Causes Of Autism, ADHD

Food Pesticides And Neurological Miswiring

Autism from Pesticides healthy living magazine

Autism from Pesticides healthy living magazine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the rate of autism in the US has increased 30% from 1 in 88 just two years ago to 1 in 68. With increased public focus on this disease and other behavioral disorders, researchers are seeking answers for the escalation in rates that range from improved diagnosis by health care professionals to over diagnosis and perhaps most fascinating the link that exposure to chemical toxins plays in its onset, particularly during pregnancy when the fetus's brain development is adversely impacted.

Autism and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are not simple diseases for which cures are readily available; nor are they simply caused by genetics even though researchers have identified several genes associated with both— this according to recent studies attempting to pinpoint the influence of environment on genetic susceptibilities. This new science in which our surroundings are thought to influence genetic expression is called epigenetics, and if the findings detailed in this report pan out over time, as they appear to, it suggests that parents and caregivers of children with autism, ADHD and other behavioral disorders might have an option to prevent or reduce symptoms of these diseases.

Genetics or endocrine disruptors?

If genetics were the overriding determinant of autism, then one would expect that identical twins would have a higher rate of autism among both pairs than fraternal siblings. After all, identical twins share nearly identical genes compared with those fraternally born whose inheritance is more differentiated.

A July 2011 study from Archives of General Psychiatry looked at 192 sets of twins in California to test this theory. In each pair one twin was autistic. The study compared rates between identical and fraternal twins. The researchers reported fraternal pairs were just as likely to be autistic. Gestation and early childhood environmental influences appeared to be as influential as genetic makeup, the report said, although it did not pinpoint what those early influences might be.

However, other researchers appear to be closing some of the gaps of our understanding of the ecology of autism and ADHD.

A March 2011 study from NeuroToxicology provides evidence of a chemical poisoning link to autism and ADHD. Dr Amir Miodovnik at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues showed children who had been exposed to high levels of phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) prenatally were more likely to show social impairment at seven to nine years of age— displaying the kinds of functioning seen in these as well as other conditions. Both of these chemicals are ubiquitous in the environment, found in many products, and both are endocrine disruptors that affect brain activity; in this study, the phthalate esters adversely impacted social behavior in adolescent inner-city children. “Prenatal exposure to endocrine disruptors has the potential to impact early brain development. Neurodevelopmental toxicity in utero may manifest as psychosocial deficits later in childhood. Prenatal phthalate exposure was associated with childhood social impairment in a multi-ethni urban population. Even mild degrees of impaired social functioning in otherwise healthy individuals can have very important adverse effects over a child’s lifetime. These results extend our previous finding of atypical neonatal and early childhood behaviors in relation to prenatal phthalate exposure.”

Common Pesticides And Neurological Miswiring

In other words, chemicals to which the unborn child was exposed could have been causing neurological miswiring. But the linkages don’t stop with this study. In the journal Pediatrics, Harvard University researchers found a link between commonly observed levels of chemical pesticides and ADHD in children 8 to 15 years of age. “These findings support the hypothesis that organophosphate exposure, at levels common among US children, may contribute to ADHD prevalence.”

Getting Out Pesticides

According to the National Autism Association, 190 publications examined environmental toxicant exposures in autism and 170, or 89% found an association. Most doctors dealing with children or adults with ADHD or autism would not think of measuring for organophosphate pesticides or heavy metals or know what to do if the levels were high, notes detoxification researcher Michael Wisner whose work with Megan Shields, MD, led to published studies on release of chemical toxins in occupationally exposed workers using therapeutic sauna. Their work showed neurological symptoms declined with lessening the poisons in workers. Wisner, a member of the HealthyLivinG magazine advisory board, recommends saunas as a part of therapy for children or adults dealing with neurotoxicity. His views are shared by other experts

His views are shared by other experts. Autism, ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome are conditions that respond to infrared sauna therapy, according to Rachel West, DO, of Los Angeles, California. Dr West combines therapies and modalities with diet and nutrition, and uses infrared sauna with children and adults.

Sweat Out Poisons

“We do the same kind of detox for kids as we do for adults,” Dr West told HealthyLivinG. “Many chemical toxins are secreted via the skin and perspiration. Our skin is our largest detoxification organ, after all. Detoxification, in this sense, is perfect for special needs kids. The nice thing is that far infrared actually penetrates at cellular levels so it will help clean out organ tissues and disconnect cells from toxins that may be blocking pathways and at very low heat, which is safe for children.”

Sauna For Repetitive Movement

Some conditions set in as early as three years of age and she works with parents to teach them how to be with their child in the sauna. For example, she recommends reading them a story. Many kids’ bodies are so toxic they are building up lactic acid, which can cause them to engage in repetitive movement, often associated with autism. “The lactic acid makes kids feel like they want a massage and the saunas feel great on their joints and muscles,” she says. “And keep in mind it isn’t the heat that counts, but the penetration that can occur at low heat. We see oxygenation of cells and better sleep. Since sauna restores and calms the nervous system and heat is nurturing, many parents have their kids take a sauna in preparation for bedtime or before their evening bath or shower.”

A recent report says infrared sauna “increased excretion with sweat fluid of toxic substances (lead, thiuram, captax, sulphenamide C) that penetrated the body during work. Sauna is recommended as an effective procedure in conditions where chemical and physical factors are the leading professional noxae.”

Infrared is cited frequently as the preferred sauna in most recent studies. Innovative full spectrum infrared technology allows users to program for specific benefits including lower blood pressure, detoxification, weight loss, pain relief and more. Saunas with LED screens allow the user to choose detoxification, heart, weight loss and other programs as well as monitor themselves with an online site. In a 2005 clinical study by the University of Missouri, Kansas City, Solocarbon heaters were shown to lower blood pressure through a program of 30 minute infrared sauna sessions three times per week. The study concluded that infrared sauna therapy with Solocarbon technology dilated blood vessels and reduced the volume of their inner lining, thus increasing circulation.

The heat generated by an infrared sauna produces sweat that contains more toxins per unit, which is why experts say its use can be more effective. In a clinical study Solocarbon was shown to raise the core body temperature to over 100 °F.

As a result regular usage can surface a deeply detoxifying sweat where some of the hidden poisons reside. (However, sauna should never be used during pregnancy or without consulting a doctor.)

Take Action Before Conception

The jury is still out as to how influential environment is upon the genetics of such sufferers. But putting together the pieces suggests that parents can actually do something about preventing these conditions in their offspring. For those men and women who expect to have children, doing a preconception detox with infrared sauna makes sense, says Wisner who has overseen hundreds of couples who’ve become infrared sauna users just for this purpose. As for children and adults already afflicted with conditions, one can see effects lessened with detoxification of chemicals, he adds.

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