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Step #3: Consult a DAN! Practitioner and Conduct Tests

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Overview    Test Recommendations    Mercury & Vaccinations    DAN! Practitioners


OK, here's where we need your complete attention, so please read carefully. Leading-edge research continues to reveal metabolic abnormalities commonly found in children with autism. Parents and physicians have witnessed improvements to health, behavior, and development ranging from good to recovery when such abnormalities are corrected. Improvements occur through the course of biomedical treatments specific to the child's condition. Treatment is established by addressing problems such as gastrointestinal issues, metabolic problems, nutritional deficiencies, toxicity, and special dietary needs. Please note that all these issues are easily revealed through the testing we're about to describe.

We cannot stress enough the importance of this testing, but before we get started, we need to establish a few things:

1. Most General Practice Physicians, including Neurologists, will not suggest--let alone encourage--the testing or alternative treatments we're about to describe. Medical doctors are trained to treat with corrective surgery and treating specific symptoms with prescription medication. 

2. Although a small number of exceptions exist, most General Practice Physicians and Pediatricians have little or no experience with autism. Needless to say, these individuals are unfamiliar with current research, including treatment. Your child needs to be seen by a specialist in the field of autism, preferably a DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) Physician.

3. You don't need to be a PhD to request and pursue these tests. Granted, the more you understand, the better off you'll be, but don't let skepticism or difficulty in grasping the following concepts discourage you from getting some answers as soon as possible.

4. None of these tests are dangerous or painful. Most tests are conducted on samples of your child's blood, stool, urine, or hair.

5. Don't overlook or dismiss the testing and treatment that could change your child's life.

Test Recommendations

Digestive Function: Metabolic processes, specifically those that occur in the "gut" (the intestine) play an important (critical) role in the maintenance of a normal functioning brain. The intestine has three primary functions; food digestion, absorption of nutrients, and filtration of toxins. The human intestine supports a complex environment consisting of micro-organisms designed to carry out these functions. These organisms, or "good bacteria," must not only be present in the intestine, but must also be in the proper balance. When such a balance exists, the intestine is in a normal state known as "orthobiosis." The balance and support of these organisms has everything to do with the normal functions of the intestine. One of the more common disruptions to this balance is caused by the overgrowth of yeast, or "bad bacteria." The result of this disruption can cause a wide variety of problems and changes the intestine to an abnormal state known as "dysbiosis." Although the specific cause of dysbiosis is unclear, research has identified intestinal dysfunction as a common factor among children with autism.

Intestinal Permeability: The intestinal lining also plays an important role in helping the body absorb nutrients and block toxins, bacteria, allergens, and other potentially harmful molecules from entering the bloodstream. "Leaky gut syndrome" is the name given to a condition that allows molecules to penetrate the intestinal wall. Due to various causes, the intestinal wall cannot keep out large, undesirable molecules. When this happens, substances such as proteins that are normally kept outside of the body "leak through the intestinal wall. Impaired intestinal permeability has associated autism with conditions like autoimmune dysfunction, food allergies, gastrointestinal imbalances, bacterial and fungal overgrowth, and nutritional deficiencies.

Metabolic: There are four critical areas of our metabolism: the gastrointestinal function, cellular energy production, neurotransmitter processing, and amino acid/organic acid balance. Metabolism is a critical part of our digestive function and overall health. Metabolic analysis can reveal problems related to mal absorption, vitamin/mineral deficiencies, dysbiosis, the production of neurotransmitters, and the body's ability to convert food into energy.

Nutritional: Clinical evidence suggests that diet and the digestive function play important roles in influencing many symptoms in many autistic children. Amino acids are the chemical building blocks of key neurotransmitters that act on the brain to influence mood and behavior. For this reason, the proper balance of these nutrients is essential for healthy emotional and cognitive development in children. Essential fatty acids are one of the more critical nutrients for the brain and are especially important for children suffering from developmental disorders like autism. Nutritional tests are invaluable in revealing imbalances.

Toxic Elements: Numerous studies have shown that large numbers of autistic children have high levels of toxic chemicals in their blood, specifically metals. Although the cause is still under clinical debate, the build-up of toxins may not simply be a matter of excessive exposure, but the inability to process and eliminate toxins from their bodies. One of the more common and heavily debated issues is the presence of mercury. The affects of metal toxicity are far reaching and can cause a variety of serious health problems, including, but not limited to, a compromised immune system and brain damage. Please review the following section for an expanded explanation of mercury poisoning and treatment.

Mercury & Vaccinations

You may be familiar with the controversy surrounding childhood vaccinations as a potential cause for autism. If not, you may want to review one or more of the web sites listed below. The issue is the use of a preservative called Thimerosal, which, until recently, was used in many vaccinations, including MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella). The problem is that Thimerosal contains mercury, (nearly 50%) and has been clearly and repeatedly identified as a neurotoxin. NOTE: A large percentage of autistic children have been tested positive for abnormally elevated levels of mercury in their bodies. It's for this reason that we recommend testing for heavy metals as an important part of your metabolic testing efforts. Testing can be performed on the same blood, urine, and hair samples used for the intestinal dysfunction previously described (and should not be overlooked).

Although the cause of autism is still under heavy debate, there is significant evidence that suggests a strong link to childhood vaccinations.

See one of the following web sites for more information about Thimerosal:

    Generation Rescue
    National Vaccine Information
    Vaccines Fueling Autism Epidemic    
    Thimerosal in Vaccines
    Mercury Poisoning in the News

Treatment for mercury poisoning is also available and is encouraged in the event of its presence. One of the more effective treatments for mercury poisoning is done through a process known as chelation. Chelation is a method of detoxification. Detoxification occurs when provoking agents such as DMSA and DMPS are taken orally or intravenously. The agents act as magnets, attracting the mercury in one's body. The mercury attaches itself to these agents, which are then released from the body through urine and stool.

See one of the following web sites for more information about Chelation:

    What is Chelation?
    Chelation Overview
    Safety and Efficacy of Chelation Therapy

Now the good news; most of these conditions can be easily detected with testing. Patients are normally treated with specific supplements (to be determined by a DAN! or specialized physician) and may include the avoidance of specific foods, beverages, or environmental conditions. Examples of supplemental treatments include probiotics, digestive enzymes, amino acids, and vitamins and minerals. Many parents find great benefit from gluten-free (wheat) and casein-free (dairy) diets alone.

Do not overlook testing for conditions that may be contributing to, if not causing, your child's condition. Contact a DAN! Practitioner IMMEDIATELY.

DAN! Practitioners

The Autism Research Institute has assembled a large group of healthcare practitioners educated in the biomedical aspect of treating autism. It's important to note that DAN! Practitioners are some of the best qualified in diagnosing and treating neural, immune, and digestive system dysfunction.

    DAN! Practitioners (Within the U.S.)
    DAN! Practitioners (Outside the U.S.)

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