Sunday, September 5, 2010

A major change

How many believe in the gluten free, casein free (GFCF) diet?  It did not work for David.  He was on it for about a year without any change.  For me, the GFCF diet is the right idea with the wrong approach.  It works for a small percent of the autistic population, though I have to say that if you have an autistic child who is one of that percentage, it can be a big thing.  My brother's son is an Aspie.  Both he and his wife have told me that the GFCF diet is a real pain to keep up with.  At the same time, it is not nearly as bad as what happens to their son when he gets off the GFCF diet.

I have several problems with the GFCF diet.  It is based on leakage of gluten and casein peptides into the blood stream through the blood gut barrier.  There is evidence for this in the urine samples.  It makes sense to try it because as medical interventions go, a) It does not hurt, b) It is not that expensive, c) It is hard to think of any way it would have side effects, d) With those for whom it does work, the effects can be profound.  On the other hand, are gluten and casein peptides the only peptides that leak into the gut?  And, if the blood-gut barrier is permeable, then what about the blood-brain barrier?  The GFCF diet begs both of those questions.  Yet these two questions could explain why the GFCF diet is effective on some and not on others.  It could also explain why the GFCF diet helps but it does not change the fundamental fact that the child is autistic.

When David was in the seventh grade, I came across a paper that talked about glutathione being in the bile which is secreted by the liver.  Anyone who has read my previous posts knows that I am interested in glutathione and the sulfur amino acid chemistry.  So the question was why does the liver put glutathione in the bile?  It is very seldom that you find the body doing something like this without a reason.  The paper speculated that glutathione is in the bile to preserve the blood-gut barrier.  Put this with the low levels of autistic glutathione and gut leakage it is a reasonable, though unproven hypothesis that low levels of glutathione mean gut leakage which in turn means behavior problems for autistic children.  I don't claim that this is all that autism is.  But being able to take care of one aspect of what autism is can be a positive development.  For this reason, I decided to try having David take glutathione with cod liver oil and fish oil.  The amounts were as follows:

250 mg glutathione
1000 mg fish oil
500 mg cod liver oil

I typically spent 2 hours a night dragging David through his homework.  I had to get David to focus on each problem long enough to recognize what the problem was.  David would read the problem and realize that he did not know the answer.  Then I would turn the page to where the answer was.  Then I would get him to focus on it long enough to read the answer.  More effort would be required to get him to write the answer in a sentence form.  An answer that required three sentences would bring howls of protest.

That was David before the glutathione and fish oil.  After two weeks of being given this each day, David was doing homework by himself.  I can't prove that it was the glutathione and the fish oil that made the change.  At the same time, the change was too dramatic to ignore. 

I don't claim that it will work for others.  But if you should try it, post your results if you will. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The miracle that is David

David is autistic.  He still is.  The diagnosis still is, just as would be expected as autism is a lifelong condition.  As a three year old, he had all of the signs:  aphasia, which in his case meant that he could not talk; perseverative behaviors; ritualistic behaviors, sound sensitivity; some touch sensitivity; the autistic lookaway; inability to relate with other children.  And yet, all of this only belied the spark of spirit and intelligence that lay underneath.

At the start of second grade, David suffered a huge setback.  He lost some prodigious math skills, going from add with carry, subtraction with borrow,  negative numbers, getting a grasp of multiplication and division facts to only being able to add past five by counting on his fingers.  His magic ability to look at a word and remember how it was spelled went away.

In fourth grade, a little of his ability in math came back.  David could add and subtract, albeit slowly and only with a struggle.  This progress was offset when at the end of the year, David lost the ability to hold a pencil.  It was a real low in my life and I am sure that it was a real low in David's life as well.  Homework became a 2 - 3 hour ordeal each night when after David came down off the ritalin used to help his stay still in class. 

This lasted through seventh grade when David suddenly started doing his homework by himself.  All of his subjects became easier.  It all happened just as quickly as it had when he suffered his losses in second grade.  From seventh grade, math for him evolved from a near impossible chore to something that he could do.  He took up cross country in high school and went from dead last to the middle of the pack.  He suddenly started being able to touch type.  And he developed a knack for drawing, something he obviously did not get from me.  Still his science was so-so and his English was only passing.  When he graduated, David was off to vocational school.  College was clearly not in the cards.

David did well in vocational school and was able to handle the computer design programs well.  Toward the end of it he announce that he wanted to be an engineer.  My first instinct was to steer him back to the path my wife and I had sent him on.  But when I looked at him I could see that he really meant it.  Still, I did not want him to be crushed if he could not handle a curricula that is heavily laden with math, physics and other science.  He would also have to be able to handle the English courses and other courses that would require writing.  None of my objections dissuaded him.  So we enrolled him in 12 credit hours of  the math classes and physics classes that he would have to take before he could even consider engineering as a career.

We were pleased with David's performance that semester.  He had a B average from that semester.  Okay.  But what about the next semester.  Courses would get tougher.   David had to respond.  And he did.  Each semester he has been getting better so that last semester he was placed on the Dean's list. 

David truly is a walking miracle.  He has gone from not able to add past five without counting on his fingers to being placed on the Dean's list in electrical engineering.  He has learned to draw after losing the ability to hold a pencil.  He has learned to run when his autistic gait made running very hard.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

How a vaccine works

When a vaccine is administered to a child, a weakened or dead form of the virus is injected.  Along with the virus, adjuvants such as aluminum phosphate, aluminum hydroxide, squalene are injected.  The purpose of the adjuvants is to promote an immune reaction.  The hope is that the immune reaction will be against the injected virus.  If the immune system is stimulated, is there any reason why a reaction to other foreign substances could not be triggered?  The real question is given the 26-30 shots that are given, and the number of children of different genetic background, can vaccines be causing the asthma epidemic we have been seeing?

I don't have the answer to this, but neither does the medical community.  If such a thing is happening, the medical community does not want to know.