The Scientific and Basic Moral Reasons We Need an Autism Cure
Posted Feb 01 2013 12:00am
By Teresa Conrick
My beautiful daughter, Megan, will be 20 years old on March
2nd. The real heroes are the children, and now soon to be adults of this Autism
Epidemic, who live each day in the shadow of pain. Meg is one of them. I write
a lot about Autism, not to complain of my struggles, but to share the hope that
we are turning the corner from the days of Autism being some type of
"mental mystery," to its proper position --- an immune-mediated
disease, that can present as neuropsychiatric and/or neurodegenerative. The
"spectrum" that so many love to describe would be, in reality, a
gauge of illness, of infection, and autoimmunity, and not some psycho-babble
A recent article in the UK, Guardian, by Kristina
Chew, a mother of a son with an Autism diagnosis, caught my eye recently, and
also hammered in my head and heart, that there are definitely different
opinions regarding Autism. While it is fine to have and share an opinion, it is
another to add in questionable facts and information. From Ms. Chew:
"Do we really need a cure for autism? I've grappled
with whether it's morally or medically right to talk about 'curing'
autism.......Currently there is no known biomarker for autism, and the disorder
is diagnosed based on observations by teams of experts. Most scientists agree
is of genetic origin and begins to develop while a child is in the womb.
......Autism is a lifelong disability that cannot be cured in a medical
The link she provides for "autism is of genetic origin'
will take you to the CDC website, with a hodge-podge of archaic gene/chromosome
bullet points, put out by the same folks who walk the walk and talk the talk of
the pharmaceutical/medical industry. Close your eyes and it is 1975, and we are
hearing the defense of toxic leaded gasoline and the denial of environmental
injury. I am not quite sure why CDC or Ms. Chew do not report this more recent study
from Stanford regarding autism and genes:
"A new Stanford University School of Medicine study
of twins suggests that non-genetic factors play an unexpectedly large role in
determining autism risk, turning upside down recent assumptions about the cause
of this common, disabling developmental disorder......It found that genes
account for 38 percent of autism risk, with environmental factors explaining
the remaining 62 percent.
"It took me a bit by surprise that the heritability of autism was so
much lower than previous studies calculated," said Joachim Hallmayer, MD,
the first author of the new paper...
The finding that autism risk is strongly influenced by environmental
factors should alert scientists to the need to study risk factors they haven't
been considering, the researchers said. In recent years, autism research has
been focusing more on genetics."
I think that is a better and more current analysis of where we are now
concerning any genetic
connections in Autism. The focus does need to be on the
environment, including vaccines, something we, here at Age of Autism, have been
saying since our inception.
Do we need a cure for Autism? I think that is a disturbing question, kind of
like saying do we need to stop pain and suffering? Do we need to stop
Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or Cancer? Why yes, we do! There are thousands of
children and young adults now, who wake each day in pain. Then the issue of morally,
if we really look at what that means - decent, ethical, honest, honorable
vs the opposite - dishonest, evil, unethical, wicked. Well, I'll take
heaps and seconds on the former, as it seems morally reprehensible that these
individuals should not be able to live and function in a body that feels good.
As far as the "medically right to talk about 'curing' autism" and
"Currently there is no known biomarker for autism"- that is just not
true. There is a growing list of "markers" that many of these
individuals carry, especially those with severe symptoms, that make them unique
to an Autism diagnosis:
Presence of GAD65 autoantibodies in the serum of children with autism or
"The latest research, conducted over the past several
years, probes the controversial possibility that whatever is amiss in the gut
is not just a symptom of autism, but one of the causes. The work is an offshoot
of mounting scientific interest in the human microbiome, the stew of bacteria
that make their homes in our gastrointestinal tracts....these microbial
residents may direct brain development, ultimately shaping behavior..
"It's a big eye opener," says lead investigator Sven Pettersson,
professor of microbiology at Karolinska Institute in Sweden. "If you would
have said 20 years ago that bacteria would have anything to do with brain
function, people would have laughed at you."
"The investigators found that over half of the children
diagnosed with autism and gastrointestinal disturbances had Sutterella
in intestinal biopsy tissue, while Sutterella was absent in biopsies
from typically developing children with gastrointestinal disturbances. Not only
was Sutterella present in the intestines of children with autism, but
relative to most genera of bacteria, Sutterella was present at
remarkably high levels. Sutterella species have been isolated from human
infections previous to this study, but it remains unclear whether this
bacterium is a human pathogen....."There is much work to be done toward
understanding the role Sutterella plays in autism, the microbiota,
infections, and inflammation."
There is much evidence showing biomarkers in Autism. Investigating and
researching will bring us closer to the specific immune treatments to restore
"Increasing evidence indicates that the complex microbial ecosystem of
the human intestine plays a
critical role in protecting the host against
disease. This review discusses gut dysbiosis (here defined as a state of
imbalance in the gut microbial ecosystem, including overgrowth of some
organisms and loss of others) as the foundation for several diseases, and the
applicability of refined microbial ecosystem replacement therapies as a future
treatment modality..... 'Microbial Ecosystem Therapeutics' (MET) would entail
replacing a dysfunctional, damaged ecosystem with a fully developed and healthy
ecosystem of 'native' intestinal bacteria. Its application in treating
Clostridium difficile infection is discussed and possible applications to other
diseases such as ulcerative colitis, obesity, necrotising enterocolitis, and
regressive-type autism are reviewed."
So at age 20, I don't give up on Megan's health or her life, and I wait as
the truth keeps emerging.