By Kent Heckenlively
It may seem strange that six years after I started in the bio-medical world, beginning with the gluten/casein free diet for my daughter, and encompassing just about every other known treatment, that I’d questioned whether mercury played any role in her problems.
The reason was I simply didn’t have any good proof of high mercury levels in her, despite more than three years of chelation, and forty-two UTM tests from Doctors Data. I did have abundant evidence of aluminum retention. She usually averaged somewhere between eight and thirteen times the normal amount of aluminum excretion, and in one test, after we’d gone after strep, excreted eighty-one times the normal amount of aluminum.
I was comfortable with aluminum as the reason for her problems because of the data, but also unsettled. Despite getting out huge amounts of aluminum she didn’t get noticeably better. I’d observed that accounts of kids getting better after mercury excretion usually involved somewhere between three to four times the normal amounts of mercury being excreted from their bodies and measured in the urine toxic metals tests. Even her most extreme test, when everything else was coming out, never even made it to twice the normal amount.
This raised a number of questions for me.
Did girls simply retain aluminum rather than mercury as the boys seemed to do? Did the aluminum do greater damage than the mercury? Were there still vast amounts of mercury in my daughter, that for some reason I simply couldn’t get her to excrete? The answers to these questions are vital because each one requires a different approach.
If my daughter was an aluminum kid, rather than a mercury kid, then something else had to be at work. When other children excreted high levels of mercury, they generally got better. Jacqueline’s levels of aluminum dropped to roughly normal levels by the summer of 2008, but there wasn’t a change.
That finding made me consider brain damage. Maybe she was simply damaged. How might you fix that? Stem cells were my answer. (Cost of $15,500 for treatment courtesy of a grant from her Grandpa Heckenlively.) In August of 2008 we traveled to Costa Rica for four days so my daughter could receive 16 million stem cells, eight million through an infusion in her arm, and eight million infused through a line in her spine so it would have direct access to her brain.
But two months after stem cells there wasn’t a change. I was counseled to wait for more time to pass. My regular autism doctor was also counseling me that at some time the mercury would come out. But I’d been waiting more than three years to see mercury and
my daughter wasn’t getting any younger.
Then there were the troubling findings from the Laboratoire de Phillipe Auguste run by the French physician, Dr. Robert Nataf, which suggested she had high levels of retained mercury in her body. But then I’d also had different people advise me that the tests by Dr. Nataf weren’t reliable. What was I to believe?
It was at this point I ran into a doctor who told me these children were infected with viruses that hid from the immune system and lowered cellular energy. And he had a treatment. Illumination with UV light and his magical mystery formula put onto a plastic sheet would activate an alternative energy pathway which would go after the viruses. But of course, he wasn’t a big believer that heavy metals formed any part of the autism problem.
I did the treatment and started seeing changes. Specifically, she’s had about a 50-75% drop in seizures, and started to gain in physical strength. This was shown most dramatically in her ability to hold a marker and do some coloring. I’ve included two of her pictures so you can see the difference.
(Click the pictures for a larger view.) But I kept thinking about metal excretion. It seemed to me that if you were increasing cellular energy, there also had to be a corresponding increase in heavy metal excretion. Call me simple-minded, but it made sense to me. The Hannah Poling case got everybody thinking about energy production via the mitochondria. If you don’t have enough energy in the body, how can all those complex chemical reactions, including detoxification, take place?
So I ran her forty-third UTM test (each test costs $110, so for all the tests over the years we’re talking about $4,730 that has walked out the door) to see what came back. Previously, her high for mercury was 8, and most of the time they were less than 1. The doctor’s office e-mailed me the results immediately after seeing them. Her mercury level was 23 (reference range 5) (click here). I had previously observed that the range for recovery of kids seemed to be about 15-20. We were finally in the recovery range. I’ve included her test result, as well as the graphs which show her excretion of metals over those other forty-two tests. The mercury graph is on page 9 (click here).
This finding is sending shock waves through the small, but brilliant cadre of medical professionals whom Jacqueline has long confused, causing some to question long-held beliefs. I’m not sure where all this will lead. Many questions remain unanswered.
Maybe after more than four months the stem cells are starting to kick in. Maybe she’s got more cellular energy and it’s causing the mercury to be excreted. Maybe after three years of chelation we’ve drained enough of the swamp that the mercury is finally coming out. I have my opinions about which one is really at work, but I don’t have a definitive answer. As you can probably guess, I’m running an additional test to confirm the results. (There is a 1 in 43 chance this is a coincidence, although the cadmium and nickel excretions are similarly high, and they usually increase shortly before or in combination with mercury excretion.)
But now I finally have some proof that my daughter is mercury poisoned. And I can proudly declare myself a card-carrying member of the mercury militia.
Kent Heckenlively is Legal Editor of Age of Autism