The mutations are present in only 1 percent of all kids with autism; in the other 99 percent, something else is going on. However, the heavy news coverage -- including stories in the Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times -- would likely lead a casual reader to believe that something truly significant has taken place.
Journalists tended to posit that the discovery could lead to diagnostic tests, early interventions and further insight into the disease. But this is not justified by the actual discovery.
Rates of autism, a disabling neurodevelopmental disorder, have increased nearly 60-fold since the late 1970s, with the most significant increases occurring in the past decade. It now affects about one in 150 U.S. children.
Autism, which usually appears before a child's third birthday, profoundly affects communication and social skills, impairing the child's ability to play, speak and relate to the world.
Although autism may be apparent soon after birth, most autistic children experience at least several months, or even a year or more of normal development -- followed by regression, defined as loss of function or failure to progress.
Autism probably arises from a combination of genetic defects – that 1 percent indicated in the above study -- and exposure to toxic chemicals, viruses or other environmental influences.
Here is a closer look at the Top 5 environmental triggers found so far, keeping in mind that there might be many more.
The Mercury – Autism Link
The mercury in vaccines derives from thimerosal (TMS), a preservative which is 49.6 percent ethylmercury (eHg). It is already an established fact that exposure to mercury can cause immune, sensory, neurological, motor, and behavioral dysfunctions -- all similar to traits defining, or associated with autism.
Thimerosal, which is added to many vaccines, has become a major source of mercury in children who, within their first two years, may have received a quantity of mercury that clearly exceeds safety guidelines.
A review of medical literature and U.S. government data suggests that:
Many cases of “spontaneous” autism are induced by early mercury exposure from thimerosal genetic and non-genetic factors establish a predisposition, which is why thimerosal's adverse effects occur only in some children.
The Vaccine Virus – Autism Link
Vaccines contain numerous active agents, including live viruses, killed bacteria and toxic chemicals including aluminum, mercury and formaldehyde. Not surprisingly, autism appears within the first three years of life - just about the time when most children are seeing pediatricians routinely for vaccinations.
Whereas many focus solely on mercury in the vaccines as the culprit in causing autism, the virus link is equally compelling.
One subset of autism has been termed “Autoimmune Autism” (AA). There is scientific evidence that this subset of children, who regress after routine vaccinations, are due to an immune reaction against the vaccine.
In this case, the abnormal immune reaction primes your immune system to react against your body’s organs, as it creates “organ-specific” autoantibodies against itself. In the case of autistic autoimmune reactions, the organ in question is mainly your brain. However, gastrointestinal problems, such as “leaky gut” are also a common organ-specific ailment.
The strongest link exists between the measles virus antibodies (from the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine) and anti-myelin basic protein (MBP), suggesting that exposure to the measles virus may trigger an autoimmune response that interferes with the development of myelin.
If myelin in your brain doesn't develop properly, nerve fibers won't work as they should, giving rise to the brain abnormalities associated with autism.
The Milk – Autism Link
Other studies indicate that both autism and schizophrenia may be linked to your inability to properly break down a protein found in milk. Personally I believe this is related to pasteurized milk and have seen many autistic children thrive on raw milk products, especially fermented ones like kefir or yogurt.
When not broken down, the milk protein caseinate produces exorphins -- morphine-like compounds -- that become absorbed by areas of your brain where they cause cells to dysfunction. The findings suggest that an intestinal flaw, such as a malfunctioning enzyme, is to blame for your inability to break down this milk protein.
Findings from one such study showed 95 percent of 81 autistic and schizophrenic children had 100 times the normal levels of the milk protein in their blood and urine.
Researchers have also injected rats with the protein beta-casomorphin-7, one of the key constituents of milk and the part that coagulates to make cheese. They discovered the protein was taken up by 32 different areas of the brain, including sections responsible for vision, hearing and communication, which could account for many behavioral symptoms of both diseases.
The Cell Phone – Autism Link
A much more recent, groundbreaking theory has been suggested by a study published in the Journal of the Australasian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine: Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from cell phones, cell towers, Wi-Fi devices and other similar wireless technologies may work in conjunction with genetic and environmental factors, becoming an accelerating factor in autism.
After more than five years of research on children with autism they found that EMR negatively affects cell membranes, allowing heavy metal toxins, which are associated with autism, to build up in your body.
EMR can trap heavy metals inside of nerve cells, which could accelerate the onset of symptoms of heavy metal toxicity, and hinder your body’s natural clearance of the toxins.
The Link Between Your Psyche and Autism
Dr. Geerd Hamer, known for his German New Medicine, which I have written about previously on several occasions, also has an explanation for how your psyche is involved in the case of autism.
According to Dr. Hamer’s “autistic constellation,” the psychological reason for autism is due to the mother experiencing profound feelings of rejection during, or even preceding her pregnancy. She may be a perfectionist, feeling judged, or feeling that no matter what she does it’s wrong – she feels worthless.
If I were to speculate, I’d say this may fit the profile of quite a few women who try to be everything for everyone, shouldering work responsibilities, being good wives, lovers and mothers.
This child is the creation of her and her husband, and whatever happens in their psyche is therefore “imprinted” upon the child. In a biological sense, it’s like programming your offspring with information it will need to be better able to deal with the environment it’s coming into.
Dr. Hamer believes that once your child is “primed” for shutting down mentally and emotionally in this way, when a trigger is added to the mix, such as mercury, it might set off cellular degeneration leading to the onset of autism.
What Can You Do?
With all these wide-ranging factors, what can you do to prevent autism, and what can you do if your child does develop autism?
Here are a baker’s half-dozen of my best recommendations:
1. Eat a diet tailored to your nutritional type for optimal health. In my experience, nearly ALL children seem to respond favorably to the dietary changes when properly implemented
2. Pasteurized milk restriction is an ABSOLUTE imperative to the treatment of autism. Anyone managing this illness without restricting milk is deceiving themselves. This includes all milk products, such as ice cream, yogurt and whey. Even natural flavorings in food must be avoided unless the processor can guarantee, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that caseinate is not included
3. Complete elimination of sugar, juice, soda, French fries and wheat (pasta, bagels, cereal, pretzels, etc) is also highly recommended
4. Get proper sun exposure, as an additional theory that makes a whole lot of sense is the link between rampant vitamin D deficiency and the proportionate jump in autism. 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
5. Use an effective intervention to address any emotional stresses as soon as possible – avoid having destructive thoughts and emotions fester. Potent energy psychology tools such as the Emotional Freedom Technique are excellent for this purpose
6. Secretin has proven effective in relieving certain symptoms of autism. It is a powerful hormone, which has the ability to reduce intestinal permeability (leaky gut). I have even observed one three-year-old who had no speech prior to secretin speak in full paragraphs just days after the infusion
7. Homeopathy may also help ameliorate symptoms