Teresa Conrick

Dear Autism and PANDAS/PANS Researchers - THANK YOU For Listening, Now What?

Meg sick age 5By Teresa Conrick

It has been almost five years since I wrote the article, Dear Autism and PANDAS/PANS Researchers - Listen To The Parents. It is probably the most read article that I have ever written for Age of Autism, as it continues to get hits daily.  I say this as it is an indication of how the issue of Autism and PANDAS/PANS continues to grow. 

The reason I wrote about this subject back then was that my daughter, Megan, diagnosed as autistic since 1996, after having non-stop bacterial and viral illnesses, had been having symptoms, both chronic and acute, that seemed to originate from her dysfunctional immune system. PANDAS/PANS began to come into view more and more as I researched and wrote about it, and more and more parents contacted me.  Megan was definitely not the only one who had an autism diagnosis and had perpetual infections that caused the symptoms described as PANDAS and eventually PANS.

Since 2014, I do think our concerns have been received by these brilliant researchers.  They have seen our heartache and also the science showing how the autism spectrum for many children began as illness, like earaches, gastrointestinal disorders, sore throats, fevers, rashes, viruses, etc. It is time, in fact way past it, to move ASD from a strictly developmental disorder with roots to some type of phantom, heritable gene(s) as the reason https://www.sfari.org/ , into its appropriate medical domain, with roots into treatable, neuroimmune and neuropsychiatric symptoms. The reasons that must happen are because 1) we have increasing numbers of children suffering and 2) millions of dollars are being wasted on genetic hunting which has zero connections to helping our kids.  Enough time has been sacrificed which equates into children being sacrificed.

So let’s look at some of the important connections that we have learned, since I wrote about this in the winter of 2014:

Continue reading "Dear Autism and PANDAS/PANS Researchers - THANK YOU For Listening, Now What?" »


Depression and Autism: More Evidence Points to Physiological Not Psychological

Cause-of-depression-gutBy Teresa Conrick

Many people think depression is feeling bad about a situation. It can be that, but many times, it is a biological happening.  A recent study hitting the news noted this about autism:

Nearly 1 in 5 autistic young adults have history of depression: study

The study seemed to have many participants but seemed to have a bit of a slant in they asked specifically -- “ particularly in the context of bullying.

And young adults with autism who were relatively high-functioning -- meaning they did not have intellectual disabilities -- were actually at higher risk of depression than people with more severe forms of autism, British researchers found…...People with autism without intellectual disabilities "may be particularly prone to depression because of greater awareness of their difficulties," the researchers theorized……

….Not all of the increase in risk for depression was caused by genetics, Rai's group added, because people with autism still had double the odds for depression compared to a full sibling who did not have the disorder. That suggests that something other than DNA -- perhaps the stress of living with autism -- may play a role in depression risk…

"Individuals receiving a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder later in life often report long-standing stress in relation to social isolation, bullying, exclusion, and the knowledge they are different ….Peng also believes more research is needed to tease out the experiences and stigmas that may contribute to depression in young people with autism.

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Brain on Fire the Microbiome Autism and Autoimmune Encephalopathy Part 2

MicrobiomeIn Part 1 , we took a look at autoimmune encephalopathy and the emerging research in autism.  Much of it had a focus on autoantibodies.  Now, I’d like to investigate the microbiome and its connection to both autism and autoimmune encephalopathy.  Again, follow the studies as they are showing patterns that are important for autism:

This paper discusses Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis yet its value in autism research cannot be denied.

The gut–brain connection: triggering of brain autoimmune disease by commensal gut bacteria, 2016

However, the discovery that intestinal microbiota are able to trigger autoimmune disease in organs far away from the gut, in the CNS, was less anticipated. How could gut microbes ignite an autoimmune attack against the CNS, an organ not only far from the gut, but also enveloped by seemingly tight tissue barriers? First, it should be remembered that tissue-specific autoimmune diseases are driven by autoimmune T cells with receptors specific for tissue-specific autoantigens. Second, such self-specific T cells are normal components of all immune systems, healthy as well as diseased. They sit in the immune system in a resting mode, innocuous. Only upon particular stimuli that trigger their activation, do the self-specific T cells unleash their autoaggressive pathogenic potential…….

….antibiotic treatment not only altered the gut microbiota, but also mitigated clinical CNS inflammation. They attributed the effect to a decrease of Th17 cells in the gut, possibly effected by invariant T cell populations  [31]. Subsequently, Kasper and colleagues discovered in a similar model that the expansion of a particular bacterial species, Bacteroides fragilis, reduced autoimmunity. The microbes seem to release a capsular polysaccharide A for recruiting and activating intestinal regulatory T cells in the colon [32]. Lactic acid bacteria were also reported to protect against EAE responses, though by activating another regulatory T cell population, IL-10–producing Tr1 cells [33].

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Brain on Fire in Autism

Brain on fireBy Teresa Conrick

Thank you to Netflix for seeing the importance of the film, Brain on Fire  , and making it available for us.  I wrote about this groundbreaking book six years ago:

BRAIN ON FIRE - From Autoimmunity To Madness

By Teresa Conrick

I just finished Susannah Cahalan's superb book,  BRAIN ON FIRE - MY MONTH OF MADNESS,  chronicling her bizarre and frightening trip into, and then out of the disease, Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis.  I have been writing about Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis  for the past two years, as it seemed to me, to have connections to my daughter's Autism diagnosis.  Megan had, these past years, exhibited odd seizures, strange movements with vocal tics and aggression.  Testing did not show antibodies to NMDA receptors but did show antibodies to GAD65, though the two appear connected. …….

I  think that PANDAS, another immune system illness, is also part of this increasing landscape.  I am hopeful that we have some more supporters in the paradigm shift, that these illnesses that present as neuropsychiatric, really have their roots in the immune system.

Like a montage of pages falling from a calendar, researchers have listened and the reality of autism for many, with roots in the immune system, is finally under a bright spotlight.  Follow this research as each study contributes to our understanding:

Autoimmune encephalopathies in children, 2014   .....over the last few years it has also become apparent that a much wider range of previously unexplained problems in children may have an autoimmune basis and might be treatable….Recognized triggers include infection or immunization. Some conditions are now more clearly proved to be autoimmune, due mainly to advances in antibody assay methodology…...Cases of suspected encephalitis lethargica are now recognized to be forms of antiNMDA antibody, and more recently antidopamine 2 receptor antibodymediated encephalitis.3 Some acute or subacute epileptic syndromes are strongly suspected to have an autoimmune basis.4 That narcolepsy might be immune mediated is supported by the association with HLA DQ B1*0602 and more recently with a specific influenza immunisation.5 A wide variety of other syndromes such as Rasmussen encephalitis, acute epileptic encephalopathy with multiple acronyms (FIRES, DESC etc.), Tourette syndrome, PANDAS, KleinLevin syndrome, or childhood disintegrative disorder, some of which have long been suspected to have a possible immune mediated pathology, are being reviewed. There are even hints that features suggesting autistic regression may occasionally be immune mediated.....The importance of promptly recognizing autoimmune causes is not just that of diagnostic accuracy, and avoiding unnecessary investigations or treatment, but that many respond to a variety of immunosuppressive regimens such as steroids, drugs like azathioprine, intravenous immunoglobulin, plasma exchange, and some monoclonal antibodies. Not all children respond and those that do may not recover fully, while others may remit spontaneously, but there is also emerging data that early treatment may lead to a better outcome. Actively considering these treatable conditions is now essential in children with many different presentations.

Inflammation and Neuro-Immune Dysregulations in Autism Spectrum Disorders, June 2018

Strong inflammation states are associated with ASD. This inflammatory condition is often linked to immune system dysfunction. Several cell types are enrolled to trigger and sustain these processes. Neuro-inflammation and neuro-immune abnormalities have now been established in ASD as key factors in its development and maintenance…...The immunodeficiency and the autoimmunity in ASD patients have been proposed as the rationale for the use of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) infusion as a therapeutic tool for ASD…..Corticosteroid therapy has also been proposed in ASD management. A single case reported improvement in speech and behavior after oral prednisolone therapy in an autistic child with autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome.

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Abnormal Brain Folds In Autism: Another Clue From The Gut?

Brain_folds_closeupBy Teresa Conrick

The pieces of the autism puzzle have been in front of us for years:

-brain inflammation/larger brains in some, not all

-loss of language/abnormal use of language

-social thinking challenges

-sensory issues

-anxiety

-food allergies

-immune dysfunction/autoimmunity

-seizures

-gastrointestinal disorders/disease - reflux, colitis, inflammation

- constipation and/or diarrhea

-perseveration/obsessions and compulsions

-tics

Two new studies recently came out but are kind of a repeat of some past research but can be added in as clues. To aid in understanding, Gyrification means “the process of forming the characteristic folds of the cerebral cortex in the brain”. :

  • A Longitudinal Study of Local Gyrification Index in Young Boys With Autism Spectrum Disorder  :Local gyrification index (LGI), a metric quantifying cortical folding, was evaluated in 105 boys with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 49 typically developing (TD) boys at 3 and 5 years-of-age...At 3 years-of-age, this subgroup exhibited increased LGI ...relative to TD boys ...In summary, this study identified alterations in the pattern and development of LGI during early childhood in ASD. Distinct patterns of alterations in subgroups of boys with ASD suggests that multiple neurophenotypes exist and boys with ASD and disproportionate megalencephaly should be evaluated separately.
  • Local Cortical Gyrification is Increased in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders, but Decreases Rapidly in Adolescents  : Extensive MRI evidence indicates early brain overgrowth in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Local gyrification may reflect the distribution and timing of aberrant cortical expansion in ASDs. ...Altered gyrification may reflect unique information about the trajectory of cortical development in ASDs.

So, aberrant cortical expansion basically means that there is an overgrowth of FOLDING in the brain. Scientific American   put it this way: “Young people with autism show a lot of folding in patches of the left temporal and parietal lobes—regions responsible for processing sound and spatial information respectively, the study found. They also show excessive folding in temporal and frontal regions on the right side of the brain, including areas that govern decision-making and motor skills...They have less folding in one spot on the occipital cortex, the brain’s visual hub.”

As I said, this is not new information as other studies have reported the same  --  a sampling:

Continue reading "Abnormal Brain Folds In Autism: Another Clue From The Gut?" »


Research Backs Parental Concerns: Kids With Food Allergies 2x More Likely To Have (GET?) Autism

Cupcake copBy Teresa Conrick

The media continues to report on the research that increasingly shows that there are big time IMMUNE abnormalities in AUTISM. Parents, we have been correct in our concerns about seeing our children with food allergies, skin reactions and chronic respiratory allergies. These were often the first signs that something was not right in our children as they regressed into autism.  If you pay attention, you will also see comments from some news outlets that appear to downplay any connections, like this one --- “But having the immune abnormalities doesn’t mean a child will develop the disorder.” That phrase comes up four times in this one-page article from Science News. For many, keeping autism in the jaws of PSYCHIATRY with its origin in GENES seems to make people feel safer.  If it were true that ANY baby or child could regress -- well, that thought is just too frightening but for many families, that is exactly what occurred. Something happened to the immune system and autism followed. Here’s the article and some key points:

Kids with food allergies are twice as likely to have autism 

 

  • American kids with food allergies are more than twice as likely to have autism spectrum disorder as kids without, a study of national health data finds.
  • Researchers looked only for an association between allergies and autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, among a total of 199,520 children ages 3 to 17 surveyed from 1997 to 2016.
  • The team found that, out of 1,868 children with autism, 216 had a food allergy — or about 11 percent. By comparison, only about 4 percent of children without autism had a food allergy.
  • Kids with autism were also more likely to have respiratory or skin allergies like eczema than kids without autism.
  • The number of children with autism has more than doubled since 2000, to a prevalence of 16.8 per 1,000 kids. Meanwhile, the number of kids with food allergies rose from 3.4 percent in 1997–1999 to 5.1 percent in 2009–2011.
  • It is unknown whether developing food allergies may contribute to the development of autism,
  • Mice that developed a food allergy displayed behaviors characteristic of autism, such as repetitive behaviors and less frequent social interaction, a 2014 study published in Behavioral Brain Research found.
  • The new finding supports the idea “that different manifestations of immune abnormalities occur in individuals with ASD,”

 

Here is the actual study: June 2018 - Association of Food Allergy and Other Allergic Conditions With Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children 

I looked in Google News to see if other news sources were reporting this study but really none from the major media networks.  That’s odd or maybe telling, as they pick and choose what they want the public to know. Here’s a few examples of some other reports:

Genetic Literacy Project - Is there a link between food allergies and autism

Continue reading "Research Backs Parental Concerns: Kids With Food Allergies 2x More Likely To Have (GET?) Autism" »


Gene Editing For Autism: A New Form of Lobotomy?

This article from Newsweek appeared in my inbox and I read it with great surprise -- and alarm:

THE END OF AUTISM? CRISPR CAN EDIT OUT AUTISM TRAITS, SCIENTISTS SAY 

Scientists have figured how to use a form of the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR to erase genetic traits normally associated with autism. It is technology that could one day revolutionize the therapies that treat autism and improve the lives of thousands of people who suffer from the developmental disorder, the researchers say.

