gut health and autism

AUTISM AND GUT HEALTH
WHAT IS THE LINK?

Gut Autism

Jil Martinez – Italia – Pixabay

When it comes to the field of medicine, “EVIDENCE” can be a peculiar thing.  Autism (often called ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder) is the term used to describe the Westernized World’s most common developmental disease, as well as the wide variety of symptoms associated with it.  Most people are aware that Autism has been decimating our country for the past several decades.  Yet despite spending Billions of tax dollars on Autism via the “Combat Autism Act” of 2006, rates of the disease continue to skyrocket. 

Fifty years ago, the incidence of Autism was said to be about 1 in 10,000.  When I started practice in the early 1990’s, the incidence of Autism had increased ten fold to about 1 in 1,000.  The latest statistics continue to prove this trend.  The latest statistics come from the CDC, courtesy of Jon Baio (Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 14 Sites, United States, 2008. Surveillance Summaries).  The incidence of Autism as of 2008 stands at 1 in 88, with males affected four times more often than females (UPDATE: — it’s now 1 in 50).  And all the while, the average doctor will tell you that they have no real idea what is behind this epidemic, how to prevent it, or how to effectively deal with it once it strikes.


FOR THOSE WITH AUTISTIC CHILDREN
THE EVIDENCE IS A KICK TO THE GUT!

As I shared with you a couple of months ago, practically every health problem under the sun —- AUTOIMMUNITY, ARTHRITIS, DEPRESSION, DIABETES / METABOLIC SYNDROME, ADD / ADHD, OBESITY, and even CANCER —- have a common link; the health of the Gut / Intestinal Tract (HERE).  Although this is not by any means a new concept, it is gaining steam in recent years within small portions of the mainstream medical community.  One of the facts of Gut Health is our reliance on bacteria —- lots of bacteria.  Despite the fact that humans are made up of about 100 trillion cells, the bacteria living in our Guts outnumbers these cells by approximately 10 to 1. 

Even though most people are mortified by the very thought of bacteria living inside their bodies, the truth is, these ‘good’ bacteria known as Intestinal Flora perform all sorts of vital functions in the body.  They not only help to digest food, they actually manufacture certain vitamins and then transport them, along with their mineral co-factors, to where they need to be.  They act somewhat like a “plug” for our porous Intestines.  Without the good bacteria doing their thing, LEAKY GUT SYNDROME is sure to follow.   And once you have a leaky gut, all bets are off as far as the array of health problems you are sure to develop.

Much of this has to do with the fact that of the various jobs performed by the Gut, the most important has to do with Immune System function.  This is because 80% of your entire Immune System is housed in your digestive tract (HERE).  Stop and contemplate that last sentence for a moment.  Could this simple fact be important to our overall health?  Does it mean that your intestines do more than simply digesting food and purging waste products?  Absolutely!   In fact, Time Magazine stated last August that,

Much of the time, our gut bugs are indeed more helpmates than invaders. They’re essential to the digestive process and they can boost the immune system by regulating the population of certain immune cells and preventing autoimmunity. But like all long-term house guests, the bugs can also make a mess. They’ve been linked to a range of nasty conditions, including obesity, arthritis, and high cholesterol. Now, two newer areas of research are pushing the field even further, looking at the possible gut bug link to a pair of very different conditions: autism and irritable bowel disease…..     Up to 85 percent of children with autism also suffer from some kind of gastrointestinal distress such as chronic constipation or inflammatory bowel disease.


INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE AND GUT HEALTH

Fifteen years ago (1998), a team of British medical doctors created a veritable firestorm when they published their research in one of the oldest and most prestigious medical journals on the planet; The Lancet.  Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s bombshell resulted in MMR Vaccination rates plummeting in England (some estimates say 50%) in the years directly after the news of their findings went public.   Dr. Wakefield, a surgeon and medical researcher, along with his team of a dozen doctors, published a paper on the relationship between the MMR Vaccine, Gut Dysbiosis, and Autism.  Because of various indiscretions, inconsistencies, and conflicts of interest pertaining to his research, Dr. Wakefield was demonized beyond imagination before being stripped of his medical license almost three years ago. 

In response to a week-long series of articles on Autism run by the West Plains Quill back in 2005, I sent a letter to their editor (as well as to numerous area newspapers — HERE).  Although Wakefield’s findings were tainted by lapses of judgement and some dubious financial Conflicts of Interest (not unlike like the rest of the medical community —- HERE), I would contend that he was closer to the truth than many of the people in power would have us believe.   One of the claims made by Wakefield was that the Guts of Autistic children contained measles virus — not from wild measles, but from the genetically marked / genetically engineered strains used in today’s Measles Vaccines.  Could there be any validity to Wakefield’s claim?

