Archive for the ‘Autism’ Category

A Deer, A Cow, And Learning to Heal From Lyme Disease

A deer, a cow, and learning to heal from Lyme disease

Sept. 6, 2022

by Jamie Bennett

What is your health worth to you? If lost, how far would you go to get it back? These are questions I’ve had a lot of time to think about.

I was living the life. Upwardly mobile in my career, a major crimes detective in her prime. Sure, I had the occasional strep throat, flu, or overall yucky day, but nothing that I thought was different from everyone else. Things were under control, predictable, and manageable…until they weren’t.

After moving to a 26-acre farm and getting pregnant with my third child, things started to change. I. Was. Exhausted. I could barely function, and things that we normally don’t even think about became major blocks.

I had to crawl up stairs because my legs burned, I was short of breath, my heart was on its own agenda, and my head wanted to explode. Taking a shower seemed like a marathon, and I would have to rest when I was done.

The doctors assured me that these were just pregnancy side effects. They said these problems would go away when my son, Thomas, was born.

No symptoms resolved

Once I was a stay-at-home mother of three, however, things never got better. In fact, they were worse. None of my symptoms resolved, but I was too focused on my newborn son to make them a priority.

My little man, who never cried when born, began to regress. Each time he was given a vaccination he would “disappear” for a few days. Then, at 19 months, he didn’t bounce back. My son no longer looked at me. He looked through me with glazed-over eyes. He became completely nonverbal and showed no interest in interacting with others. Classic signs of a spectrum disorder.

After my son’s diagnosis of high-functioning autism, I started biomedically treating him. I was living on adrenaline, squeezing every little bit out of my already-depleted reserves to stay up and research. I altered his diet, got him into speech and physical therapy, and eventually put him in the Head Start program in our county.

We traveled for hours, crossed state lines, and stayed overnight in hotels to see specialists. If it was available, we did it. And he improved! Our son went from having a low IQ to one that was above average. We were making progress, but still, it seemed we were missing something.

Meanwhile, my health that had been put on the back burner needed to be addressed. I was getting worse, and I needed to figure out why. I saw primary care physicians, neurologists, endocrinologists, infectious disease specialists, cardiologists, you name it!

They diagnosed me with a million things, from hypoparathyroidism to congenital heart defects, but no one could find the smoking gun—the root cause of all of my health problems.

I had muscle biopsies, EKGs, EMGs, MRIs, SPECT scans, radioactive scans, heart ablations, bones fused, and organs removed. In response, doctors offered narcotics and various speculations about a cause. First, I was being poisoned. Then, it was psychosomatic. From there I had muscle myopathy, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, early onset Parkinson’s, and ALS. We continued to treat the symptoms without knowing their cause.

The smoking gun–Lyme disease

Eventually, a doctor found my smoking gun—Lyme disease and its many co-infections. Evidently, I had contracted Lyme and other tick-borne diseases before conceiving my son, and then transferred it to him in utero. In addition, my defiant and academically struggling daughter also tested positive for Lyme.

Fast forward through several years of homeschooling, PICC lines, oral antibiotics, herbals, special diets—including the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the Autoimmune Paleo protocol—and more doctor visits than we could count. Here you will find us chugging along just like everyone else. Unfortunately, we’re not like everyone else.

Every single person in my family has been diagnosed with at least one tick-borne disease, if not several.  Yet, healing is possible. My son is now testing gifted and in a math program two years above his grade. My daughter is climbing the corporate ladder, one of the youngest to have achieved her position at the company where she works.

And me? Well, after researching the effect of nutrition and biomedical intervention on Lyme, autism, inflammation, and autoimmune disease for two decades, I went back to school.

Functional nutrition

I earned a certification as a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Autoimmune Paleo coach so I could help others from a nutritional and biomedical standpoint. Emotionally, I’d say we’re not worse for wear, but our health will always keep us on our toes.

Through all of our difficult times, my mother was my rock, biggest cheerleader, and best friend. Three years ago, she encouraged me to share our story, and I took up that challenge.

The result is a book called There’s A Deer At The Door And A Cow In The Mudroom: Learning to Live while Living with Lyme. My goal is to help others by sharing what I learned from those dark years. Our family’s transformation through faith, farming, and chronic illness was a roller coaster of emotions and learning lessons but certainly not all bad.

The deer my daughter rehabilitated was as instrumental to her recovery as her medication. Waking to find the deer waiting at the door gave her a reason to get up and continue to fight each day. The calf–it really was in the mudroom. It become one of the many farm lessons that molded my children, teaching them to live each moment as though they were never sick.

My mother didn’t live to see the publication of this book, but she was instrumental in helping to bring it about.

My family healed through our various experiences. I hope that learning about what we did can help you heal, too.

Jamie Bennett maintains a website geared towards helping people obtain optimal health. Click here for more information about her book.



