An unconventional approach has successfully reversed deficits in social behaviors associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in genetic, environmental and idiopathic mouse models of the condition. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine report in the journal Neuron that administration of the bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri could lead to specific changes in the brain that reverse social deficits through a mechanism that involves the vagus nerve and the oxytocin-dopamine reward system. These findings hold hope for the development of novel therapies for neurological disorders by modulating specific microbes in the gut.

“In 2016, we discovered in mice that the offspring of mothers fed a high-fat diet had social deficits and changes in their gut microbiome characterized by a reduction in the abundance of the bacterium L. reuteri. More importantly, restoring L. reuteri levels in the offspring reversed their social deficits,” said corresponding author Dr. Mauro Costa-Mattioli, professor and Cullen Foundation Endowed Chair of Neuroscience and director of the Memory and Brain Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine.”However, this model of ASD represents only one of the numerous subyacent mechanisms of the condition. Therefore, we decided to investigate whether our findings would apply to other models with different origins.”

The causes of ASD could be of genetic, environmental or idiopathic origin, Costa-Mattioli explains, and there are mouse models mimicking each of these condition. So, the researchers investigated whether L. reuteri could also rescue social behavior in other mouse models that represent different causes of ASD. Surprisingly, they discovered that, indeed, L. reuteri can trigger the recovery of social behaviors in all the models they tested, suggesting that this microbial-based approach could improve social behavior in a wider subset of ASD.

The researchers then applied multiple technical approaches to explore the mechanism that mediates L. reuteri‘s rescue of social behavior in a mouse model of ASD.”We discovered that L. reuteri promotes social behavior via the vagus nerve, which bidirectionally connects the gut and the brain,” said first author Dr. Martina Sgritta, a postdoctoral associate in the Costa-Mattioli lab.

It is known that when the vagus nerve is active, it releases oxytocin, a hormone that promotes social interaction. Oxytocin is released into the reward areas of the brain where it binds to molecules called oxytocin receptors, triggering ‘social reward.’ Sgritta and colleagues tested whether disrupting the vagus connection between the gut and the brain or interfering with oxytocin binding to its receptors would affect L. reuteri‘s ability to restore social behaviors in mouse models of ASD.”Interestingly, we found that when the vagus nerve connecting the brain and the gut was severed, L. reuteri could not restore social behavior in ASD mice,” Sgritta said. “In addition, when we genetically engineered mice to lack oxytocin receptors in the reward neurons or blocked the receptors with specific drugs, L. reuteri also could not restore social behaviors in the ASD mice.”

“We have begun to decipher the mechanism by which a gut microbe modulates brain function and behaviors. This could be key in the development of new more effective therapies,” Costa-Mattioli said. “Indeed, we think that our findings have strengthened the rather uncoventional idea that it might be possible to modulate specific behavior through the gut microbiome using select bacterial strains.”

Collectively, the findings described here could radically change the way we think about ASD and its treatment and could have a profound influence in the lives of people with this and related disorders.

Dr. Mauro Costa-Mattioli. Credit: Baylor College of Medicine

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Researchers have discovered how immune cells triggered by recurrent Strep A infections enter the brain, cause inflammation, and may lead to autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders in children, including PANDAS. Children with PANDAS exhibit high levels of anxiety, motor and vocal tics, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and a host of other symptoms that often appear “out of the blue” or increase dramatically, seemingly overnight.Their study found that immune cells reach the brain by traveling along neurons that originate from the nasal cavity.

This study explains, for the first time, exactly how upper respiratory infections can trigger both physical and neuropsychiatric symptoms.

According to the study’s co-leader, Dritan Agalliu, PhD, at Columbia University Medical Center, the Strep A bacterial cell wall contains molecules similar to those found in human heart, kidney, or brain tissue. These “mimicking” molecules are recognized by the immune system, which responds by producing protective antibodies. But because of this molecular mimicry, the antibodies react not only to the bacteria but also to the body’s own tissues. The molecular mimicry process has been well researched by others. But previously, scientists didn’t understand how these autoantibodies would gain access to the brain, because brain vessels form an extremely tight blood-brain barrier. This study answers that question.

