Polly: For parents of the autistic, this chapter may serve as an introduction to the many biological aspects of autism that are being discussed on the Internet. For those of us who have attention deficit, the yeast syndrome, fibromyalgia, or mercury poisoning, this chapter may give some insight into our own situation. Many of the same supplements and treatments seem to be applicable to all of these conditions.
Autism is characterized by impaired social interactions, by impaired communication, and by repetitive interests and behaviors. Because sensory input is difficult to organize and control, the individual’s activities and interests may appear restricted. They may need significant repetition and predictability in their environment. Often they lack eye-contact and facial expression. They may experience the sense of sight differently, sometimes seeing the world in overwhelming detail, sometimes not seeing what is in directly in front of them. Speech is developmentally delayed or absent. Many have seizures and sleep problems. According to Dr. Shaw, 80% to 90% of children with autism have abnormal levels of bacteria or fungal metabolites. Carbohydrate maldigestion and small bowel bacterial overgrowth is common. Many people suspect that most of the autistic are mercury poisoned.
Although autism is discussed at the healthyawareness forum, it is not brought up that often. Therefore most of the posts in this chapter are from various friends and different lists on the Internet.
G Proteins, Vitamin A, And Acetylcholine
Polly: Mary Megson, MD, has had some amazing successes treating autism with cod liver oil (for its vitamin A content) and occasionally a drug to stimulate the release of acetylcholine. After administering the fish liver oil for two months, Dr. Megson will sometimes add one dose of the drug Urocholine to increase acetylcholine. Within 30 minutes of this dose, some of the kids appear to reconnect and to be able to focus. Yet, the children are still sickly.
She came to use the cod liver oil and the Urocholine after noticing that many of the autistic children have a family history that indicates a possible G I alpha protein defect. She hypothesized that in these cases, autism may be caused by further interference with these G proteins. One possibility is that additional interference with the G proteins could have been caused by administering vaccines when there was a deficiency of vitamin A. The cod liver oil she uses replaces the vitamin A. The drug to increase acetylcholine was tried because G protein defects could also knock out acetylcholine production.
Vitamin A is extremely important for the maintenance of healthy intestinal flora. Generally, the autistic children are deficient in not just vitamin A, but all of the fat-soluble vitamins¾A, D, E, and K. In fact, some of secretin’s benefit might be due to its stimulation of bile, which is needed for the assimilation of the fat-soluble vitamins. However, not just any vitamin A will do. Dr. Megson feels that the retinol form of vitamin A is absorbed best. This form of vitamin A is found in butter, fish, and liver. (It is not found in most vitamin supplements or infant formulas.) Of these sources of retinol vitamin A, Dr. Megson chose fish liver oil. She did this for a very specific reason. Fish oil is the only source of 14 hydroxy-retro-retinol (14-HRR). G protein defects could block the conversion of vitamin A into this 14-HRR. So she starts her patients on small amounts of cod liver oil similar to the recommended daily allowance for vitamin A. (Fish liver oil is rich in vitamins A, D, and K, and it has a reasonable amount of vitamin E. Still, giving extra vitamin E with fish oil to prevent oxidation is recommended in many books.)
Urocholine is a prescription drug that stimulates the release of acetylcholine at nerve endings, and acts like an artificial acetylcholine. (Bethanechol is the generic name for Urocholine.) It stimulates gastric motility, increases gastric tone and often restores impaired rhythmic peristalsis of the intestines. It also increases bile and pancreatic secretions and indirectly stimulates the vitamin A receptors in the brain’s hippocampus.
For more information on Dr. Megson’s work, go to these websites, http://bhare.org/newtx.html and http://www.megson.com.
Dr. Shaw’s Book on Autism
Polly: Dr. Shaw has a book out on Autism, Biological Treatments for Autism and PDD. In this book he goes into detail on the nutritional treatment of yeast overgrowth and autism, and also has a lot to say about the different yeast and bacteria toxins and how they affect the body. Any person with an open mind who reads this book will conclude that the yeast syndrome exists and that it is a big part of autism.
One of the interesting suggestions in his book is to start on B6 before starting anti-fungal therapy because this may cut down on some of the die-off effects. The added B6 will prevent formation of harmful pentosidines. (Pentosidine is a crosslinked molecule of arginine, lysine, and arabinose. Pentosidine may be responsible for demylenation of nerves.) The increased formation of pentosines due to yeast overgrowth may cause a functional deficiency of B6, biotin and lipoic acid.
To order the book, visit this website http://www.autism.com/shaw-yeast/ or contact the Great Plains Laboratory phone 913-341-8949. or http://www.greatplainslaboratory.com. The Great Plains laboratory does testing for fungal and bacteria metabolites in the urine. That test is part of their Organic Acid Test (OAT). Sometimes a problem will be caught in the urine that does not show up in the stool, and vice versa. The lab performs a lot of other interesting tests, like vitamin levels in the urine, amino acids, and a metals profile.