Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Autism Hope In Action - SATURDAY 1/30

Here is where I will be on Saturday. If you have a child with Autism and are looking for more ways to help him or her function better, feel better and be healthier, then you need to get to this conference! Diet and supplements made a world of difference to my son. My son's DAN! doctor and the nutritionist we consulted with are going to be speaking. And hear from a father of a recovered child explain their family's journey. Kids with Autism DO have underlying diseases most of the time, whether that is yeast, bacteria, viruses, nutritional deficiencies, poor immune systems, auto-immunity and widespread inflammation. Addressing these issues IS a cure in a way, for as we addressed these things, my son began to lose his "Autistic" behaviors and eventually, his diagnosis. Taking charge of your child's health is empowering and watching them improve is amazing and POSSIBLE. There is hope for children with Autism, there is a cure, unique to each child but it is out there. You need the right people helping you and THESE ARE THE RIGHT PEOPLE!

I will be on hand at the New Beginnings Nutritionals booth, come on by and learn about the great products that New beginnings offers that are all geared towards kids on the spectrum. They are the products we use for my son - and now our whole family!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My speaking dates

I will once again be speaking to help other families trying to implement a biomedical approach in the treatment of their child's Autism. Below are the dates and locations.

February 4th, 2010
Time: 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Place: Coester Cares Therapy Services (Val Vista and Baseline)
Cost: FREE
Hear the basics of what a biomedical approach to Autism treatment is. Hear my son's story of hope and recovery and learn some ideas to implement immediately. Understand the basics of why diets work and how basic nutritional supplementation can make a big impact in your child's health and well being. This is a basic over view class.
Please call Coester Cares Therapy Services to reserve YOUR seat today! 480-539-5629

February 20th, 2010
Time: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Gateway Fellowship Church (Recker and Elliot)
Cost: $20 for one parent, $25 for both parents
Please call 480.621.8361 to register
Hear Dr. Matthew Baral speak about a DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) protocol, learn about some of the underlying medical conditions many children with Autism face, learn some of the basic building blocks of biomedical treatment and then hear from me about how we incorporated our DAN! doctor's recommendations into real life. Learn some of the common hurdles, how to effectively manage diet and supplements and help your child recover to feel better and be healthier. You will leave with tools that you can begin using that day!

5 weeks of Respen-A therapy for Autism

I am so behind in blogging. Here is the "chart" that M has daily to keep him on task and focusing (and basically going with the flow) at school. If he earns all of his stickers at the end of the day he gets to pick a treasure out of the treasure box at school. And a week's worth of all of his stickers gets him a prize at home to keep him motivated. So anyways, on January 11th he went back to school after being off for 3 weeks. The chart you see above is from his 1st day back!! Note the teacher's comments at the bottom. I couldn't ask for a better way to start back at school. There was no regression, no issues, and good listening which is always a good thing.

And last Friday I was able to speak with Elaine DeLack, the nurse who helped develop the product Respen-A. Wow, my head was spinning after talking to her. But she did say to think about reducing some of M's supplements while on Respen-A. I posted this information on Autism Action Plan and checked with Dr. Woeller to make sure he was in agreement. What we have removed is:

Epsom salt baths
Antioxidants (especially vitamin A, but are keeping 500 mg of vitamin C going)
Essential Fatty Acids (cod liver oil)
We may want to think about removing Gaba as well (tried this early on and had more meltdowns so we added it back in)

We are also doing calcium and magnesium at a 5:1 ratio, 2000 mg calcium to 400 mg magnesium.

So far things continue to go well. Here are some gains we've seen:

* Last week while mixing my son's supplements, I told him to come here and take them, he tells me "Coming mom" and came right over to me, totally new.
* That same day as he got out of the car for school I said the same thing I say everyday "I love you son, have a great day" and he turned and said "You too mom". Not only was it reciprocal speech but a new awareness that, hey, mom goes off and has her own day too. Big cognitive gain I thought in addition to speech.
* Just yesterday my son asked my husband "Daddy, do you know why I love you? Because you are the best dad in the whole wide world!". Spontaneous "I love you's" are very common, as is a kiss for his sister when he gets out of the car for school (which actually shocked me the first time that happened!).
* He has also been a lot more outgoing with people we meet at stores, etc. He talks to them, answers them and is very appropriate is speech and behavior.

