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David Suzuki Presents the Autism Enigma on The Nature of Things

Gut-brainBy Lisa Dea

It’s a typical evening at home, the kids are finally asleep after the usual bedtime rituals and I’ve just finished watching another television news magazine’s take on autism.

A silent tear rolls down my cheek.

I am stunned.

I am blown away.

With any new TV program, newspaper article, or magazine exposé on autism, I always have such high hopes.  Hope for that elusive, balanced viewpoint, for awareness, and compassion, and understanding….hope for the discovery of the cause and hope for a nugget of information that will be that “ah ha” moment for my child’s recovery.  But in this era of witch hunts and smear campaigns, propaganda advertising and big pharma, hope, well, it seems a bit fleeting.  Or is it?

A silent tear rolls down my cheek…

David Suzuki’s, “The Nature of Things”, a Canadian television news magazine, is a small, life giving oasis in an otherwise bleak mainstream media landscape.  The program, “Autism Enigma”, (Watch here, the video is disabled on the Canadian site as far as we can see) highlights the possible and plausible connection between bacteria in the gut and the potentially devastating effects it has on the brain.

I am stunned…finally, someone in the mainstream media is listening, and learning, questioning and educating.  Finally….

In nature, it is often the slightest noise or the smallest little piece of snow rolling downhill that starts an avalanche.  Maybe, just maybe, one small Canadian news program, from the land of snow and ice, can throw a snowball that will grow into an avalanche.

I am blown away…with hope.

 Lisa Dea lives in Vancouver with her family.



Immune system implicated in prematurity complication

"Now, Weitkamp and his colleagues have discovered that disruptions in immune system regulation — not previously considered to be important in NEC pathophysiology — may play a role in the disease. The findings, reported in the journal Gut, suggest a new target for therapeutic interventions for NEC.

NEC is an inflammatory disease that kills intestinal tissue. Premature babies, and particularly those who have early formula feedings (breast milk has protective properties), are at increased risk for developing NEC.

Using multiple cellular "markers" and flow cytometry to identify the Treg cells, they confirmed that premature babies have an abundance of Treg cells in the intestines. Babies with NEC had about 60 percent fewer Treg cells than babies with non-NEC problems.

The investigators also detected increased expression of inflammatory cytokines (immune system signaling molecules) — particularly those that suppress Treg cell development — in the NEC tissue samples. And in assays of cell function, they found that the Treg cells suppressed cytokine production by and proliferation of T cells.

Follow-up studies on tissue samples from infants who had a second surgery suggest that the reduction in Treg cells is not because of an immune system defect in the babies.

"We believe that the T regulatory cells we've identified are in fact functional Treg cells and that they are down-regulated at the time of NEC," Weitkamp said. "Our studies challenge the dogma that cellular immunity is not important in the immediate neonatal period or in the pathophysiology of NEC."

Now, Weitkamp and his colleagues including neonatology fellow Joann Romano-Keeler, M.D., are studying the intestinal microbiome — the collection of microbes colonizing the gut — in the surgically removed samples.

"We know that the microbiome and the immune system are important in shaping each other," Weitkamp said.

"We need to understand exactly how that works and which components typically found in human milk — such as certain vitamins, prebiotics and probiotics — are important for healthy microbiome and healthy immune system development."


A lot of Alziheimers have C-Diff too.
Do you think that glycerol is laying around in the gut and encouraging the growth of Clositium?


Preemis have been noted to have altered gut populations and also end up with higher rates of Autism. The problems do not begin from an altered gut ecology alone, but infant development along with gut cell function and immune response allows for a pathology that accomadates certain bacterial profiles and the interaction sets up the related inflamatory and immune rsponse cycle. This can be made more pathogenic I think by IV's containing glycerin elements and then baby formula with monoglycerides,diglycerides, and iron continues this process. Then add gylcerine suppositories that may help unbind a child temporarily, but make matters worse overall if their binding is due to bacterial issues. The abstract below says certain bacteria may produce an antimicrobial called reuterin.This could account for less diverse bacterial profiles in addition to the intrinsic gut immune responses.

