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The Microbiome & Autism Series By Teresa Conrick: Part 1 "The Epicenter?"

Gut-brainNote: We have a rich treasure trove of posts from all of our contributing editors, published over the last seven years. During the month of December, we'll be sharing an assortment of posts and series, starting with Teresa Conrick's Microbioeme series. We invite you to use the pull down menus to read material that's new to you, but previously publishesd.  Happy reading.

By Teresa Conrick

Since 1938, autism has moved from a blip on the radar screen to a full-force tsunami today.  Those first eleven children identified by psychiatrist, Dr. Leo Kanner, all exhibited the now infamous triad of behaviors:

  1. Qualitative impairment in social interaction
  2. Qualitative impairments in communication
  3. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities

Sadly, there is not enough reporting of the  MEDICAL patterns that Kanner briefly described. Dan Olmsted was the trailblazer on the connection of toxic exposure in those families, with his UPI series posted on our homepage.  Then he and Mark Blaxill went back and forth in history to seal the deal on specifically, MERCURY and its insidious relationship with autism.  Andrew Wakefield has been researching and publishing for over ten years on the gut-brain connection in autism.    My gratitude to each of them for their continual investigations.

Leo Kanner wrote these descriptions of those first-ever, diagnosed children but he did not see the obvious:

•  "Eating," the report said, "has always been a problem with him.”

•    large and ragged tonsils.

•    Following smallpox vaccination at 12 months, he had an attack of diarrhea and fever

•    Large tonsils and adenoids

•    He vomited a great deal during his first year,

•    She quit taking any kind of nourishment at 3 months. She was tube-fed five times daily up to 1       year of age.

•    He vomited all food from birth through the third month.

•    His tonsils were removed when he was 3 years old.

•    He vomited all food from birth through the third month.

•    He suffered from repeated colds and otitis media, which necessitated bilateral myringotomy

•    Because of a febrile illness at 13 months, her increasing difficulties were interpreted as possible

      postencephalitic behavior disorder.    

•    He had been kept in bed often because of colds, bronchitis, chickenpox, streptococcus infection, impetigo

Kanner missed the pattern of GI issues and INFECTION.  These two medical problems have continued to be prevalent in many if not most of the children being diagnosed today. Instead, he did the Freudian spin:

Food is the earliest intrusion that is brought to the child from the outside. David Levy observed that affect-hungry children, when placed in foster homes where they are well treated, at first demand excessive quantities of food. Hilde Bruch, in her studies of obese children, found that overeating often resulted when affectionate offerings from the parents were lacking or considered unsatisfactory.

Our patients, reversely, anxious to keep the outside world away, indicated this by the refusal of food. Donald, Paul ("vomited a great deal during the first year"), Barbara ("had to be tube-fed until 1 year of age"), Herbert, Alfred, and John presented severe feeding difficulty from the beginning of life.

The children also seemed to have illnesses that may point to Streptococcus, as evidenced by infection of their tonsils, adenoids and ears. That seems to be the pattern still today, if not more.

I continue to read more and more research that fits this pattern of infection leading to effects on the brain.  Not enough commensal bacteria and too many pathogens can be the epicenter of inflammation, pain, and metabolic reactions that ultimately reach the brain:

Researchers have long postulated that gut bacteria influence brain function… In 2011 Mazmanian and colleagues reported that changes in gut microbial composition might have far-ranging effects that extend to the brain.8…. “Genes and an environmental trigger are necessary but not sufficient for disease development. We knew there had to be a third key element,” says Alessio Fasano, chief of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition at Mass General Hospital for Children in Boston. Fasano and colleagues hypothesize the answers lie with the health of the gut microbial ecosystem as a whole…

….. Research suggests that short-term exposure to xenobiotics alters microbial physiology, community structure, and gene expression.

What is a xenobiotic? ----“a chemical compound (as a drug, pesticide, or carcinogen) that is foreign to a living organism.. 

There is growing evidence that both environmental assaults AND vaccines can change the microbiome:

….. Colonization is a dynamic process of interactions among microbes and between microbes and the host and result in balanced bacterial ecosystems that benefit health. Perturbations of these interactive microbial structures (e.g., by environmental change or vaccinations) alter the bacterial network structures and may thereby influence the presence and containment of other microbiota members, and these alterations have effects on health and susceptibility to disease (13,14).” 

