Autism - We Can Fix It

April 09, 2023

Autism - We Can Fix It

Autism has increased in prevalence over the last forty years by some counts as much as 10 fold. That may be due to better diagnosis and improved testing methodologies, but no one denies the massive impact the illness has on families, not to mention the economic impact on society of lost wages and lifetime disability. In 1930, autism was diagnosed in 1/100,000 children. Now,in Scotland, one in 36 children are being diagnosed. Genetic diseases do not behave in this fashion. Genetic diseases remain relatively constant in given populations. This speaks to environmental pressure and an altered ecosystem. And if it is environmental, and we can understand the root causes of it, we can fix it. That is what this series is about. 

The CDC states on its web site that we don't know the causes of autism. That may technically be true, we don't know those initial triggers of overwhelming oxidative stress, but we do know the pathophysiology, and we have the tools to interrupt that pathophysiology and reverse it. Probably the sooner we learn how to diagnose this catastrophic affliction, and intercede with our therapies, the better it will be for all involved. Rather than quibble about what "sets it off", which we may not be able to determine, we should be focusing on how to make the interventions that catch it and reverse it. 

Dayan Goodenowe, Ph.D. is leading the charge to run a clinical trial of interventions that use commonly available foods, supplements, and targeted plasmalogen therapies to accomplish this goal. And I'm all in.

The summary of the next few newsletters will be: 

                         a) Show how mitochondrial stress and failure to process NADH results in the overproduction of reactive oxygen species. 

                         b). Those reactive oxygen species go on to damage membranes of neurons which results in the activation of microglia, the cells that clean up damage. 

                          c). Activation of microglia results in demyelination in the brain, which results in all the symptoms of autism. 

                           d). A steady state of ongoing activation of microglia, demyelination and reactive oxygen species keeps the involved brain damaged and unable to return to its normal state. We can intercede in each of those steps. 

And it is important to note that "cure" involves two steps. The physiology and inflammation can be normalized and reversed. Remyelination of the brain and rebuilding lost development takes more time. So cure is not an instantaneous event of a single intervention but rather a patient process.

www.What will Work for me. I'm optimistic. I believe this is a Nobel Prize in Medicine, waiting to be demonstrated. The several hundred physicians who have signed on to Dr. Goodenowe's research institute program have already demonstrated multiple anecdotal examples of dramatic improvement that I have personally witnessed. What I am fascinated by is learning the root physiology that has a common overlap with many other brain diseases. Long COVID, for example, is likely the same process going on in a more mature brain that doesn't devolve into frank autism or quite complete disability, but shares the steady state of not being able to return to normal, and improves and repairs with the same interventions. As does manic depressive disease, multiple sclerosis.... We can all start by keep our own brains healthier by avoiding sugar, making sure we have B vitamins and reducing our consumption of omega-6, pro-inflammatory fats (canola, corn, soybean oil)

References: Annals of Child Neurology , Jr Autism Dev Disorders, CDC, Goodenowe,

Pop Quiz 

1. How is autism first recognized?                                 Answer: No fair, not mentioned. Well, it's usually the recognition of delayed speech that takes a child to see a doctor.

2. What age does that happen?                                      Answer: Average age for boys is 3-6.


3. Why do girls have 1/3 the rate of autism?                             Answer: Because estrogen, even at the tiny levels seen in prepubescent girls, is protective. 

4. Are there racial disparities in autism?                                  Answer: No, it appears to be worldwide, but notably in "advanced societies" 

5. What is the first step in developing autism?                          Answer: The failure of mitochondria to adequately control the production of NADH, resulting in the escape of extra loose electrons that activate reactive oxygen species (ROS).  These ROS start the cascade of damaging membranes, thereby activating microglia, leading to demyelination and reactivation of more inflammation.  Around and around.