Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Last week I was interviewed by Steve Higgs of The Bloomington Alternative. We met for about three hours and talked about Biomedical Interventions for Autism, and about environmental toxins. Mr. Higgs is especially interested in the role of toxins here in the state of Indiana, and how our unique environment impacts the children in this state (and those beyond our borders).

Last night I couldn't sleep. So I got up and fired off a few emails to Mr. Higgs, including copies of some PowerPoint Presentations I gave in April of this year. Among them was a presentation I put together in which I researched some of the specific toxins we have in abundance, here in Southwestern Indiana.

This morning I received an email from Mr. Higgs, with a few questions. Among them was the question of what to call those who seek out my services. Patients? Clients? and how to refer to their diagnoses: ASD?

The result of that email turned into a lengthy response, which I think makes a good blog post, so here it is:

As far as what to call those who seek my services...clients is more appropriate, I think. I wish I had given you one of my business cards. The tag I use on them (and my "letterhead") is "Family Coaching for Fragile Children." I work with kids (and adults) who have received any number of diagnoses, from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia in adults to autism, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and Learning Disabilities in kids.

I was thinking about this a lot last night/this morning, and feeling so discouraged because there is SO MUCH to do and often feels like only me to do it.

I had another parent email and call yesterday, with questions about how to get her physician to order the labs we need. This is a 17 year-old with chronic GI pain, upper respiratory infections, strep, bronchitis, etc. (immune system dysfunction) since infancy. At 17, he now has pre-cancerous lesions in his gastroinstinal tract and the parents have been told that things will probably not ever get better for him; he'll just have to learn to live with the pain. The primary care physician has seen this kid probably 100 times in the last 12-13 years and has made numerous referrals to other specialists (GI docs, allergists, therapists, etc.). He has also collected many thousands of dollars from the family and their insurance company over that time. I saw this kid and spent more than 50 hours going over his medical records, abstracting them, putting everything in chronological order, researching and documenting everything that had happened to him since conception. I also spent about 5 hours with the family (and drove almost four hours round-trip to do so). When I wrote up the report, I did it in such a way that everything flowed and made sense. It was this kid's life story. The reason I did this was to be sure to make the case for the doctor, so he would understand the rationale behind what I was asking him to do. He had no problem with it. Said he would order the tests. However, he will not take the time to pick up the phone and call (or have his staff call) the labs to request the test kits. I even provided interactive links and telephone numbers at the end of the report, to make things as simple as possible. All it would take is five minutes and unfortunately, that's something he or his staff has to do. I can't order the kits and neither can the parents. (There are some labs - Great Plains, for example, that make this process much easier by allowing parents to order kits and take them to the doctor for his/her signature. Others are not as user-friendly, but the information provided by the labs is worth the effort, in my opinion.)

This is the most frustrating thing for me. Even when they finally begin to see why this makes sense, it's like pulling teeth to get physicians to change the way they do things. I don't think I explained this blatantly in my powerpoint about Biomedical Interventions, but this is why I talked about the two doctors (Marshall & Warren) who discovered H. pylori bacteria and its role in ulcers. They made the discovery in 1982 and it wasn't until 1995 that "Standard Medical Practice" finally changed from the mantra of "stress causes ulcers" to recognizing that if a bacterial infection was the cause, then it makes sense to treat with an antibiotic. As a result of the extremely slow awakening of the medical community, hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people suffered with ulcers that could have easily been treated. It took 13 years for them to wake up. How many children will we lose in 13 years? (This may be a good time to read the first post on my blog: AUTISM IS TREATABLE)

When we talk about biomedical interventions for autism and other "spectrum disorders" like ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Asperger's, PDD-NOS, bipolar disorder, etc., we are talking about a "whole-body" affliction. That's the major problem with why the medical community is not "on-board." This is completely the opposite of what medical schools have taught for the last few generations, at least. The medical system has moved almost exclusively to specialty care, where you see one doctor for your feet, another doctor for your gut, another doctor for your ears, another doctor for the fungus under your nails, and another doctor for your "mental" or "cognitive" difficulties. Each one sees only a part of the patient, rather than looking at the entire person. The biomedical approach to autism (and other whole-body afflictions) is a systems approach that emphasizes the fact that there is no such thing as mind-body. It's mindbody. All one child; all one word. There is nothing physicially separating the mind from the rest of the body and we need to stop treating our children as if they have been decapitated. What happens in the body affects the brain and vice-versa. This is another reason why the impact of environmental toxins is so important to consider. Lead, mercury, and other heavy metals negatively impact the entire body by damaging enzymatic processes. They cause disruption everywhere. Until we start assessing and addressing the damage caused by environmental toxins, everything else we do is just bandaids.