CRISPR has been a game changer in the biomedical research world because of the ease and precision with which it can be used to alter the genetic code. A team of scientists in Texas used it to edit out genes associated with autism traits in mice and observed clear results: The animals stopped digging obsessively, their erratic jumping around the cages slowed to a halt and they became more calm, according to the study published in the monthly journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.

This technology might be years away from being tested on humans, but the results are promising, lead author of the study neuroscientist Hye Young Lee told Newsweek.

Lee, an autism researcher at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, used a very thin needle to inject CRISPR-Cas9 into the brain tissue of mice, targeting the striatum, a region in the brain known to mediate habit formation.

CRISPR-Cas9 is made of just a few ingredients. The RNA, a nucleic acid present in all living cells, is like a messenger, a guide that allows a specific site on the genome to be targeted. It is used along with a bacterial enzyme, called Cas9, which acts like  molecular scissors, cutting the DNA at an exact point…… Skull TC

Thin NEEDLE INJECTED into the BRAIN -- SCISSORS --- CUTTING?  That does have hints of this:

The lobotomy procedure was first done by the Portuguese neurologist, Egas Moniz, who believed that patients with obsessive behavior were suffering from fixed circuits in the brain. His original technique was then adapted by others, with similar procedures. Surgeons would drill a pair of holes into the skull, either at the side or top, and push a sharp instrument - a leucotome - into the brain and then the surgeon would sweep this from side to side, to cut the connections between the frontal lobes and the rest of the brain. By the 1940's it was being seen as a miracle cure, used to treat a range of illnesses, from schizophrenia to depression and compulsive disorders. Starting in the mid-1950s, it rapidly fell out of favor, partly because of poor results and partly because of the introduction of the first wave of effective psychiatric drugs, which were safer and more effective.

"I got increasingly conservative about it because I don't think any of us were ever really happy about putting in a brain needle and stirring the works," he says. "Not a nice thought."

                             - Psychiatrist Dr John Pippard after turning against lobotomies

                                                                   ~~~~~~~

Is this really supposed to help autism?  I read studies and much research,  plus also write about Megan and her many health issues  .  Of course there is the behavioral aspects of autism as it is a gut-brain disease we are talking about.  It includes the immune system  , that hugely important bacterial and viral stew that is turning out to be the driver   in many of these autoimmune diseases that affect the brain  . Autism is NOT a genetic condition, though it if often spun like it is so elaborate and expensive research can keep the cash cow happy.  It is a GUT-IMMUNE-BRAIN disease .

Further research brought these issues to light:

■ CRISPR could use gold nanoparticles to edit your Brain - In this study, the researchers used CRISPR-Gold to edit the brains of mice with fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition that is correlated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While fragile X syndrome is a genetic disorder that can be diagnosed in genetic testing, clinicians diagnose ASD based behavioral criteria like repetitive behaviors. That means that it’s hard to discuss the idea of a “cure” for autism, but it may be possible, using CRISPR-Gold, to treat the fragile X syndrome that causes ASD-correlated behaviors in some individuals.

The virus DNA in the brain can have side effects, because it doesn’t go away once the CRISPR operation is done. Using the gold nanoparticles removes the issue of foreign DNA that’s producing damaging proteins, one of the central issues of CRISPR. Still, leaving bits of gold in the brain isn’t good either,...

I want to emphasize that this is not the solution,” says Lee. She says it might be possible, using this technology, to allow autistic people to treat unwanted symptoms such as repetitive behaviors just like they might with medicine—with the difference that CRISPR changes would likely be permanent .

Continue reading " Gene Editing For Autism: A New Form of Lobotomy?" »


Universal Flu Shot

Flu panicBy Teresa Conrick

Is this the answer to the issue of flu?  Leave us a comment and share your thoughts.

From Scientific American:

Key facts -

-  If all goes according to plan, the annual flu shot protects about 60 percent of vaccinated people.

-   Last month Bill Gates announced his foundation will be earmarking up to $12 million to advance such work

-   Sen. Edward Markey (D–Mass.) introduced a bill in February that would provide $1 billion in government funding for a universal flu vaccine.

-   The White House also gave a nod to the universal flu vaccine; its Office of Science and Technology Policy tweeted in March it is “closer than ever.”

-   “It’s a scientific challenge because there are still so many things we don’t know,” says Anthony Fauci, director of the NIAID. And even if such a vaccine were developed, a perfect inoculation that protects against all flu types, is “unattainable,” he says.

-    The more we learn the less we understand,” says Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy.

-   Moreover, beyond clinical trials and regulatory hurdles there are also a vast array of technical roadblocks ahead, which include making these shots profitable for developers yet affordable for consumers and deciding who should receive these inoculations—and when.

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Minocycline and Autism: This Antibiotic Is Not Just For Acne Anymore

MinoclyclineBy Teresa Conrick

Every week, more and more information is coming out that autism is not, just some spectrum of developmental disability.  Here we see in Newsweek a recent announcement: 

COULD AN ANTIBIOTIC TREAT AUTISM? MEDICATION TO REDUCE BRAIN CELL INFLAMMATION COULD TREAT WIDESPREAD DISORDER 

The beginning of it goes into a strange array of gene talk but then the focus of the article is this---

Some signals associated with a cell type called microglia were far higher in the samples from people with autism than from samples of people with other conditions. This signal may be higher because the microglia are more active. If that’s true, an antibiotic that reduces their activity could be one way to treat the condition—which is what UCLA Health psychiatrist and one of the authors of the study, Dr. Michael Gandal, is testing right now....

He and his colleagues are working to recruit about 30 adults for a brain-imaging study to look at their microglia and take an antibiotic called minocycline for 12 weeks.

“Throughout the 12 weeks, we measure a set of cognitive tasks, and we repeat the brain imaging," he said. "The idea is to look at how levels of inflammation in the brain relate to cognitive and behavioral function in individuals with autism.”

Here is that Clinical Trial -

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are highly disabling, persistent neurodevelopmental disorders. There are no available treatments for core symptoms of ASD or biologically-based clinical biomarkers. Emerging evidence indicates that levels of brain inflammation are increased in ASD. In particular, recent work implicates hyperactivity of microglial cells, the resident immune cells of the brain. However, the functional consequences of microglial activation remain unknown. This study will measure microglial activation in ASD using positron emission tomography (PET) brain imaging. Adult males with ASD (n=15) and healthy controls (n=15) will be recruited for this study and undergo comprehensive clinical and behavioral baseline assessment. All subjects will then undergo baseline PET imaging using a radiotracer that labels activated microglia. Subjects with ASD will then undergo 12-week open label treatment with minocycline, an FDA-approved antibiotic thought to block microglial activation. PET imaging will be repeated at 12 weeks to confirm target engagement. A subset of control subjects will also undergo repeat PET imaging to determine test-retest reliability. During minocycline treatment, ASD subjects will be evaluated every 2 weeks for safety, clinical impression, behavioral functioning, and measures of cognition. Results will provide important information regarding the relationship between levels of brain inflammation, cognitive and behavioral function in ASD.

I am hoping that more candidates can join as it looks like almost a year since it's been updated.  Let's take a look at Minocycline and see if we can't get more people excited and involved in this type of research.

It's been about six years since I really started putting a focus on autism and bacterial infections. Because I have a daughter who has a diagnosis of autism and also an autoimmune diagnosis, the immune system has become a key player in my research to help her.  The MICROBIOME research has exploded and its connection to the MICROGLIA of the brain may be a big part in autism spectrum disorders.

There are far too many children and young adults who suffer.  The list of painful and debilitating symptoms grows as parents watch in agony.  Patterns tend to emerge:

CHRONIC VIRAL and BACTERIAL INFECTIONS

Continue reading "Minocycline and Autism: This Antibiotic Is Not Just For Acne Anymore" »


Oral Microbiota and Autism

Saliva kidsBy Teresa Conrick

I am a big believer that an altered gut microbiota is associated with autism spectrum disorders and so do many others.  Recently, a group of scientists reported that it may be possible to diagnose autism, not on behaviors, eye contact, or repetitive movements, but instead on SALIVA!

The growing evidence of gut bacterial, viral and fungal abnormalities as a key to autism,  is not a crazy concept.  To think that a MEDICAL test rather than simply an OBSERVATIONAL one, could show a BIOLOGICAL mechanism, would be helpful in diagnosing and treating autism. 

Here is that study: Alterations of oral microbiota distinguish children with autism spectrum disorders from healthy controls  

 ....we demonstrated that the salivary and dental microbiota of ASD patients were highly distinct from those of healthy individuals. Lower bacterial diversity was observed in ASD children compared to controls, especially in dental samples.....pathogens such as Haemophilus in saliva and Streptococcus in plaques showed significantly higher abundance in ASD patients, whereas commensals such as Prevotella, Selenomonas, Actinomyces, Porphyromonas, and Fusobacterium were reduced....The distinguishable bacteria were also correlated with clinical indices, reflecting disease severity and the oral health status

Available twin studies showed that environmental factors are more important than genetic predisposition6. Among such factors, microbial dysbiosis is of increasing interest, with accumulating reports in animal models and human epidemiologic studies linking disruptive alterations in the gut microbiota to ASD symptomology7,8,9,10,11,12. 

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Pharmagunndon in America

Gun pillNote: Teresa Wrote this post in 2012, after the shooting by Adam Lanza in Newtown, CT. Seems this post should just be "on deck" at any given moment in the USA.

By Teresa Conrick

Here at Age of Autism, we have been sharing with our readers the realities of the increasing numbers of children being diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. With that comes many topics, including vaccine injury and regression, school issues, adult housing and also various treatments.   I have a daughter diagnosed with severe Autism and recently, an autoimmune disorder.  Megan regressed in health and skills after vaccinations. With the continuing surreal killings in public settings over the years - schools, college campuses, malls and even a movie theater, the media has had a history of attempting to link some of these cases to Autism or Aspergers. You can read our recent statement Age of Autism Responds to Newtown Tragedy  as this point is important: " Age of Autism mourns the deaths of all innocent victims of this awful crime and offers its deepest condolences to their families. Additionally, we are deeply disturbed by the association of the perpetrator of this awful crime by various media outlets to a vulnerable community - the autism community - with rumors that he was on the autism spectrum. Regardless of whether or not the shooter truly is on the autism spectrum, we wish to make it clear that autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are in no way associated with criminal violence."

It is important then to look at reality and root causes because without them, it can be hard to find a solution. I would like to share some important data about these tragedies since we are all in the midst of a recent, gut-wrenching inciden,t but to do so, we have to go back in time, to look at patterns, something we think is important here on AoA.

On May 20th,1988, Laurie Dann walked into an elementary school in Winnetka, Illinois and shot five students, killing one. She was to kill herself later that day. I remember vividy hearing about that as I was working at a psychiatric hospital about 15 miles away. It was a shocking reality to know that a school could become a sitting duck to a violent mind. Here was a recent article about that horrific day, the young boy killed, and the fact that school shootings keep increasing:

"Since then, there has been a school or campus shooting somewhere in the United States almost every year. In many years, there have been three or four campus or school shootings."

On Friday, December 14th, 2012, Adam Lanza, an unknown name to the world on December 13th, allegedly forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown Connecticut. There he allegedly shot and killed 26 victims, 20 young children and 6 female adults. He is also believed to have killed his mother before this attack and then killed himself after the attack. If you google his name today, you will see 517 million hits. A monster? What do these two cases have in common? Weapons? Murder? Yes, both were tragic crimes but also with another commonality -- the perpetrator had been treated by a psychiatrist. Another clue, is the lesser discussed use of medications that may have a bigger piece, in not only these two cases but in other savage and senseless deaths of innocent people:

 

School Shooters Under The Influence Of Psychiatric Drugs

"Despite 22 international drug regulatory warnings on psychiatric drugs citing effects of mania, hostility, violence and even homicidal ideation, and dozens of high profile school shootings/killings tied to psychiatric drug use, there has yet to be a federal investigation on the link between psychiatric drugs and acts of senseless violence."

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Are You Antivaccine For Examining The Flu Shot?

CautionBy Teresa Conrick

A friend recently had the flu for six days.  She returned to her job, still feeling horrible, her voice raspy and weak.  It turned out that she had acquired Strep Throat.  That's not the first time this year, or other years that I have heard that sequence, FLU then BACTERIAL infection....but, this year seems particularly worrisome. Getting the flu, a virus, often means that your body will be a magnet to bacterial infections.  In fact, many of the severe aspects of the flu, including death, often are caused by bacteria .   I have a daughter with both autism and the autoimmune disorder called PANDAS/PANS , so I do a lot of reading on both the science and the trends in diseases, as they both seem to play into our present-day situation. Bacterial and viral exposures can trigger a host of symptoms  in Meg and the increasing numbers (1:200) of children and young adults also diagnosed.  It is a challenge and often heartbreaking.  For many, vaccination can also cause these symptoms.

So, my interest in the flu is due to her PANDAS/PANS exposure to it and the bacterial infections that then attach themselves. Here is some information on the flu and the vaccinations that CDC recommends. The live nasal vaccine has been again, dismissed by CDC, as not being effective and so it is NOT recommended.  Anne Schuchat, MD, acting director of the CDC, had this to say recently about this flu season and the increasing numbers who are getting flu:

Schuchat said that while 76% of viruses being reported in the most recent data are influenza A (H3N2), there is no evidence that the virus has drifted, but that "viruses prepared for use in egg-based manufacturing make it less similar to H3N2 viruses."

