Friday, June 19, 2009

Biomedical Treatment was Too Expensive and Too Late

This post is in memory of Isaac. This little boy died on Saturday when his heart finally gave out. He was waiting for his third heart surgery, which would have taken place in September. Unfortunately, the strep and staph infections in his blood were too much for him to fight off and the attack of multiple infections was ovewhelming.

I met Isaac and his parents only once; it was a few months ago when they came to Cady Wellness Institute to meet with a colleague. Because Isaac was a child who had received an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis, I was asked if I had time to talk with the parents about what might be done to help improve their son's overall state of wellness by implementing biomedical interventions. As best I can recall, I spent about an hour with Isaac and his parents. This was not an official appointment and they were not charged anything, since they were not patients and we were simply having a "chat." While I talked with his mom and dad, Isaac played on the rug in my office. Like many of the children I see, he liked the cars best and like many of the children I see, he especially liked lining them up in rows. Isaac was similar in other ways to the children I see professionally, in that he was a beautiful little boy. He was small for his age, with very blonde hair and extraordinary eyes that were the bluest of blue.

I talked with Isaac's parents about biomedical interventions for autism, and made several recommendations regarding steps they could take on their own, to improve his body's ability to fight off the multiple environmental and immune system assaults that are common in children on the spectrum. Unfortunately this family, like so many others, did not have the funds to pay out-of-pocket for biomedical treatment in the tri-state, and they were also unable to travel to one of the larger clinics around the country.

Because Isacc's parents were not able to have their son seen on an official basis due to the financial strain of doing so, much of what I am writing in this post is speculation. However, it is speculation based on experience. I have seen and spoken with MANY parents and families in the last four years whose children clearly needed biomedical help, but who simply could not afford it. (I have also seen families whose children clearly needed biomedical help, and they COULD afford it but believed it was too expensive and not worth dedicating the resources.)

There are many children - no, there are MANY children on the spectrum (including kids diagnosed with autism, Asperger's, ADHD, PDD, Bipolar disorder, OCD, and ODD) that have underlying medical problems that are never diagnosed and treated. One of the MOST frequent of those problems is Strep infection. When a child has a strep infection that is untreated, it can damage the heart. I don't KNOW that this is what happened with Isaac. All I know is he died because his heart gave out while waiting for his third heart surgery, AND he had Strep and Staph infections in his blood. I cannot recall the exact conversation I had with Isaac's parents, but based on the conversations I have had with EVERY parent of a child with ASD who has sought my help, I would bet the farm that I brought up the importance of checking his Strep titer. This is something I routinely recommend for ALL kids I see, and for ALL kids on the spectrum, especially those with anger outbursts and OCD tendencies. The reason is because PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus) can be treated! And it is often EASY to treat with antibiotics. That is, if you can get your pediatrician or family practice doctor to run the test and give the monthly shots of bicillin. There have been many cases when I have talked with families who could not afford to have their child seen at my former place of employment, and for whom I have recommended they ask their primary care physician about running a strep titer, and for whom the response has been, "That's experimental. There's no proof. I'm not going to do it." For those physicians who think obtaining a blood test to check for strep is "experimental," I take this opportunity to say, "Shame on you." I wonder how many other children with autism have died from heart problems, simply because their physicians refused to check their strep titers - or because they never thought to do so.

Children with autism are not hopeless and they do not deserve to be ignored by the medical professionals simply because they have received an autism diagnosis. These children are medically sick and if we do not care enough about them to do the tests that are necessary and to treat the infections that are wracking their bodies, then WE are responsible when something like this happens.

To Isaac...and to all the other children who currently cannot afford to get the treatment you so desperately need and deserve: I am so sorry. I pray you will have an eternal life in heaven that is completely joyous and free from pain. God knows you deserve it, especially after the way we have failed you on earth. Eternal blessings to you, Isaac.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Tale of Autistic Blood - Article from Age of Autism, by Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

There is a very interesting article on the Age of Autism website, entitled "A Tale of Autistic Blood." The article contains a link to a fascinating video and slide show that compares the blood of six autistic children. I highly recommend you watch this and read the article (Click the title to go to the Age of Autism site and read the entire article). My comments about the article and video are posted below.

A Tale of Autistic Blood
By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

This may be the most important article about autism I’ve ever written. But first I need you to do a little work. I need you to go to this site (HERE) and watch the approximately five minute long video comparing the blood of six autistic children put together by Mark Squibb.

Marci's Response:
IMO, I believe this is another physiological marker of the multiple factors involved in autism and pretty much all of the comments posted are on track.

