Browsing: Autism

Food Allergies Vs Food Sensitivities or Intolerances (Part 2: Testing)

If you suspect that your child has food allergies or intolerances, there are several types of testing options available. Whether you have true allergies or other intolerances will determine the type of test you need.

What to expect at the doctor

To diagnose a food allergy, a doctor will usually do the following:

  1. Detailed Patient History – including what food you think you are allergic to, when and how you react, what other foods you eat, how you prepare the food, how often you eat it, etc … This means you must already have a good awareness about the foods you eat and your reactions to them.
  2. Physical Exam – to identify or rule out the possibility of other unknown medical problems
  3. Food Log – you will then go and record everything you eat for a few days, when you eat it and what reactions you have. This helps with consistency in symptoms and provide your doctor with a clear idea of ​​the pattern.
  4. Elimination Diet – you stop eating suspected or tested foods, if the symptoms go away, a diagnosis can be made. If you eat the food again and have a reaction, the diagnosis is confirmed. This confirmation can not be used in the case of a certain IgE allergy, as it would be too dangerous to eat the food again. It would simply be eliminated completely.
  5. Initial Testing – Once a diagnosis is suspected or has been made, a doctor can use standard tests to measure an allergic response. This can be a skin prick test, RAST or ELISA test, as well as other options like ALCAT test.

Testing Options:
IgE Mediated Reactions (Acute Allergy)

  1. Skin Prick Test – A diluted substance or extract is put on skin, a small prick is made just enough to let the substance enter the epidermis (outermost skin layer), usually skin on the forearm. Redness or swelling would indicate a localized reaction. It's quick and easy, but sometimes false positives occur – the patient reacts to skin test but not to the actual food. The doctors go by patient history and skin test to give a better diagnosis.
  2. RAST Panel – (RadioAllergoSorbent Test) Blood sample is taken by the doctor and sent to a lab. Detects multiple allergies at once by measuring the amount of antibodies found in the blood.

IgG Mediated Reactions (Intolerance with Delayed Symptoms)

  1. ELISA (Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay) Blood test that measures levels of IgG antibodies for commonly offending foods. It clearly identifies those foods that may be causing health problems.
  2. ALCAT (Antigen Leukocyte Cellular Antibody Test) Blood test that measures food sensitivities or intolerances in over 350 foods, additives and environmental chemicals. It measures the inflammation produced due to the reactivity of leukocytes (white blood cells) in whole blood.

Other Test Options

  1. Stool Test (Fecal Matter) This test measures IgA reactions and is known as the most accurate test for Gluten intolerance.
  2. Energetic Testing – (NAET, kinesiology, SCIO, electrodermal screening) These various testing methods are the most alternative, involving principles of energy, muscle strength and various other controversial techniques.
  3. Saliva Test – One of the less expensive tests available, but also one of the least accurate and least recommended.

** There are more that could be discussed, but these are the most common options.

Discussing Allergy Testing with Your Doctor

If you choose to go to your medical doctor, you may be met with opposition. Because most allopathic (regular MDs) doctors usually think of actual IgE allergies only, they might not be familiar with the other options or try to convince you that they are unnecessary.

The medical establishment likes neat cause-effect-remedy type problems to solve. Strep bacteria causes strep throat fatigue, for which an antibiotic is prescribed. The doctor has done their job by using a prescription drug to get rid of the problem. There is no money to be made with pharmaceutical drugs by prescribing an elimination diet.

Beyond the 1 single course in nutrition during medical school, there is no education for medical doctors on this issue. The pharma companies ensure that doctors are offered continuing education on all the latest equipment and drugs manufactured because it will bring them profit if the doctors prescribe the drugs and use the fancy equipment. On the other hand, if the doctor does not personally understand the benefits of diet and food sensitivity elimination diets, you will most likely get disissued when you bring it up.

It is rare to find a regular MD with this knowledge and who will follow this plan. This is why you often need to find a Naturopath or a doctor trained in biomedical autism intervention to follow this course of treatment under the supervision of a medical professional.

There is a whole new area of ​​medicine developing, called “Functional Medicine” with standard MD's who understands and acknowledge the “whole-body” principle and who recognizes the value of nutrition in health and in exploring food allergies and intolerances or sensitivities. This developing information will help guide parents on the differences between allergies, sensitivities and intolerances.

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How to Identify Symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome in Children

Aspergers Syndrome is within the spectrum of Autism disorders and it is generally accepted as a form of high functioning Autism. If your child has Aspergers then a few symptoms that they present may be very different to Aspergers symptoms that you have witnessed in others. It really is even more difficult to ascertained the level of Aspergers in your child if they are yet to achieve school age as their only real social interaction could have been with close relatives and buddies.

How can you tell if your child has Aspergers?

Aspergers Syndrome was discovered in just before 1945 and was named pediatrician and psychiatrist that discovered it, Hans Asperger. Unfortunately the clarification of the disorder was not readily accepted until 1981, so telling if your kid has Aspergers can be quite a difficult task but there are a few general tips that you could evaluate to better your understanding whether or not your child is showing some symptoms of Aspergers:

Aspergers Symptoms can range from very mild to extremely severe. Youngsters with Aspergers generally have difficulty with even tinyist amount of change to any routines and prefer consistency in everything. Any change to a routine may cause the child being reduced into tantrums.

A lot of the time Youngsters with Aspergers will be referred to as 'Little Professors' as Aspergers sufferers will have normal intelligence but often they'll display a high level of skill in a particular area.

All Aspergers sufferers have a big problem with social interactions. Kids that suffer from Aspergers will desirely desire to play with their friends however they struggle with the ability to interact and can often be seen left at the side of games within the playground. You should note that whilst from your point of view that may be seen as extremely sad, they could well not recognize the social stigma 'left out' as much as someone who does not suffer from Aspergers.

Children with AS (Asperger's Syndrome) have a tendency to see the world in a different way to non AS sufferers. It's not that they are being rude or odd on purpose.

Aspergers Children will come across as quite unaccompassionate and never sympathetic but this again is not on purpose, they only do not realize that it is crucial or expected in society.

Many will not even with others however, this is not the case Aspergers sufferers.

Some kids with Aspergers will talk in unusual tones or have exceptionally fast speech patterns however, not all experience this.

If your little one is very sound, light or different types of food this can also be a signal of Aspergers.

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Is There A Link Between Gut Health and Autism?

Autism Just Does not Affect The Child Diagnosed It Affects The Whole Family.

It's such a misunderstood disorder and has been linked to many possible factors. Although the child with autism may be in physical pain and have trouble communicating, the family shares their pain as well. It can be especially frustrating before you know what the issue is. When CJ was young, I knew that he was in pain and felt helpless at first. Then, my inner warrior kicked in and I found out all I could about autism and how to heal my son from the inside out. Autism used to be blamed on the mother and the children were often hidden out of sight at home or in an institution. As more research sheds light on this complicated disease, and more children are diagnosed correctly, more people speak out on the effects autism has had on their children as well as families.