The CDC estimates releasing interim vaccine effectiveness numbers in the next couple of weeks. When asked about a recent study from Canada estimating vaccine effectiveness at 17%, Schuchat said she was not surprised by this, and that she expected their result may be in the "same range," but it will depend on the mix of strains in the U.S.

Not good but what's even more odd is that the strain...H3N2.. is in many of the vaccines this year. There is a study saying the egg-based vaccines are the reason it is not effective  but let's see what else the research shows. Here's a look at the flu vaccine choices this year :

TABLE 1Influenza vaccines — United States, 2017–18 influenza season*

Continue reading "Are You Antivaccine For Examining The Flu Shot?" »


Stopping Tics with Fecal Transplant

Brain gutBy Teresa Conrick

This recent article appeared in my inbox - Boy, 9, with Tourette's syndrome sees his involuntary tics halted after undergoing a POO TRANSPLANT

A schoolboy with Tourette's syndrome no longer endured involuntary tics after he underwent a poo transplant.

The nine-year-old, from China, suffered bouts of headshaking, shrugging and the urge to shout out words for nearly three years.

But the unnamed patient's tics were 'completely ameliorated' after undergoing the transplant, designed to rebalance his gut bacteria.

The bizarre report, published in an obscure medical journal, adds to the mounting evidence that poo transplants can treat other conditions....eight weeks after the transplant, which originated in China nearly 1,700 years ago, the boys tic severity score dropped from 31 to five.

His parents revealed the severity of his tic symptoms had 'clearly ameliorated', the doctors, led by Dr Huijun Zhao, wrote in the journal.

'They reported that involuntary phonation (making sounds) had disappeared, and involuntary shrugging now occurred only occasionally.'

Some studies have shown benefits from taking probiotics in treating Tourette's syndrome, among other neurological conditions.

Continue reading "Stopping Tics with Fecal Transplant" »


The Advisory Committee On Childhood Vaccines Votes NO To Tics As Vaccine Injury

Advisory-commission-childhood-vaccinesBy Teresa Conrick

Advisory Committee on Childhood Vaccines Votes No to Tics as Vaccine Injury

Tics used to be associated with a sole diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome.  Today, they are more frequently seen in Autism Spectrum Disorder, PANDAS, and PANS . Motor, vocal, and whole body - I see videos and discussions about them on the FB groups I frequent, as Meg has both an autism and PANS diagnosis.  I recently read on the World Mercury Project website, this article from Brian Hooker,  Ph.D., P.E. Please read it as he does an excellent job showing some important connections:

Between November 2013 and September 2014, I was in direct contact with the CDC Whistleblower, Dr. William Thompson. I recently wrote about my interactions with Dr. Thompson in an editorial piece that appeared in the winter 2017 edition of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (22:119). One of the key issues that I discussed with Dr. Thompson was the relationship between thimerosal and tics, based on CDC’s own publications....

....A significant association between Hg exposure from thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines and a diagnosis of tic disorder (TD) has now been found in six epidemiological studies (Verstraeten et al. 2003Andrews et al. 2004Thompson et al. 2007Young et al, 2008Barile et al. 2012Geier et al. 2015).  The Thompson study states that, “The replication of the findings regarding tics suggests the potential need for further studies.” 

Very recently, there was a glimmer of hope that at least one Federal Agency was going to take the relationship between thimerosal exposure and tics seriously. In December 2017, the Advisory Committee on Childhood Vaccines(ACCV), the body that determines which vaccine injuries warrant compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), considered adding tics as an injury to the “vaccine injury table” for which compensation should be received. This was on the basis of a separate citizen’s petition to allow tics to be added to the “table” and thus qualify for compensation....This was most likely “a plan” to avoid a flood of tic claims in the NVICP. Surely, the ACCV understood that tics are a common feature in autism(occurring 4 times more frequently in autistic children than in neurotypical).

Different year - same bullshit it seems.  Solid research yet nothing helpful seems to come from it.

I remember this study that Dr. Hooker shared, Mercury intoxication presenting with ticsas I had found it years ago in researching about Meg's symptoms:

Abstract: A 5 year old Chinese boy presented with recurrent oral ulceration followed by motor and vocal tics. The Chinese herbal spray he used for his mouth ulcers was found to have a high mercury content. His blood mercury concentration was raised. Isolated tics as the sole presentation of mercury intoxication has not previously been reported. 

I personally find this fascinating as Meg has presented with tics on/off since age 3.  Since tics are 4 times more prevalent in autism spectrum disorders than in non-affected children and young adults, it is intriguing to look at patterns to figure out what is happening.  The brain , of course, is a well-known recipient to toxic exposures but science is also reporting on the huge impact of the gut microbiome on the brain.  Because Meg had numerous vaccines with Thimerosal, the mercury preservative, and has both autism and the autoimmune disorder, PANDAS/PANS, could there be connections in any of this? 

Autism can present with tics, as this heartbreaking Youtube video shows but tics are also a telling symptom in PANDAS/PANS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU3rmsLV_6w.  Very similar and increasing in numbers.

Let me present research that I have been reading that threads some of this together:

Likely Connection Between Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and the Gut Microbiome  

It is also becoming evident that the intestinal microflora regulates brain function and behavior, and may thus influence the pathophysiology of various neuropsychiatric disorders including anxiety, depression, and autism.3,4 

Continue reading "The Advisory Committee On Childhood Vaccines Votes NO To Tics As Vaccine Injury" »


Happy New Year! Hopeful Autism Research and Treatments For 2018

Hope dandelionBy Teresa Conrick

2017 had good and bad attached to it.  For many of us, the death of our dear colleague and friend, Dan Olmsted, has saddened many a day since.....  Dan did much innovative research and writing for years to expose the issues that bring us all here daily. Age of Autism has become a refuge for years now, to so many looking for truth and answers. As we enter 2018, I would like to keep with that tradition by sharing my list of what I think is important and innovative in the science area of autism.  It's imperative that families know that there is good research happening but unfortunately, there's a hell of a lot of bad research about autism, and often we hear about that too much.... especially the mulri-million dollars wasted on genes (have you seen the constant SPARK, pop-up infomercials on Facebook,  a nowhere odyssey of genetic, musical chairs?)  We need real research to help so many who suffer with the many symptoms of autism - painful GI disease; seizures;  inability to speak or communicate in a meaningful manner or, at all; extreme sensory disturbance; executive functioning disability; debilitating obsessions, compulsions and tics; acute anxiety; heartbreaking self-injurious behaviors; and the daily struggles with social cues. Much of this originates in the gut.

                                                                                                      Studies on Causation

♦  Atopic diseases and inflammation of the brain in the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorders 

♦  Temporal Association of Certain Neuropsychiatric Disorders Following Vaccination of Children and Adolescents: A Pilot Case–Control Study 

♦  Characterization of the Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome Phenotype  

♦  The role of oxidative stress, inflammation and acetaminophen exposure from birth to early childhood in the induction of autism  

♦  Systematic Assessment of Research on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Mercury Reveals Conflicts of Interest and the Need for Transparency in Autism Research

Continue reading "Happy New Year! Hopeful Autism Research and Treatments For 2018" »


Sleeping Sickness Drug is Waking Up Autism Research

Brain colorsBy Teresa Conrick

For any who don´t know, I have a 24 year-old daughter who regressed into autism before her 3rd birthday.  Meg has the type of autism that does not make for an easy life.  She lost speech in 1995 and she is nonverbal still, and waves of difficult and painful medical symptoms then were to follow: cognitive decline, increasing GI issues, chronic bacterial infections and viral illnesses, seizures, and then a horrific autoimmune disorder called PANS [Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Syndrome] .

For years now, I have been following the research on the Microbiome as there are solid studies showing how dysfunctional it is in those with an autism diagnosis.  Studies like these represent hope for many families with very ill children and young adults:

Reduction of Ritualistic Behavior in a Patient with Autism Spectrum Disorder treated with Antibiotics: A Case Report 

Microbiota Transfer Therapy alters gut ecosystem and improves gastrointestinal and autism symptoms: an open-label study  

Combined oral fecal capsules plus fecal enema as treatment of late onset autism spectrum disorder in children: report of a small case series. 

Unexpected improvement in core autism spectrum disorder symptoms after long-term treatment with probiotics 

Age and severity may play a part in outcomes with our children as far as treatments.  I have now been following the research of Dr. Naviaux, still with the microbiome in mind, but also with a better understanding of its significance.  It seems that his research explains much of what I see in Meg, especially with the issues of the gut and brain.  You can watch this great video of a lecture by Dr. Naviaux, at a very recent TACA conference.  Thanks to them both!     

And in that lecture, Dr. Naviaux recommends that viewers read his study called, Metabolic features of the cell danger response  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1567724913002390.  Here are some excerpts:

The cell danger response (CDR) is an evolutionarily conserved cellular metabolic response that is activated when a cell encounters a chemical, physical, or microbial threat that could injure or kill the cell. Common microbial threats are viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Physical threats include heat, salt, or pH shock, or UV or ionizing radiation. Chemical forms of danger include heavy and trace metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and nickel, certain electrophilic aromatic chemicals like the plasticizer bisphenol A, the chemical flame retardants like the brominated diphenyl ethers (BDEs), and certain halogenated pesticides like chlorpyrifos and DDT. 

Continue reading "Sleeping Sickness Drug is Waking Up Autism Research" »


Autism Speaks Science Survey:"Oppose Research on Curing or Preventing Autism"

2017 meg mary teresaBy Teresa Conrick

It was disturbing to read an article by Disability Scoop  that described the results of an Autism Speaks survey about future autism research and focus.  These specific statements were alarming:

♦   Many survey respondents specifically indicated that they oppose research on curing or preventing autism.

♦    the group moved to overhaul its mission statement opting to remove words like “struggle,” “hardship” and “crisis” as well as any reference to curing autism. 

♦    The findings will help shape how Autism Speaks determines what types of studies to fund and the impact could be significant.

♦     Compared to a similar survey in 2012, Autism Speaks found that respondents this year are more interested in the experiences of those entering adulthood and less concerned about immune dysfunction and environmental factors.

REALLY?

I decided to go right to the Autism Speaks page and see for myself:

Continue reading "Autism Speaks Science Survey:"Oppose Research on Curing or Preventing Autism"" »


Dear David of 1932: What Factors Led to Your Autism?

1938By Teresa Conrick

This story is dedicated to David, his family and especially his sister, Carol.  It is also dedicated to Dan Olmsted, who always wrote that AUTISM had its roots in the 1930´s.  He believed, as a journalist, that the epidemic rise of autism was devastating and --- "the story of a lifetime ." What was once a rare disorder, began increasing into exponential growth in the 1990´s and continues into current day.  This should be the the most feared AND most studied medical event in history as normally developing children stop a typical trajectory and instead,  their medical, educational and social-emotional needs change in a drastic and often life-threatening manner.  The spectrum of autism is a gauge, a barometer of health, a yardstick of being socially at ease, to attend, focus, and to learn. The further an individual is along on that spectrum, the more immune abnormalities, microbiome challenges, and health issues we see. The behaviors of ¨autism¨ also seem more pronounced and severe. The spectrum is a gauge of the immune system, from high to low functioning. My interest in this relates to my own daughter, Megan, diagnosed with both severe autism and an autoimmune disorder.  In addition, she has prevalent PANS symptoms, like many others .  My investigations of the research on autism show that it is a disorder that can be mild to devastating as it relates to the immune system and microbiome.  Obviously the brain is affected by both, which is important and hopeful as far as prevention and treatments.

SINCE 1938

Here is David´s story as I was privileged to hear it from his sister, Carol.  She shared family stories, memories, and David´s David infant 1baby book as written by their mother. The devastation this family had encountered unfolded in front of me.  Carol, born in October of 1935, still has many questions about her life with David.

In 1932, as America struggled through The Great Depression while listening to the famous songs of Cole Porter, David was born.  He was born at Evanston Hospital,  a suburb of Chicago, on January 12th, 1932.  Four months later in May, his 5 year-old sister, Ruth Mary, died of spinal meningitis. According to the CDC in this publication on Mortality Statistics of 1932, only 17 females between age 5 and 9 died in the entire United States of epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis.  What were the odds for this to happen?  Such a TRAGEDY -- and then for David to eventually succumb to what the doctors called, Childhood Schizophrenia by age 5, again, what were the odds for this family? Heartbreaking.

The story could end there with of course, the family hardships of losing not only one child but TWO.  Then the day to day struggles for years of raising a child who required much more supervision, special schools, the financial responsibility --- and for Carol, the confusion of a brother who ignored her --¨I did not exist to David.¨ David was not particularly loving and treated the family politely but not with much affection. The word AUTISM was never mentioned to Carol as they were growing up.  It wasn´t until her friend, Rosie, mentioned that her brother, Dan Olmsted, had co-written a book about autism in 2010. It was then that Carol began to hear about the history of this once rare disorder. Rosie described the symptoms and the timing of the first cases, all born in the 1930´s. Carol was struck with the thought that David may have indeed had behaviors that pointed to autism. Dr. Leo Kanner had written about the first patients, children who presented with the unique symptoms. There were not any adults -- only children --“Since 1938, there have come to our attention a number of children whose condition differs so markedly and uniquely from anything reported so far that each case merits—and, I hope will eventually receive—a detailed consideration of its fascinating peculiarities....".