Great read and the book sounds marvelous.  Notice the little nuggets of truth:

  • A “vaccine” once again seemingly served as a trigger for health problems.  They are not safe and effective for ALL people and the risk/benefit ratio MUST be considered by each person. Medicine is not “one size fits all,” and the COVID debacle set us back to the Dark Ages in this area.  Never allow someone bully you into making a decision that YOU and you alone will have to live with for the rest of your life.
  • Necessity pushed this mother to find answers. There are silver linings in having to deal with poor health if you refuse to quit.  There will be dark days for sure, but keep on chugging.
  • Notice how this woman’s mother was her bulwark.  Be a bulwark for someone.  You will never know how your words could help someone out of a dark pit.  I’ve shared it before but it’s worth repeating: I was told by my children’s martial arts teacher, “Lyme has nothing on you.  You have an indomitable spirit and you will survive this.”  At the time I felt anything but indomitable and was questioning the reason for even trudging on.  But, after those words were uttered, I felt myself revive deep inside.  I will never forget those life-affirming, saving words.
  • Notice all the misdiagnoses.  This is a common theme with Lyme/MSIDS and until the root issue of tick-borne illness is dealt with, you will not fully regain your health; however due to politicization, it is often the last thing dealt with.
  • Notice how ALL the things learned and used had a cumulative effect on health.  While addressing the infection(s) is crucial, there are many other facets that also need addressing such as detoxification, hormones, minerals/vitamins, exercise, sleep, psychological issues including anxiety, PTSD, trauma, and so on – and each patient has different needs requiring different methods and treatments. This illness is highly individualized and takes a savvy approach – again, not a “one size fits all” approach – which allopathic medicine ascribes to.
  • Notice the daughter’s rehabilitation of a deer was as important to her recovery as directed treatment.  This deer helped her get her mind off of herself.  We all need something to help us overcome our own selves!  We can actually stand in our own way in healing.  We need productive, healthy outlets to focus on with what little energy we have.
  • Some of the best ideas come from other patients willing to take the time to share their stories and what helped them.  Even if their ideas don’t work for you, it will nudge you to keep looking.

Does Unrecognized Lyme in Mothers Lead to Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Does unrecognized Lyme in mothers lead to autism spectrum disorder?

July 3, 2022

By Debbie Kimberg

I received many positive responses to my recent blog about my son’s 80% recovery from symptoms that had been diagnosed as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This was accomplished with long-term antibiotic treatment for congenital tick-borne diseases (TBD).

After reading the article, many parents wrote to me, saying things like, “Thank you for sharing your story. The description of your son sounds just like my child. This gives me hope!” And they went on to ask, “How can I find a doctor to test my child?”

Common symptoms of TBD in parents

Testing the child is only part of what’s needed. When children develop such problems, it’s often because the mother has unknowingly passed along tick-borne diseases during pregnancy. Mothers of children with these problems may not realize that they themselves may have tick-borne diseases—and deserve testing and treatment. And sometimes dads are infected, too.

Here are symptoms that mothers may experience, without knowing that they could be the result of tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease and Bartonella1:

  • Psychiatric symptoms: ADHD, anxiety, social anxiety, depression, OCD, temper rages/irritability, mood swings/bipolar, panic attacks, memory issues/brain fog, oppositional, fears, emotional lability, and in severe cases, psychosis, hallucinations, suicidal ideation and violence
  • Autoimmune symptoms: thyroid, arthritis, fatigue, neuropathy/MS, muscle pain/fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease
  • Other: gluten/dairy sensitivity, sleep issues, migraines, urinary issues, eating disorders, day or night sweats, seizures, and some cancers

Symptoms of unrecognized and untreated tick-borne diseases–stealth infections–can slowly worsen over years and decades.

Important clues

Mothers of children with ASD that I corresponded with frequently listed off symptoms they experienced, the doctors they saw, and testing done. Nearly all of these mothers described having psychiatric symptoms, and often had symptoms of one or more autoimmune diseases. These are important clues about a potential TBD transmission during pregnancy2.

Only a few mothers said they were tested for Lyme disease (Borrelia). Of those who were tested, most said they received a negative result on a commonly used lab test, which was potentially a falsely negative result.

One mom had a positive test result for Borrelia, was treated by her doctor with doxycycline for a few weeks and declared cured. However, it is unlikely the mother was cured from this complex disease with just a few weeks of doxycycline, evidenced by her child’s and her own continued symptoms. With the current treatments available, it’s not uncommon for these infections to take years to treat, even with a combination of antibiotics.

Bartonella is known to cause many psychiatric symptoms. That’s the infection that caused 70% of my son’s ASD (and PANS) symptoms. In addition to the many psychiatric issues listed, Bartonella is also known to cause ADHD, memory issues, brain fog, gluten/dairy sensitivity, sleep issues, digestive issues, thyroid, arthritis, neuropathy, muscle pain, inflammatory bowel disease, tumors, and seizures1,3.

If the mother experiences psychiatric or autoimmune issues, this is probably not a coincidence. More likely, it is the smoking gun.

Don’t recall a tick bite?

Most people I’ve heard from say they don’t remember a tick bite. However, it is common for people to be unaware that they were bitten by a tick. Additionally, there’s evidence that these infections can be transmitted sexually5 and during pregnancy6.

Don’t let the lack of a known tick bite deter you from getting screened by a Lyme specialist.

I offer my own history as an example of how these infections can be transmitted within families. As of December 2021, my family has three confirmed generations of TBD.

