Autism May be Diagnosed with a Hair SampleJanuary 08, 2023
Diagnose Autism with a Hair Sample
Want to know if your one-year-old child might develop autism with 81% accuracy? That's the test currently being fast-tracked with the FDA. Since we typically don't diagnose autism until age 3-5, knowing your risks ahead of time might allow preventative or interventional efforts to be taken. That's new and meaningful.
Developed first in Japan and Sweden, a 1 cm stretch of hair was removed from 220 Japanese 1-month-old children and stripped of its outer lining. Three years later the 100,000 children included in the survey were randomly narrowed to a 220-child study for follow-up to assess for features of autism. The hair samples were then measured by mass spectrometry at 650 points looking for a variety of substances, including toxic heavy metals like aluminum, arsenic, lead, and cadmium as well as normal nutrients like zinc and copper. The study designers used machine learning and statistical analysis to narrow down the risk features. This method is like Goodenowe's discovery of plasmalogens: that measured everything by mass spectrometry and then parsed out responsible biochemical features. You can imagine the amazing detail when you conceive of 650 measurements in 1 cm of hair!
81% accuracy! That is huge. 75 % of children were correctly given the all-clear. And to do so 3 years before clinical diagnosis gives a window of opportunity to make changes. Of course, 81% isn't perfect, so "larger studies" are needed, but this justifies a 2,000-child study that has now been started.
What's the read on this? The authors state that their "prediction" is based on proprietary measurements of 567 separate features that showed statistically valid variability. They aren't exactly revealing just what it was they measured. It's only a teaser to say they measured heavy metals, copper, and zinc. (560 others not revealed to us). That suggests a broad dysregulation of biochemistry. Their test will likely be marketed by a company for future medical use.
We do know that population studies looking at A1 milk predict autism with spooky reliability. The 7 amino acid fragment in A1 milk is biologically active on themorphine receptor in the brain and is found to be about 1.6 times higher in children with autism. Wisconsin cows, mainly Holsteins are all A1. Brown cows are A2, as is goat milk and human milk
We also know that copper is higher in autistic kids, and drops with zinc therapy. With 90% of American homes made with copper pipes, copper is a new chemical in our environment. It drives zinc lower, and zinc is the. most important mineral in the brain. This same dynamic has play in Alzheimer's which burst onto the American medical scene only after the introduction of copper pipes.
What this all means is there is likely no single entity that can claim causation with autism, but rather a broad shift of metabolic dysregulation. That fits precisely with the plasmalogen hypothesis that we entertained last week. Plasmalogens are the antioxidant of first resort. When there is inflammation in the gut, and the immune system is broadly activated, inflammatory markers and cytokines are everywhere. The brain becomes inflamed and there are not enough plasmalogens to tip the balance back to normal.....and white matter becomes irrevocably damaged.
Just like in Bredesen's approach to Alzheimer's, children with autism probably need a multimodal approach to repair: avoid wheat, avoid A1 milk/dairy, add Vitamin D, add K2, add zinc, nurture the gut......add plasmalogens. If that were all started after a positive predictive test, perhaps we would reverse this awful trend.
www.What Will Work for me. This is the functional medicine approach to autism in a nutshell. The anecdotal news that autism is significantly helped with plasmalogens gives out a hint that we need to turn off the raging fire in the autistic brain, and then pull out the burning embers one by one: (repair copper), remove A1 dairy, remove wheat, repair gut....more and more plasmalogens. Send the kid to school and catch up when her/his precious brain starts to work.
References: J Clin Metabolism, International Jr Mol Sci, Nutrients, Nutr Metab Insight, Goodenowe,
1. How many measurements are made in this study on 1 cm (0.4 inches) of hair from a 1-year-old baby? Answer: 650
2. What is a mass spectrometer? Answer: No fair, you didn't mention that. Well, it is a machine that can measure precisely every molecule present in a sample by vaporizing it and weighing it with electronic wizardry. You will have thousands of ingredients, some of which shouldn't be there. And you will get some read about how much of each. Nifty technology.
3. This study showed how many ingredients in hair are off kilter with abnormal measurements in autistically prone kids? Answer: Some 560 (Which we are not told about. The study only showed the results. Coy. Obviously planning to market their proprietary results.)
4. Average age of diagnosis of autism in the USA is? Answer: Age 4
5. If you had a positive test in your 1 year old infant, what would you do? Answer: Add plasmalogen supplements, measure zinc and copper and balance them with appropriate levels, chelate out heavy metals, avoid A1 dairy, avoid wheat, get better probiotics and prebiotics into the food chain, Vitamin D and K2, fish oil....... breastfeed some more if still possible. Maybe all children should be on this trajectory and avoid the test. Maybe get a reverse osmosis filter in your house.