And Aspberger's, ADD, and ADHD! :-)
On my morning walk with Kate, I listened to the most fascinating and moving lecture by Dr. Mary Megson, MD. She is a pediatrician who has been working with autistic children and seeing absolutely miraculous results with nutrition.
I was literally moved to tears listening to this woman speak. And totally dumbfounded. The connections she is making, the healing that is happening. It's nothing short of incredible. In fact, I was so entranced by this lecture that I walked for over an hour! Poor Kate was home late for her morning nap.
She was talking about how vitamin A deficiency plays a role in causing autism. She explains physiologically why the lack of vitamin A and other nutrients causes problems with vision and language. She explains how autistic children see the world, and why they behave the way they do (the stimming, the flapping, the lack of eye contact). She explains what the physiological reasons are for those behaviors. She explains how nutritional deficiencies cause these behaviors — every single one.
There's lots of scientific talk in it (some of it went over my head) but hang in there because the stories she tells are incredible.
She told one story about an 18-year-old girl who went to get her vaccinations for college. After the vaccinations, suddenly any bright light was very painful to her. Her father had to carry her out of the office. She had to stay in bed in a dark room for 6 months. Her father did tons of research and read about the vitamin A connection. He started giving her cod liver oil and within 3 days, she could tolerate light again. (She's now doing fine — totally returned to normal.)
She told another story of a man she met who was in his late sixties. He said for the first 30-some-odd years of his life, he was autistic — and for the next thirty or so years he was just dyslexic. She said, “What did you do?” He said, “I ate a lot of fish.”
Fish! Vitamin A!
These stories are especially encouraging to me because these people were not children when they recovered — they were adults.
I can't do her stories justice. You have to listen.
And yes, it fits with what Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and Donna Gates are saying about how problems with abnormal gut flora fits with autism — because an inability to absorb nutrients causes deficiency! They both say you have to supplement with cod liver oil, too. And Dr. Megson also says you have to heal the gut with probiotics.
Here is a taste of Dr. Megson — this is an excerpt from her website. (You can download the PDFs here)
Our early experience with treatment with natural cis forms of Vitamin A in Cod Liver Oil (CLO) in these autistic children, followed by stimulation of blocked acetylcholine receptors for neurotransmitters affected with a blockage of G-alpha pathways in the cell, is promising. There are dramatic, immediate improvements in language, vision, attention and social interaction in some of these children, as evidenced by the following case reports.
My earliest evidence came from a ten-year-old boy diagnosed with autism by DSM-IV criteria (20). The patient's parents suspect he has been reading since age four but his inability to communicate made this unverifiable. Over an eight-year period of regular visits I had never heard him speak. Standardized IQ tests revealed moderate mental retardation. His mother developed night blindness and hypothyroidism in college and had responded well to Vitamin A and thyroid hormone replacement. The patient's mother's sister was diagnosed in infancy with gluten enteropathy that had improved on a gluten free diet. She has had lifelong dry eyes and is night blind (treated with amber glasses.)
For these and other reasons I started the boy on cod liver oil (5,000 IU of Vitamin A, given in 2500 IU/b.i.d.) and a gluten free diet. After one week, he began to sit farther from the television and to notice paintings on the walls at home. He had always gone out of his way to follow the sidewalk and driveway to meet the school bus. On Vitamin A, he began to run across the grass directly from the front door to the school bus. After three weeks, he was given a single dose of Urocholine, an alpha muscarinic receptor agonist, to increase bile and pancreatic secretions and indirectly stimulate hippocampal retinoid receptors. It has minimal cardiac effect, is FDA approved, has been used safely in children since the 1970's for reflux, and does not cross the blood-brain barrier, unlike secretin (21). It stimulates post- synaptic cell membranes via receptors for acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the parasympathetic system.
Thirty minutes after administration of the Urocholine, the patient, who was sitting in a chair, swung his feet over the side, pointed to a glass candy jar on my shelf and said, “May I have the red Jolly Rancher® please?” He had read the label on the candy in the clear jar. These were the first words he had spoken in eight years, and the first proof that he could read. We took him outside and he said, “The leaves, the leaves on the trees are green! I see! I see!” When I asked to take his picture he looked at the camera, smiled and waved. When he left the office I said, “See you later.” He asked, “What time?”
In this child's case, after several weeks of treatment with Vitamin A in CLO 3500 IU/day, the Urocholine acted like a switch. When absorbed, he immediately became socially engaged, made excellent eye contact, hugged his mother tightly and said, “I love you so much,” looking at her face.
At that point we both realized that this child had a blocked pathway. The change in language and social interaction was dramatic and immediate. Yet he reverted to the pre-treatment state of silence when the dose wore off. On lower daily doses of Urocholine (12.5 mg bid) along with the Vitamin A, his language and social interactions have continued to progress, albeit slowly. Source
If you have autism (Anna, I thought of you!), have an autistic child or relative, or know someone who is autistic or has an autistic child, you must download this lecture. It's $13 to download the mp3 on the Weston A. Price Foundation website. (They have it labeled as Dr. Campbell McBride but that is incorrect. It is Dr. Megson.)
This lecture is truly mind blowing. It made me want to go back to school and become a pediatrician.
PS: April (another A!) is Autism Awareness Month. Please spread the word on your blog if you feel so inclined.
PS2: A is also for Anna. And Ann Marie!