs while things continue to get worse.

Physicians and clinicians who employ biomedical treatments for autism (and ADHD, ADD, Bipolar Disorder, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, etc.) subscribe to the belief that the most important thing is "FIRST, DO NO HARM." As is the case when considering any kind of intervention, we must ask ourselves if any risks associated are greater than any potential benefit that may come from taking the particular course of action. This is referred to as a “cost/benefit analysis.” In any cost/benefit analysis, you want to make decisions where the potential benefit outweighs the potential cost. I believe this is especially true when considering a treatment approach for a sick child.

The Autism Research Institute has been collecting data from parents for several years, regarding the success rates of various interventions, both biomedical and pharmaceutical. To view the complete list of parent ratings for biomedical and pharmaceutical interventions, click the following link:

Data from more than 26 thousand of parents indicates that biomedical interventions, such as dietary changes, antifungals, targeted supplementation with specific vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and probiotics, and chelation therapy to remove heavy metals, organophosphates, and pesticides, are many times more successful than treatment with psychotropic medications AND they are far less likely to cause negative reactions in the children.

For example, Adderall, Ritalin, and Risperdal are three of the most frequently prescribed medications given to children with autism to help control behavior (suppress symptoms). Parent ratings regarding the success rates for these medications are as follows:

Adderall: of 775 cases, 43% got worse; 32% got better; 25% no effect.
Adderall: Better:Worse Ratio = 0.8:1

Ritalin: of 4127 cases, 45% got worse; 29% got better; 26% no effect.
Ritalin: Better:Worse Ratio = 0.7:1

Risperdal: of 1038 cases, 20% got worse; 54% got better; 26% no effect.
Risperdal: Better:Worse Ratio = 2.8:1

Note: "got worse" in these parental reports relates solely to the worsening of problematic behaviors. To read further information regarding potential side effects of these and other psychotropic medications click the following link:

Constipation and diarrhea are rampant in a vast majority of kids with autism, as are problems with eczema, skin rashes, and environmental and dietary allergies. Because 70% of the body’s immune system is located in the gastrointestinal tract, problems related to GI injury and inflammation are often the source of a domino-like cascade of issues as the child becomes immune-compromised and increasingly susceptible to bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections.

Dietary changes often help to correct issues in the gut and are therefore frequently targeted initially in biomedical treatments for autism. Parent ratings regarding the success of dietary interventions are as follows:

Remove Milk/Dairy: of 6360 cases, 2% got worse; 52% got better; 46% no effect.
Remove Milk/Dairy: Better:Worse Ratio: 32:1

Remove Wheat: of 3774 cases, 2% got worse; 51% got better; 47% no effect
Remove Wheat: Better:Worse Ratio: 28:1

Gluten Free/Casein Free Diet: of 2561 cases, 3% got worse; 66% got better; 31% no effect
GF/CF Diet: Better:Worse Ratio: 19:1

Candida Diet (Yeast-Free): of 941 cases, 3% got worse; 56% got better; 41% no effect
GF/CF Diet: Better:Worse Ratio: 19:1

Food Allergy Treatment: of 952 cases, 3% got worse; 64% got better; 33% no effect
Food Allergy Treatment: Better:Worse Ratio: 24:1

Yeast overgrowth (Candida Albicans) is a very common finding in children with autism, and is one of the effects of their weakened immune systems and resultant administration of antibiotics to fight recurrent bacterial infections. Physicians who adhere to the Defeat Autism Now! approach very often order laboratory testing to determine if yeast is problematic, and if so, will treat accordingly with antifungal prescriptions. Parental reports of success with antifungal treatment are as follows:

Antifungals: Diflucan: of 653 cases, 5% got worse; 57% got better; 38% no effect
Antifungals: Diflucan: Better:Worse Ratio: 11:1

Antifungals: Nystatin: of 1388 cases, 5% got worse; 50% got better; 44% no effect
Antifungals: Nystatin: Better:Worse Ratio: 9.7:1

Specific nutritional therapies and supplementation targeted for the individual child is a cornerstone of biomedical treatment of autism. One must be careful in giving vitamins and it is not advised to do so unless you know what you're doing. Having said that, one of the most frequently recommended supplements for autism is Cod Liver Oil or Fish Oil (must be treated to remove mercury - don't buy cheap fish oil!!!!). Other Fatty Acids are also supplemented, based on lab results and detailed developmental history and family history. Parent ratings for the success of these interventions are as follows:

Cod Liver Oil: of 1681 cases, 4% got worse; 51% got better; 45% no effect.
Cod Liver Oil: Better: Worse Ratio = 13:1

Fatty Acids: of 1169 cases, 2% got worse; 56% got better; 41% no effect.
Fatty Acids: Better: Worse Ratio = 24:1

Heavy Metal toxicity is a very common finding in children with autism, as is shown on hair analysis, through urine provocation testing, and now with porphyrin tests. Chelation (removal) of heavy metals and other toxins is often a very effective component of biomedical treatment for autism and is used when indicated, based on laboratory findings. Parent ratings for success rates of chelation treatments are as follows:

Chelation: of 803 cases, 3% got worse; 74% got better; 23% no effect.
Chelation: Better:Worse Ratio = 24:1

There are many other intervention strategies that are helping to recover children from an autism diagnosis and Defeat Autism Now! clinicians and researchers all over the globe are working tirelessly in their efforts.

If you ask a parent whose child disappeared for years, who made no eye contact, spoke no words, and spent hours each day watching his or her fingers and spinning in circles, that parent's response to the question, "How successful is biomedical treatment?" will depend on his or her own experience. If you ask one of the parents I met at a Defeat Autism Now! conference, who's children actually got on the stage, made eye contact with the interviewers, and answered questions in front of hundreds of other parents and professionals, the answer, I'm sure, would be "Extremely successful!"

Biomedical interventions do not work for everyone, and the results are varied, depending on the particular child. This is also why the GF/CF diet or SCD diet or LOD diet, or whatever, is not THE answer for everyone. Individual children need to be treated as individuals. Treatments need to be tailored, based on the child’s own developmental and medical history, observations of parents, and results of laboratory tests that assess specific areas for intervention.

Every child is different and EVERY CHILD WITH AUTISM IS DIFFERENT. That's why the standard medical response, "There's nothing you can do for autism" makes no sense.

Autism is treatable. Recovery is possible. One child at a time.

To view videos of some of the many children who have been successfully recovered from an autism diagnosis by implementing some of the above biomedical interventions, please click on the links below. Head’s up: You might want to grab a box of tissues for these.

This information is 4allofyou!


Baxter's Recovery from Autism:

Ethan's Recovery from Autism:

Edward's Autism Journey and Recovery:

Friday, September 19, 2008

NIMH Cancels Chelation Study While Dr. Proffit Heads for the Bank

Guess what? A couple of days ago the media announced, "A government agency has dropped plans for a study of a controversial treatment for autism that critics had called an unethical experiment on children. The National Institute of Mental Health said in a statement Wednesday that the study of the treatment - called chelation - has been abandoned."

I'm shocked. (that's sarcasm)

Okay. After about ten minutes of research, here's what I found:

First, the NIH study was called off because an experimental psychologist at Cornell University found that rats who were administered a chelating agent (succimer) specifically meant to chelate lead, suffered from learning disabilities that are long-lasting if they were administered the drug when they did not have lead poisoning to begin with. Towards the end of the article, it notes that the most likely reason for this is because succimer depletes zinc and iron and the resulting deficiencies of these minerals are what probably caused the cognitive problems. DUH!!!

Two problems with NIH calling off the chelation study as a result of the above:

1. ANY doctor trained by the Autism Research Institute (Defeat Autism Now!) KNOWS that one of the FIRST things to do is assess the child's nutritional status, including testing for zinc and iron levels. AND, they know that chelation with ANY agent is NOT an option unless the child has DOCUMENTED heavy metals in the body. This is WHY we do hair analysis AND urine provocation AND fecal metal tests. Any physician who uses chelation to treat heavy metals in the absence of proof that there ARE heavy metals should NOT be using chelation. This is akin to prescribing chemotherapy for cancer to someone who LOOKS like they may have cancer, without ever doing the tests to determine if the cancer really exists. Chemotherapy drugs are some of the MOST toxic drugs on the planet, but nobody is suggesting that we not use them! (At least nobody in "mainstream" medicine)

2. A more appropriate design for the NIH study, instead of administering chelating agents to children who do not have heavy metals, would be to document that ALL children in the study have heavy metals in their systems and then administer ALL of the same interventions, including addressing mineral and nutritional deficiencies in ALL participants. The experimental condition should be those children who receive chelation, while the control group should be a group of children who are matched on all other interventions but do not receive chelation. In this way, there would be no problems associated with the fact that the control group did not have heavy metals AND there would be no problems associated with mineral depletion because, just as it is in the clinical setting in hundreds of Defeat Autism Now! trained physicians, THE MINERAL LEVELS WOULD BE CONSISTENTLY MONITORED TO ENSURE THEY ARE NOT BEING DEPLETED BY THE DRUGS! AGAIN, DUH!!!!!!

