Teresa Conrick

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: [email protected].
  • 2APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland; Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.


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

Continue reading "The Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis in Health and Disease" »

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 


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:


 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<.....


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).

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

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].

Continue reading "Dear UN and CDC: Antibiotics - The Double Edged Sword of Man?" »

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.

Continue reading "NIH Researcher Says YES to Microbiome Research" »

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.

Continue reading "CDC "Nose" That Live Attenuate Influenza Vaccine Is Dangerous" »

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

Continue reading "Animal Captivity Humanizes The Microbiome" »

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.

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

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.

Continue reading "Microbiome Drug Fails" »

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.

Continue reading "Kris Kristofferson's Lyme Disease Misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's" »

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.  

Continue reading "More Research Showing How Damaged the Immune System is in Autism" »

Pesticides, The Microbiome and Autism

Microbiome7By Teresa Conrick

If you have been following the research over the past decade, AUTISM has been skyrocketing with a male preponderance of approximately 4 males to every 1 female diagnosed. Many in the trenches of research have been making strides in showing that TOXINS seem to affect males at a higher rate .  A new study on the MICROBIOME shows that a well known Pesticide, the Organophosphate, Diazinon , which has been around for YEARS can damage the bacteria of the Microbiome.

This Significant For AUTISM?  

Yes, it is.    June, 2014. Organophosphate pesticides and autism

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences published a report this week linking prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides with a higher risk of autism. The study found that children whose mothers lived within a mile of fields treated with an organophosphate pesticide during their pregnancy were 60% more likely to develop autism spectrum disorders than children whose mothers did not live near treated fields.

Pesticides are not only in the air and soil but of course in the foods bought at stores. This research may be a good yet scary glimpse of how a toxin can cause damage to the Microbiome.  Children are small, infants smaller and a fetus.... so vulnerable. They are all exposed numerous times to environmental toxins and research keeps showing that these chemicals can do harm. The research done on the effects of vaccination on the BRAIN and the Microbiome are limited as it is a controversial topic . It is not hard to see that the same mechanisms can be at play when a vaccine, a toxin, or a poison damages the Microbiome, which we now know to be KEY in the development of the immune system and the brain.

Gender-Specific Effects of Organophosphate Diazinon on the Gut Microbiome and Its Metabolic Functions                                                                    

Some pertinent highlights for Autism:

■     There is growing recognition of the significance of the gut microbiome to human health, and the association between a perturbed gut microbiome with human diseases has been established. 

■     The wide agricultural use of diazinon, an organophosphate insecticide, has raised serious environmental health concerns since it is a potent neurotoxicant.

■     With studies demonstrating the presence of a microbiome-gut-brain axis, it is possible that gut microbiome perturbation may also contribute to diazinon toxicity. 

■     Diazinon exposure perturbed the gut microbiome community structure, functional metagenome, and associated metabolic profiles in a gender-specific manner. 

Continue reading "Pesticides, The Microbiome and Autism" »

Autism and the Microbiome: Immunization With Bacteria?

Microbiome7By Teresa Conrick

As more and more is unraveled about the MICROBIOME in health and disease, causes and of course treatments are going to be discussed.  The big questions will hopefully concern prevention of diseases as well. I recently came upon an article that made me wonder what direction Microbiome research could take:

Immunization with bacteria promotes stress resilience, coping behaviors in mice, CU-Boulder study finds 

Injections of the soil bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae (M. vaccae NCTC 11659) promote stress resilience and improve coping behaviors in mice, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

The researchers also found that M. vaccae prevented stress-induced colitis, a typical symptom of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), suggesting that immunization with the bacteria may have a wide-ranging suite of health benefits.

The findings appear today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

“The immunized mice responded with a more proactive behavioral coping response to stress, a strategy that has been associated with stress resilience in animals and humans,” said Christopher Lowry, an associate professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology at CU-Boulder and the senior author of the new research....

The immunized mice continued to show decreased levels of submissive behaviors one to two weeks after treatment. M. vaccae treatment reduced stress-induced colitis...

...The research underscores the importance of an organism’s microbiome in preventing and coping with inflammation-related diseases and psychiatric conditions...

...“An injection of M. vaccae is not designed to target a particular antigen the way a vaccine would, but instead activates the individual’s immunoregulatory responses to protect from inappropriate inflammation...

Well that's interesting and could also make one wonder, could this be something for AUTISM? Maybe that's what the authors are inferring here in the full study about "PREVENTION" .full:

Although not specifically addressed here, immunoregulatory approaches may also prove useful in prevention of neurodevelopmental and other somatic and neuropsychiatric disorders in which elevated inflammation contributes to disease vulnerability (84).

INAPPROPRIATE INFLAMMATION.  That sure could be AUTISM as most research shows INFLAMMATION in the brain.  The MICROBIOME has been shown to be very connected to the MICROGLIA in the BRAIN.

Continue reading "Autism and the Microbiome: Immunization With Bacteria?" »

Above All, Autism, When It Comes to the Microbiome and the Immune System

MicrobiomeBy Teresa Conrick

The ever-increasing word -- AUTISM -- is seen as a disorder and also a disease:

DISORDER:     Autism is a complex spectrum of disorders that share three classic features - impaired communication, poor social engagement and repetitive behaviors. On one end of the spectrum are people who are socially awkward but, in many cases, incredibly bright. At the other extreme are individuals with severe mental disabilities and behavioral problems.  Among autistic children's most common health complaints? Gastrointestinal problems. Although estimates vary widely, some studies have concluded that up to 90 percent of autistic children suffer from tummy troubles.

Tummy troubles is putting it mildly.

DISEASE:     Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are considered a heterogenous set of neurobehavioral diseases, with the rates of diagnosis dramatically increasing in the past few decades. As genetics alone does not explain the underlying cause in many cases, attention has turned to environmental factors as potential etiological agents. Gastrointestinal disorders are a common comorbidity in ASD patients

Far too many children and young adults who have a diagnosis of AUTISM suffer GI issues and that has turned out to be a big clue. ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS would then be the culprit.  Here is a recent study that ties these issue together but never, ever mentions AUTISM -- WHY?

The gut microbiota: a major player in the toxicity of environmental pollutants? 

...There is clear evidence that bacteria-dependent metabolism of pollutants modulates the toxicity for the host. Conversely, environmental contaminants from various chemical families have been shown to alter the composition and/or the metabolic activity of the gastrointestinal bacteria, which may be an important factor contributing to shape an individual’s microbiotype. The physiological consequences of these alterations have not been studied in details but pollutant-induced alterations of the gut bacteria are likely to contribute to their toxicity. In conclusion, there is a body of evidence suggesting that gut microbiota are a major, yet underestimated element that must be considered to fully evaluate the toxicity of environmental contaminants....Environmental chemicals can also interfere with the composition of the GI microbiota, which may lead to detrimental consequences for the host...the GI bacteria may have a significant, but underestimated, capacity to metabolise environmental chemicals.

Continue reading " Above All, Autism, When It Comes to the Microbiome and the Immune System" »

White House Acknowledges Microbiome Brain Gut Connection in Disease

GermsHave we "hygiened" ourselves into abject chronic illness? Has our quest to eradicate bacteria and viruses backfired? Have we entered Purell hell? Take a look at the state of American health. Seems the White House is looking at the Microbiome - and that's good.  Like our politics, a wildly swinging pendulum from left to right with a quick swipe through the center, our healthcare and medicine may have reached it's outer limit of "die germ die!" mode.  Our own Teresa Conrick has been studying and writing about the Microbiome.

