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Gluten-Free, Casein-Free or Specific Carbohydrate Diet???

Recently, Hope wrote with a question regarding the GFCF diet and SCD.

“As of a week ago we (family of 7) have started the GFCF diet. The main reason is because we read that three out of our five children could possibly benefit from the diet. My youngest son has never been diagnosed with Autism but he does have some of the symptoms. My middle son has a mild form of Asperger’s and my daughter suffers from Allergies and Asthma terribly. All the literature I have read says that the GFCF diet could help, so we have made the change. Then I ran across the SCD and realized that everything I am feeding them on the GFCF diet is wrong for the SCD diet. The other problem is that 2 of my children are highly allergic to all nuts so I cannot use any nut flour.

More than anything I want to see progress in my children and am willing to try anything at this point. I want to hear my 6 year old talk, to stop the repetitive behavior and to be more controlled emotionally, but I have no idea what to cook for him for breakfast and lunch, especially since he can not have nuts of any kind. Also, I think he maybe allergic to eggs, so enforces more limitations.

If you can help I would appreciate it so very much. At this point, I am just feeling overwhelmed.

Hope”

Hope, Thanks for your question!  Which to choose – SCD or GFCF??  Hopefully I can give you some information to consider in making this decision for your family. I have stated in other posts that, although I do think the SCD diet serves its purpose, I do not think it is nutritionally sound, especially as a long-term solution. We did strictly follow the SCD diet for six months and did see some improvements, but, there were also drawbacks. First, I agree with you regarding the nut and egg allergies – this can be a huge problem, and, in a person with an out-of-balance immune system, repeated exposure to a particular food can create an allergy where no allergy previously existed.  After consulting with one of the top allergists in our state, we avoid all foods to which we know we are allergic (either through testing or reaction), and we have placed many foods on a four-day rotation. This means, even though our test results may not show we are allergic, because of the high-probability of allergies with certain foods, we do not the particular foods any more than once every four days.  My understanding for this rationale is because the liver is involved in allergic reactions, and it takes four days for the liver to detoxify a substance; therefore, exposure more-frequently than every four days can trigger an immune reaction. The foods which we place on four-day rotation are those that are the most-common allergy triggers, such as eggs and nuts.  You can search for the top-eight food allergens for more information.  (A side note on nuts – we NEVER eat peanuts or peanut oil. They are notoriously contaminated with fungal toxins and are a health hazard for all people.)

As far as choosing between the SCD and GFCF diet, my PERSONAL OPINION is that the GFCF diet is far more important than the SCD. Check with your doctor first, since I am not a medical doctor and cannot give medical advice. An internet search will reveal many doctors speaking of the importance of the GFCF diet, with the SCD diet having far fewer supporters. (I do not believe that popular approval validates any information, and many times, the popular way is the wrong way. In this case, I am simply suggesting that, among the doctors and health practitioners who are “in the know” regarding GFCF diet and SCD, it seems the GFCF diet has more support behind it. Please do your own research.)

The basic premise of the SCD diet is that the gut of many people demonstrating autistic symptoms (and other health challenges) is populated by an overabundance of “bad” bacteria and yeasts, and the SCD aims to “starve” the bad bacteria, thereby improving symptoms. I do agree with the premise of the diet; however, I think there are better ways to reach the goal of minimizing the bad bacteria in the gut. There are many dietary supplements that I think are more effective than the SCD, such as grapefruit seed extract (GSE), oregano extract, colloidal silver (don’t believe the blue-man stories in the mainstream media), Lauricidin (a derivative of Coconut Oil), and, my personal favorite, a specific garlic formulation called Allimax.  My personal experience is that these products are FAR-SUPERIOR to the SCD at ridding the gut of an overabundance of “bad” bacteria. Many of these also have anti-fungal properties and will work to control yeast as well. I did not see results on stool tests from the SCD. I did see results from using the supplements I listed. Additionally, you avoid the problems of the SCD, specifically the reliance on nuts and the over-consumpton of protein in the SCD. As a reminder, whenever you take products to kill the “bad” bacteria, “good” bacteria will also be killed, so it is important to take probiotic supplements. (Probiotics are in my top-five of nutritional supplements I believe are necessary for maintaining optimal health.)