Kelly Preston and John Travolta's Son Jett Was Diagnosed With Autism

Recently Kelly Preston was on the tv show The Doctors and she shared her feelings about what contributed to her son Jett's autism and seizures. She feels there were several factors involved. During pregnancy she had food poisoning, which she feet affected Jett as well. A hard and fast delivery rejected in a ruptured placenta, causing a high fever. Kelly was given antibiotics to combat the infection. Kelly asked 3 doctors if it was safe to take medication and breastfeeding at the same time. They all told her it was OK. Well, Jett got thrush, a yeast infection-Candida-that often results in leaky gut syndrome as well as other gut issues.

I Can Relate To Kelly's Feelings

I believe the gut is a key issue in the cause of autism. When I was pregnant with CJ, I had two bladder infections and was given antibiotics both times. No one ever told me to take probiotics during and / or after I finished the medication to replenish my good gut bacteria. I believe that had I taken probiotics after the first infection, I would not have gotten another one. I really believe this affected CJ as he was born with cradle cap-another type of yeast / Candida infection. Many children with autism have leaky gut syndrome. Giving pregnant women antibiotics without telling them about the importance of replenishing their gut bacteria with probiotics is the real problem and the beginning of a major catastrophe ahead.

An Imbalanced Gut Equals An Unhappy Baby

Poor CJ had stomach issues when he was a baby. He thread up all the time and claimed. People told me he would grow out of it-that he was just colicky or a fussy baby. I wish I knew then what I know now about the importance of probiotics. He would not have had to suffer so long until we began to heal his gut. CJ was miserable and in pain the first few years of his life until we discovered fermented and cultured foods. Once we begin to replenish the good bacteria in his gut, CJ slowly began to heal.

This Is Important Information To All Woman Considering Having A Baby

Your gut health effects your child's future over-all health. Research has linked a mother's gut flora to her baby's gut flora. In fact, your gut flora changes each trimester to help support the baby's growth during pregnancy. Babies with a vaginal birth have more diverse gut flora than babies born by C-section. Researchers think that this may lead to better health as they grow up. So if you eat healthy and keep your gut bacteria balanced, your baby will have a balanced gut. It seems so simple, but how many OB / GYN's are informing their patients about this? I was told to take my prenatal vitamins with folic acid, but never told about the importance of gut health. I know part of the problem is that gut bacteria has only recently gotten the attention it describes, so maybe my doctors just were not aware of the importance of a balanced gut. Seventeen years later, I wonder how many doctors recommend a balanced diet including fermented / cultured foods to balance gut bacteria? Or how about recommending “No Sugar Diet?” so that if there is a yeast infection in her body, it will not feed and thrive on the added sugar? That's an easy place to start!

There Are Many Theories As To What Causes Autism

I believe that there is not just one cause per child. Rather, I think several factors influence the likelihood that your child will be diagnosed with autism. I also believe the best way to decrease the chances is to keep your gut balanced before, during and after pregnancy . No doctor knows everything about every possible cause of any disorder. That's why it's so important for you to be your own warrior and research as much as possible. An imbalanced gut may be just a piece of the puzzle related to autism, but it is definitely worth the time and energy to research it. Beside, a healthy gut :

· Improves digestive function

· Improves bowel function

· Improves liver function

· Improves circulatory function

· Improves joint and muscle function

· Improves sleep function

· Improves resistance to allergies

· Improves vitamin absorption

Improves lactose tolerance

· Improves gluten tolerance

· Improves appetite

· Improves skin quality

· Improves metabolism

· Improves mental clarity (gut-brain connection)

· Decreases your digestive ailments

· Decreases your stomach ailments

· Decreases incidence of heart burn

· Decreases incidence of constipation

· Decreases incidence of diarrhea

· Decreases the presence of yeast infections

· Decreases incidence of oral cavity infections

· Decreases wrinkles

· Decreases gas and bloating

· Increases nutritional absorption

· Increases energy

· Increases hydration

So who would not want to replenish their good gut bacteria?

It's Up To You To Be Your Own Warrior

Doctors are ordinary people faced with an extraordinary job of healing people. They do not have all the answers, nor do they know all the questions to ask. Read and learn as much as you can about the importance of a healthy gut BEFORE you get pregnant. You will be given so much advice from doctors, friends, family and even strangers! Do not take it all as the only truth, but at the same time do not discount what someone has to say. Not all “old wives tales” are fantasy; most of them have been handed down for generations. Our ancientors knew the importance of fermented / cultured foods, but we began to push this in the background as processed and convenience foods inundated our culture. Sometimes simple is better!

Is Their Proof That Fermented Foods Work?

People always ask me that question, and I have three answers for them. First, YES! CJ is living / breathing proof of a healthy boy thanks to probiotics. Second, history and our ancestry have shown the importance of fermented foods. We do not do what they did anymore and it shows in the state of our health today. Obesity and diseases related to pollution are skyrocketing! Let's go back in time and eat simply and healthy! Third, do not believe me, all you have to do is go to your favorite web browser and type in benefits of fermented foods to read all about the research providing the benefits of fermented / cultured probiotic foods. It's amazing how much money is being spent on research proving what our ancestors knew so many years ago! Keep in mind, it's just FOOD. So try some cultured / fermented foods. You'll be glad you did!

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A Detailed Analysis Of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

HBOT, or Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy functions on the basic principle of inhaling 100% oxygen under increased atmospheric pressures. It is equivalent to breathing pure oxygen underwater at a depth of 16.5 feet, or sometimes even more.

The supersaturation of oxygen has proven to deliver many health benefits, as has been observed by the international community of doctors and researchers. Sustained hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been shown in the drastic increase of oxygen content in blood by almost 200%. Other parts of the body, like the organs, cells, tissues, lymph and other body fluids are also benefited in the process and the amount of their damage is abated. Greater oxygen content in the cells and tissues ensures the quicker healing of wounds, improves the body's capacity to fight infections and diseases, helps to detoxify the body, and visibly reduces swelling. With the increase in atmospheric pressure, there is a resultant increase in the oxygen content in the body.

While mono-place chambers can accommodate only one patient at a time and are designed for personal residential use, multi-place chambers are meant for hospitals and clinics where a number of patients can be treated simultanously. Once the patients are comfortably positioned inside these acrylic chambers, the alcoves are slowly compressed to a baric level that is suitable for the particular ailing situations that it is meant to treat in the particular session. The transparent glass cover allows constant monitoring of patients and communication in case of distress between patients and test administrators. All the patients have to do is to breathe normally and inhale the pure oxygen that is being injected into the chamber. Patients can do a lot of other things like reading a book, or watching a movie while the session is under way.