Researches have known that recurrent Strep A infections trigger the production of immune cells known as Th17 cells, a type of helper T cell, in the nasal cavity. But it was unclear how these Th17 cells lead to brain inflammation and symptoms such as those seen in children with PANDAS. Through this study, Drs. Agalliu and colleagues found that bacterial-specific Th17 cells move along the surface of olfactory, or odor-sensing, axons that extend from the nasal cavity through the cribriform plate, a sieve-like bone that separates the nasal cavity from the brain. From there, the cells reach the olfactory bulb in the brain, which processes information about odors. The Th17 cells break down the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain,, allowing autoantibodies and additional Th17 cells to enter the brain, causing neuroinflammation.

In addition to illustrating how PANDAS occurs, the study also validated some of the experiences many parents have had regarding their PANDAS children:

  • Strep A is not the only trigger – Parents have often reported that infections other than Strep A seem to trigger PANDAS symptoms. This feedback was so abundant that researchers proposed making PANDAS a sub-set of a new, larger category called PANS – Pediatric Acute Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome. Unlike PANDAS, PANS does not associate the onset of symptoms specifically to a Strep A infection. Dr. Agalliu’s study shows that Th17 cells persist in the brain for at least 56 days after initial infection, even when nasal tissues no longer show signs of an active infection. “Several other bacterial and viral pathogens, including influenza virus, mycoplasma and Staphylococcus aureus (nasal staph infections) induce robust Th17 responses and could also play a role in an exacerbation of behavioral symptoms in children with PANDAS if autoantibody levels are primed by previous (Strep A) infections.” (pg 11 of article).
  • Creating a Feeling of Safety Is Critical – The amygdala, the part of the brain largely responsible for the “fight or flight” response, is directly affected by the neuroinflammation caused by the Th17 migration described in this study. Previous research has focused more on the basal ganglia’s role. By appreciating the primal role the amygdala plays in emotional and social health, cognitive behavior therapies that focus on making a child feel safe might bring calm to a child in crisis.
  • Insights Into other Autoimmune Diseases – This study shows evidence of crosstalk between the central nervous system and the immune system, which may help in the understanding of other autoimmune diseases. As other recent studies are now finding, common bacterial and viral infections may trigger a cascade of signaling and inflammation that lead to autoimmune responses in diseases such as Lupus and eczema. Looking for persistent infections and looking for ways to strengthen a compromised blood-brain barrier may hold promise for new treatments.

The findings in this study may lead will hopefully put an end to the “controversy” surrounding this illness.

Adapted from a press release by Columbia University Medical Center

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The risk of developing autism-spectrum disorders is determined by the mother’s microbiome – the collection of microorganisms that naturally live inside us – during pregnancy, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests. The work raises the possibility that preventing forms of autism could be as simple as an expectant mom modifying her diet or taking custom probiotics.

Further, the UVA scientists were able to use their discovery to prevent the development of autism-like neurodevelopmental disorders in lab mice. They found they could halt the development of such disorders by blocking a particular inflammatory molecule produced by the immune system. Targeting this molecule, interleukin-17a, offers another potential avenue for preventing autism in people, the researchers say. They caution, however, that this approach would be much more complex because of the risk of side effects.

“We determined that the microbiome is a key contributor in determining susceptibility [to autism-like disorders], so it suggests that you could target either the maternal microbiome or this inflammatory molecule, IL-17a,” said lead researcher John Lukens of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience. “You could also use this [IL-17a] as a biomarker for early diagnosis.”

Microbiome and Autism

The groundbreaking work from Lukens and his colleagues sheds light on the complex relationship between the health of the mother’s microbiome and the healthy development of her children.

“The microbiome can shape the developing brain in multiple ways,” explained Lukens, of UVA’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia and UVA’s Carter Immunology Center. “The microbiome is really important to the calibration of how the offspring’s immune system is going to respond to an infection or injury or stress.”

But an unhealthy microbiome in the mother can create problems: Lukens’ work shows that it can make her unborn offspring susceptible to neurodevelopmental disorders. The researchers found that the IL-17a molecule was a key contributor to the development of autism-like symptoms in lab mice.

The good news: The microbiome can be modified easily, either through diet, probiotic supplements or fecal transplant. All of these approaches seek to restore a healthy equilibrium among the different microorganisms that live in the gut – although researchers cannot yet offer specific dietary recommendations.

“In terms of translating our work to humans, I think the next big step would be to identify features of the microbiome in pregnant mothers that correlate with autism risk,” Lukens said. “I think the really important thing is to figure out what kind of things can be used to modulate the microbiome in the mother as effectively and safely as we can.”