The Symptoms of David - Autism?

Here then are the clues to put these family memories and facts into a narrative.  We know that those who have a diagnosis of Autism show outward behaviors, or as Kanner put it --fascinating peculiarities-- but also science is now showing us HOW these symptoms may be manifesting.  Let´s look at what those clues are for David:

■  Like many of the Kanner 11, David had issues with eating.  More and more research points this out as well with upwards of 70% of those diagnosed with autism having significant GI issues. David did not nurse well and his mother writes he was a bit colicky with vomiting.  When on solid foods, he spit up often. David had poor eye contact and very slow in talking. He did not start speaking until he was about 4.  His mother thought maybe the summer of his sisterś death that he had Sleeping Sickness/Encephalits Lethargica because he slept so much.  After age 2, he was often high strung and fearful.  He had a very limited diet and would not taste things.  Later, David was interested in science and mechanical things.  He liked light plugs and cords.  He rarely spoke to Carol and had problems playing with children. 

■ David had severe OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).  It manifested in washing his hands over and over for hours.  Today, science is showing that many of those diagnosed autistic are also harboring infections, classified as PANDAS or PANS, this research  is showing that these infections are NEUROPSYCHIATRIC, that they affect the central nervous system and cause many of these repetitive and obsessive behaviors, as well as anxiety, depression, and an increasing list of social-emotional behaviors.

■ David had tics and perseverated on topics. His tics were described by Carol:  Repetitive movements (walked in and out of a room), strange arm movements and sometimes stuttered his words. Sounds much like PANDAS or PANS as Megan has had identical body tics and repetitive movements. Studies and a repentant researcher show that Thimerosal in vaccines can cause tics, and are ¨four times more prevalent in autism.¨ Check out David´s vaccination record as written by his mother in his baby book.  Diphtheria shots at 9 and 12 months with a REACTION recorded by his mother.  Those vaccines would have been preserved with Thimerosal: ¨ Vaccination January 13th at 1 year - reaction, fever 102 degrees & upset stomach - took 2 months to heal with bandage on Upset stomach is another huge symptom in AUTISM . In later years, Carol described David having seasonal allergies and a mild asthma. He also had circulatory issues which resulted in horrific looking black, lower legs.  For that reason, ¨he would be hospitalized about once a year and put on a drip to clear up any infection.¨  That does not sound like a typical illness.

David photo 2
■  What about David´s parents?  Carol described them as warm and loving, and of course wanting the best for both of their children. They did though, share some common similarities with many other parents to children diagnosed with AUTISM -- IMMUNE issues: SEASONAL ALLERGíES -- ASTHMA -- MIGRAINES -- FOOD ALLERGIES.  Their mother suffered migraines often and their father had severe asthma.  Their parents also wanted David to be educated and cared about his ability to learn and his interest in learning. David eventually became fascinated with science and politics He attended some of the local public schools for awhile in junior high.

Continue reading "Dear David of 1932: What Factors Led to Your Autism?" »


Invitation to Join Study on Microbiome and Autism from Stanford School of Medicine and Second Genome

Stanford medicineBy Teresa Conrick

Autism Parents and Friends of AoA,

We were asked to see if any parents out there might like to join a study on the MICROBIOME and AUTISM :

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine and the South San Francisco pharmaceutical company Second Second genomeGenome Inc. have jointly received a $2.1 million grant to recruit subjects for a study exploring potential links between bacteria in the gut — known as the microbiome — and autism, the company announced Tuesday.

Researchers have long suspected, based on anecdotal evidence, that there may be a link between the microbiome and the severity of an autism diagnosis. There is limited data demonstrating the link in humans, but some studies indicate it may exist in lab mice.

Many children with autism have food allergies or gut conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases, leading researchers to hypothesize that activity in the gut has a relationship to autism, said Dennis Wall, an associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford who is co-leading the study. With the new grant from the National Institutes of Health, the researchers will attempt to test that theory, so doctors can better diagnose and design therapies for people on the autism spectrum.

 Here are the details - (uploading a video is optional)

We are looking for 100 families with two or more children, where:

  1. One child has a medical diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and is between 2-7 years old,
  2. And another child without an autism diagnosis, who is no more than two years apart in age of the first child.

The study procedures include responding to an online behavioral and dietary survey, uploading a 3-minute home video, and collecting stool and saliva samples at home for each child. Everything is completed either online or in the home. 

Would you be willing to send out this study information to your email listserv and/or post on your social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc)? We only need 40 more families to participate and we are so excited to start analyzing the data! 

Please see our most recent press release on SF Chronicle here, a KQED press release, our recruitment flyer attached, and our study website to sign up now! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Kindly,

The M3 Team

From Teresa:

I just want to add that Stanford is also making progress on PANDAS and PANS, in fact they do research on that as well  and actually have a team of experts and immune therapies .  But when you look at the AUTISM clinic there , it is dismal and archaic and has very little to do with the immune system, although we know that for many autism patients with moderate to severe symptoms, the immune system is key, as we see in this study, Pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS), developmental regression and autism.

Continue reading "Invitation to Join Study on Microbiome and Autism from Stanford School of Medicine and Second Genome" »


Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) or Autism?

Meg sick age 5By Teresa Conrick

If there is one topic that has been increasing in the autism world, it is the issue of the immune system.  To explore that further, the explosion of the microbiome research has been just phenomenal.  The connection from gut to brain and more specifically, from microbiome to microglia, supports the research I keep pointing out.  It is not genes that are causing the increasing cases of autism but what appears to be a drastic change in the bacteria of the gut, the infections of the immune system. There are factors that are causing this to happen.  I wrote about my daughter Megan and this connection nine years ago -- :

This brings me to the faded piece of paper I had found recently in a pile of lab reports done on Megan starting in 2000.  It was a late night time-line of her health history that I had copied down from her medical chart then as we had just exited the pediatrician that was her main doctor since birth..... our kids are medically sick, not mentally ill, and that should be the focus of research regarding causation and treatments of autism.  
 
Here then is a look backwards, a painful window of time when my daughter's health was telling us that something very bad was happening. These are the notes written by the doctor and staff for the office visits we had.
 
3/2/93 -   Birth - Hep B at hospital 
3/26/93  -   VACCINES
5/21/93  -   VACCINES
7/10/93  -   VACCINES
9/10/93  -   VACCINES
10/22/93 -  VACCINES
12/7/93 -    Diaper rash (YEAST) for 6 weeks - ear infection - antibiotics
12/28/93 -  Ear infection - antibiotics
1/17/94  -   Ear infection -antibiotics
3/21/94  -   Virus - antibiotics (  This was a routine practice then - antibiotics as miracle treatment for ALL illnesses)
5/11/94  -   Virus - antibiotics 
6/3/94    -   Loose stool - rash - ear infection- antibiotics
6/18/94  -   VACCINES (Including MMR)
6/28/94  -   Fever-  rash on body - ear infection - antibiotics
7/11/94  -   Ear infection - antibiotics
8/22/94  -   On vacation in WI and became sick.  Not happy - crying - lethargic - Dr. there unsure of the cause.
9/9/94   -    Rash - loose stools - VACCINES  
10/17/94  - Vomiting  -  diarrhea
11/1/94   -  103 fever -  virus
5/23/95  -   Irritable - nosebleeds
10/9/95  -   Not talking - PDD dx - to specialist
11/27/95  - Temp. - not eating/sleeping - ear infection - antibiotics  
12/19/95  -  103 fever - crying for 2 days - ear infection - antibiotics
12/21/95  - Waking at night - crying - acute bowel - Donnagel
12/28/95  -  Re-check - right ot media - antibiotics
1/25/96   -   Ear infection - antibiotics  
2/8/96   - Re-check - unhappy- crying - nosebleeds - antibiotics - nosespray
2/29/96  -    Check up - nosebleeds x5 - iron for anemia 
3/26/96  -    104 Fever - Zithromax
4/8/96    -    Re-check - pulling on ears but no ot media
4/23/96  -    Waking at night - no ot media - "sleep problems"  
6/10/96  -    2x nosebleeds - 102 temp - nose spray  - antibiotics
6/26/96  -    Fever - antibiotics
9/3/96  -   Poor appetite - antibiotics
10/23/96  -  Pharyngitis - severe - temp - antibiotics
1/4/97 -  Congestion - cough - antibiotics
3/4/97 -  Pulling on ears - Claritin    
3/10/97   -  VACCINE
5/9/97 -  Rash on face  - allergy?
5/13/97   -  Swollen finger -  antibiotics  
7/29/97   -  Not eating well - nothing found
8/7/97   - Rash on back - irritable  
9/8/97   - Fever 3-4 days - rash on face - virus
3/19/98    - Diarrhea/vomiting  x 10 days - fever on/off - antibiotics

Continue reading "Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) or Autism?" »


Hormones From the Microbiome: Implications in Autism

MicrobiomeBy Teresa Conrick

The issue of HORMONES comes up often in Autism.  For my daughter with an Autism diagnosis, it came up with catamenial seizures and aggression.  This developed in tandem to an estrogen level 3x higher than the norm. Now, seven years later, I want to connect that horrific time in our lives with more current research on the MICROBIOME.  Why? There is research showing important connections. It´s very possible that this is an area of AUTISM research that has not been explored enough.  Here is the typical Autism research:

Estrogen, Mistakenly Believed A Female-Only Hormone, May Be Key To Why Autism Rates Are Higher In Boys 

Foetal testosterone and autistic traits in 18 to 24-month-old children 

Testosterone levels linked to higher autistic traits

Testosterone and explosive aggression in autism spectrum disorders.

Role of Endocrine Factors in Autistic Spectrum Disorders  

Oxytocin: The "Love Hormone" Might Also Help in Autism  

That´s all very interesting but......WHY is it happening? Not enough researchers are asking that question.

_________________________

Let's look at connecting the dots to some other research that gives compelling data and shows connections to Autism.

Let's start with that last one, about Oxytocin -- "the Love Hormone":

Believe it or not, the whole issue of this nasal hormone infusion came up over 10 years ago, yet it is re-circulated in the news almost yearly as if it is -- brand new!  That merry-go-round type of research needs to end.

Oxytocin increases retention of social cognition in autism.  2007 

These results are consistent with studies linking oxytocin to social recognition in rodents as well as studies linking oxytocin to prosocial behavior in humans and suggest that oxytocin might facilitate social information processing in those with autism. These findings also provide preliminary support for the use of oxytocin in the treatment of autism.

BUT, last year, this study made the rounds and I believe it to be an IMPORTANT piece as to WHY Oxytocin has ANYTHING to do with AUTISM:

A single species of gut bacteria can reverse autism-related social behavior in mice  2016  

Other research groups are trying to use drugs or electrical brain stimulation as a way to reverse some of the behavioral symptoms associated with neurodevelopmental disorders -- but here we have, perhaps, a new approach," says senior author Mauro Costa-Mattioli, a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine. "Whether it would be effective in humans, we don't know yet, but it is an extremely exciting way of affecting the brain from the gut."...The researchers believe that their work, which uses a human bacteria species [Lactobacillus (L.) reuteri ] to promote oxytocin levels and improve social behavioral deficits in deficient mice, could be explored as a probiotic intervention for the treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders in humans.

Continue reading "Hormones From the Microbiome: Implications in Autism" »


Autism In Dogs?

Dog antisocialBy Teresa Conrick

Autism in dogs? Anti-vaccine movement may impact pets by 
Ms. Mari A. Schaefer, Staff Writer, Updated: AUGUST 2, 2017 — 12:50 PM EDT 

Veterinarians in Brooklyn, N.Y., are reporting a growing resistance to vaccinating pets, which may be rooted in the anti-vaccine movement that claims the life-saving inoculations may cause autism in children.

via GIPHY

The Brooklyn Paper reported that pet owners in some of the boroughs feel injecting chemicals into their precious pet is going to cause problems, with some suggesting that the shots could give their pups autism.

“We’ve never diagnosed autism in a dog. I don’t think you could,” Dr. Stephanie Liff of Clinton Hill’s Pure Paws Veterinary Care told the paper.

Even if dogs were susceptible to the condition, owners probably wouldn’t notice given their general behavior, Liff added...............

Say WHAT???  Read the entire article here.

 Here is the article that Ms. Mari A. Schaefer is ¨barking" about, The Vaccine Reaction An enlightened conversation about vaccination, health and autonomy by Kate Raines Published April 8,2017  

Just as the incidence of Autism-Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) has risen alarmingly in children over the last half century, there is evidence that similar behavioral disorders have been observed in pets, most widely reported among pet dogs. It is too early for mainstream veterinary authorities to confidently confirm that dogs can develop autism, but there are numerous reports of behavior patterns in pets that mirror autism behavior in children. Studies are underway to evaluate the possibility that animals can become autistic.1

Autistic Behaviors Recognized in Dogs

Though the appearance of autism-like behaviors has been observed in dogs since the mid 1960s, the first researcher to specifically relate some of those behaviors to autism was Nicholas Dodman, DVM, who initially set out in 2011 to look for a genetic cause of obsessive tail chasing in bull terriers. This behavioral characteristic has been observed in as many as 85 per cent of a bull terrier litter and often results in self-maiming.