My mother suffered stealth psychiatric symptoms from Bartonella including OCD, anxiety, social anxiety, emotional lability, night terrors, and night sweats when my sister and I were growing up. My mom has no recollection of a tick bite and no idea when she was infected.

My sister and I first began exhibiting anxiety, fears, oppositional behavior, bedwetting, excessive tantrums, and panic attacks at a young age. It’s likely that we both were infected congenitally, then unsuspectingly passed the infections on to our children during our pregnancies.

Some people mistakenly believe that tick-borne disease is only a problem in the northeastern United States. Wrong! Lyme and other tick-borne diseases have been identified throughout the country.

Why does it matter if you are undiagnosed if the symptoms don’t impact your everyday life?

There are three reasons. First, it matters to our children, our next generation who may be infected during pregnancy and born with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD or psychiatric difficulties8. Second, for your own long-term health, because this is a progressive disease that could affecf any organ in your body over time. And finally, you could transmit the disease to your partner.

Find a knowledgeable doctor

Unfortunately, finding a knowledgeable doctor can be a challenge. The majority of doctors, including infectious disease doctors, are not trained on the latest findings in TBD and rarely consider it at an office visit6. Doctors rarely probe into the full set of psychiatric and physical symptoms of their patients which could indicate TBD.

Additionally, commonly used testing is notoriously inaccurate1 due to the lack of sensitivity of the test. Even with specialty tests, there can be false negative test results as we saw in my family’s testing.

Furthermore, many doctors don’t understand that a person with chronic TBD has a 50% likelihood of having at least two co-infections and a 33% likelihood of having three or more co-infections. If Lyme disease is suspected, the full spectrum of co-infections should be tested for and treated. These factors cause many people to go undiagnosed or improperly diagnosed.

If you do have a positive test, the common practice for doctors is to treat the Borrelia (Lyme) infection with a few weeks of doxycycline10,11. This is insufficient treatment for many. The potentially more impactful co-infections such as Bartonella, Babesia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma are generally not tested or treated.

Contributing to the problem, the CDC website does not cover the vast array of symptoms that can develop with these complex, multi-faceted chronic diseases. The CDC’s coverage of Bartonella henselae infection is a prime example of scant information that applies only to patients immediately following a tick bite. The CDC does not address the many psychiatric and physical symptoms that can develop over time.

Could stealth infections in mothers be the cause of skyrocketing rates of ASD?

Why are the rates of autism skyrocketing? It’s a perplexing and frustrating question. Might the multi-generational transmission of these stealth infections–especially Bartonella–be a major contributing factor?

If you are pregnant or want to get pregnant and believe you have symptoms, do not hesitate to get tested6. Find a Lyme specialist at the links below.

Remember, testing, even with specialty tests, frequently show falsely negative results. A good Lyme specialist will be able to offer a clinical diagnosis based on your symptoms, if needed.

Dr. Rosalie Greenberg, a child psychiatrist and Lyme expert, says that she sees families like mine in her practice every day because psychiatric symptoms are so common with TBD. She also made an eye-opening comment in her writing, “I’ve been a child psychiatrist for 40 years. The world of tick-borne illness is nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. It makes one really rethink a lot of medicine.”

You can find a Lyme specialist on

To learn about my son’s story, follow me on Instagram @HijackedBrains or visit my website.

On July 12, Debbie Kimberg will take part in a webinar entitled “Co-morbidity of Lyme disease and Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children,” sponsored by Project Lyme. Click here for details.


1. Recovery from Lyme Disease: An Integrative Medicine Guide to Diagnosing and Treating Tick-borne Illness, by Dr. Daniel Kinderlehrer, pages 66-77, 122-124, 131-134, 138

2. It’s Time to Recognize Congenital Lyme by Dr. Rosalie Greenberg

3. Bartonella, The Stealth Pathogen That You Can See without a Microscope by Dr. Rosalie Greenberg

4. Schizophrenia and Bartonella spp. Infection: A Pilot Case Control Study

5. Sexual Transmission of Lyme Borreliosis? The Question That Calls for an Answer

6. Molecular evidence of Perinatal Transmission of Bartonella vinsonii susp. berkhoffii and Bartonella henselae to a Child

7. Lyme Disease Data Tables: Historical Data, CDC

Note: These rates are new infections only. The CDC does not take into account a) the known issue with high rates of false negative testing b) the many people who have no known tick bite and stealth symptoms that do not seek testing c) the unknown number of children believed to have a congenital infection

8. Tick-borne Disorders and Mental Illness in Youth: An Unrecognized Connection by Dr. Rosalie Greenberg

9. Lyme Disease Co-Infections, Lonnie Marcum,

10. Guidance for Clinicians, Caring for Patients after a Tick Bite, CDC

11. Tick-borne Diseases of the United States: A Reference Manual for Healthcare Providers, CDC
Note: There is no mention of Bartonella, the arguably the most impactful infection in terms of ASD.

Additional Resources

Breitschwerdt explains what’s known and unknown about Bartonella, April 3, 2019

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a doctor. This writing is an opinion held by the author and is not intended to dispense medical advice. If you have medical questions, please seek the care of a Lyme specialist.

