Autism Says Goodbye to 2013 and Hello to 2014: Breakthroughs and Progress

As it ended, 2013 turned out much better than I expected. I received a special present on Christmas Eve when, Itai Berger, Editor of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, emailed me that my article on transcranial ultrasonography had been accepted and was available online in provisional format.  See abstract below.

Frontiers Abstract

This publication was the result of ongoing collaborations with my Italian colleagues at the University of Firenze (Florence). Professors Ruggiero and Pacini are pushing the immunological research in autism, chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), and cancer through their detailed laboratory investigations of the vitamin D binding protein – GcMAF. It was our shared interest in GcMAF that brought us together on the ultrasound research.  2012 ended with the publication of the first article describing Nagalase and GcMAF in ASD. (title below).

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One year later – to the day and after more than 10,000 article views – I was lecturing in Dubai at the 2nd International Conference on GcMAF Immunology.  The conference was well attended with physicians and researchers fro many countries. Pediatricians and Psychiatrists from Dubai, Jordan, Turkey, Italy, India and the US shared their experiences with GcMAF therapy in ASD.  It was very rewarding to hear their stories. They presented videos and collections of cases, all of which observed something similar to what i had already published: most children with autism respond vigorously to GcMAF and side-effects were minor and transient.

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I consult with families from 37 different countries around the globe and I hear the same stories about GcMAF regardless of the child’s ethnicity or culture. That likely speaks to the immunological ties between immune dysfunction and autism.  Below is one of the many extraordinary letters I received late in 2013.

Once upon a time my first born son was autistic.

       He stopped developing properly around the age of 1 and lost the few words and skills he previously had, though I don’t believe he was up to par even then. From there he slipped away from us into his own world and it was as if he couldn’t even see or hear us. He didn’t know he had a name, that we had names, or that we were even there. He didn’t babble, he didn’t play with toys, he didn’t even look up at people when they entered the room. When we had kids over to play he would hide in a corner and cry. He was chronically ill with one sickness after another, always tired, sleeping 14 hours at night and if we woke him up from his nap before 3 hours he would scream hysterically sometimes for 2 hours. The first doctor told me he was just a boy and boys develop slower, the second doc said we were just bad parents, and the third finally gave us a diagnosis at 27 months – 8 months after I had begun to worry.

     We tried everything; B-12 shots, ABA 20 hrs. a week, speech, OT, vitamin D, probiotics, and an extremely strict diet of no gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, fish, dyes, preservatives or anything artificial. These things did help a lot but even so it was an extremely difficult uphill battle of working months to gain a skill and if one person wasn’t consistent on the implantation of a goal he would regress immediately. There was a whole year that he woke up screaming every night for hours. Nothing I did helped and he couldn’t tell me what was wrong so I would resort to laying beside him and crying myself. He would wake up his baby brother who then also began screaming. It was a long year of screaming even from me! I once responded to one of his fits by having an all out screaming meltdown of my own, face down on the floor pounding the ground like a 2 year old. I was depressed, exhausted, and contemplated many times just ending it all…I have to be real because other parents need to know they are not alone in this. Besides the screaming he was always horribly constipated to the point of needing medical intervention, he had raging eczema head to toe, was allergic to literally everything; I knew my son was sick. I often told my husband, “some day 50 years from now the doctors will finally figure out that autism is a problem with the immune system but by then it will be too late for him.” I thought he would live with us his whole life and just continue to be a tired, sick, crying, itchy boy, who couldn’t get words out or look at us. Then my friend told me she found a doctor named Bradstreet who did believe it was immune related and was treating it! I had hope!          

     We started GCMAF and began seeing real progress after the level 7 dose. He seemed more energetic, cried less, and speech and eye contact were improving. Each week began to be amazingly better than the last and it felt like we were seeing actual recovery. Then after about a month he ended up in the hospital with a raging sinus infection of strep that led to an abscess behind his eye. This is a very rare complication but as I said, he had the immune system of a flea. He needed emergency surgery to save his eye but continued to battle the infection and a fever of 104 for 11 days until they resorted to surgery again, this time fully removing his right ethmoid sinus.  During his hospital stay and for 3 weeks after while he was still on antibiotics we couldn’t do GCMAF. His regression was significant. His speech went way back to about 9 months before we started GCMAF, he could only get a few words out at a time with great difficulty and even I couldn’t tell what he meant. He actually said to me finally, “mommy. help me,” and I said, “with what baby?” He struggled to get out the following, “with the…words…not come….out… good.” I cried because I knew he felt trapped in his own body unable to do what he was trying to. When I told him the shots were going to help him be able to speak he was eager to get them and reminded me every week on Wednesdays.