Presenting the evidence from his study at the 2015 American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, Dr. Dodman reported an autism-like condition, noting that “the vast majority of affected dogs were males, and many had other strange behaviors or physical conditions that accompanied the tail chasing, such as explosive aggression, partial seizures, phobias, skin conditions, gastrointestinal issues, object fixation and a tendency to shy away from people and other dogs.” 2 He and his associates were further able to establish that two biomarkers common to children with autism were also present in the affected dogs.3 ............

Continue reading "Autism In Dogs?" »


More Autism Parents "Waiting for a Miracle"

DenialBy Teresa Conrick

As the Autism Epidemic keeps on rolling, we hear from too many deniers how GREAT it is, and that having a diagnosis of ASD is just a different way of life.  I disagree.  I have a young, adult daughter who has been ill since her regression into Autism.  Lab reports show an immune system that is extremely dysfunctional, with GAD antibodies, positive antinuclear antibodies, and an IgG, the immunoglobulins that fight infections, at 402, when the normal range is 694-1618.  Far too many children and young adults are in physical and emotional pain.  Megan is one of them and they deserve proper medical investigations and treatments.  Many cannot speak or if they do, they have language but are not conversational.  They don´t know danger.  They have a gut microbiome and immune system that have been shown over and over, to be the epicenter of OCD, tics/stimming, perseveration, sensory issues, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, aggression, and self-injurious behavior. They have a leaky gut AND a blood brain barrier that is compromised.  This sentence may sum that up best:

...non-self antigens crossing a damaged intestinal barrier elicit a local and/or systemic inflammatory reaction that, associated with a breach of the BBB [blood brain barrier], may lead to ASD in genetically predisposed subjects....In conclusion, our results seem to point to a dysfunctional gut–brain axis associated with neuroinflammation in ASD. 

What´s an antigen -- a toxin or other foreign substance that induces an immune response in the body, especially the production of antibodies.

What's a non-self antigen?  - A vaccine works by training the immune system to recognize and combat pathogens, either viruses or bacteria. To do this, certain molecules from the pathogen must be introduced into the body to trigger an immune response.

These molecules are called antigens, and they are present on all viruses and bacteria. By injecting these antigens into the body, the immune system can safely learn to recognize them as hostile invaders, produce antibodies, and remember them for the future. 

I am sure there are other examples of ¨foreign substances that induce an immune response¨, and keep in mind that many parents report that Autism resulted either after an acute vaccine response or a regression in health and skills for weeks and months after the vaccination.  

The families suffer as well.  This article speaks to that (excerpts):

Seahawks legend Curt Warner shares family’s struggles raising twins with autism 

Seahawks legendary running back Curt Warner says he disappeared from the spotlight for two decades because his family was in crisis.

Continue reading "More Autism Parents "Waiting for a Miracle"" »


Autism GI Pain: New Research Shows Significance

Stomach_acheBy Teresa Conrick

A newer study caught my eye very recently, Distinct Microbiome-Neuroimmune Signatures Correlate With Functional Abdominal Pain in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder .  It´s a very interesting and important paper as the authors describe - The ability to pinpoint key differences in the mucosal microbiome of these children was in part owing to improvements in technology. Improved sequencing technology and deeper sequencing, particularly in a low-biomass sample such as tissue, enabled the data to be better classified.  That is NEW.

Why that´s important is huge as we are able to see that there are specific TYPES of bacteria causing havoc and PAIN for too many children.  If we know the enemy, the hope is to stop that pain and improve functioning for that person.  Here is their summary (FGID stands for functional gastrointestinal disorders):

In summary, GI phenotypes in ASD are highly variable, and heterogeneity of the autism population can mask significant signals related to GI symptomology. Here, we present distinct microbiome and cytokine measures in the rectal mucosa of children with ASD and confirmed FGIDs compared with neurotypical children both with and without FGIDs. From rectal biopsy specimens obtained during endoscopy, deep molecular analysis of the mucosal microbiome in ASD-FGID showed distinct microbial communities at the predicted species level. Correlations of Clostridiales, including multiple Clostridium species previously associated with ASD, with tryptophan, serotonin, and inflammatory cytokine levels yielded a unique multi-omic profile specific to ASD-FGID and ASD-FGID with abdominal pain. Cytokines indicative of inflammation correlated strongly with several bacteria associated with ASD-FGID, as was the case with tryptophan levels, and these potential associations will be confirmed in future work. These data suggest the presence of a specific microbiome profile in ASD with the identification of organisms previously strongly associated within similar cohorts, albeit in stool-based studies. We advance this concept by showing that these ASD-related organisms interact with the intestinal mucosa and are associated with altered neuroimmune signaling. Although these initial findings are correlative, these data form the framework for future studies targeting tryptophan–serotonin metabolism and inflammatory pathways in FGID in ASD.

Continue reading "Autism GI Pain: New Research Shows Significance" »


Ten Minutes to Wapner - The OCD of Autism

OCD_childBy Teresa Conrick

If you never saw the film, Rainman (1988) , you don´t know that classic line -- Ten minutes to Wapner -- which of course meant, Judge Wapner from, The People´s Court.  That quote became a tragic joke, a good laugh at those sick or disabled, right up there with, I´ve fallen and I can´t get up.  It was a line made famous by Dustin Hoffman in his superior role as an autistic adult, Raymond Babbitt, with his obsessional routine of watching, The People´s Court

I will smile here at my own obsessional quote, one that I mention frequently as I believe it to be one of the most important sentences about Autism:

SINCE 1938, there have come to our attention a number of children whose condition differs so markedly and uniquely from anything reported so far, that each case merits-and, I hope, will eventually receive-a detailed consideration of its fascinating peculiarities.

Written by Dr. Leo Kanner in 1943, it too could be looked at as a tragic joke, as the ¨detailed considerations¨ since 1938, have been missed by researchers and doctors for decades, in so many ways. The lack of alarm that a condition, disabling and ¨peculiar¨, was brand new and rare. For over 50 years, the rates continued to be low until the vaccine schedule increased dramatically. Pesticides, like vaccines, have increased and much research shows both of these as damaging to the HUMAN MICROBIOME.

One of the most ¨ peculiar¨ pieces to Autism has been described here in the DSM as diagnostic criteria:

Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive; see text):

  1.    Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g., simple motor stereotypies, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases).

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Autism: The Tragedy of Increasing Health Complications & Earlier Death

Early graveBy Teresa Conrick

Individuals with Autism at Substantially Heightened Risk for Injury Death.
 That was all over the news just this past March.

Deaths in individuals with autism increased 700 percent in the past 16 years and were three times as likely as in the general population to be caused by injuries,......The average age at death for individuals with autism was 36 years younger than for the general population, 36 years of age compared with 72. Of the deaths in individuals with autism, 28 percent were attributed to injury, most often by suffocation, followed by asphyxiation, and drowning. Together, these three causes accounted for nearly 80 percent of the total injury mortality in children with autism. More than 40 percent occurred in homes or residential institutions.

...Our analysis reveals that children with autism are 160 times as likely to die from drowning as the general pediatric population.

Those are external tragedies - accidents - horrific and on the increase.  Let' s also take a look at any changes over the years with the medical issues that shorten the lives of individuals diagnosed with Autism:  

A recent meta-analysis of 23 studies found a pooled prevalence of epilepsy of 21.5% (2150 ⁄ 10 000) among participants with autism and intellectual disability compared with 8% (800 ⁄ 10 000) among participants with autism but without intellectual disability.6  Being female also increased the risk of having epilepsy.

The expected number of deaths is two to three times higher in populations with autism spectrum disorder than in the general population

Risk factors identified for increased risk of mortality in the participant studies were moderate to profound intellectual disability, having epilepsy, and female sex.

However, as for other chronic diseases, and for the population generally, the absolute risk of death for people with autism will increase as they age into middle adulthood and beyond.

Epilepsy accounted for only 7% to 30% of the deaths; a wide range of other conditions were also found to cause death, including circulatory, malignancy, and respiratory conditions, and external causes including drowning, motor vehicle accidents, and suffocation played a role.

The challenge for clinicians, parents ⁄ carers, and individuals with ASD is how to sensibly use this evidence that people with ASD are at an increased risk of having epilepsy or dying relative to comparison individuals without ASD. We would argue that this information alerts us to the need for health promotion and regular health surveillance of individuals with ASD,especially as children and adolescents with ASD transition into adulthood.

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Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis and Vaccination - More Evidence

Antinmdar-encephalitis-eav-6-638By Teresa Conrick

I have been reporting on the devastating disorder, Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis, over the years as I have a daughter who has both an AUTISM diagnosis and an AUTOIMMUNE diagnosis:

Late Onset Autism and Anti-NMDA-Receptor Encephalitis Part 1, 2011 

Late Onset Autism and Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis Part 2, 2011

Anti-NMDA-Receptor Encephalitis Added to DSM A Medical Causation of Autism, 2012  

BRAIN ON FIRE - From Autoimmunity To Madness, 2012 

Revisiting Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis and Autism, 2015 

The science keeps evolving and it's good to keep up with it as some is connected to our loved ones :

Clinical features in those under 18 years of age were found to differ. In 48% of cases children had a prodrome of fever, headache, upper respiratory tract symptoms or diarrhoea and vomiting. Almost all patients presented to the physician with mood or behavioural changes such as temper tantrums [22], hyperactivity or irritability as opposed to frank psychosis making the diagnosis of an underlying pathological cause less obvious [1]. In addition it is thought that movement disorders and seizures; usually partial motor or complex seizures; occur earlier in the disease process, however, it may be that this is just the first recognisable symptom [1,6].

Autonomic instability (tachycardia, hyperthermia and hypertension) occurred in 86% of those under 18 years of age and although many were affected it appeared to be less severe than in adults. 

This report is yet another significant finding:

Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis and Vaccination, 2017  

Anti-N-methyl-d-aspartate (Anti-NMDA) receptor encephalitis is an acute autoimmune neurological disorder. The cause of this disease is often unknown, and previous studies revealed that it might be caused by a virus, vaccine or tumor. It occurs more often in females than in males. Several cases were reported to be related to vaccination such as the H1N1 vaccine and tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis and polio vaccines. In this study, we reported an anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis case that may be caused by Japanese encephalitis vaccination....Anti-N-methyl-d-aspartate (Anti-NMDA) receptor encephalitis is an acute disorder that presents a multistage illness progressing from initial psychiatric symptoms to memory disturbances, seizures, dyskinesia and catatonia. In the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or serum of patients one can find antibodies produced by the body’s own immune system attacking N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Although this disorder may be induced by a virus, vaccination or tumor, the cause is often unknown. The treatments include first-line immunotherapies: steroids, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) or plasmapheresis (or plasma exchange); and second-line immunotherapy such as rituximab or cyclophosphamide. It occurs more often in females than in males. A proportion of female patients have also been detected with ovarian tumors.

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VAERS, MMR and Megan

File a reportBy Teresa Conrick

Many people do not know that if you have a bad reaction to a vaccine -- an ADVERSE reaction -- there is a place to contact: VAERS

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a national vaccine safety surveillance program co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). VAERS is a post-marketing safety surveillance program, collecting information about adverse events (possible side effects) that occur after the administration of vaccines licensed for use in the United States.

But because many parents are not told about this, they don't report the reaction as they are often told, many times by their doctor, that it is a NORMAL reaction to the vaccine. PLEASE, please know that more often than not, it is NOT NORMAL.  My daughter reacted to her infant vaccines, up crying all night, onslaught of ear infections, nosebleeds, fevers, abrupt shyness and appearing deaf at times...but it was the MMR vaccine given at 18 months that caused a cascade of medical issues and behavioral symptoms that caused REGRESSION of health, speech and an AUTISM diagnosis by age 2 and 1/2.   SEIZURES and an AUTOIMMUNE diagnosis would then insidiously develop in her teens.  I would not wish this horrible experience on my worst enemy.  Pain, suffering, and loss of speech STILL at age 23.  I wrote this three years ago to capture both the science and the devastation so many  of our children have encountered: MMR photo TC

Vaccines. The idea of them seems so good.  Inject a recipe of chemicals into human beings and animals, and they are then protected from microbial-causing diseases. The reality though for many families is something went wrong, either immediately after vaccination - seizures, death, or from that point forward, profound changes in health and development - REGRESSION.

My daughter, Megan, had subtle, regressive episodes after each vaccination but devastatingly so after her MMR vaccine. Immediately, Megan began with a fever for days, then a full body rash starting on the 10th day, diarrhea, constipation, then undigested food in her stool, then Giardia and Blastocystis Hominis infections, gluten and casein intolerance developed, nonstop ear infections (otitis media), concurrent Candida infections, Clostridium infections, Streptococcus infections, seizures when puberty hit and most recently, an autoimmune diagnosis. An autism diagnosis was placed on her before age three, based on the behaviors -- that in hindsight -- most likely manifested from all of these infections and a dysfunctional immune system. This has been the pattern and research is pointing to the microbiome as quite possibly, the epicenter of autism....

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Are 90 Year Old Vaccine Ingredient Safety Studies Valid Today?

1938By Teresa Conrick

If you look on the CDC website you see things like this:

"Aluminum gels or aluminum salts are vaccine ingredients that have been used in vaccines since the 1930s.  Small amounts of aluminum are added to help the body build stronger immunity against the germ in the vaccine. Aluminum is one of the most common metals found in nature and is present in air, food, and water.....Aluminum salts, such as aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, and aluminum potassium sulfate have been used safely in vaccines for more than 70 years. Aluminum salts were initially used in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s with diphtheria and tetanus vaccines after it was found that this addition strengthened the body’s immune response to these vaccines."  