White House Begins New National Microbiome Initiative To Understand Benefits Of Bacteria

Gut Problems In Autism May Originate In Genes.... SERIOUSLY?

Money wave
NOTE: Of interest to our readers, CHOP, home of vaccine apologist Dr. Paul Offit, just received millions for their autism research.... in genetics. Another nauseating wave of busy work while our children grow older and families drown.  Biz Journals: CHOP Joins Larger Ever Autism Genetics Study

By Teresa Conrick

It takes a strong stomach - no pun intended - to stomach some of the research on AUTISM.  I do appreciate research on the GUT but trying to link GENES again (!!) to AUTISM and then to hook that premise on to the many GASTROINTESTINAL issues in Autism (!!) is seemingly odd.  The rapid release of study after study showing that kids and young adults with an AUTISM diagnosis having abnormal bacteria, paints a strong picture of the MICROBIOME being a top contender in the cascade of issues involved in Autism. 

From the GENE research:

GI Problems In Autism May Originate In Genes, Study Suggests NEW YORK, NY (April 25, 2016)  study :

"Gastrointestinal issues have been recognized as a common occurrence in people with autism since the condition was first described in the 1940s, but there was no indication that they were directly related," says the study's lead author, Kara Gross Margolis, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at Columbia.......

That's interesting as we have highlighted that for YEARS here at Age of Autism :

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

  • "Eating," the report said, "has always been a problem with him.”
  • large and ragged tonsils.
  • Following smallpox vaccination at 12 months, he had an attack of diarrhea and fever
  • Large tonsils and adenoids
  • He vomited a great deal during his first year,
  • She quit taking any kind of nourishment at 3 months. She was tube-fed five times daily up to 1       year of age.
  • He vomited all food from birth through the third month.
  • His tonsils were removed when he was 3 years old.
  • He vomited all food from birth through the third month.
  • He suffered from repeated colds and otitis media, which necessitated bilateral myringotomy
  • Because of a febrile illness at 13 months, her increasing difficulties were interpreted as possible postencephalitic behavior disorder.    
  • He had been kept in bed often because of colds, bronchitis, chickenpox, streptococcus infection, impetigo

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

And then more from that Gene research above-

Recent research by Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, MD, the Mortimer D. Sackler, MD Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia, and Randy Blakely, PhD, professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, had linked some cases of autism to genetic mutations that inhibit serotonin activity. Serotonin is a chemical that transmits signals from one neuron to another in the brain. The brain, however, contains only 5 percent of the body's serotonin; most of the rest is at work in the GI system. Genetic mutations that affect serotonin's activity will thus have ramifications in the gut as well as in the brain.

Continue reading "Gut Problems In Autism May Originate In Genes.... SERIOUSLY?" »

BHARE Foundation: Small Size Yet BIG Plans

Microbiome7By Teresa Conrick

Here is an excerpt of a letter I just received from one of my favorite Autism Organizations. Since Megan's regression into AUTISM, my life has centered on research that connects the gut and brain -- THE MICROBIOME.  I plan on hitting the streets again with them because even though they are a small organization, BHARE has a long, successful history and BIG, HOPEFUL plans.  Please consider donating! :

Dear BHARE Foundation supporter,

In 16 years, our small, fully volunteer, and committed group, has donated over $615,000 to research. Because of your help, over 12 different studies have been published, many of which, have influenced the direction of current research. As I look back over 2015, and now into 2016, I feel encouraged more than ever. Mainstream researchers for a variety of disorders, NOT including autism, are spending more funds on gut research than ever before.  Autism is an immune/gut/brain disease, and as such, research into the gastrointestinal tract will almost certainly give us some answers by default.  Because of the bacterial infection Clostridium difficile and other gastrointestinal diseases, wonderful groundbreaking work is being done.  We are hopeful that people afflicted with autism will finally benefit from other "unrelated" work.

Studying the gut has been our most promising research.  Dr. Jim Adams at Arizona State University along with Dr. Rose 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.  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 Transplants) and Medical Cannabis.

Our 17th annual Tag Days will be May 7th, June 18th and August 13th.

You can now donate online using PayPal.

Thank you,

Bram Hornstein

The BHARE Foundation

Autism and Cancer? Light It Up... Blue.

Blue tearBy Teresa Conrick

It's April and for many with a diagnosis of Autism, it's just another month. The AUTISM AWARENESS of lighting it up BLUE does little to comfort. They are too sick, affected by seizures, mitochondrial dysfunction, immune and autoimmune dysfunction, irritable bowel disorder, colitis, severe constipation, Crohn's disease, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), peanut allergies, food allergies, skin allergies, an abnormal MICROBIOME and now another study says ---- again --- they are higher candidates for CANCER.

University of Iowa study finds link between cancer, autism.

University of Iowa researchers have found that, although patients with autism have increased mutations in genes that potentially lead to cancer, they also have decreased rates of cancer.

“It’s a very provocative result that makes sense on one level and is extremely perplexing on another,” Benjamin Darbro, team leader and assistant professor of medical genetics in the UI Carver College of Medicine, said in a news release.

....The protective effect, however, was strongest for the youngest group of patients and decreased with age...

On the very same day this study was released I was also alerted of this very sad news release:

Josh Titus, former Auburn student who inspired basketball fans nationwide, dies at 25

Josh Titus, the former Auburn high school student who inspired thousands of basketball fans across the nation by not letting his disability keep him off the court, was remembered by friends and family Thursday, the day after he died following a battle with cancer.

Titus died Wednesday at the Hospice House in Auburn, according to statement from his parents. He was 25.
Titus, who was autistic, served as the manager of the Edward Little High School boys’ basketball team in 2009. He made national headlines when he entered the Red Eddies’ final game of the season and scored nine points.

A tragedy. My heart breaks for his family and friends. I have a daughter, 23, with severe symptoms of Autism and her medical issues are many. I cannot imagine including CANCER.

Continue reading "Autism and Cancer? Light It Up... Blue." »

Hear This Well: Ear Infections and Autism

EarBy Teresa Conrick

When looking at issues in current day, it's often important to look at evidence in the present but also in the past. I have reported on much research showing that the MICROBIOME has an integral part in Autism.  Consider these updated pieces of both past and present "evidence" :

Vaccine Helps Prevent Ear Infections   April 2, 2007 

New study shows that PCV7 vaccine routinely given to infants helps reduce frequent bouts of otitis media

"Studies show that the number of middle ear infections caused by the pneumococcus serotypes in the vaccine have declined dramatically, but others have increased by 30 percent," Nuorti says. Bacteria on the rise may be filling the ecological void left by the decline in the vaccine's seven pneumococcus strains. But, he adds, two vaccines in the pipeline would cover more pneumococcal strains, including those whose rates of occurrence are escalating.