Some of the visible results of this treatment are:

– Patients are calmer and relaxed. They do not fidget as much as they used to prior to treatment.
– There is marked improvement in vision. There is also positive changes in the patient's understanding and cognitive faculties.
– There is decrease in muscle spasticity.
– Sleeping habits improve.
– Patients become open to new ideas and are willing to experiment with food and other activities.
– The patients are now able to interact freely with family members and the peer group.
– Concentration span improvements, and the patient is able to think clearly and logically.
– Physical health improvements, and there is greater control of the neck and trunk.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy functions in the following ways:

Hyperoxygenation
Greater oxygen infusion as a result of HBOT helps in supporting poorly perfused tissues in those areas that have limited blood flow. Body fluids like lymph, plasma, and the cerebrospinal fluids record improved oxygen content by almost 10 to 15 times.

Antimicrobial Effect
HBOT therapy helps in killing pathogenic and anaerobic bacteria.

Fibroblast Prolifer
This therapy ensures the production of collagen and effective repair of damaged tissues.

Increased Activity Of Leukocytes
Leukocytes are janitor cells that are responsible for the removal of dead cells. HBOT therapy improves the activity of the leukocytes to augment the cleansing process.

Vasoconstriction
HBOT therapy effectively helps to narrow the diameter of blood vessels, thereby minimizing the chances of swelling, or post-traumatic edema. In this way, the possibility of cerebral edema is very arrested, as excess fluid around brain cells is drained away, and chances of toxic buildup are abated.

Angioneogenesis
This process, known by the biological term, angioneogenesis, is the growth and proliferation of new blood cells. Newer blood vessels help in better oxygen circulation to the different organs, thereby assisting in improved function and quicker recovery in the case of damage.

Greater Production Of Stem Cells In Adults
Regular HBOT sessions at 2.0 ATA for two hours doubles the circulation of stem cells in adults. 40 to 60 consecutive sessions under 1.5 ATA increases the production of stem cells by nearly eight times. Stem cells play a very important role in the healing of internal wounds, and the greater its production, the quicker will be the recovery process.

HBOT therapy has proven to be beneficial for a number of health defects. Regular sessions can improve the situations of patients suffering from chronic illnesses like autism, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, cerebral palsy etc.

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Early Intervention Helps In Better Treatment Of Autism

Each autistic individual has a unique set of problems and shortcomings that can not be grouped under a leader category. Therefore, the treatment chart for every autistic child, or adult needs to be planned creatively and intuitively in such a way that the individual can participate in the activities and not have adverse reactions to them. Autism treatment varies according to the individual case and since, they must be planned keeping the specific needs of the patient in mind.

Intervention can be made by adopting medicines, or behavioral therapies, or even both in some cases. Autistic individuals often have accompanying disorders like sleep deficiency, gastrointestinal distress, and seizures. Treating these conditions will help to improve focus, attentiveness and capacity of data retention.

Behavioral therapy, in its early stages involves co-operation between the family members and the group of professionals. In some cases, therapists often conduct the sessions at the home of the autistic individual. These programs include parent training, as the parents conduct the sessions under the supervision and guidance of the trained professional. In case of other programs, the sessions are conducted in classrooms, preschool or specialized centers.

Methods of intervention and therapy need to be open-ended and flexible so that they can be tweaked slightly to suit the specific needs as the patients condition improvements. For instance, when autistic children are enrolled into school, then they would benefit greatly from specialized teaching approaches and targeted training of social skills. Autistic adolescents, on the other hand are inclined to benefit and learn great from voluntary skills that train them to become independent, and also helps them to find a suitable mode of employment.

Types Of Early Intervention Remedial Procedures That Are Available

Scientific studies and research have confirmed two early intervention methods to be beneficial for the treatment of autism. The first procedure is the Early Start Denver Model, while the second is Lovass Model which is based on ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis. Other behavioral treatments like Floortime, Verbal Behavior Therapy and Pivotal Response Therapy have also yielded positive results.

Options For Treating Preschool Children And Toddlers

For an autistic child, the sooner the treatment starts, the better are the results. Early intervention with intensive behavioral therapies help to improve social skills, communication and learning. Although the results vary from one child to another, every child certainly benefits. Extension observation and research has helped doctors and therapists to chalk out a number of therapeutic and activity-based methods that will benefit autistic children and help them to develop their social, vocal and cognitive skills. Some of them are as follows:

The autistic child is made to participate in well-structured therapeutic activities for a minimum of 25 hours every week.

Only extremely well-trained teachers and therapists conduct these intervention sessions. Paraprofessionals may also conduct these sessions, but strictly under the guidance of their superiors.

Each session has a well-planned objective. The session administrators carefully record and evaluate the child's ability to complete the task and meet the set objectives.

The activities are planned in such a way that specific problem areas are addressed. The main areas of concentration are the child's social skills, linguistic and communication skills, induction, motor skills and play skills.

These activities are conducted in such a way that an autistic child has the opportunity to interact and communicate with similarly developing peers.

Parents are actively engaged, as they play an important role in the decision-making process.

A multi-disciplinary team of therapists generally conduct these sessions. The team includes a physician, occupational therapist and linguistic pathologist.

A very minor percentage of autistic children have recorded complete recovery. Such cases, as is often speculated, may be a result of initial misdiagnoses, the effectiveness of medicines and therapy, or the ability of the body's immune system to fight the specific debilitations and over them. In other cases, the specific symptoms of autism can be controlled with regular treatment, and thenby help the child to develop faculties, practices and skills that make him / her more socially acceptable, and adept to find a suitable employment opportunity.

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Gluten Free And Autism

Do you have a child or know someone with autism? Does that person eat high amounts of wheat, barley, oats or rye proteins? Did you know that these proteins linked also with casein (the protein found in milk products) can trigger behavioral issues? To someone with autism these proteins can act as an addictive drug. Wow, mind blowing right? Some experts have even referred to gluten as “poison” for someone who is autistic.

Researchers have found that people with autism who eat gluten products regularly have a hard time breaking down the protein and found high levels of peptides with opiate in the urine. Opiates are similar to the drug known as morphine and affect the brain function. The two main problems have been linked as gluten (which is the protein found in wheat, barley, oats and rye) and casein (the protein found in milk.) Would you knowingly give your child morphine? Allowed a child who has autism to eat gluten products could be doing as much harm.

Now that you know the facts, where should you start? How can you possibly remove gluten from the diet? It will not be easy at first but will be beneficial in the end. It will take perseverance and research. At first it will take a lot of time because you will need to read labels and rule out all foods with gluten ingredients. You may even want to consult a dietician to work with you the first few weeks. They can come up with healthy meal plans based on the person's likes and dislikes. There are also many online resources to help. There are even “Gluten Free Bibles” which are guides to a full gluten free life. There are even gluten free cookbooks and foods you can purchase online.

