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Autism is an epidemic: It has spiked 1,500 percent in the last twenty years. ADHD, asthma and allergies have also skyrocketed over the same time period. One of these conditions now strikes one in every three children in America. But there is hope. Leading medical innovator Kenneth Bock, M.D., has helped change the lives of more than a thousand children, and in this important book, with a comprehensive program that targets all four of the 4-A disorders, he offers help to children everywhere. This is the book that finally puts hope within reach.
Doctors have generally overlooked the connections among the 4-A disorders, despite their concurrent rise and the presence of many medical clues. For years the medical establishment has considered autism medically untreatable and utterly incurable, and has limited ADHD treatment mainly to symptom suppression. Dr. Bock and his colleagues, however, have discovered a solution – one that goes to the root of the problem. They have found that deadly modern toxins, nutritional deficiencies, metabolic imbalances, genetic vulnerabilities and assaults on the immune and gastrointestinal systems trigger most of the symptoms of the 4-A disorders, resulting in frequent misdiagnosis and untold misery.
Dr. Bock’s remarkable Healing Program, drawing on medical research and based on years of clinical success, offers a safe, sensible solution that is individualized to each child to help remedy these root causes. The biomedical approach to autism, ADHD, and the other 4-A epidemics, as innovated by Dr. Bock and some of America’s finest integrative physicians, is one of the most promising and exciting medical movements of our time.
In this eminently readable account, written by Dr. Bock in collaboration with critically acclaimed author Cameron Stauth, you will meet children and parents whose dramatic stories will inspire you to change the life of your own child. This program may be the help that you have been praying for.
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Random House Publishing Group; April 2008 ISBN 9780345507686 Download in secure EPUB or secure PDF format
Title: Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies
Author: Kenneth Bock; Cameron Stauth
Buy, download and read Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies (eBook) by Kenneth Bock; Cameron Stauth today!
CHAPTER ONE: THE CHILDREN
New Haven, Connecticut
It was the most ordinary of family moments. the baby was just starting to talk, and Mom wanted a video of it.
Lynne Avram handed the video camera to her husband, and he started shooting the playful interactions between Lynne and the baby—chubby little Paul, with his bright eyes beaming–focusing almost entirely on his son, instead of his wife, as new fathers are prone to do. To him, and to Lynne, too, the baby—and every ordinary thing the baby did—was absolutely unprecedented. It was as if no child had ever before taken so majestic a first step, or burped so remarkably.
Dad narrated as he filmed. “This is the day before Paul’s very first birthday,” he said, getting a close-up of gleeful Paul, tottering around barefoot in his red-striped shirt. “Can you say hi, Paul?”
“Ha-ee! Ha-ee!” Paul responded, waving at the camera.
“Hi, sweetie!” said Lynne. “Hi-hi!”
Paul grinned at Lynne, and his face was lit with love, easy to read, in that striking nonverbal way that toddlers have of telling the world how they feel.
“Ha-ee, da-duh!” said Paul.
“Can you say, ‘Hi mama?’ ” Lynne asked.
Paul gazed happily at his mother, and brushed at his nose. His nose was a little runny. It had been runny for several days. Lately, he was picking up every cold that came around.
“Pauly,” said Lynne, “can you say ma-ma? Ma-ma?”
“You think this is pretty funny, huh?” Lynne said, laughing.
“Uh-uh!” said Paul, shaking his head emphatically. “Uh-uh!”
What a unique child! What an extraordinary family moment!
Truth be told, of course, it was all quite ordinary.
In the years to come, though, Lynne and her husband would watch this video many times.
It was a video of one of their last ordinary family moments.
Paul’s runny nose lingered for several days. Then he started to get better, but caught something else. Paul seemed to have a bad case of the common malady that parents call the day-care flu—catching every germ in town—even though Paul stayed at home with Lynne.
Paul, in fact, still had his cold on the day he was due for his next- to-last round of immunizations, at fourteen months. He needed a measles-mumps-rubella shot, and a booster to protect him against a form of meningitis.