And this on Thimerosal:

Thimerosal has been used safely in vaccines for a long time (since the 1930s).  Scientists have been studying the use of thimerosal in vaccines for many years. They haven’t found any evidence that thimerosal causes harm."

Both of these statements from CDC appear to be half-truths and essentially, LIES. Keep reading......

____

Add to the above “since the 1930’s” quotes, this original and famous quote from Dr. Leo Kanner in his FIRST, EVER description of those first eleven children who exhibited the "peculiar" behaviors to be called AUTISM.  Guess when this occurred? ---

"Since 1938, there have come to our attention a number of children whose condition differs so markedly and uniquely from anything reported so far, that each case merits-and, I hope, will eventually receive-a detailed consideration of its fascinating peculiarities."

____

Coincidence?  I think not and there's plenty of research to back that up.  SO, how could CDC miss these studies, showing unequivocally the toxicity of both Thimerosal and Aluminum? :

Potential Immunotoxic Effect of Thimerosal: Compound Alters Dendritic Cell Response in Vitro   2006  

The continuing use of thimerosal in some vaccines and other products warrants further investigation of possible immunotoxic effects of this compound and its constituent ethylmercury.

Continue reading "Are 90 Year Old Vaccine Ingredient Safety Studies Valid Today?" »


March For Science: Will You Include Autism?

March for scienceBy Teresa Conrick

Today, Saturday, April 22nd, is March for Science Day.  In Washington DC and in 517 locations around the world, supporters will be marching to, ---

"unapologetically advocate for science and all members of the scientific community.....The March for Science champions and defends science and scientific integrity, but it is a small step in the process toward encouraging the application of science in policy.  We understand that the most effective way to protect science is to encourage the public to value and invest in it." 

I would probably be marching if I did not have a daughter with severe Autism because I instead need to go car to car to ask for donations for real research and SCIENCE funding for AUTISM on that same day.  The MICROBIOME is becoming the most important area of research for Autism and so many other diseases. I would probably march with thousands of Chicagoans as I too, believe what they are marching for:

Science is meaningful to all of us whether we are scientists ourselves, enthusiasts of science, or simply Chicagoans that value a method to uncover truth. We were motivated to become a guardian of science despite our differences.

And this too, I truly believe:

"We affirm that the scientific process provides meaningful answers to our society’s most pressing questions"  

"We spotlight the accomplishments of science and offer a platform to the voices, often hushed, discredited, ignored or forgotten, that have critiqued and called for systemic change toward inclusivity and representation within the field."  

"The practice of science has been flawed with bias, prejudice, and self-interest despite its ideals of objectivity, neutrality, and collective benefit."

"When unchecked, these biases influence funding decisions, who or what is studied, and who benefits from the results of research."

Continue reading "March For Science: Will You Include Autism?" »


April Addition: Microbiome Awareness Month

MicrobiomeBy Teresa Conrick

As we get ready to enter April, with it's surreal blue glow on Autism acceptance, we need to not forget the thousands of children and young adults who are on the side of the Autism Spectrum that seems to be forgotten by too many.  They are the majority, who have significant language impairments or NO language; immune and autoimmune diseases; a multitude of health issues (ear infections, chronic viral illnesses, diarrhea, constipation, reflux and more); physical pain; debilitating OCD and/or tics; life-threatening seizures;  horrific allergies;  and self-injurious behavior from GI disease, too often disregarded as "AUTISM BEHAVIORS." I continue to follow the research on the MICROBIOME.  It is the most important discovery not only for Autism but many similar diseases.  Here is a recent study that caught my eye as some of the parallels to the Autism Microbiome is evident. More and more research is showing us that the bacterial and viral issues of the gut play a big part in disease.  CHEMICALS can negativley impact the MICROBIOME, as I keep reporting. Follow the study below:    CHEMICAL EXPOSURE >> MICROBIOME INJURY >> BRAIN INJURY >> DISEASE SYMPTOMS

Altered gut microbiome in a mouse model of Gulf War Illness causes neuroinflammation and intestinal injury via leaky gut and TLR4 activation

Many of the symptoms of Gulf War Illness (GWI) that include neurological abnormalities, neuroinflammation, chronic fatigue and gastrointestinal disturbances have been traced to Gulf War chemical exposure. Though the association and subsequent evidences are strong, the mechanisms that connect exposure to intestinal and neurological abnormalities remain unclear. Using an established rodent model of Gulf War Illness, we show that chemical exposure caused significant dysbiosis in the gut that included increased abundance of phylum Firmicutes and Tenericutes, and decreased abundance of Bacteroidetes. Several gram negative bacterial genera were enriched in the GWI-model that included Allobaculum sp. Altered microbiome caused significant decrease in tight junction protein Occludin with a concomitant increase in Claudin-2, a signature of a leaky gut. Resultant leaching of gut caused portal endotoxemia that led to upregulation of toll like receptor 4 (TLR4) activation in the small intestine and the brain. TLR4 knock out mice and mice that had gut decontamination showed significant decrease in tyrosine nitration and inflammatory mediators IL1β and MCP-1 in both the small intestine and frontal cortex. These events signified that gut dysbiosis with simultaneous leaky gut and systemic endotoxemia-induced TLR4 activation contributes to GW chemical-induced neuroinflammation and gastrointestinal disturbances.

These comments from the full study seem important: 

Continue reading "April Addition: Microbiome Awareness Month" »


Dan Olmsted: Columbo, Hero, Friend

Dan Obit HeadshotBy Teresa Conrick

Dear Dan,  

I miss you.

Dan Olmsted was a hero to me and so many others who have children and young adults diagnosed as, "AUTISTIC."  His Columbo investigations about the FIRST CASES of Autism, convinced me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there was an epicenter to Autism and exposure to certain toxins -- Mercury and Vaccines -- seemed to be a huge trigger to increasing numbers of children being diagnosed. The search for cause and then treatments became a passion of mine, as well.  Dan's support and frequent emails helped me through many a rough day, as well as his encouraging me to keep on investigating how Megan, and so many others who regressed into Autism, became so ill.  Dan told me how much he was learning about the MICROBIOME from all of the articles I had posted over these past years on Age of Autism and told me -- "keep going as nobody is tying it together like you." He cut out an article from the NYT when they were finally mentioning "viral and bacterial issues of the gut" and gave it to me one night at dinner.  I have it on my fridge always as a pledge of not giving up on the research (or Megan and so many others!) and also of how motivating an influence Dan was in my life.  I could not attend Dan's Memorial today in Virginia but wanted to share how fortunate I was to know Dan and be involved in the investigations regarding the Age of Autism:

It was a very warm, September night in 2008, when I first met with Dan Olmsted. I had first seen Dan in a large auditorium at an autism conference a few years earlier. He had been up on the stage in a plaid shirt, talking about mercury, seeds, and Ceresan. With glasses and a laid back way about him, he seemed like Richard Dreyfuss as Hooper in Jaws, ready, willing, and able to take on Autism's menacing monster -- MERCURY.

I didn't understand why this "lumberjack guy" was talking to all of us parents about trees, Lignasan, and ethylmercury. My daughter became sickly and regressed in skills after vaccines -- many with the vaccine mercury called thimerosal. Bacterial and viral infections were then to be constant unwanted parasites in her life as her immune system took a direct hit. Meg was diagnosed with autism shortly after and just recently has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. Dan seemed to me to be on the wrong trail. It took me a while to connect the research and see that these clues Dan, along with Mark Blaxill, had been discussing and writing about for quite some time were the first "puzzle" pieces to Autism.

I shared Dan and Mark's passion about the origin of AUTISM.  MERCURY, both environmentally and in pharmaceuticals, like VACCINES, has been, and continues to be a significant culprit in the damage being seen in both the BRAIN and the MICROBIOME

Continue reading "Dan Olmsted: Columbo, Hero, Friend" »


Interactions between the Microbiota, Immune and Nervous Systems in Health and Disease

MicrobiomeYes, more on gut to brain -- MICROBIOME (GUT) -- with again a focus on MICROGLIA (BRAIN) -- I wrote about that seemingly unconnected connection two years ago based on studies unrelated to Autism.  Those connections are becoming more evident:

Interactions between the microbiota, immune and nervous systems in health and disease

The diverse collection of microorganisms that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract, collectively called the gut microbiota, profoundly influences many aspects of host physiology, including nutrient metabolism, resistance to infection and immune system development. Studies investigating the gut–brain axis demonstrate a critical role for the gut microbiota in orchestrating brain development and behavior, and the immune system is emerging as an important regulator of these interactions. Intestinal microbes modulate the maturation and function of tissue-resident immune cells in the CNS. Microbes also influence the activation of peripheral immune cells, which regulate responses to neuroinflammation, brain injury, autoimmunity and neurogenesis. Accordingly, both the gut microbiota and immune system are implicated in the etiopathogenesis or manifestation of neurodevelopmental, psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases, such as autism spectrum disorder, depression and Alzheimer's disease. In this review, we discuss the role of CNS-resident and peripheral immune pathways in microbiota–gut–brain communication during health and neurological disease.


The Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis in Health and Disease

MicrobiomeFrom Cork, Ireland to Houston, Texas researchers are exploring the MICROBIOME as key to helping the BRAIN.

Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2017 Mar;46(1):77-89. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2016.09.007. Epub 2017 Jan 4.

The Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis in Health and Disease.

Dinan TG1, Cryan JF2.

Author information

  • 1APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland; Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioural Science, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. Electronic address: t.dinan@ucc.ie.
  • 2APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland; Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

Abstract

Gut microbes are capable of producing most neurotransmitters found in the human brain. Evidence is accumulating to support the view that gut microbes influence central neurochemistry and behavior. Irritable bowel syndrome is regarded as the prototypic disorder of the brain-gut-microbiota axis that can be responsive to probiotic therapy. Translational studies indicate that certain bacteria may have an impact on stress responses and cognitive functioning. Manipulating the gut microbiota with psychobiotics, prebiotics, or even antibiotics offers a novel approach to altering brain function and treating gut-brain axis disorders, such as depression and autism.

Study to investigate connection between antibiotic use and autism symptoms

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Small Study Shows BIG Success: Fecal Microbial Transplants and Autism

MicrobiomeBy Teresa Conrick

I am a big believer in the bacteria of the Microbiome being a huge piece in Autism.  This study,hot off the press, has me hopeful and optimistic because I have a severely affected daughter with both a GI and autoimmune diagnosis but also --- AUTISM. MANY of our kids and young adults suffer with GI issues and behaviors connected. The more severe the Autism, the more severe the GI issues.

ASU Gut microbe study shows promise as a potential treatment for autism 

PUBLIC RELEASE: 23-JAN-2017 

The key to fighting autism might lie not in the mind, but in the gut.

A team led by Arizona State University researchers is taking a novel approach in the search for effective autism treatments by focusing on improving the gut microbiome through fecal microbial transplants.....

...The treatment program showed long-term benefits, including an average 80 percent improvement of gastrointestinal symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorders and 20-25 percent improvement in autism behaviors, including improved social skills and better sleep habits....

.....The microbes added through the treatment program remained after treatment stopped.

"That is compelling, because not only did we provide good microbes, but the microbes we provided changed the gut environment in a way that helped the host recruit beneficial microbes and allowed them to stay around,.......

Very important work happening at ASU and my deep gratitude to Jim Adams, Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and Dae-Wook Kang. We have very ill children and the medical treatments for Autism have not been researched enough.  This is good news and also shows the importance of the Microbiome in other neurodegenerative diseases.

The Microbiome is also being implicated in Alzheimer's:  

All the results suggest that AD may begin in the gut, and is closely related to the imbalance of gut microbiota. Modulation of gut microbiota through personalized diet or beneficial microbiota intervention will probably become a new treatment for AD.

The Microbiome is also being implicated in Parkinson's:

Scientists in California say they have transformed understanding of Parkinson's disease. Their animal experiments suggest the brain disorder may be caused by bacteria living in the gut....The scientists believe the bacteria are releasing chemicals that over-activate parts of the brain, leading to damage.

The findings could eventually lead to new ways of treating the disease, such as drugs to kill gut bugs or probiotics.

These findings are turning the paradigm of Autism from being, Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact, that Leo Kanner described from his psychiatry chair in 1943, after meeting those first eleven children of the 1930's, to a treatable, medical condition, with roots to the gut Microbiome. 

Stay tuned!

Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.


SPARK Autism Research - You're Going The WRONG Way!!

WrongwayBy Teresa Conrick

Here in Chicago, they have been reporting on the SPARK Autism, national database.  This from our local ABC, channel 7 Chicago:

RESEARCHERS AT RUSH MEDICAL CENTER CREATING NATIONAL DATABASE TO STUDY AUTISM  Sunday, December 18, 2016

 Some highlights- 

∗  Autism is one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the United States. It now affects one in every 68 children and on in every 42 boys.

 That's one reason why there is an intense push to try to find treatment and a possible cure. There is a major research study taking place at Rush Medical Center in Chicago.

 a ground-breaking research study, which is now gathering genetic information on autistic individuals. They're creating a national database.

 Every day we struggle with it and every day we hope that, in the back of your mind, that studies like this are going to help us," said Tony Belmonte, Jack's father.

