Thursday, October 8, 2009

Latest Statistics on Autism--Very Disturbing

The latest statistics on autism are troublesome.Only a few years ago the rates of autism were 1 child in every 150. Currently, 1 in every 91 children will be diagnosed with autism. Since autism is seen 4-5x as frequently in males than females, this increases the risk of having a male child with autism to 1 in every 58 males born.

1 in every 58!

I am deeply troubled by these statistics and would like to offer my opinion as to what is causing this increased frequency of having a child with autism. First off, autism is multi factorial. This means there are many different reasons contributing to the creation and development of an autistic child. Autism indeed has a genetic influence and while research out of Massachusetts General Hospital places that statistic at 90% (genetic), researchers stated "the majority of autism cases cannot be attributed to known inherited causes."

Looking at specific genes, it appears that chromosomes # 5, 6 and 20 contained genes which encode for some autistic traits (commonly known as phenotypes). This information was obtained from analyzing 1000 families in the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) and the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), where about a "half million genetic markers" were analyzed.

For those of you who like the specifics, it was a variation in the genetic code on chromosome 5 near the gene known "as semaphorin A" whose function is thought to be to help with the growth of neurons and their axons within the central nervous system. This particular gene's ability to be active , or 'expressed,' is what is thought to underlie the increase in autism rates.

As was mentioned earlier, autism is not the result of a single defect of a single gene, nor is it the result of a single environmental influence.

Many parents have attempted to blame the presence of thimerosal preservative in some vaccinations (no longer found in most vaccinations), as causing the vast majority of autistic cases. There are two problems with this theory. Number 1; Thimerosal is no longer found in the vaccinations we give our children (unless it is a multi dose vial, but parents can still request a single dose which will contain no thimerosal); yet the rates of autism have doubled despite the disappearance of thimerosol; and Number 2; Autism does not resemble mercury toxicity of the central nervous system. So even if thimerosal were still present in vaccines, the way children present with mercury toxicity, again, is dissimilar to how a child presents with autism.

For the most comprehensive analysis of autism I've ever encountered Click Here. I cannot show any of the specific information on my blog due to copyright concerns.

So what do I theorize is contributing to the increase in autism. Those of you who have been following my blog pretty much know where I'm going with this one. While there certainly may be some environmental factors, I believe one of the biggest contributors is how the child is treated before it is conceived, while it is developing in-utero (in the womb), and how it is treated after it is born.

It seems pretty weird that I would suggest that autism may start before a child is even conceived, that is, before the sperm ever meets the egg, but allow me to explain. Most women are trying dutifully to read up on all the proper nutrition and eat the right way, especially those women who are even remotely thinking about getting pregnant. So women read all the journal's and magazine articles, perform online searches to find the latest nutritional studies, and what they end up with is the incorrect 'accepted' dietary information.

The problem becomes even greater because the incorrect 'accepted' dietary approach, because it is the 'accepted' approach; will be the same in just about every article the women come across. All these articles will promote low fat/low cholesterol diets; inherently limiting an expectant mom's protein intake as well; and the stage is now set for increasing her risk of having an autistic child.

You see, even before an egg is fertilized, the ovary (and eggs) all need to be bathed in the proper macro and micro-nutrients. Macro-nutrients represent the protein, fat, cholesterol and carbohydrates found in the body. While the micro-nutrients represents the vitamins & minerals a woman needs for the proper health of both herself and her baby.

It is interesting that there is general uniformity about the micro nutrients, the best example being that of folic acid and neural tube health; but the medical profession lags very far behind in understanding the proper macro-nutrient nutrition of a hopeful mom, as well as a mom to be, and to extrapolate even further, that of the newborn child.

A mom who is looking to conceive in a few months or a year, will do well to lower her carb intake, and consume more protein, fat and cholesterol. This is because the consumption of too many carbohydrates is known to create an inflammatory environment within our bodies. Since a mom's eggs are static, that is, they are not constantly being renewed (like sperm), this will allow the eggs to be surrounded in an inflammatory medium, possibly affecting the chromosomal material within each egg, thus increasing the possibility of abnormal nervous system development; possibly contributing to a rise in autistic probability.

Let's presume now the mom is pregnant. A mom who consumes less protein, fat and cholesterol and more carbohydrates, and this will happen if the mom is following the accepted low fat/low cholesterol diet; will be at risk for weight-gain, the development of pregnancy induced hypertension (high-blood pressure), gestational diabetes (with its attendant issues with larger babies and the inability to be delivered vaginally), edema of the ankles with the subsequent development of preeclampsia (high blood pressure, edema, and protein in urine) and now the mom faces the danger of becoming eclamptic (seizures with potential of death to mom and baby).