Just before the appointment, Lynne called Paul’s doctor and asked if it was safe to give vaccines to kids when they were sick. The doctor told her not to worry—it happened all the time. If parents waited for perfect health in their toddlers, he said, the kids would never get all their shots. These days, he said, there were more shots than ever, and they were all important. Whole epidemics had been wiped out!
But Lynne still felt uneasy. Jittery. Couldn’t shake it. She was a registered nurse at a prominent hospital near the Yale University campus, and it seemed to her that it went against medical common sense to provoke a powerful immune response in a child whose immune system was already battered by illness. But she told herself that her fear was just garden-variety parental paranoia. After all, she worked with some of the finest physicians in America, and she had a flint- hard faith in their expertise. As a nurse in one of the world’s best coronary intensive care units, she regularly saw doctors snatch patients’ lives back from the shadow of death. They worked miracles.
So Paul got his shots, and everything was back to normal. Lynne and Paul went home and played. Later, Lynne made dinner for her husband, Wesley—who was a Communications professor at Yale Divinity School— even though she was exhausted. Getting simple chores done was tough with a baby in the house. But she knew it wouldn’t last. Kids grow up. Easier times were ahead.
Over the next few days, though, Paul’s nose and eyes grew disturbingly red, against his now ghostly skin. Dark circles began to droop under his inflamed eyes. Patches of scaly skin grew on his soft face. He no longer wanted to play. He was always tired and congested, irritable—not himself. Lynne told herself that she would have to wait a little longer for the easier days.
One evening, a couple of weeks after the immunizations, while waiting for Paul’s latest bout with a cold-bug to end, Lynne took him to the window and started to play a familiar game, in which she would point at something and say, “I see a tree”—prompting Paul to repeat “tree.”
“I see grass,” she said. But Paul didn’t seem interested.
“I see the sky.” No response.
“I see car-car. Car-car!” Nothing.
Paul was changing. Lynne didn’t want to believe it, but it was undeniable. The changes, frighteningly, did not seem to be just predictable responses to pervasive symptoms of colds and flu. Paul’s whole personality was changing. More precisely, it was just evaporating. His trademark mannerisms, his unique facial expressions, his words, his eye contact, his hugs and kisses, his lopsided grin: gone. His playfulness was gone. His child’s joy was gone. Replaced by nothing.
Paul couldn’t sleep through the night. He woke up screaming. His digestion and elimination suddenly soured, as if his belly were now filled with a wet, noxious mix of food and poison. It soaked his diapers and burned little lesions into his bottom, no matter how often Lynne changed him. His new nickname was Poopy Pauly.
He started to suffer from almost constant ear infections. The pain and the crying never seemed to let up. Wesley and Lynne took the relatively drastic step of having plastic tubes inserted into Paul’s ears to drain the congestion, but the infections just shifted to other areas, including his throat, lungs, and buttocks.
Instead of playing with his toys, Poopy Pauly started rambling around the house in a strange state of stupor that was punctuated by sudden meltdowns. He ignored everyone. Nothing penetrated—not love, not a raised voice, not constant attention. As Paul stumbled around the house, he would often bruise himself, but he didn’t seem to notice. Lynne could only follow in his wake, cleaning up his messes and keeping him safe.
Sometimes Paul drifted into what seemed to be his own mental purgatory, standing for hours in front of a running faucet on his spindly, weak legs, mesmerized by the water, acting almost as if he were high on drugs. Lynne and Wesley began to alternate on what they called Paul Duty. One would work or do chores while the other was on Paul Duty, then they’d switch, fall into bed, and wait for Paul to wake up screaming. Another month crept by, then another.