     When we started back up again and finally got the progress going he developed a rash which I now know was molluscum but at the time thought it could be related to GCMAF. We changed his dose from the level 12 once a week to level 5 twice a week and then we lost him. He went off into “autism-land” as I call it. Didn’t hear us, couldn’t focus, couldn’t even accomplish a single step direction and wandered around aimlessly. This dosage was working for other kids but not for him. We went back to level 12’s once a week and after 6 weeks of that he was in everyone’s mind effectively cured.

     His speech and OT discharged him, and after 2 weeks of being in a typical kindergarten class with no aid, the school coordinator told me he didn’t even need any special accommodations. We increased his school day to be full day now from 8:30-3:30 and even though he isn’t even 5 yet, there are zero problems. Zero. No fits, no meltdowns, no non-compliance. His teacher told me he listens in class, follows the schedule with no extra prompting, plays with kids on the playground, holds his pencil properly (big one!), and even sits with friends asking them where they live and what they ate for snack. After school he is able to tell me what he did, describe details about movies or books they read, sing me songs he learned, and he still has energy to play and doesn’t melt down when we get home. He never previously had the skills of recalling events or asking/answering questions properly until this. He currently has no therapy and we see no autism in him whatsoever. He says what he wants when he wants fluently, uses slang terms and laughs at jokes! He has even developed a little bratty back-sass attitude which my husband and I correct but then turn to each other and cry happy tears because it’s SO normal!! He was actually able to tell me that he likes the shots because his sleep is better, he has more energy, and he can speak better. He also hasn’t gotten sick once since the hospital stay back in March. His bowels are no longer dependent on laxatives daily as they were for 2 years. It’s like a dark cloud has been lifted and my son has been freed from his internal prison. We have the son we never had but knew was in there somewhere dying to get out. I have no doubt he will live a normal life and accomplish anything he wants to from now on. I don’t know if he will need GCMAF permanently or not but even if he does I don’t care. I will never let him go back into that cave. I firmly believe God answered my prayers and healed my son and he used Dr. Bradstreet and GCMAF to do it. Our son is healed and so is our family.

Forever indebted and grateful beyond measure,

His Mom

As a parent (and I am one with 2 boys, my own son and my step-son are both on the autism spectrum) these stories are powerful and touching.  But as a scientist I am driven to understand the mechanisms behind these types of anecdotes. The story relates a child rapidly changing state from significant and non-verbal autism, to observed to be normal by parents, teachers and therapist over a mere few weeks.  Autism has been felt to be a developmental and irreversible brain disorder. Clearly that is not always the case, as many stories of recovery are being published in the lay literature.

So how can this happen?  Mechanistically, I think this must represent the presence of an interfering inhibitor to normal neurological functioning. Whatever this substance or effect is, it acts very much like local anesthesia blocking signals in specific parts of the brain. In at least the example described above, that effect is then rapidly dissipated and the brain essentially wakes up. This story is common and doctors at the conference in Dubai presented their own versions describing very similar events in their practices as well. But not all children respond to GcMAF and that speaks to various subtypes of the disorder, some of which are readily recovered while others seem much more entrenched in whatever autism represents at the brain level.

It appears a significant subset of autism is immunological driven and that would fit the observations noted from around the world regarding GcMAF as a therapy. The graphic below is from a review article: Gesundheit B, Rosenzweig JP, Naor D, Lerer B, Zachor DA, Procházka V, Melamed M, Kristt DA, Steinberg A, Shulman C, Hwang P, Koren G, Walfisch A, Passweg JR, Snowden JA, Tamouza R, Leboyer M, Farge-Bancel D, Ashwood P. Immunological and autoimmune considerations of Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Autoimmun. 2013 Aug;44:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jaut.2013.05.005. Epub 2013 Jul 15.