Aside from all the health risks the mom faces. the developing baby who is exposed to more sugar (as it is the sugar which will cross the placental barrier), can now experience growth enlargement (threatening its ability to be born vaginally) and will have problems with organ development (which occurs i the first trimester of pregnancy, also known as the embryological stage). It's important to note that in the first trimester, or the first 3 months, alot of women are not even aware they are pregnant. So women will be harming their babies before they even know they are pregnant. (This is why avoidance of alcohol and tobacco and of course any drug which can harm the baby, needs to be avoided when a mom makes a decision to conceive.)

It needs to be stressed that a developing baby needs protein, fat and cholesterol to develop all their organs normally. It also needs to be stressed that there are essential proteins and fats, which our bodies cannot make and need to be supplied from the diet. Consuming a low fat/low cholesterol diet will make it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain these crucial food supplements. These essential fats and proteins cannot be made from carbohydrates and need to be received from only fat and cholesterol in the diet; and they are imperative for not only all organ development, but especially the central nervous system(which includes the brain).

Carbohydrates cannot be used to create these essential food items. Also, while all our carbohydrate needs can be obtained from protein and fat; the reverse is not true as stated above. That is, the essential fatty acids and proteins (really amino acids, the building blocks of protein) need to be obtained from the diet. If they are not, the developing baby's organ system development, which includes the Central nervous system as stated above, will be jeopardized.

Let me just add that our bodies are made up of water, fat/cholesterol and protein, with a mere 2% of our bodies existing in the form of carbohydrate. And our brains continue with this breakdown as the brain is comprised of predominantly water, fat/cholesterol and protein with, again, only 2% of our brains consisting of carbohydrate or sugar. So when a pregnant woman eats low fat/low cholesterol and more carbohydrate (whole grains and fruits-yes, you read that right), she is not providing the baby's developing nervous system with what it needs to develop normally. This could absolutely increase this baby's risk for autism.

But I'm not done yet. Assuming the baby makes it through the onslaught of the sugar it has been presented with throughout its uterine life, it is now born into a carbohydrate worshipped world. What I mean by this is that most babies in America are not breastfed, they receive formula. For anyone who disputes this, be aware that a woman will be stated to have breastfed if she only breastfeeds for a month, and this includes women who are not even exclusively breastfeeding! So the statistics on breastfeeding are very misleading. What do you think human breast milk is comprised of-well, it does contain carbohydrate (certainly not alot), but it also contains high amounts of fat,cholesterol and protein. Mom's who don't breastfeed are giving their babies too much sugar and this will impair central nervous system growth and development (which continues well into a child's 5th birthday and beyond).

Of course, most children when they are weaned from the bottle (or even the breast) will then start to eat a diet high in carbs and low in fat/cholesterol and protein and of course this will only prolong and encourage any abnormal development of brain.

So there you have some of my ideas as to why we are seeing an almost doubling of autism in our society. Again for the most comprehensive analysis of autism from a leading autism advocate, just Click Here.

Thanks so much for your time!

Dr Jim

Hello Jim! My twelfth follower!

Click Here to read the first ten chapters of my book for free.


  1. This explanation makes since...but, what if I had a prenatal diet that was high in protein & fat...a lot, yes some carbs, but mostly protein & fat, especially two eggs & bacon a day & always meat at dinner, not to mention, nuts, cheeses, etc... throughout the day...and I still have a baby with Autism?
    Who displayed symptoms post 3-6 months old, had always been measured to have an excessively large head circum in prenatal exams, especially compared to his twin sister?
    I am just curious and looking for answers, not disputing that a high carb diet does contribute...but, what if it still occurs with a high proein/fat diet..then where is the cause?
    Looking for answers,

  2. I agree with Dr. Carlson that there are many environmental/genetic causes for the syndrome we call Autism as well as the contributions of the high sugared American diet we embrace. The book GENOCIDE is an eye opener and I highly recommend it.
    Your question is excellent!
    I am a Traditional Naturopathic Doctor that works with a large population of Autistic children as well as all those on the Spectrum. I do Functional/Biomedical lab testing in conjunction with dietary modifications. I see the same common denominators on ALL kids whether they are on the spectrum or with the diagnosis of Autism. Some of the most prevalent components are:
    • Sugar handling issues (low blood sugar/high blood sugar). Probably due to the high carbohydrate, imbalanced diets these kids eat.
    • Leaky Gut Syndrome- Due to genetic predispositions, complicated by certain inflammation causing foods that are eaten daily.
    • High levels of environmental toxins that compromise the ability of the liver to ‘do its job’. The list goes on.
    These are just a few factors that cause inflammation of the brain, the child becomes literally uncomfortable in its own skin, and thus aberrant behavioral conditions are displayed.
    In answer to your question, the question becomes… and there is no judgment here… How was your health/lifestyle and the health of the father prior to conception, during pregnancy, etc?

  3. I cut out refined carbs and sugar and increased healthy fats (example Kerrygold butter instead of Breakstone, grass fed vs grain fed) and my lipid panel is now within normal range.