Autism, ADD and ADHD
As in all diseases and disorders, there are often many different causes and each case is unique. There has been an increased amount of literature regarding the cause and increasing incidence of Autism, ADD and ADHD. The use of medications can often be helpful to the child and help allow for better integration in school and social settings. However, there are many harmful side effects. Additionally the cause of these disorders is ignored with the traditional medical approach. While there is no one therapy that can cure these disorders, the key to successful treatment is to identify the unique etiology for each patient. Our children are our future, and we must continue to explore and seek natural treatments for these conditions.
The Balanced Body Approach
History and Exam
As always, all our patient care begins with a detailed history and exam. Our patient will often notice that our doctors spend the time necessary to understand the history and extent of the patient's problem. It is these details that help determine the required tests. It has often been said that a good doctor uses the history and exam to determine the cause of disease. Diagnostic testing should be utilized to confirm the diagnosis and to help develop a treatment plan.
Increasing information is surfacing that early exposure to chemicals and toxins can impair neurological development in infants. Some of these toxins include mercury, aluminum, chloride, fluoride, cadmium, arsenic and lead. With increasing amounts of exposure to these harmful elements from environmental pollution, food treatments, packaging and additives, it is essential to evaluate these levels in any patient with Autism, ADD or ADHD. Our office offers a heavy metal analysis test and can provide natural treatment protocols to help eliminate the toxicity once identified.
Food allergies seem to be increasing at epidemic rates. While the exact cause of this condition is not fully understood, it is evident that it is due to a number of environmental and lifestyle factors. These conditions continue to be ignored by many physicians. A food allergy develops when your immune system, by means of an odd mixture of immune cells, antibodies and chemical mediators, reacts in an attempt to reject a food in your diet. This is called an autoimmune reaction. An autoimmune reaction is an event where the immune system is reacting and attacking substances that it should normally recognize as harmless. There are four different types of autoimmune reactions. These are called Types 1, 2, 3, and 4. More than one type of reaction can occur at the same time in the same allergic individual. These reactions are well documented in medical literature and studied in all medical colleges and referred to as the Gel Coombs classifications. It is the type 2 and 3 reactions that can affect moods, energy and mental clarity. These types 2 and 3 are delayed autoimmune pathways and cannot be checked using traditional medical scratch testing that is used for general allergies. Once identified, a specific course of elimination and rotation must occur to allow the system to heal. Our office utilizes the most advanced blood testing procedures to identify and correct this condition. (See our food allergy web page for more information).
Gluten, Whey, Casein, and Chemical Sensitivities:
While the cause of the sensitivities to chemicals and various protein particles in foods remain undetermined, it is evident that increased patients are presenting with these problems. Once the immune system becomes hyper sensitized to a protein or chemical, many different disorders can arise including altered neurological function and mood disorders. Our food allergy testing includes identification of these sub categories. Our office can also customize food allergy panels to the patients needs.
Systemic Yeast :
An overgrowth of yeast can occur due to poor diet, early antibiotics and a variety of other reasons. This overgrowth of yeast can cause abnormal toxic metabolites which can cause or worsen behavior disorders, hyperactivity, aggressiveness, affect energy levels and immune function. Yeast can attach to the intestinal wall causing leaky gut syndrome, which can cause or exacerbate food allergies, impede absorption and create multiple nutrient deficiencies. Our office offers systemic yeast testing as a part of our Food Allergy Testing or we can order a more specific yeast test called an Organic Acid Test from Great Plains Labs. Once diagnosed, dietary programs are established and targeted nutrition is utilized to destroy the yeast and restore health.
Wide varieties of nutritional deficiencies have become common in modern society. Some reports indicate nutritional gestational nutrition as a source of origin for nutritional deficiencies in infants and toddlers. Additionally, increased dairy, white sugar, and white flour magnify these nutritional problems as children grow. The nutritional condition is further complicated by lifestyle and environmental conditions such as antibiotics, additives and toxins that displace nutrients.