“Now a team from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina are examining 275 children with regressive autism and bowel disease – and of the 82 tested so far, 70 prove positive for the measles virus. Last night the team’s leader, Dr Stephen Walker, said: ‘Of the handful of results we have in so far, all are vaccine strain and none are wild measles.”   As reported in the May 28, 2006 issue of The Daily Mail; a British Newspaper.
Although there have been dozens of studies that appear on some level to validate at least some of Wakefield’s findings (a list can be found at the end of the post), he continues to be crucified in the media, making several media outlet’s “Worst Doctor of the Year” lists, as well as making onto the list of Time Magazine’s all time “Greatest Science Frauds” just over a year ago.  The person most responsible for this persecution is BRIAN DEER, who is an ‘interesting’ character to say the least.  I found the previous link to be extremely fascinating; showing that there are always two sides to every story.  Lew Rockwell, (the online journal run by the man himself) reviewed an interview with Dr. Wakefield from a 2011 VIDEO WITH DR JOE MERCOLA (who was recently a guest on the Dr Oz Show).  Rockwell summed it up this way,
  • A new investigation into Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s hotly contested MMR-autism study concluded there was no fraud committed by Dr. Wakefield
  • At least 28 studies from around the world support Dr. Wakefield’s controversial findings; Dr. Wakefield has also published dozens of peer-reviewed papers looking at the mechanism and cause of inflammatory bowel disease, and has extensively investigated the brain-bowel connection in the context of children with developmental disorders such as autism.
  • Growing research is now supporting the link between gastrointestinal disturbances and autism; it could be that if your child has suboptimal gut flora, vaccines can become the proverbial “last straw” – the trigger that sends his/her immune system over the edge into the development of chronic heath problemsWakefield himself said in his video that, “its [the study’s results] have been replicated in Canada, in the U.S., in Venezuela, in Italy… [but] they never get mentioned. All you ever hear is that no one else has ever been able to replicate the findings. I’m afraid that is false.
I would have to agree with Wakefield’s last statement.  The more one looks into the link between Gut Flora and Autism, the more credible his findings appear.  Yes; I get it.  He did some incredibly stupid and unprofessional things as far as his research was concerned.  But I find it nauseatingly hypocritical that he has been thrown under the bus in the name of “CONFLICT OF INTEREST“.  This aspect of the story is clearly a case the pot calling the kettle, black.  Despite what you think of the man, he was onto something.  You’ll see why as we continue. 
Despite what Big Parma is telling you via their various media outlets, there is more to the discredited Wakefield’s premise than Big Medicine would have you believe.  A 2005 study from the Netherlands called Differences Between the Gut Microflora of Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and that of Healthy Children was published in the October edition of the Journal of Medical Microbiology.   What did the authors determine?  The first part of the quote below comes from the study’s Abstract.  The second part comes from the study’s Conclusion.
Children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) tend to suffer from severe gastrointestinal problems. Such symptoms may be due to a disruption of the indigenous gut flora promoting the overgrowth of potentially pathogenic micro-organisms…….    There is now evidence that the gut microflora plays a role in autism. Modulation of the gut microflora by reducing the numbers of certain clostridia [a pathogenic bacteria] in ASD patients, while stimulating more beneficial gut bacteria [PROBIOTICS / FECAL TRANSPLANTS], may help alleviate some of the related symptoms.”

DR. NATASHA CAMPBELL-McBRIDE GETS INVOLVED

One of the more well known physicians in the Gut / Autism / ADD/ADHD / DEPRESSION / Vaccination debate is Natasha Campbell-McBride.  Dr. McBride’s credentials are impeccable.  She is a medical doctor with postgraduate degrees in both Neuroscience and Nutrition.  On top of that, she practiced for a total of 8 years in the capacity of Neurologist / Neurosurgeon.   After witnessing this connection for herself, she developed a name for what she saw, calling it Gut and Psychology Syndrome, or GAPS for short.  Her book Gut And Psychology Syndrome – Natural Treatment for Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression and Schizophrenia, is considered the benchmark in this field.

