Lack of Sunshine Associated with Autism!

November 10, 2008

Lack of Sunshine Associated with Autism! 

 Competency # 17 Vit D                 Reference:   Waldman et al Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(11):1026-1034. 

 Autism.  We all have heard about autism being caused by the mercury in vaccinations.  Well, that turned out to be just about the most studied fallacy in history.  It isn’t.  Period.  Your vaccinations are safe.  Yes, we have had a huge increase in autism in the last 50 years.  Autism now strikes over 1 in every 150 children in America.  It results in heartbreak for families with unbelievable stress and disruption in the family.  Was there something else that’s changed in our environment?  Was it toxins from plastics, air quality, sugar?  The frustration and anger from families with autism has been so intense that Montel and Don Imus have both weighed in on it, suggesting that the scientific community was hiding essential facts. 

 This article suggests we now have a clue!  Dr. Walman studied the amount of rainfall in Oregon, Washington and California over a seven-year period.  What they found was a correlation between rainfall and autism.  The more rain over any given three-year period, the more autism appeared subsequently.  The more rain, the more you stay indoors.  The more you stay in-doors, the less Vitamin D your body can make.  Over the last 100 years, we have all moved indoors.  Instead of playing outside, we watch TV.  Instead of going to the park, we hear about kidnappings and keep our kids closer to us.  And that means staying indoors. There have been hints about this.  

Rat studies have shown that if you deprive a pregnant rat of Vit D completely, its babies are born with the same brain defects that humans with autism have.  But that’s about it.  It’s just a hint, a glimmer.  Good science requires that we now take our population and raise the vitamin D level and see if our autism rates go down.  You can’t possibly design a research trial in which you intentionally see if untreated kids get more autism.  That’s not ethical.  But you can make dead certain every little baby gets enough and see if the rate in the population goes down. 

 The American Academy of Pediatrics just raised their recommendation to have more Vit D in kids from 200 to 400.  We reported on Hypponen who showed that 2000 IU a day in kids reduces insulin-dependant diabetes 80% (Lancet 2001).  If our developing pancreas becomes healthy with more Vit D, why not our babies brains too? 

 WWW:  What Will Work for me?  I couldn’t resist this story.  I see too much heartbreak in the families with autism that I see as patients in the ER.  Please, please, please, tell everyone you know.  The American Academy of Pediatrics urges you to DOUBLE your dose of vitamin D.  It’s the beginning of winter in Wisconsin.  We get no Vit D for the next 6 months.  Talk to every mother of young children you know and make sure they see their pediatrician to get on a supplement.

Column written by Dr. John E. Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI. (262-784-5300)