Autism - could it be from the downward effect of MAN changing the structure of the microbiome?  From recent investigations:

The current study confirmed these suspicions, and found that children with autism had significantly fewer types of gut bacteria, probably making them more vulnerable to pathogenic bacteria…. To date, studies of the gut microbiome in autistic subjects have focused primarily on pathogenic bacteria, some of which have been implicated in alterations to brain function. One example involves gram-negative bacteria containing lipopolysaccharides in their cell walls, which can induce inflammation of the brain and lead to the accumulation of high levels of mercury in the cerebrum.  

“Proximity to point sources of environmental mercury release as a predictor of autism prevalence”…. We found that for every 1000 pounds of industrial release, there was a corresponding 2.6% increase in autism rates (p<.05) and a 3.7% increase associated with power plant emissions(P<.05)… For every 10 miles from industrial or power plant sources, there was an associated decreased autism Incident Risk of 2.0% and 1.4%, respectively…  

….half of the children with autism and GI dysfunction whose GI tracts were assayed by biopsy harbor the relatively obscure bacterium, Sutterella. None of the children with GI dysfunction but not autism were positive for this bug. The authors conclude that, “Sutterella is a major component of the microbiota in over half of the children with autism and GI dysfunction”…… Another important result from this study is the presence of antibodies directed against Sutterella specifically in the circulation of the autism cases. This suggests, but does not prove, that the bug could be causing an infection. Since a defective epithelial barrier has previously been found in some autism GI samples, it is possible that the immune reaction occurred without an actual, proliferating infection. Another interesting question is whether there is a deficit in the composition in the normal, commensal bacterial composition of the gut in autism, and Sutterella simply opportunistically invaded that empty niche. 

What can create this “niche” that enables opportunistic pathogens to invade?

…….new organisms are expected to move into the empty niches created by vaccine elimination of organisms. Thus the structure of the microbiome is altered by vaccines.

Meet beautiful and smart, Ann.  I have known Ann’s parents, Bob and Sue, for many years as both Me using RPM to communicate our girls attend the same school and have been nonverbal since regression hit them both as toddlers.  They began to take Ann to Green Bay, WI to work with Erika Anderson, of A.C.E. Teaching & Consulting,  trained in the use of Soma® Rapid Prompting Method (RPM).   I have taken Meg a few times but due to her intense pain and behaviors, I have had to cancel often.  A.C.E. is wonderful and my hope is that as we keep getting Meg better, she too will be able to communicate more but for now, Ann will be their collective voice. Ann, nonverbal and probably often mistakenly thought to be cognitively impaired, started her own blog as RPM changed her life.  A recent blog from Ann brought me to tears as it is so true.

It’s Not Fun Being Sick All The Time! 

It seems like because of my autism I am sick more often than others!  This is very frustrating!  It’s maddening!  I am beginning to believe there is a connection between stomach issues and autism!  I do not know exactly what that connection is, but I do believe there definitely is one!  Maybe if one is cured, both will be cured!

How brilliant yet heartbreaking is that?

Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism..



Also;it appears that the brain - esp the hypothalamus
can be healed if the right stuff comes in from the gut. So heal the gut, heal the brain, heal the gut.


I think Martha that a brain injury brings on GI problems, and they do know that very well. .

There is lots of science literature about the effects of brain injuries on the GI. They have long Induced brain injuries on Rats and observed Gut problems in less than three hours.

I always found it interesting that Martin Luther was struck by lightening, the Holy Spirit was on him so much that he was willing to point out the wrongs of the Catholic Church and fight them -- and he also had very painful bowel problems.

So, they have probably considered it all hopeless.

But what if it is the other way around instead! It begins in the bowels, or more likely it begins in the immune system.

So perhaps we get the immune system to change it's mind --

or more likely get another kind of beneficial microbe to replace the one that our immune system (because of a vaccine) has destroyed.

Hummm, the changing a way of thinking takes a life time that you and I do not want to waste. As you know dogma in these old schools is impossible to change - and when it does change it takes a very long time.

There is nothing more frustrating than a bunch of old experts all cozy in an institution stopping all progression that effects so many lives.

SO, what do you think about the enteric virus they are studying in rats????

God speed that we all are lining up to get some on sugar cubes.


I have been happy that gut issues are now at the forefront about autism. Over the years I have been frustrated because I had not idea about why my son had such severe issues. Was it because too many laxatives were given? Was it because he was so IDD his knowledge of how to evacuate was the problem? Was it because of some unknown thing causing his bowels to not function? Was it because toilet training was stopped and he was at least evacuating his bowels until the training was stopped and this caused his bowels to cease functioning? But now he is an adult and age 41. I have tried to bring to the researchers the information that adults can have such issues. Why don't they study adults whose bowels don't work? WHY?

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