Another Option for Preventing Autism

Blocking IL-17a also might offer a way to prevent autism, but Lukens said that path carries much more risk.

“If you think about pregnancy, the body is basically accepting foreign tissue, which is a baby,” he said. “As a result, maintenance of embryonic health demands a complex balance of immune regulation, so people tend to shy away from manipulating the immune system during pregnancy.”

IL-17a previously has been implicated in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis, and there are already drugs available that target it. But Lukens noted that the molecule has an important purpose in stopping infections, especially fungal infections. Blocking it, he said, “could make you susceptible to all kinds of infections.” And doing so during pregnancy could have complex ripple effects on a child’s development that scientists would need to sort out.

For their next steps, Lukens and his team plan to explore the potential role of other immune molecules in the development of autism and other such conditions. IL-17a may be just one piece in a much larger puzzle, he said.

While Lukens’ work links the immune system with neurodevelopmental disorders, he emphasized that this in no way suggests that vaccines are contributing to the development of autism.

“There’s a definite link between the immune response and the developing brain,” he said. “It just doesn’t have anything to do with vaccines. It’s much, much earlier.”

Lukens’ work is but the latest research from UVA to speak to the importance of the microbiome in maintaining good health. For example, one of Lukens’ colleagues in the Department of Neuroscience, Alban Gaultier, found that probiotics in yogurt can reverse depression symptoms.

Findings Published

Lukens and his colleagues have published their findings in the Journal of Immunology. Lukens’ research team consisted of Catherine R. Lammert, Elizabeth L. Frost, Ashley C. Bolte, Matt J. Paysour, Mariah E. Shaw, Calli E. Bellinger, Thaddeus K. Weigel and Eli R. Zunder.

The work was supported by the Hartwell Foundation, the Owens Family Foundation and the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. In addition, members of the research team received support from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences, UVA’s Medical Scientist Training Program and from Hutcheson and Stull Undergraduate Research Fellowships.

Josh Barney

When a child receives a diagnosis of ADHD, it’s hard for parents to deal with the emotional repercussions, let alone sort out the mass of information. There is one message, however, that will be coming through loud and clear from almost everyone parents are likely to consult — doctors, teachers, psychiatrists, and practitioners — and that’s: “Medicate!”

To Medicate Or Not To Medicate Is The Big Question

An ADHD diagnosis is particularly prone to this knee-jerk response from professionals who are so convinced these children have a genetic disorder that they have called off the search for a better understanding of the underlying conditions. Our society has become conditioned to trust the physicians and jump to a pill for the ‘quick fix.’

Of course, conventional medicine is a powerful tool, and certainly the best place to start if you have a broken leg or a heart attack. But it falls short against a more nuanced disorder like ADHD. Parents will be told that ADHD is complex in nature, possibly a result of genetic, psychological, and other unknown factors. In general, however, allopathic doctors do not address the wide range of physical symptoms often shared by kids with this disorder, such as:

  • allergies and asthma
  • chronic illness
  • gastrointestinal distress
  • food sensitivities
  • yeast overgrowth
  • leaky gut syndrome
  • malnutrition and obesity
  • hypoglycemia
  • adrenal fatigue
  • hormone imbalances
  • sleep disturbances
  • skin conditions, including eczema

As a psychotherapist who has worked for over a decade in mainstream medicine, I empathize with parents seeking a quick fix. However, I feel it is important for parents to look not only at evidence-based treatments, but also to consider the results that parents are seeing with holistic approaches and dietary changes.

What You Won’t Hear From A Conventional Doctor

Your child is probably suffering from genetic mutations and a nutritional deficiency combined with a food sensitivity.

Genetically modified foods, food dyes and preservatives, and chemicals are having an adverse reaction on your child’s attention, focus, and sleep.

For every medication, there is a natural plant or remedy that can achieve the same result without side effects.

Our emotions are largely governed by our intestinal system. There is more serotonin in our bowels than in our brains.

Bear In Mind

Every child is unique. A well thought out integrative treatment plan needs to be tailored to each child’s specific immunologic, digestive, and metabolic conditions. Find physicians and practitioners who will listen to you and conduct a thorough investigation. You will most likely need a team or different practitioners.

Changes can take time. Move slowly but steadily with dietary changes and protocols.

Treatment can be expensive. You are not letting your child down if you can’t afford the most expensive therapies. Check with special needs associations about the Department of Education services, government subsidies, financial aid, and therapists who provide sliding scales. You may also have to make lifestyle changes.

