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What Really Causes Autism?

January 29, 2009 | 98,339 views
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children outdoors, environmentalCalifornia's sevenfold increase in autism is most likely due to environmental exposures, according to scientists. A new study advocates a nationwide shift in autism research to focus on environmental factors such as pesticides, viruses and chemicals in household products.

Throughout the U.S., the numbers of autistic children have increased dramatically over the past 15 years. More than 3,000 new cases of autism were reported in California in 2006, compared with 205 in 1990.

Many medical officials argued that the rise was due to changes in diagnoses or migration patterns rather than a real rise in the disorder. But the new study concludes that those factors cannot explain most of the increase in autism.

Researchers analyzed 17 years of state data that tracks developmental disabilities. Migration to the state had no effect, and changes in how and when doctors diagnose the disorder can explain less than half of the increase.

It is possible that a pregnant woman's exposure to chemical pollutants, particularly metals and pesticides, could be altering a developing baby's brain structure, triggering autism. Many parent groups also believe that childhood vaccines could be responsible.

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Dr. Mercola's Comments:

For many this information is not brand new information but I thought it was a good sign to find this type of data being published in one of the most prestigious science journals, Scientific American.

In 1990, 6.2 of every 10,000 children born in California were diagnosed with autism by the age of 5. By 2001, that had risen to 42.5 in 10,000, and the numbers are still rising. I remember 25 years ago, the incidence of autism in the United States was only one in 10,000!

Today some experts believe that the incidence of all the Autism Spectrum Disorders could be as high as one in 10 children.

To suggest this massive increase could be due to changes in diagnosis or migration seems to be grasping at straws, and fortunately this new study can put the debate to rest. The researchers found that doctors’ diagnoses explained less than half of the 600 to 700 percent increase in diagnosed autism cases.

So what is the explanation then?

Conventional medicine likes to point the finger at genetics, but science shows that only 1 percent of autism cases are likely due to a genetic mutation. Despite this, funding for studying the genetic causes of autism is 10 to 20 times higher than funding for environmental causes, according to Irva Hertz-Picciotto, an epidemiology professor at University of California, Davis who led the above study.

It’s time “modern” medicine caught up with the times on this issue, as the picture is becoming much clearer as to the real underlying causes of autism.

The Top Contributors to Autism

I’ve recently conducted an extensive interview with Dr. Klinghardt, one of my primary mentors and a pioneer in natural medicine, about the toxic origins of autism. You can watch a snippet of it here, or join my Inner Circle to get access to the entire interview, but one topic that’s discussed is the commonality among most people with autism that their pathways of detoxification have become overwhelmed by both man-made and microbial toxins.

The toxins that are at the top of this list are:

1. Mercury and other metals, such as aluminum. The major route of exposure here is from vaccines, and also from eating contaminated seafood.

2. Viruses and microbes, such as mold. Children with autism not only have overwhelmed detoxification pathways and often heavy metal toxicity, but, according to Dr. Kllinghardt, they also have a silent, daily toxin production in their body caused by toxic microbes.

3. Electromagnetic Fields (EMF). These come not only from cell phones and cordless phones, but also from electrical outlets and WI-FI. Dr. Klinghardt considers EMF “synergistically causal," partly because it potentiates the production of toxic microbes and endotoxins.

A fourth major contributor that has recently been discovered is also one of the easiest to remedy: vitamin D.

There is a link between rampant vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women and the proportionate jump in autism, which has recently been highlighted by Dr. John Cannell. The vitamin D receptor appears in a wide variety of brain tissue early in the fetal development, and activated vitamin D receptors increase nerve growth in your brain.

It is my personal belief that this may be the single largest contributing factor to autism and that it is a deficiency of sun exposure to the pregnant mom, and subsequently to the fetus, that puts the child at a massively increased risk of developing autism.

So one of THE MOST IMPORTANT changes that could radically reduce autism is to make certain ALL pregnant women have their vitamin D levels normalized to 50-60 ng/ml.

The First 10 Steps to Take if You Have a Child With Autism

I have been inspired to collaborate with some of the leading experts in autism, including Dr. Klinghardt, and participate in the THRiiiVE think tank that will provide basic resources for those afflicted with autism.

During the most recent THRiiiVE summit in October 2008 we created the Top 10 Prioritized To Do List for people with autism. I have detailed the entire list in this past article, so please take a few minutes to review it.

As part of the program, Dr. Klinghardt recommends the following three steps that should be urgently addressed in children with autism:

1. Lower microbial burden: Make your child’s body less of an optimal habitat for microbial overgrowth through dietary changes (less starch & sugar at minimum) and lowering overall stress. Also, consider testing for mold (in the house) & Lyme (in the body) but only after “provocation treatment.”

2. Lower incoming toxic burden: Do whatever you can to establish a mold, dust, toxin & smell-free environment for your whole family & THEN establish a detoxification program. Please remember hidden toxins like fluoride and look carefully at ALL your cleaning products.

3. Lower EMF burden in your child’s home and bedroom: Your child’s health will be optimized with daily sun exposure (healthy EMF) and nightly avoidance of man-made (harmful) EMF.

Please stay tuned as one of the challenges of seeking alternative strategies for autism, or any disease for that matter, is there is quite a bit of material to sort through. So this information will be reviewed and updated regularly.

If you are interested in receiving updates directly from THRiiiVE, you can sign up for the Autism e-Alert by sending an email to Autism@THRiiiVE.com.

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