Elaine DeLack was explaining how this product can provide mito support by the conversion of serotonin to its active form. I cannot explain it in any way shape or form like she did so I will not try.

Oh another tip, ditch the medical tape they send in favor of 2 round bandaids. It seems to work best when fully covered and in my experience, 1 round bandaid just doesn't cover it enough to stay "stuck". So, I overlap 2 rounds and it works great. She did also say that Dr. Fred Starr, the other developer, is currently workign with a child who has been on it for 15 months and has still not plateued so....this would appear to be more of a long term therapy thank I originally thought. But hey, it is easy to administer, I have yet to see any side effects (we are off melatonin as a matter of fact) and the progress keeps coming. So there it is, 5 weeks in. Still seeing progress and I am glad we did this therapy. I plan to continue for as long as we continue to see gains. I will keep posting more as we go!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The new book "AntiCancer" and its parallel to Autism and related disorders

I am usually pretty disappointed when watching the news in regards to health, nutrition, etc. I was shocked to see the story of Dr. David Servan-Schreiber on Good Morning America last week. He has a book out called "AntiCancer". He talks about his own battle with cancer using both convention and more holistic treatments. He focuses a lot on diet which was what got me so excited. He also discussed the use of Turmeric, a supplement my son has been on for a while now and one that I refer to people all the time. Here is the link to the full story and an excerpt of his book.

So why is this so exciting? Well, as he discusses in his book, many traditional doctors simply cannot feasibly keep up with ALL of the newest trends in medicine and therapy. There is just not that kind of time in the day. And many wait until there have been sufficient human clinical trials out before they will endorse a therapy, which I totally understand. But, lets say it is YOU with the cancer, and like in the case of Dr. Servan-Schreiber, you understand that our environment is even more influential on our health than our genes, wouldn't you be open to trying some simple changes?

It reminds me of our process of recovering our son from Autism. What we got from the pediatrician was "find a good occupational, speech and behavioral therapist". Period, end of discussion, that was it. Basically, hope for the best, good luck, oh and by the way it is genetics so don't even think there is much you can do. I think the same message is spread against cancer (and many of today's prevalent diseases) and I have blogged many times about this. Diet is HUGE, we are what we eat, let thy medicine be thy food and thy food be thy medicine, etc. You don't have to be Hippocrates to understand how important diet is on our health, or lack thereof. Food should be unadulterated, as raw as possible and without the use of pesticides, toxins or genetically modified. That doesn't ALWAYS mean it has to have an organic sticker on it. But that forces us to shop outside the box, literally, maybe NOT at the Wal-Mart and maybe means an extra trip to a local farmer's market, CSA, co-op, etc. to get organically grown produce, with or without the certification or starting your own garden! When we started making dietary changes with my son it made a huge impact, and our whole family has benefitted. Many foods produce an immune reaction which sets our bodies up for auto-immune disorders in the future (arthritis, diabetes, lupus, MS, etc). But eliminating those foods that cause that reaction can stop that process, and therefore halt the commencement of disease.

Our genes are our genes yet our environment tells those genes to turn on or off (like in the case of certain cancers). But what we are seeing today is that our children have heritable changes (changes in their DNA which can be passed on) without their parents having those changes. So, our environment is SO messed up that we are actually changing our children's DNA. That is powerful. But knowledge is even more powerful. The body is resilient and we've seen my son's gut, immune system and neurological system heal as we've made dietary changes and added in supplements. The supplements range from antioxidants which help destroy those free radicals which contribute to cancer and changes in cells. We've added in antinflammatories like Turmeric which have been shown to be helpful in my son with gut and brain inflammation along with inflammation caused by Arthritis in my mother in law and friend and hopefully soon my Uncle will be seeing greater relief with that as well! Many, many, many of the things we are doing for our son can be extended out for those with other disorders. Because at their root, many are all a product of inflammation and auto-immunity. They all manifest differently in each person, in one person that will be lupus, in another that will be diabetes, and for many children born today, that will be Autism.