You are probably saying right now, “This seems like too much work, I do not have the time for this.” That may be the case first but once you understand and start shopping gluten free it is quite easy. Also, you must look at the long term benefits of the gluten free diet. You must realize that for many who have autism, foods with gluten are toxic to their brain and avoiding them is necessary. It will be challenging at first but with a little effort and a few good gluten free cookbooks your autistic child / friend will see improvements in behavior. I have read reports that after three months of gluten free living autistic children have been able to make eye contact and actually play calmly with other children. Now, does not sound sound worth giving it a try?

There are so many resources and online products to help you with your new journey. It will require sacrifices and endurance. Remember this adjustment will take time but the results are so valuable. Start today and begin to live free!

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Important Accessories That Should Accompany A Personal Hyperbaric Chamber

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy conduced in a personal hyperbaric chamber has provided to deliver positive results in the cases of patients suffering from chronic illnesses like autism, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, air embolism, cerebral palsy, ulcers, diabetes and a variety of other debilitating physical conditions that can be caused by limited oxygen supply to the different parts of the body. A patient suffering from any of these situations can undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy under the strict guidance of a physician and trained test administrators.

This therapy is conducted by making the patient lie down, or sit in an acrylic chamber, the pressure inside which is gradually increased by the administration of pure oxygen. While a personal hyperbaric chamber or monoplace chamber can be used in residences and do not require trained professionals to be handled, multiplace chambers are designed to accommodate more than one patient at a time for simultaneous treatment. Personal hyperbaric chambers are safe and have adequate fire precaution measures that are implemented into its design. However, before investing in one, it is better to ensure that it has certain accessories that facilitate in the patient's comfort. Here is a list of some such items.

Air-Conditioner
An air conditioner plays an important role in effective ventilation of a hyperbaric chamber. Not only does it reduce the thermal reading of the air that is flowing into the chamber by almost 40 degrees, but also controls the level of humidity within it by decreasing the water content in the atmosphere. Moreover, the motor operates quietly, and is not a source of disturbance to the patient.

Cleaner
An oxygen cleaner with a rust inhibitor can be used in the case of oxygen products that are kept under high pressure. The cleaner is made primarily for industrial use and is non-toxic in nature. It is also biodegradable.

Cooler
This particular cooler is customized for use in Dives. It helps in decreasing the incoming air's temperature by almost 30 degrees. It also minimizes the water content within the chamber, thereby preventing patients from feeling uncomfortable with the rising humidity levels. The best part is that it does not require any external source of energy, or electricity to function properly. All that needs to be done for these filters to operate is that they should be filled with ice and water on a regular and timely basis.

Silencer / Cooler
This is a relatively new accessory, and is a combination of the silencer and cooler. It is a small and lightweight device that is attached between the speaker and compressor. It helps to minimize the noise level of the inflating air stream and reduce its high temperatures as well. It is a simple device that greatly enhances the comfort level of the patients.

Disinfectant
Microban is a highly concentrated disinfectant that helps in killing HIV-1 and MRSA bacterias. It has properties of a fungicide, mildewstat, bactericide, and virucide all put together in one concentrated mixture, and is very effective for maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene in a hyperbaric chamber.

Ear Plugs
The fluctuating pressure levels during the process of compressing and decompressing a hyperbaric chamber may cause much discomfort to some patients. It is for them that this particular accessory has been designed. These ear plugs have an in-built pressure regulator that can alter the sensations in the ear according to the changing pressure flows in the system. These are generally worn all through a session and even for 15 minutes after it is over. They greatly reduce and control the impact of pressure change that is experienced by the middle ear. These plugs are also disposable, or can be worn for four consecutive sessions before being discarded.

Equalizer
These devices are also used to normalize the pressure in the middle ear, specifically by using air. They are used prior to the session to ensure that the ear can adjust normally to the compression and decompression of the chamber. In other cases, equalizers are used after a session to assist the patient's ear to regain its normal balance, and thenby reduce the feeling of discomfort. These are generally prescribed by the doctor and are available in both multiplace and monoplace chambers.

Grab Bar
This is a customized bar that is simple to install and use. It is designed to assist patients in entering and leaving chambers. Grab bars are generally made of aluminum that has a fine coating of powder.

Lubricants
These are essential for lubricating the zippers of personal hyperbaric chambers and ensuring their smooth functioning. Lubricants such as ZipTech help in this purpose. It is important that the zippers function smoothly to minimize the risks of accidents and mishaps.

Oxygen Concentrators
The percentage of oxygen in ambient air is 21%. When it is compressed in a portable hyperbaric chamber with the pressure ranged between 1.3 to 1.5 ATA, then the percentage increases to 27%. By using a mask and a concentrator, patients can inhale 95% oxygen. However, the right to use concentrators is not granted to every brand of personal hyperbaric chambers by the FDA. Here, it is best to conduct a survey of models with this particular accessory and check on the permission of the company to avoid any legal issues that may occur after purchasing an unauthorized model.

Platforms
Platforms assist in the movement process into and out of the chamber. Moreover, there is ample room benefit them for the accommodation of the compressor. These are generally made of aluminum with a powdered layer. The platforms often have rails and steps that facilitate the movement.

Pulse Oximeter
This device has been approved by the FDA and is used to measure the level of oxygen in the blood before and after a particular session in hyperbaric chamber. It is a fingerertip pulse-oximeter that has a neck strap, carrying case and double pack of triple A batteries.

While choosing a personal hyperbaric chamber, therefore, it is important to pay heed to these additional accessories as they greatly facilitate in patient comfort and safety.

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What Can Make A Person With Autism Too Tired?

My autistic son is really really tired when it is time to go to bed. But every now and then he is very, very tired. In that case there are certain causes for that. It is not when he has been busy taking a long walk or bike-ride, no it is always in times of stress or tensions.

Most of all having to be quiet, doing nothing for a while is what makes him very tired. Obviously having to control his behavior, his impulses, his body, for some time is a difficult and hard job for him.

Last week there was a (long) cremation ceremony for my sons grandfather. My son chose to go. Yes I always give him the choice. All day long he behaved perfectly, even when there were long waiting times, and also during a long row of speeches. When possible, in the waiting times, I took my son outside, away from the busy waiting room full of people, for a little relaxation.

Even at the end of the day, when more than ninety people came to shake his hand, he remained quite calm. About halfway through, I could see him thinking: “Do they all have to do and say the same thing?” and he tried to disappear a little behind other people. When we finally got home that evening, he was more tired than I had ever seen him before. He was close to false!

What have learned from this experience?