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Treating Bartonella Cleared Most of My Son’s Symptoms of Autism

Treating Bartonella cleared most of my son’s symptoms of autism

By Debbie Kimberg

April 8, 2022

For years, I had no idea that I was infected with Lyme disease and related illnesses. There was nothing obvious, like pain or chronic fatigue. Instead, my symptoms were mild and crept up on me insidiously over my lifetime: anxiety, social anxiety, irritability, then migraines, thyroiditis, a little neuropathy in my fingertips and arthritis in my knuckles.

Little did I know that I had stealth infections that I would unsuspectingly transmit to my three sons during my pregnancies. This is known as congenital Lyme disease.

My three boys all exhibited very different presentations. When my oldest son was in preschool, he was charming, driven and precocious. But he was also oppositional, had excessive tantrums, trouble with transitions, picky eating, and was hypersensitive to seams in socks and sunlight.

My middle son was your typical child with ADHD. He was your happy-go-lucky kid in constant motion, hopping or running from place to place. In school, he had difficulty concentrating and with executive function. By middle school, he developed anxiety and a few panic attacks. Then in college, he suffered from multiple bouts of severe depression and chronic fatigue.

However, it was my youngest son, Sammy, who got the shortest end of the stick. He had issues from day one. His first year of development was mostly on track, but as the years progressed, he developed autism spectrum disorder (ASD), multiple vocal and movement tics, ADHD, learning disabilities, low reading comprehension, baby talk, age regression, bedwetting, antisocial behavior, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and OCD.

I thought this was just our life. Every family has their problems. Lots of kids have ADHD or ASD. It runs in families, right? My mild issues were under control. I didn’t think there was a single root cause to all of our problems.

Brain on Fire

Then I read Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, by Susannah Cahalan. The author developed an infection that caused severe psychiatric and physical symptoms.

Inspired by the book, I made an appointment with a doctor of functional medicine to evaluate Sammy and give another opinion about his symptoms.  Sammy was 10 years old. After our intake interview, the doctor diagnosed him with Pediatric Acute Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS). He had a majority of the symptoms, 29 in all:

  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Vocal tics: squealing, grunting, stammering, throat clearing
  • Movement tics: a neck roll that first appeared at 6 months old, facial grimace, bending, swaying, spinning, hand flapping when excited, running at inappropriate times
  • Baby talk
  • Age regression
  • ASD
  • ADHD
  • Learning disabilities, low reading comprehension
  • Brain fog
  • Anxiety
  • Social anxiety
  • Depression
  • Antisocial (i.e. addicted to electronics, stayed in room, spoke quietly)
  • Bedwetting
  • Dysgraphia
  • Picky eating
  • Dilated eyes
  • Balance issues
  • Gluten and dairy sensitivity

Furthermore, his titers for strep and coxsackie virus were also sky high.

Lyme disease and co-infections

After six months on different antibiotics with little improvement, our doctor ran IGeneX tests on Sammy, his two older brothers, and me, for Lyme disease and co-infections. The results were confusing.

Two boys showed positive for Borrelia burgdorferi; Sammy and I had three indeterminant bands. Sammy was IGG positive for Babesia microti and only my middle son was positive for Bartonella henselae. In time, it was determined that all four of us were positive for the trifecta of tick-borne diseases—Borrelia, Babesia, and Bartonella.

I’ve heard that symptoms of congenital Lyme disease often show in children by age four. This is what we experienced with all three of my boys, though their presentations were vastly different.

An array of treatments–little progress

Once we had the diagnosis of Lyme disease and co-infections, we were optimistic that Sammy would quickly see improvements with treatment. Instead, we found ourselves traversing from doctor to doctor searching for a treatment that would help.

Over a period of five years, Sammy saw ten doctors in all and tried an array of antibiotics, herbals, homeopathics, supplements, and detoxes indicated for Lyme disease or PANS, with little progress.

Because Sammy was slightly better on the treatments versus nothing, we maintained a flicker of hope that eventually we would find a treatment that would work. In some cases, we abandoned certain treatments because his oppositional behavior became intense and untenable.


With little progress after five years, we were excited when our neurologist got monthly high dose intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG) approved by our insurance company. We had high hopes for the treatment.

The first five days after his initial treatment were tough. Like with many other treatments, Sammy became even more oppositional and impossible to deal with. Then, suddenly, as if a light switch had turned on, everything changed. Sammy became happy, social, and agreeable. His many tics were much better.

And, after years of poor memory, suddenly he could remember things! Like what he ate at his friend’s house for dinner and the names of all the kids who’d been with him. Since Sammy hit his teen years, he rarely spoke and only about a few topics obsessively such as when he was going to eat dairy and gluten again or wanting to play electronics all night. Now, he was much more neurotypical!

But the improvements were short-lived, typically lasting for only two weeks after each month’s infusion. And each month, the insurance company fought to discontinue the expensive treatment.

Delayed IVIG infusions wreaked havoc on Sammy’s behavior, causing him to devolve into depressive, oppositional episodes. After five treatments, our insurance company denied additional coverage. Despite such great improvements, Sammy was in the worst straits we had experienced.

What next?