Why can't NIH figure this out?

I suspect this is because the powers-that-be do not understand clinical nutrition. This is most likely because traditionally trained physicians practicing traditional western medicine are trained in medical schools that are funded by pharmaceutical companies, and most M.D.s have never taken a SINGLE course in nutrition. It is NOT REQUIRED. No WONDER we have so many drugs that have been pulled from the market after significant numbers of patients have DIED because of side effects of the drugs, which WERE approved by the FDA.

Care for some Vioxx, anyone?

It seems to me that the reason the powers-that-be do not want chelation to become more readily available is because if they did, more children with heavy metal poisoning would have access to this very effective (and very safe) treatment. That would mean that there would be hundreds of thousands of children whose levels of mercury (and lead and antimony) would be DOCUMENTED, and doctors like Paul Offit, who happens to sit on the IOM (Institute of Medicine), which has declared that an association between thimerosal (mercury) and autism does not exist, can continue to rake in the dough at the expense of our children. For those who don't know, Dr. Paul Offit is not only the most vocal opponent of the mercury/autism connection, he is also one of the recipients of 182 MILLION DOLLARS, for royalties to the Rotavirus Vaccine, of which Dr Offit is a patent-holder. HMMMMNNNNN.........

Has anyone ever heard the saying, "The Fox is Guarding the Henhouse?"


Once again, I advise parents to DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH and do not rely on the misinformation being put out by those like Dr. Offit, who have SO MUCH to gain if our children remain poisoned by heavy metals.

To read more about chelation and the truth about the scare tactics, please visit the Autism Research Institute's website and read the following two articles:

Marcella Piper-Terry

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An Open Letter to Governor Mitch Daniels Regarding Thimerosal and Environmental Mercury

Governor Daniels:

I have lived in the state of Indiana for seven years. There are a few questions I, as one of your constituents, would like for you to address.

First, I would like to know why Indiana, and particularly Southwestern Indiana, needs more coal burning power plants, and please do not tell me it's because it's good for our economy.

  • With the majority of counties in SW Indiana out-of-compliance with the EPA's Clean Air Act our economy and infrastructure is no doubt on the losing end due to loss of federal funding.
  • The cost of lost work days by our citizens who are too sick to work, due to the effects of heavy metal poisoning and cardiopulmonary damage from particulate matter surely cannot be good for our economy.
  • The increase in the incidence of autism, which has been shown to be related to the proximity to coal-burning power plants, cannot be good for our economy, especially when you consider that there are no daycare facilities who will accept children with "behavioral problems." Mothers of sick children frequently have no other option but to withdraw from the workforce and stay at home to care for their child. Statistics reveal an 85% divorce rate in families of children with autism - they succumb to the unrelenting stress, which encompasses EVERY aspect of EVERY hour of EVERY DAY. There are no state provisions for respite care, and no state funded programs for adolescents and adults with autism who age out of the system at eighteen. Families are left holding the bag and footing the bill. Surely this is not good for our economy in the state of Indiana.

And, speaking of sick children, I for one do not think it is coincidental that the top five agricultural crops grown in Indiana (and exported all over the world) are the same top five foods that have been demonstrated to cause intestinal problems, including colic, chronic constipation, and diarrhea in children with autism. It is also not coincidental that when these five foods (wheat, dairy, corn, soy, and eggs) are removed from the diets of children with autism, more than 65% of those children improve significantly, some to the point where they actually LOSE their autism diagnosis. Do you really believe this is a coincidence? What is going to happen to the economy in Indiana when the rest of the world realizes that it may not just be the food that's making them sick, but the poisons that are in the food? SURELY THAT'S NOT GOING TO BE GOOD FOR OUR ECONOMY!

As I am sure you know, the heavy metals that go into our air and water also go into our soil and from there, into the food we grow. As the photographs above clearly show, there has been no effort in this state to ensure that our food supply is spared from the toxic plumes being spewed from the coal-burning power plants. There has also apparently been no concern about locating power plants within spitting distance of elementary schools where our children are required by state law to spend a certain amount of time outdoors, running, playing and practicing sports and other activities. Isn't this inconsistent with your push for Healthy Hoosiers?