  • If a person with autism has to keep quiet for some time, he or she needs regular breaks, breaks away from the crowd, preferably outside.
  • The best thing is to give them an opportunity for some physical activity
  • Also very important: drinking an especially eating on the regular times.
  • Compliments and encouraging were also very very helpful to him
  • Think about what is really necessary, what can be cut shorter or even cut out.
  • For example: there was no absolute need to let so many people shake his hand, and I know that they mean well.
  • Also I could have asked someone to call us in when a waiting period ended, so that we could have been outside much more. (I am sixty years old, when will I finally have mastered asking someone for a little assistance?)

Next time I will be better prepared, and planning the day, the event (s), better for my beautiful son who, again, made me really proud that day.

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Autism Awareness Month

As Autism Awareness month approaches, it is important for American parents and families to be aware of some basic autism facts. From early signs of autism to safety precedences and statistics, I am going to cover a range of topics to inform you about aspects of autism.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a bio-neurological developmental disability that is typically detected in children before the age of 3. A 2012 study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 1 in 88 US children is diagnosed with autism by age 8. This rate has significantly since since the 2006 study that estimated 1 in 110 children had autism.

Additionally, boys are approximately five times (4. 7 percent) more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls, averaging 1 in 54 versus 1 in 252 for girls. With the percentage of people affected by autism rising, funding is still low, and an effective treatment or cure still has not been discovered.

Although autism does not generally lead to death in itself, the mortality risk for those with autism is nearly double that of the general population due to accidents and eloping. Because autism affects communication skills and cognitive functions, children with autism who elope often have trouble speaking and communicating when found, according to the National Autism Association. Autism is typically accompanied by other health conditions like allergies, asthma, epilepsy, bowel disease, digestive and gastrointestinal disorders, persistent viral infections, feeding disorders, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder and a list of other conditions.

Because of the risks associated with having autism, it's important to adhere to safety precautions encouraged for caretakers of the autistic to follow. These precedencies include things like keeping a close eye on your autistic child, as approximately 48 percent of children with autism attempt to elope from safe environments, in turn, leading to drowning, kidnapping, assault and other dangers.

Other things to consider when caring for a child with autism is life insurance for you and your spouse, and also life insurance for your child with autism. Life insurance coverage for you and your spouse will ensure that your child will always have access to food, shelter, a caretaker and medical care in the event of you or your spouse's death. Without that coverage, your autistic child could be left without necessary care and provisions. Additionally, having life insurance on your child with autism will ensure that, the unthinkable happen and something happens to your child, you and your family would be able to afford final expenses including funeral and burial costs and outstanding medical bills.

Learning to care for your child with autism is an important part of ensuring your child's safety and access to a bright future. By researching and being prepared for the future and its possibilities, you are caring for your child in the best way possible. Take time to learn more about autism and its risks, how you can encourage, treat and help your child progress, and also how you can plan ahead to guarantee that your child will always be taken care of.

Participate in Autism Awareness month my learning more about autism and how you can protect your child today. Join in the cause for raising awareness to care and treatment for people with autism.

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Assessment of Autism Symptoms: When to Seek a Professional

Perhaps one of the most frustrating things with autism is that there is not one diagnostic test or system which diagnoses this spectrum disorder. Much of the diagnostic process relationships first on the parents monitoring and observing the behavior patterns in their children, tracing how they communicate with others and observing their social skills with peers. Since many of these abilities and skills are not evident at birth and develop over time, it is not uncommon for autism to be diagnosed once children become of age where these skills are more evident; usually about toddler age.

Parents may find diagnosing their children with autism very challenging as many of the symptoms closely related to those seen in non-autistic children as well. For example one of the most notable symptoms is difficulty or lacking the desire to socialize with others. In non-autistic children this is not necessarily something to worry about in the beginning. It could be that your child is simply shy and has caution and fear about mingling with other children or that they prefer to play alone with their active imaginations.

Other symptoms include a delay in learning how to speak or having difficulty in starting conversations with others. Again, all children develop these skills differently. While some children begin speaking and communicating at a very early age, others struggle with them and it is not always an indication that your child is autistic. Various other biological and neurological issues can also contribute to skills slowly developing.

It is also common for autistic children to have difficulty or the inability to make eye contact or have difficulty in understanding directives given to them. While these things could be caused by a child's age and development happening at a slower pace, they also could have indicators that the child has autism.

Diagnosing Autism
Historically this disorder is diagnosed when the child reaches the age of three and a bit older. This is the time when most doctors and parents really begin to see that their child is not developing normally because this age socialization, interactive and communication skills should become evident. In some cases a child will be diagnosed at age two specifically if the parents are diligent with the recommended, ongoing check-ups. Still, at that young of an age diagnosing can be challenging because vital skills are not noticeable yet.

The diagnosis process begins with observing and observing the child's behaviors and patterns as well as a psychologist or specialist thoroughly interviewing the parents while reviewing the child's developmental history. The interviewing process will investigate both the child's past development as well as current developments.

The therapist will defer to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders frequently in order to assess which spectrum your child falls into with autism and go through the symptoms and characteristics with a fine tooth comb as understanding which spectrum your child falls into is important when it comes to treatment, therapies and supportive services.

Diagnostic Tools
Because there is not one sure way to diagnose this disorder, once a parent or physician feels that the child could be a candidate for the disorder, they may use one or several diagnostic tools to diagnose. These include but are not limited to:

• Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS)
• Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI)
• Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT)
• Developmental Behavior Checklist (DBC)
• Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ)

When Is the Right Time to Assess?
It is important that parents get their children assessed and tested as early as possible as this greatly increases the chances of their child receiving the therapies that they need and bettering their quality of life sooner.

If you notice that your child is not developing at a normal pace when they are younger than two you can and should definitely have them examined by a physician. However, it is likely that since not all of the skills have yet to develop, that your child may not be diagnosed until they are of toddler age (between 3-6) and in some cases even later in life based on their future development and progress.

If relevant skills such as socialization, communication, eye contact and comprehension are seen as aptly lacking in youngger years, it can only help in future diagnosing to have your child examined and tested. At the very least, you will have a record of the testing to utilize later when they are at a more appropriate age to be concretely diagnosed.

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My Child’s Autism is NOT MY Fault!

It's NOT your fault. Do not be a receptacle for guilt; address your feelings of guilt instead of letting them fester. Guilt is something that will always be waiting in the wings; you just have to learn how to deal with it when it wants to make an appearance.

Once your child is diagnosed with Autism, you will engage in conversations about treatment choices such as ABA, discrete trial training, floor time and biomedical approaches. You will be told about the importance of eye contact, social skills, sensory issues and the development of receptive and expressive language, and much, much more.

But do not lose yourself in this wave of information. It is important that you come to a place – a support group, a trusted friend, or a parent coach – where you can share your fears, your concerns, your strategies, your dreams and hopefully – your feelings of guilt.

