An Introduction to Possible Biomedical Causes and Treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorders Contributed by Marci Wheeler, continued
Currently, the prevailing thought among doctors is to start biomedical interventions by healing the gut (digestive system). This may include: Gluten free/casein free diet or possibly the specific carbohydrate diet. The gf/cf diet eliminates most common grains (gluten) and dairy products. This does take some time and effort as these ingredients are often hidden in pre-packaged foods. Attention has to be given to preparing meals that are nutritionally balanced and appealing. This can be hard and time consuming at first. Allergy testing is often done to check for allergies to common foods and additives in the diet such as corn, soy, and eggs. Any additional food allergies are also addressed. Medication may be considered for acid reflux. Bacteria, yeast or fungal overgrowth or parasites in the gut is often treated with probiotics, anti-fungal medication, and/or specific antibiotics that may be used for many months or longer. Viral inflammation will be treated with an anti-viral medication. Treatment for viruses may take months, a year, or more. Digestive enzymes are often considered. There are special formulations of enzymes that a few suppliers offer especially for children with autism spectrum disorders ( McCandless, 2002). Nutritional, mineral, and vitamin supplements will usually be considered; as with enzymes, there are a number of mail order supplement suppliers that specialize in products for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (Marohn, 2002). As the diet, enzymes, and medication heal the gut and the supplements work to treat nutritional deficiencies, the immune system may be helped. There is other more invasive or alternative biomedical treatments that are used, by some, to boost the immune system: Transfer factor therapy; molecules produced by white blood cells used to transfer immunity to the recipient (McCandless, 2002); IVIG therapy; Intravenous Immune Globulin is a blood plasma product containing antibodies used to treat immune deficiency (McCandless, 2002); and Treatment of allergies may consist of traditional treatments or NAET; Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques named after the doctor who developed this treatment of healing techniques combining homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, kinesiology, and nutrition (Nambudripad, 1999).
After the gut and immune system are “ready,” there may be metabolic system treatments considered and introduced. Certain detoxification protocols are most often, but not always, the last phase of biomedical intervention to be implemented. There is continued debate about which detoxification protocol to follow. More caution is followed because not enough is known about the path of heavy metals out of the body and brain when using certain protocols for detoxification of heavy metals. Methylcobalamin, which is one type of vitamin B-12, is often used to help activate biochemical pathways related to sulfur detoxification as well as methylation. The common way to administer Methyl B-12 in by subcutaneous injection (Neubrander, 2005). Chelation is a treatment to rid the body of heavy metals. In healthy individuals, the kidneys and other organs do this appropriately. There are various substances and programs used to chelate. Information on this is very diverse and somewhat controversial (Green, 2006). Intravenous glutathione might be used to treat a glutathione deficiency ((McCandless, 2002). Metabolic imbalances including oxidative stress may be treated with various supplements, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids (James et. al, 2004). Metallothionein defects, in some cases, may be successfully treated with supplements (Marohn, 2002).