What Is Causing the Autism Epidemic?

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One in 88 American children has been diagnosed as autistic. Dr. J G Moellendorf, DC, ND, LCP examines recent research into the possible causes of this epidemic.

The increased antibiotics used by autistic children in the first three years of life may destabilize the microbial community, leading to autistic symptoms.

Autism is a complex disorder seen in children’s developing nervous systems. It is characterized by impairments in communication and social interactions, along with restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped behaviors, interests, and activities beginning before the age of three years. Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin Chiropractor and Naturopath Dr. J G Moellendorf, DC, ND, LCP notes that much concern is focused on understanding what environmental factors may be causing the autism epidemic.

The October 2013 issue of JAMA Pediatrics published ”Association of Autism With Induced or Augmented Childbirth in North Carolina Birth Record (1990-1998) and Education Research (1997-2007) Databases”. The research team led by Simon G. Gregory, PhD compared 625,042 birth records with school records in North Carolina. Over 5500 of these children were later diagnosed with autism. It was found that children born to mothers receiving labor induction (stimulating uterine contractions before spontaneous labor) and/or augmentation (increasing the strength, duration, or frequency of contractions during spontaneous labor) were at a much higher risk of developing autism, especially among boys. The researchers state that further investigation needs to be done to determine if underlying pregnancy conditions requiring induction/augmentation, other events during induced/augmented deliveries, or the specific treatments and dosing (such as oxytocin and prostaglandins) may be the contributing factors leading to autism.

Researchers led by Andrea L Roberts discovered a connection between air pollution and autism. Publishing “Perinatal Air Pollutant Exposures and Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Children of Nurses’ Health Study II Participants” in the August 2013 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, they compared 325 autistic children to 22,101 normal children born between 1987 and 2002. Of those among the highest 20% exposure to diesel fumes or mercury, a 200% increase in autism was found. Of those in the highest 20% exposure to antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, or nickel, there was a 150% increase in autism. A linear relationship was found when comparing the lowest to highest exposures (higher pollution levels directly correlated with an increased risk of autism). Boys were found to be over five times more sensitive than girls for most pollutants.

The research team led by Dae-Wook Kang and Jin Gyoon Park at Arizona State University—Tempe hypothesize that there is a link between autism and abnormal intestinal microbe populations since a high proportion of autistic children suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. Comparing 20 autistic children to 20 normal children, they were surprised to find that the severity of autistic symptoms was more highly associated with less diverse intestinal biomes (types of bacteria present) than by the severity of GI symptoms. Those with autism had much lower quantities of Prevotella, Coprococcus, and Veillonellaceae species compared to normal children. These bacterial species are versatile carbohydrate-degrading and/or fermenting bacteria, which was thought to affect the unusual dietary preferences in autistic children. It was found that the decreased diversity of species rather than dietary patterns was responsible for the symptoms of autism. The research results, “Reduced Incidence of Prevotella and Other Fermenters in Intestinal Microflora of Autistic Children”, were published in the July 2013 issue of PLOS ONE. The authors note that intestinal bacteria balance the immune system, aid digestion, and produce vitamins. They note that several other studies have reported that the increased antibiotics used by autistic children in the first three years of life may destabilize the microbial community, leading to autistic symptoms. By eliminating the beneficial bacteria, pathogenic bacteria begin to grow. Some of these bacteria are known to damage the brain. This damage can in turn lead to the accumulation of mercury in the brain, along with the inability to expel other heavy metals. Higher levels of these pathogenic bacteria are commonly seen in autistic children.

The question of the effects of mercury in the vaccine preservative thimerosal remains a hotly debated topic. Further information on thimerosal can be found at http://www.nvic.org/faqs/mercury-thimerosal.aspx. Recent research does show a definite connection between autism and induced/augmented delivery in child birth, air pollution, and changes to the intestinal biome.

Using the latest research findings, Moellendorf Chiropractic Office, Ltd. uses a comprehensive package of Chiropractic care, decompression traction therapy, active therapeutic movement training, cold laser therapy, and nutrition for the natural treatment of neurological conditions, neck and back pain, and other health conditions without drugs or surgery. Additional information about Chiropractic, Naturopathy, and other forms of natural health care has been provided by Moellendorf Chiropractic Office, Ltd. at http://www.all-about-wellness.com.

About: Dr. J G Moellendorf, DC, ND, LCP
Dr. J G Moellendorf, DC, ND, LCP attended the University of Wisconsin—Superior where he majored in Physics and Mathematics, with a minor in art photography. While attending the University of Minnesota—Minneapolis, he assisted in research on ribosomal proteins. Completing his Chiropractic studies at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, he graduated Cum Laude (with high honors) in 1983. He started Moellendorf Chiropractic Office, Ltd. in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in 1983. In 1996, Dr. Moellendorf was awarded his Doctorate in Naturopathy from Trinity School of Natural Health. In 2001, he received Chiropractic’s most prestigious award, the honorary Legion of Chiropractic Philosophers degree, for his thesis “The Workings of Innate Intelligence in Obsessive/Compulsive and Addictive Behaviors.” This paper was chosen for publishing in the book Philosophic Contemplations vol. 2 in 2002. In June of 2012, Dr. Moellendorf authored his first book titled Healthcare’s Best Kept Secret which can be ordered on Amazon. Dr. Moellendorf can be contacted by phone (920) 493-2126, fax (920) 743-1145, email jgmoellendorf(at)itol(dot)com, his website at http://www.all-about-wellness.com, or send a carrier pigeon to 44.84722N and 87.36416W.

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