There are increasing number of studies that suggest insult to the nervous system, at the upper most part of the spinal cord called the brain stem, can contribute to a variety of disorders including ADD and ADHD. It is essential for optimal health that the brain communicates with the body through the nervous system uninterrupted. Small misalignments in the upper part of the neck, from birth and childhood trauma, can create severe disruption to this communication system. Our office uses the NUCCA technique to correct this part of the spine. Our office routinely receives infant referrals from pediatricians due to the safety and efficiency or our approach to this region. We are the only office in North and South Carolina with doctors trained in this technique. (See: What is NUCCA? web page).
Fats and Fatty Acid Imbalances:
While it is yet undetermined whether Autistic, ADD and ADHD patients have cholesterol deficiencies as a secondary result of other problems or if it is a genetic predisposition, the research supports that it is a common problem among this population. Medicine is consumed with the concept of lowering cholesterol in adults at all costs. However, cholesterol is essential for proper neurological function. The nervous system uses fats to conduct impulses. When cholesterol levels get below 160, neurological function is impaired which can result in lethargy, aggression, impaired concentration and other mood alterations. Having a proper balance of fatty acids is also imperative to normal neurological function. Modern diets create extreme imbalances in these fatty acid ratios. Our office offers testing for fats and fatty acids. Natural treatments are available once the diagnosis is completed.
There are many neurotransmitters in the body. However, some of the most common are Serotonin, GABA, Epinephrine, Nor epinephrine, Dopamine and Glutamate. These are divided into two categories, excitatory and inhibitory. These hormones are responsible for controlling all the other hormones in the body and helping to regulate the nervous system. Since hormones are derived from fats and amino acids, these imbalances can arise from poor absorption, fatty acid imbalance, low cholesterol levels and a variety of other conditions. These imbalances can severely alter sleep patterns, anxiety, aggressiveness, concentration, mood and energy. Our office offers advanced neurotransmitter testing with natural treatment protocols. (See our Neurotransmitter web page for greater detail).
Visual Integration Problems:
Next to the spinal cord and nervous system, the visual system is the most complex in the body. Difficulty with visual perception can dramatically effect development. Interruption to this system can cause agitation to the nervous system and result in developmental delays, hostility, frustration and withdrawal. Our office works closely with other professionals that specialize in vision therapy when this care is indicated.
Impairments in methylation, detoxification, or the clearance of catecholamines may contribute to symptoms in autism. Our Neurogenomic test from Genova Diagnostics Laboratory evaluates single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes that modulate methylation, glutathione conjugation, oxidative protection and the potential to evaluate vascular oxidation. This allows our office to determine if there are genetic weaknesses and alter nutritional therapy to minimize the effect of this weakness.
There is no system that is more important in the treatment of ADD, ADHD and Autism than the digestive system. Since there are many factors that can contribute to gastrointestinal function, treatment often first requires a measurement of function in the intestinal lining. Our intestinal permeability test from Genova Diagnostics Laboratory allows our office to assess how well or poorly nutrients are absorbing through the intestinal wall, how much inflammation is present and helps determine the course of action. This test directly measures how well two nonmetabolized sugars permeate the intestinal mucosa.
The small intestine has the paradoxical dual function of being a digestive/absorptive organ as well as a barrier to permeation of toxic compounds and macromolecules.Either one of these functions may be disrupted by various mechanisms, resulting in local as well as systemic problems. Once evaluated, a treatment plan can be devised. (See our web page on Intestinal Permeability).
Amino Acid Imbalances:
Poor protein sources, steroids in our meats and dairy and poor gastrointestinal absorption can result in amino acid imbalances. Amino acids are essential for neurological function, neurotransmitter production and muscle development. Our office uses advanced amino acid testing and can customize an amino acid product for each individual's requirements. (See our Amino Acid web page).
Our office offers a complete approach to childhood behavior disorders that includes the most modern diagnostics and a holistic treatment plan. We believe every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.