 Yet look at a newer study that shows the science behind the "ecological void" and the negative, domino effect consequences:

Preventing Ear Infections, Pneumonia Could Start With A Common Bacterium Found In Your Nose Jan 5,2016 

...The term “skin microbiota” refers to the colony of microorganisms found on your skin. Though the thought is repulsive, some of these benign bacteria offer great benefits by providing a first line of defense against harmful pathogens. In fact one of the good bacteria species, a new study finds, appears to thwart the growth of a bad bacteria species that is capable of causing middle ear infections as well as life-threatening pneumonia...Corynebacterium accolens is a harmless bacterial species that commonly colonizes the nose. It falls within the genus of Corynebacterium. These Gram-positive, aerobic, rod-shaped bacteria are found throughout nature in different ecological niches, including our skin, the soil, vegetables, cheese, and sewage,

...Following formal investigation, Bomar and her co-researchers discovered C. accolens are overrepresented in the noses of children who are not colonized by Streptococcus pneumoniae. A major cause of pneumonia, meningitis, middle ear infections, and sinusitis, S. pneumoniae leads to more than one million deaths each year, reports the World Health Organization. Most of those who die as a result of infections caused by this bacterium are young children in developing countries. While most people who host S. pneumoniae do not develop infections, colonization is a perquisite for infection and also greatly increases the risk of both infection and transmission....“These data indicate that C. accolens may play a beneficial role in sculpting the human microbiome,” wrote the authors.

Continue reading "Hear This Well: Ear Infections and Autism" »

The Microbiome: The Hopeful Path to Health

HopeBy Teresa Conrick

The research on the Microbiome continues to be amazing.  The newest realization is that the myelin in the brain is affected by the gut microbiota:

UCC scientists uncover a potential role of the microbiome in regulating myelination in the brain.  

Over the past decade it is becoming increasing clear that the microbes that reside within and around us play a clear role is our health and well being. Perhaps most surprising of all is the realisation that gut bacteria can even influence brain function and behaviour. Now scientists in the APC Microbiome Institute and Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork Ireland have shown, at least in animal models, that major disturbance in communication between the gut microbiota and brain has resulted in changes in myelination patterns in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region that is key to higher cognitive functions and in the expression of anxiety and social behaviours.....introducing a normal microbiome had the ability to reverse some of the parameters used to measure the changes in myelination.

“It is likely that key signals from the gut to the brain provide a brake on myelination processes” says Prof Cryan. Furthermore, he says that “understanding these may open innovative gut microbiome-based strategies for tackling myelin-related disorders”. Moreover, this data presented by the APC Microbiome team continues to broaden the concept that the microbiome has a remarkable influence over fundamental brain processes and may be harnessed in the future for a wide range of brain disorders.

What disorders or diseases:

    Multiple sclerosis --- (MS) is the most common demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. In this disorder, your immune system attacks the myelin sheath or the cells that produce and maintain it.

    Optic neuritis — inflammation of the optic nerve in one or both eyes

Continue reading "The Microbiome: The Hopeful Path to Health" »

Meet the Yanomami: Magnificent Microbiome and No Autism? Part 2

YanomaniBy Teresa Conrick

In Meet the Yanomami: Magnificent Microbiome and No Autism? Part 1 I hoped to shed some light on what seems to be happening to the Westernized Microbiome.

Here is Part 2.

What This May Mean for the Yanomami and Western Man

Let's go back to that quote:   We believe there is something occurring in the environment during the past 30 years   that has been driving these diseases, and we think the microbiome could be involved."

Let's add these quotes:

What has happened in the last 30 years  that has made us so afraid of these diseases in the U.S.? Why has the vaccine schedule increased so dramatically? The only significant event in the last 30 years that we could find through our research was the passing of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1986. This gave way to the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) which completely absolves pharmaceutical companies from any legal responsibility for vaccine safety and shifts the burden for compensation payments to the American taxpayers.

Autism rates climbed nearly 30%  between 2008 and 2010 and have more than doubled since the turn of the century, according to a new study from the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The condition is now believed to affect one of every 68 8-year-olds – up from one in 88 just two years earlier.  That means virtually every grade in every elementary school has at least one child with autism – a seemingly astonishing rise for a condition that was nearly unheard of a generation ago.

I could conclude here but I needed to find out...why did these people, the Yanomami, have antibiotic resistant genes and what might the future hold for them?  In looking at their environment, we know that 1- vaccination of a past generation of tribes occurred and 2- there seems to be a huge issue of MERCURY quite possibly in their lives:

The presence of Brazilian garimpeiros – or wildcat prospectors – in the headwaters of the Ocamo River has been extensively documented since 2009, when several community members were sickened, apparently by mercury poisoning. Mercury is commonly used by miners to separate gold from ore in the field, creating a serious health hazard in wide stretches of the Amazon rainforest.

Over 1,000 gold-miners are now working illegally on Yanomami land, transmitting deadly diseases like malaria and polluting the rivers and forest with mercury   

.,,,Yanomami health is suffering and critical medical care is not reaching them, especially in Venezuela.

The Brazilian congress is currently debating a bill which, if approved, will permit large-scale mining in indigenous territories. This will be extremely harmful to the Yanomami and other remote tribes in Brazil.

Then there is the real possibility of mercury exposure and increased risk for Malaria in the Yanomami:


We have conducted epidemiological and toxicological studies on co-exposures to mercury and infection. Our epidemiological studies are cross-sectional using census-based and convenience sampling methods. Our toxicological studies explored mechanisms using mouse models of malaria and autoimmune disease, as well as in vitro studies of human lymphocytes.

Continue reading "Meet the Yanomami: Magnificent Microbiome and No Autism? Part 2" »

Meet the Yanomami: Magnificent Microbiome and No Autism? Part 1

YanomaniBy Teresa Conrick

Last April, I ran across this interesting article and then the study  that is its foundation:


Scientists have found antibiotic resistance genes in the bacterial flora of a South American tribe who have never been exposed to antibiotic drugs.

The findings suggest that bacteria in the human body have had the ability to resist antibiotics since long before such drugs were ever used to treat disease.

The research stems from the 2009 discovery of a tribe of Yanomami Amerindians in a remote mountainous area in southern Venezuela. Largely because the tribe had been isolated from other societies for more than 11,000 years, its members were found to have among the most diverse collections of bacteria recorded in humans.

Those two issues -" antibiotic resistance genes" and "the most diverse collections of bacteria recorded in humans", got my interest as these people also have none of the diseases that our society has and that may include Autism.  I call Autism a disease as that is what most of the research reports. Also, ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE translates to microbial infections that are hard to kill thus chronic, debilitating and can lead to death. Since they had not ever had contact with antibiotics, I was curious how they could have genes resistant to them. 

                                                                            How is Autism a Disease?

I know some people may be alarmed and others offended but the research is showing this to be true.  It's important to keep up with this investigation as we seek prevention of Regressive Autism, GI Disease and Autoimmune issues.  Treatments for many ill children and young adults are imperative.  My daughter, Megan, who has been diagnosed not only with AUTISM but also AUTOIMMUNITY, is one of them. She began regression in skills and health after a Thimerosal-containing vaccine and the MMR vaccine. Here are some specific examples of research indicating that AUTISM is a DISEASE:

There is so much research on an altered microbiome in Autism that the study on the Yanomami seemed important.  I remembered studying about the Yanomami in my Anthropology class back in college but since that was years ago, I decided to do a little background reading. 

                                                                             Who Are the Yanomami?