Guilt is a parenting phenomenon – all parents experience occasional pangs of guilty so make sure you find a way to talk about it. This will help you rid yourself of the guilt you harbor and move forward in a positive way.

You may feel or say you have no guilt But pay close attention to this nagging little voice somewhere deep down inside that you are to blame for your child's disorder. It may not be there all the time, but it will crop up occasionally.

When it does show up – DO NOT listen! DO NOT answer the door!

DO NOT feed that emotion! It is NOT a useful or productive emotion. It will only slow you down.

If by chance you do not feel you did anything to cause your child's Autism, GREAT!

But if you feel that your child would be doing a little better or progressing faster if you had just done or not done this or that or had put more effort into it, PAY ATTENTION to this fact:

No matter how much you research, do, give, …, there will always be more.

Remember, you are a great parent! You are there for your child addressing her special needs and teaching her to accomplish small activities that most parents do not even have to think about. You are balancing a lot on your plate and not many days go by when you are not filled with doubt or experiencing stress. Trust that you are doing your best.

Do not look around and feel as if others are doing a better job than you because I'll tell you a secret, they look at you and assume the same thing. Rather than getting sucked into the trap of measuring yourself against others realize that every parent is in a similar boat. Putting your energies into rowing your own boat 'to shore instead of wishing you had a better one with decent oars or one with a motor will serve you and your child much better. Stop looking around at others and making comparisons so you can help your child optimize his greatest potential in a timely fashion.

Examples: How can you sneak up on you.

-Finally you get a break from a very busy day that revolves around your daughter's therapies and tending your other child who was home sick from school. Your husband invites you to watch a movie with him but as soon as you get comfortable you say to yourself. “I should be researching that new website and new methods of treatment. What if that new therapy my friend told me about is the answer to our prayers. I should not waste any time.”

-Your child with Asperger's is interested in dinosaurs and names all the dinosaurs and wants you to repeat them back to him in robotic repetition. He asks not once, not twice, but endlessly and you participate until a little thought bubble over your head says, “This is not constructive”. “I should be teaching my child how to converse appropriatively. What if I am only reinforcing bad habits?” To do so might risk a meltdown and maybe you're multi-tasking to get the laundry done and also leaning to your crying infant because she's hungry. So you continue the banter about dinosaur lists with your child blaming yourself for not doing a better job.

-You have a visit from a friend and it's been a while since since you have had a visitor. Out of the corner of your eye while talking to her you notice your child lining up the matchbox cars he recently received from grandma and you think, “I should not be talking to my friend. those cars. “What if he never learns appropriate play? I should be engaging my child.” Feeling discouraged, you are torn between telling your friend this is not a good time and redirecting your child.

-You spend time talking to other parents when picking your child up from preschool and some were talking about extra services, such as a social skills group, extra speech therapy or video modeling for their kids. Your mind suddenly switches gear to asking for your treatment decisions for your child. You tell yourself, “I should do more.” and promise to somehow find the time. You begin to doubt yourself, “What if what I am doing will not help? Perhaps I should have signed my child up for an extra therapy class instead of karate.”

Did you note that all of these examples have one thing in common – the words SHOULD, SHOULD NOT, WHAT IF. These particular words only lead to one result – a self-accusation of being a bad parent, which only helps perpetuate the guilt.

Please, put that guilty in perspective! While you may feel you're not doing enough, you are to be honored and committed because parents of children with autism are able to cope with more in a day, a month and a year than most can conceive of coping with in a lifetime.

You may not think you have what it takes but you do. If you have been given a challenge, you have also been given the ability to cope with it. Sometimes we are too focused on the problem that we miss the signals that highlight the gifts we have been given.

Your resilience, creativity and persistence will help your child progress and reach a potential that nobody thought possible. The progress you make may not go fast enough for you at times but if you consider for one moment where things might have been done nothing since you suspected your child was different, you will see forward movement.

The great strides that you have made and those made by others in the Autism community are largely parent driven. The next time the factor factor sets in, keep all of this in perspective and remember to keep putting on foot in front of the other.

Caution: Be prepared for when the Guilt Factor knocks on your door again. When it does simply acknowledge its presence but tell it you are too busy to entertain and shut the door – DO NOT let it in.

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Food Allergies Vs. Food Sensitivities or Intolerances (Part 1)

When trying to determine if you have problems with certain foods, we automatically think in terms of allergies. There are different ways that foods can affect our body. Beside a true allergy, there are sensitivities or intolerances. The type of problem you have will determine what kind of test, if any at all, you would need to take to be certain of it.

IgE Immune Response

If you have a true food allergy, that means your body has an immune system response and creates antibodies to fight off the foreign invader (usually against proteins). The antibodies are food-specific, so that if you are exposed to those foods again later, the antibodies will recognize the food and attack them to protect your body, just as it would an invading virus. These are IgE antibodies (immunoglobulin E).

When the IgE antibodies are released, so are other natural chemicals in the body, like histamine, which produce the allergy effect. It can show up as respiratory, skin, digestive, cardiovascular symptoms or a combination of these, depending on where in your body the histamine is released. This is what the allergist and other standard medical doctors consider when you discuss the possibility of food allergies with them. This is what they are trained in – diagnosing and counteracting true IgE allergies.

It's estimated that 5% of children have these types of food allergies. An example of this type of allergy is a peanut allergy. (Other non-food allergies like bee stings and allergies to medications are also IgE mediated responses.) Only a tiny amount of exposure to the offending food can cause a reaction. These reactions of a true food allergy are serious, and can even be life threatening. The typical response time is within a few minutes to a few hours of exposure.

Top 8 Recognized Food Allergens

The top 8 food allergens (and those required to be listed on food labels) are: milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. (** Note that gluten is found in more grains than just wheat, but ONLY wheat is required to be listed.

IgG Immune Response

There is another type of immune response involving IgG antibodies. This usually involves a milder, delayed response. One might not see reactions for several hours, or even up to a few days! These symptoms sometimes go away after avoiding the food for several months, but that's not always the case.

Because any type of “allergic” response other than the immediate-type IgE reactions is outside the conventional medical community's knowledge and understanding, these reactions are generally not accepted as true allergic responses. Often they are given a “food sensitivity” label, although food intolerances and sensitivities involve other processes that do not create an immune system response at all.

Other types of antibody responses involve IgA and IgM antibody reactions. The main thing to know is that IgE are your acute reactions that you can not miss and the others all involve delayed reactions that are much more common yet not as well understood (or even widely accepted in the medical community).

Food Intolerances

Food intolerances are much more common than food allergies. The reactions of a food intolerance are not so obvious and in many cases go undiagnosed. They are usually a delayed reaction which could happen for as long as up to a few days after exposure.