Focus on love, patience, and hard work. Know that the most important therapy takes place at home.

Trust your gut! You know your child best. Your intuition is the best guide.

Important First Steps

Look for a qualified naturopath or integrative MD in your area who specializes in ADHD and related disorders. Google Naturopathic (ND), Defeat Autism Now (DAN), Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs (MAPS) physician, Functional Medicine, or Integrative Medical Doctor (MD) practitioners in your area.

Do your research. Have a list of questions for your selected doctor. Ask for a complete metabolic workup including blood, urine and fecal testing. Also request a food sensitivity test (IgG) or ALCAT, Organic Acids Test to determine nutritional deficiencies.

Read! Good books include: Healing without Hurting, Almost Autism, A Compromised Generation, Healing the New Childhood Epidemics, and All Natural Mom’s Guide to the Feingold Diet.

Continue with mainstream therapies like OT and PT, behavioral plans, and psychotherapy. Also investigate other modalities such as acupuncture, craniosacral, brain balance therapies, and so on. Biomedical treatment enhances the effects of other therapies.

Join parent support groups, which can be a great source of information and inspiration. If there isn’t one in your area, explore the many online forums and blogs.

Chlorella is one of nature’s most powerful binders and detoxifiers. Go figure it also helps with overall liver function, cholesterol, weight loss and even depression! It seems strange to think anyone would like the taste of this algae, but it’s actually a sweet grassy taste that many have grown to expect and enjoy, yes even the kids.

Honestly, the idea may seem gross at first, but most children really enjoy it. They can be chewed or swallowed as a pill if they don’t like the flavor. It can also be blended and hidden in smoothies too!

Make sure to get clean chlorella grown in a clean environment. Several brands such as Biopure or Mercola brand are made in a indoor facility and tested for impurities.

Autism is complex neuro-developmental disorder which has a symptomatic diagnosis in patients characterized by disorders in language/communication, behavior, and social interactions. The exact causes for autism are largely unknown, but is has been speculated that immune and inflammatory responses, particularly those of Th2 type, may be involved. Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) are agonists of the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPARγ), a nuclear hormone receptor which modulates insulin sensitivity, and have been shown to induce apoptosis in activated T-lymphocytes and exert anti-inflammatory effects in glial cells. The TZD pioglitazone (Actos) is an FDA-approved PPARγ agonist used to treat type 2 diabetes, with a good safety profile, currently being tested in clinical trials of other neurological diseases including AD and MS. We therefore tested the safety and therapeutic potential of oral pioglitazone in a small cohort of children with diagnosed autism.

Case description

The rationale and risks of taking pioglitazone were explained to the parents, consent was obtained, and treatment was initiated at either 30 or 60 mg per day p.o. A total of 25 children (average age 7.9 ± 0.7 year old) were enrolled. Safety was assessed by measurements of metabolic profiles and blood pressure; effects on behavioral symptoms were assessed by the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC), which measures hyperactivity, inappropriate speech, irritability, lethargy, and stereotypy, done at baseline and after 3–4 months of treatment.

Discussion and evaluation

In a small cohort of autistic children, daily treatment with 30 or 60 mg p.o. pioglitazone for 3–4 months induced apparent clinical improvement without adverse events. There were no adverse effects noted and behavioral measurements revealed a significant decrease in 4 out of 5 subcategories (irritability, lethargy, stereotypy, and hyperactivity). Improved behaviors were inversely correlated with patient age, indicating stronger effects on the younger patients.


Pioglitazone should be considered for further testing of therapeutic potential in autistic patients.

The Centre for Disease Control in the United States released the latest autism prevalence statistics this year. 2018 saw an increase in the prevalence statistics of autism from 1 in 68 just two years ago to 1 in 59. This is a 15% increase, which is astronomical.

One might be inclined to think this number must be an over-estimation. Quite the contrary – at sites where researchers had full access to school records, higher numbers were recorded. This suggests that the new numbers reflect a persistent underestimation of autism’s true prevalence.