So, my bottom-line on the SCD is this: I think it can be helpful for short periods of time, as I believe the premise on which it was established is sound. However, I do think the same goal can be reached through other therapies which do not pose the same problems as presented by the SCD. As I have written in a couple of other comments, I wrote my initial posts on the SCD when we were on the SCD and was impressed at the time with the written materials on the diet. After additional learning, however, I do think there are more-sophisticated and better ways to accomplish the goal of establishing healthy gut flora. Do I think it is important to reduce the amount of carbohydrates (breads, pasta, crackers, sweets, etc.) consumed? Yes, however, not to dangerously low levels, and keep the whole-grain, gluten-free grains such as short-grain brown rice, GF oatmeal, buckwheat (not a wheat product), millet, etc. In my family, I make sure a whole grain is consumed with each meal because without it, I find our blood sugar gets low. Balance is the key.

As far as the GFCF diet, I think this is THE foundation for all autism therapies. It grieves me to hear of families spending tens of thousands of dollars a year on behavioral therapies, yet not following a strict GFCF diet. Research the opinions of doctors who are willing to speak the truth, no matter the cost to themselves, such as Dr. Art Krigsman (a GI doc) and others. A well-known autism doctor told me years ago that it takes at least six months for the peptides formed by incomplete breakdown of gluten and casein to be removed from the system, so the GFCF diet can take up to six months before improvements will be seen. Most parents who use it say improvement happens much sooner than that.

Many claim there is “no evidence” for the GFCF diet. Do your own research. Research the opinions of doctors who are not receiving funding from the NIH (National Institute of Health) or any other quasi-governmental agency. Check out the connection between gluten, casein, and the immune system. Look up the connection between cerebral folate receptor antibodies, autism, and down-regulation of the immune system by milk proteins. Also, review the Autism Research Institute’s Parent Rating Guide – PARENTS rate the GFCF diet as one of the most-effective therapies.

Finally, although most general health resources may not take into account food allergies and sensitivities, I do think it is important to look at other health resources for healthy diet suggestions. For example, I have learned much from reading articles written by Joseph Mercola (www.mercola.com) and Dr. Nicholas Perricone. I also like Dr. Steven Sinatra’s supplement suggestions (he’s a cardiologist who writes about the connection between mitochondria and the heart), since problems with mitochondria are often present in autism. Anti-aging experts are also helpful. The most important thing to remember is that any dietary choices need to promote overall health and work for the individual. For example, we simply will not follow any diet that requires complete elimination of all carbohydrates or of all fats, since I know we feel terrible on these types of diets.  The more simple you can make it, the better.  We eat organic chicken, Crown-Prince sardines in olive oil (these are real sardines from Morocco, not herring as many “sardines” actually are), Vital Choice sockeye salmon, organic, grass-fed beef, along with plenty of steamed vegetables, brown rice, GF oatmeal, and use olive oil and coconut oil.  I NEVER, ever make a casserole since that is just calling for ingredients we can’t eat, and my family would not eat it if I did.  We use Celtic sea salt only.  After-dinner treats can be simple things like “rice pudding,” which is simply cooked brown rice with stevia, cinnamon, and rice milk added after cooking.  The fact is, when kids get used to eating simple, whole, healthy foods, this is what they will want.  This is all my family has known, and they don’t even want to sit next to anyone who is eating pizza or some food that is “foreign” to them.

And again, please research all these issues for yourself and consult a qualified medical practitioner. I cannot and do not provide any medical advice, nor should any opinions contained on this blog be considered medical advice. I am simply furthering the expression of ideas and dialogue as contemplated by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

I have found that it is my responsibility to protect the health of my family. No one else will accept this job with the same passion, education, and unwavering dedication as I will, nor should they.  I trust my own judgment for myself and my family and accept the words of others (even medical professionals) as OPINION ONLY.  Please do not take my word for any of this.  Read, research, and explore for yourself.  I am a voracious reader and have applied this passion to reading and research regarding health for my family. I truly believe in the natural rights and powers of the individual and hope that the information I have provided serves as some “food for thought,” and further research, and is a help to you on your own personal journey to health and prosperity. I pray the Lord’s abundant blessings would joyously overwhelm you on your path to abundant health.