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IN the graphic the authors depict the maternal immune system with its macrophages and other immune cells priming the response of microglial cells in the fetus.  Microglial cells are derived from macrophages which migrate into the brain during fetal development.  Those macrophages then undergo changes to become microglial cells.  They, however, maintain many of the features of their original macrophage immunochemistry. Missing from the diagram is another intersect circle representing the postnatal environmental effects. But regardless of that limitation in the representation, the hypothesis they propose is chronic immune – inflammatory changes in the brain secondary to microglial swelling.

GcMAF as noted in my paper, stands for Gc protein macrophage activating factor.  That name makes it sound like a pro-inflammatory molecule and as such based on the model above it would seem to be the last thing you would want to give to a child with autism.  As it turns out, the argument for chronic inflammation in the brain of children with autism is not universally agreed upon and other researchers, particularly Prof Manuel Casanova, have the opinion there is no inflammation in the autism brain.

I had the pleasure of sitting with Prof Casanova at several autism-related think tanks where the immune system was being discussed.  He took a decidedly differing view that there was no evidence of inflammation in the autism brain, but rather there was abnormal construction of the brain’s special electronics and at its smallest unit the minicolumn.  Casanova explained he had dissected scores of brains in great detail and inflammation was not present.  Instead the consistent finding was abnormal minicolumn construction. Below is an excerpt from a complex but insightful review we must consider.

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How is it that both camps: the inflammatory and the minicolumn, can be so divided in their views of autism?  First, I agree that autism is primarily influenced by epigenetic factors. In 2013 I participated in a review of these factors which is public access.

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In this review we wrote: “The term epigenetics was first coined in the 1940s by British embryologist and geneticist Conrad Waddington, who described it as: “the interactions of genes with their environment, which bring the phenotype into being” [17]. Our present knowledge enhances this earlier understanding, and epigenetics now evaluates the alteration of DNA transcription via variations in DNA methylation and histone modifications, but without alterations in the DNA sequence. These variants represent the epigenome, which in turn will be reflected in the transcriptome: that portion of the DNA which is being actively transcribed into RNA.”  The key is the environment regulates DNA transcription (messaging) without changing the sequence (no mutations) of the DNA.

Let’s return to the original article I posted on Transcranial Ultrasonography of the Brain.  An important part of that research was the publication of this research in Brain:image

And most importantly this observation; that there was too much fluid around the brain of children with autism.

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In the figure above I excerpted the images from Shen, et al., 2013 and added the arrows and notations of increased EAF.

In our paper on TUS we observed the same effect – increased fluid surrounding the brain. Below is a side-by-side comparison of fraternal twins from our paper in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (2014).

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Under normal conditions the fluid (hydrostatic) pressure of the subarachnoid space (the fluid surrounding the brain) is not sufficient to keep the space fully open at the point where the brain folds itself closely to the skull.  In figure 13 from our paper, you can see the space of Twin A stays constant at 0.16 cm as the underlying brain compresses the arachnoid (meninges) of the brain, whereas with Twin B the space is compressed down to 0.01 cm. Now go back to the images from the Brain study of Shen, et al., 2013. If you study those images you will see that in the neurotypical child, the gyral summits (places where the brain folds up towards the overlying inside of the skull) come is very close proximity to the inner lining of the meninges and typically seem to be touching the membrane.  In our higher magnification views we see the same effect (Twin B). However, we and Shen, et al., 2013 observe the same increased distance of fluid volume in the case of autism.

So what does this mean?  At a recent MAPS conference I pulled Professor Theoharides aside to discuss my observations.  “Theo”, as well al call him, is a brilliant Mast Cell researcher and you can pull up his publications at his website: www.mastcellmaster.com.  I will insert a portion of one article, but realize Theo has extensively published on the immune and mast cell effects in ASD.

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The graphic below is in my opinion a more complete understanding of the immune and epigenetic effects than the one from Geshundheit, et al., 2013.

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This graphic gets us closer to what I think is really happening in autism, but it leaves out the potential role of the very much neglected meninges in the development of autism. Theo agreed this was an intriguing notion and one of my projects is to finish a review of this factor with Theo in early 2014. What I now theorize happens in autism is somewhat like happens in experimental models of multiple sclerosis – although obviously different in timing and specificity.

