By Teresa Conrick
I have been reading and writing about the microbiome quite a lot so it was inspiring to be able to hear Dr. Andrew Wakefield discuss vaccine safety issues, autism and the microbiome here in Chicago earlier this year. Dr. Wakefield was presenting along with Dr. Ashly Ochsner, BS, DC, a popular, local Chiropractor, whose practice, Health From Within, treats many patients with an autism diagnosis. Marcella Piper-Terry, parent, activist, FB friend to many, and the heart and soul of VaxTruth, was also a presenter, discussing her own personal journey and the many parents along the way who have had children injured by vaccines.
We listened about the epidemic numbers of kids receiving an autism diagnosis and other chronic diseases. We cried when Dr. Wakefield showed a photo of a boy, bloody and bruised by his own self-injurious behavior (SIB), who had the most severe case of autism that Dr.Wakefield had ever seen. He described how the boy received a GI scope and lesions were seen everywhere. The amount of pain would have had us all on the floor screaming for help, Dr. Wakefield described, but the boy was nonverbal and he could not tell of his plight. His SIB was not some kind of psychotic display but his reaction to pain -- “the amount of pain probably had this boy almost suicidal.” He then explained how the boy was put on a special diet and received medical treatments and medications to stop the inflammation and pain. He was getting better but then the local doctors stopped it. We have heard this scenario before. An autism diagnosis often means psychotropic drugs and for a child like this, often restraints. The word, AUTISM, historically has meant a BRAIN issue, thus PSYCHIATRIC only and that’s what happened to this boy. They stopped his medical care, and his pain and SIB returned. The insanity of that is just too horrific.
Dr Wakefield also described how for years parents were told that there was NO CONNECTION to GI issues and autism. Many were treated as if they were crazy or had munchausen syndrome by proxy, the most bizarre excuse that psychiatry ever invented. Yet here we are now, with study after study showing that there is MUCH EVIDENCE of GI issues and autism:
Dr. Andy Wakefield went on to remind us all that it was so unfortunate that those first children of the 1930’s who began to exhibit the unique behaviors of perseveration, issues with language, and social impairments, were sent to a psychiatrist, Dr. Leo Kanner, who mistook their symptoms which he described as “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact,” instead of MEDICAL presentations.Psychiatry also blamed the families, especially the mothers, for the unusual behaviors of their child. Andy commented that this has prevented much medical care for the children still now, years later, most of them very ILL. Many of us parents have lived that. I know my daughter, Megan, age twenty-one and very severely affected, has GI issues, seizures, an autoimmune diagnosis, and episodes of pain and SIB. She also lost language, lost eye contact and regressed in skills after vaccinations, especially after the MMR vaccine. Listening to Andy talk about the medical issues of autism is like rays of sunlight and hope filling a room that has been dark for far, too long.
The microbiome, a fascinating and pertinent topic in autism has had my interest and Andy touched on that many times in his talk. He mentioned that a mom right here in Chicago should win the Nobel prize for this huge connection. Here she is:
……a lady named Ellen Bolte. She had done a remarkable job reviewing the medical literature on autism and related diseases, and concluded this might well be a bacterial infection. And she thought the best example of this was infant botulism, wherein the organism grows in the gut of the baby, produces toxin, and it’s absorbed. It goes to the central nervous system and produces the disease….. So, she had recommended to Dr. Sandler that he treat her child with oral Vancomycin, reasoning that this drug would be active against the type of organism she thought might be causing the disease, and that would be a Clostridia group. They’re Gram-positive and the Vancomycin is particularly active against Gram-positive organisms. So, he agreed to do this and the child had a dramatic improvement, starting within a few days and persisting for six weeks while he was still on the drug. This involved improvement in language skills. He actually had no language beforehand, but he picked up a few words and even began to string together tiny sentences towards the end, like, “No, Mummy, I’d like this.” He was much more malleable. He would listen to people and respond. He would look at them, which was quite different from his usual behaviour. He didn’t have any fits of anger and generally was a much more, nearly normal child.
My Megan has been treated numerous times for Clostridial infections and she too improves due to stopping the infection which then stops the pain, the toxins, and then the negative behaviors. The microbiome and microbiota are hugely involved in autism, Andy reinforced, and emphasized that the GI bacteria and microbes may be THE KEY to autism. He showed us this study:
…..Our study suggests that B. fragilis is able to ameliorate leaky gut by directly targeting tight junction expression,cytokine production, and/or microbiome composition. Intriguingly, a recent analysis in humans showed that among the Bacteroidaceae family, only a single phylotype most closely related to B. fragilis was selectively depleted in ASD children compared to matched controls, and most dramatically in those subjects with more severe GI issues…..We propose the transformative concept that autism, and likely other behavioral conditions, are potentially diseases involving the gut that ultimately impact the immune,metabolic, and nervous systems, and that microbiome-mediated therapies may be a safe and effective treatment for these neurodevelopmental disorders.
Amen, but because vaccines have been increasingly reported by the parents as the factor that caused regression and illness into autism, a war with those parents, their doctors and the researchers who seek the truth continues. Dr. Andrew Wakefield has been treated horribly for investigating the origin of GI pain, regression and suffering in autism. We learned about the D.A.I.R. Foundation and how it is committed to integrity in academics and research. It supports Andy and other scientists, doctors and researchers when their work is challenged by special interests. Donate if you can.
Thank you to all mentioned here for your commitment in helping so many sick children.
To Andy, your continual concern for our children while you must deal with professional and personal injustice is nothing short of heroic. Thank you for never giving up.
Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.