With the ever-increasing frequency of Ozone and PPM days, during which "sensitive groups," including children, are advised to stay indoors, it's no wonder Indiana ranks at the top of the charts for citizens who qualify as morbidly obese. With the serious health problems associated with that condition, I can't fathom how this outcome could contribute to a strong economy for the state.

With the neurological damage caused by heavy metals, including the loss of IQ points associated with even minute exposure to lead, we are spending increasing amounts of our tax dollars on special education programs, to remediate the damage done by the power-plants and their toxins. How is that good for our economy?

In Vanderburgh County, we are currently on target to surpass last year's suicide rate, and once again reclaim our title as the county with the highest suicide rate in the nation. Two years ago, the rate was four times the national average - AND the rate in Vanderburgh County was four times the rate of the state of Indiana. Of course, many of those people who killed themselves may have been on the public assistance roles, due to physical and mental health problems, so I guess their deaths could conceivably be good for the economy on some level, but I sincerely hope this is not one of the areas you would consider a "positive" outcome of increased coal production.

A related issue is the extreme amount of Vanadium introduced into our environment as a result of coal production. With excess vanadium resulting in the depletion of lithium, this is a very likely contributor to the suicide rate, as depletion of lithium is associated with bipolar disorder. Of course, you may not be aware, or may have forgotten the outcries for more psychiatric facilities after the suicide death of 10 year-old DeTwain Barnett in May 2007. Unfortunately, until the environmental poisoning is decreased, the suicide rate is not likely to decrease, nor is the shortage of mental health providers in this area.

A second question I have is related to your former position as Senior Vice President of Marketing Strategy for Eli Lily, and your subsequent position as Budget Director for the Bush White House. In my attempt to understand the Lily Rider, which was sneaked into the Homeland Security Act, I did find a newspaper article that printed your adamant denial regarding any knowledge or responsibility for this rider, which was meant to deny families of children poisoned by thimerosal (mercury) in vaccines their right to due process in a Court of Law. My understanding of this rider is that it is called "The Lily Rider" because Eli Lily was the developer of thimerosal and so by denying families their day in court, the rider protected the pharmaceutical giant, which just happened to be your former employer.

Two questions:

1. If not you, then who?

2. Do you own stock in Eli Lily?

One final question I'm pondering is this: Given the obvious health problems and associated economic costs to a state from being the "coal-burning power plant capital of the world," and, given the documented association between mercury and coal-burning power plants AND autism, WHY WOULD THE GOVERNOR OF ANY STATE WANT TO INCREASE MERCURY IN THE ENVIRONMENT OF HIS OR HER CONSTITUENTS?

Of course, I could understand why, if the governor in question had reason to confound the evidence regarding whether or not thimerosal (mercury) in vaccines had anything to do with the epidemic of autism in America's children.

If not you, then who?

Looking forward to your assistance in sorting out this confusion.

Sincerely yours,
Marcella Piper-Terry

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Diet and Autism, the GFCF Cult

The photos above show the corn, soybean, and wheat fields located between Marr's Elementary School and the smokestacks belonging to Vectren Energy's Brown Power Station located on the west side of Evansville, Indiana. These photos were taken in July 2008.
Today's post:

This post addresses some questions people have been asking about the Gluten-Free/Casein-Free Diet and why it is so important in recovering kids diagnosed with Autism. By the way, all of this information also applies to ADHD, ADD, Asperger's Syndrome, and other forms of Pervasive Developmental Disabilities Diagnoses.

When Jenny McArthy first came out publicly with her son’s story, she took a huge personal risk, braving all sorts of criticism from mainstream medicine and groups who believe that by improving a child’s state of wellness, we are somehow saying that we do not accept our children’s individuality. While I applaud Ms. McCarthy’s willingness to make herself a target for all kinds of backlash, one concern I have is the extreme emphasis on GFCF (Gluten-Free, Casein-Free), or for that matter SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet), LOD (Low Oxylate Diet), etc., as THE DOCTRINE everyone must follow. It's not that simple. If you start removing things because of sensitivities, without also focusing on improving digestion, clearing constipation, and healing the lining of the intestinal tract, eventually you end up with an even more limited list of foods because the child will keep developing new sensitivities.

