Fragile-X Study on Mechanism for Autism Symptoms

genetics2This study, “Pharmacogenetic inhibition of elF4E-dependent Mmp9 mRNA translation reverses fragile X syndrome-like phenotypes,” (seen here… ) illustrates two major points:

  1. Those with Fragile-X autism-like symptoms show elevated eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (elF4E) resulting in increased expression of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) which changes brain synapses (the connections between brain cells) and that by reducing the elF4E there were less autism-like symptoms.
  2. The authors point out that Fragile-X is the most common genetic cause of autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

 

I would add that if autism now affects 1 in every 50 to 1 in every 88 children in the US, and Fragile-X is found in 1 in every 4000 boys and 1 in every 6000 girls, that autism and ASD are clearly not primarily genetic conditions. This study is suggesting we may be able to use a cancer drug to inhibit elF4E, and if it turns out this experience with mice translates to humans, then it may be a consideration for those few with Fragile-X.

What is more important for most of us to realize is that; autism, ASD, and most diseases of civilization that are chronic and increasing in prevalence, are environmentally triggered.  We don’t go from autism rates of 1 in every 10,000 50 years ago to 1 in every 50 from genetics! Sure we all have hundreds of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that make us more vulnerable to certain toxins but the good news is that we can improve our odds significantly for our children (unborn and those with us now) by waking up to the toxic soup we are living in and DO SOMETHING! 

 

  1. Drink filtered water (most municipal water is loaded with pesticides, herbicides, drugs, etc).
  2. Eat organic (GMO-free) (politics aside, we need to know our food is safe and if it’s not labeled you just don’t know).
  3. Avoid aspartame (diet drinks, gum, diet foods, etc.).
  4. Avoid plastics and flame retardants.
  5. Get your micronutrients and vitamins (best from whole foods, 99% of us need to take extra vitamin D).

 

MAKE A DECISION TO START NOW

 

To your health.

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

How Common is Autism? (and How to Prevent a Second Child from Becoming AutisticWhen You Have One With Autism?)

AutismHow can you prevent a second or third child from becoming autistic if you already have a child with autism?  The study, “18-month predictors of later outcomes in younger siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder: a baby siblings research consortium study,” published in October 2014,  mentions that about 20% (that is one in five) younger siblings of children with Autism spectrum Disorder (ASD) will develop the condition by age 3. You can read the study here…

Parents you should be horrified by this statistic. 1/5 of your subsequent children will have autism!  This study found that by 18 months, you could predict in half the children who would go on to have autism due to poor eye contact, lack of communication gestures, or imaginative play, and in a few, by repetitive behaviors.

Various other studies are showing autism rates as high as 1 out of every 50 children.  CDC data is presented here for you to see.

In our practice at Integrative Pediatrics, we are experiencing a much lower rate of autism.  For data collected on over 1000 children born into our practice over the past 6 years, who are now at least 3 years old, we have one new autism case (child had a sibling with autism and no vaccines were done).  We have 87 children who were born during this time who had a sibling with autism. That is a rate of 1 in 87 instead of 1 in 5!  For the remaining 1000 children, one would expect about 10-20 new cases of autism.  Why are we not seeing higher autism rates at Integrative Pediatrics?

In no particular order, here are the things parents are doing differently at Integrative Pediatrics that has likely resulted in reduced rates of autism:

  • Wait until at least 3 years of age before giving the MMR.
  • Don’t give the Hepatitis B vaccine to infants, wait until at least school age (unless birth mom has Hepatitis B).
  • Only give one aluminum containing vaccine at a time (thus avoiding the DTaP and Prevnar at the same time).
  • Waiting until at least age 2 to give the aluminum containing Hepatitis A vaccine.
  • Avoiding the Tdap during pregnancy (this is a new issue that wasn’t a factor in the data and experience of the past 6 years).
  • Making sure pregnant moms are getting a prenatal vitamin with iodine, extra omega-3 fish oil with high DHA, and extra vitamin D (5000 IU daily).
  • Eating organic and drinking filtered water from pregnancy through infancy and early childhood.
  • Minimizing exposure to endocrine disruptors (plastics like BPA, flame retardants, herbicides, and pesticides).

 

Parents, you can make a difference in your child’s future by paying close attention to these issues.  It is not just autism that we are preventing.  Attention to these details will likely reduce all disorders affecting the brain (anxiety, depression, ADD, ADHD, bipolar, learning issues, language issues, sensory issues, etc.), and will reduce allergy and autoimmune disorders (asthma, eczema, diabetes, thyroid problems, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, MS, etc.)

With toxins, 1+1 might equal 5 or 10.  Since no studies have been nor will they ever be done on all of the toxins out there, and there interactions with all of the vaccines and all of the available nutrients, wisdom would suggest that you avoid all the toxins you can.  Make sure you are getting clean, purified water and organic non-GMO foods.

