What Causes Autism And How Can It Be Treated? – a point of view
I guess it’s only obvious when a loved one or someone close to you is affected by a medical condition or disease you want to find out how or why it has occurred. Autism still has no solid evidence as the cause but there are many theories and ongoing research.
I recall a few years back we were delving into Dr Amy Yasko’s research and work into Autism. Dr Yasko’s expertise is mainly in biochemistry, molecular biology, and biotechnology, this led her into forms of chronic neurological inflammation, including Autism. Her Autism treatments are based on bio-medical diet and supplementation, with a very strict regime on testing and and the appropriate protocols.
We found that her research, theories and explanations were quite fascinating and they made a lot of sense toward the puzzle of Autism and it’s cause.
Autism as a Multifactorial Disease
Dr Yasko describes Autism as a Multifactorial Disease –
“Multifactorial Diseases are caused by a combination of factors acting together. This can include infections and environmental events occurring in genetically susceptible individuals.”
She described this as being likened to Princess Diana’s untimely death, in that there were a series of factors that contributed to the accident, had there been one of those events missing then the accident would not have occurred, however put all the events together and history speaks for itself.
Dr Amy Yasko goes on to explain that what we currently call “Autism” is actually a medical condition caused by infections and environmental events occurring in genetically susceptible individuals. Infections would only lead to Autism if they occur in individuals with the appropriate types of genetic susceptibility that render them vulnerable.
She believe that the basis for this susceptibility in Autism may result from single or multiple mutations in the methylation pathway, combined with complex interactions between thimerosal and this pathway.
These imbalances in methylation lay the appropriate groundwork for the further assault of environmental and infectious agents (including introduced agents such as in vaccines) to result in Autism. Continuing with this analogy, perhaps Autism should be reclassified as a defect in methylation that results in neuro-inflammatory disease.
What is Methylation
Methylation or DNA Methylation is described as:
“The chemical reactions that place a methyl group (a combination of one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms) at a particular spot on DNA during organismal development. The effect of this process is probably to “turn off” various genes during the process of cellular differentiation, causing the cell to develop into a specific type.”
Methylation is related to and affects the following:
- Neurotransmitter levels
- Levels of serotonin
- Dopamine synthesis
- Proper signaling of the immune system as well as protecting nerves from damage
- The building blocks for DNA and RNA to allow the body to synthesize new cells
- DNA regulation
- The body’s ability to both myelinate nerves and to prune nerves.
Myelin is a sheath that wraps around the neuronal wiring to insulate and facilitate faster transmission of electrical potentials.
Without adequate methylation, the nerves cannot myelinatein the first place, or cannot re-myelinate after insults such as viral infection or heavy metal toxicity. A secondary effect of a lack of methylation and hence decreased myelinationis inadequate pruning of nerves. Pruning helps to prevent excessive wiring, or unused neural connections and reduces the synaptic density. Without adequate pruning the brain cell connections are misdirected and proliferate into dense, bunched thickets. All of these changes, when they occur in utero or in very young children, can alter brain development, and can also set up metabolic changes that cause ongoing compromise of brain function.
Put simply, if there is an imbalance of methylation during the developing stages of the fetus the DNA may be affected which will affect the development of certain genes and result in the individual being susceptible to certain environmental and viral conditions which will may result in a condition known as Autism. This would also explain the early and late onset as the susceptibility may be triggered after an assault on the immune system like the MMR vaccine, which would place the individual over their threshold.
As mentioned previously there is still no solid evidence but Dr Amy Yasko’s research certainly has merit for consideration.
Dr Amy Yasko has developed a program and protocols for treating forms of chronic neurological inflammation including Autism with remarkable success. Here is a link to her website for more information and resources: http://www.dramyyasko.com
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