We weren’t sure where to turn. With Sammy’s repeated attempts to run-away to ‘live with the beggars’ because our family rules were unbearable, we tried to check him into the psychiatric ward of a local children’s hospital. When the ER psychiatrist refused to admit him, we began searching for a long-term residential facility to keep him safe. My husband and I were heartbroken. How could our son see such dramatic improvements with IVIG, then so quickly become depressed and intolerant of everything around him?

After losing all hope from the failed IVIG treatment, our functional medicine doctor asked if we’d like to try disulfiram, a drug recently found to show great promise in treating Lyme and Babesia. She wasn’t aware of any other children who had tried it and expected Sammy would be one of the first.

It seemed like a longshot, but with no other options, what did we have to lose?


The decision changed Sammy’s life. After one dose of disulfiram, Sammy’s oppositional behavior disappeared, his worst symptom at the time. No longer did he badger us for more dairy or gluten, insist on playing games all night, or threaten to run away. Suddenly, he was happy, agreeable, and more social. The overnight improvement of just those few symptoms was a miracle for our family life. We knew we were on the right track!

A few other symptoms improved on disulfiram during the six-month treatment: picky eating, dilated eyes, dysgraphia, most of bedwetting, antisocial behavior, and depression.

Yet, along with those important improvements, other symptoms intensified. These included OCD, age regression, baby talk, vocal and movement tics, brain fog, learning disabilities and ADHD. These symptoms proved annoying, but Sammy was happy and the symptoms were tolerable.

Targeting Bartonella

Despite Sammy’s negative Bartonella test, we suspected it due to his OCD.  We treated it next using an antibiotic protocol that included rifampin/rifabutin, clarithromycin, and minocycline. Again, we saw a major improvement in a very short time.

Suddenly, Sammy’s baby talk, age regression, hyperactivity, and eight vocal and movement tics resolved. These symptoms seemed intrinsically tied as they all cleared almost overnight. Sammy was thrilled when at six weeks into treatment, his gluten and dairy sensitivity resolved. He could eat whatever he wanted again with no worsening behavior! Bartonella treatment also fully cleared his bedwetting. None of our doctors seemed aware that these symptoms were caused by Bartonella. In fact, seventy percent of Sammy’s ASD symptoms appeared to be caused by Bartonella. It was an important discovery.

Good-bye to Special Ed classes

The most notable improvement came after four months of antibiotic treatment for Bartonella. Sammy, who had been in special education since preschool due to learning disabilities and low reading comprehension,  now began doing his homework independently. And his grades moved from low Cs to high As.

Remarkably, on statewide testing, he went from a fifth-grade reading level one year earlier to a tenth-grade level last spring. His IQ rose six points into the average range. And he suddenly passed out of his pragmatic language skills/social skills class, which he had made little progress in throughout his life. (Pragmatic language skills are knowing what to say–and how and when to say it.)

I’m pleased to share that the impossible happened. Last fall, in 11th grade, the school moved Sammy out of special education and into all grade-level classes, an exceptional outcome that was beyond our expectations. It was a first for his high school and an accomplishment that Sammy takes great pride in.

Learning disabilities due to brain fog?

In hindsight, the learning disabilities were caused by severe brain fog. Once the brain fog lifted, his IQ, executive functioning, and learning abilities returned to normal. Unlike what I had been told by many professionals, low executive function was not due to improper development of his frontal lobe. Instead, the AD in ADHD was due to severe brain fog and was treatable.

Furthermore, although Sammy had taken social skills classes every year since kindergarten, he had never shown improvement until he was treated for Borrelia and Bartonella.  Now, on his own accord, Sammy wanted to come out of his room to hang out with the family. Our quiet, reclusive son became the most talkative one at the dinner table, leading family conversations on a host of new topics we had no idea he had knowledge of, like Simon Cowell, Kobe Bryant, and inflation!

Today, Sammy is studying for his ACTs and planning to attend a four-year college. This was unthinkable 18 months ago, when we expected Sammy to need lifetime care and be unable to hold a job.

Sammy is 80% recovered from ASD and is still undergoing treatment to resolve three remaining symptoms out of twenty-nine: OCD, neck roll tic, and social behaviors. Sadly, his social behavior regressed seven months after finishing the six-month disulfiram protocol, so we are retreating the Borrelia and seeing some improvement.

What happened to our son is a medical miracle. I am so grateful to every doctor who helped us.

I have written a memoir that I am working to publish to explain our long, difficult, but ultimately successful journey. Even at 17-years-old, it’s possible to reverse learning disabilities and see a great recovery from ASD!

Debbie Kimberg updates their story on Instagram at @HijackedBrains. She can be contacted at


HALLELUJAH!  This story clearly demonstrates the importance of treatment and the miraculous effects it can have.

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It’s a “Gene-Environment-Immune Complex”…How Mycotoxins Impact Lyme, Autism, and PANS

It’s a “Gene-Environment-Immune Complex”….How Mycotoxins impact Lyme, Autism and PANS

Mycotoxins from mold can invade the body thru exposure to contaminated food and water, respiratory inhalation of spores and through contact with mucous and cutaneous membranes.