Lynne made a video approximately eight weeks after Paul’s immunizations, and it portrayed a child who was vastly different from the child in Paul’s first-birthday video. In the new video, Lynne coaxed Paul to interact, but he just sat mutely on the floor, drooling and wooden, his eyes vacant. At one point in the video, Wesley entered the room and said, “Hi, Paul.” But his voice sounded very different in this video. He spoke to Paul in a sad monotone, as if he expected no reply, the way one might speak to a person in a coma. After that, there weren’t many more videos.
Summer came and went, as Lynne embarked on a pilgrimage to the medical world. But no doctor offered a diagnosis or proposed a treatment. None would even confirm Lynne’s certainty that something dreadful was happening, and that her child should not be trying to eat Christmas tree decorations, or stick metal objects into electric outlets, or run away so often that they had to fence the yard and put locks on all the doors. She was told that kids developed at different paces. She was told that toddlers were a handful. She discovered that the medical world was much different for the patient than it was for the professional.
A year somehow crawled past, with Lynne constantly searching for signs of improvement, but never finding any. Family outings dwindled to trips to just one playground, which had a high enough fence to keep Poopy Pauly, still in diapers, safe.
After another exhausting summer, the holidays came. Theoretically. But there was no way to have a holiday in the Avram home. At Halloween, Paul—almost three now—was completely oblivious to the costumes and candy. Kids would come to the door and he wouldn’t even look up, so Lynne turned off the lights. Thanksgiving dinner, of course, was completely impossible with Paul in the house, and at Christmas Paul just tore open everyone’s packages, with no interest whatsoever in their contents. Normal activities ceased. Bike rides? Not possible. The movies? No way. The mall? Out of the question. Church, where Wesley was the minister? No—Lynne and Paul sat outside on the curb. Play dates? With whom? Paul Duty didn’t consist of play dates.
Ordinary family life was over, practically before it had begun.
Then one night Wesley was channel-surfing and came across a scene of a child staring hypnotically at water running out of a faucet—like Paul! It was a segment on Cable News Network. The moment it was over, Wesley hurried to his computer, dialed-up the relatively new Internet, and typed in A-U-T-I-S-M.
“Lynne. You’ve gotta look at this! I think Paul has autism.”
Lynne vaguely recalled hearing about autism in nursing school. Back then, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, autism was considered a very rare mental disorder, not nearly common enough to merit much study. Lynne hadn’t heard about it since. None of Paul’s doctors had ever mentioned it.
Lynne sat next to Wesley and they paged through the painfully slow Internet.
When they finished, Lynne felt sick. The symptoms of autism applied to Paul. Uniformly. Why had no one mentioned this?
Autism: incurable. Cause unknown. No medical treatments. Inability to communicate. Emotional sterility. Halfway houses. Institutionalization.
It was as if Paul, right then and there, had died. It was really that bad. Or—God help Paul—maybe even worse.
Lynne became, in her own words, The Crazy Mom. She began to confront doctors about why no medical treatments were available. They responded that some treatments actually were available, but that they were all psychological therapies, not biomedical treatments. Standard therapy consisted mostly of just behavior modification. Besides, the doctors said, Paul had not yet been formally diagnosed as autistic. That could not happen until he was slightly older, and by then he might outgrow his quirky behaviors, and learn to speak, look at people, and use the toilet. Remember, they said, Albert Einstein was a late bloomer!
What about the physical symptoms, Lynne asked—the digestive disorders, the diarrhea, the persistent eczema, the recurrent infections, the poor muscle tone? The doctors said that none of that was pertinent. Autism, they reiterated, was a psychiatric disorder, defined by behavioral characteristics. They assured Lynne, though, that she shouldn’t blame herself, because poor parenting had recently been ruled out as a cause. For many years, they said, doctors had thought that kids became autistic because their mothers were emotionally frigid—“refrigerator mothers,” in the psychiatric lexicon. In these more sophisticated times, they said, it had become apparent that autism was simply genetic, and therefore inevitable for a tiny percentage of children.
But if it were strictly genetic, Lynne argued, Paul would presumably have been born with some of its symptoms, when in fact he had been quite normal his first year. To which the doctors responded, in effect: No, he was never normal, but Crazy Moms who can’t handle the reality of this tragedy just see what they need to see.
