For decades, charitable organizations that benefit those with disabilities that are sufficiently widespread to command public attention have focused on the care of those stricken with disease, and assisted families to cope with their affected loved one. Of lesser import, yet still kept on the public’s radar, is application of funds to finding a cure.
Nationwide, on-air fund-raising began with Jerry Lewis’s Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, initiated in 1966, whose primary attention was, and continues to be, directed at treatment and support. While Susan G. Komen®’s high-profile efforts to save women from the worst outcomes of breast cancer are to be lauded, only a single page of hundreds on their web site is dedicated to prevention—as distinct from enumerating risk factors.
Along comes a recent spate of research that demands the attention of both those already suffering debilitating disease, as well as those whose larger public-health agenda includes prevention. While it is unlikely there will ever be sufficient resources to help all those already under the pall of disease and dysfunction, can we look to the future and establish a long-term plan of elimination through prevention?
At Innovative Health Foundation, we assist families of children with neurological, psychological, and learning (NPL) disorders—the focus of this article—but there’s no reason to believe this strategy would not equally apply to every dysfunction and syndrome, just as it does with bacterial, viral, and other microbial diseases.
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, in her book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome [Medinform Publishing, Cambridge, UK, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-9548520-2-3] calls it GAP. This writer prefers the allusion of GPS as it guides us, turn by turn, in the direction of our destination: the societal elimination of NPL disorders. More realistically, could following her recommendations—and those of more recent clinical research—turn the trend-line downward from the explosive rise in NPL disorders over the last few years?
A more extensive review of Dr. Campbell-McBride’s work will appear in a subsequent article, but in its most distilled form, she points her finger at leaky gut syndrome—among other similar dysfunctions—as responsible for allowing psychoactive poisons into the blood stream from the intestines as the cause of a wide range of NPL disorders including, autism, dyspraxia, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, depression, and even schizophrenia.
In April, 2014, research in the United Kingdom was announced that associated the excessive use of ibuprofen—a common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID—with the onset of coeliac disease [celiac in the US]; celiac is normally considered an autoimmune response to gluten. If further research solidifies this association, it will be a red-flag that chemicals we put into our bodies have a profound impact on our digestive health—as if many of us didn’t already know that.
Newly released research highlighted in Huff-Post, May 21, 2014, The Stomach Bacteria that Could Save Your Life [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/21/microbes-children-health_n_5366066.html] echoes the association of intestinal flora with health, the obverse of which is stated, “The number of 8-year-old children diagnosed with autism has surged in just two years from one in 88 to one in 68, according to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March. And while the cause of the disease remains unclear, new research, including a small study presented this week at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, suggests children with autism host a very different array of microbes in their gut.”
It’s time to look at environmental factors—the foods our children eat, the drugs we give them, and the chemicals to which we allow them to be exposed—as elements that exacerbate whatever genetic factors may bring on autism, and the other NPL diseases and disorders.
Is GPS telling us that the exit ramp is just ahead? Could the difference between a high-functioning autistic child, Aspberger’s or otherwise, and one entirely disabled by the disease, be mitigated by getting off the conventional diet and environmental highway? Can autism be reversed by doing a U-turn with improved diet?
More to be considered in future articles.
Robin D. Ader is Executive Director of Innovative Health Foundation, Inc., and author of Weight Loss with Nutritional Leverage: a Guide to Living Young as Long as Possible