Subj: WRIGHTSLAW ALERT - AUTISM
Date: 1/21/00 8:15:09 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: email@example.com (Wrightslaw/Special Ed Advocate)
WRIGHTSLAW ALERT: AUTISM BREAKTHROUGH?
We first heard rumors about Dr. Mary Megsons discovery several months ago.
Pete and Dr. Megson have been friends since she became chief pediatrician at Childrens Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. Last week, she and Pete and played phone tag. On Monday, they talked about a possible breakthrough in the prevention and treatment of autism.
Dr. Megson knew she would be swamped when word got out about her study. She was setting up a web site to make information available to the public (link below).
THE AUTISM EPIDEMIC
Autism is a developmental disorder that devastates the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and their families. Autism spectrum disorders have increased dramatically in the past 20 years. In 1978, 1 in 10,000 children were affected. In 1999, it is estimated that 1 in 300 children will be diagnosed with an
autism spectrum disorder. (Megson)
Yesterday afternoon, the FEAT newsletter alerted thousands of subscribers to the research. (link below)
Last night, as we read Dr. Megsons Abstract, we found ourselves overwhelmed with emotion.
MAY I HAVE THE RED JOLLY RANCHER PLEASE?
My earliest evidence came from a ten-year-old boy diagnosed with autism by DSM-IV criteria (20). The patients parents suspect he has been reading since age four but his inability to communicate made this unverifiable. Over an eight-year period of regular visits I had never heard him speak. Standardized IQ tests
revealed moderate mental retardation . . .
. . . I started the boy on cod liver oil (5,000 IU of Vitamin A, given in 2500 IU/b.i.d.) and a gluten free diet. After one week, he began to sit farther from the television and to notice paintings on the walls at home. He had always gone out of his way to follow the sidewalk and driveway to meet the school bus.
On Vitamin A, he began to run across the grass directly from the front door to the school bus. After three weeks, he was given a single dose of Urocholine, an alpha muscarinic receptor agonist, to increase bile and pancreatic secretions and indirectly stimulate hippocampal retinoid receptors . . .
Thirty minutes after administration of the Urocholine, the patient, who was sitting in a chair, swung his feet over the side, pointed to a glass candy jar on my shelf and said, "May I have the red Jolly Rancher® please?"
He had read the label on the candy in the clear jar. These were the first words he had spoken in eight years, and the first proof that he could read. We took him outside and he said, The leaves, the leaves on the trees are green! I see! I see!
When I asked to take his picture he looked at the camera, smiled and waved. When he left the office I said, "See you later." He asked, "What time?"
In this childs case, after several weeks
of treatment with Vitamin A in CLO 3500 IU/day, the Urocholine acted like a switch.
When absorbed, he immediately became socially engaged, made excellent eye contact, hugged
his mother tightly and said, "I love you so much," looking at her face.
At that point we both realized that this child had a blocked pathway. The change in language and social interaction was dramatic and immediate. Yet he reverted to the pre-treatment state of silence when the dose wore off.
On lower daily doses of Urocholine (12.5 mg bid) along with the Vitamin A, his language and social interactions have continued to progress, albeit slowly. (from Abstract, link below)
SOLVE ONE PROBLEM, CREATE ANOTHER PROBLEM?
As scientists devised cures for serious childhood illnesses using live vaccines, did they unwittingly open the gates to other disorders?
Is the answer near? Or will subsequent research show that this was a fluke -- a collection of coincidences? Will parents hopes be raised, then dashed again? Will this be a link in the final chapter on one book about autism, and the first chapter in a new book about the eradication of autism?
We dont know.
We wrestled with these questions and whether we should send out an Alert. This research is not specifically related to special education or advocacy. In the end, this research may not prove to be a breakthrough.
But if it is a breakthrough and we had the power to spread the word but chose to remain silent doubting Thomases, would we shortchange you?
You will have to read the Abstract for yourself. These findings have implications for many other conditions:
The far-reaching metabolic consequences may be enormous, with potential links to not only autism, but dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bi-polar disorder . . . and autoimmune disorders including muscular dystrophy and rheumatoid arthritis.
Live virus vaccine? A gluten free diet? Vitamin A in cod liver oil? Natural vitamins versus synthetic vitamins? Could it be this simple?
BARBARIANS AT THE GATE?
Last night, tears hit when I read Dr. Megsons statement:
To quote Alfred Gilman, winner of the Nobel Prize for his discovery of G-alpha proteins, we have been barbarians at the gate . . .
These children have been devastated and we have abandoned them and their families from healthcare and rehabilitative services and appropriate educational opportunities.
You can read this Abstract at the Wrightslaw site at
and at Dr. Megsons site at
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