By Teresa Conrick
It's April and for many with a diagnosis of Autism, it's just another month. The AUTISM AWARENESS of lighting it up BLUE does little to comfort. They are too sick, affected by seizures, mitochondrial dysfunction, immune and autoimmune dysfunction, irritable bowel disorder, colitis, severe constipation, Crohn's disease, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), peanut allergies, food allergies, skin allergies, an abnormal MICROBIOME and now another study says ---- again --- they are higher candidates for CANCER.
University of Iowa researchers have found that, although patients with autism have increased mutations in genes that potentially lead to cancer, they also have decreased rates of cancer.
“It’s a very provocative result that makes sense on one level and is extremely perplexing on another,” Benjamin Darbro, team leader and assistant professor of medical genetics in the UI Carver College of Medicine, said in a news release.
....The protective effect, however, was strongest for the youngest group of patients and decreased with age...
On the very same day this study was released I was also alerted of this very sad news release:
Josh Titus, former Auburn student who inspired basketball fans nationwide, dies at 25
Josh Titus, the former Auburn high school student who inspired thousands of basketball fans across the nation by not letting his disability keep him off the court, was remembered by friends and family Thursday, the day after he died following a battle with cancer.
Titus died Wednesday at the Hospice House in Auburn, according to statement from his parents. He was 25.
Titus, who was autistic, served as the manager of the Edward Little High School boys’ basketball team in 2009. He made national headlines when he entered the Red Eddies’ final game of the season and scored nine points.
A tragedy. My heart breaks for his family and friends. I have a daughter, 23, with severe symptoms of Autism and her medical issues are many. I cannot imagine including CANCER.
Is there a connection to Autism and Cancer? We know that 2 of the original 11 patients written about by Leo Kanner in 1943, died from cancer but don't know if some of the others had a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. Oh, and that brings up a study from a few years back. Dan mentioned it, especially as the numbers keep increasing in cancer diagnoses - Mayo Clinic researchers announced a landmark study where a massive dose of the measles vaccine, enough to inoculate 10 million people, wiped out a Minnesota woman's incurable blood cancer,”.....Now the question: Does this suggest that wild-type measles infection, the kind hundreds of thousands of kids caught every year before the measles vaccine arrived in the 1960s, performs some unsuspected function in preventing the occurrence of cancer? And the follow-up: Did mass vaccination wipe out this protection?
So what else is out there on Autism and Cancer? How about this from just weeks ago -
Researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute recently discovered that autistic children, particularly those with severe autism spectrum disorder, are significantly more likely to have deficits in a cancer-fighting gene that suppresses cellular damage from environmental stressors.......
Environmental stressors.....? I know many parents, myself included, who would say vaccination was THE environmental
stressor which caused regression in our children. Cancer would be the cruelest insult to injury.
This one is from just last year: Risk of cancer in children, adolescents, and young adults with autistic disorder.
Our study demonstrated that patients with autistic disorder have an increased risk of cancer.
Going back a few years, the New York Times headlined - "Autism's Unexpected Link To Cancer Genes" --
The article ran as more of an opportunity to try and link certain cancer drugs for Autism. Autism Speaks and Emily Willingham of Forbes went into panic mode to deny ANY association of AUTISM TO CANCER, as both seem quite happy lighting Autism up in blue and ignoring the plight of thousands who live in illness and yes, a higher risk of CANCER.
But let's get to the real meat of the current research. A favorite topic of mine: The MICROBIOME .
Emerging roles of the microbiome in cancer
These studies demonstrate that microbiota can increase or decrease cancer susceptibility and progression....probiotics and prebiotics can be effective chemoprevention strategies.....Human disease susceptibility is primarily influenced by gene–environment interactions, and the microbiome is now believed to be an important factor. Indeed, microbiome differences are evident between cases and controls for a growing list of human diseases including Crohn’s disease, type-2 diabetes, autism and chronic allergies (24–26).
....The ability to culture and manipulate specific bacteria and introduce them into gnotobiotic mouse models will allow us to move from correlation to causation and will provide insight into molecular mechanisms, which may lead to improved probiotic/prebiotic strategies of disease prevention as well as therapeutic interventions.
This is interesting not only for Autism but in all humans. So why is it that the research shows having a diagnosis of Autism can increase CANCER risk? The authors conclude...."It’s a very provocative result that makes sense on one level and is extremely perplexing on another".....
What can make "sense" yet also be "perplexing?" Let's add this part into this thread of research.
The paradigm continues to turn, showing that both AUTISM and CANCER as assaults on the IMMUNE SYSTEM.
This from Bloomberg Business:
Top scientists at Roche Holding AG and AstraZeneca Plc are sizing up potential allies in the fight against cancer: the trillions of bacteria that live in the human body.
"Five years ago, if you had asked me about bacteria in your gut playing an important role in your systemic immune response, I probably would have laughed it off," Daniel Chen, head of cancerimmunotherapy research at Roche’s Genentech division, said in a phone interview. "Most of us immunologists now believe that there really is an important interaction there."
Interesting. Here is a relevant connection to Autism....
Studies implicate gut bacteria in autism, March 2011
“It’s a big eye opener,” says lead investigator Sven Pettersson, professor of microbiology at Karolinska Institute in Sweden. “If you would have said 20 years ago that bacteria would have anything to do with brain function, people would have laughed at you.”....“
For decades, doctors have heard anecdotal reports that children with autism have frequent gastrointestinal problems, suffering from bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea and more.
The latest research, conducted over the past several years, probes the controversial possibility that whatever is amiss in the gut is not just a symptom of autism, but one of the causes...
There does seem to be a case to suggest that both the numbers and types of certain bacteria in the gut are different in autistic and non-autistic children,” . Excellent research. Not controversial but true data.
And that may be the big issue that "makes sense on one level and is extremely perplexing on another"..... regarding CANCER and AUTISM.
This could lead to some REAL help for so many very ill children and young adults diagnosed with Autism. My daughter is one of them. As this realization increases, that the GI is the source of much of Autism's roots and also, possibly some/all of CANCER, will we see an increase in answers to treat both? Or will it just make it more expensive and difficult for all of us?
That’s increased drugmakers’ interest in the human microbiome -- the universe of roughly 100 trillion good and bad bacteria, fungi and viruses that live on and inside the body. Roche is already undertaking basic research in the field and plans to investigate the microbiome’s potential for cancer treatment....."We are in active discussions with the usual suspects in the immunotherapy space," .......Efforts are under way to turn bacteria into regulated pharmaceutical products to treat illnesses of the gut, where the microbes reside.
Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.