 

To your health and the safety of our children’s brains and immune systems.

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

 

Just Because My Child Doesn’t Function Like Everyone Else Doesn’t Mean They Are Stupid

self-esteemThose of us who have been blessed (challenged) with the parenting of children who are not neurotypical either figure some things out or we are in for a very long road of parenting challenges. Which kids am I talking about?  I am referring to all the children with social, emotional, learning, or sensory glitches. We are talking about Autism Spectrum (ASD), Autism, Aspergers, ADHD, ADD, anxiety, learning disorders, dyslexia, depression, oppositional, defiant and all the hypersensitivities and sensory integration or hypersensitivities to sound, light, touch, etc.

If you are parenting such children, you have realized they are struggling to fit in, to learn, to self-regulate and to conform to expectations. When you focus too much on fitting in and acting like everyone else and demanding progress that is just simply not possible (yet), many of our children shut down or panic. They often start beating themselves up (low self esteem) and acting out due to frustration.

There are many approaches, and I encourage you to get plugged into as many as you can until you find the combination of things that will help your child.  Start with an integrative medicine, functional medicine, or naturopath with experience in this area.  Seek out sensory integration occupational therapists, get knowledgeable on dietary interventions, and prepare yourself for a parenting journey like non-other.  Parenting approaches that might work for most kids may not work well at all.  You are charged with keeping a finger on the pulse of your child’s emotions. No one else will do that for you.

Make sure above all else you are nurturing them, loving them unconditionally (that means that just their presence in your life is enough- no accomplishments necessary).

Realize that in there is a genius.  I have seen non-verbal, no eye contact, severe autism kids break into full sentences when completely gluten free for a couple months (rare but it happens).   I have seen teens failing all classes due to severe inattention (ADD/ ADHD) become straight A students from either the right structure or medication.

There is without doubt a superior intelligence in most of these challenged children.  It’s like they are trapped inside a brain filled with too many inputs.

Everybody is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.

—  Albert Einstein
If you take the view that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience here on earth, then perhaps there is much our children can teach us. In spirit there is no judgment, only love.  Building your child’s self esteem will help immensely with their joy, happiness, and willingness to cooperate with your guidance. I encourage you to get the book “The Conscious Parent” by Shefali Tsabary or her latest book “Out of Control: Why disciplining your child doesn’t work… and what will”.  She advocates for a high level of parent involvement that focuses on helping a child develop a sense of personal responsibility leading to respect and ownership of one’s life.

The innocence of a baby or young child can teach us much on how to behave.  As we guide our children, they need structure and there are certainly boundaries and “rules”,  but rather than punishment and negative we should model good behavior, and calmly and honestly express our disappointment as we reflect on things they may have done that upset us.

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

Video Games and Autism, ASD, ADD, ADHD

video GamersI was approached by spectrum magazine with a few questions about video games and children with autism.  Here are my responses.  I encourage parents to please add your thoughts, let’s share with each other what we find to be helpful and what has not been helpful.

  1. 1. Why are kids with Autism especially drawn to video games?

A: Their brains are usually subject to over stimulation (they are hearing and seeing so much more than we do, so it causes sensory overload).  For some reason, even though I find video games to be sensory overload, to ASD kids I think they can hyper focus on the screen and it helps them tune out all the “noise” that is so distressing.

  1. Do you feel video games can provide a positive social connection these kids are often lacking?  Why or why not?

A: YES.  I have seen the video games to be calming (opposite to the effect they have on me) and thus an anxious ASD child could pause and look up from a game being much calmer than they may have been without the game to center and “ground” them.  Development of games that teach and train social interaction and learning will be a huge benefit.

  1. Do you have any tips on how to limit video games or use them as a reward to achieve other desired behaviors?

A: As with all good things, balance is good.  This becomes tricky and I don’t think there is a certain amount of screen time that is best.  If you have a mild ASD child who can function in the real world fairly well, the more time away from the screen the better.  Use small doses of screen time rewarding ….. X, Y, Z.   For the severely affected who is going to be screaming and spinning or flapping from sensory overload, I don’t see the benefit in restricting screen time if at that moment it is the only tool you have to calm. That being said, transitioning to interactive activities that involve others is going to be important.  OT, sensory integration work, etc. being so important.

It is still also important to use basic good parenting.  Tell them you love them just for being here in the world.  Explain that we all have to do certain things to get what we want, then illustrate this.  Teach, train, and always do so with love and affirmation that you love them just for being alive and in your life.

 

  1. How do video games affect kids health long-term both physically and emotionally?

A: DEPENDS!  Those who are very mild ASD, and spend all their time playing shoot them and kill them games, I don’t see any benefit and I see lots of potential harm.  What are they really learning?  Violence solves problems right?  On the other hand, for a severe child who is playing an educational game and finds this calming and learns from it, this should be a great effect.

 

Dr. Paul