Deuteronomy 8:1

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June 6, 2012 at 5:39 pm 10 comments

Gluten-Free/Casein-Free Resources

Most parents are overwhelmed when they hear a GF/CF diet is important in helping children with autism. Here is a great link that can help to make this easier – by Chef David Shaw-Zam:

http://www.chefshaw.com/

October 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm Leave a comment

Parents Rights & Autism

One of the best blogs I have seen on parents rights in custody battles relating to autism:

http://autismcustodybattles.wordpress.com/

October 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm Leave a comment

Getting Some Sleep! Solving the Night-Waking Problem in Autism

I have tried really hard to erase from my mind the painful memories of years of being woken up in the middle of the night by my son who was born with autism.  He would wake multiple times during the night, every night, with the first time usually being about 1:30-2:00 a.m. – just shortly after I had just fallen asleep.  Three years later, my body is still paying for three years of very little sleep!  I believe it is so important to get to the root of night-waking for our autistic children – so their growing bodies can get the sleep they need, and so that we parents can be rested to take care of them!

Sumio8 submitted the following question regarding night-waking in autism:

“What a wonderful website! Thanks for the resources and invaluable information! Your dedication really is helpful to so many people..I just had to say that.

I do have a question. We recently used Culturelle “dairy free” version and for over a month couldn’t figure out why our son was nightwaking (2am till 6am). We have been GFCF for months and he was exhibiting the same behavior prior to going CF. Unbeknownst to me my friend told me her DAN said it STILL contained casein. I came across a website that claims it has trace amounts (15ppm whatever that means). The day we removed Culturelle he slept through the night (just like when we removed his milk). I find that to be more than coincidental. When I emailed Culturelle the rep reassured me that they send it out to a another company for inspection etc. but I’m not buying it. 4 days later my son is STILL sleeping through the night and the past month he exhibited the same “caseo morphine” high. Thank goodness my friend enlightened me..It really bothers me they are denying it because beyond how it affects my son neurologically, he’s highly allergic to it and has broken out in hives.

Is there a good probiotic you could recommend that is indeed casein free?? Seems like many still have trace amounts.”

Hi Sumio8,  I am glad you found information here helpful!  I am so sorry to hear the problem your son had recently. 

We have never used the Culturelle product (dairy-based or dairy-free), so I cannot comment from personal experience on that particular product.  I would say that any product that causes your son to break out in hives is definitely NOT a product that is appropriate for him!  He is obviously allergic to it.  Certainly, casein intolerance and/or an allergy to a food or product can cause night waking.  Again, I cannot say whether the dairy-free Culturelle contains any casein because we have never used the product. 

We have, however, dealt with night-waking episodes, so I can share from my experience with that. I have found that there can be many causes of night-waking.  For example – gluten and casein intolerance, allergies (both food allergies, airborne allergies, allergies to mattress materials and materials in the room), serotonin and melatonin imbalances, yeast overgrowth, bacterial overgrowth, elevated ammonia levels, going to bed too late, toxicity of the body, pinworms, and gastric problems can all cause night waking.  There could also be several of these issues working together to cause the night waking. 

For instance, we linked my son’s night-waking to serious bacterial and fungal intestinal overgrowth, which produced toxic metabolic byproducts (including elevated ammonia levels).  When we aggressively treated the bacterial and fungal overgrowth, he was able to sleep through the night.  One caveat – his nights became significantly worse for about two weeks before they got better.  As the harmful bacteria and yeast died off, his sleep became severely disrupted for a short time.  We used activated charcoal (several hours apart from any supplements or medicines!!!) to help reduce the symptoms.  We worked with a DAN/Yasko MD through this process.  If you are not working with a doctor with this type of training, it may be better to deal with bacterial and yeast overgrowth in a slow but steady way, to reduce the die-off symptoms.   
We have been very happy with the probiotic we chose for daily use – it is by Neocore Spectrum – called GI Maximizer.  You can order online at www.neocorespectrum.com  They are completely gluten-free and casein-free (and also free from FOS, which can be extremely irritating to those with GI issues in autism).  I find that Neocore Spectrum’s 25 + BILLION capsules are actually more effective than another product we had used that was labeled as 75 billion. 