Like many other doctors who have researched this hot-button topic, she has come to the conclusion that autistic children seem to have a common denominator —- mothers with poor gut flora (the ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria living in the gut has gone South).  We already know that 80% of the Immune System is made up of bacteria living in the Gut (HERE).  But the thing that is becoming increasingly clear is that for better or worse, this “flora” is passed on to the baby at birth.  There are several ways that this is accomplished, including mom’s skin, mom’s milk, and mom’s birth canal (proper vaginal flora is critical in the birthing process — women who take Antibiotics have tangible proof of the short term consequences).  I have even seen information touting the fact that the father gets to contribute to the baby’s flora via sexual relations during pregnancy.   

Dr. Campbell-McBride believes that one of the biggest problems in this whole issue (one that most doctors refuse to acknowledge) is that the incredible numbers and potencies of today’s vaccinations given to infants and children are simply too much for an under-developed or compromised Immune System to take.  Immature or weakened Immune Systems can and do, to varying degrees, become overwhelmed by the assault.  The end product is always neurological damage in some form or fashion.  Some of this neurological damage is what we today refer to as “Autism”.  But Vaccines are not the only problem here.  The thing she says puts babies at the greatest risk is mom taking Antibiotics while pregnant.  Combine these two items and you have the potential for a neurological disaster.  Dr McBride goes as far to say that…..

“If your child has abnormal gut flora, we can assume that your child has compromised immunity, and these children must not be vaccinated with the standard vaccination protocol because they simply get damaged by it. They should not be vaccinated.”
Although the average doctor is not current with this information (hey, they’re still giving ANTIBIOTICS TO PEOPLE WITH COLDS), it is certainly gaining steam in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.  For instance, a team of nine medical doctors and Ph.D researchers recently (Nov. 2012) published a paper in the medical journal Pediatrics on this very subject.  The research team’s study cited 86 references from other peer-reviewed journals validating their hypothesis.  Is what they are doing safe as far as their careers are concerned?

Believe me when I tell you that after the Wakefield fiasco, this is a sensitive topic.   Most doctors would not want to touch this issue with a ten foot pole.  If you think about it, researching this subject is a potential career breaker.   (Think not?  Just ask DR. HUGH FUDENBERG about picking the wrong topic to devote your life to studying.)  What did the Pediatrics study have to say?

Endoscopic analyses of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Gastrointestinal symptoms have revealed the presence of a subtle, diffuse inflammation of the intestinal tract. Characterizing the nature of this inflammation remains an area in need of further investigation to fully understand and to provide further evidence of its relationship to Gastrointestinal symptoms in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
We should not be surprised by their findings.  In a 2011 study that was funded by our own National Institutes of Health, a team of ten doctors, scientists and neurologists, working out of Columbia University in New York City, published a study called, Impaired Carbohydrate Digestion and Transport and Mucosal Dysbiosis in the Intestines of Children with Autism and Gastrointestinal Disturbances.   I realize that was a mouthful for you to digest.  Let’s take a moment and break it down to bite-sized pieces.

First, you need to understand that this study has to do with DYSBIOSIS —– a condition characterized as an overgrowth of bad critters in the gut (yeasts, fungus, bad bacteria, etc).  These bad organisms can take over and literally crowd the normal flora out of the Gut.  Secondly, understand that in some capacity, Dysbiosis is related to poor carbohydrate digestion.  This is especially intriguing in light of Dr. McBride’s GAPS Diet and the fact that almost 100% of the children on the Autism Spectrum are GLUTEN SENSITIVE and addicted to carbs / sugars (more on this in a moment).  Without going into great detail, let me show you some quips that were cherry-picked from the study’s Abstract.