Decades of data link mycotoxins as a neurotoxic and immunotoxic inducing agent. In fact, several studies that examined the neurocognitive impact of mycotoxin exposure in children show a higher incidence of neurotoxic mold in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Additionally, children exposed to mold for more than two years show a statistically significant drop of 10 IQ points when compared with their mold free counterparts. Extensive exposure in both children and adult show increased pain syndromes, movement disorders like Chorea and Parkinson’s disease as well as neurocognitive disorders akin to dementia and delirium.

Knowing the neurological and immunological effects of mycotoxins from mold exposure, how does it affect those with behavioral, neurological disorders like ASD, autoimmune encephalopathy and pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS)?

Multiple studies link pathobiology of mold/mycotoxins specifically to Autism and other symptoms that mimic Autism like PANS and autoimmune encephalopathy. Mycotoxins play a gene-environment interaction that is thought to contribute to dysfunctional progression of neurodevelopment.

The mycotoxins once in the body elucidates a strong immune reaction leading to significantly elevated cytokines. These cytokines permeate throughout the body and often cross over the blood brain barrier. Those exposed can experience increased GI permeability or “leaky gut”, elevated oxidative stress responses and inflammation. This appears to stem in the gut where the mycotoxins provoke a reactive oxygen species release in the epithelial cells which line the inner gut wall. The mycotoxins will colonize in the GI system, disrupting the healthy normal flora. As a result of this disruption, a chronic inflammatory response occurs.

Many studies show the link between chronic gut inflammation and neurological and psychological ailments like depression, anxiety, OCD all common symptoms of ASD, neuro-Lyme and PANS/Autoimmune Encephalopathy.

Other studies link mycotoxins to increased autoimmune disorders and development of autoantibodies in the brain. When this occurs, the nervous system is inflamed leading to significant cognitive struggles, brain fog, mood disorders and involuntary tics and movement disorders. This is the typical progression of Autoimmune Encephalopathy, PANS and some components of ASD.

So how does this connect with Lyme?

Applying the inflammatory, immune and GI effects of mycotoxin illness to Lyme simply adds another layer of symptom severity. Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses are known to provoke an inflammatory cytokine response. Borrelia Burgdorferi specifically provokes anti-neuronal antibodies which can travel peripherally causing brain inflammation. The inflammatory response of tick-borne illnesses like Lyme can further trigger leaky gut and blood brain barrier permeability. More circulating cytokines begets increased inflammation and the vicious cycle continues.

Any significant trigger of chronic inflammation in the body can trigger neuroinflammation and leaky gut. Most individuals can weather the storm with intact immune systems. Those unfortunate to house genes linked to ASD, methylation dysfunction and/or those afflicted with Lyme, Mold or both struggles to clear the inflammation, compounding the symptomatic response.

A study by DeSantis and others studied 52 Autistic children compared to 58 neurotypical children. Results showed the ASD children had a significantly higher mycotoxin load, specifically Ochratoxin A. 

Many integrative providers believe in the Gut-Brain and inflammation connection. This study like many others support this theory and what we as providers see in clinical practice.

We welcome you to contact our office 212-288-8832 for more information and to schedule your one-on-one evaluation and treatment option appointment with one of our clinicians.


Written by Somer DelSignore NP


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Study Shows Significant Link Between Mercury & Autism

Study Shows Significant Link Between Mercury and Autism

Analysis by Dr. Joseph MercolaFact Checked
is mercury linked to autism


  • A September 2020 meta-analysis concludes there is a significant relationship between autism and concentrations of lead and mercury in the body
  • According to the researchers, mercury concentration is a pathogenic cause for autism, meaning it’s a causative factor
  • According to a 2014 review, there is evidence of malfeasance and conflicts of interest in studies claiming that thimerosal in vaccines is safe
  • Serious flaws and errors also plague studies that claim aluminum in vaccines is safe. A mathematical error found in a key FDA study has reignited concerns about the safety of aluminum in vaccines
  • Glutathione is the dominant agent that binds to and helps move mercury and other heavy metals out of your tissues. Part of effective detox involves upregulating your biochemistry to facilitate the mobilization and elimination of metals

The controversy over whether mercury overexposure can trigger autism is a long-standing one. A new meta-analysis of previous studies sheds much needed light on the matter, concluding there’s a “significant relationship” between the two.

The review,1,2 published in the September 2020 issue of Pediatric Health, Medicine and Therapeutics, looked at 18 studies conducted between 1982 and 2019 that examined the relationship between concentrations of copper, lead or mercury in blood, plasma, hair or nails and the prevalence of autism. While no relationship was found between autism and copper concentrations, a high degree of correlation was found for mercury and lead.

According to the authors,3 the relationship between mercury and autism is so strong that “the concentration of mercury can be listed as a pathogenic cause (disease-causing) for autism.” This held true even when outlier studies that might unduly influence the results were removed.

Mercury Is a Causative Factor

In the introduction, the authors point out that studies carried out in this area suggest mercury and other toxins are involved in the cause of autism, which include abnormal brain development that affects social interaction and communication skills.

“Metals’ biological effects are associated with their chemical properties, suggesting that excessive metal exposure can cause brain abnormalities around the world,” the researchers state.4

Mercury is considered as a risk factor for autism since, according to previous studies, it has been recognized as a neurotrophic toxin. Reduction in mercury content in hair and teeth of the children with autism aroused the low disposal of mercury hypothesis.

