By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.
Inflammation – Any inflammation of the body tends to promote replication of XMRV. Our community has long observed how many children were seemingly normal before a vaccination and much different after one. A vaccination by its very design is supposed to create a mild inflammatory response. This mild inflammatory response may be the thing which sets off autism in the majority of children, although it must also be said that the same result could likely be achieved by a simple cold or fever. You can read my previous post on this HERE .
Understanding the role of inflammation also sheds some light on why the gluten/casein diet works for some people, like it did very effectively for my son, Ben. XMRV is a slowly replicating virus, so that any inflammation acts like fuel for it. We quickly got him on the gluten/casein free diet, and so we in essence starved the virus, allowing his immune system to launch a very successful attack.
Stress (cortisol hormone) – The cortisol hormone will promote replication of XMRV. I find this interesting because in its’ initial modern presentation in the 1980s chronic fatigue syndrome/ME seemed to strike mainly high-powered professional people who were often under a good deal of stress. From the standpoint of the autism community I find this intriguing because the most successful therapy program for my daughter has been the Son-Rise program which endeavors to create a loving and supportive environment around the child. It has in no way been a cure, but it has been an excellent way in which to interact with her. Many families I know have had good success with Son-Rise or other programs with similar philosophies and understanding this aspect of XMRV provides an explanation for those results.
Sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) – The sex hormones promote replication of XMRV. Our community has long noted the 4-1 gender disparity between boys and girls stricken with this disorder, as well as the fact that when girls are affected, they tend to be the more severe cases. I also have to note that for those with seizure disorders, particularly the girls, tend to have an increase in their seizures as they enter puberty. I also have to point out that there is a group in the autism community who encourages the use of the medication, Lupron, which has the effect of blocking testosterone. Other medications which may block hormones are also on the market.
Low glutathione levels – Those with chronic fatigue syndrome/ME and autism both tend to have low glutathione levels. Low glutathione levels will increase susceptibility to viral infections, increase virulence, and impair resolution of viral infection. Our community has long reported positive effects from high levels of supplemental glutathione.
Problems with methylation - Autism researchers have long noted that there appear to be problems with methylation (cell to cell communication) in children with autism. Numerous physicians have come up with strategies for overcoming these blocks, but the question of why there should be such problems with methylation have remained unanswered. XMRV researchers have found that XMRV integrates preferentially at the start of CpG islands in the human genome, at locations essential for proper methylation. This simple finding more than anything else may explain the variety of abnormalities in the immune and neurological systems of children with autism. A recent publication on XMRV affecting gene expression can be found HERE .
High cytokine levels – Cytokine levels are markers of inflammation in the body and the results from children with autism tend to show high levels, particularly things like TNF-alpha. A recent test from my daughter showed her TNF-alpha levels at more than 6x normal. This is a level which might be found in an AIDS patient. (After two months on a TNF-alpha blocker I have been able to reduce this marker by approximately 40%, although it is still high.) Many commentators have noted how the immune profiles of many children with autism resemble those of AIDS patients, but without the deadly outcome of HIV.
The natural killer cell anomaly - One of the hallmarks of infection by the HIV retrovirus and the subsequent development of AIDS is low numbers of natural killer cells which would normally fight off infection. Thus, during the AIDS epidemic one of the common questions asked was the level of somebody's B or T cells. Curiously, my daughter has slightly elevated levels of natural killer cells. High cytokine levels and normal or elevated levels of natural killer cells make no sense. To make an anology, it's a little like saying there's a neighborhood with a lot of cops walking the beat, but the crime rate keeps going up. Aren't the police making arrests? And if not, why not?
Similar observations made by Dr. Jeff Bradstreet have recently led him to conclude that whatever is happening in our children's bodies (and he believes some sort of viral infection to be at the root of it), is effectively bliding the immune system. Figuring out how to restore sight to the immune systems of our children might be a very effective tool in fighting this retrovirus.
Vitamin D abnormalities – One need look no further than the pale faces of our children to know something is wrong with their levels of vitamin D. I’ve listened to many conflicting theories about how to fix these vitamin D abnormalities and I don't know which of them is correct. However, it seems there is broad agreement among many groups that something is wrong in regards to vitamin D, and possibly the vitamin D receptor. This is from a recent article in Columbia magazine describing the work of scientists Mady Hornig and Ian Lipkin.
These reports claim Chronix has looked for and found the predicted flanking DNA sequences on both sides of XMRV recovered from human samples and are expected to publish these findings in the next few months. Lab contaminants do not insert themselves into DNA. If this account is true it will be powerful scientific validation of XMRV as a significant human pathogen. A recent review of these issues was published by the University of Hamburg and can be read HERE .