  • Gastrointestinal disturbances are commonly reported in children with autism.
  • [Gastrointestinal disturbances] complicate clinical management, and may contribute to behavioral impairment.
  • [There are] Reports of deficiencies in disaccharidase enzymatic activity and of beneficial responses to probiotic and dietary therapies. 
  • Ileal transcripts encoding disaccharidases and hexose transporters were deficient in children with autism, indicating impairment of the primary pathway for carbohydrate digestion.
  • Analysis of intestinal bacteria revealed compositional dysbiosis.
But it doesn’t stop there.  This past July, five researchers at the University of Wisconsin had a study published in The journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders called, Association Between Behavioral Features and Gastrointestinal Problems Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  This study, like numerous others, reported similar findings in the nearly 500 Autistic children they looked at.  Their abstract contained these tidbits.
Recent reports suggest certain behaviors among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may indicate underlying gastro-intestinal (GI) problems, and that the presence of these behaviors may help alert primary care providers to the need to evaluate a child with ASD for GI problems.  Unusual sleeping or eating habits and oppositional behavior were significantly associated with GI problems. These behaviors, however, were frequent in both children with and without GI problems, suggesting they may have limited utility in a screening capacity for GI problems.
Reading these few sentences tells me a couple of things.  Number one, it tells me that parenting skills in America stink.  How else do you explain the fact that the findings they were looking at were “frequent” in both the control and the experimental groups of children.  Allow me to explain myself.  When I grew up, we had a huge garden.  Mom cooked healthy, balanced meals; and we did not dare complain about what we ate.  We ate what was on our plate — vegetables and all.  It was simply understood.  The problem is, a study came out over a decade ago saying that one third of American children under the age of 18 ate zero servings of vegetables a week — unless you counted fries and ketchup as vegetables (which the USDA does for our school lunch program).   Look around you and you’ll realize this situation has not improved.  When I look at the things today’s parents are feeding their kids on a regular (daily) basis, it’s not hard to understand why we have such POOR OVERALL HEALTH HERE IN AMERICA — including high rates of Autism.

Number two; according to the study, it seems that significant numbers of children have poor gut health. Should we be surprised? Once you understand how poor gut health causes so many other health problems (HERE); and that sugar / starch consumption is what feeds Dysbiosis, this is actually what we would expect to see in our society.   If you stop and think about this for a moment; the fact that both groups had such serious health / behavioral issues to begin with, raises another interesting question.  It seems that even though study after study shows evidence of bowel dysfunction in Autistic children (not to mention non-Autistic children), these are rarely accompanied by statistically significant numbers of positive endoscopic findings.

One impression I had, though, is that there’s a dearth in the scientific findings of intestinal clinical signs, such as from endoscopy, in autistic people, which has made it rather difficult to establish any definitive link.

Some clinical findings point to esophageal dysfunction: one study found more reflux in autistic children, another identified a rare esophageal disorder associated with three cases of autism, and yet another found esophageal dysfunction in girls and women with Rett syndrome, a genetic form of autism. Another option for explaining at least some GI problems in autism is a non-infectious, non-inflammatory cause linked to misfires of the enteric nervous system, the ‘little brain’ that resides in your abdomen as a multiplex of nerves that indeed sometimes seem to have a mind of their own.

But confirmatory endoscopic evidence for the lower gut is scant, as far as I knew.”  Emily Willingham writing in the November 2012 issue of Forbes, in an article called, Specter Of Wakefield Retractions Haunts Evidence Of Gut Inflammation In Autism.

Mrs. Willingham raises a valid point here.  However, I would contend that this question can be logically and truthfully answered in light of the sort of work that I and numerous other “Alternative Practitioners” do in our clinics on a day to day basis (HERE).  Allow me to tell you why I believe there is not more “Confirmatory Endoscopic Evidence” linking Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to Gut Problems. 

It has to do with something that I have been writing about for over two decades.  I am not picking on Mrs. Willingham here, but it appears that she, along with the biggest portion of our Scientific / Medical Community, do not understand the difference between Gross Pathology and Functional Disorders.  The plain truth of the matter is that lots of people have all sorts of health problems, yet have little or nothing to show for them as far as tangible evidence is concerned, linking their specific symptoms to a specific positive medical test.   I can give you numerous examples of what I mean by this.  Let me show you a few that I deal with every single day in my practice.

  • GLUTEN SENSITIVITY -vs- FULL BLOWN CELIAC DISEASE:  About one in 100 Americans has Celiac Disease.  But depending on whose research you believe, as many as 1 in 3 (maybe even 1 in 2) is at least to some degree, Gluten Sensitive.  Why is this only now starting to come to the forefront of progressive-minded medical doctors? It’s simple.  Up until recently, there was not a valid test for Gluten Sensitivity (now there is CYREX).  It used to be that if you did not have a positive Intestinal Biopsy (the test for Celiac Disease), doctors believed that wheat protein (Gluten) had nothing to do with your condition.  The truth is that people who are “only” Gluten Sensitive, can have worse symptoms than people who actually are full-blown Celiac.

  • IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME -vs- CROHN’S DISEASE, REGIONAL ILLIITIS, ETC:  This is for you Emily.  How many people have serious bowl issues, yet their upper GI, lower GI, and endoscopic examinations are essentially clear?  Almost all of them.  We need to stop and ask ourselves why.  Why, for one, are there are nearly 10,000 medical studies pertaining to INCREASED INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY, yet you never hear treating physicians talking about this nearly “UNIVERSAL” health problem?

