The Epidemic of Autism

When I first started practice 19 years ago, I had barely heard and registered that were conditions like ADHD, ADD and Autism. I think I was practicing for almost 3 years before I saw my first real case of learning disability. It was either ADD or ADHD. Since than the numbers have mushroomed. Now I may see 6 to 10 children a month. At least a third will have some kind of learning disability on top of allergy like symptoms. At least one child will be in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Nearly 12 million children in the United States of America (or up to 17 percent) suffer from one or more developmental disabilities, including deafness, blindness, epilepsy, speech defects, cerebral palsy, delays in growth and development, behavioral problems, or learning disabilities.

Learning disabilities alone affect 5 to 10 percent of children in public schools, and these numbers appear to be increasing. Prior to 1960’s the reported figure was 0.2 percent. According to the US Census Bureau in 1997, there was a 2.7 percent of children under five who exhibited some form of developmental delay.

Why is there an increase?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) conservatively affects 3 to 6 percent of all school children, and the numbers may be considerably higher. The incidence of autism seems to be increasing, though much of this apparent increase may be due to increased reporting.

Are we poisoning our kids?

Exposures to small amounts of substances like lead, mercury, or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which have no discernible impact on adults, can permanently damage the developing brain of a child, if the exposure occurs when a child is most vulnerable (during development in utero up till the first six months of life) .

Early exposures to dioxin or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chemicals from industrial activities that accumulate in dietary fat, damage the developing immune system, making the child more prone to infections. Risks of asthma and high blood pressure are increased by early environmental exposures.

The gut-brain connection starts in the womb

When there is significant damage to the lining of the small intestine (intestinal villi,) multiple systems failure (ie the immune system, the digestive system, the nervous system, the endocrine system) tends to manifest. Perhaps of even greater importance is the effect on intestinal permeability. The intestines are lined with a slimy layer of mucoproteins.

This layer provides lubrication and protection for the intestinal wall as food passes down the alimentary canal. These mucoproteins must be sulphated if they are to be continuous, protective and effective. If they are not sulphated, the proteins clump together and leave exposed intestinal material which makes it more susceptible to toxic food particles. When these get into the tissues, the body’s immune system over-reacts, generating auto-immune conditions.

We believe that these peptides are the agents (bullets) which are directly responsible for the symptoms but there may be other agents, which can have a serious impact upon the total picture. In some cases, wheat (gluten) and dairy (casein) appear to be the sole elements but in other cases it is clear that other factors are involved. The involvement of peptides from gluten and casein is very large and will obscure other factors. It is only after the main sources of the bullets, gluten and casein, are removed from the diet that the smoke will clear sufficiently to allow us to detect other causative elements which are largely of dietary origin.

What can you as a parent do? You can clean up your lifestyle. Eat clean food, clean water and reduce your personal exposure to toxins. I am sorry to say this ladies, you need to stop drinking alcohol and smoking for at least one year before conception. You may also want to clean out all your mercury fillings and reduce the metal and toxic load on your body. Very often I have parents and mothers come in to see me after they have one autistic child to figure out what to do for the next.

For those who are interested in learning how to clean themselves up, the resources are outlined in the books below. Alternatively they can also access the website of my Naturopathic Practice www.NaturalTherapies.com . For those who have children with learning disabilities, they can also access the above website and look at the information on Autism and Learning Disabilities.

Be well

Dr Sundardas

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