One thing they did recommend was that Lynne carry a card, the size of a business card, that briefly explained autism, and could be handed to people in public situations when Paul went wild.
Lynne sometimes broached the subject of immunizations causing autism— which was mentioned on the Internet—but most doctors patiently explained that this theory was a myth, invented by distraught parents. Other doctors were quite condescending about the theory to Lynne, even though she was a medical professional who could speak their language. A few doctors, particularly pediatricians, got angry about it. Pediatricians administer most immunizations, and some of them seemed to take it personally when Lynne raised doubts. It’s not the shots, they insisted.
Then why, Lynne asked, did there now appear to be a virtual epidemic of autism—with rates soaring far beyond those of her nursing school years? And why did that epidemic appear to start right around 1991, when a whole new batch of vaccinations had been mandated? The answer was quite simple, most of the doctors replied. There was no epidemic. Just better diagnosis.
Their essential message was: Give up. Accept it. Move on. But Lynne kept swallowing her pride and plugging away. She and Wesley spent over $100,000 on behavioral and educational therapies, which decimated their finances, and did little good.
Then one day, through a network of parents who had autistic kids, Lynne heard about a dietary approach. It consisted of eliminating most grains, along with milk products.
It sounded rather simplistic to Lynne. But what did she have to lose? She tried it. A few days later she woke up—and it was morning. Paul had slept through the night.
The next day, while they were riding on a bus, Paul looked at Lynne— right in her eyes—and said, “I hungry.” He was there.
“Paul? What? Hungry?”
He was gone again.
Lynne turbocharged her efforts to find a medical treatment for autism, and discovered a nurse in New Jersey who knew more about the disease than anyone Lynne had ever met. “There’s a doctor you should consult,” the nurse said. “He’s in a little town called Rhinebeck, up in New York. His name is Ken Bock.”
“Does he have a treatment?”
“He has recoveries.”
Syracuse, New York
When the ugly rash on Kevin Densak’s head and back hit the one-year mark, his mother knew she needed to find a new doctor. She had already seen a dozen doctors about Kevin’s rash, and his other problems, including hyperactivity and chronic diarrhea, but nobody knew what to do. The dermatologist had given Kevin a cream for the rash, the pediatric gastroenterologist had prescribed a thick white liquid for the diarrhea, and the family doctor had given Kevin medication for the hyperactivity, but nothing had achieved lasting results. The treatments for some problems had even made others worse.
The doctors had put two diagnostic labels on Kevin: ADHD, and Asperger’s syndrome, which is a type of autism. But the labels hadn’t helped him heal.
Kevin’s rash of red, circular welts blanketed his back, and was starting to migrate to his neck and head. It was making his hair fall out, and was creeping into the corners of his eyes. His preschool teacher told Kevin’s mom, Denise, that if it got worse, Kevin would have to leave school. But Denise knew that Kevin needed the structure of that school. Two years earlier–right after his measles shot–he had suddenly become almost uncontrollable. He now careened around in whirlwinds of pointless motion, destroying things, angering people, not listening, and losing his temper. He was a wreck, and he was getting worse as he grew older, not better. Lately, he was waking up at 4:00 A.M. every night, laughing hysterically. It was chilling to be awakened in the dark by that laugh.
One weekend, Denise drove all the way to Boston to attend a conference on hyperactive kids.
At registration, Denise asked a coordinator which speeches she would suggest.
“You should definitely go to this one,” the coordinator said. “It’s by Dr. Kenneth Bock. You’ll hear things you’ve never heard before.”
Livingston, New York
It was the worst night ever for little Keri O’Mara, and that meant it was the worst night ever for her mom, too. To Keri’s mom, Donna, the only thing worse than the suffering of a child was the pain of the parent who had to watch it.
