Thursday, January 29, 2015

"At Today’s Rate, by 2025, One in Two Children Will Be Autistic"

Disclaimer - The information in this newsletter should not be interpreted as medical advice for any condition.  Dr. McIntyre is a licensed healthcare professional, but this column is intended only to make you aware and to make you think.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff made a bold prediction last year, claiming that the number of children with the clinical signs for autism will not just continue to rise, but will skyrocket to astronomically high levels in the next decade. Seneff, a widely published author in the research world, was alarmingly confident in her assessment, the tone of her words chilling.  Her reasoning stemmed from the “remarkably consistent correlation” found between the rising use of the weed killer, Roundup, on food crops and the rising rates of autism.  
When a leading researcher at MIT says, “At today’s rate, by 2025, one in two children will be autistic,” you take notice.        
Seneff’s work echoes the long held belief that autism is more a chemically and/or neurologically-based condition and less a condition of directly genetic origin (so deeply ingrained within the genetic code, like eye color, that we should stop looking elsewhere for causes).  Her focus is on strengthening the chemical argument, specifically citing the main active ingredient in Roundup called glyphosate and its heavy use since 1990, coinciding with the strongest spike in cases of autism occurring during the same span.  Seneff notes in her presentation that symptoms of autism are strikingly similar to symptoms of glyphosate toxicity.  Thirty plus years ago, autism was diagnosed once in 5,000 kids.  Today, it’s one in 68 by the most conservative estimates and as high as one in 20 by others.  Either number is staggering and is in need of some logical explanation.  Seneff’s findings are, at the very least, logical.

This topic is incredibly frustrating.  Scientists have not found a direct relationship between Roundup use and autism diagnoses.  Seneff counters that “most studies are too short to show Roundup’s oft-studied effects as a cumulative toxin, one that builds up both in the environment and in our bodies over time.”  Something is causing the increased incidence of autism and it may be time that we acknowledge that the scientific process should not trump what makes sense.  Much like the vaccine debate, the science is not conclusive, which is often misconstrued and mistranslated to suggest that there’s no link.  Inconclusive means that it can neither be scientifically proven nor scientifically denied.  However, it can be logically deduced.  
In Europe, they pay very close attention to such chemical hazards as glyphosate because it can destroy healthy bacteria in our digestive systems allowing disease to grow inside our bodies and can also interfere with our nervous systems.  According to Seneff, glyphosate is found in the breast milk of American mothers at levels that are a 760 to 1600 times higher than allowable limits in European drinking water.  Testing has also shown that Americans have 10 times the glyphosate accumulation in their urine than Europeans.  Logically, if you introduce a chemical with negative capabilities galore into food and water, then it’s reasonable to assume its potential, toxic side effects.  Every chemical has toxic side effects.  No exceptions.  To scientifically deny the harm is to deny logic.  Glyphosate is an herbicide, after all.  By its very meaning, it is toxic.  
Far too often, those in favor of holding these chemically based compounds (of all sorts of varieties) and the companies that produce them accountable for their ill-health effects are put on their heels, forced to prove that the compounds are dangerous.  It should be the other way around.  If you’re going to spray a chemical on our food then, dear chemical compound company, it is YOU that must prove to US that it IS NOT dangerous.  Are we to sit back for another decade and do nothing as the rates of so many diseases reset their record levels while, logically, there seem to be rather plausible causes but, scientifically, such reason is refuted through arguably flawed methods?  
A logical argument could also be made that the number of increases has spiked so greatly because of changes in the diagnostic criteria.  Generally, I have long been a supporter of this camp, as I feel strongly that we overdiagnose in our society across the board in modern medicine’s constant quest to label each symptom set.  Yet, I’ve seen autism and its sister syndrome, Asperger’s (a higher-functioning form), in our clinical setting.  I believe that, in this case, the condition is on our radar more than ever before mostly because its prevalence has so dramatically increased.  And we have to find out why.  
The Upper Cervical Perspective: I’ve been studying autism since before I graduated from school.  Autism was given its name from the Greek word “autos,” meaning “self,” as in consumed with their world.  It presents as a neurologic disorder, hence the language and information processing issues.  I believe it to be a combination of multiple causes, the two most likely being chemical insults (triggering the neurologic deficits) and developmental inhibition, either in utero or after birth.  To address the chemical insults, parents must be better informed about the things that they put into their children’s bodies (and their own, during pregnancy) and we, collectively, must hold chemical companies accountable.  “Neither confirm nor deny” is not a good enough answer.  
As for the developmental issue, there are two primary areas that need to be addressed: pregnancy and infancy.  A few years ago, much of the attention in research began focusing on the manner in which the brain develops, in utero.  Expecting mothers need to be aware of this.  We’re expecting again in May and our progressive thinking birthing team has stated it clearly: eat well and stay well adjusted.  Indeed, ensuring that your body functions well ensures that the baby can develop normally.  Then, once the baby is born, it’s important to ensure that the child’s delicate structural-neurological balance is not thrown off, as it can impede important developmental processes.  
To conclude, the aim for many of these articles is to put the information in your hands and stimulate you to think more about it.  The battle within the scientific community, as you can see, rages on.  Meanwhile, the autism rate just increased again.  So, be well and think freely.

Thinking good things for you, as always,

Dr. Chad 

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