One last thought – after three years of my son waking up multiple times every night, I really needed to know WHY he was waking up in the middle of the night.  At that point, I really prayed that the Lord would give me specific direction on what was at the root of the problem and what to take for it.  I am so thankful for the answers I received!  I pray for guidance for you and for health and healing for your entire family! 

Be blessed!
“For everyone who asks, receives, and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks, it shall be opened.”  Luke 11:10 NASB

July 2, 2009 at 8:15 pm 1 comment

Making Progress in Autism – Probiotics and more!

Thanks Alex for the following question about progress through probiotics: 

My 5 yr old son is on the gf/cf/sf diet and I’m just about to order lots of supplements online. After reading your Press On! it sounded like us, however we haven’t started any probiotic yet. My son’s “disagreeableness” (made sense to me!) is pretty bad right now, without any supplement. How long roughly was the “rough part” for you?

Did the new line of probiotics that you mentioned come out yet?

Thanks!
Alex

Alex,

Yes, the probiotic product (and other products we use) have been released and they are fantastic! The company is Neocore Spectrum, and the website is http://www.neocorespectrum.com. The probiotic is very high-potency with 25 + Billion CFUs (colony forming units). It is gluten-free, casein-free and also free from FOS (a prebiotic in many probiotics that feeds bad bacteria). It also is formulated so that the probiotics survive the stomach acid and can actually colonize in the intestines – where they can do their job.

We also use all the products offered by Neocore Spectrum – the multivitamin/multimineral, enzymes (both chewable and capsules), omega-3 fish oil (small gelcaps), liquid antioxidant extracts (my sons LOVE the Blueberry), and the Silver Renew gel. The Silver Renew skin gel has been wonderful for us – we use it on bug bites, skin irritations, eczema, and even used it on a viral rash called Molluscum. I recently had some horrible eczema flare-ups on my arms and used the Silver Renew and saw relief within minutes, and complete resolution in only a few days.

The thing I love best about the Neocore Spectrum products is that I really feel I am getting a value for my money. For example, the multivitamin/multimineral is very complete and is reasonably priced. It is well-suited for our autistic children. (I use the products for myself too!) It is free from copper and iron, it uses many natural forms of vitamins. It also contains the active forms of folic acid, vitamin B 12, B-6 (it contains P-5-P), which the information published by the DAN! doctors and the Autism Research Institute shows that autistic children have difficulties processing these vitamins and need the more active forms. There are even bioflavonoids for extra antioxidant protection. A multi like this is truly hard to come by!
Alex, to answer your question as to how long the most difficult part lasted – I must say that it took several months of working on the yeast imbalance before I noticed that my son’s behavior and mood improved and the “disagreeableness” began fading away.

As I mentioned, he was so toxic when we began the probiotic supplementation, that we saw his behavior worsen for the first few weeks. He even had some nights of rough sleep where he would kick and scream out at night. I now know that was the bacterial and yeast die-off. Now I know that activated charcoal pills can help alleviate some of the die-off reactions. (Make sure not to take the activated charcoal within 2 hours of eating or taking any supplements.) Also, it is important to stay away from sugar – even excessive fruit sugar (ex. we avoid dried fruit) and moldy foods. It’s also important to work on the overall health of the body – supplying the vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and nutrition that the body, and specifically the immune system needs.

It is a lot of effort, but I must say it is worth it! Tonight as I was giving my boys a bath, I was thinking back a couple of years. I was remembering how difficult it was back then to give my son a bath. He would throw a constant fit during bath time – he didn’t like the water over his head, he didn’t like the smell of the soap (which was totally unscented!), he didn’t like the towel, he didn’t want his hair dried, and on and on! By the time I got him to bed, I would be in tears! Now our bath and bedtime routines are a joy! My boys hug and kiss each other goodnight and say “I love you!” to each other and to me! It is what I hoped, worked, and prayed for, and I am truly thankful! I pray for that same joy for you!