  • PEOPLE ARE OFTEN TOLD THAT THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THEM SINCE THEIR PROBLEM DOES NOT SHOW UP ON AN X-RAY, CT, MRI, BLOOD WORK, ETC:  How often does this happen?  Let me just say that it is common.  Dog common.  Ridiculously common.  Embarrassingly common.  Especially with problems related to things like FASCIAL ADHESIONS or PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME or a host of others.  In fact, lack of positive findings is the very hallmark of FIBROMYALGIA.   I would venture to guess that many, if not most of the CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES that I deal with on a daily basis would fit into this category as well.  There is a recent book on this idea by a man whom many would refer to as one of the world’s most brilliant physicians; Datis Kharrazian.  His book is called “WHY DO I STILL HAVE THYROID SYMPTOMS EVEN THOUGH MY BLOOD TESTS ARE NORMAL?“.

  • HEADACHES:  Look no farther than headaches as another great example of this “PATHOLOGY -VS- FUNCTION” debate.  People with chronic headaches will be given X-rays, brain scans / CT’s / MRI’s / blood work, and who-knows-what-else as far as diagnostic testing is concerned.  I am not necessarily against doing this at some point in their care, but how often is an “organic pathology” such as a brain tumor or aneurysm going to be the culprit?  Oh; it happens all right.  But compared to the number of people who suffer from unrelenting HEADACHES, gross pathological findings as the cause of these headaches are exceedingly rare.

  • SID CROSBY & DR. CARRICK’S FUNCTIONAL NEUROLOGY:  Nowhere is this issue of “Function-vs- Pathology” more clearly revealed than in the brain.  All too often, subtle neurological dysfunctions cause tremendous amounts of pain and health-related problems — yet leave nothing as far as everyday medical tests are concerned.  One of the best examples of this phenomenon was found in story that came out of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED last year.  For more information on this subject, you can also look HERE.

The truth of the matter is that if you take a moment to look at the list of CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES that I deal with in my clinic on a day-in-day-out basis, few of these problems have tests that definitively show what is going on to cause a patient’s pain / dysfunction.  Unfortunately, a side effect of our technological advances is that we have become so enamored with the science of doctoring, that the art of doctoring is often times left on the side of the road — to make room for more diagnostic tests and paperwork. 

Rest assured; this creates lots of angry, frustrated, and depressed patients.  They know they have something darn drastically wrong with them, but ‘testing’ does not reveal what it is.   And without gross pathological findings, the average doctor will tell you that there is nothing really wrong with you. All too often, in their eyes you are a scam artist — a drug seeker — or a fraud, looking to get on SSI Disability. 

You want real-life proof?  Just look HERE.  To better understand what I am talking about.   HERE is a whole series of posts I have written on the MYTH OF EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE.   Understanding the difference between dysfunction and pathology is critical as far as understanding the paradox of modern medicine.   On one hand, our technological advances bring so much promise.   On the other hand; when when that promise does not pan out the way it was supposed to, improved health becomes a pipe dream.  The millions of you who have lived or are living this right now, know what I am talking about.