Keri’s eyes were wide with fear and hurt as she fought for air. Donna held her, trying to somehow absorb some of Keri’s pain into herself, and trying to transfer some of her own strength into her little girl.
For the past hour, ever since Keri had awakened in the middle of the night wheezing, she had been struggling to force enough breath into her lungs to keep from passing out. If she blacked out, there was always the chance, with asthma as severe as hers, that she would die. Keri’s diaphragm and chest were exhausted, and exhaustion is the leading cause of death from asthma.
To Keri, it felt to her as if someone were smothering her with a wet pillow. Keri felt the shock of this slow drowning all over her body, even in her toes and face, which were beginning to turn purple. The pain in her chest–the one that she called the zipper pain, because it felt as if her lungs were zipped shut–was worse than ever. It was even worse than it had been during the times when her chronic lung infections had flamed into full-blown pneumonia, causing her chest to gurgle with algae-colored mucus.
Was it time to rush Keri to the hospital? Donna didn’t know. The doctors there couldn’t do much more than she could do here, with the nebulizer, the inhaler, and the standard meds.
Donna shepherded Keri to the bathroom and blasted hot steam into the bathtub as Keri hunched over the sink. Keri vomited from the congestion in her throat and from the spasms that choked her chest. Her red, curly hair stuck to her chalky face.
When Keri’s stomach was empty the vomiting subsided, and she started getting a few gulps of air. Then a few more. When it was over, Donna lay in bed with her eyes open, listening to Keri’s room with the baby monitor. It was quiet, but Donna kept getting up to check. Quiet might not be good.
The next morning, Keri’s pediatrician, a doctor Donna genuinely loved for the times he’d saved Keri from acute crisis, looked sad and bewildered.
“I can’t help anymore,” he said. “I need to refer you to a colleague. He seems to help kids that nobody else can. He mostly works with autism, but he gets results with asthma, too. And he’s close. Up in Rhinebeck.”
Rhinebeck, New York
I arrived at my office early in the morning, as usual, but by the time I got there, the waiting room was a scene of controlled chaos, as it often is, with autistic kids and hyperactive kids bouncing around, heedless of their mothers’ admonitions, and asthmatic and allergic kids coughing and wheezing.
“Dr. Bock,” my receptionist said, “your first patient is ready. It’s Paul Avram. He’s here with his mother, Lynne.” Little Paul Avram was very withdrawn when he and Lynne sat down in my office for his first visit. He wouldn’t look at me. His eyes were dead as marbles.
This was a few years ago. It was at the same time that I also met Keri O’Mara and Kevin Densak. I recall that it seemed slightly unusual to be seeing only kids from my own part of the country, because I tend to treat children from all over America and throughout the world. When I first opened my clinic with my brother Steven, about twenty years ago, I would never have predicted that we would someday have an international clientele, but that’s how it’s turned out. Families come from afar to see me because, over the years, I have developed a very special treatment program: a biomedical program for autism. This same program has also been extremely successful for children with ADHD, asthma, and life-threatening allergies.
These four disorders–the 4-A disorders–are the new childhood epidemics. All four can destroy children’s lives. Just when modern medicine had almost eradicated the traditional childhood epidemics of measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, polio, and tetanus, these even more insidious new disorders began to haunt our children with unprecedented occurrence.
The end of one set of epidemics and the beginning of the other was not a coincidence. The medical technology that defeated the old epidemics was created by America’s burgeoning industrialism, and this industrialism also created the ubiquitously toxic environment that has indirectly triggered the new epidemics.
Furthermore, the immunizations that were directly responsible for ending the old epidemics were also directly responsible for helping to create the new ones. The newspaper reports and parents’ accusations that you may have heard are true: Vaccinations, administered with toxic levels of mercury in them, helped cause an epidemic of autism. They also contributed to the new epidemics of ADHD, asthma, and allergies.
The tragic irony of this would be overwhelming, except for a single, salient fact: The new epidemics can be defeated. They are epidemics of metabolic dysfunction and toxicity, and they can be overcome by rebalancing the metabolism, and reversing that toxicity.