Blaurock-Bush et al found that heavy metals are effective in the development of autism disorder. The role of mercury in the pathogenesis of autism has also been proven in other studies …

According to points raised in the present study … it would be quite reasonable to advise prevention of exposure to mercury and lead in children and provision of suitable conditions during the sensitive period of mothers’ pregnancy as vital measures to prevent the disease …”

A 2017 review paper,5 “The Toxicology of Mercury: Current Research and Emerging Trends,” details the “kinetics of this metal,” including “its metabolism, interaction with other metals, distribution, internal doses and targets and reservoir organs.” The paper cites several studies linking mercury and autism among its references, noting that:6

“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been demonstrated to be accompanied by distorted metal homeostasis. The degree to which people are affected by the metals seems to be largely influenced by the individual genetic makeup.

Especially Hg [mercury] exposure has become a suspected causative factor for many pathological conditions, and several sources of exposure to Hg compounds can be listed, including dental amalgam fillings, seafood, vaccines and increasingly from energy saving light bulbs as well.”

Malfeasance in Research Showing Thimerosal Safety

In the video above, the University of Calgary faculty of medicine illustrate how mercury causes neuronal degeneration in your brain. While there are many environmental sources of mercury exposure, some of the most prominent ones include high-mercury fish, dental amalgam and thimerosal-containing vaccines.

Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative used in certain vaccines. While it has been removed from most childhood vaccines, it is still used in some multidose vials, meaning vials that contain more than a single dose of the vaccine.

Remarkably, while the fact that mercury is neurotoxic is noncontroversial, health authorities still insist injected thimerosal is perfectly safe and has never been linked to neurological dysfunction. How could that be?

In 2014, a review article7 in the BioMed Research International journal titled, “Methodological Issues and Evidence of Malfeasance in Research Purporting to Show Thimerosal in Vaccines Is Safe,” noted that:

“The studies upon which the CDC relies and over which it exerted some level of control report that there is no increased risk of autism from exposure to organic Hg in vaccines, and some of these studies even reported that exposure to Thimerosal appeared to decrease the risk of autism.

These six studies are in sharp contrast to research conducted by independent researchers over the past 75+ years that have consistently found Thimerosal to be harmful … Many studies conducted by independent investigators have found Thimerosal to be associated with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Several studies, for example, including three of the six studies covered in this review, have found Thimerosal to be a risk factor for tics. In addition, Thimerosal has been found to be a risk factor in speech delay, language delay, attention deficit disorder, and autism.

Considering that there are many studies conducted by independent researchers which show a relationship between Thimerosal and neurodevelopmental disorders, the results of the six studies examined in this review, particularly those showing the protective effects of Thimerosal, should bring into question the validity of the methodology used in the studies …

Importantly … five of the publications examined in this review were directly commissioned by the CDC, raising the possible issue of conflict of interests or research bias, since vaccine promotion is a central mission of the CDC.

Conceivably, if serious neurological disorders are found to be related to Thimerosal in vaccines, such findings could possibly be viewed as damaging to the vaccine program.

Aluminum Is Another Neurotoxic Poison

Today, the most commonly used vaccine preservative is aluminum, not thimerosal. It’s unfortunate that the Pediatric Health, Medicine and Therapeutics review did not include it, because it’s likely that aluminum has a similar impact on autism as mercury.

According to a 2018 study,8 people with autism were found to have high amounts of aluminum in their brains.

“The mean (standard deviation) aluminium content across all 5 individuals for each lobe were 3.82(5.42), 2.30(2.00), 2.79(4.05) and 3.82(5.17) μg/g dry wt. for the occipital, frontal, temporal and parietal lobes respectively,” the researchers noted.9

The lead author on this paper was Dr. Christopher Exley, a leading expert in aluminum toxicology. He and a team of international scientists have also published a paper10 in the (preprint) December 2020 issue of the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology.

In it, they provide evidence for their position that “the safety of aluminium-based vaccine adjuvants … must be seriously evaluated without further delay, particularly at a time when the CDC is announcing a still increasing prevalence of autism spectrum disorders, of 1 child in 54 in the USA.”

As with thimerosal above, serious flaws and errors plague studies that claim aluminum in vaccines is safe. As reported in “Major Error Found in Vaccine Aluminum Safety Calculation,” a mathematical error found in a key U.S. Food and Drug Administration study has reignited concerns about its safety.

The FDA study,11 published in 2011, compared aluminum exposure from vaccines in infants to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s (ATSDR) safety limit of oral aluminum, concluding that:12

“… the body burden of aluminum from vaccines and diet throughout an infant’s first year of life is significantly less than the corresponding safe body burden of aluminum modeled using the regulatory MRL.

We conclude that episodic exposures to vaccines that contain aluminum adjuvant continue to be extremely low risk to infants and that the benefits of using vaccines containing aluminum adjuvant outweigh any theoretical concerns.”

The problem, found by Physicians for Informed Consent, is that the FDA based its calculations on 0.78% of oral aluminum being absorbed into the bloodstream instead of the value of 0.1% used by the ATSDR.