Human faecal microbiota display variable patterns of glycerol metabolism


"Significant amounts of glycerol reach the colon microbiota daily through the diet and/or by in situ microbial production or release from desquamated epithelial cells. Some gut microorganisms may anaerobically reduce glycerol to 1,3-propanediol (1,3-PDO), with 3-hydroxypropanal as an intermediate. Accumulation of the latter intermediate may result in the formation of reuterin, which is known for its biological activity (e.g. antimicrobial properties). To date, glycerol metabolism in mixed cultures from the human colon has received little attention. Using in vitro batch incubations of faeces from 10 human individuals, we demonstrated that glycerol addition (140 mM) significantly affects the metabolism and composition of the microbial community. About a third of the samples exhibited rapid glycerol conversion, yielding proportionally higher levels of acetate and 1,3-PDO. In contrast, a slower glycerol metabolism resulted in higher levels of propionate. Furthermore, rapid glycerol metabolism correlated with significant shifts in the Lactobacillus–Enterococcus community, which were not observed in slower glycerol-metabolizing samples. As the conversion of glycerol to 1,3-PDO is a highly reducing process, we infer that the glycerol metabolism may act as an effective hydrogen sink. Given the importance of hydrogen-consuming processes in the gut, this work suggests that glycerol may have potential as a tool for modulating fermentation kinetics and profiles in the gastrointestinal tract."


Carolyn Coughlin
Thank You for the link.
I finished listening to Dr. Wakefield's presentations.

In Wakefield Presentation 5 -- the very last statement that Dr. Wakefield says in answering a question is: (I can't quote word for word but basically what he said was)In bowels that have been shorten there is many times an overgrowth of bacteria and the mind is affected, and is then treated successufully with antibiotics.

Then Dr. Wakefield says (is there nothing he don't know about all this???) -- He says that there is known incidences of treating clostridium bacteria with antibiotics and improvement in the behaviors and health of individuals. But once the antibiotic is stopped the behaviors and illness returns which indicates that there is another underlying cause.

The mother in this video that Lisa gave us thinks that it is because clostridium spores (and waits) untill the antibotic is all gone and then regrows.

I don't think that is the case (I know I am nothing, but --- it is like diabetics -- they have reoccurring yeast infections. Not because they have some unusually, strange yeast. They take the anti yeast medicines and get rid of them and then it comes back and the reason is --- their metabolism is laying out food that is just perfect for the growth of normal every day yeast. The same could be said about clostridium - there is something in the metabolism not being broken down that makes a perfect nutrient for the clostridium.

Our only option right now is to eliminate gluten, or cassein or in our case carbohydrates. They asked Dr. Wakefield how long to give it to see if the diet works and he says a year.

If your child has some seizure activity if you go on a fasting diet you know within the first 24 hours.


Please try this link: of things/episode/autism-enigma.htlm
Answers must be found,our children and our families are


Why has this video been removed???? WTH??

Jen is a way you can donate to the Kilee Patchell-Evans autism research group that comes out of the U. Of Western Ontario (Dr. McFabe) and U. Of Guelph (Emma Allen-Vercoe). Most of the other stuff just seems like a waste of time.

Don't get too excited

Lisa Dea -

Don't get too excited and hopeful about the CBC in general. Just be thankful for David Suzuki and "The Nature of Things" program.

Do you remember these posts?

New Autism Twin Study Demolishes Decades-Long Belief in Genetic Causation

NIMH Releases "Autism Balance Tips to Environment As Heritability Ebbs" July 4th to Avoid Fireworks

What did CBC do with this amazing study?

No TV, no radio, nothing on air at all.

Only the terrible Associated Press piece that focuses more on the fraternal twins and not the identical, which is just as shocking, if not more...

"Autism risk turns to womb in fraternal twin study"

Re: the video being disabled on CBC. It isn't.

Your internet domains are USA (or wherever)... your service providers have not purchased rights to "watch" this show. Just like I cannot access TV shows down there... so no Satruday Night Live archives for me.

The push back will come

The push back will come. This is the land of CAIRN, (Fombonne and friends)

Off topic - but look what I found today at McGill's site..

Tireless research reveals secrets of the “sleep hormone”

Read it. They are going to make a drug to act selectively on a single melatonin receptor. Ummm... and taking melatonin wasn't good enough?

And what about the ATN's melatonin studies? Which is accessible to us all right now.

So, the government will now likely outlaw another over the counter supplement and trademark their drug (much like what they did to Tryptophan when they needed to protect and trademark Fluoxetine). And, we'll have to wait a year to see a psychiatrist to poo-poo us about our children's sleep issues and someone somewhere will make a great deal of cash.


I wonder if higher than normal serotonin levels in the gut contribute to the GI issues seen in children with autism. The second brain, technically known as the enteric nervous system contains more than 30 neurotransmitters, just like the brain. Ninety-five percent of the body's serotonin is found in the bowels.

