Austism Spectrum Disorder
My focus on the treatment of autism stems from my studying with the Autism Research Institute's (ARI) Defeat Autism Now (DAN) group - I have completed their full training course (Clinician Training Level 1 and Level 2). I am very pleased to be a DAN doctor in the Halifax area as at the present time there are no others in the province (or anywhere in the Maritimes for that matter).
The DAN physician approach to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is biomedical, meaning that it views ASD as a condition characterized by biochemical abnormalities that can be addressed through appropriate treatment, leading to changes in clinical presentation. While formal research studies in the area of autism have been lacking, DAN doctors and parents employing the DAN approach have been tallying the efficacy of a range of treatments to give more objective data to the field. The result has been the realization that dietary, nutritional, supplemental, and nutraceutical interventions can produce a profound benefit in ASD patients. Some of the treatments employed by DAN doctors include:
- gluten-free/casein-free diets (or additional dietary changes if needed)
- gut healing measures (e.g. probiotics, anti-yeast/fungus agents)
- methylcobalamin ("active B12") administration
- glutathione deficiency correction (oral agents, intravenous, or transdermal)
- heavy metal detoxification (if determined to be necessary after testing)
- correction of nutrient deficiencies (magnesium, zinc, taurine, etc)
- correction of metabolic imbalances as determined by lab testing (correction of methylation cycle issues, immune system deficiency, pro-inflammatory factors, etc)
It is crucial to note that treatment of the ASD patient is 100% individualized - no two people with ASD are the same, and thus the treatment protocol must be tailored to him or her. That is determined by taking a detailed clinical history (discussing the history of the condition, health in general, health history before symptoms arose, prenatal history) and pursuing lab evaluation where necessary, including:
- comprehensive digested stool analysis (CDSA) and/or yeast stool culture and sensitivity
- urine amino acid profiling
- urine organic acid profiling
- urine provoked heavy metal testing
Results from pursing a biomedical approach to manage ASD range from the mild to the miraculous (i.e. recovery or near-recovery). As medicine is ever-evolving, the knowledge, treatments, and testing we have today may only allow us to help some ASD patients reach a certain level of improvement; indeed, the range of therapeutic options available for ASD patients a decade ago pale in comparison to the tools we have today. For this reason, it is crucial that DAN doctors remain committed to seek out more answers and maintain their excellent record of inter-professional communication. The DAN approach has the potential to help with any aspect of an ASD patient's clinical picture, including:
- sleep issues
- digestive issues
- speech issues
- impaired non-verbal communication
For more information about the Autism Research Institute and Defeat Autism Now, please visit www.autism.com. For excellent parent resources (support, simplified explanations, parent experiences, etc), http://www.tacanow.org is a fantastic place to start. The ARI website has a great reading list - for an incredibly comprehensive view of the biomedical process, I strongly recommend the book Autism: Effective Biomedical Treatments by Panghorn and Baker (available on the ARI website). It becomes very detailed in terms of treatment options and background theory (it's essentially a blueprint for the DAN approach), but it also contains good synopses of the general theory and therapeutic approach.
My life had not been directly touched by ASD prior to starting this journey, but after initiating my studies in the field I have quickly become both fascinated with the approach and passionate about helping those diagnosed with autism. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you many have and I wish you the best in searching for answers.