Stress will cause aggregation in preparation for clotting in case of injury. Think "fight or flight" - when you are preparing for battle or to run away, there is a significant chance you may get hurt. When the the balance of stress hormones is disrupted (shifted) due to high anxiety or panic, the body doesn't differentiate between real or perceived danger and prepares to clot. So thats ONE factor at work.

Heavy metals like lead and mercury (and aluminum which is not technically a "heavy" metal) also damage the circulatory system and lead to problems like Raynaud's Syndrome, atherosclerosis, hypertension, stroke, and aneurysm.

Metals and other toxins have something else in common - a single valence electron in their outermost ring. This makes them very attractive to each other - they don't like to be alone but like to travel in pairs so they will "hook up" with other toxins. This is one reason (along with impaired detoxification due to depletion of metallothionein) why our kids, once shot up (pun intended) with aluminum or thimerosal (flu vaccine, rhogam, etc.) become like magnets for other toxins. It's also why when chelating, mercury does not come out until after aluminum, antimony, and lead. The magnets (our children) hold onto the metals because their electrical charges have been altered. This was for me, probably the most fascinating thing about the video by Mark Squibb - he actually points out the alteration in electrical fields in the blood patterns of autistic children.

The comment about babesia (a bacteria associated with Lyme disease) is also correct, which is why adults with chronic Lyme exhibit many of the same behavioral and neurological issues as do children with "autism."

Infections in the blood (from systemic yeast, viruses, strep, staph, etc) will also cause clumping, as what is left of the immune system tries to kick in and fight off the infection. Remember that one of the first things the immune system does is to send extra blood (and oxygen) to the sight of injury or infection. This is part of the healing process and is why we get the swelling, heat, and itching when we get a minor cut or scrape. That's the body's attempt to heal.

The problem is, in our children there are so many different things to fight that their bodies become confused and shift over into autoimmunity. The analogy I use is like the old Space Invaders game where you start of shooting at one bad guy and it's relatively easy, but as things speed up, there are too many bad guys to shoot at accurately and you end up crashing and burning.

Finally, the genetic link is (again, IMO) often associated with metals (especially lead) that is passed from mother to child. In the family histories of my patients I frequently see higher than expected occurrance of things like stroke, blood clots, hypertension, bipolar disorder, heart-valve problems, and heavy bleeding/clotting with menses. All of these things, (and autoimmune thyroiditis) are associated with lead poisoning. When I check further, these parents and grandparents grew up with coal-burning stoves, lived near or worked in coal mines, or in some cases owned gas stations (before gasoline was unleaded.)

Very interesting article and video - thanks so much to the folks at Age of Autism for your wonderful work, and to my friend Lori for bringing this article to my attention!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

NIH Study Shows Anti-Depressants Don't Work for Autism

Below is an article from today's Los Angeles Times, reporting on the results of a recent NIH study looking at the effectiveness of Celexa in Autism. What a waste of money that could have (and should have) been spent researching treatments that really work - like those aimed at healing the gastrointestinal tract.

(Thanks Lori for posting this on C.A.R.E. Keep 'em coming!)

My response to the article, which follows:

This is not surprising at all. Look at the money involved - between 2 & 3 billion per year for drugs that have not been tested on children with autism, and whose side effects are 2-3x worse in kids with ASD. Interesting that the pharmaceutical companies who make the drugs to "treat" the symptoms are also the ones who make the vaccines that contribute to autism in the first place - the perfect storm. Before you pay big bucks for a pyschiatrist to "treat" your child with drugs that don't work, please consider looking deeper to heal the underlying problems.

SSRIs don't work because 95% of serotonin is in the gastrointestinal tract. If the gut is injured then serotonin will not be produced in the first place, so it cannot be utilized in the brain.

SSRI stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor - meaning that what it does is keep Serotonin in the synapse (the gap between two neurons) longer so it can work longer before being taken back up by the neuron that released it. If there is no serotonin for an SSRI to work on (because the gut is injured and it's not being produced) all you are going to get is side-effects from the fillers and dyes used in the capsules.

DUH. I wonder how much money was wasted on this study?
(Click the title to read the article in its entirety)

Study Finds Antidepressant Doesn't Help Autistic Children
Nationwide research finds that citalopram is no more effective than a placebo and that its side effects are twice as bad. About a third of autistic kids take the drug, known as Celexa in the U.S.
By Karen Kaplan June 2, 2009

An antidepressant commonly prescribed to help autistic children control their repetitive behaviors is actually no better than a placebo, according to a report published today.Roughly a third of all children diagnosed with autism in the U.S. now take citalopram, the antidepressant examined in the study, or others that are closely related. The results of the nationwide trial, published in Archives of General Psychiatry, have some experts reconsidering the appropriateness of antidepressants and other mind-altering drugs used to treat children with autism spectrum disorders.