Families Are Using Complementary and Alternative Medicine To Treat Autism and Developmental Delay More Than Ever Before
The cause or causes of most neurodevelopmental disorders are not exactly known, although there is a strong correlation between the vaccine schedules implemented in the last several decades and the rise in autism itself.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are now 1 in 88 children in the United States who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Boys are almost five times more likely to be autistic than girls -- with 1 in 54 boys now identified. This represents almost a 1000% increase since the 1980s which correlates with the rise of vaccine frequency in children before the age of 6.
More research coming forward is establishing that syngeristic toxicity associated with multiple vaccines may be directly related to a toxic overload in young children. Synergistic toxicity is a well-known phenomenon where the combination of toxic substances can be greater than the sum of its parts. Therefore, mixing two non-lethal levels of chemicals inside a vaccine can lead to an extremely toxic mixture.
In the search for treatments to help their children, families may turn to what parents are calling effective natural approaches such as mind-body medicine, homeopathic remedies, probiotics, alternative diets or other therapies such as vitamin B-12 injections, intravenous immunoglobulin or chelation therapy -- none which any significant risks.
The research is published online in the Journal of Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics. It was led by Robin Hansen, director of the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the MIND Institute and chief of the Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics in the UC Davis School of Medicine.
The conclusion of the study showed that CAM is common in families of young children with neurodevelopmental disorders, and it is predicted by higher parental education. Further research should address how health care providers can support families in making decisions about CAM use.
Many children suffer from a wide array of associated symptoms that make their daily lives and those of their families stressful. Such symptoms include irritability, hyperactivity, gastrointestinal problems and sleep disorders.
The study included nearly 600 diverse children between 2 and 5 years with autism and developmental delay who were enrolled in the Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) study. Of the participants, 453 were diagnosed with autism and 125 were diagnosed with developmental delay.
CAM use was more common among children with autism than children diagnosed with other types of developmental delay, 40 percent versus 30 percent respectively. Nearly 7 percent of children with autism were on the gluten-free/casein-free diet, particularly children with frequent gastrointestinal problems.
"Research has shown that children with ASD commonly have GI [gastrointestinal] symptoms," said Christine Pennesi, medical student at Penn State College of Medicine. "Notably, a greater proportion of our study population reported GI and allergy symptoms than what is seen in the general pediatric population. Some experts have suggested that gluten- and casein-derived peptides cause an immune response in children with ASD, and others have proposed that the peptides could trigger GI symptoms and behavioral problems."
A gluten-free, casein-free diet may lead to improvements in behavior and physiological symptoms in children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to researchers at Penn State.
"Our study suggests that pediatricians and other providers need to ask about CAM use in the context of providing care for children with autism and other developmental disorders, and take a more active role in helping families make decisions about treatment options based on available information related to potential benefits and risks," said Roger Scott Akins, lead author and a former postdoctoral fellow at the MIND Institute, who now is chairman of the Division of Neurodevelopmental Pediatrics at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Va.
Irva Hertz-Picciotto, professor of public health sciences and principal investigator for the CHARGE study, said the research supports the emergent need for identifying validated treatments for neurodevelopmental conditions.
There is an abundance of science and research that currently supports effective unconventional recovery protocols. Such protocols do lead to cures for many children with autistic spectrum disorders and health practitioners must embrace them at all levels if we're to ever unleash reliable methods of treatment to the over one million children with autism.
"These findings emphasize the enormous and urgent need for effective treatments and for rigorous research that can identify them and verify their effectiveness and safety," Hertz-Picciotto said. "Of course it is reasonable for parents to keep searching for ways to help their children, when there are few effective treatments and none that can help every child."
Dave Mihalovic is a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in vaccine research, cancer prevention and a natural approach to treatment.