You can read articles like this- "The Yanomami: An isolated yet imperiled Amazon tribe," from the Washington Post with mention of “mercury from gold mining” and “influenza, measles and malaria” and resulting in “thousands of deaths” but, there may be a different account of this history.  Here is an excerpt from a historical witness, Patrick Tierney:

Report: Measles Vaccine Possibly Killed Amazon Tribe

Continue reading "Meet the Yanomami: Magnificent Microbiome and No Autism? Part 1" »

Microbiome Transplant Normalizes C-section Microbes

Microbiome7By Teresa Conrick

The MICROBIOME continues to make headlines.  I am all for it as I have a daughter very ill with both an Autism and Autoimmune diagnosis.  She was born vaginally with high apgar scores but experienced regression after vaccination. This current study has been going a bit "viral" as it shows the power of gut bacteria and viruses.  An example of the media reports:

Microbiome transplant normalizes C-section microbes - Vaginal microbial transfer shows positive early results, could improve long-term health.

Among other functions, the microbiome helps train the immune system, inhibits harmful microbes and makes essential nutrients. So researchers worry that establishment of an abnormal microbiome could have possibly harmful effects.

Epidemiological studies report associations between C-section delivery and obesity, asthma, allergies and immune deficiencies, although these don't establish cause. Theoretically, the new procedure could reduce the risk of such illnesses associated with abnormal microbiomes....

....The study examined C-section infants who were given microbes from their mother's vagina in a procedure called vaginal microbial transfer. The microbes were collected on gauze that had been placed in the vagina before birth for one hour. The gauze was then swabbed onto the newborns' mouth, face and body.

Follow-up testing showed that after 30 days, the C-section babies developed microbiomes more characteristic of vaginally delivered babies than C-section babies who didn't get the treatment. 

Study after study is showing that the collective bacteria and viruses of the gut are involved in AUTISM.

Here's the LA TIMES report actually mentioning AUTISM:

......."Previous research has shown a correlation (though not causation) between people who were born via C-section and an increased risk of obesity, asthma, allergies and autism......."

Well, there was also a very large study done some years ago showing NO relationship with AUTISM and Cesarean births (C-sections):

C-sections did not affect the rate of autism

Some questions remain:

  •   Is it possible that the vaginal Microbiome is important, but a connecting issue may be the use of strong antibiotics with a c-section that eliminates beneficial bacteria? 
  •   If an abnormal Microbiome is a concern for negative health outcomes, like Autism, what about vaccines and vaccine mercury, (Thimerosal, a mercurial agent with bactericidal activity against a broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi),and their effect on the Microbiome -- ie- the collective bacteria, viruses and fungi?  

The research on the Microbiome is mounting and the ramifications of what can alter it "remain to be seen":

.......new organisms are expected to move into the empty niches created by vaccine elimination of organisms. Thus the structure of the microbiome is altered by vaccines. The unintended consequences of this alteration remain to be seen.

Autism's First Case: From Old Gold to New Treatments

Meg HandBy Teresa Conrick

My focus on the Microbiome and Autism continues into 2016. It is THE continual connection that research shows is lighting the way to medical treatments for so many severely and adversely affected.  My daughter is one of them, and as a result, I read much of the published research on Autism, but also studies that I sense are related.  Meg has both an AUTISM and an AUTOIMMUNE diagnosis. She showed symptoms of regression after receiving both a Hib-DTP vaccine [Tetramune®]  and M-M-R® II (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Virus Vaccine Live).  She developed a fever for days, a fine, red rash and lost expressive language skills and eye contact. An Autism diagnosis was given at age 2 yrs, 7 months. More symptoms would come and increasing health problems with each passing year. She was diagnosed with seizures at age 16 and at 17, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). At age 18, she received an autoimmune diagnosis, with positive anti-nuclear antibodies.  More recently, Meg's fingers and joints look inflamed and she is bothered by them.  She is non-verbal. Treatments tailored for the Microbiome seem to be a hopeful avenue as her life has much pain. With that in mind, Dan's recent Weekly Wrap about Donald T was timed perfectly as I had just been connecting a few dots about Donald.

About this time last year, a study hit the the autoimmune world that to me, gave more credence to the significance of the Microbiome:

Decreased bacterial diversity characterizes the altered gut microbiota in patients with psoriatic arthritis, resembling dysbiosis in inflammatory bowel disease

That title alone should connect some dots because for so many with an Autism diagnosis, the gut is the epicenter.  Inflammatory bowel disease has been on the radar with regression and Autism for over ten years.  The connections here are beyond serendipity.

Here was the Atlantic's story about it:  Joint Pain, From the Gut

Scientists don't know what causes rheumatoid arthritis, but many suspect that the microbiome—the bacteria that live in our gastrointestinal tracts—may be to blame.....

Several recent studies have found intriguing links between gut microbes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases in which the body’s immune system goes awry and attacks its own tissue.  

It's no secret that I have always been intrigued with what Dan and Mark had written about Donald, based on their book : and the connections to the other first children that Kanner had described.  I also wrote about the joint pain-microbiome connection last year, with not much attention:

Since 1938: Autism, The Microbiome and Donald Triplett, CASE 1 And an excerpt of what I wrote:

…."Scientists are increasingly focusing on how gut bacteria influence the immune system. Studies show the rate of autoimmune diseases is rising, and some scientists believe that may be due, in part, to changes in gut bacteria tied to unhealthy diets, the explosion of antibiotic use, and even anti-bacteria products."

Sound familiar?  I’ve been reporting here almost nonstop on the MICROBIOME and AUTISM.  CASE 1, Donald T could be considered GROUND ZERO on the issue of the microbiome being pivotal in autism.


Continue reading "Autism's First Case: From Old Gold to New Treatments" »

Parent of Severely Autistic Adult Daughter On Clinton Autism Plan

Hillary_clinton_puzzleBy Teresa Conrick

Last week, Hillary Clinton revealed that she had a big plan for Autism if she were to become President. The week before, she announced her goal was to help patients and their families affected by Alzheimer's.  

Here is her Autism plan :

1—  screening and diagnosis

2—  treatment

3—   services

4—   safety and legal protections for individuals on the autism spectrum across the lifespan

5—   steps to ensure they are treated with dignity

6—   partnerships to help them secure employment

7—   support for families and caregivers

8—  a commitment to increase research funding to deepen our understanding of autism.

You can read the details all over the internet but here is her official website.

There are good and not so good things listed.  For example:

Provide new support to caregivers. Clinton will provide new funds through the Developmental Disabilities Act to expand support for family members and other caregivers providing long-term care for those with autism and other disabilities. Title II of the Act authorizes competitive grants to states to foster a “statewide system of family support services for families of children with disabilities,” and Title III authorizes new funding to train and provide scholarships for caregiving and support workers. 

"Competitive grants,....training...scholarships" is that money to help pay for the monumental 24/7 care for MANY with an Autism diagnosis? 

or this on RESEARCH:

  • Significantly increase funding so that the government can invest more in autism research. Clinton recently announced the first phase of her plan to significantly increase government investment in biomedical research: her initiative to address Alzheimer’s disease. She will build on that initiative by increasing research funding across the board. This will make a vital difference for a range of autism-related research, from studies that improve the quality of patient services for people with autism, including participatory action research on subjects like employment and housing, to more basic research that identifies genetic markers, maps child brain development, and generates new insight into the workings of the central nervous system. This basic research will draw on work across sectors by building on what we are learning from bold new private and non-profit efforts on genetic mapping, including the MSSNG genome sequencing project and open data platform, the Simons Variations in Individuals Project (VIP), and the NIH Autism Sequencing Consortium, teaming up with their researchers to deepen our understanding of autism.

Are you kidding me?  MORE GENETIC research -- genetic markers, genetic mapping, genome sequencing?  And which experts did she consult for these ideas? There is not ONE item here related to the MICROBIOME or IMMUNE SYSTEM the most significant area in both Autism and Alzheimer's.  