 Nation-wide they are hoping to register 50,000 individuals on all levels of the autism spectrum. There is a concentrated effort now to get more minorities to sign up for this research.

At the bottom of the article, you'll read this:  For more information about the Rush autism study, visit www.sparkforautism.org/rush.  There you will go to a website which is not RUSH Hospital.  To find out more, click on About SPARK   on the bottom of that page.  There you will see that,  SPARK stands for ‘Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge,’ and the mission is simple: we want to speed up research and advance our understanding of autism to help improve lives. If you or your child has a professional diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, learn more about SPARK here .  If we keep following them, we can read even more about this plan -  SPARK aims to build a research community of tens of thousands of individuals with autism and their families, who will be asked to share medical and genetic information with scientists and to agree to be contacted about future research studies. 

For the person who knows little about the who, what, when, where and why of AUTISM, this could look to be promising BUT for most of the rest of the world, people are not accepting this approach anymore.  The search for genes is NOT, nor has it EVER been helpful "to find treatment and a possible cure."  Autism Speaks did this same thing, came up with a gene depository  to look like they are using their money for something helpful.  Sadly, this approach has done NOTHING for the tens of thousands of families who have children and now, young adults, who suffer with painful GI disease; seizures;  inability to speak or communicate in a meaningful manner or, at all; extreme sensory disturbance; executive functioning disability; debilitating obsessions, compulsions and tics; heartbreaking self-injurious behaviors; and the daily struggles with social cues. This type of genetic research is going in the WRONG direction.  

Continue reading "SPARK Autism Research - You're Going The WRONG Way!!" »


How Many Alex Spourdalakis Cases Will There Be Before We Medically Treat Autism?

Alex SIn June of 2013, the realization that Alex Spourdalakis had been killed was all over the news .  Because I have a daughter with severe Autism, the details hit home.  Add in that Alex and his mother lived a mere 7 blocks away from me, something I never knew until it was all over the news, saddened and angered me beyond words. They lived on a busy street above a plumbing company, in the next town over.   I went to the Memorial service as I needed to gather with others mourning the tragedy of all that had happened.  Who could not feel something when the news went viral? -- ANGER< SADNESS< BLAME<DISGUST<.....

Now local news is sharing that Dorothy, Mom and Jolanta, Godmother are coming out of Cook County Jail, having served time for what is being called Involuntary Manslaughter.  More feelings will emerge -  -- ANGER< SADNESS< BLAME<DISGUST<.....

http://abc7chicago.com/news/mother-godmother-plead-guilty-to-involuntary-manslaughter-of-severely-autistic-teen/1646761/

BUT, at the core of all of this is that we keep seeing this theme around the world in increasing MURDER/SUICIDE cases ----  the severe cases of AUTISM need proper MEDICAL care  ---

To see this GI suffering (MICROBIOME) continue with these severe cases of AUTISM helps not one person.  So yes, everyone will have feelings about this court decision BUT the focus on MEDICALLY HELPING these children and young adults should be THE goal .  What do you feel and think?  Please leave a comment and let us know.

Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.


CDC: Denying Harmful Human Vaccine Consequences?

DeniedstampBy Teresa Conrick

The newest research on AUTISM shows that we are getting closer and closer to the true factors that affect so many children.  It's time to say so long to genetics and psychiatry as THE answers to what has been happening to a generation of children. This quote from the CDC -- More people than ever before are being diagnosed with ASD   -- is only partially true.  Yes, "more" and more but not people, as that is misleading, but CHILDREN, and that is ----- devastating.  My daughter, Megan, is one of them.  Her diagnosis of Autism came about after vaccinations.  Seizures and an autoimmune diagnosis were to follow. Immune dysfunction, OCD and tics continue to haunt her and SO many other children who have AUTISM, PANDAS and PANS. A future name to capture the significant immune horrors and behaviors of these children and young adults should be -- AUTOIMMUNE ENCEPHALITIS .  Research is looking at how this could be happening:  One way the microbiome could contribute to this process is via molecular mimicry of PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infections), which sometimes co-occurs with autism. It was proposed that the presence of certain bacteria can lead to the formation of antibodies reactive with the basal ganglia of the brain resulting in behavioral abnormalities.112 

There are doctors treating the immune issues of Autism and noting up to 50% of their cases are children with this co-occurrence of PANDAS and PANS. Over the years, I have written about this topic, Many parents report their child exhibiting the first signs of PANDAS and PANS after vaccines , so as a refresher, here are updated definitions:

Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) is a clinical diagnosis given to children who have a dramatic – sometimes overnight – onset of neuropsychiatric symptoms including obsessions/compulsions or food restriction. They are often diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or an eating disorder, but the sudden onset of symptoms separates PANS from these other disorders. In addition, they may have symptoms of depression, irritability, anxiety, and have difficulty with schoolwork. The cause of PANS is unknown in most cases but is thought to be triggered by infections, metabolic disturbances, and other inflammatory reactions.

Continue reading "CDC: Denying Harmful Human Vaccine Consequences?" »


Goodbye Antibiotics In Meat - Hello Vaccines! Or How The Human Microbiome Meets Animal PHARM

Brown cowBy Teresa Conrick

Who can resist the image of succulent turkey in the oven for Thanksgiving? Maybe you like beef or chicken?  Whatever is on your menu, be aware that changes to our food supply are coming. As we learn more about the immune system and the increasing diseases of the industrial world - Autism, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, etc., - it's important to see how the exposures from MAN appear to be at the epicenter.

By January of 2017, the use of antibiotics in our food is changing in a major way.  Here is the strong message and Executive Order from President Obama:

Developed in response to Executive Order 13676: Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria—issued by President Barack Obama on September 18, 2014—the National Action Plan outlines steps for implementing the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and addressing the policy recommendations of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Although its primary purpose is to guide activities by the U.S. Government, the National Action Plan is also designed to guide action by public health, healthcare, and veterinary partners in a common effort to address urgent and serious drug-resistant threats that affect people in the U.S. and around the world.

And specifically: 

Goal 4 activities will also advance the discovery and development of other tools to combat resistance, including vaccines, alternatives to (or improved uses of) antibiotics in food animals, and non-traditional therapeutics to improve human health, including products that preserve or restore beneficial bacteria that live in human gastrointestinal tracts...

  1. Anyone who knows me or reads what I research and report on knows that what President Obama is saying here - "that preserve or restore beneficial bacteria that live in human gastrointestinal tracts" - THE MICROBIOME - is exactly my focus in Autism and so many other increasing diseases.

Continue reading "Goodbye Antibiotics In Meat - Hello Vaccines! Or How The Human Microbiome Meets Animal PHARM" »


CDC: Despite Vaccination Measures, Influenza Outbreaks Can Still Occur In Highly Vaccinated Military Populations


Military fluBy Teresa Conrick

In 2014, CDC reported this information in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).  I don't recall reading about it in any new reports or seeing it on any news stations:

Influenza Outbreak in a Vaccinated Population — USS Ardent, February 2014

On February 10, 2014, the USS Ardent, a U.S. Navy minesweeper, was moored in San Diego, California, while conducting training. Over the course of 3 days, 25 of 102 crew members sought medical care because of influenza-like illness (ILI). Nasal swab specimens were collected from each patient, and initial rapid influenza testing indicated 16 cases of influenza A. Ultimately, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing conducted by the Naval Health Research Center determined that 20 specimens were influenza A, of which 18 were subtype H3N2. Two specimens could not be subtyped. The HA gene sequence of an outbreak isolate was 99% identical to strains circulating during the 2013–14 influenza season and antigenically similar to the H3N2 component of the 2013–14 influenza vaccine...This outbreak highlights the risk for an H3N2 influenza outbreak among vaccinated and otherwise healthy young persons.

... Ninety-nine of 102 USS Ardent crew members, 24 of the 25 with ILI symptoms, and 17 of 18 crew members with confirmed influenza A (H3N2) infection had received the 2013–14 influenza vaccine ≥3 months before the outbreak. Vaccinations had been administered at local naval health clinics and at a vaccination fair conducted by Naval Medical Center San Diego. Of the 25 crew members with ILI symptoms, 16 were vaccinated via intradermal injection, eight via intranasal mist, and one had not received vaccination.

...Since the 1950s, a policy of mandatory annual vaccination against influenza for active duty personnel has been largely successful in limiting influenza epidemics in the military (8). The current U.S. Department of Defense influenza vaccination policy mandates that all uniformed personnel receive seasonal influenza vaccination, unless medically exempt, or face punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The policy specifically directs all Navy operational units to be at least 90% vaccinated. However, despite vaccination measures, influenza outbreaks can still occur in highly vaccinated military populations (9,10).

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Dear UN and CDC: Antibiotics - The Double Edged Sword of Man?

MicrobiomeBy Teresa Conrick

I do a lot of research and writing about Autism and the Microbiome.  A rising issue that encompasses this area of research is ANTIBIOTICS. I have a daughter who regressed into AUTISM and subsequently developed an AUTOIMMUNE disorder.  Her blood testing showed a positive antinuclear antibody response. Right now, it is called PANS/PANDAS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome), like many other children both with and without Autism, who develop these horrific symptoms. Megan was on ANTIBIOTICS frequently as a toddler but it was not until AFTER VACCINATION that antibiotics came into the picture.  She began to receive numerous VACCINES in 1993 and after that, her body seemed to change and become a sponge to pathogens. Her doctors note when Meg was 15 months old, ten days after her MMR vaccine, "6/28/94  -   Fever-  rash on body - ear infection - antibiotics".  Many vaccines in-between antibiotics, most with Thimerosal, and regression into Autism.  My daughter did not suffer an acute reaction, ie seizures immediately after a vaccine that led to the emergency room, but suffered continual regression and a very evident reaction after her MMR. The doctor's office told me this was normal... a viral infection, but then came the symptoms - loss of eye contact, inability to climb stairs, loss of language as the weeks went by.  The severe GI issues then followed.  Seizures came years later. Then autoimmunity.  Her condition could best be described as being a type of encephalitis that at times seems to be an autoimmune encephalitis.  Could it be that combining VACCINES, MERCURY and ANTIBIOTICS in a short time period is just too much for the MICROBIOME to handle? -- The effect of sole antibiotics on an infant has been studied but not with vaccinations, or environmental sources, ie mercury/Thimerosal:

...when early fecal samples from antibiotic-exposed infants were compared with a later post-weaning sample, antibiotic resistance was reduced, and overall diversity had increased [31]. This may have been due to the plasticity and rapid rate of change within the gut microbiota in the first year of life, suggesting that effects of early antibiotic usage in infants may be diminished over time ....

...In two studies, a large fraction of healthy, non-antibiotic-treated infants in the first 3 months of life harbored resistant and multiply resistant bacterial strains [59,60], perhaps through maternal transmission [61]. Although it has yet to be evaluated epidemiologically, the growing presence of resistant microbes may be due in part to more widespread contaminant exposures from foods and the environment. For instance, several studies demonstrated that individuals exposed to mercury were more likely to possess resistance to multiple antibiotics, suggesting a coselection mechanism [62]. Children are regularly exposed to arsenic, which can be found in well water and foods, such as rice and baby formula [63,64,65]. Metals, such as arsenic, which was used historically as an antibiotic in humans [66] and is currently added to animal feed, have contributed to the emergence of metal/antibiotic coresistant strains arising in livestock, including MRSA isolates [67] transmittable to humans via the environment and food supply. These multiresistant pathogens heighten risk of adverse outcomes, especially in young children. Once antibiotic resistance genes are selected for, they may persist within the microbiota for years [68].

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NIH Researcher Says YES to Microbiome Research

MicrobiomeBy Teresa Conrick

Katie Wright, whose son is the reason her parents started Autism Speaks, wrote about how NIH has a horrible track record on Autism research.  They give out grants for the same, old, archaic topics each passing year. Gene research has always been a favorite for them, even though as Katie reported, "less than 10% of ASD people have documented genetic diseases."  What the heck is wrong with doing REAL, biomedical research that will aid MANY more affected children and young adults?

I completely agree with Katie and thank her, and also want to thank a long-time commenter here on AoA for thinking about what I keep writing about here on AoA. Twyla sent me this very pertinent article on, of course, THE MICROBIOME, a favorite topic for me.  Thanks, Twyla, as it is important for us all:

Researchers Hunt for a Link Between Microbiome and Autism 

It's an interesting article showing how important the Microbiome is in Autism:

A study published in Cell in 2013 studied lab mice with ASD-like symptoms, such as avoiding social interaction and compulsive and repetitive behavior. Remarkably, after subjecting the mice to the human Bacteroides fragilis, the researchers noted the mice became less anxious and more social. The findings, wrote the authors, “support a gut-microbiome-brain connection in ASD and identify a potential probiotic therapy for GI and behavioral symptoms of autism"...There are no immediately clear distinctions by type or number between the microbiomes of children with autism and those without. The researchers are, however, detecting some subtle differences. Kids within families are the most similar to each other. But kids with ASD in different families have microbiomes that are more alike than the microbiomes of non-autistic children in different families.

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CDC "Nose" That Live Attenuate Influenza Vaccine Is Dangerous

FlumistBy Teresa Conrick

In June of this year, something odd happened at the annual CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).  They voted that the nasal flu vaccine or more precisely, that the "live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV)" should not be used during the 2016-2017 flu seasonHere's a brief history of LAIV:

  •  June 17, 2003 FDA approves nasal spray flu vaccine invented at U-M
  •  FluMist is a cold-adapted, live-attenuated, trivalent influenza virus vaccine.
  •  A trivalent vaccine, like the flu shot, it includes three different strains of vaccine.