Carbohydrate consumption naturally stimulates production of serotonin. Dairy and soy products are high in tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin. Autistic children are more likely to have abnormal immune responses to milk and soy. Perhaps, that's because serotonin stimulates the immune system's response, which may result in inflammatory intestinal problems, such as irritable bowel.

Removing some of these food products from the diet seems to improve gut problems in many children with autism, so could lower serotonin levels in the gut be contributing to these improvements, by calming the immune response?


We have to DEMAND DEMAND DEMAND that more research like this happens and that it happens soon. Money should be pouring into this research and fund more research like it. Jill Bolte figured this out over a decade ago and NOTHING WAS DONE SINCE! (I was crying, were you crying?) It is a crime against our children who could recover if their guts were doing good. And we have to ask for solutions, not just causes. If I were rich I would offer a billion dollars to the scientist who developed a probiotic that cured 100 ASD kids in a study of 100 kids. Autism is a gut imbalance, not brain damage as this show pointed out. (Feel free to wear that on your t-shirt)


Two things that stood out for me on this video was:

"Dr. MacFabe discusses propionic acid short for E 280 – an additive found in many store bought breads and certain cheeses. AND even more propionic acids or E 280 can be made by certain types of bacteria in the gut from fermenting carbs."


49:36 "In the future we may be able to screen for weird fatty acids in children, screen bacteria, help children eradicate bad bacteria, help promote healthy bacteria and get rid of bad bugs; helping the person metabolize these fatty acids just like we give insulin to a diabetic to help them metabolize sugars."

Maybe we are talking about just one more form of diabetes?? Not the insulin stuff, but something else?

Bob Moffitt

Lisa .. I want to thank you for alerting the AoA community to this excellent presentation that "highlights the possible and plausible connection between bacteria in the gut and the potentially devastating effects it has on the brain."

I enthusiastically share your ..HOPE .. "for that elusive, balanced viewpoint, for awareness, and compassion, and understanding….for the discovery of the cause and hope for a nugget of information that will be that “ah ha” moment for my child’s .. (in my case my grandson's) .. recovery."

FOUR YEARS AGO .. I read Jill Neimark's profound article in Discover Magazine: "Autism: It's Not Just in the Head" .. and .. I was just as "blown away" .. and .. "hopeful" .. her article would pave the way for scientists to .. at last .. begin exploring the "plausible connection between bacteria in the gut and the potentially devastating effects it has on the brain".

Jill's entire ground-breaking article can be read at:

Jill Neimark .. at that time .. identified Harvard neurologist Martha Herbert, as the author of a 14,000 word paper in the journal "Clinical Neuropyschiatry" .. "that re-conceptualizes the universe of autism, pulling the brain down from its privileged perch as an organ isolated from the rest of the body."

Worth mentioning .. Jill's article was written following the CDC's 2003 report which "suggested as many as 1 in 166 children" where thought to be on the autism spectrum. We all know the CDC's "suggested estimate" of children has INCREASED since then .. in spite of all those journalists who have prostituted their professions .. by simply parroting the convenient "plausible denial" of scientists .. who have no "scientific" recourse but to insist any increase in autism is due to a "broader definition" .. or .. "better diagnosing".

Also worth mentioning .. regarding the CDC's 2003 report ..

"The public's concern about autism has caught the ear of federal lawmakers. The Combating Autism Act, approved last December .. (2003 I think) .. authorized nearly 1 BILLION over the next FOUR years for autism-related research and intervention".

The obvious question arises:

How many of those 1 BILLION dollars were spent researching the "possible and plausible connection between bacteria in the gut and the potentially devastating effects it has on the brain.?

In any event .. Lisa .. YOU have re-newed my HOPE that " just maybe, one small Canadian news program, from the land of snow and ice, can throw a snowball that will grow into an avalanche."


Does the vaccine trigger an immune response that messes up the metabolism that causes one/several bacteria or yeast an opportunity for growth that these pathogens would not normally have and they outstrip all others and grow?

Once the over growth of these certain bacteria, fungi begins - it then becomes a never ending cycle thatcontinues to keep the metabolism messed up and the messed up metabolism keeps the opportunist pathogen going on and on and on???

My son's favorite food in all the world - all he ever really wanted in life was cake and icing.

Who knows?

Missed it on TV but will have to view it online.
I had signed some of David Suzuki's petitions and joined his facebook page and a few months later I received a fund raising call concerning ridding toxins from the environment from them. I explained how I would love to support them financially however due to my son's own illness from environmental toxins we were a one-income family. We had a brief discussion about thimerosal and aluminum and I asked the caller to please pass on a request to Dr. Suzuki to not overlook this source of environmental insults to our children.

