Ten Tips for Autism Spectrum

Autism2Below is the entire outline as it speaks for itself.  Most important for us all to remember, is that Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are just labels. If you had cancer you would not go around saying I am cancer or I have cancer.  We are individuals who are experiencing unique challenges to our neurotransmitters and chemistry. Many of us suffer from immune-mediated issues and gastro-intestinal issues, and frequently we experience severe anxiety and are very sensitive to noise or touch or sensory overload etc. This was pulled from the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and can be found here…

 

The article begins here-

Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Volume 53, Issue 11, Pages 1145–1146.e3, November 2014

Autism Spectrum Disorders: Ten Tips to Support Me

The recently revised American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder1 highlights the importance of clinicians maintaining an active role in family and individual support. Its evidence-based recommendations coincide with those of the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions, the European Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Autism Europe.2 In contrast, in Europe, there is a greater emphasis on an approach to children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder that is based on rights, participation, and quality. Inclusion Europe3 leads a campaign for making information easily understandable as an essential mechanism to foster citizen participation, ensure informed choice, and protect human rights.

Recognizing the complementary strengths in these approaches, my colleagues and I have produced a tool to empower stakeholders, guide caregivers, and provide a rationale for advocates. The document was originally produced by its author and then reviewed, edited, and formally endorsed by a self-support group of young persons with Asperger disorder and by the Board of Families from the Gipuzkoa Autistic Society, the largest autism community program in southern Europe.

It is hoped that this document, also accessible in Basque, French, and Spanish will become a framework for clinical practice and global advocacy.

 

Autism Spectrum Disorders: 10 Tips to Support Me

  • I am not “autistic.” I am first, foremost, and always a person, a student, a child, and I have autism. Do not confuse me with my condition. And, please, do not use the term in a negative or inconsiderate way. I deserve to be respected.
  • I am an individual. Having autism does not make me the same as other people with autism. Make an effort to know me as an individual, to understand my strengths, my weaknesses, and me. Ask me—and my friends and my family, if I cannot reply—about my dreams.
  • I deserve services, just like all children. Services for me begin early. Autism is—or it will be, when recognized—a public health issue in many countries of the world. There are instruments to screen it. They should be applied in the framework of screening for other developmental disabilities. If you start soon, my life will be different! And remember that about one quarter of my siblings will have autism or other problems. Help them; they are an important part of my life.
  • I belong in the health care system, just like all children. Include me in regular health care. The health care system should adapt to me, limiting waiting times and ensuring that I understand what is to be done, by using, for example, easy-to-read materials, pictograms, technologic means, and so forth. Other patients also will benefit.
  • I belong with other children. Do not separate me from them because you want to treat me, educate me, or care for me. I can, and I should, be placed in regular schools and regular community settings, and special support should be provided to me in those places. I have something to teach other children and something to learn from them.
  • I belong with my family. Plan with me for my future and my transitions. I am the one who should decide, and, when my ability to do so is limited, my family and friends will speak for me. No government agency can take the place of my family, and, please, make sure that our society values my family’s generosity when they support me on society’s behalf.
  • I deserve the right to evidence-based services. These may not be convenient or easy, but when I get them, I do better. Do not substitute my educational, health, and social support with medication. I may require medication, and I look forward to new developments in biological treatments, but you must be cautious in their use. Count on me for research ventures; get me involved, with all my rights protected. I also want to help others.
  • I belong in society. Engage me in vocational training. I want to contribute. The services I need during my adult life should be guided by self-determination, relationships, and inclusion in all the activities of my community. Your goal must be to adapt the environment I have to face and modify settings and attitudes. It also will make our society better.
  • I have human rights, and I face discrimination for many reasons. Many of us live in poverty with no community support system. Some of us are immigrants or minorities, including sexual minorities. Keep a gender perspective. Girls and women with autism are often at greater risk of violence, injury, or abuse.
  • I belong in the world. I have a role to play. We, and my legal representatives, want to be involved in policy making, its development, and its evaluation. You need my help to know what should be done. Empower me. Remember my motto: nothing about me, without me.

 

Dr. Paul

 

Marijuana’s Affect on the Amygdala Explains it’s Effects on Anxiety, Brain Damage on PET Scans

marijuanaOh do I get tired of hearing all the pro-marijuana folks argue about it’s virtues (it’s natural, it helps my ….. this that or the other … it’s my medicine,…it’s better than alcohol which is legal, it helps my anxiety, it helps me sleep, etc.)