“As a result,” Physicians for Informed Consent noted,13 “the FDA paper assumed that nearly 8 (0.78%/0.1%) times more aluminum can safely enter the bloodstream, and this led the authors to incorrectly conclude that aluminum exposure from vaccines was well below the safety limit.” Christopher Shaw, a professor at the University of British Columbia who has studied the effects of injected aluminum, explained in a news release:14

We knew that the [2011] Mitkus et al. paper modeling aluminum clearance had to be inaccurate since it was assuming that injected aluminum kinetics were the same as the kinetics of aluminum acquired through diet.

Now, in addition, we see that they did their modeling based on using the incorrect level of aluminum absorption. What is particularly striking is that despite all these errors, since 2011, Mitkus et al. is used by CDC and other entities as the basis for claiming that aluminum adjuvants are safe.”

The Dangers of Lead

Lead is a naturally occurring metal that was once commonly used in gasoline, paint and children’s toys, and is still a part of batteries, pipes, pottery, roofing materials and cosmetics. Due to environmental pollution, food and water has also become a source of this dangerous toxin.

If you live in an urban area or near a busy road, it’s probably best to assume that your soil is contaminated with lead to some extent. This is also an issue if you plan to plant a vegetable garden, as vegetables can take up lead from the soil very efficiently.

Lead damages your brain and nervous system, and has been shown to lower IQ. Even small amounts can be dangerous, as lead builds up in your body over time. Children under 6 are especially at risk, as they absorb lead more easily than adults.

As detailed in “The Heroes Who Sunk Lead,” Herbert Needleman performed much of the foundational research showing even low levels of lead were dangerous. Another crucial crusader against lead was geochemist Clair Cameron Patterson, Ph.D.

It’s thanks to Patterson’s tireless work that lead was finally removed from gasoline, thereby saving untold billions of people from serious harm.15 He’s an unsung public health hero of the 20th century that most people have never heard of.

The video below is a short summary of the evolution of leaded gas, and ultimately, its removal, which was no small feat. Unfortunately, there are many other sources of toxic metals, and unless we address them all, we’re unlikely to get a handle on the autism epidemic. 

We’re Getting Mercury Out of Dentistry

As mentioned, dental mercury is one pernicious source of mercury. Here, there is good news. After years of pressure from Consumers for Dental Choice and its allies, the FDA has finally released a long-overdue safety communication on dental amalgam.16 September 24, 2020, the FDA issued a warning that mercury fillings may adversely affect:

Pregnant women and their developing fetuses

Women who are planning to become pregnant

Nursing women and their newborns and infants

Children, especially those younger than 6

People with pre-existing neurological disease such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease

People with impaired kidney function

People with known heightened sensitivity (allergy) to mercury or other components of dental amalgam

While the FDA downplays the importance of its changed recommendation by stressing that the benefits of dental amalgam likely “outweigh their risks for most patients,” this update is nothing short of monumental, and opens the door, finally, for the elimination of dental mercury for all patients in the U.S., as has been done in many other countries already.

Detoxifying Heavy Metals

Heavy metal detoxification is no simple matter. As explained in “The Three Pillars of Heavy Metal Detoxification,” glutathione is the dominant agent that binds to and helps move mercury and other heavy metals out of your tissues. Part of effective detox involves upregulating your biochemistry to facilitate the mobilization and elimination of metals. In summary, the three pillars of heavy metal detox are:

  1. Cleanse and clear your GI tract of metals and toxins
  2. Optimize glutathione
  3. Upregulate detox genes

My mercury detox protocol is detailed in “Revised Protocol for Detoxifying Your Body from Mercury Exposure.” One way to help improve your glutathione is by taking N-acetylcysteine (NAC), which is a precursor to and rate-limiting nutrient for the formation of glutathione.

Glutathione is poorly absorbed so, in many cases, it’s easier to raise your glutathione by taking NAC instead. You can learn more about this in “Glutathione and NAC Play Crucial Roles in Health and Fitness.”

In addition to upregulating your biochemistry to mobilize and eliminate heavy metals, sauna bathing can go a long way toward eliminating mercury and other toxins from your body. You can learn more about this in “How to Achieve Superior Detoxification With Near-Infrared Light.”

In January 2020, I also interviewed Boyd Haley, Ph.D., is a chemist specializing in the development of chemicals to chelate toxic metals. Haley has developed a nontoxic chelating compound called emeramide or NBMI (brand name Irminix), which tightly binds to mercury and free iron (which is also highly toxic), and acts as a potent antioxidant, as it has two glutathione arms.

Emeramid is still under drug development but can be obtained via expanded access, named patient use, compassionate use or special use, depending on the country you’re in. An early access application and prescription, required by the EMA, is available on the company’s website,

In closing, the evidence strongly suggests exposure to mercury, lead and aluminum are significant risk factors for autism and other neuropathologies. The simplest answer to the autism epidemic is therefore to prevent children from these kinds of exposures. That includes banning dental amalgam and getting thimerosal and aluminum out of all vaccines.

+ Sources and References


‘I Never Had a Single Unvaccinated Patient with Autism’ Dr. Ben Tapper

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