Food sensitivities and intolerances are the root cause of many different chronic, incapacitating and common illnesses today – yet the conventional medical community does not recognize most of them. Because symptoms can be delayed delayed and multiple sensitivities can produce simultaneous effects, this compounds the problem.

One example of a classic, widely-accepted food intolerance is lactose intolerance. There is no immune response with antibody build up in response to lactose (milk sugar) in the body. In this case, lactose intolerant people simply lack the proper enzymes to fully digest lactose and potentially suffer digestive difficulties. The more lactose consumed increases the amount and frequency of the symptoms. The symptoms can be eliminated by simply avoiding lactose, drinking lactose-free milk, or even taking an enzyme tablet that gives them the enzymes needed to digest the milk sugar.

Symptoms of Food Intolerance

Symptoms of food intolerance are many, in the hundreds, but here are just a few to highlight the variety and total-body symptoms that can be seen:
digestive disorders, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, ulcers, reflux, heartburn, headaches, migraines, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, recurrent colds, upper respirator infections, ear infections, coughing, dark circles und eyes, bad breath, asthma, high blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, bed wetting, recurring urinary tract infections, PMS, skin disorders, hives, eczema, psoriasis, acne, arthritis, aging joints, lupus, chronic fatigue, starch and sugar cravings, hyperactivity, autism, behavior problems, learning problems, convulsions, obesity, anxiety, panic reactions, depression, mental dullness, memory lapses, mood swings and irritability, anger outbursts, difficulty thinking, and many more!

This list probably has you thinking that everyone on the planet has some form of a food intolerance! The numbers are definitely higher than currently expected. The only way to tell if your symptoms are related to food is to do an elimination trial.

Part 2 of this article will discuss the various testing and treatment options. Here's a quick hint and preview: There are specific tests you can take for allergies and sensitivities, but the only way to identify general food intolerances is with an elimination diet to see if you have reduced or eliminated symptoms.

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Overcoming Roadblocks to Good Personal Hygiene for a Child With ASD

Children do not come into this world capable to care of themselves. In the beginning they are dependent upon their parents for everything, but gradually they learn to wash, dress and feed themselves. Typically, a child will master daily self-care skills with relative ease. Many are self-motivated as is demonstrated by the words of a young child who wants to be like mom or dad, “I do myself.” Of course they can easily revert to “I can not do,” within the next second.

Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder often 'can not' or 'will not' take the initiative to become more independent in their self-care. 'Can not' because they lack the necessary motor skills or 'will not' due to sensory issues, inability to sequence or just do not understand the social importance and why it is necessary.

Children on the Autism spectrum may need a few extra steps added to learn how to manage their physical self-care, such as prompting, modeling and specific teaching or training. Most kids with ASD do not learn basic hygiene skills through observation alone.

So How do you get your child to be independently responsible for his own self-care needs? You start early. I know it is often easier and less time consuming to do it 'for her' but think about the habits you are enforced, the long-term dependence you are establishing and the social awkwardness you may be contributing to.

Let's take hygiene for instance. No parent wants their child to be ridiculed or ostracized at school for an appearance or an odor that can be prevented. Children with ASD are already vulnerable enough to bullying as it is – there is no need to add fuel to the fire.

So what are you doing now to help your child learn how to care for her physical needs and appearance? If you have tried various things and you do not feel like you are getting anywhere here are some strategies to consider.

– Determine where the struggle is. Identify and eliminate (or at least reduce) any possible roadblocks. Does your child lack the necessary motor skills to button a shirt, comb her hair or brush his teeth? Does the thought of touching a slippery, slime-y, wet bar of soap make washing hands an everyday battle? If so, seek out the help of an occupational therapist to address muscle weakness or sensory sensitivities.

– Break instruction down into small steps – one action at a time. Example: The goal is to wash face. Step 1 – Get towel. Step 2 – turn water on. Step 3 – wet face (with or without cloth). Step 4 – apply soap, and so on and so on. Depending on your child, you may even create more steps, such as finding the right water temperature when you turn it on. Practice each step until your child has mastered it, praising her very specifically for effort and / or accomplishment.

– Create a visual that labels each step. Many children can not sequence a series of steps in their mind and fail to remember what comes next or they may have such a short attention spans that they lose their train of thought. Having a visual to refer to will help prompt them through the process and is handy for them to have when you are not able to be there. Remember to identify when the task needs to be done (time and place) – ex. after eating, before bed … Writing a social story for each task that can be read repeatedly will help as well.

– Explain why good hygiene is necessary – never assume your child 'gets it'. Find ways to help your child understand the social importance of being clean, smelling fresh and looking good. Create a vision board titled, When I Look and Smell My Best, Good Things Happen, cutting out pictures from magazines and using personal photos of what it means to have good hygiene and what the results are for doing so. Then hang in your child's room as a constant reminder.

– Pay attention to the environment. Sometimes simply making your child's bedroom and bathroom user-friendly and sensory-friendly can have a positive impact on his motivation to keep himself well groomed. Making clothing easy accessible, finding an unscented shampoo she really likes, having towels with just the right texture available, and even adding some music in the bathroom, or shower, can help.

As children approach puberty it becomes more and more important that they master a self-care routine. Reaching the pre-teen years presents more and more hygiene issues that need to be addressed such as shaking and menstruation. Remember, when teaching any child or young adult to care for their body it is always good to teach within the natural setting and, if possible, during a time when stress levels are low.

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Visible Symptoms That Can Help To Diagnose Autism Quickly And Successfully

Autism is a neurological developmental disorder that impairs the brain's ability to function properly. Also known as ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder, this debilitating condition arrests the child's ability to cultivate and grow vocal, communicative and social skills.

No medical procedure has yet proved itself to be successful in the diagnosis of autism. To the present-day, a conglomerate group of doctors- pediatricians, language and speech pathologists, psychologists and occupational therapists- all jointly convene a session to make a successful analysis. Genetic testing is often recommended, and also the screening of related medical problems like sleep deficiencies. Such comprehensive tests hep parents to understand better the specific needs of their child, their strengths and weaknesses, and thereby chart a plan to improve the ailing symptoms.

In many cases, autism is not diagnosed until the child is quite old. The symptoms manifest themselves when the child enters the learning process and tries to fit into a rigid curriculum. Difficulties with information retention, emotional and social interaction are the common problems. The only method of an early analysis is that parents and physicians need to be constantly vigilant.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual is often used by doctors to determine whether a child is autistic or not. The criteria for declaring that a child is autistic are as follows:

(I) Extensive impairment in the child's ability to interact socially. This is judged by any two of the following tenets:
Much distress in practicing multiple non-verbal skills, like making eye contact, or successfully controlling body postures, gestures and facial expressions while
interacting socially.

Incapable of emotional and social reciprocity.
They fail to develop peer relations that children of a specific age group normally have. Their existence to communicate, along with emotional and social detachment often deters them from forming bonds of love and trust with family and other children of the same age group.