Problem is it is also the leading cause of anxiety, depersonalization, and that can happen the first time you try it, the 10th time of the 1000th time. There is no guarantee, just because you are ok with it now, that you will always be ok.  Often once brain damaged, it is a struggle to get your normal brain back.  Taking THC or marijuana is like playing roulette with your brain and mental health.  The very conditions you are “treating” with THC, like anxiety or insomnia, are the very conditions it creates.  Try stopping and if it’s difficult, that is all the more reason you should.

The first study (which you can read here… )  “Multiple Mechanistically Distinct Modes of Endocannabinoid Mobilization at Central Amygdala Glutametergic Synapses,” demonstrated the mechanism by which THC alters the stress response and emotional learning.  What studies are showing is that we all have an internal endocannabinoid system that regulates anxiety by dampening the excitatory signals that involve the neurotransmitter glutamate. Acute and chronic stress and emotional trauma can reduce the natural internal buffering of the endocannabinoids resulting in anxiety. Marijuana works to reduce stress short term by the external application of cannabinoids thus reducing (for a time) anxiety and the stress signal, but paradoxically, chronic use down-regulates the receptors which increases anxiety.  Like most addictions, the initial desired effects of the drug eventually disappear leaving you worse off than you were when you started.

In a second study (found here… ) PET scans of cannabis users showed a 20% reduction in CB1 receptor activity, showing the brain damage caused by the chronic use.  Thankfully this study showed the damage to be reversible when participants stopped using cannabis.

Results of the study show that receptor number was decreased about 20 percent in brains of cannabis smokers when compared to healthy control subjects with limited exposure to cannabis during their lifetime. These changes were found to have a correlation with the number of years subjects had smoked. Of the original 30 cannabis smokers, 14 of the subjects underwent a second PET scan after about a month of abstinence. There was a marked increase in receptor activity in those areas that had been decreased at the outset of the study, an indication that while chronic cannabis smoking causes down regulation of CB1 receptors, the damage is reversible with abstinence.

If you are pregnant, think long and hard about the damage you are causing your unborn child.  The third study (seen here… ) shows permanent neurobehavioral and cognitive impairments from the binding of THC to the fetal brain, with repeated exposures disrupting the endocannabinoid signaling and has the ability to rewire fetal brain circuits. If you are the dad or other adult around a pregnant woman, you have no idea the damage you are causing, and don’t expect the pregnant woman to do what you can’t do.  Sorry to sound “Big Daddy” here, but I’ve seen too much damage not to make a strong statement on this point.  You only get one chance in the womb to do everything you can to minimize harm and maximize the nutrition for your growing baby.

Even if marijuana (pot, THC) is legal, that does not mean it is safe.  This study, (found here… ) “Daily use, especially of high-potency cannabis, drives the earlier onset of psychosis in cannabis users,” adds to many others showing that earlier onset of frequent pot use triggers earlier psychosis (schizophrenia, bipolar, psychotic episodes). The study looked at more than 400 adults who were admitted to the hospital for their first psychotic episode.  Those who started using cannabis at age 15 or younger or who preferentially smoked high potency cannabis more often had earlier onset of psychosis than those who started after age 15.  Male users of cannabis had their first psychotic episode at average age of 26 compared to age 30 for non-users.  For women cannabis users, the first episode was at 29 compared to 32 for non-users.

Just as alcohol and tobacco are associated with significant health problems for frequent users and abusers, cannabis is associated with significant psychiatric morbidity. As states and governments look at the question of legalization, the bigger question should be whether or not legalization increases or reduces the use and abuse of this health hazardous product.

In the study published in the periodical Schizophrenia in 2013, (which you can find here… ) brain abnormalities and memory problems were found in individuals in their early 20’s, two years after they had stopped smoking marijuana suggesting there is persistent damage to important regions of the brain. Memory-related structures of the brain appeared to shrink and be collapsed inward, possibly reflecting loss of neurons/ brain cells.

In our push as a society to legalize marijuana, will this result in more or less intoxicated drivers on the road?  We already have 25% of teens who smoke marijuana acknowledging driving under the influence of marijuana. You can learn more about that here…

We now have a new cannabinoid to worry about: K2/ Spice which resulted in 28,531 emergency room visits in 2011.  These synthetic cannabinoids are frequently associated with psychosis.

In the study published in the journal Neuron, (and found here… ) schizophrenia symptoms were found to be linked to a faulty “switch” connecting  two important regions of the brain, the insula and the lateral frontal cortex. Drug use, particularly cannabis and stimulants are 3- 4 times (300-400%) more likely to go on to develop psychosis or schizophrenia.