Blessings!

October 16, 2008 at 11:03 pm 4 comments

Article by David Kirby “Government Concedes Vaccine-Autism Case in Federal Court – Now What?”

Unfortunately, it seems federal law has virtually eliminated the right of children injured by vaccines to have their cases heard by a jury of their peers.  Instead, vaccine injury cases are heard before a federal Special Masters court, commonly referred to as “Vaccine Court.”  Recently, in one vaccine-autism case, the government conceded a causal link between a vaccine and autism.  David Kirby, author of Evidence of Harm – Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic, A Medical Controversy (St. Martins Press 2005) gives a thought-provoking account of this concession in the following article which is posted here, by permission, in its entirety:     

Government Concedes Vaccine-Autism Case in Federal Court – Now What?

Posted February 25, 2008 | 12:42 PM (EST)

By David Kirby The Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/government-concedes-vacci_b_88323.html

After years of insisting there is no evidence to link vaccines with the onset of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the US government has quietly conceded a vaccine-autism case in the Court of Federal Claims.

The unprecedented concession was filed on November 9, and sealed to protect the plaintiff’s identify. It was obtained through individuals unrelated to the case.

The claim, one of 4,900 autism cases currently pending in Federal “Vaccine Court,” was conceded by US Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler and other Justice Department officials, on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, the “defendant” in all Vaccine Court cases.

The child’s claim against the government — that mercury-containing vaccines were the cause of her autism — was supposed to be one of three “test cases” for the thimerosal-autism theory currently under consideration by a three-member panel of Special Masters, the presiding justices in Federal Claims Court.

Keisler wrote that medical personnel at the HHS Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation (DVIC) had reviewed the case and “concluded that compensation is appropriate.”

The doctors conceded that the child was healthy and developing normally until her 18-month well-baby visit, when she received vaccinations against nine different diseases all at once (two contained thimerosal).

Days later, the girl began spiraling downward into a cascade of illnesses and setbacks that, within months, presented as symptoms of autism, including: No response to verbal direction; loss of language skills; no eye contact; loss of “relatedness;” insomnia; incessant screaming; arching; and “watching the florescent lights repeatedly during examination.”

Seven months after vaccination, the patient was diagnosed by Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a leading neurologist at the Kennedy Krieger Children’s Hospital Neurology Clinic, with “regressive encephalopathy (brain disease) with features consistent with autistic spectrum disorder, following normal development.” The girl also met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) official criteria for autism.

In its written concession, the government said the child had a pre-existing mitochondrial disorder that was “aggravated” by her shots, and which ultimately resulted in an ASD diagnosis.

“The vaccinations received on July 19, 2000, significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder,” the concession says, “which predisposed her to deficits in cellular energy metabolism, and manifested as a regressive encephalopathy with features of ASD.”

This statement is good news for the girl and her family, who will now be compensated for the lifetime of care she will require. But its implications for the larger vaccine-autism debate, and for public health policy in general, are not as certain.

In fact, the government’s concession seems to raise more questions than it answers.

1) Is there a connection between vaccines, mitochondrial disorders and a diagnosis of autism, at least in some cases?

Mitochondria, you may recall from biology class, are the little powerhouses within cells that convert food into electrical energy, partly through a complex process called “oxidative phosphorylation.” If this process is impaired, mitochondrial disorder will ensue.

The child in this case had several markers for Mt disease, which was confirmed by muscle biopsy. Mt disease is often marked by lethargy, poor muscle tone, poor food digestion and bowel problems, something found in many children diagnosed with autism.

But mitochondrial disorders are rare in the general population, affecting some 2-per-10,000 people (or just 0.2%). So with 4,900 cases filed in Vaccine Court, this case should be the one and only, extremely rare instance of Mt disease in all the autism proceedings.

But it is not.