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AND

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The meninges make the EAF which fills the subarachnoid space – that same EAF and subarachnoid space which is observed to be increased both both us, Bradstreet, et al., (2104), and Shen, et al., (2013).  In the research above, the inflammatory changes in the subarachnoid space, what both Shen, et al., 2013 and we think is is happening, induce changes in the microglial cells of the cortex making them more appear more inflammatory and less ramified (supportive).

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The cells are noted to be round and this is the way they look when they are inflammed.

In direct distinction, GcMAF treated microglial cells convert to the supportive ramified state. This means that the effect of GcMAF on microglial cells and macrophages is NOT inflammatory, but the opposite – anti-inflammatory.

In findings soon to be published, the images dramatic support this effect. I believe the shifting of macrophages and glial cells to anti-inflammatory states can explain why and how the mother’s story of her son’s recovery happened. To more fully understand this we need to understand the birectional role of TNF-alpha on memory and brain development.

TNF-alpha is one of the most potent pro-inflammatory mediators of the immune system.  At proper concentrations it is required for development of memory and synaptogenesis.  At pathological levels it destroys synaptic communication and is part of all neurodegnerative disease states including Alzheimer’s. New evidence points to the effects of TNF-alpha on NMDA receptor function.

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In my clinical practice, I use MgThreonate routinely and it is nearly always helpful in autism. The mechanisms are speculative but it is both effective at NMDA-R restoration as noted above as well as a direct anti-inflammatory.

Tying these seemingly unrelated observations together gets me to where I think autism is taking our understanding.

1). Epigenetic, both prenatal and postnatal effects influence the priming of microglial cells and most assuredly mast cells as well.

2). Mast cells and macrophages contribute to inflammatory changes in the meninges.

3). The immune changes in the meninges opens the tight junctions in the capillaries and allows extra fluid to accumulate in the subarachnoid space.

4). The increased EAF also carries within it the inflammatory chemistry of the mast cells and macrophages.

5). This message also influences the microglial cells and the mast cells resident in the brain.

6). This disrupts minicolumn function and structure.

7). This process prevents the creation of proper harmonic communication in the electrical properties of the brain.

8). The end result is autistic symptoms.

Presumably GcMAF and Magnesium threonate work to restore both microglial cells and macrophages to the ramified supportive non-inflammatory state.  The effect of mast cells in unknown.  But with all of this I believe 2014 is going to bring some amazing breakthroughs for relieving the suffering of autism.

So Happy New Year – 2014

Bravo Probiotic – Actually a System for Making a New Ecosystem NOT Merely a Probiotic

One of the frustrating things in dealing with most chronic illnesses is related to the gut ecosystem. TV ads are now extolling the issues of a bad gut ecosystem so the message about gut flora (the protective bacteria of the intestinal track) is getting much more widely accepted. The challenges I have experienced with many patients, however, makes this far more complex than merely popping a few probiotic capsules.

In previous blogs I have written about fecal transplantation or fecal bacteriotherapy (FBT). Recently the FDA warned doctors to not attempt this without FDA approval making it all but impossible these days.  It has been a successful means of changing out a bad ecosystem in the got for a better one and in cases of life-threatening infectious diarrhea it has been published in the medical literature to be life-saving.

But given the impracticality and regulatory barriers, FBT is not a viable option. So what can we do? My choice is now Bravo and you can find it on the web at www.bravoprobiotic.com. Bravo is a complex multistrain bacterial fermentation process; it is not merely a probiotic and technically it is a fermented dairy product you make in your kitchen by using their system and culture blends.  And if you have been around natural health very long you know most dairy is an issue for children with autism and many other health issues.  However, tests on Bravo at a major university indicate it does not contain casein and other milk proteins after the bacteria digest the milk in the process of fermentation. In my population of sensitive children it has been very well tolerated.

After answering hundreds of emails about Bravo I decided it may be easier to just post this information with detailed pictures of how I make it for myself.

Bravo Maker

You will need a yogurt maker and I chose this one which I ordered from the internet for about $40 US.  I also ordered extra jars because the standard volumes of yogurt suggested in the instructions yields more than the 7 jars will hold.

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Extra jars for the yogurt maker I purchased.  You can get any yogurt maker you like – although Bravo suggests you use one with an automatic shut off.