That does not mean there is a "one size fits all" cure. Each person presents their own puzzle of symptoms and causes for their issues. The key is finding a physician who understands, doing the right testing and my motto is "If it won't hurt, TRY IT". I didn't wait until they did clinical trials on Turmeric to see if it worked. I didn't wait until there was a study on whether a gluten and casein free diet was effective, we tried it. I researched, understood the potential risks and tried things. It has worked for us. Even our Autism community is divided on treatment choices and the issue of vaccinations. My stance is, reducing toxic burden, helping detox pathways, supporting normal brain function, methylation, and sulfation, and adding in good nutrition and supplements has worked. We've seen tremendous changes and most people have no clue that my son was diagnosed with Autism. But that is what worked for us. And I have seen the logic in eating healthier. Removing things like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and other preservatives and excitotoxins like MSG (in all 200 forms) and artificial sweeteners have made us all healthier.

I laugh at all the new ads about making fruit "easier" to eat. Really?!?! How hard is it to eat an apple? Do we really need to process it, pasteurize it (so that very little of the natural enzymes and nutrients are even left) and put it in a convenient bottle to get people to eat it? Fruit is one of the easiest things to eat on the go, along with some nuts for protein, you have a perfect snack or even lunch. No wonder cancers and disease run rampant through our society. We've taken the nutrition out of our food! If its not purple or glowing and comes in a neat wrapper or can be gotten through a drivethru we don't seem to want it. That's why I loved seeing this man's story and book on the news. Maybe we can focus more on the quality of our food, not scrimp on something most important to our health. Our food should not be what we cut corners on. I know in this economy we ALL have to cut back but I would suggest we find other ways and we skip the dollar menu. You can either pay more now for food or more later for doctors. So check out his book, I intend to.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Eczema treatments we are trying

Well after a call with Dr. Woeller, here is what Eric is doing:

Biotin, a sulphur containing B vitamin, helps metabolize fats & amino acids. Biotin deficiency can manifest as hair loss, dry scaley skin (even cradle cap in infants), dermatitis, even nausea. He is taking 5 - 10 mg per day
Zinc - 100 mg
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) daily in the form of Cod Liver Oil from Carlson's.
Probiotics nightly

And we are looking into a niacinimide cream as well. And our friend Tom suggested sulphur soap, we need to look into that as well. Given that Biotin is a sulphur containing B vitamin, it may not be a bad idea to hit it from the inside and outside. Eric is logging his supplements and taking pictures of his hands to document what is working. So right now it is just the supplements, no cream or soap and a STRICT adherence to a gluten free diet. 2 nights ago he ate a small piece of garlic bread, the next day his hands were once again cracking and bleeding.

These recommendations are for my husband, please do not use these as a standard and always consult your own doctor/practitioner before starting any new supplements (there's my disclaimer).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Eczema, not just skin deep

I am sure I have blogged about eczema and our family before. My husband, mother in law and daughter all struggle with this issue. At the last DAN! conference it became more clear to me that eczema is a sign of leaky gut and needs to be addressed just as my son's issues with leaky gut did. For my daughter that meant tackling food issues like wheat. As I found out at the DAN! conference, many, many, many people have problems with wheat and may not even know it (I dare say, including us). So we got with the program and our house is now completely GF. Viola, my daughter's eczema on her feet was gone. It started as a small patch on the bottom of her foot would eventually wrap around her whole foot and on to her toes and would itch to the point where she would scratch them until they bled. Yeah, I know, I NEEDED to get this under control. It killed me to see her little tiny feet looking like those of a 90 year old man, seriously! This meant sending in her snacks at school since school became her only exposure. Once we did that, poof, they were completely healed.

I was hoping for the same response with my husband's hands. His hands are horrible, seriously. They are cracked, bleeding, it hurts to do just about anything with them and even water burns them. The removal of wheat just wasn't cutting it. He has seen dermatologists, he has seen his naturopath (who eventually said "see a dermatologist") and all the dermatologist wants to do is write a prescription for a steroid cream. There has to be a CAUSE, lets not just bandaid this! I finally broke down and emailed Dr. Woeller for help with this. We have a consult today. But, in the week since I made that appointment I told my husband to start taking a probiotic (duh, one of the cornerstone supplements we ALL should be taking) and wouldn't you know it, they are getting better. We have run an IgG food panel on my husband and wouldn't you know, very similar intolerances as my son but nothing really standing out in the way of unaddressed food issues (especially with the removal of wheat). My husband remarked the other night "It looks like they are healing from the inside out". Yes honey, that is what is supposed to happen.

