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What can you do as a parent?

  • By Nageena

The road you have to take as a parent

Autism is defined as a brain development disorder that causes impaired social interaction, decreased communication ability, restrictive repetitive or stereotypical behaviors, and decreased cognitive and learning abilities. The prevalence of autism in the United Kingdom has been reported by Chakrabarti et al to be 16.8 per 10,000 in 2001 and 22 per 10,000 in 2005.4 In the United States the number of people with autism ages 6- 21 has risen from 5,145 in 1991-1992 to 118,602 in 2001- 2002. The increase in students in the United States with autism has risen 1700% in that same time period. This has profound implications not only on the population but also on the economy for it is estimated that as of 2000, $18,581,511,000 is spent annually in the United States for children with autism and autistic like disorders in their education.

The exact cause of autism is still unknown. Multiple theories have been proposed to explain the possible causes. A study conducted by Gregg et al showed similar genetic sequences and expressions in immune natural killer cells in children with autism as compared to controls. A review of neuropathophysiological literature conducted by Palmen et al demonstrates the various studies done to show the changes in cellular morphology and density in the limbic systems, cerebral cortexes, and cerebellums of children with autism compared to control subjects. Ashwood et al suggests that immune system abnormalities, such as skewed T helper cell type cytokine profiles (Th1/Th2), decreased lymphocyte numbers, decreased T cell mitogen responses, and serum immunoglobulin level imbalances, all have the ability to disrupt early neuroimmune interactions, which can retard early neurological development seen in autism.

Children with autism are presented with multiple categories of clinical pictures that affect their social, sensory, speech, and physical development. In addition to chiropractic care, parents of autistic children seek all possible therapies available. Some of these include: applied behavior analysis, speech/language therapy, auditory integration training, music therapy, sensory integration, vision therapy, nutrition, medication for possible mineral intoxication, and secondary gut infections, and physical therapy. Anecdotal success of chiropractic care in children with special needs through Kentuckiana Children’s Center (KCC), in Louisville, Kentucky, encouraged parents and chiropractors to research the efficacy of chiropractic care in autistic children.

Elder cites a possible nutritional cause, where gluten and casein may cause increased intestinal permeability to opiod proteins, which, when metabolized by the brain, may effect the endogenous opiate system and neurotransmission of the brain. It has also been suggested that the rise in autism is somehow linked to vaccinations containing Thimerosal, which is an organic compound used as a preservative that contains mercury. According to the FDA, as of 2005, multiple vaccines, including those generally given to children 6 years of age and younger, contain traces of Thimerosal.

Mercury has been shown to have a neurotoxic effect in humans, especially in its ability to alter the transport of glutamate in astrocytes. Also, mercury has been found to cause a T helper cell subtype 2 dominance over T helper cell subtype 1 in mice, which showed increased tendencies towards immunostimulation, autoantibody formation, and autoimmune problems. This suggests a possible link between mercury-containing Thimerosal and the various immunological and neurological causes of autism. However, it is possible that the exact cause of autism is a combination of multiple factors.