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I suggest you read the instructions all the way through at least once prior to starting the process and make sure you have all the suggested materials you need.  For me it meant a trip to Target to get a thermometer and a medium metal strainer and a other items like glass jars and special sized cooking pot for boiling the milk. The instructions give you a list of all the material you will need. The instructions talk about a smidgen as a unit of measure.  Technically that is 1/32 of a teaspoon and before you get worried the Bravo starter kit includes a smidgen measuring spoon which you can see on the plate next the to ladle spoon.

The US still uses the Imperial measuring system so for many of you the metric units in the instructions require conversion.  So her are a few tips: 1 liter = approximately 4.23 cups.  The instructions ask you to boil 2.5 litters of milk so that is 10.5 cups (actually a bit more so like 10.6) and there are 16 cups to a gallon so that is more than a 1/2 gallon of milk.  I recommend you use a non-homogenized milk but Bravo instructions don’t mind but they want the full fat milk (whole).  I also suggest you use organic milk. You can use cow or goat or sheep but you cannot use non-mammal milk – meaning almond, rice, soy are all NO-NOs.  You do not need to spend the extra money to buy non-pasteurized since you will boil the milk anyway. They suggest you NOT use the ultra-pasteurized milk now common in stores to increase shelf-life.

As you can see there is a bottle of Colostrum in the picture above.  Kirkman sells a high quality colostrum (milk derived) but again no worries. The dose of colostrum is a little tricky.  The initial suggestion is for 8oz (1 cup) of colostrum (not in the instructions) but that makes the yogurt a little runny.  You need to work on this as time goes on but consistency is not that critical to culture results and health benefits. Temperature conversion are in the instructions.

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Preheating the yogurt maker and cups without their lids for 2 hours is critical.

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In the front is what Bravo calls compound 1 and behind that is compound 2.

IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU WASH YOUR HANDS, JARS, SPOONS ETC AND KEEP THEM CLEAN AND DRY THROUGHOUT TO PREVENT CONTAMINATION.

I find the taste good without any special flavoring required but then I like real yogurt which is not the sugary stuff we get in the US. You can add honey to it but not until you are ready to serve.  If your child or you are unaccustomed to real fermented food I suggest you go slow and start with small amounts like  a teaspoon and work your way up to large doses.  I suggest adults and teens can have 4 oz a day and medium children 2 oz and little children 1 oz (2 tablespoons are 1 ounce).

Bravo is very responsive to emails so if you have any other questions please contact them about specifics. I hope this is helpful to you all. 

Italian Inspirations for New Therapies for autism – reblogging

Unfortunately my newest blog was accidently deleted in my efforts to learn a new blogging software system (my bad). However it is fresh in my mind and I will take this opportunity to add to it.

Firenze (Florence) was the birthplace of the Renaissance (which in the Italian translation means rebirth) and is an appropriate term for the growing influence of Italy in the research of Autism related disorders. 

First and foremost I must comment on the amazing families who both invited me to Italy and also made the entire trip a huge success (at least from my perspective).  My staff worked long hours to collate  the data and to communicate with the families and especially with Grazia Ciatti who worked amazingly hard to both translate and assist the families in this process.  Professor Marco Ruggiero from the University of Firenze (Florence) graciously contributed to his expertise and new discoveries on GcMAF to the presentations made on the first Saturday of this trip. And without the support of my wife – who both worked with the moms to provide those special touches and supported my efforts and long hours without complain – the trip would have been far less enjoyable.

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Professor Ruggiero in one of his laboratories at the medical school at University of Firenze (Florence).

Ruggiero teaches on GcMAF

Professor Ruggiero was kind enough to present my data to the Italian families (in the Italian language) and together we discussed the ongoing nature of the research and concepts of the autism – immune – brain harmonic linkages.

Ruggiero teaching me about TUS

My time in Italy included hands on training by the professor on the diagnostic process of transcranial ultrasonography – a painless non-invasive technique that can image the temporal lobe with sound waves.

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The space between the two plus signs is the temporal (brain) cortical thickness.

J IiME. 6 (1): 23-28, 2012. Transcranial sonography in the diagnosis, follow-up and treatment of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Ruggiero M, Fiore MG, Magherini, S, Esposito S, Morucci G, Gulisano M and Pacini S.

