Autism to Alzheimer’s
Is there a link between the explosion of the autism epidemic and the sharp increase in the number of elderly contracting Alzheimer’s disease?
For the past few years, I have asked myself that question whenever I took my 8-year-old son, Fridrik, who was diagnosed in 2003 with Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD), an increasingly common form of autism, to his physician, Dr. Henry Sobo, in Stamford, Conn.
That’s because Dr. Sobo, an internist who tailors individual programs for patients by using homeopathic therapy, had built his reputation on treating neurological disorders, from children with ADHD to adults with Parkinson’s disease. Although autism was new to him, it was dÃ©jÃ vu.
Do All Roads Point to Toxicity of the Brain?
Since doing research into the cause of Fridrik’s neurological disorder, I have come to an understanding about both diseases. Alzheimer’s, which appears in adults older than 65 years, is the incremental degradation of the brain. Autism is the acute poisoning of the brain in a growing subpopulation of children.
Besides unique genetic flaws in each, the common thread between an adult with Alzheimer’s and a baby at the onset of the regressive form of autism is myelin, the insulation of the brain’s wiring.
Myelin, or the membrane blanket that protects the brain circuitry, doesn’t completely form and wrap the brain in an infant until 18 months old. For the adult, the unwrapping of the protective sheath takes place at mid-age, or about 50. Thus, the brain is vulnerable to toxins during its development and after its primary use, due to the absence of myelin.
Little of this biological fact seems to filter back to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Maybe this will change based on a new study on autism and a new treatment for Alzheimer’s, both of which are currently undergoing more testing, both of which point to the same underlying root cause, with one maybe helping the treatment of the other, and with autism perhaps explaining the therapy for Alzheimer’s.
Fever Reduces Symptoms of Autism
Last December, Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, announced with great fanfare that fever in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) reduced or even eliminated the symptoms of autistic behavior not only during a fever, but also up to a week after it subsided. Dr. Andrew Zimmermann, whose team ran the study for the child neurological institute, which was founded in 1937 to study and treat kids with cerebral palsy, must have wondered: What caused this?
When I first heard the news, it confirmed to me what I always suspected about autism: Heavy metals toxicity is the reason behind the fever-induced, temporary relief of autistic symptoms in children of the autism spectrum.
To me, having worked in the construction industry more than 25 years and having studied the behavior of material properties in college, the fever angle made sense. The first point was due to its simplicity-one event. One global change to the brain explaining the why, how, and what of a very complex neurological disorder, for which modern medicine has failed to find the cause since the first case was diagnosed during World War II.
Imagine heavy metals on the micro scale embedding tiny specs and flakes in certain regions of the pre-myelin-protected brain, and the child being unable to excrete those particles that most children can. The particles lodge themselves in, around, and between the nodes and nerve endings that make up the neural network, and interrupt the brain’s electrical signals.
As more metals accumulate, they block more signals and break down the brain cells’ ability to process key functions-like a virus-infected computer. For ASD kids like my son that means impairing their ability to speak, rendering fine-motor skills of their fingers useless, flattening arched feet, and amplifying the auditory reception of their ears to the point of pain.
How Could a Fever Help a Child Suffering From Autism?
With heavy metals planted at the exact nodes in the brain where the damage occurred, the fever would heat up the metal particles, and they in turn would bridge the interrupted break points in the neural network.
In other words, metals, being highly conductive of both heat and electricity, would complete what has not been working in ASD (autism spectrum disorder) kids since the first year of their lives. Okay. But then what would cause the temporary connections of the neural network to continue to work for a week after the fever had dissipated?
Again, the answer is heavy metals. Metals consist of a different material makeup than brain tissue and blood. They would retain the heat produced by a fever longer, thus keeping the electrical pulses working well after the fever was gone. But once the heat of the metals matched the body temperature of the brain, the temporary, bridged connections would no longer work, and the full-blown symptoms of autism would return.
The week that I heard the news, I contacted Elise Babbitt-Welker, the communications manager at Kennedy Krieger Institute. I told her what I believed was the answer to the riddle.
She said that the Institute had received many inquiries to its study and that she would pass on my “heavy metals angle” to Dr. Zimmermann’s team of scientists.
In an e-mail, Ms. Babbitt-Welker wrote: “This phenomenon has been widely reported on by parents, clinicians and researchers alike, but this most recent research was the first to study the association using a controlled scientific methodology. That said, [with it] being a study with only 30 children, he and his fellow researchers know that more research is needed to confirm the findings.”
The Alzheimer’s Hat
With Dr. Zimmermann applying for grants to further research the findings, we can only wonder how one would replicate a fever in a child without spiking the core body temperature.
Then, in a stroke of timing, on Jan. 28-seven weeks after the fever study had made news-an answer to that question arrived. On ABC News, a segment on Alzheimer’s disease caught my eye. Dr. Gordon Dougal, along with a team of researchers at the University of Sunderland in the United Kingdom, showed the “Alzheimer’s Hat,” which looked like a cross between a football and motorcycle helmet.
In a preliminary testing phase, the Hat, which would be worn 10 minutes per day by an Alzheimer’s patient like Dr. Dougal’s father, pulses the brain with infrared beams-the claim being that the Hat relieved memory-loss and speech-impaired symptoms in his father.
The doctor also tested the Hat’s infrared technology on 30 lab rats, “20 of which were deemed to be experiencing middle-aged mental decline,” for which he stated the “rays improved the memory functions of these rats to that of young rats.”
Many entrenched American doctors and scientists scoffed at and belittled treating the brain with infrared; they should withhold judgment until the findings from both the Kennedy Krieger fever study has run its course, while Dr. Dougal confirms the Alzheimer’s Hat in a wider study. Since the University of Sunderland has an autism department, perhaps the autism-fever study and the Alzheimer’s infrared treatment could start to share information.
With the bulk of the autism epidemic related to some form of heavy metals toxicity, I believe it’s about time that the heat angle as a form of treatment in ASD kids receives the funds to find out whether the jump-start in the damaged neural network of the brain can be produced by heat-whether it’s the body’s own temperature or artificial as in infrared.