Mitochondrial disorders are now thought to be the most common disease associated with ASD. Some journal articles and other analyses have estimated that 10% to 20% of all autism cases may involve mitochondrial disorders, which would make them one thousand times more common among people with ASD than the general population.

Another article, published in the Journal of Child Neurology and co-authored by Dr. Zimmerman, showed that 38% of Kennedy Krieger Institute autism patients studied had one marker for impaired oxidative phosphorylation, and 47% had a second marker.

The authors — who reported on a case-study of the same autism claim conceded in Vaccine Court — noted that “children who have (mitochondrial-related) dysfunctional cellular energy metabolism might be more prone to undergo autistic regression between 18 and 30 months of age if they also have infections or immunizations at the same time.”

An interesting aspect of Mt disease in autism is that, with ASD, the mitochondrial disease seems to be milder than in “classic” cases of Mt disorder. In fact, classic Mt disease is almost always inherited, either passed down by the mother through mitochondrial DNA, or by both parents through nuclear DNA.

In autism-related Mt disease, however, the disorder is not typically found in other family members, and instead appears to be largely of the sporadic variety, which may now account for 75% of all mitochondrial disorders.

Meanwhile, an informal survey of seven families of children with cases currently pending in Vaccine Court revealed that all seven showed markers for mitochondrial dysfunction, dating back to their earliest medical tests. The facts in all seven claims mirror the case just conceded by the government: Normal development followed by vaccination, immediate illness, and rapid decline culminating in an autism diagnosis.

2) With 4,900 cases pending, and more coming, will the government concede those with underlying Mt disease — and if it not, will the Court award compensation?

The Court will soon begin processing the 4900 cases pending before it. What if 10% to 20% of them can demonstrate the same Mt disease and same set of facts as those in the conceded case? Would the government be obliged to concede 500, or even 1,000 cases? What impact would that have on public opinion? And is there enough money currently in the vaccine injury fund to cover so many settlements?

When asked for a comment last week about the court settlement, a spokesman for HHS furnished the following written statement:

“DVIC has reviewed the scientific information concerning the allegation that vaccines cause autism and has found no credible evidence to support the claim. Accordingly, in every case under the Vaccine Act, DVIC has maintained the position that vaccines do not cause autism, and has never concluded in any case that autism was caused by vaccination.”

3) If the government is claiming that vaccines did not “cause” autism, but instead aggravated a condition to “manifest” as autism, isn’t that a very fine distinction?

For most affected families, such linguistic gymnastics is not so important. And even if a vaccine injury “manifested” as autism in only one case, isn’t that still a significant development worthy of informing the public?

On the other hand, perhaps what the government is claiming is that vaccination resulted in the symptoms of autism, but not in an actual, factually correct diagnosis of autism itself.

4) If the government is claiming that this child does NOT have autism, then how many other children might also have something else that merely “mimics” autism?

Is it possible that 10%-20% of the cases that we now label as “autism,” are not autism at all, but rather some previously undefined “look-alike” syndrome that merely presents as “features” of autism?

This question gets to the heart of what autism actually is. The disorder is defined solely as a collection of features, nothing more. If you have the features (and the diagnosis), you have the disorder. The underlying biology is the great unknown.

But let’s say the government does determine that these kids don’t have actual “autism” (something I speculated on HuffPost a year ago). Then shouldn’t the Feds go back and test all people with ASD for impaired oxidative phosphorylation, perhaps reclassifying many of them?

If so, will we then see “autism” cases drop by tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people? Will there be a corresponding ascension of a newly described disorder, perhaps something like “Vaccine Aggravated Mitochondrial Disease with Features of ASD?”

And if this child was technically “misdiagnosed” with DSM-IV autism by Dr Zimmerman, how does he feel about HHS doctors issuing a second opinion re-diagnosis of his patient, whom they presumably had neither met nor examined? (Zimmerman declined an interview).

And along those lines, aren’t Bush administration officials somewhat wary of making long-distance, retroactive diagnoses from Washington, given that the Terry Schiavo incident has not yet faded from national memory?

5) Was this child’s Mt disease caused by a genetic mutation, as the government implies, and wouldn’t that have manifested as “ASD features” anyway?