Brain Stimul. 2012 May 29. Transcranial ultrasound (TUS) effects on mental states: A pilot study. Hameroff S, Trakas M, Duffield C, Annabi E, Bagambhrini Gerace M, Boyle P, Lucas A, Amos Q, Buadu A, Badal JJ.

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TUS is an emerging treatment for the brain that will require more investigation to evaluate its roll in Autism, however it is another promising modality which will be undergoing development in a collaboration with Ruggiero and our group.

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Professors Ruggiero and Pacini (above – also Husband and Wife) collaborated on the creation on a complex strain of multiple bacteria to induce mucosal immune responses similar to GcMAF and to help create a better ecosystem.   A product which is based on their published research is Bravo Probiotic and you can learn more about http://www.bravoprobiotic .com.  The early results from some of my patients throughout the World appear encouraging enough to warrant a formal  clinical study.

Ruggiero and I had some wonderful discussions leading to a plan to implement investigation of a proposed activated form of vitamin D that will have its transport molecule attached.  This will be intriguing and available for testing soon.  More to follow on this.

Florence is an inspirational city with a rich and remarkable history.  The people of Italy were charming and the families I became familiar with made the entire process an unforgettable experience.

Marco Ciatti is the Director of the institute charged with restoration of the amazing artifacts of the country.  Here he kindly is showing my wife (Jennifer) and I the technology used to restore daVinci’s unfinished masterpiece – the Adoration of the Magi. Although uniquely different the science of restoring masterpieces of art is reminiscent of the work we all put in to restoring our children from autism.

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With respect and admiration for the city of Florence and the people of Italy.

Italian Inspirations for Therapies in Autism

Parents comment on “AMAZING” changes from new GcMAF protocol.

I met Sergio and his parents one day after the end of the First Immune GcMAF conference in Frankfurt, Germany (also the first conference ever dedicated to GCMAF).  During that conference I had a chance to interact with researchers from around the World and also meet parents from Russia, England and the Middle East. Professor Ruggerio and I had an opportunity to share our data and he demonstrated his ultrasonographic observations of immediate beneficial effects on the brain and vascular system from GcMAF.  Professor Morucci, also from the University of Florence, shared the cell culture results of GcMAF influencing neuronal stem cell development. My collaborator, Professor Siniscalco from the Second University of Naples, also presented some exciting new data on the effects of GcMAF on autistic immune cells.  These combined lectures along with my private conversations with them, inspired me to alter my original protocol for GcMAF therapy. I will be explaining this more in my talks at Autism One in Chicago this weekend.  I encourage you to get there. It is an amazing conference with lots of sharing of information.  I will also be spending 9 days in Italy in June to further our research (I know what your thinking, and yes I intend to enjoy Italy and more importantly – the wonderful Italian friends and colleagues I have come to know).

I am just now hearing back from the parents after the first month of treatment.  This is an example of a common response.

“Dr. Bradstreet,

Following up on our call today, we wanted to give you some feedback on Sergio’s progress with GcMAF. We started on 4/22/13 at your office, and are doing shots twice a week. We just finished our fourth week.

Sergio was diagnosed with high functioning autism 3 years ago. He is 5 years old now and will be going to Kindergarten this next school year. His mayor struggles have been language, socializing, and extreme rigidity, needing to have full control of decisions, situations, demands, etc.

We started seeing improvement right away with his language after a couple of shots. IT IS ABSOLUTELLY AMAZING!!! Overall we are seeing Sergio more present. He now often responds to questions the first time and using HIS OWN LANGUAGE, not just yes or no. This is huge for us. He is picking and using his own words in a correct way, not just using simple words or repetitive phrases.

Prior to GcMAF, we always had to repeat ourselves several times before he would pay attention to us. Now is, “good morning, Sergio” and he replies right away, “good morning, mommy, daddy”. Also, “Sergio, how are you?” before after several times he would say just ok. Now he replies “I am fine, mommy”. He is playing with his toys and narrating what is happening in his pretend play. He is also playing more with his sister. Just Sunday he wanted to play hide and seek and was asking me to play with him and his sister. The habit for me is to help him with his phrases. I told him, “Why don’t you ask daddy if he wants to play too. Ask him, daddy do you want to play hide and seek”. Then he went to daddy and told him, “daddy, we are playing hide and seek, do you want to join us?” I just started laughing, crying, and giving high fives to my husband after telling him what just happened. I told my husband. “We are getting Sergio back, we are getting Sergio back”!