Other interesting findings were that:

  • The gender gap in autism has decreased. In 2012, boys were 4.5 times more likely to be diagnosed than girls. By 2014, this had decreased to a ratio of 4:1. This appears to reflect improvement in identification of autism in girls, many of whom do not fit the stereotypical picture of autism seen in boys.
  • White children are still more likely to be diagnosed with autism than children from other racial groups, but this gap has also decreased and reflects improved awareness and screening in ‘minority communities’ in the US.
  • Disappointingly, there has been no overall decrease in the age of diagnosis, with most children still being diagnosed after age 4, even though autism can reliably be diagnosed by age 2. This is important because research and experience shows that early intervention leads to the best outcomes.
  • The change in diagnostic criteria (from the DSM IV TR to the DSM 5, which did away with diagnoses such as Asperger’s Syndrome and moved to a catch-all diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder) caused only a slight decrease in prevalence estimates.
  • The US still lacks any reliable estimate of autism’s prevalence among adults. South Africa

Awareness in South Africa is increasing, which is good in terms of the safety of our children and in terms of families accessing treatment earlier, but we cannot stop there. What is really needed is financial support for Applied Behaviour Analysis, declared by the US surgeon general to be a medical necessity for children on the autism spectrum, and greater acceptance of children with autism in general education schools, with trained facilitators where necessary.

The importance of folate
Folic acid (vitamin B9, also known as folate) is a water-soluble B vitamin that is essential for numerous physiological systems of the body. Folate derives its name from the Latin word folium, which means leaf, to signify that the main natural source of this vitamin is from leafy vegetables. However, in the modern western diet, the main source of folate is from folate-fortified foods. Folic acid is the inactive, oxidized form of the folate compounds. The main active form of folate in the body is 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF). Folic acid is converted to dihydrofolate and then to tetrahydrofolate (THF) by the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase. This reaction, which requires niacin (vitamin B3), can be inhibited by certain medications. 5-MTHF is also converted to THF by the enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR). 5-MTHF is then converted back to THF through a cobalamin (vitamin B12) dependent enzyme called methionine synthase, a process that recycles methionine from homocysteine. Folate is important for the de novo synthesis of purine and pyrimidine nucleic acids that are the molecules from which DNA and RNA are produced. DNA stores the genetic code and needs to be duplicated when a cell divides and replicates. Thus, folate is extremely important during cell replication, especially prior to birth during the development of the embryo and fetus. It is also essential during early life when cells are growing quickly.
The folate cycle interacts with the methionine cycle as well as the tetrahydrobiopterin production and salvage pathways. Deficiencies in folates can lead to abnormalities in these pathways. The methionine cycle is essential for the methylation of DNA, a process that is important in controlling gene expression. Tetrahydrobiopterin is essential for the production of nitric oxide, a substance critical for the regulation of blood flow and for the production of the monoamine neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Production of these neurotransmitters and nitric oxide converts tetrahydrobiopterin to dihydropterin. The conversion of tetrahydrobiopterin back to dihydropterin again requires conversion of 5-MTHF to THF. In addition, tetrahydrobiopterin is produced de novo using the precursor purine guanosine triphosphate, a substance that requires THF to be produced. Several disorders have been linked to folate deficiency. For example, since blood cells need to be constantly replenished, a lack of folate commonly leads to anemia, an insufficiency of red blood cells. Folate deficiency during pregnancy leads to fetal neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
In 2002, my older son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with autism. At the time I had been practicing as a family physician for about five years. Prior to his diagnosis, Isaiah loved to get down on the floor and spin objects, and I thought it was cool, so I helped him. He also used to shake his hands back and forth in the air for hours. When I tried to shake my hands like him, I tired out in a couple of minutes. I couldn’t figure out how he could do it for hours! He had a significant speech delay and walked very late. However, despite all of these problems, I did not have a CLUE that he had autism. I remember when my wife and I went to his psychological evaluation to determine what was wrong with him. He was evaluated by a pediatric neurologist and several psychologists, and we spent the morning with him during the testing. We were then told to go to lunch while the team met to determine a diagnosis. I remember as we sat in McDonalds eating French fries and cheeseburgers that my wife and I discussed that maybe the team would say he had “autistic tendencies.” It was quite a shock to us when Isaiah was actually diagnosed with autism! For the first year after his diagnosis, my wife started looking into biomedical treatments, which I considered “quackery.”

The term MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate) may sounds like a “bad word,” but it isn’t.  It is just an acronym for a very important enzyme our bodies need.  The MTHFR plays an important role in the methylation cycle.  Cutting edge research has clearly linked impaired methylation problems with autoimmune conditions like autism and so much more. The good news about if your child has the MTHFR gene mutation, it can be treated with medications like Leucovorin or Deplin.  These prescription medications have the potential to help the body produce the neurotransmitters that are necessary and important for developing speech.  For my son, who is now an aerospace engineer, Leucovorin was life-changing.