In the concession, the government notes that the patient had a “single nucleotide change” in the mitochondrial DNA gene T2387C, implying that this was the underlying cause of her manifested “features” of autism.

While it’s true that some inherited forms of Mt disease can manifest as developmental delays, (and even ASD in the form of Rhett Syndrome) these forms are linked to identified genetic mutations, of which T2387C is not involved. In fact little, if anything, is known about the function of this particular gene.

What’s more, there is no evidence that this girl, prior to vaccination, suffered from any kind of “disorder” at all- genetic, mitochondrial or otherwise. Some forms of Mt disease are so mild that the person is unaware of being affected. This perfectly developing girl may have had Mt disorder at the time of vaccination, but nobody detected, or even suspected it.

And, there is no evidence to suggest that this girl would have regressed into symptoms consistent with a DSM-IV autism diagnosis without her vaccinations. If there was such evidence, then why on earth would these extremely well-funded government attorneys compensate this alleged injury in Vaccine Court? Why wouldn’t they move to dismiss, or at least fight the case at trial?

6) What are the implications for research?

The concession raises at least two critical research questions: What are the causes of Mt dysfunction; and how could vaccines aggravate that dysfunction to the point of “autistic features?”

While some Mt disorders are clearly inherited, the “sporadic” form is thought to account for 75% of all cases, according to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. So what causes sporadic Mt disease? “Medicines or other toxins,” says the Cleveland Clinic, a leading authority on the subject.

Use of the AIDS drug AZT, for example, can cause Mt disorders by deleting large segments of mitochondrial DNA. If that is the case, might other exposures to drugs or toxins (i.e., thimerosal, mercury in fish, air pollution, pesticides, live viruses) also cause sporadic Mt disease in certain subsets of children, through similar genotoxic mechanisms?

Among the prime cellular targets of mercury are mitochondria, and thimerosal-induced cell death has been associated with the depolarization of mitochondrial membrane, according to the International Journal of Molecular Medicine among several others. (Coincidently, the first case of Mt disease was diagnosed in 1959, just 15 years after the first autism case was named, and two decades after thimerosal’s introduction as a vaccine preservative.)

Regardless of its cause, shouldn’t HHS sponsor research into Mt disease and the biological mechanisms by which vaccines could aggravate the disorder? We still do not know what it was, exactly, about this girl’s vaccines that aggravated her condition. Was it the thimerosal? The three live viruses? The two attenuated viruses? Other ingredients like aluminum? A combination of the above?

And of course, if vaccine injuries can aggravate Mt disease to the point of manifesting as autism features, then what other underlying disorders or conditions (genetic, autoimmune, allergic, etc.) might also be aggravated to the same extent?

7) What are the implications for medicine and public health?

Should the government develop and approve new treatments for “aggravated mitochondrial disease with ASD features?” Interestingly, many of the treatments currently deployed in Mt disease (i.e., coenzyme Q10, vitamin B-12, lipoic acid, biotin, dietary changes, etc.) are part of the alternative treatment regimen that many parents use on their children with ASD.

And, if a significant minority of autism cases can be linked to Mt disease and vaccines, shouldn’t these products one day carry an FDA Black Box warning label, and shouldn’t children with Mt disorders be exempt from mandatory immunization?

8 ) What are the implications for the vaccine-autism debate?

It’s too early to tell. But this concession could conceivably make it more difficult for some officials to continue insisting there is “absolutely no link” between vaccines and autism.

It also puts the Federal Government’s Vaccine Court defense strategy somewhat into jeopardy. DOJ lawyers and witnesses have argued that autism is genetic, with no evidence to support an environmental component. And, they insist, it’s simply impossible to construct a chain of events linking immunizations to the disorder.

Government officials may need to rethink their legal strategy, as well as their public relations campaigns, given their own slightly contradictory concession in this case.

9) What is the bottom line here?

The public, (including world leaders) will demand to know what is going on inside the US Federal health establishment. Yes, as of now, n=1, a solitary vaccine-autism concession. But what if n=10% or 20%? Who will pay to clean up that mess?

