Autism is the fastest growing medical condition in our children today. From 2002 to 2016 the rates practically tripled. Approximately 17% of children have a developmental disability, based on CDC data. Therapies and treatments have improved to help these children speak, socialize, learn, and eventually recover; however, the most controversial part of autism isn’t the treatments, it’s the cause.
The Cause of Autism
Identifying and treating the cause of disease is one of medicine’s most important breakthroughs. Treating anything else (a symptom) is a band-aid, whether it is ibuprofen to relieve the headache from drinking too much or the cholesterol medicine to prevent the clots from eating fast food every day. These are band-aids that do not treat the cause of the illness, but rather help the patient make it to the next day. If the treatments are stopped, the condition returns. That is, unless the cause of the disease is treated.
If you have strep throat, antibiotics will cure. If you have diabetes from a poor diet, a better diet will cure. Once the cause is known, a treatment that targets the cause is the most effective. Here lies the problem with autism, the cause is the controversy. (I have created an in-depth 2.5 hour free course for those of you interested in all of the science. Instructions are at the end of the article).
How Does Autism Occur?
Let’s take a look at how autism occurs. There are two distinct presentations of autism. The less common (approximately 5% of children in my clinic) are born with a genetic condition that mimics autism. This could be Fragile X, a genetic micro deletion or duplication, or a genetic mutation condition such as Charge syndrome. There are a multitude of these genetic conditions that some children are born with and they eventually get diagnosed, usually through the school system as having autism. The actual genetic condition isn’t known until thorough genetic testing is performed (which sadly is very under performed by physicians). These children are born slow to develop. They often don’t talk until age 4 or 5 and improve slowly with speech and occupational therapies. If your child or a child you know seems to be developmentally delayed from birth, then genetic testing including CMA and WES should be performed. (CMA genetic test looks for missing or extra pieces of DNA. The WES test looks for genes that aren’t functioning.)
Now, that’s only 5% of children diagnosed with autism. What about the other 95%? These children have regressive autism. Regressive autism is when an infant is developing normally, making eye contact with you, babbling, potentially saying ‘mama’ or ‘dada’, and then one day it all disappears. No talking. No eye contact. This regression of development usually occurs between the ages of 12 – 18 months. Why is there a controversy about this regression? Parents try to identify a cause. What happened on the day that I lost my child? Hundreds of thousands of families believe they lost their child around the time of a visit to their pediatrician. Whenever there is blame, there is controversy. Pediatricians would never do anything to purposefully harm a child, so why do parents believe that their child regressed near that time?
The answer is in the science. More and more research is being published to identify the cause of the regression. What we now need to do is share this science with others; other families, other pediatricians, and other policy makers. Our ultimate goal is to help those with autism and prevent other children from getting autism. To make that change will require a change in our beliefs. To paraphrase Einstein, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” To paraphrase Yoda, “You must unlearn what you have learned.” The focus of research identifying the cause of developmental regression of autism revolves around two topics, toxicity of aluminum and toxicity of acetaminophen.
Toxicity of Aluminum
If you visit the CDC’s website, they have a 300-page publication reviewing the toxicology of aluminum. It is a brain and lung toxin. It is known to cause brain damage and learning/memory problems. In fact, in the medical specialty of kidney dialysis (filtering toxins out of the body when the kidney cannot), comprised mostly of older people with kidney damage, there is a medical condition called Dialysis Dementia where patients on dialysis quickly slip into an “Alzheimer’s” presentation with acute memory loss and cognitive loss. This has been researched since the 1980’s to be associated with aluminum toxicity.
We know aluminum toxicity can cause brain damage, cognitive and memory problems in older people, so let’s look at the research of aluminum toxicity with children. Except that it hasn’t been performed yet. In the CDC’s own Aluminum Toxicology manual, it states that no research has been performed to confirm aluminum is safe in children.
Let’s say that again. Aluminum causes brain damage. Fact. Aluminum is known to cause cognitive problems in adults with kidney disease. Fact. Autism is a medical condition of brain disease, memory and cognition problems. Fact. Science has not studied the safety of aluminum in children. Fact. Pediatricians give children aluminum on a regular basis. Fact. The more aluminum that children have received over the past few decades matches with the increased rates of autism. Fact.
Why not research the safety of aluminum in children? The CDC did publish a study in 2004 and one of the lead CDC scientists of that study went to Congress as a Whistle Blower to admit that the research group falsified the data to create results that were NOT accurate, but that the CDC wanted. Falsifying research about our children’s safety? Why would the CDC do that? I wish I had the answers for you.