I’m not a doctor and sometimes this medical research is way above my head, but I’m going to try to explain the MTHFR gene mutation. in simple Dr. Mom terms.  If you have the MTHFR defect, your body has trouble processing folic acid. When this enzyme isn’t functioning properly, as can happen in an estimated 30-60% of the population, it can cause many medical problems and life-altering issues.  Researchers have discovered that this gene, among many others are associated with autoimmune disorders like autism, recurrent miscarriage, birth defects, strokes, neurodegenerative disorders, blood clots, heart attacks and so many other medical issues.

If a child has the MTHFR gene mutation, their immune system doesn’t function properly and they have trouble eliminating the toxins we are all exposed to.  Toxic substances (like the heavy metals used to preserve vaccines) can create problems in a compromised immune systems. A simple blood test ordered by your pediatrician will help you know if your child has the MTHFR gene mutation.

One of my mom’s sent me this adorable picture of her son to share and gave me permission to tell you about how Leucovorin helped her son. I never share names, but love to share the success stories!!!

After I helped her find a doctor near her location. The doctor did a simple blood test to see if her son had the MTHFR gene mutation.  Then this informed physician prescribed Leucovorin to counteract the effects of his MTHFR gene mutation.

Mom reported, “[Our Boy] …started Leucovorin in Dec at a very low dose. Two weeks ago we doubled it, and his language exploded.”

Now for the fun part of this success story…

Mom said, “We are so happy with his progress. Yesterday…. he told a kid…. “Chill out”…. and today… he told me “Whatever.” He has a bit of a ‘tude…. and an impressive sense of humor. His eye contact is awesome. He is interacting so much more.”

This “Warrior Parent” is the shining example of what I hope my book “I KNOW YOU’RE IN THERE”can do our kids on the spectrum. This mom took the information I shared in the book, put her own spin on it, and ran with it. (The book can be previewed on Amazon or on my website

All of us want our kids to have more speech.  And we are constantly searching for that “instant cure.” We think that if only our kids could only talk more, our problems will be solved.  But that isn’t exactly true.

Although more speech does reduces frustration and does improve behavior, it doesn’t solve the real medical issues.  Even if we could wave a magic wand and fix the problems with our children’s immune function, it is important to realize it takes a “healthy and typical” kid three years to become proficient in speech.  So don’t use speech as an indicator that the biomedical treatments are working.

My wish every year when I blew out my birthday candles was that Ryan would talk more and have just one real friend. I longed for a time when could actually tell me what he was thinking. After helping his immune system function better, my son was able to learn what he couldn’t before.  Treating his MTHFR gene mutation with Leucovorin was part of making that happen. Ryan has always been under a doctor’s care. Regular blood tests are given to insure none of the meds he takes cause any damage.

Autism is complicated and it took many things combined to reduce “the total load” on my son’s broken immune system.  Recovery is a long process.  Ryan is now an aerospace engineer.  But when he was in middle school, even I didn’t think he ever completely recover. My dream back then was that maybe someday he could hold a job at McDonald’s and live independently.  Who knew he could accomplish all he has?

When I first asked Ryan’s doctor about adding Leucovorin to the mix he said a large portion of the population have the MTHFR gene mutation, and I don’t think this will really change anything. Then he added, “If it’s not broke… don’t fix it.” That’s when I asked him if we could try it anyway.

It was Ryan’s improvement that taught our physician about the benefits of the medications that improve methylation.  At that time my son was already  working as an engineer and I wasn’t sure he could really improve much. I knew Ryan was doing great, but after starting this med, his sense of humor exploded. A developed sense of humor is higher level thinking. Now Ryan keeps us laughing all the time.

Last month, when Ryan asked his doc if he could stop the Leucovorin, his doctor answered…absolutely not!!! And it is also important to note one of the children this medication helped didn’t test positive for the MTHFR. I’m not a doctor, only Ryan’s mom, so I don’t fully understand why that is true. Now Ryan’s doctor prescribes it for all of his patients who test positive for the MTHFR gene mutation! Sometimes even moms and dads teach our amazing docs a thing or two along the way.

NOTE FROM MARCIA HINDS – Megan and Ryan’s mom:

Ryan became an aerospace engineer, because he received proper medical treatment combined with behavioral, and educational interventions.  To preview my book, “I Know You’re In There – winning our war against autism”go to Amazon or my website