His rigidity has up until now also compelled him to always try to have control of decisions or situations. Before, he would do anything to make sure things are getting done his way, even to try and fool us, teachers, therapist, etc. And he would fool many into thinking he was doing what they wanted when he actually had changed the demand to be more in his favor. He constantly had to change demands to make it more his way and not the other persons way. School implemented “my way” card system, where every time he wanted to change a demand, he would have to use one of these cards. The school reported the other day that they stopped using the cards to see what would happen. Sergio did great 95% of the day. He only had just one minor instance.

Sergio has 4 different speech therapists. There is one who he has been seeing for a year already. She is really good but Sergio always had a lot of behavioral issues with her because he could not get it his way with her at all. The last 3 weeks Sergio has been absolutely wonderful at her therapy.

Family members keep telling us how amazed they are with Sergio’s change. It is a wonderful feeling. We just cannot find the words to say thank you. But THANK YOU!!! We have been doing many things to improve Sergio’s life for more than 3 years. We are not there yet, but we are so much closer. Now that he is more “present,” we can focus on improving rather than just treading water. Nothing has made an improvement this fast and this HUGE.”

A Special THANKS to this family for sharing. 

Solutions for the Dysfunctional Interplay of Immunology and Neurophysics in Autistic Syndromes

I am pleased to announce my association with The Brain Treatment Center (BTC) in Newport California.  Dr. Jin and his associated staff and researchers have made incredible breakthroughs in complex areas of brain functional restoration.

In 1998, Carol Stock Kranowitz wrote a book called the Out of Sync Child. It detailed her observations of sensory processing disorders in children she had taught over the prior 20 years. Although I am sure she didn’t intend the book to describe asynchronous neurophysics – her observations were true and ultimately insightful.

It turns out the brain cannot perform its many complex tasks without a high degree of synchronous electrical activity. Very much like computer circuitry – asynchronous brain activity uses too much energy to be efficient. That means those areas of the brain demand more oxygen and glucose, which results in excessive production of oxidative stress and mitochondrial overload.  It also means they don’t share data effectively with other brain centers.

When it comes to autism, most of the observations from the BTC reveal 50% or more the brain in autism functions asynchronously, and we label those issues as autism.

The good news is a technique has been developed to restore synchronous activity and with that many children are seeing remarkable and rapid gains in language and cognition.

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Figure 1. Major areas of the left hemisphere of the brain.  Wernicke’s area is where words start to form and Borca’s area is where they are finalized prior to the message being sent to the motor cortex with the command to speak. The temporal lobe adjacent to Wernicke’s area is where the primary auditory cortex resides.

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Figure 2. fMRI of the synchronous activity of the brain required to speak novel words.

Many areas of the brain connect simultaneously to create spoken language and it is easy to see how minor aberrations in these areas could result in difficulty with expressive language typically observed in autism.

Figure 3. This represents a color translation of the mathematical transformation of the EEG into a power-frequency map; meaning how much energy is present at different wavelengths.  As you can see only about half the brain picks up this synchronized waveform.  In the color map the left side of the brain shows the language and auditory cortex is not in sync and also includes the frontal cortex including the primary social cortex of the R frontal lobe area.

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Figure 4. This imaging shows the out of sync areas of the brain are consuming the highest amount of oxygen, yet they are not effectively functioning.

Figure 5, Represents the same child’s brain after 3 treatments with magnetic resonance therapy – a special form of rTMS (external magnetic therapy). The color map shows very substantial changes in synchronized brain activity and with that language and eye contact showed very impressive changes.

This is a dramatic change in the sync pattern and with it a remarkable change in language, eye contact and reduced self-stimulatory behaviors. This child had been treated with GcMAF and with that it appears the brain was primed to rapidly respond.  Its not that all children need some form of immunotherapy to respond to MRT, but in this case the response was particularly dramatic.

So how did the asynchronization of  the brain happen in the first place?  the evidence points to a immunologically mediated alarm signaled through the connections of the perivascular macrophage>endothelial (blood vessel) cells>astrocyte and microglial cells. These cells create the immune axis of the brain and it designed to nurture and protect the neurons (brain cells).  If it triggers an alarm brain cells stop talking and so do kids with autism.