What we take into (or onto) our bodies either helps us or hurts us. We cannot simply look at a chronic skin condition as just being skin deep. We have to understand that it is a manifestation of something deeper, probably in the gut. And did you know that the gut is referred to as the 2nd brain? Our gut, and what we feed it, is extremely important. It has a big impact on our brain functioning and all of the other processes in the body. When I told my 11 year old step-daughter that the purpose of food is to fuel the body she looked at me like I was crazy. And yet even she gets it that when you eat junk you are still hungry. Your body is looking for nourishment and when you feed it empty calories it is still hungry because it still needs the right kid of fuel.

So I think we are on the right track to healing my husband's hands and I will pass on what we learn from our call with Dr. Woeller today. But, I wanted to take a moment to highlight a very essential supplement EVERYONE should be on, a probiotic. A probiotic helps replenish you gut with the GOOD bacteria and GOOD yeast (in the case of Saccharomyces Boulardii) that your body needs to fight off the bad bugs. It helps support your immune system, which is primarily located in the gut, by that mechanism. You need good soldiers to fight off the invaders, think of it that way. New Beginnings has some great probiotics. And each variety can help with different things. Culturelle is great for clostridia, VSL #3 is good for high oxalates, like I said before certain yeast strains can help fight the pathogenic yeasts like candida, both of the kids are on Ther-biotic which does need a doctor's referral. You want to look for a good quality, multi-strain variety unless you are targeting something specific. So if you are looking to be healthier in 2010 and start adding in some vitamins and supplements to support health, look to a quality probiotic as something to add right away!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Respen-A therapy in Autism

I mentioned on my blog before that we were interested in starting the new therapy called Respen A. Since we were actively fighting clostridia through the use of flagyl and also using diflucan to avoid a yeast flare as a result, I decided to wait for about a week until we were all done with flagyl and diflucan was going well and behavior was stabilized. We started on the first day of winter break, 2 weeks ago yesterday. I also wanted to try this over the break so that I could monitor any possible negative reactions instead of having him go through these at school/therapy/etc.

By day 2 we noticed increased affection and attention to members of our family.

By two weeks in, each day is filled with new concepts, new awareness and new emotions it seems. My son seems to be seeing things that literally have been right in front of his face for months (if not years) for the first time. He is reminding us about his supplements and even reminding us to mark things off on his daily chart of foods/supps/etc. Now mind you, we've done supplements and charting for years and never once has he reminded us about charting or dosing. My daughter was doing something funny and my husband and I were laughing about it yesterday, he came running from another part of the house to ask "what's so funny??". This was a first. A park outing last week with 6 kids (ages 3 - 12) was a good example as well. All 6 kids were playing "pirate" and running between a grassy area and the playground. There was my son right in the middle of things, playing along the whole time (about 2 hours). He wasn't wandering off, playing by himself or off talking to himself. I am anxious to hear what his teacher thinks when he goes back to school in a week. He was a child who really did compensate well socially given his challenges but these changes are huge. We have also seen less self talk. He will regularly ride bikes on our street with neighbors but even after they have walked/ridden away he would talk to them or himself. This has really diminished since starting Respen A.

What is Respen A? It is a little brown disc. It looks a lot like a pop dot if you are a crafter or a scrapbooker. It is round and raised, not flat like a smoker's patch and soft and mushy. It comes with pieces of paper stuck to both sides that you just peel off. Then you use medical tape to keep it in place in the middle of the back (or somewhere that they cannot get to to take it off). You put it on in the morning and give 2000 mg of calcium as it can deplete calcium. Then you take it off at bath/bedtime. Very simple, very easy. It is a homeopathic remedy but still requires a prescription. The pharmacy also cannot ship to AZ so you have to have someone else in another state (like CA) where they can ship to and then that person would have to ship it to you. But, in my estimation, well worth the effort!

So there is the update after 2 weeks. I hope to have even more to update in the future. Dr. Woeller says to try this therapy for at least 6 months. So far I am very happy with it and have not seen many side effects if any. The only possible side effect is trouble falling to sleep at night. We've reintroduced melatonin with very positive results. Other than that, we've not seen any negative behaviors.