By Teresa Conrick
I continue to pursue the science illustrating my daughter’s regression into Autism nineteen years ago. Megan is a very ill, young woman, who has seizures, is non-verbal, and has an autoimmune diagnosis. She also has a long history of bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral infections -- Strep, Clostridia, and Giardia leading the pack. High titers of Measles, Mumps and Rubella viruses are continuously and mysteriously present in her blood.
Many parents have reported the same phenomenon as their toddler exited normal development and regressed into Autism. There are increasing numbers of children being diagnosed and examining the clues that effect both body and brain is imperative. The Microbiome is being implicated more and more as the potential source of why so many children are regressing into Autism and the severity of those affected corresponds to pathogens and loss of helpful bacteria. Most have connecting medical issues that often cause behavioral issues. Stopping GI pain, self-injurious behaviors, seizures, and a life of immune/autoimmune issues should be a top priority for those who have the power to create a positive outcome for my daughter and thousands more with a diagnosis of AUTISM. Who might have that power? How about THE White House?
Microbiome Alert = Autism Alert
I recently received this email in a “Microbiome Alert”:
“The White House - President Barack Obama – Office of Science and Technology Policy- What's Next for the Microbiome?”
…Addressing fundamental questions common across the study of communities of microorganisms, or “microbiomes,” can help propel the field forward toward practical applications in areas as diverse as environmental remediation, food production and nutrition, and medical research.
Analysis and modification of the microbiome promises to provide transformative treatments for human health. To take one example, the gut microbiome appears to play a role in several diseases, including obesity. With more research, scientists may be able to treat obesity by using a specific probiotic, prebiotic, or changes in diet that influence the composition of the microbiome. There is precedent that an approach like this could work. To treat the chronic diarrhea caused by an intestinal infection of the dangerous pathogen C. difficile, researchers are investigating how microbiome therapies can help treat this disease that affects half a million people in the United States each year. In a remarkable clinical trial, patients who were extremely ill due to C. difficile infection returned to full health when they received transplants of a donor’s healthy microbiome.
There is also mention of environmental, plant and agricultural microbiomes, but as the parent of a child who regressed into Autism, especially since that regression coincided with her receiving a mercury-containing vaccine and also the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella combined vaccine), my focus on the Microbiome concerns the human gut and especially how it is vastly different in these vulnerable children who have regressed into Autism http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0076993 . This next part is important in that context:
Given the demonstrated and potential value of microbiome research in such diverse applications, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is issuing a Request for Information to provide a broad community of stakeholders, including experts and members of the public an opportunity to comment on the current status and needs of microbiome research. The Request for Information can be found in the Federal Register here. OSTP encourages experts and interested individuals from across sectors and scientific disciplines to share your feedback on this critically important topic.
Jo Handelsman is Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Elizabeth R. Stulberg is a Policy Analyst at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
This is hopeful news. I have been reporting on Megan, immune issues in Autism, and the Microbiome, for a number of years now and I am not about to give up as the Microbiome has every indication of being THE most important avenue to truly helping so many affected children.
So what does The White House want to know about the Microbiome?:
• What are the most pressing, fundamental questions in microbiome research, common to most or all fields?
• Over the next ten years, what are the most important research gaps that must be addressed to advance this field?
• What tools, platform technologies, or technological advances would propel microbiome research from correlative to predictive?
• What crucial types of scientific and technical training will be needed to take advantage of harnessing the microbiome's potential?
• What fields of microbiome research are currently underfunded or underrepresented?
• What specific steps could be taken by the federal government, research institutes, universities, and philanthropies to encourage multi-disciplinary microbiome research?
• Is there any additional information, not requested above, that you believe OSTP should consider in identifying crucial areas of microbiome research?
Regressive Autism – The Microbiome Is Key
That’s a good list and Autism should be considered a priority. What other medical epidemic is making 1 out of 50 children succumb? - “There may be more children with autism spectrum disorder than previously thought," said Stephen Blumberg, a senior scientist at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.”
Late Onset Autism is now being called REGRESSIVE AUTISM. The children have normal development but then regress either gradually or abruptly before age three. Vaccination is often the catalyst. Consider these two unrelated facts that may actually merge together:
• ”By 1985 the incidence of regressive autism had equalled that from birth. By 1997 both types had increased although the regressive form was now >75% of the total occurrence. This suggests that an acquired condition was overtaking birth defects or purely genetic conditions……In the vast majority of cases, the emergence of autistic indications appears to happen in children who had developed normally[10,13,14], and before three years[15,16.]”
• “Infant microbial colonization is affected by delivery mode, dietary exposures, antibiotic exposure, and environmental toxicants. Successive microbiome acquisition in infancy is likely a determinant of early immune programming, subsequent infection, and allergy risk…. Several exposures common to neonatal and infant populations could exert pressure on the development of the microbiome and major diseases including allergy and infection in large populations… children evolve an ‘adult-like’ microbiome within the first 3 years of life, but this time period also marks the greatest intrapersonal and interpersonal variation within these microbial communities, possibly reflecting the differential development of the microbiome in relation to environmental factors…..”
Caution: Failing Microbiome Ahead
Vaccination IS THE MOST COMMON exposure to neonatal and infant populations. We must look at all sources that can alter or damage the Microbiome. That would include:
• Antibiotics, though their effects may be more demonized than studies show:
“…when early fecal samples from antibiotic-exposed infants were compared with a later post-weaning sample, antibiotic resistance was reduced, and overall diversity had increased [31▪]. This may have been due to the plasticity and rapid rate of change within the gut microbiota in the first year of life, suggesting that effects of early antibiotic usage in infants may be diminished over time…” However, mercury exposure may actually cause much more damage to the microbiome that LOOKS like antibiotic damage but more insidious. From that same study – “several studies demonstrated that individuals exposed to mercury were more likely to possess resistance to multiple antibiotics, suggesting a co-selection mechanism.”
• Ambient mercury exposure -, “The relative risk of autism is greater in the geographic areas of higher levels of ambient mercury.”
• Thimerosal, and other medical mercury - Hepatitis B vaccination of male neonates and autism diagnosis, NHIS 1997-2002. : “Boys vaccinated as neonates had threefold greater odds for autism diagnosis…” That was a Thimerosal-containing vaccine.
• Vaccination can alter the microbiome – “….the structure of the microbiome is altered by vaccines. The unintended consequences of this alteration remain to be seen.”
It is not enough to ask THE White House to explore the role of the Microbiome in Autism without looking at ALL sources of damage. Exposing the UNITENDED CONSEQUENCES of both mercury exposure and vaccination is crucial to stopping regression into Autism and to help tens of thousands injured.
From a recent British Medical Journal comment :
Unacceptable omission of documenting vaccine effects on the microbiome
Again in an article that investigates chronic non-communicable disease (NCD) effects of the microbiome and again vaccines are ignored, brushed aside as an "environmental factor".
Vaccines are not an environmental factor.
Vaccines take out commensals and as such change the microbiome more permanently than antibiotics.
It is unacceptable that respectable epidemiologists, research councils, public health departments or editors of medical journals continue to condone that kind of deliberate mis-information.
Amen and thank you.
To offer your input and request for this imperative research, please go here. The deadline for requests is June 15, 2015.
Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.