The significance of this concession will unfortunately be fought over in the usual, vitriolic way — and I fully expect to be slammed for even raising these questions. Despite that, the language of this concession cannot be changed, or swept away.

Its key words are “aggravated” and “manifested.” Without the aggravation of the vaccines, it is uncertain that the manifestation would have occurred at all.

When a kid with peanut allergy eats a peanut and dies, we don’t say “his underlying metabolic condition was significantly aggravated to the extent of manifesting as an anaphylactic shock with features of death.”

No, we say the peanut killed the poor boy. Remove the peanut from the equation, and he would still be with us today.

Many people look forward to hearing more from HHS officials about why they are settling this claim. But whatever their explanation, they cannot change the fundamental facts of this extraordinary case:

The United State government is compensating at least one child for vaccine injuries that resulted in a diagnosis of autism.

And that is big news, no matter how you want to say it.

NOTE: Full text of the government’s statement is posted here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/every-american-should-rea_b_88558.html.

David Kirby is the author of “Evidence of Harm – Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic, A Medical Controversy” (St. Martins Press 2005).   

March 3, 2008 at 10:28 pm 2 comments

Gluten-free/Casein-free Snack Time Recipes

Snack time can be a great opportunity for sharing with your child in a few moments rest from a busy day.  And, if you share in baking a fun gluten-free/casein-free snack, it can also be a time for promoting communication, building social skills, and working on gross and fine motor skills. 

A couple of our favorite snacks are gluten-free/casein-free biscuits and gluten-free/casein-free blueberry muffins.

GLUTEN-FREE/CASEIN-FREE BISCUITS 

1 1/3 cup brown rice flour

2/3 cup tapioca flour

¼ teaspoon xanthan gum (if you don’t want to use this, then reverse the proportion of brown rice flour to tapioca flour)

1 Tablespoon sugar (I use turbinado sugar)

1 Tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup coconut oil (note – if melted, put in refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes.)

¾ cup rice milk or almond milk

 Mix dry ingredients, then cut in coconut oil using pastry blender or mix on low in mixer until mixture is crumbly.  Slowly stir in rice milk or almond milk until dough leaves sides of bowl.  (Dough will be soft and sticky.)  Lightly knead dough approximately 10 times on floured surface (use mixture of tapioca and rice flour).  Roll or pat dough until approximately ½ – ¾ inch thick.  Cut with floured cookie cutter and place on ungreased cookie sheet.   Bake in 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. 

Let your child help you in measuring ingredients.  I let my son stick his fingers in the flour, sugar, and salt.  It’s wonderful tactile stimulation for him.  Let your child use the rolling pin to roll out the dough – it’s a great gross motor exercise.  Let him roll small pieces of the dough into balls between his palms or with his fingers for a fine motor exercise. 

Try using cookie cutters in shapes relating to your child’s interests.  If your child loves outer space, he’ll love star biscuits.  If he’s an animal lover, try finding a dog bone cookie cutter, then use the baked “dog bone” biscuits for a game of pretend. 

GLUTEN-FREE/CASEIN-FREE BLUEBERRY MUFFINS 

¾ cup rice milk or almond milk

¼ cup coconut oil (if melted, place in refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes)
1 egg

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup tapioca flour

¼ tsp. xanthan gum

¼ – ½ cup sugar or honey (I use only ¼ cup and add extra sweetness with stevia)

Stevia – to desired sweetness (you can actually replace all of the sugar in this recipe with stevia if you like)

2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

 Beat milk, oil, and egg.  Stir in flour, sugar, stevia, baking powder, and salt and stir only until flour is moistened – batter will be lumpy.  Gently fold in blueberries. Bake 20-25 minutes in 400 degree oven.   

Both of these make great snacks that are easy to carry along when you are out of the house. 

I have great memories of cooking both of these recipes with my son, but especially the biscuits.  I look back now and see how much social progress it has brought him.  And baking together always brings a shared joy, a smile, and a time for relationship building.  We are making so much more than just bread!  Be blessed!

 John 6: 35 “And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”  NASB   

January 15, 2008 at 9:58 pm 4 comments

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