Here, the Washington Post reports that "Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, said he welcomes Clinton's plan, especially its focus on solving problems faced by adults with autism."  That's great and there are many references to aiding the adults who want and need housing and employment.  That is important and I support that as well, BUT comments like these from ASAN detour important studies on PREVENTION and TREATMENTS for those severely stricken:

Continue reading "Parent of Severely Autistic Adult Daughter On Clinton Autism Plan" »

Then Shall The Eyes of The Blind

Blind eyeBy Teresa Conrick

The video below is not from this holiday time but rather from my daughter, Megan's, past March birthday. She is happy and pain- free in it but there are other days when she is agitated with distressing physical discomfort.   Look at her wrist and you will see bite marks. Meg turned 22 and is now an adult in the world of severe autism.

I bought her the special chair swing as she would no longer have access to the M-F Occupational and Recreational Therapy swings and sensory rooms from her excellent school, specifically tailored for children with an Autism diagnosis. If you listen to the background music, you will hear Handel's Messiah, a Christmas favorite for me, and also for Meg who is nonverbal. She listens to The Messiah before, after and of course, during the Christmas season, which translates basically into all year.  I realized that one of her favorite songs was Then Shall The Eyes Of The Blind (soprano recitation) as she will often repeat playing it over and over on the CD player.  You can read the words below and listen here  . 

Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing. (Isaiah 35:5-6)

Continue reading "Then Shall The Eyes of The Blind" »

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

Teresa kids

We ran this post by Teresa in December of 2011.

By Teresa Conrick

Those are my two daughters in 1995.  They were watching a favorite Christmas video, The Snowman,  based on the UK story by Raymond Briggs. Unlike our giddy, holiday Frosty, the Snowman, the UK version is a beautiful, haunting story of love and loss.  The many times I watched it with Meg -- winter, summer, fall,spring -- it didn't matter the season.  Nights she woke up crying from gastrointestinal pain or intense, physical distress, she wanted to watch, The Snowman, but she could never, ever watch when he melted.  She would leave the room.

Megan, now eighteen, has both an autism diagnosis and an autoimmune diagnosis.  Rare?  Unrelated? I think not.  I believe as we end 2011 and enter into 2012, the upcoming year will bring us more facts and research into the connection between autism and autoimmunity.   With that, let's say goodbye to the autism ghosts of Christmas past which gave little hope for meaningful research on preventing new cases of autism (regression) or research on medical treatments for those currently affected (progression)  Junky genetic studies,  Drosophilia eye-gazing, unknown autism prevalence, and bullshit research has to END.  We know that bacteriaviruses  and metals  can cause autoimmune effects and the research needs to be centered around that.

Going back in time each holiday season, the ghosts of past Christmases can haunt those living with autism and autoimmunity.  In 1995, my daughter's autism diagnosis was never related to her ongoing illnesses with Streptoccocus and other bacterial infections as well as numerous viral infections.  Labs now have shown IgG quantitative titers for each -- Measles-Mumps-Rubella --  to be elevated.  That was the vaccine that dramatically affected my daughter with many days of rash, fever, GI issues, loss of language and then odd visual issues.  Brief definition of IgG:

Antibody testing
Measles and mumps (rubella)  antibodies are virus-specific proteins produced by the immune system  in response to an infection by the measles or mumps ( & rubella) virus, or in response to vaccination. There are two types of antibodies produced, IgM and IgG. The first type to appear in the blood after exposure or vaccination is IgM antibodies. Levels of IgM antibodies increase for several days to a maximum concentration and then begin to taper off over the next few weeks. IgG antibodies take a bit longer to appear, but once they do, they stay in the bloodstream for life, providing protection against re-infection.

There are very sick children and young adults with an autism diagnosis, and there seems to be mounting evidence  that the MMR (Measles Mumps Rubella) vaccine has quite possibly left its mark in them.  So back to high titers and autism.  If a toddler is vaccinated at 15 months, what is happening to produce very high titers 18 years later?  Why are the Drosophilia scientists not dropping the fruit flies and looking at viral titers -- or Strep in those affected by autism?

Continue reading "The Ghosts of Christmas Past" »

Huff and Puff This: 13 Vaccinated Davie NC Students Spread Whooping Cough

Pertussis-vaccine-failureBy Teresa Conrick

From Fox 8 NC:

"DAVIE COUNTY, N.C. – Pertussis – commonly known as whooping cough – is a serious bacteria. It causes spasms of severe coughing, which can cause those who have it to vomit and lose breath. In the worst cases, it can be deadly. In recent weeks, it made its way to two schools in Davie County.

The first case was reported on December 7. Today, the school system reported 13 confirmed cases, 11 in Davie High School, and two in the early college.

“That’s pretty alarming actually, it really is,” said Patrick Jacobs, father of a Davie High sophomore.....The spread of whooping cough is most easily prevented by receiving the DTwP shot. However – and this is particularly troubling – all 13 of the people confirmed to have Pertussis had gotten the vaccine.

“If it’s getting that bad, I think everybody should know, and know the risk, and know everything about it,” said Regina Hicks, mother of a Davie High senior.

...and then a study on this exact phenomenon- but where is the protection, especially when vaccinated people are spreading the disease?

Acellular pertussis vaccines protect against disease but fail to prevent infection and transmission in a nonhuman primate model.


Continue reading "Huff and Puff This: 13 Vaccinated Davie NC Students Spread Whooping Cough" »

Autism and Cancer. Microbiome Meets Melanoma.

Brain gutBy Teresa Conrick

Autism and Cancer.  What do they have in common?  Follow the research here as it is significant for both.

This new study caught my interest:

Melanoma Meets Microbiome -  December 9, 2015  

Two groundbreaking studies implicate specific bacterial species in regulating gut immunity and response to immunotherapy in physically distant tumors — an entirely new angle in cancer therapy.  The influence of the microbiome on cancer susceptibility and therapy effectiveness has been shown. Furthermore, commensal organisms have critical roles in tuning immunity at epithelial surfaces, suggesting their potential role in regulating immunotherapy response.

Sivan and colleagues compared genetically identical mice obtained from two different mouse facilities that had different gut microbiota. Interestingly, these mice reacted differently to syngeneic implanted mouse melanoma tumors, apparently because of differences in the vigor of their anti-tumor T-cell responses. These differences were eliminated by cohousing and could be reversed by  fecal transplantation from the mice with anti-tumor immunity, implicating the gut microbiome. Furthermore, fecal transfer augmented responses to anti–PD-L1 immunotherapy. Following sequencing of the bacteria, they found that Bifidobacterium species were overrepresented in mice with better anti-tumor immunity, and introduction of those species into the other mice produced anti-tumor responses.

The take home message -  

1- Genes do NOT seem to be the sole avenue of research in all cancers as these mice had identical genes.

2- It was their MICROBIOME that was the epicenter to cancer DEVELOPMENT.

3- It was their MICROBIOME that was the epicenter to cancer TREATMENT.

4- Bifidobacterium were the good guy bacteria that had anti-tumor qualities.

5- Bifidobacterium placed into other mice produced their ability to fight tumors.

6- Fecal transplantation enabled anti-tumor T-cell responses.