MORE AUTISM / GUT HEALTH INFORMATION

Johns Hopkins Medical School is possibly the most famous and prestigious on the planet.  It was there, in 1943, that Dr. Leo Kanner first introduced the world to Autism via his paper called, Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact.  We have come a long way as far as understanding the Gut / Brain / Immune Axis in the 60 years since.  The Gut is a brain (the ENTERIC NERVOUS SYSTEM), the brain is an Immune System (GLIAL CELLS), and the vast majority of the Immune System (80%) lives in the Gut.  In 2005, Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Neuroscience helped to cement this link by publishing research on the connection between INFLAMMATION of the brain and Autism.  Their researchers stated that,
In our study, we have demonstrated a marked increase in neuroglial responses, characterized by activation of microglia and astroglia, in the brains of autistic patients. These increased neuroglial responses are likely part of neuroinflammatory reactions associated with the Central Nervous System’s (CNS) innate immune system. In innate immune reactions of the CNS, microglial activation is the main cellular response to CNS dysfunction.
Remember my recent BLOG POST on “Feces Transplants”?  The offending bacteria from that story was called Clostridium Difficele.  Five years ago, Dr. Derrick MacFabe of the University of Western Ontario found that fatty acids produced by the Clostridium bacteria created, “bouts of repetitive behavior, hyperactivity and impaired social behaviors“.  The team realized, however, that these ASD-like symptoms could actually be reversed with the proper course of action.  How did they do it?  In similar fashion to Dr. Campbell-McBride’s GAPS Diet, they eliminated both wheat and dairy (among other things) from the diets of children on the Autism Spectrum.  What were the results?  Not surprisingly, this produced huge changes in these individuals.  But in similar fashion to a post from a couple of weeks ago, this change was more of a challenge than many people / parents were willing to deal with.  These people were so severely ADDICTED TO CARBOHYDRATES that the researchers noted,
Certainly, a lot of these children had peculiar cravings for high-carbohydrate foods that caused their behaviours
MacFabe’s team, in a collaboration with researchers from the University of Arkansas, published more research on this topic just a few days ago in the medical journal, Translational Psychiatry. Furthermore, Dr. Martha Herbert, a Ph.D / M.D. Professor of Neurology at Harvard University had this to say about the link between Autism and diet in the 2007 edition of the layperson’s science magazine, Discover.
“One very striking piece of evidence many of us have noticed is that when autistic children go in for certain diagnostic tests and are told not to eat or drink anything ahead of time, parents often report their child’s symptoms improve—until they start eating again after the procedure. If symptoms can improve in such a short time frame simply by avoiding exposure to foods, then we’re looking at some kind of chemically driven ‘software’—perhaps immune system signals—that can change fast.”
We should not be surprised that diet — most particularly sugar and carbohydrate consumption — is being linked to Gut Health.  If you follow the peer-reviewed, scientific literature, you’ll quickly notice that almost every health problem under the sun is being tied back to UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR.  It is simple to understand that this is due to our society’s wild over-consumption of carbs and sugars.  If it is Antibiotics (and / or Vaccinations) that are causing Autism, it is sugar that is feeding this beast.

By and large, the average medical doctor is tackling this issue of Clostridium overgrowth as well as other forms of Dysbiosis with their old standby.   Since the dysbiotic overgrowth is so often a bacteria, they usually start by prescribing ANTIBIOTICS —- the very thing that caused the infection in the first place.  Because this has not worked out so well, they are now looking in a different direction to solve this problem. They are looking into something else believed by many to be heavily involved in creating this whole mess.  They are looking to create new vaccines. 

Professors at Guelph University in Canada have teamed up with Stellar Biotechnologies of California to create yet another vaccination —- this one against Clostridium.  There are many different bacteria in the Clostridium family.  There is Clostridum Difficele, which we have already mentioned.  There is Clostridium Botulinum, which causes Botulism.  And the one most-associated with Autism right now is called Clostridim Bolteae.  Chemistry professor, Dr. Mario Monteiro, had this to say about their work.

Based on our experience with our polysaccharide C. diff. vaccine, we are confident that we can apply the same approach to create a vaccine to control diarrhea caused by C. bolteae and perhaps control autism-related symptoms.
Is this the direction that the research should be headed?  I for one, am not completely sold.  Once Big Pharma cranks up their propaganda machine and starts herding practicing physicians in the direction they want them to move, there will be yet another explosion of new VACCINES as well as the recommendations and schedules for taking them.  Is this a good thing?  It is definitely a good thing if you own a bunch of stock in the company.  This is yet another example of covering the symptom rather than dealing with the underlying problem.  Think about it this way for a moment.  How much money is there in a doctor prescribing dietary changes (i.e. The GAPS Diet) compared to prescribing drugs and vaccines?  Pills and potions are always much easier (and lucrative) than dealing with the root cause of the problem.
Although there have been alternative practitioners shouting about Gut Health and Autism for decades, the medical community has, as you’ve noticed, traditionally lagged behind.  However, there have been some cutting-edge pioneers who have been riding this pony from the very beginning.  Probably the most well known of the group is Dr. Sidney Finegold.   In an interview on CogentBenger.com, Dr. Finegold had this to say about his experience in the arena of Antibiotics and Gut Health.
Well, my first paper was published in 1951. It was based on work I did as a medical student in the late ‘40s and we finally had enough data to publish it in ’51. And at that point, my wife and I and another medical student all agreed to take some antibiotics to see what the impact would be on the bowel flora, and so we documented changes, even with the crude techniques available at that time. Now, I’ve been at it ever since then. Our first anaerobe entered our stock collection in 1957, but we were working with them for several years before that.………    

Antibiotics have an impact on the bowel flora. Virtually all of them do. Some, when given systemically, do not enter the bowel, so they would not, but most antibiotics, even given systemically, are secreted into the bowel to some extent. So, virtually all the time that we use antibiotics, one of the lesser-known problems with antibiotic use is that they do impact the bowel flora. The bowel flora, we’re finding out more and more in recent years, does a number of amazing things for the body. Our innate immunity is developed by virtue to exposure from bacteria living in the gut. And we know now that at least some forms of obesity are related to changes in the bacterial flora from the norm. We don’t know that antibiotics are involved in that particular problem, but they certainly seem to be in autism and clearly are in Clostridium difficile-associated colitis.……….