Let’s fast forward to the present. More scientists are performing animal studies confirming the brain and neurological toxicity of aluminum in animals. Brain damage, memory problems, cognitive problems, mood problems, and motor problems are all associated with aluminum in these animal studies. What about human studies? Here’s the trick. Studies that test the safety of these aluminum containing medications use the aluminum as the placebo instead of saline. So, when the study is performed, side effects of the medication match the side effects of the ‘placebo’ (which is a known brain toxin). The study on the surface seems to prove that the medication is safe. Sadly, these research tricks are used to sell more medications at the exchange of your child’s health. Our interest is only the health and safety of children. We call on the pharmaceutical industry to remove toxins and harmful substances from all medications!
Toxicity of Acetaminophen
I’m a huge fan of the TV show Scrubs. In the first episode, a new doctor asked the supervising doctor, “What’s the dose of Tylenol for this patient?” The supervising doctor said, “Grab a handful and throw it at her. Whatever lands in her mouth is the right dose!” This is a perfect example of how the marketing of Tylenol (acetaminophen) has swarmed humanity. Acetaminophen must be perfectly safe, pediatricians recommend it for my child! Well, guess what. It’s not perfectly safe. Every hospital has an emergency protocol for acetaminophen poisoning. They know it’s toxic and they know the antidote. In fact, a new acetaminophen IV (intravenous) medication contains the antidote. Why would you give your child a medication that is so poisonous that it contains its own antidote?
Millions of people take acetaminophen and don’t seem to have a problem. But, millions of people eat peanuts and still some are individually sensitive and can die from ingesting them due to a severe allergy. Similarly, with acetaminophen, everyone is genetically different. Some children are extremely sensitive to the toxicity of acetaminophen. A landmark research study from scientists of Harvard and Duke published a study in 2017 associating acetaminophen and the start of autism regression. More and more research is finding that acetaminophen toxicity is part of the puzzle of the start of autism. Not every medication is safe for everyone, there are genetic differences between us all.
(I reached out to Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Tylenol, to share their research data confirming the safety of Tylenol in children. They sent me a form letter back. This form letter is included in my free course.)
Autism is a Growing Epidemic
Autism is a growing epidemic and the fastest growing medical condition in our children. Almost 1 in 5 children have a developmental disability. Some children are born delayed. They take years to talk, play, make eye contact, and most of these children have a genetic condition that mimics the symptoms of autism and get diagnosed with autism, but honestly, the treatments aren’t very successful for them. If your child has this story, I encourage you to talk with a geneticist or neurologist about genetic testing: CMA and WES.
Autism regression around 12-18 months of age is a much more common story. Your child was saying some words, playing with you, making eye contact, and then it all disappeared. This can be a combination of aluminum and acetaminophen toxicity. The taking of these two substances on the same day coordinates with the immediate loss of skills for hundreds of thousands of children. This story is the story of hundreds of thousands of families.
If this is your story, now you understand why this happened. My initial goal is to ask the pharmaceutical companies to continue to pursue the most effective and safe medications for our children. We are constantly learning and we should be constantly improving. If a medication used in the past is now found to be harmful, then change it. Pharmaceutical companies should not continue selling these medications and harming more children because “that’s what we’ve always used or always done”. Medicine needs constant research and improvements. Our secondary goal is to help those who currently struggle with autism. Our clinic is Connecticut’s leading Natural Medicine Clinic that has been helping children with autism recover for almost twenty years.
Want to learn more? Watch my free course, “The Story of Autism”. All of the scientific research studies are downloadable in the course so you can read them and make your own decision. The course includes interviews with the leading researchers and pediatricians that are in the trenches trying to change things for the better to help our children and to reverse our autism epidemic.
Go to: www.SpectrumAwakening.com
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“The Story of Autism”
Dr. Jared Skowron, ND, is the Amazon best-selling author of “100 Natural Remedies for Your Child”, and owner of Spectrum Awakening, an Autism/ADHD supplement company. His main focus is as a biomedical Autism/ADHD physician, helping kids in his private practice for 17 years. He is an international lecturer and enjoys educating families on effective, scientifically researched non-pharmaceutical interventions to improve Autism/ADHD. He is on the medical advisory boards of Autism Hope Alliance, NeuroNeeds, Chemo & Crayons, and Natural Practitioner Magazine. FREE eBooks at SpectrumAwakening.com. We accept most private insurances and Husky. Book your appointment today at: www.SpectrumAwakening.com.