DAN! has been hesitant (in my opinion) to recommend the use of digestive enzymes, which seems to be because they do not want people to use the enzymes as a "lazy" alternative to cleaning up the diet. Cleaning up the diet is a very important thing to do - by getting rid of artificial dyes, artificial preservatives, white flour and sugar, artificial sweeteners, fermented foods, yeasty foods, and basically eliminating things your child is obviously addicted to (this often means wheat and cow's milk), allergic or highly sensitive to (frequently, soy, corn, & eggs).

Personally, as a resident of the Midwest who drives by multiple corn, soy, and wheat fields, as well as coal-burning power plants on a daily basis, I have strong suspicions that the extremely frequent "food allergies" and "food sensitivities" to these five foods in particular, may have more to do with where they are grown and the environmental toxins, than with the food itself. Our food is being grown in soil that is polluted with heavy metals. The corn being grown in this region is fed to the cows and chickens from which our milk and eggs are derived.

Back to today's question and why Dietary Interventions are so important:

Many children with autism self-limit their diets to the point where the only foods they will accept are wheat and dairy-based. The problem is that with a leaky gut - caused by candida overgrowth - among other things, gluten and dairy are not broken down effectively and they are misidentified by the body as opiates. In combination with the alcohol produced by the yeast, you get a kid who is mixing drugs and alcohol and no wonder they're spaced out! And no wonder they have such high pain tolerance. Opiates are what we give to adults after back surgery!

The GFCF diet works so well because it removes the sources of opiates. This is why you may initially see an increase in negative behavior and hyperactivity when removing wheat and dairy from the diet. They are going through withdrawal - aka "cleansing." This is also why the diet is so difficult to stick to because like all addicts, when the kid is not closely supervised, he or she is going to "drug-seek." Lock your cabinets and put a chain on the freezer door!

Many children, especially those who are further to the right on the continuum between autism and ADHD, will benefit significantly from the addition of digestive enzymes, which help to break down particular offending proteins (in most cases, gluten & casein). Others, who are facing more significant challenges, will need to be completely free of dietary sources of gluten and casein. For some, even a minute amount can be problematic and the negative effects can last for several weeks after a single dietary infraction. The only way to know where a child falls on the continuum is through thorough examination of the developmental history and by gathering objective data through laboratory testing.

Many older children, and especially those who are high-functioning, make the connection between how good they feel when they abstain from problematic foods and take digestive enzymes, versus how bad they feel when they don't. As a result, they are much more likely (at least in my house) to be the ones to say, "Mom, I need an enzyme!" Does that make me lazy? Okay. It also helps to keep me - and my kids - closer to the "sane" area on the continuum.

BALANCE is the key! Not rabid adherence to any particular diet just because that's what worked for someone else's child. In most children I have seen, once yeast is eradicated and constipation and/or diarrhea are under control, you can often re-introduce foods, especially if you are supplementing with enzymes to break them down. My kids have been taking enzymes with every meal and snack for the last few years, along with probiotics, CLO, and full-spectrum vitamin/mineral/amino acid supplements. As a result, they CAN eat cake and ice cream at parties. The only time we really have problems with dietary infractions is if we run out of enzymes! Then there was the time my husband bought a package of those frozen "cherry" slushy things - even enzymes couldn't handle that one. He has learned his lesson about red dye, believe me!

Being a mom (or dad) of a sick kid makes you nuts. Accept it and roll with it. You don't have to necessarily join the GFCF or SCD cult in order to be successful at motherhood (parenthood) - even if your kid happens to have autism. The best dietary advice (in my opinion and experience) is to stick to the outer aisles of the grocery store. Shun anything in a cardboard box. You may as well feed them the box; it has more nutrition and fewer preservatives and neurotoxins. Avoid cans as much as possible. Read labels. The more ingredients something has in it, the less you want it. If you can't pronounce it your body probably can't recognize it and won't know what to do with it. When your body can't figure out what to do with it, valuable energy is wasted trying to get rid of it and it gets lumped in with all the other toxins in the heap.

When you have a child with autism, "Diet" is about controlling that which is possible for us to control. "Perfection" and "Diet" only belong in the same sentence when you're talking about anorexia and bulimia. We're all too obsessive-compulsive already. Where do you think our kids got it from?
If your child does not respond to the more general dietary interventions, then you probably need to consider formal laboratory testing for food allergies (IgG – not IgE) and enlist the help of medical professionals to eliminate problematic foods while ensuring your child receives the proper nutritional supplementation for optimal wellness.

In the meantime, give yourself a break as a parent. Congratulate yourself for being proactive regarding your child’s healthcare! To celebrate, have a piece of fruit - just be sure to peel it if it's not organic.

Marci Terry