Lack of spontaneity in pointing out areas of interest to other people, that is, autistic children rarely ever point out to show something that excites them.

(II) Problems in communication are diagnosed by looking for any of the following symptoms:
There is little or no development in the child's ability to use words and string them together to form a sensible and coherent sentence.
Individuals are often incapable of beginning a conversion, or are unable to sustain the flow of a conversation with language, ideas and arguments.
The use of idiosyncratic language, or repetitive use of words and phrases.
The child is not imaginative, as is a common feature among children. Neither can the child imbibe certain patterns of social behavior by imitation.

(III) Stereotyped and repetitive behavior patterns, activities and interests demonstrated by any two of the following:
Obsessive attachment to restrictive and stereotypical areas of interest that is not normal in focus or intensity.
Inflexible adherence to and insistence on specific nonfunctional rituals and routines.
Repetitive and stereotyped motor mannerisms, like hand twisting, finger flapping etc.
All consuming preoccupation with object parts.

(IV) Abnormal or delayed development in any of these faculties before the age of three:
Social interaction.
Imaginative and symbolic play.
Social communicative skills using language.

If a total of six symptoms are identified, with two from the first category, that is (I), and one each from other two categories of (II) and (III), then the child is declared to be autistic.

Earlier the diagnosis, the better are the chances of improvement. Therefore, constant observation, along with timely medical intervention are the only options for parents and care givers to identify the disorder and treat it before it causes irrevocable damage.

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Latest Study Suggests Possible New ‘Long-Term Treatment’ for Autism

Oxytocin, which is often referred to as 'love hormone,' is a peptide that is used to help new mothers lactate, and is also credited as helping to form that unbreakable bond between mother and child. The hormone, which has been involved in the treatment of many health issues, has since catalyzed numerous scientific and psychological experiences to further investigate its many possible uses. Due to its bonding abilities, oxytocin has been linked to social relationships and – excitingly – could have possibilities as a treatment for many forms of psychiatric or developmental disorders, including autism.

Around one in every 110 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Affecting the daily lives of millions of people across the world, scientists are still to determine either the cure or the cause. Autism Spectrum Disorder can have mild to sever effects on development; therefore devising strategies to cope with them remains a major issue for the health industry, as well as for the families of those affected.

Pipeline studies

Last year, a pioneering research project was commissioned by the Research Council of Norway. The organization awarded around $ 2.1 million to a US-based pharmaceuticals company to study the effectiveness of oxytocin administration on treating symptoms of autism. Previously, there have been several small studies into the relationship between oxytocin and autism; however, so far, large-scale research has yet to be carried out. Early research has indicated that oxytocin has many benefits on aggressive and distracted behavior exhibited by those diagnosed with a condition on the Spectrum. It is held that the new study by the Research Council of Norway will lead to the development of a new treatment for the condition.

Personal stories

While the families of those affected by autism eagerly wait for the results of this potential breakthrough study, it is clear by looking at smaller studies and listening to the personal stories of individuals that oxytocin could well be the beginnings of a new wonder treatment for autism. Last month, an article was published on the charity website, Autism Speaks. * The feature told the story of Laurie and Eric Chern – a couple from Chicago who have a son diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. Avid supporters of research into autism, the couple had donated funds to a study testing the effects of nasal spray on autistic children. The couple believed that the hormone could “improve the social and communication skills of children on the autistic spectrum.”

Several families from North Carolina participated in the research. One of the parents, Barbara Marotto, described the challenges typically faced by parents of children with autism. Her son, Gabe, exhibited all the classic symptoms of autism from an early age; lack of eye contact, lack of speech and sounds, and extreme tantrums were just some of the exercises she described. Feeling desperate to help their son communicate, the Marottos heard about the oxytocin trial being funded by the Cherns. The project, carried out by the North Carolina School of Medicine, used 25 children who had been diagnosed as being on the Autistic Spectrum.

“This little boy came to life”

Over an eight-week period, the 25 children were randomly divided into two groups; one group received a dose of an oxytocin nasal spray, and the other was given a solution containing just salt water. Barbara Marotto's son, Gabe, was one of those selected to receive the oxytocin solution, which was administrated in the form of a nasal spray. Following her son's treatment, she described the difference she saw in her son. “It was like this little boy came to life. He laughed and smiled a lot more, and he was very expressive,” she said. “I also noticed a big difference in the fluidity of his communication. He had always been able to talk, but it's a struggle for him.

In short, the entire group of children given the oxytocin spray in the Cherns' experiment exhibited an improvement in social behaviors compared with those that took the placebo. At the end of the experiment, both groups were given oxytocin for a further six weeks so that everyone participating could experience the benefits. The parents were amazed with the difference they saw in their children; communication skills improved, the children became more engaged and – most importantly – they appeared to be a lot more content than they had been before the study. Dr. Sikich believes that these results indicate that oxytocin could have been used as a long-term treatment for autism “to really improve things on a social perspective.” She also believes that improving social interaction goes hand-in-hand with enhanced learning and educational capabilities. “So much of how people learn is based on social interactions,” she said.

Positive impact

It is clear from Gabe's experience that oxytocin appears to have had a positive impact on his behavior. Often, health care professionals claim that an autistic child's tantrums are heavily related to a feeling of frustration, most probably as a result of not being able to communicate with or understand the people around them. “The ability to relate to other people, to communicate with them, is one of the things that make us most human,” said Dr. Linmarie Sikich, who led the original experiment. The medical profession was clearly impressed with the findings as, shortly after the eight week study, the Cherns received a $ 12.6 million grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) to conduct a larger study.

Oxytocin already linked to social behaviors

Dr. Sikich is just one of a long list of professionals that has not noticed oxytocin's capabilities, and its positive impact on the body could have advancing implications for autism. Many previous studies on both animals and humans have shown that oxytocin promotes social behavior, resulting in an increased awareness. A study by the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University and the University of Sao Paulo, found that oxytocin naturally released into the blood also helped the human body to combat the effects of stress. Another study , entitled “The Herding Hormone; Oxytocin Stimulates In-Group Conformity,” found that oxytocin also helped people interact in groups and think collectively – something that those with autism often find difficult.

Nasal spray products

The larger study, named SOARS-B (Study of Oxytocin in Autism to improve Reciprocal Social Behaviors), is scheduled to start this year and will take place over a six-month period. Again, the participants will be split into two groups – one that will be given oxytocin via a nasal spray, and the other that will be given a placebo. At the end of the six months, both groups will receive oxytocin treatment for a further six months.

However, while eager parents wait for the study's results, oxytocin is already available to purchase. Due to the numerous studies supporting the benefits of oxytocin supplementation, there is now a range of products available on the market.

* Autism Speaks website

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