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Autism: another "treatable" condition?

MagazineApril 1997 (Vol. 8 Issue 1)Autism: another "treatable" condition?

Increasing evidence demonstrates that autism may be another environmental illness caused by drugs administered to a developing child

Increasing evidence demonstrates that autism may be another environmental illness caused by drugs administered to a developing child. Dawbarns, the King's Lynn solicitors who represent many children allegedly damaged by the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine says that more than a third of all the MMR cases they are representing involve a child who was developing normally but then became autistic right after vaccination. Of the people reporting problems, 123 have reported autism twice as much as any other problem.

Although 350 cases are reported every year, suggesting that there should be 5600 cases among children from 1 to 16, 10,000 cases have been reported in one British county alone.According to a conference paper by Dr Sudhir Gupta of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, a study of autistic patients shows the "strong association between immunization with MMR and the development of autism (regressive autism). (See also J Autism, Development Disorders, 1996, vol 26 no 4.)

In America, a health professional has made a link with pervasive developmental disorder (commonly called high functioning autism) and at least three doses of broad spectrum antibiotics, such as Augmentin or Ceclor. In this case, the normal development of children is arrested overnight at between 18 to 30 months (Townsend Letter for Doctors, January 1995).

However, if these drugs interfere with immune function or certain developmental processes, there is also some evidence that nutritional intervention can help. At least 10 studies of vitamin B6 and magnesium have shown positive results (E Schopler & GB Mesibov, eds, Neurobiological Issues in Autism, New York: Plenum, 1987). Bernard Rimland of the Autism Research Institute surveyed 4000 parents of autistic children, rating various treatments, and discovered that the highest ranking treatment by far was the use of high dose vitamin B6 and magnesium, with more than eight parents reporting improvement to every one reporting a worsening of symptoms. Compared to the vitamins, thioridazine (Mellaril), came in fourth; only 1 and a half parents reported improvement for each parent noting a worsening (J Child Neuro, 1988; 3 (Suppl): S68-72). In another case, an infant suffering autistic like behaviour showed dramatic improvement in all symptoms, including seizures, after being given biotin twice daily (Epilepsia, 1989; 30: 573-8).

Other researchers are investigating individual nutritional approaches, including folic acid for autistics with fragile X syndrome; a low phenylalanine diet for those with phenylketonuria; restricted purine diet for purine autism; high calcium diet for autism with hypocalcinuria; and a ketogenic diet for autism with lactic acidosis (Clin Nutri, 1989: 8: 210-2).

For more information contact the Autism Research Institute, 4182 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116 Tel: 619-281-7165.


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