It was four years ago that I was investigating Autism and Cancer and also the role of melanin in Autism (and Melanoma).  Now, years later, we can see that it may be the issues of the MICROBIOME that are the connection:

Continue reading "Autism and Cancer. Microbiome Meets Melanoma." »

What More Will Autism Brains Tell Us?

Brain colorsBy Teresa Conrick

Most of the studies and investigations about Autism brains remind me of Bill Murray trapped in Groundhog Day --- frustrating, the same day, every day.  Autism brains have been studied for decades with numerous replications and multiple studies telling us that there is "ramped-up immune responses and related inflammation ", too many synapses , in general, "unusually large heads   ," and "Activated microglia ..  associated with brain inflammation  ."

Dr. Leo Kanner knew in 1943, without having to look at any brains, that many of the children who had begun to be referred to him, "since 1938," had large heads --"Five [of the original eleven] had relatively large heads." Because Kanner was an expert in child psychiatry and had written extensively, he was perplexed with this new disorder which he and others had never seen. So here we are nearing the end of 2015, seventy-two years later, and STILL the brains of those with an Autism diagnosis are being emphasized as often the sole source of both causation and treatments. If there was ever a time showing that NOT to be true, it’s now.

I had written three year ago about brains in Autism research that had been lost to freezer failure.  It was an odd occurrence.  Over the years, more and more children and teens with an Autism diagnosis have tragically died, many by drowning.  Sadly, this is where many of these research brains originate. 

Enter more brain research:

NIH-supported NeuroBioBank joins Autism BrainNet in brain donation initiative    -   Public-private partnership aims to increase quality and quantity of brain tissue for autism research. 

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has signed an agreement to establish a collaborative, nationwide effort for the collection, storage, and distribution of postmortem human brain tissue for the benefit of autism research. The agreement with Foundation Associates LLC will coordinate the efforts of two independent networks of human brain tissue repositories, the National Institutes of HealthNeuroBioBank (NBB) and the Autism BrainNet (ABN)......“One of the best ways for us to fully understand the molecular and cellular characteristics associated with the development and progression of ASD is to study brain tissue from individuals with ASD,” said NIMH Acting Director Bruce Cuthbert, Ph.D. “This unified effort will allow researchers to generate new data, which will enhance our understanding of this disorder and ultimately speed progress toward new and personalized interventions for individuals across the autism spectrum.”

Continue reading "What More Will Autism Brains Tell Us?" »

Revisiting Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis and Autism

EncBy Teresa Conrick

It was four years ago that I first became interested in the connections of Autism and a particular type of encephalitis on the rise:

Late Onset Autism and Anti-NMDA-Receptor Encephalitis: Part 1

Late Onset Autism and Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis Part 2

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

In 2016, Brain on Fire , the book written by Susannah Cahalan, describing her descent into Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis, is scheduled to be on the big screen.  It should be an excellent film as her book is a best-seller. I emailed back and forth with Susannah back when I read her book, as my daughter, Megan, who has both an Autism diagnosis and an autoimmune diagnosis, was having some symptoms that seemed to parallel what research was beginning to show and which  Susannah had described in her book. She was very kind and thoughtful, and since then, the connections of more cases seem to be increasing. This quote from Susannah in Brain on Fire, made this significance even more dramatic and real:

Many children ultimately diagnosed with anti-NMDA autoimmune encephalitis were first determined to be autistic.  How many children originally first diagnosed with autism weren't able to find their autoimmune diagnosis?  p 224  

There is no question that the immune system is involved in both.  As time marches on, more research is showing the connections:

Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis is a recently described autoimmune disorder mediated by antibodies to the NR1 subunit of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor.,,,,,We report about a 15-year-old female patient who was diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis after receiving a booster vaccination against tetanus/diphtheria/ pertussis and polio (TdaP-IPV). Within the first 24 h after the injection she developed a low-grade fever and general fatigue. During the following weeks, her family observed an unusual need for sleep. Psychiatric symptoms became apparent 5 weeks after the immunization....The onset of prodromal symptoms shortly after the immunization is intriguing and suggests the vaccination as a possible trigger of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis........ To our knowledge, this is the first possible case of vaccination associated anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. Therefore, not only infectious agents and tumor antigens but also vaccines should be considered as a possible trigger of immune response in this recently described disorder.  

Continue reading "Revisiting Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis and Autism" »

Parkinson’s, Autism, and Back To the Future

1981_Delorean_DMC12By Teresa Conrick

Like most Chicago Cubs fans, I watched the curse ending last week but then the Mets, on fire, had us all hoping for “next year.”  It was BACK TO THE FUTURE DAY, October 21st, 2015, the day Marty McFly and the Delorean were headed into the future.  In BTTF2, the Chicago Cubs were shown to have WON the World Series, hence our dismay that the Cubs actually lost the playoffs on THAT particular day. The irony of it all…  Michael J. Fox of course, played Marty brilliantly back then in all of the BTTF films. I bet no one could predict that his future contained a diagnosis of Parkinson's just six years later.

I loved Back To The Future and saw it twice at the theater. It was in 1985, and I was engaged to be married that next year.  Little did I know that in my future, my first-born daughter would be diagnosed with Autism in 1995.  Her regression into Autism before her 3rd birthday was torture, with horrible GI issues, chronic infections and total loss of both receptive and expressive language.  Here we are in 2015 and the connections of both Parkinson's and Autism are becoming more and more intriguing:

Study finds high rate of Parkinson’s disease among adults with autism:

In the first part of the study, the investigators found high rates of Parkinson’s motor signs (trembling, rigidity, instability, etc.) in a broad investigation of health issues among 19 adults with autism in their fifties and older....(20 percent) received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.  By contrast, Parkinson’s affects less than one tenth of one percent (0.1 percent) of the general population over age 60.

Overall, the main finding from the study  is that adults with autism may have substantially elevated risk for Parkinson’s disease….We find a high frequency of parkinsonism among ASD individuals older than 39 years. If high rates of parkinsonism and potentially Parkinson’s disease are confirmed in subsequent studies of ASD, this observation has important implications for understanding the neurobiology of autism and treatment of manifestations in older adults.

Continue reading "Parkinson’s, Autism, and Back To the Future" »

Risperidone and Weight Gain: New Microbiome Research

American fat kidBy Teresa Conrick

The research on the Microbiome is rapidly developing.  As it does, we are finding out how the Microbiome can be damaged and the negative outcomes as a result. Here is a recent study that now explains how and why so many children have been gaining enormous weight on the prescription drug, Risperidone (Risperdal).  Many children with an AUTISM diagnosis are being prescribed Risperidone. More damage to the already dysfunctional Microbiome in Autism may be a side effect that parents need to know about and doctors question.

Use of the second-generation antipsychotic, risperidone, and secondary weight gain are associated with an altered gut microbiota in children , Published online 6 October 2015

The caveats from this study:

-  Over the last two decades, the prescribing rate of second-generation antipsychotic medications (SGAs) to treat children has increased nearly eightfold...

The atypical antipsychotic risperidone (RSP) is often associated with weight gain and cardiometabolic side effects.

    -  Significant alterations in the microbiome were seen at the phyla level following both acute and chronic exposure to RSP.

-  Chronic treatment with RSP was associated with an increase in body mass index (BMI) and a significantly lower ratio of Bacteroidetes:Firmicutes as compared with antipsychotic-naïve psychiatric controls.