We think that bacteria are very important in autism, as I mentioned, and knowing what bacteria do in other circumstances, it’s easy to visualize spread of these bacteria to siblings of autistic children. And we do see now more multiple cases in families than we did before and an increased frequency of autism, probably because of spread of these organisms by way of the environment and even direct transfer from one person to another

Read that last paragraph again.  At least some of the things that are reported to cause Autism can be spread from one person to another by something other than genetics.  This leads me to another Autism-related topic that I will touch on briefly —- Regressive Autism.  Regressive Autism, aka Late Onset Autism, is a form of Autism that manifests after children (or on occasion, teens or even young adults) have met the normal speech and development milestones.  Then, over a period of several months, these individuals lose previously learned skills in the areas of motor function, language, social interaction, etc.  For more information on this topic, read this article from the NORTH AMERICAN JOURNAL OF MEDICAL SCIENCES.

STILL MORE ON THE LINK BETWEEN
GUT HEALTH AND AUTISM

Another person who we need to mention in this discussion (I have already talked about her a little bit), is Dr. Martha Herbert.  Dr. Herbert’s CV reads like a veritable Who’s Who of the scientific field.  Her website says, “Dr. Martha Herbert is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, a Pediatric Neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and an affiliate of the Harvard-MIT-MGH Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, where she is director of the TRANSCEND Research Program (Treatment Research and Neuroscience Evaluation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders)“.  What does she have to say about this link between Autism and Gut Health?  In an interview with Robert McNeil on PBS, Dr. Herbert said the following when asked about the prevalence of Autism, as well the reasons that most doctors not only ignore current research on this topic, but are actually hostile to those who take it to heart.
I think it [Autism] is pretty common. I think it may be more common than not. Certainly, in my experience, it’s been more common than not. People come to me because they know that I’m interested, but I think that probably the majority of people have some part of it.

I think that there are a number of different levels for hostility. One of them is, medical doctors are trained to believe that drugs are more efficacious than remedies like diet. There’s a strong prejudice against diet and nutritional interventions. Another thing is that the parents are not doing this under the control or guidance of their medical professionals. And that is a problem……   If you think of the brain as being affected by the whole body, then when you affect the body, you can affect the brain. And that’s the rationale of what the parents are doing….  The brain and the immune system and the gut are intimately related. The cells in those systems have common features.   They work together seamlessly, and when you disregulate one, you disregulate all the others. And systems biology is a way of looking at how we work as an integrated whole. I think that’s 21st-century biology. To be honest with you, I think that parents have beat medicine to Systems Biology.

And there you have it folks.  The brilliant Dr Herbert lays out in a general outline what parents need to do to help their children beat Autism.  I have been advocating parents do this for a very long time.  Take the bull by the horns, do your own research, and do as much as you possibly can to lick this thing on your own —- the natural way!  You really have no choice.  Your doctor, God love him, is clueless about this issue and likely sees you as a nut job standing in the way of real progress.  Don’t ever forget that it was medical intervention (Antibiotics and / or Vaccines) that helped to create this situation in the first place.  Follow along as I point you in the right direction.

TOP TEN WAYS TO RESTORE THE
IMMUNE SYSTEM / GUT / BRAIN / AXIS
IN PEOPLE WITH AUTISM

  • DO YOUR RESEARCH, MAKE A WRITTEN PLAN, AND FOLLOW YOUR PLAN:  Do not think that you can rely solely on my material in doing this.  A written plan will help you figure out what needs to be done and help keep you on track as far as doing it is concerned.  I have presented you nothing more than a generalized outline.  There is a wealth of information on this topic online.  If you will dedicate to spending some regular time on this issue, it will not be long before you are more knowledgeable about it than your doctor — much more knowledgeable.

