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Your questions answered

MagazineJuly 1996 (Vol. 7 Issue 4)Your questions answered

In our own case, our son Luke was using about a dozen words by 17 months

In our own case, our son Luke was using about a dozen words by 17 months. Then he fell ill with a respiratory infection and was prescribed the antibiotic amoxycillin. Suddenly Luke lost his vocabulary. In fact, he did not speak again for almost eight years.Two years later, at a medical conference I attended in the States, two doctors reported

to have observed children between the ages of one and two regressing, losing their speech and developing signs of withdrawal and behavioural problems after being administered antibiotics.

There are a number of studies which appear to connect certain "autisms" and loss of speech in some children to the candida albicans yeast, which tends to thrive after a long course of general antibiotic treatment. It has also recently been shown that antibiotics used to treat childhood ear infections not only disrupt the natural ecology and function of the gut, but actually contribute to the growth of yeast in the middle ear. Sally Smith, Tomatis Centre UK, Lewes, East Sussex......

A:Thank you for sharing your story and fascinating information about antibiotics with us.

It may interest you to know that children with learning difficulties such as dyslexia have been found to be deficient in certain vital nutrients, and that supplementing with these nutrients can help the condition. Recently, a study showed a direct relationship between the level of essential fatty acids in the blood of babies and their visual acuity in the first months of life. Babies who were breastfed or given formula spiked with docosahexaenoic acid scored higher on development tests than those given the standard formula (The Lancet, July 10, 1995). The study was important because it linked essential fatty acid levels with development and therefore "intelligence". We also know that DHA is a vital fatty acid in both the retina and the brain, where it is usually present in large quantities.

The School of Biological Sciences at the University of Surrey measured the dark adaptation (that is, the ability of the retina to increase its sensitivity to light and thus to see in very dim light) in a group of adult dyslexics, and found them to have far lower dark adaptation than a similar group of people without the condition.

The University of Surrey researchers, lead by B Jacqueline Stordy, then found that dark adaptation was influenced by DHA. Five dyslexics and five controls were given 480 mg of DHA with no additional vitamin A or D. (We also know this function is impaired in certain conditions where patients are vitamin A deficient.) All the dyslexics had clearly improved dark adaptation. The University of Surrey also gathered some anecdotal evidence that DHA given to dyslexics can improve reading ability and behaviour (The Lancet, August 5, 1995). (Dr Stordy and Efamol Ltd have jointly developed a patented supplement for dyslexia with evening primrose oil, which contains DHA.)

Besides essential fatty acids, dyslexics suffer from a zinc deficiency. In one study of 52 children, half of whom were dyslexic, the dyslexics had two thirds the zinc concentration of the controls. Those with dyslexia also had higher levels of copper, lead and cadmium; studies of children with impaired learning and behaviour disorders have shown they tend to have higher levels of toxic metals (BMJ, February 27, 1988).

Your information, together with these studies, points to the fact that much of what we consider organic problems with children, such as learning difficulties and autism, may be either drug induced or caused by nutritional deficiencies.


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