Continue reading "Risperidone and Weight Gain: New Microbiome Research" »

First Peanut Allergies Cured and Now Milk Allergies - Bacteria Strain is Superman of the Gut

Peanut angryBy Teresa Conrivk

It was just in May that I reported on the very miraculous news that peanut allergies were being cured by the use of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus:  

A strain of probiotic bacteria could offer a cure for potentially fatal peanut allergies, according to scientists in Australia. The breakthrough followed a trial in which a group of children were given increasing amounts of peanut flour, along with a probiotic called Lactobacillus rhamnosus, over an 18-month period. About 80 per cent of the children who had peanut allergies were subsequently able to tolerate peanuts.

 I'm happy to report that new research is showing that the same bacteria strain has shown to be curing MILK allergies:

Probiotic formula reverses cow's milk allergies by changing gut bacteria of infants 

-  There has been an unprecedented increase in food allergies in developed countries, rising by as much as 20 percent in the past decade. Allergy to cow's milk is one of the most common, occurring in up to three percent of children worldwide.

-  Emerging evidence suggests that modern environmental influences, including widespread antibiotic use, high-fat and low-fiber diets, reduced exposure to infectious diseases [ do they mean due to use of vaccines?] , Caesarean birth and formula feeding have altered the mutually beneficial relationship between humans and the bacteria that live in our gastrointestinal tract. 

Continue reading "First Peanut Allergies Cured and Now Milk Allergies - Bacteria Strain is Superman of the Gut" »

Research Shows the Microbiome Controls the Microglia: Implications for Autism?

Meg regressing2By Teresa Conrick Meg regressing3

Ongoing research is showing that the microbiome is heavily involved in Autism, a subject that very much interests me as my daughter, Megan, like many others, had severe GI issues, chronic infections, and marked regression before being diagnosed AUTISTIC.  Her regression occurred after vaccinations. Along the years, seizures developed and then an autoimmune diagnosis.  Here is how the microbiome seems to be involved:

Scientists have long wondered whether the composition of bacteria in the intestines, known as the gut microbiome, might be abnormal in people with autism and drive some of these symptoms. Now a spate of new studies supports this notion and suggests that restoring proper microbial balance could alleviate some of the disorder's behavioral symptoms….. Researchers do not yet know how exactly gut bacteria might influence behavior, but one hypothesis is that a leaky gut may allow substances to pass into the bloodstream that harm the brain.

And here are some research quotes on specific abnormalities of the microbiome and Autism:

•   Children with autism appear to have distinctly different levels of intestinal flora, which may increase their vulnerability to pathogenic bacteria and perhaps play a role in autism pathogenesis, new research suggests… "Most notably, we also discovered that the genera Prevotella, Coprococcus, and unclassified Veillonellaceae were significantly reduced in autistic children”  

•   Fecal flora of children with regressive autism was compared with that of control children, and clostridial counts were higher. The number of clostridial species found in the stools of children with autism was greater than in the stools of control children. Children with autism had 9 species of Clostridium not found in controls,  

Continue reading "Research Shows the Microbiome Controls the Microglia: Implications for Autism?" »

How Do "Rare" Mutations Cause an Epidemic? Autism and Genes. Again.

Fridge_whitedoorBy Teresa Conrick

Since the end of the “Refrigerator Mother” nightmare, the fanciful search for THE Autism Gene has been ridiculous and expensive. It has never been found since its very profitable start in the 1970’s, yet here we are in 2015 and STILL we are bombarded with headlines and deceptive phrases to keep the money flowing to this cash cow. Studies like this recent one attempt to paint a false picture of Autism:

Genetic analysis: Rare mutations cause half of all autism cases, Sept. 22, 2015  

…Researchers analyzed data on ASD patients and their families collected as part of the Simons Simplex Collection, finding there are about 200 "candidate" autism genes that may be vulnerable to the mutations…Genes considered vulnerable harbor what the researchers refer to as likely gene-disruption, or LGD. LGD spontaneous mutations occur between generations, and researchers said they were often carried by the mother and passed down…Such mutations are often not passed on, as most people with severe ASD do not reproduce…

How absurd and speculative -- HALF of all AUTISM cases? LGD sounds like a lot of BS and another blame the MOTHER?  If anything, this type of research has detoured from the true factors of Autism. Let’s take a peek at some past gene research on Autism. There are some tiny glimmers of reality yet the amount of time studying genes solely and the money invested has done NOTHING to prevent Autism, or to treat so many who suffer from severe gastrointestinal issues, seizures, mitochondrial dysfunction, encephalopathy, allergies, and immune system abnormalities.          

                                        AUTISM GENE RESEARCH THEN AND NOW

 A Twin Study of Individuals with Infantile Autism,   Autism – 1978   

…it is decidedly unusual for a family to contain more than one autistic child…Second, autism is a very uncommon disorder occurring in only about two to four children out of every 10,000…  

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Vol. 18, No1, 1988  

Age of onset does not, however, help us predict the nature of etiology.  Infections can have either immediate effects (as in congenital rubella) or delayed effects (as in postencephalatic

Continue reading "How Do "Rare" Mutations Cause an Epidemic? Autism and Genes. Again." »

The Incredible Waste in Autism Study Funding

UselessBy Teresa Conrick

While perusing the usual crap studies on Autism, I came across this one, Maternal Vocal Feedback to 9-Month-Old Infant Siblings of Children with ASD, Jul 14, 2015

Check out some of these Statements:

Some of the factors associated with diminished environmental input also occur within the familial autism context and thus may influence the dyadic interactions and early language development of infant siblings. These include mothers’ broader autism phenotype characteristics and depressive symptoms, both of which are elevated in parents of children with ASD and are associated with differences in pragmatic language use and reduced linguistic input, respectively (Bailey, Golden, Roberts, & Ford, 2007; Ingersoll & Hambrick, 2011; Lindgren, Folstein, Tomblin, & Tager-Flusberg, 2010; Ruser et al., 2007). The elevated levels of concern consistently reported by mothers of high risk infants across the first year of life may also be associated with reduced linguistic input to the extent that those concerns reflect increased anxiety and a less sensitive pattern of responding (Hess &Landa, 2012; Ozonoff et al., 2009; Sacrey et al., 2015; Talbott, Nelson, & Tager-Flusberg, 2015a)....

Maternal broader phenotype characteristics.

The presence of broader autism phenotype characteristics in mothers was assessed using the Broad Autism Pheno-type Questionnaire (BAP-Q; Hurley, Losh, Parlier,

Reznick, & Piven, 2007). The BAP-Q is a 36-item self-report questionnaire that assesses behavior across three subscales: aloof, pragmatic language, and rigidity......

Continue reading "The Incredible Waste in Autism Study Funding" »

Hitting the Streets For Autism Research

Hitting the streets
Teresa, Kim and Baily

By Teresa Conrick

In 1999, my daughter, Megan, was six years-old and very sick.  Her regression into Autism three years earlier began our horrendous journey into the land of medical denial about Autism.  Meg had to endure frequent and copious nosebleeds, unexplained rashes, fevers, non-stop viruses, vomiting, yeast and urinary tract infections, diarrhea with alternating constipation, reflux, and continuous bacterial infections, especially ear and throat. Those were dark days and long nights as she was unable to sleep due to pain, yet again and again, I was told, THIS WAS AUTISM.  Today I know that Meg sick age 5is incorrect and the real reason is that THIS IS THE MICROBIOME, and it is very altered and dysfunctional.