  • SERIOUSLY STUDY THE VACCINE ISSUE:  Listen people.  There is simply too much evidence out there to ignore this issue any longer (just look at the previous link).   I do not really care what your doctor tells you.  When it comes to this matter, they are a cog in an agenda-driven wheel —- and the agenda is putting money in Big Pharma’s pockets.  Do your own research.  Be aware that even though the majority of the doctors quoted for this post are not against government-mandated Vaccination Policies, when questioned, they would almost universally admit that we are learning things about the Immune System that were totally unknown just a few short years ago.  This means that VACCINATIONS might pose a bigger threat than we ever dreamed possible — particularly in certain genetic populations.  My goal is not to convince you that Vaccines are universally bad.  My goal is to get you to actually do some research into the matter yourself.  Educated decisions are generally good decisions.

 

  • DO NOT TAKE ANTIBIOTICS OR EAT FOOD THAT WAS TREATED WITH ANTIBIOTICS:  If you understand half of what you just read, the thought of taking ANTIBIOTICS should scare the living daylights out of you.  And rightly so.  Despite the fact that many think I am a half-crazed lunatic, I have been warning people for decades that Antibiotics are one of the single biggest destroyers of health in America.  Hopefully after reading this post, you begin to understand why.

 

  • CUT OUT THE GRAINS (GLUTEN), THE DAIRY, AND THE GLUTEN CROSS-REACTORS FROM YOUR DIET:  This is not exactly easy.  But Dr. McBride’s GAPS Diet gives you a blueprint to follow.  Oh; and do not go on a Gluten Free ELIMINATION DIET without first understanding what GLUTEN CROSS-REACTORS are. 

 

  • EAT A CLEAN, WHOLE FOOD BASED DIET:  This is the starting point for just about any health problem that you try to tackle without drugs or surgery.  HERE is some good general information on this topic.  I almost always recommend PALEO.

 

  • THERE ARE SPECIFIC NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS THAT HELP WITH AUTISM:  Some of the most common include things like PHARMACEUTICAL GRADE FISH OIL, Glutathione, and Probiotics (more on this one in a moment).   But be aware, Autism sometimes requires extremely specialized supplements that can only be determined via metabolic testing.  Also understand that supplements cannot replace a healthy diet of clean, organic, meats and vegetables.

 

  • UNDERSTAND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GUT HEALTH, LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, DYSBIOSIS, AND THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM:  Although I have covered all four of these to some degree in this post, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.  If you understand the information in these links, you can successfully deal with virtually any health problem under the sun.

 

  • TAKE HSO PROBIOTICS:  Antibiotics kill bacteria.  PROBIOTICS restore the good bacteria.  Just understand that all Probiotics are not alike.  You need a broad-spectrum HSO product that contains the same bacteria found in healthy organic soil.  Along these same lines, I would suggest that you eat fermented foods. The more good bacteria you can get into your Gut, the better off you are as far as your health is concerned. 

 

  • HELP STRENGTHEN THE BRAIN AND NERVE SYSTEM:  CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS can help with this, as can BRAIN-BASED THERAPYI would also suggest a version of the Interactive Metronome for your home computer as well. Again; the internet is a wealth of information on restoring brain function.  Use it.

 

  • BE AWARE THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO BE TOO CLEAN:  Sounds crazy, but it’s true.  Many of us are just too darn clean.  In the same way that Antibiotics create Antibiotic-resistance, so dos constant use of things like too many showers, Antibacterial soap, Antimicrobial hand sanitizers, and other similar products.  I wrote on this topic a couple of years ago (HERE).  Let your kids get out and get dirty — no, I mean really dirty.  Better yet, have them help you in the garden.

 

  • CHEMICAL EXPOSURE CAN KILL THE GOOD BACTERIA LIVING IN YOUR GUTThis could be in the form of CHLORINE / FLUORIDE from the water you use, pollution in the air, or toxins in the foods you eat.  Chemicals are rarely a good thing as far as health is concerned.

 

  • GET TESTED / SEE A SPECIALIST IN THE FIELD:  Whoa, whoa, whoa.  I did not tell you to go see the first medical doctor in the phone book.  You’ll likely get more of the same old status quo that you have been getting for who knows how long.  You need to find someone (preferably a chiropractor with training in Functional Neurology) who understands Functional Medicine.  Although I know several of these sorts of people, I have attended a couple of conferences put on by a medical doctor in the St. Louis area who specializes in treating children with vaccine damage and ASD  (Dr. Amy Davis-Wright of Crossing Back to Health).  
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