 

DO YOU REALLY WANT TO PLAY WITH YOUR BRAIN AND RISK THIS?

 

 

 

Dr. Paul

 

ADHD- Increasing Diagnosis World Wide and Why (or do you really want to know why?)

toxic2When conflicts of interest arise, the results can be insane.  Imagine a system of government and medical providers that promotes and supports big businesses that are largely the reason for the massive increases in ADHD and other neurological disorders affecting children. They then tell you that the massive increases of disorders you are seeing is just in your imagination.  Everything is unchanged.  We are all good!  This article published in Social Science & Medicine, “The impending globalization of ADHD: Notes on the expansion and growth of a medicalized disorder,” (you can find it here… ) presents facts that do represent reality but miss the real issue.

 

The study of children ages 4-17 showed:

  • ADHD increased by 42% from 2003 to 2011, with 2 million more ADHD children in the US over those 8 years
  • ADHD increased by 28% from 2007 to 2011
  • 11% of children in 2011 have ADHD with more than 2/3 taking medication. Read more here…

 

“We” diagnose ADHD so we can sell more ADHD drugs, and yes, to help these children, but I disagree that all the increase in ADHD is caused by more knowledge, the Internet etc.  While awareness certainly does increase our ability to diagnose ADHD, awareness has nothing to do with the cause.

So what causes ADHD? Wouldn’t it be nice to know, so you could have a chance to have and raise children who are not compromised by this brain chemistry disorder?

 

Genetic risk factors  are huge. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Twin studies showed that 82% of identical twins and 38% of non-identical twins were concordant for ADHD (both had it). You can find these studies here… If you adopt a child, they are more like their birth parents than adoptive parents when it comes to ADHD.  What many miss here, though, is that in each generation the severity seems to be greater. Too often I hear, “well I had ADHD and I did fine with simple hard work and effort”. Well so did I, but I can assure you my own children are so severe that medical school is out of the question.  No amount of “buck-up” and effort could overcome the severity of their inattention and distractibility. It would be like asking a child with severe autism or with cancer to buck-up!

 

Toxins, environmental (you breathe, drink, eat and inject them) are the triggers that make those who are genetically vulnerable suffer from ADHD and other brain chemistry disorders. There are thousands of toxins in our environment.

  1. Lead (Jusko et al. 2008)
  2. Methylmercury (Oken et al. 2008)
  3. Polychlorinated biphenyls (Winneke 2011)
  4. Organophosphate pesticides (Eskenazi et al. 2007London et al. 2012)
  5. Organochlorine pesticides (Eskenazi et al. 2008)
  6. Endocrine disruptors (Braun et al. 2011Miodovnik et al. 2011)
  7. Automotive exhaust (Volk et al. 2011)
  8. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (Perera et al. 2009)
  9. Brominated flame retardants (Herbstman et al. 2010)
  10. Perfluorinated compounds (Stein and Savitz 2011).

 

I would add: injected aluminum (in many vaccines), and glyphosate (Roundup) as two other huge environmental toxins.

You can also find my previous blog about these neurotoxins here…

It is not poor parenting

 ADHD children do much better with structure, tutoring, and parent styles that validate, nurture, support and build self-esteem while providing a safe environment away from distractions and high risk environments.  These kids are impulsive and risk takers.  Help them by providing an environment where the risks they do take will not destroy their lives.

Dr. Paul

Fluoride in Your Water? Fluoride Supplements? Study Shows Florosis more Prevalent than Ever

WaterfallIf the only problem with too much fluoride were dental fluorosis (white specs on your teeth) the continued poisoning of the US population with fluoride would be a nuisance. Sadly, the fluorosis caused by the added fluoride is the tip of the toxic iceberg.  Fluoride is an endocrine disruptor (interfering with thyroid function) and neurotoxin with direct toxicity to the brain.

In a news release, “Gov’t Fails to Disclose Fluorides Disproportionate Harm to Black Community”, (which you can read here… ) it was revealed that the US government was aware of the toxic issues presented to the public, and in particular, the black community. In a recently obtained internal memorandum from 1962 the US public health service revealed “negros in Grand Rapids had twice as much fluorosis than others”. The CDC’s 1999-2004 national survey showed 58% of black children verses 36% of white children had dental fluorosis. You can find this here…

These staggering numbers alone should be enough to call for an end to the misguided process of fluoridation of our water.

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

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