Most doctors don’t yet realize this. Some doctors, however, do realize it, and I have worked with these doctors to develop a new pediatric Healing Program, which has had unprecedented success. By reversing metabolic dysfunction and reducing toxicity, I have helped a robust percentage of my young patients to achieve remarkable improvement, and even full recoveries.
Treating these four new epidemics is quite complex, and can often be baffling. However, in plain English:
Autism can be reversed, especially in young children who regress after a period of apparent normalcy. The conventional belief that it is biomedically untreatable is wrong. Children with other disorders on the autism spectrum, including Asperger’s syndrome, can also greatly benefit.
ADHD can be reversed in many children, without Ritalin or other drugs that may have significant risks of adverse effects, and be required throughout life.
Asthma can be reversed, even when it is so severe that it’s potentially fatal. Asthma is generally caused by many of the same factors that cause autism and ADHD.
• Allergies can be reversed, relieving kids of terrible symptoms that make them miserable, stunt their development, and sometimes even kill them. Allergies also contribute to full-blown autism, ADHD, and asthma. I know that these reversals can occur, because I have helped to make them occur a great many times.
As I developed my Healing Program, I also became aware of another fact that is still unknown to the majority of physicians: There is a powerful link–of both cause and recovery–among autism, ADHD, asthma, and allergies. To most casual observers, and even to most doctors, these 4-A conditions appear to be largely unrelated. However, beneath the surface there is an unmistakable, unshakable web of interrelationship among the 4-A disorders, characterized primarily by toxicity in the brain and body, which causes metabolic dysfunction. For example, food allergies–which can profoundly affect the brain–can grossly exacerbate not just autistic symptoms, but also ADHD symptoms, and also asthma. In addition, severe ADHD can so closely mimic autism that I personally have come to consider severe ADHD as part of the autism spectrum. Also, simple deficiencies in brain nutrition, caused by our unhealthy and often toxic food supply, can contribute to the onset of not only full-blown autism, but also ADHD, allergies, and asthma.
The causal links among these disorders go on and on. These links even extend, to a significant degree, to other modern childhood epidemics, including those of learning disabilities, depression, teen suicide, substance abuse, speech pathologies, diabetes, childhood obesity, and recurrent ear infections. It is not your imagination: All of these problems are on the rise, some are running wild, and many are intimately related.
Because there is such a strong common denominator of toxicity and metabolic failure among the 4-A disorders, there are many common traits and experiences among the children who suffer from these disorders. When I first meet these children and their parents, they often seem to feel completely isolated, as if their ordeals are cruelly unique. But even during that first visit, they usually begin to see that they are not alone.
If a child you love has one of these problems, this program can probably help your family, too. We’re all in this together. We all love our children. And we can defeat the disorders that are limiting their lives.
CHAPTER TWO : THE HEALING PROGRAM
I live my professional life in an atmosphere permeated by pain, working with families who are still often shocked by the depths of their own suffering. But I also work in an atmosphere that is charged with the most generous and powerful form of love that exists, the love of a parent for a child. The moms and dads I meet, like so many parents, would gladly take on all of their children’s pain, if only it were possible. Love is the only thing that brings children to my office. The parents I meet are extraordinary.
When I break through the barrier of aloneness that surrounds these parents, I never forget the experience. I still remember Lynne Avram’s first visit quite distinctly.
She and I began to go through my standard work-up. It covers the fundamental physical aspects of autism, which have traditionally been ignored in conventional autism treatment.
“Has Paul had bowel problems? Chronic diarrhea?”
“Yes, chronic diarrhea.”
“When did this begin?”
“Right after his MMR shot, March before last.”
“Was he sick when he had that immunization?”
“He had a cold. They said it didn’t matter.”
“And did he get sick more frequently after that?”
“Does he often show signs of inflammation?”
“Yes, in his ears, his skin, and his bottom.”
