The CDC defines autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges.

Studies indicate that ASD is associated with impaired immunity.  Individuals with ASD show increased levels of inflammatory cytokines, including IL-1B, IL-6, IL-8, and IL1-12p40, when compared to controls, in addition to other abnormal levels of immune cells. Other studies have found active HERV-H expression (human endogenous retroviruses) higher in those with ASD than in a control population.  HERV-H was most highly associated with regressive ASD.  Leaky gut and non-celiac sensitivity have also been proposed as contributing factors.   Recent research by Pizzo et al. found that auto-antibodies to a protein found in the brain called myelin basic protein, taken from the serum of those with ASD and injected into mice, result in impaired neuronal plasticity.

ASD risk factors

  • Taking valproic acid and thalidomide during pregnancy;
  • Children are at highest risk before, during, and immediately after birth;
  • Children born to older parents;
  • Parental history of autoimmune disease;
  • Exposure to toxins and heavy metals;
  • Genetic disorders such as Fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis are medical conditions that increase the child’s risk of having ASD.

How is ASD treated?

The outward manifestations of ASD have historically been addressed through the use of intense, long term behavioral training.  However, pioneering medical doctors have also reported successful reduction of ASD symptoms using biomedical treatments aimed at reducing inflammation and chronic infections.