There are different kinds of childhood disorders, yet none scientifically or medically can remotely affect the CDC reported 1:36 children and be thought of as genetic or developmental in origin, unless, medical science is ignored and that child is NOW labeled, ASD Autistic! However, given the horrific and increasing numbers of ASD affected children, there must be an underlying unidentified medical disease presenting with autistic like symptoms and behaviors i.e. an ASD “PHENOTYPE”!
It is scientifically impossible to have an epidemic without a disease origin. Mistakenly labeling and then treating children as “psychiatric Autistic” is the failure of our medical system to recognize these children are really part of an enlarging, unrecognized medical pandemic affecting children and young adults. ASD (1:36) today is worse than the Polio epidemic (1:1500 – 1:2000) of the 1950’s.
As early as the 1960s, certainly in the 1970s, pediatricians were being taught at UCLA and other excellent medical schools that Psychiatric, DSM autism affected 1 – 2 in 10,000 children. Further, those 1-2 children, in order to be labeled Autistic must never be affectionate/ never normal! To have that number mysteriously begin to increase in the 1990s to the astounding level of 1 in 36 otherwise affectionate children begs the questions; “Is this epidemic? And if so “Why is this condition not considered and treated as medical?”
Instead of being excited about the arrival of new baby, watching a child grow and prosper, sadly many mother’s today (expressed constantly when meeting new parents) live with perhaps worse fears than parents and families of the 40s and 50s. At that time the polio epidemic was a real threat, affecting 1:1500 – 1:2000 children, and the world mobilized to find a cure. Today ASD affects 1:36 and climbing! Where is the medical community? You cannot have an epidemic of psychiatric or developmental conditions!
I am proposing an answer to the question, nobody in public health, academic research or the pediatric medical community dare to acknowledge or ask: Is ASD in children and young adults a medical condition? Are they medically ill and thus treatable?
My answer: YES and the medically treatable symptoms and manifestations are directly related to Herpes viruses (potentially others) and the immune system!
Medical School of the 1970s was eventful. Professors opined we were entering a “golden age” of medicine, because “common” pathogens were being identified and eradicated. As new physicians we recognized we live in a sea of viruses. We were protected by our immune system and its adaption over thousands of years.
Nobel level professors taught there were differences between “normal” viral titers (markers) and “elevated” viral titers, indicating the presence of an active virus. Then in the early – mid 1980s very powerful medical leaders (CDC, NIH) unexplainably decided elevated Herpes viral titers in children and adults were meaningless! Lab evaluations of “normal” vs. elevated, are still carried over today, but “ignored” when elevated. As a practicing pediatrician, to suddenly be required to ignore the role of the Herpes virus was and still is beyond comprehension.
The Medical Literature still support the significance of a fourfold change in viral titers. However, if a pediatrician does not consider or is precluded from testing for viral titers, how can the physician begin to evaluate or “rule out” if there is treatable viral activity? She/he cannot! How does that benefit the child or the family? It does not! For a physician to leave a child with overwhelming sensory issues, without a complete medical work up is unconscionable. In my opinion, to discount and ignore elevated viral titers in children and young adults remains one of the biggest travesties being perpetrated upon our children by the current medical system.
All of the ASD labeled children I am working up are affectionate. Many present with this ASD “phenotype”. Typically, their blood tests show elevated viral titers for the HHV6 herpes virus, Epstein Barr and/or CMV virus. In addition, many of these children also present with outright early developmental delays and motor issues. For these issues, I was taught by excellent professors to think of viruses, “rule-out viruses.”
Most children having issues today become labeled as “on the ASD spectrum” without a proper medical workup and investigation for illness, chronic viral activation issues, etc. By artificially removing the medical criteria developed over decades past, the current “system” too quickly, attaches the label of ASD. The pediatrician unwittingly abandons the children and parents to the psychiatric community for behavior training and a life of isolation and despair. Parents are told to cope and forego their focus or desire to pursue real medical answers and real potential help for their children. How much worse can this get before parents and others step up and declare “enough is enough”!
In my professional opinion based upon over 40+ years of clinical experience, “Autism spectrum disorder” (not meeting strict Kanner criteria) with accompanying language impairment is in reality a medical disease (complex immune – complex viral) presenting as an encephalopathy (often viral) with “autistic” symptoms.
The language impairment in these ASD labeled children is part of the disease, not secondary to Autism Spectrum Disorder. Many of my patients (approx. 75+%) respond favorably to a medical protocol of anti-viral medications and diet modifications, eliminating known allergenic foods. This anti-viral component mitigates the effects of the viruses to the brain, while the diet changes reduce stress on the body, the brain, and the immune system. Additional improvement is achieved with the use of an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor). The SSRI is introduced not for “depression,” but as a pharmaceutical/medical way to treat temporal lobe hypo perfusion; a real, medically definable, physiologic CNS dysfunction evidenced on a NeuroSPECT scan
This medical protocol results in the elimination or severe abatement of the “autistic” like symptoms and behaviors and allows an increase in, a return of, higher cognitive function. The most common phrase I hear from parents of improving children is,
“It is as if a fog has lifted.”
and from speech and other therapists,
“This is not the same child I have been working with.”
These otherwise affectionate “typical/normal” (now much brighter cognitively) children are now placed in a position to be taught (not trained), allowed to “catch up” and progress with their peers. For whatever reasons, those in positions of authority refuse to acknowledge or investigate this treatable complex immune, complex viral medical problem. Instead, current focus and research is on “causation” with activated “gene expressions” or “complex genetic” ideas being proffered as the origin. The reality is a treatable underlying viral/immune process is being ignored! The “system” has become so biased, against the obvious, that good professors wishing to pursue research into a readily treatable complex immune, complex viral causation, have not only been refused funding, but fear losing their positions. These short-sighted money decisions at the clinical level mean the loss of the near immediate relief from ASD behaviors and mannerisms, improved, often excellent cognitive abilities, and improvement in the future quality of life for the child and family. Why?
Recently I met with a group of educators discussing the “differences” working with a medically treated ASD child (stressing an ASD “phenotype,” not developmental “autism”). They were aware the medically treated child was able to understand and be taught! These educators realized this was an emerging potentially regular child, not a child mysteriously born “miss-wired.” Thankfully, there are excellent academic professors who also know something is seriously wrong, literally acknowledging we are in a missed medical “pandemic”.
An appropriately focused and engaged medical community together with key medical and academic researchers, could create a pathway for a healthier future for the children and reduce the financial costs to all affected, including our social and educational systems.