“Food allergies? Food cravings?”
“Definitely allergic to dairy and wheat. Loves his chicken nuggets. Is all this common? ”
“It seems to be.”
She told me more about Paul’s life–the story I told you–and by the end of it I was certain that Paul had a clear case of regressive autism, a disorder in which children begin to develop normally, but then regress severely after a sudden assault upon their vulnerable, undeveloped systems. Regressive autism is the type of autism that has soared in incidence over the past twenty years. It now accounts for the vast majority of all current cases. The incidence of kids actually being born with autistic symptoms, which is known as classic autism, is still extremely rare.
In Paul’s case, as in those of many autistic kids, one of the primary assaults on his system was probably from vaccinations that contained high levels of toxic mercury. This assault appeared to have harmed his brain and the rest of his body. The net result was chronic physical distress, accompanied by profound, secondary psychiatric symptoms. Autism is still classified as strictly a psychiatric disorder, but that’s a diagnostic error. It certainly doesn’t start from emotional problems. It starts from physical harm to the brain. Therefore, it’s actually a neurological disorder. More specifically, it’s a neurotoxic disorder, because it’s caused primarily by the presence of destructive elements that injure the brain:
Toxic chemicals. Viruses. Incomplete proteins. Inflammation. Immune cells that attack the brain.
These harmful forces wreak havoc upon the brain, and also cause terrible damage to the rest of the body. They are especially damaging to the very sensitive gastrointestinal systems and immune systems of young children. That is why I consider autism to be a three-faceted illness, with direct damage to:
The immune system. The gastrointestinal system. The nervous system. After these three systems have been damaged, they begin to further injure one another, in a vicious spiral of interwoven destruction. This destruction includes:
Inflammation of the brain and gut. Viral infiltration of the brain and gut. Severe nutritional deficiencies. Food reactions that have neurological consequences. Autoimmune attacks upon the brain and body. Immune system overactivity and underactivity. Undernourished muscle tissue.
Unfortunately, most of these problems can not be easily observed. All that can be readily seen is the behavior that they cause.
I have trained myself to be a medical detective, however, and to see beneath the surface of this behavior, and solve the underlying root problems that result in the misclassified, misunderstood, dooming diagnosis of autism. As Lynne and I talked, Paul stared off into space, oblivious to us and to the toys that are in my office. He kept repeating the same gesture with his hands again and again, an autistic trait that’s called stimming, because it stimulates these children’s brains. He also kept saying the same sound repeatedly, which is known as perseveration. Doing this seems to bring some sense of order to the chaos in these kids’ minds. His belly was bloated, his eyes were watery, and he had poor muscle tone. But other than that, he was an adorable-looking little kid, with a sweet face, and I took an immediate liking to him, as I do to most kids. I believed I could help him, because his problems were so similar to those of other kids I’ve helped. Of course, by conventional medical standards, his recovery would be an absolute impossibility. However, the kids I work with often seem to achieve the impossible, no matter how hard it is for them. They’re great kids.
Paul–the real Paul–was in that tortured little body somewhere, lost and alone, sad, scared, with an inflamed belly, a sore throat, a raw butt, aching muscles, a stuffy nose, a confused mind, and no way to tell his mom. He lived in a world of pain. But he lived in a world of love, too. That was easy to see. Lynne watched him tenderly, then looked at the floor and said softly, more to herself than me, “How did this happen?”
How It Happened Contrary to conventional medical wisdom, the cause of autism is not primarily genetic, but is a complex combination of genetics and environment. Genetics, so to speak, load the gun, and environment pulls the trigger.
Genetics alone don’t cause epidemics. Genetics are essentially constant from one generation to the next. Epidemics occur when genetic vulnerabilities are assaulted by environmental changes–introductions of a new virus, a new bacteria, or a new toxin.
The current rates of autism and the other 4-A disorders are now undeniably epidemic.
Autism has increased, according to most estimates, from approximately on less