Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A New Look at Autism

I spent the weekend reviewing some very interesting videos and data on the treatment of autism, a major problem in our society. This treatment paradigm was very unique as it treated autism with radiofrequency waves introduced into the brain via a patch as well as ultrasound treatments to the brain. The researchers have reported very positive results and I had the pleasure to sit and speak with these brilliant key researchers last evening.

Before anyone goes and thinks this is a bunch of malarkey or pseudoscience I submit the following; we know as physicians that the brain emits electromagentic waves as we can record these via an EEG (electroencephalogram). On top of this, each of our organs emits an electrical impulse. The greatest example of this is the heart measured through the EKG (electrocardiogram). We also know that we can shock the heart back into its regular rhythm by using a defribrillator--hence, we can control what the heart does internally,externally with the use of the paddles.

Why cannot the same be done to the brain?

It was interesting to note that the brain's gamma waves were absent when the subjects were not interactive with their environment and before treatment (as measured by the EEG), only to return after the subjects received the radiofrequency and ultrasound stimulation. Concomitant with the gamma waves reappearance after treatment was an increased interactivity with the environment in a more appropriate fashion. This included increased interaction with the subject's parents as well as increased vocal/speach patterns.

As I've been reading alot about our conscious state recently (the current book I'm reading is Julian Jaynes' "The Emergence of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind")
I immediately wondered 'Do gamma waves need to be present in order for consciousness to exist?' Which led to my next thought, "If gamma waves need to be present, does their absence create the unconscious autistic mind?'

Now when I say unconscious, I don't mean passed out on the floor unconscious. I am referring to being in a state that is simply reactionary to the environment, with no ability to think of oneself as oneself. That person would also lack the ability to be introspective. This is exactly how we were only 3000 years ago. It was around 3000 years ago that we became 'conscious' as a species, developing the ability to think about our reactions before we reacted, and also to reflect upon our thoughts without being active. This is the conscious state.

Is this unique and groundbreaking methodology for the treatment of autism awakening these patients to the concsious state? I think it may well be.

So what is my involvment, you may be wondering? Well, it will come as no shock to anyone that I will be placing the subjects on a restrictive carb intake, along with the other treatments, to see if we can increase the cognitive functioning even further. As you might imagine, these patients are eating an overabundance of carbs, and not enough fat,cholesterol and protein.

Now using a low carb approach in children is not unique. Dr John Freeman from John's Hopkins has used what he calls the Ketogenic Diet-which is a low carb, higher fat, and more cholesterol and protein approach. He treats mainly children with severe recalcitrant epilepsy and has treated some who were autistic who were experiencing seizures with excellent results. (His book is "The Ketogenic Diet".)

It must be emphasized our brains are mainly fat and need fat to function properly. If we are underconsuming fat we will probably not be getting enough essential fatty acids-these are fats which we cannot manufacture on our own-into the brain. I propose that one not eating enough fat will not be giving the brain what it needs to function properly.

I feel very privileged to be a part of what I feel will be a major step forward in the treatment of this debilitating disease.

Tomorrow I'll talk about plaque stabilization and how doctors should not be using the phrase "cholesterol lowering medication", but should be telling their patients the med (the statins such as Crestor, Lipitor etc...) is being used for plaque stabilization.

Dr Jim

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