 In 2009, H1N1 was all the rage

  •  The 2009 H1N1 nasal spray vaccine is being made in the same way as the seasonal nasal spray vaccine, but instead of containing three weakened live flu viruses, it only contains weakened 2009 H1N1 virus.

Then, in 2012, a new formula and here is the FDA approval: "February 29, 2012 Approval Letter - FluMist® Quadrivalent"

  •  We have approved your request to supplement your biologics license application for Influenza Vaccine Live, Intranasal, to include a quadrivalent formulation containing two influenza A subtype viruses and two type B viruses.

  •  FluMist Quadrivalent is a vaccine indicated for active immunization for the prevention of influenza disease caused by influenza A subtype viruses and type B viruses contained in the vaccine. FluMist Quadrivalent is approved for use in persons 2 through 49 years of age.

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Animal Captivity Humanizes The Microbiome

Sick monkeyBy Teresa Conrick

The research on the Microbiome continues to be extremely important as it is seemingly illustrating the path to many of Mankind's diseases. A recent study really caught my interest as it appeared to show that the Microbiome is indeed a huge yardstick of health.  The study, Captivity humanizes the primate microbiome deserves attention, and for AUTISM, the begging question, is the MICROBIOME the increasing reason for regression in so many children today? What is driving the Autism Microbiome to a unique and pathogenic state?  The use of antibiotics apparently was NOT the reason for the changes in the microbiome of the monkeys.

Highlights from the study:

  • A new study led by the University of Minnesota shows that monkeys in captivity lose much of their native gut bacteria diversity and their gut bacteria ends up resembling those of humans. 
  •  The microbiome (or gut bacteria) has been tied to a wide variety of medical conditions[emphasis mine] from autism to obesity

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Thank You, BHARE For $15,000 To Continue Microbiome Studies

TC B Share
By Teresa Conrick

On August 13th, I got a good sunburn helping raise $3,275 with the BHARE Foundation. We went car to car for hours to try and complete the $15,000 commitment that they wanted to raise over this Summer -- and they did!

That money will go for this:

"Studying the gut has been our most exciting and promising research.  Dr. Jim Adams, at Arizona State University, along with Dr. Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and Daewook Kang, have published studies proving major differences in the total make up of types and groups of populations of bacteria in people with autism.  Recently, the team has requested financial support to study fungi/yeast, and the possible connection to autism.  I hope you will assist us in helping to fund this work.  Our goal for the Spring/Summer is to raise $15,000.  With your help, I know we can reach it.

Further research areas we would like to explore include Helminths (parasitic worms), FMT (Fecal Microbial Transplant) and Medical Cannabis."

It's very important that we keep researching the Microbiome as it keep coming up as a very possible EPICENTER of Autism. 

 These researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill, not related to our fundraising efforts, are trying to PREVENT Autism but do they have it right? :

UNC researchers link gut bacteria to infant brain development  

  •   Preliminary research at UNC-Chapel Hill Medical School shows a relationship between how the brains of infants develop and the type of bacteria living in their stomachs.

  •   The communities of bacteria, viruses and small fungi that make their homes inside larger animals are known as the “microbiome.” Studying these critters has become a new way for scientists to understand the complex ways messages travel in the human body.

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Microbiome Drug Fails

MicrobiomeBy Teresa Conrick

Since my recent report on Autism and the Microbiome: Will Fecal Transplants Be the Next “AWAKENINGS?" Part 2, there has been a recent update in the news:

Gut check: Seres Therapeutics shares plunge after microbiome drug fails in trial:

Shares of Seres Therapeutics plummeted more than 69 percent Friday after its microbiome treatment for preventing a bacterial infection failed in a mid-stage study and raised doubts about this growing area of research. 

The product, known as SER-109, is a mix of bacterial spores designed to treat patients from recurring infection of the potentially deadly bacterium Clostridium difficile, or C. diff.

In a phase 2 study, SER-109 did not reduce the risks associated with the infection, compared to the placebo, at up to eight weeks of treatment.

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Kris Kristofferson's Lyme Disease Misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's

KristoffersonBy Teresa Conrick

On July 20th, this very interesting and optimistic article came out:

Kris Kristofferson's Lyme disease misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's 

Actor and songwriter Kris Kristofferson and some of those closest to him are speaking out about his health problems and their surprising cause.

Kristoffferson struggled with memory problems in recent years and was told he had Alzheimer's disease, but it appears he was misdiagnosed and all along has actually been suffering from the tick-borne illness Lyme Disease.

Articles in Rolling Stone and the entertainment magazine Closer Weekly reveal that the 80-year-old -- whose songs have been covered by the likes of Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin and Elvis Presley -- has struggled through a years-long medical odyssey.

...He was taking all these medications for things he doesn't have, and they all have side effects," she told the magazine. After the Lyme diagnosis, he dropped those medications and went through three weeks of treatment for Lyme..."It's like Lazarus coming out of the grave and being born again,"

...While Lyme disease can sometimes mimic Alzheimer's with dementia-like symptoms, there are effective treatments available for Lyme, including antibiotics -- unlike Alzheimer's, for which there is currently no cure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are about 329,000 cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. each year. Only about 30,000 are officially confirmed and reported to the CDC.

Doctor's often look for a hallmark bulls-eye rash around a tick bite, but not everyone infected has an obvious mark.

That's GREAT news for Kris Kristofferson and his family. I'm so happy to hear he is being medically treated now and getting better.  What was additionally interesting and ironic, was this article in the news the following day:

Thursday 21 July 2016Could antibiotics reduce levels of Alzheimer's-causing plaques?   

Neuroscientists from The University of Chicago find that treating mice with broad-spectrum antibiotics long term decreases plaques that cause Alzheimer's disease and elevate the inflammatory state of microglial cells in the brain....It is suggested that amyloidosis - the accumulation and buildup of beta-amyloid peptides into plaques in the brain - is key to AD onset and progression...In addition to decreasing amyloid plaques and activating inflammatory microglial cells in the brain, the study, published in Scientific Reports, showed that administering antibiotics made significant changes in the gut microbiome of the mice.

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Stroke, Gut Microbiome, Inflammation and.... Autism.

MicrobiomeBy Teresa  Conrick

Stroke Alters Gut Microbiome, Impacting Recovery - What About Vaccine Injury and Autism?

Yes, it just keeps coming. Our good friend Birgit Calhoun, a fellow truth-seeker here at Age of Autism, sent this study to us as she too, is keeping tabs on the Microbiome and Autism.  Thank you so much, Birgit. Let's take a look:

A bidirectional link between the brain and the gut can improve or worsen brain injury in mice, researchers report

Scientists are finding increasing evidence that the stomach and the brain are linked via microbes and the immune system. Researchers from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany have found that inducing strokes in mice altered the animals’ gut microbiota, triggering an immune response that traveled back to the brain and worsened the severity of the lesions. When the researchers transplanted fecal bacteria from healthy mice into germ-free rodents that had suffered strokes, the latter animals made a better recovery than mice that didn’t receive the healthy bacteria, the researchers reported this week (July 12) in The Journal of Neuroscience .

Research has shown that ischemic strokes produce an inflammatory response in the brain, which activates lymphocytes—particularly T cells. Depending on their fate, these T cells can help or worsen the brain’s recovery. Accumulating evidence now suggests that microbes in the gut can influence immune activity in the brain via the so-called “gut-brain axis.” Anrather and colleagues published a study in March [ "antibiotic-induced alterations in the intestinal flora reduce ischemic brain injury in mice, an effect transmissible by fecal transplants."  ] showing that antibiotic-induced changes in gut microbiota affected the outcome of stroke, but the opposite effect—how stroke impacts the gut microbiome—had not been investigated until now.

To find out, the researchers transplanted fecal microbiota from mice that had suffered strokes into the guts of germ-free mice, and then induced strokes in the latter group of animals. The animals that received transplanted microbiota from the brain-injured mice had significantly larger stroke infarct volumes compared with mice that received sham transplants, the researchers found. In addition, the mice that received transplants from the post-stroke mice also had higher expression of the inflammatory T cells Th1 and Th17. When the researchers fluorescently labeled immune tissue in the intestines of mice after the animals suffered strokes, they found that T cells in the animals’ guts migrated to the brain two to three days after the stroke, where they exacerbated the brain injury.

To see whether gut microbiota could limit brain damage from stroke, Liesz’s team performed fecal transplants from healthy mice into animals that had just suffered strokes, which resulted in smaller brain lesions, the researchers found. This finding was linked with an increase in the number of regulatory T cells, which help protect the brain from injury.

Let's summarize:  

Stroke (brain injury) traveled negatively to the gut MICROBIOME by altering bacteria >> Then the altered bacteria triggered an adverse immune response back to the brain (worsening the stroke) >> Then healthy fecal bacteria transplanted into the gut gives better recovery (healthy bacteria replacing unhealthy bacteria)>> Mice with no fecal transplant did not have as good of a recovery.

This line of research is so important for AUTISM as so many have suffered vaccine reactions  with developmental regression and now it is reported that up to 90 percent of autistic children also suffer gastrointestinal disturbances ( ie. GUT MICROBIOTA). 

The conclusion from the researchers -- "These findings highlight the key role of microbiota as a potential therapeutic target to protect brain function after injury."

My conclusion --These MICROBIOME connections are shining a much needed light on the plight of thousands.

Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.


Autism and the Microbiome: Will Fecal Transplants Be the Next “AWAKENINGS?" Part 2

AwakeningsBy Teresa Conrick

It was a little over a year ago that I presented information on fecal transplants and Autism. Since then, there has been more research and information that may be pertinent for Autism.

I had compared the film, Awakenings (victims of an encephalitis epidemic responding to a new medical procedure), to fecal transplants for Autism and our photo here of Robert DeNiro as Leonard may have been a foreshadowing that nobody knew was coming. In April of 2016, Robert DeNiro, one of my biggest heroes in the history of film, revealed that his son, like my daughter, reacted to the MMR vaccine as a toddler and symptoms of Autism then began.  My eternal gratitude to him for bringing these important issues to the public

I have been reading and writing about the Microbiome and Autism for years as the two seem very related for my daughter and so many others.  Why is the Microbiome seemingly key into the regression of Autism and how can this be prevented as well as treated for those already adversely affected?

There is no arguing that the Microbiome of Childhood is taking a beating from MAN. Vaccines, pesticides, and antibiotics, and maybe ESPECIALLY antibiotics that no one talks about ---- the ones in our food supply. In addition, another long-term culprit is MERCURY (remember that Thimerosal is still in flu vaccines) because mercury can cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics, the Microbiome is intimately connected.  Each of these alone can adversely affect the Microbiome but add them together and it could be the recipe for disaster that we are seeing as we connect the gut to the immune system -- and to the brain.  Autism is turning out to have a very damaged and dysfunctional Microbiome so let's take a look at Fecal Microbiota Transplants.

Continue reading "Autism and the Microbiome: Will Fecal Transplants Be the Next “AWAKENINGS?" Part 2" »


More Research Showing How Damaged the Immune System is in Autism

Meg sick age 5By Teresa Conrick

I have been writing about my daughter, Megan, her autism diagnosis, her immune system and the Microbiome for quite awhile. The connections continue to mount.  It makes sense that researchers keep seeing the immune system involved in Autism.  In our situation, Megan has both an Autism diagnosis and an Autoimmune diagnosis.  Treating her with antibiotics, probiotics, organic and prebiotic foods, and interventions to help the immune system work more productively, increases her health and also decreases her symptoms of Autism. Here is yet another study showing that the immune system and the brain are intimately connected:

Unexpected role of interferon-γ in regulating neuronal connectivity and social behaviour 

Immune dysfunction is commonly associated with several neurological and mental disorders...Here we show that meningeal immunity is also critical for social behaviour; mice deficient in adaptive immunity exhibit social deficits and hyper-connectivity of fronto-cortical brain regions. Associations between rodent transcriptomes from brain and cellular transcriptomes in response to T-cell-derived cytokines suggest a strong interaction between social behaviour and interferon-γ (IFN-γ)-driven responses. Concordantly, we demonstrate that inhibitory neurons respond to IFN-γ and increase GABAergic (γ-aminobutyric-acid) currents in projection neurons, suggesting that IFN-γ is a molecular link between meningeal immunity and neural circuits recruited for social behaviour...This study implicates adaptive immune dysfunction, in particular IFN-γ, in disorders characterized by social dysfunction and suggests a co-evolutionary link between social behaviour and an anti-pathogen immune response driven by IFN-γ signalling.

Here is that same study in layman's terms - Does the Immune System Have a Role in Battling Autism?, Scientific American, July 14, 2016:

Molecules that protect the body from infection may be needed for mice to socialize with their peers, according to a study published today in Nature...The findings bolster an emerging link between the immune system and conditions such as autism, says lead researcher Jonathan Kipnis, professor of neuroscience at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. “Whether we like it or not, there is a piling up of evidence that the immune system has a major impact on brain function: The brain is not isolated from the rest of the body,” he says.  The study pinpoints an immune molecule called interferon gamma as the key to this link. This molecule primes cells to attack intruders, and is ramped up during infections.  

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