I will repeat this important fact -- since Dr. Leo Kanner first identified those eleven children in his 1943 paper, the medical issues of Autism have been ignored, denied and even disposed – ie,“CDC Scientist: ‘We scheduled a meeting to destroy documents" .  This gut-brain axis has been evident since the 1940's but many have denied it and continue to deny it.  That needs to end as children continue to suffer. Megan Conrick has much in common with those children, born in the 1930’s – from Kanner :

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

•    ...large and ragged tonsils.

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

•    He vomited a great deal during his first year,

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

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

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

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

Continue reading "Hitting the Streets For Autism Research" »

Impaired Smelling as a Social Impairment?

Megan SmellBy Teresa Conrick

The photos you see are of my daughter, Megan.  She has a diagnosis of both Autism and Autoimmunity.  Megan smells things, people, and herself in an exaggerated and frequent way.  She is not alone as it is a symptom of an impaired ability to smell correctly. Many of the children have played with feces, sipped Pine-Sol like lemonade, or sniffed dirty socks and armpits without blinking an eye. It is not news to me as I have seen it for years.

There is a new study out about autism and smelling, A Mechanistic Link between Olfaction and Autism Spectrum Disorder.  From the researchers:

“…Here, we set out to test the hypothesis that the sniff response will be altered in children with ASD. Notably, we do not hypothesize that children with ASD will be unable to sniff, but rather that they will generate an inappropriate sniff given a particular odor…These results imply an altered olfactory response that is evident in children with ASD and is more pronounced with increased autism severity….. “

Furthermore from the study – “the sniff-response measure is reflective of the mechanism involved Megan Smell 3 with the social impairment that is at the heart of ASD.”

I disagree and challenge that idea.  I believe that the issue of smell is NOT related to social impairment but of smell dysfunction and quite possibly a consequence of an impaired MICROBIOME.

Is it possible that because the authors went the social impairment route instead of connecting physiological dots, the conclusion will be different?  I think, yes, it will. We instead should see a different picture, which will require a MEDICAL SOLUTION and not a social impairment therapy.

AUTISM - Damaging Bacteria in the Gut

Continue reading "Impaired Smelling as a Social Impairment?" »

Autism and the Microbiome: My Letter to the White House, Office of Science and Technology Policy

MicrobiomeBy Teresa Conrick

Below is my letter to the White House  regarding the urgent need for Microbiome research and Autism.  I am writing in response to this request: 

Given the demonstrated and potential value of microbiome research in such diverse applications, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is issuing a Request for Information to provide a broad community of stakeholders, including experts and members of the public an opportunity to comment on the current status and needs of microbiome research.

I am the parent to a daughter who has a diagnosis of both Autism and Autoimmunity.  I have been researching for years, her regression into Autism after vaccination and the mounting evidence is pointing to the Microbiome for her and thousands more.  Because the number of children, being diagnosed with Autism is increasing each time CDC looks at prevalence, (1:50 currently) it is imperative that research into both causation and treatments for those affected take precedence.  I will use space here to list research that connects this reality:

The Gut Microbiome: A New Frontier in Autism Research  

Autism Study: More Evidence Linking Altered Gut Bacteria to ASD 

Reduced Incidence of Prevotella and Other Fermenters in Intestinal Microflora of Autistic Children   

Short-chain fatty acid fermentation products of the gut microbiome: implications in autism spectrum disorders  

Gut Bacteria May Play a Role in Autism - Evidence is mounting that intestinal microbes exacerbate or perhaps even cause some of autism's symptoms 

Autism: metabolism, mitochondria, and the microbiome 

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Autism and the Microbiome: Dear White House, You MUST Choose Autism

MicrobiomeBy Teresa Conrick

I continue to pursue the science illustrating my daughter’s regression into Autism nineteen years ago. Megan is a very ill, young woman,  who has seizures, is non-verbal, and has an autoimmune diagnosis.  She also has a long history of bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral infections -- Strep, Clostridia, and Giardia leading the pack.  High titers of Measles, Mumps and Rubella viruses are continuously and mysteriously present in her blood. 

Many parents have reported the same phenomenon as their toddler exited normal development and regressed into Autism.  There are increasing numbers of children being diagnosed and examining the clues that effect both body and brain is imperative.  The Microbiome is being implicated more and more as the potential source of why so many children are regressing into Autism and the severity of those affected corresponds to pathogens and loss of helpful bacteria.   Most have connecting medical issues that often cause behavioral issues.  Stopping GI pain, self-injurious behaviors, seizures, and a life of immune/autoimmune issues should be a top priority for those who have the power to create a positive outcome for my daughter and thousands more with a diagnosis of AUTISM.  Who might have that power? How about THE White House?

Microbiome Alert = Autism Alert

I recently received this email in a “Microbiome Alert”:

“The White House - President Barack Obama – Office of Science and Technology Policy- What's Next for the Microbiome?”

…Addressing fundamental questions common across the study of communities of microorganisms, or “microbiomes,” can help propel the field forward toward practical applications in areas as diverse as environmental remediation, food production and nutrition, and medical research.

Analysis and modification of the microbiome promises to provide transformative treatments for human health. To take one example, the gut microbiome appears to play a role in several diseases, including obesity. With more research, scientists may be able to treat obesity by using a specific probiotic, prebiotic, or changes in diet that influence the composition of the microbiome. There is precedent that an approach like this could work. To treat the chronic diarrhea caused by an intestinal infection of the dangerous pathogen C. difficile, researchers are investigating how microbiome therapies can help treat this disease that affects half a million people in the United States each year. In a remarkable clinical trial, patients who were extremely ill due to C. difficile infection returned to full health when they received transplants of a donor’s healthy microbiome.

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Autism and the Microbiome: A Cure for Peanut Allergies and More Hope from the Gut?

MicrobiomeBy Teresa Contick

I research and write often about the Microbiome because I have a daughter who is very ill. Her diagnoses of both AUTISM and AUTOIMMUNITY are related to her symptoms that appear to originate from her gut. The research on the Microbiome is exploding and Autism is in the forefront::

Versalovic, an expert in the study of the human microbiome – the population of microbes that are part of the human body- will focus on the gut’s microbiome, looking specifically at bacteria found there…… “The study will be the first of its kind to correlate data related to gut bacteria, metabolic disturbances, GI symptoms, and behavior. By combining all of these factors, we hope to develop better ways to diagnose and treat GI issues in autism” said Luna.

Though so important to many suffering with GI issues, I think that we are looking at more than solely treating the GI issues of Autism. The clues from the Microbiome may be pointing at both cause and thus, potential cures.

Lactobacillus Rhamnosus – Orchestra Leader of the Gut

Some researchers and doctors are thinking outside the typical medical paradigm and using the power of the Microbiome NOW to help many suffering.  A very good example is this   :

Fatal peanut allergies could be cured by probiotic bacteria, say Australian doctors

A strain of probiotic bacteria could offer a cure for potentially fatal peanut allergies, according to scientists in Australia. The breakthrough followed a trial in which a group of children were given increasing amounts of peanut flour, along with a probiotic called Lactobacillus rhamnosus, over an 18-month period. About 80 per cent of the children who had peanut allergies were subsequently able to tolerate peanuts.

Mimi Tang, the lead researcher, said the families involved believed the treatment had "changed their lives". "These findings provide the vital first step towards developing a cure for peanut allergy and possibly for all food allergies," she told Melbourne's Herald Sun.

Continue reading "Autism and the Microbiome: A Cure for Peanut Allergies and More Hope from the Gut?" »