Carolyn Coughlin

Another great place to see Krigsman and Wakefield explain the gut--and talk about poop! -- is:

This is from a presentation at CMU my alma mater, and I am so proud they keep it up there. I have written them to thank them and ask that you do too!

The best stuff is in the later videos!


It can be ignored easily enough.
Esp. if it is constipation than the other way.


@ Barry: My child certainly had intestinal issues.

However, I have met several parents who say that their child never did.

I have mentally divided them into 3 groups:

1) Some children on the spectrum really don't have obvious intestinal issues. I have noticed that all the children I have met in this category are solidly on the milder end of the spectrum.

2) Some children have intestinal issues, but their parents either are unaware of it, or somehow repress/forget it. One mother in particular told me when her son was 3 years old that he had had major diarrrhea since the day he was born. (Yes, he had hep B at birth. And yes, he was bottle-fed--and her pediatrician NEVER recommended trying to breastfeed, pump her milk, or even to formulas.) Yet this same mother told me, years later, when her child was 12, that there was no reason for her to look into the gfcf diet because "his digestion is just fine."

3) Some children have intestinal issues, but the parents were told by the pediatrician that "children have tummy-aches, children get diarrhea, don't worry." So the parents assume that the child has no intestinal issues--when, of course, he does.

Many adults--NON-autistic adults--have intestinal issues that THEY are unaware of, until it gets completely out of control. And then they are always diagnosed with IBS instead of tested for celiac.


Fascinating video, thank you for sharing.


Great program. The gut flora change is part of a process that starts with environmental triggers that cause systemic oxidative stress and inflammation. The most obvious of these triggers is vaccination. Vaccinated children tend have higher rates of ear infections that are then treated with antibiotics that further increase oxidative stress and inflammation by destroying the healthy gut flora. The initial damage opens the way for many more environmental triggers that damage the gut, brain and the immune system. It is a snowball effect. It is quite amazing that the medical profession has denied the existence of the gut issues in autism for such a long time.


My son no longer suffers from GI troubles whatsoever. It has taken us YEARS to achieve this through heavy metal chelation.

Remove the poison and repair the gut. So much of the current fixes are just treating the symptoms.

It really is the metals, folks.


I hope these doctors can convince there peers this time that autism is indeed a medically treatable condition. Dr. Herbert is a huge asset and hopefully she can help get the word out.

At age 18 months, my son had a very bad reaction to an antibiotic he was on for an ear infection. He ended up in the hospital on an IV being treated for severe dehydration. His follow up care was poor. I was handed a sheet and two bottles of pedialyte and that was it. I wonder if that episode was the beginning of a clositridia takeover of his gut.

If the antibiotics are setting the stage for abnormal stomach flora then I expect the exact same backlash/ denial from some in the medical community. Some people just won't accept any evidence.


New target for the Medical Industrial Complex - Dr Suzuki.


The Autism Enigma / Excellent !!!

clostridium in the gut...... 15 months / 37 doctors

and a 90 year old doctor with the parent are the ones who figure it out...

of course it STILL could have been the result of a toddler vaccine/ immune system mess


I should also add that David Suzuki is a well respected scientist and he was a genetics professor.


Wow, that makes me happy. I have mad it a point to respond to a website of his lately since he is so passionate about the poisoning of the earth. It makes total sense that he would explore this issue.


I meet lots of parents who say, "His stomach is fine. He eats only crackers, mac and cheese, bread and drinks only milk." I want to scream.

I saw a young adult with Asperger's in my town at the grocery store one day a couple of years ago. The cart contents blew me away - it was all English Muffins, Kraft Mac and Cheese boxes and milk - I swear to God. I just shook my head.


I have met numerous parents since our journey began, and I have yet to meet one who's child who DOES NOT suffer from some form of gastrointestinal disorder.

With the obvious exception of the medical community, the question has never been whether autistic children have gastrointestinal issues, or if it's related to their condition.

The real question, which the medical community seems terrified to even ask ... is what in the heck has caused this very recent and alarming development.

mary podlesak

I haven't seen it yet but hope to. When I lived in Buffalo, I always admired David Suzuki's work - and missed him when I moved to other interior US locations. Recognition of a problem and acknowledgment of it's existence is the first step towards a solution, particularly with autism. When my children react unexpectedly, I'm the one judged to be an incompetent mother/teacher. Their autism and it's medical consequences are never given a moment's consideration.

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