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Figure 6. Represents this complex dynamic, but it does depict the extremely important interneurons that regulate the harmonic synchronization of the brain.

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Figure 7. Here we see the intensely important relationship of the large electrical circuit cell (pyramidal) to the double bouquet interneuron cells.

The DB interneurons create the GABA that inhibits noisy signals and regulates the pyramidal cell’s activity. Those same DB cells also create reelin which build networks and connections for the brain.  DB interneurons are very sensitive to immune alarm signals and appear to be a primary source of the immune axis disruption of normal brain harmonic signals.

It appears to me that with correction of the immune signals to the DB interneurons and then using MRT to capture the DB sync, child can be rapidly restored to higher function.

I will write more about this exciting breakthrough in coming weeks but for now I hope this starts you thinking and hoping.

Introducing an Enhanced Way to Treat Allergy in Extremely Sensitive Individuals.

At a minimum, 8 million Americans suffer with significant allergies. This costs each one of them annually about $2000 in OTC and prescriptive copayments (if they have insurance) and results in far more expensive complications like sinus infections, asthma, poor sleep, lost school or work attendance, and even up to 15 points on standardized IQ testing. That’s a lot to give up for overreacting to dust mites, pollens or the family pet.

Picture of one of my patients after simple prick testing for 58 antigens and 2 controls.

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As you can see, several of these are remarkably severe reactions.

Antihistamines can causes drowsiness, increased risk of infections, and increase the risks of seizures. Nasal steroids also increase the risk of infection and can cause adrenal suppression with the loss of bone strength. 

With all of these potential risks, it makes sense to try preventing the allergic reactions.

One of the ways we block the body’s allergy response is to create immunity to the allergy with chronic exposure via either injections or sublingual antigens (the medical term for the thing causing the allergy). This process is called immunotherapy and its various forms (primarily shots and drops under the tongue) have been subjected to rigorous scientific evaluations and numerous publications.

Despite these well published and accepted desensitization techniques,  I have faced extraordinary challenges in treating children with allergies when they are combined with autism, PANDAS, PANS or ADHD type of issues.  Repeatedly I have observed remarkable behavioral reactions to even low dose sublingual (under the tongue) therapy.  Children with these disorders often respond to allergy desensitization with increased self-stimulatory behaviors, worsened inattention, and increased hyperactivity, so obviously this defeats the purpose.

The problem is the doses required in standard protocols expose these very sensitive children to far too much provocation with resultant adverse clinical responses.

Below is the accepted protocol for sublingual immunotherapy, rapidly escalating the dose of antigen to the maintenance dose of 15-25 micrograms of antigen per dose.  The  dose for shots is less but equally harmful to this population.

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Despite the level of scientific evidence favoring drops under the tongue (SLIT) your insurance company will claim this is unproven and experimental.  They are stuck in past and are actually financially incentivizing doctors to expose your child to the severe reaction potential of shots (known as SCIT).  Allergy shots have a known risk of death and severe asthmatic reactions.  This prompted the many governments is Europe to move away from paying for SCIT in favor of the far safer SLIT.  We in the US are unfortunately stuck with our anachronistic insurance system.  However, the out of pocket costs for SLIT are less than the costs of OTC allergy medications and with much better long term results.

From the same article:

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But even standard SLIT protocols present the very reactive child (or adult) with far too much antigen in the early phases of the protocol.

So about a month ago I called Susan Harris, a pharmacist at Greer Laboratories (a leading pharmacy producing allergy therapies). I explained my observations about excessive reactions in my special needs population to all  of the standard protocols. After some productive discussions, we developed what I call the Harris-Bradstreet SLIT allergy desensitization protocol.

This protocol involves 5 steps from very dilute exposures leading eventually to the traditional maintenance levels as published above. There are 5 levels until maintenance; with each level lasting 5 weeks, and within each level there are 5 step-ups.  So it takes 25 weeks to reach maintenance levels.

The cost of the Harris-Bradstreet protocol will very based on the number antigens required, but most families find it very affordable and worth the difference based on the reduced side-effects. If you are interested in this safe alternative for special needs cases please contact my office at 470-253-7445. 

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