Autism Brain

From Behavioral and Learning Issues to ADHD and Autism

What to do about little Timmy? He was an energetic five-year-old with behavioral issues and trouble at preschool! Additionally, his mother noticed a few development milestones were delayed, and she was concerned about his attention and focus with grade school this fall. The school and pediatrician starting to push drugs, but she wanted to find a different route.

From Behavioral and Learning Issues to ADHD and Autism

A comprehensive history and neurological workup confirmed his developmental delay; one notable finding was that of mild retention of a primitive neurological reflex that should have disappeared by now. Furthermore, his nutritional examination showed definite signs of increased nutritional needs. How best then to determine the underlying metabolic dysfunction that led to his brain health issues?

Utilizing Functional Laboratory Testing

There is no perfect tool for evaluation in nutritional medicine, but one very helpful test is a metabolic profile utilizing urinary organic acids (UOA). This laboratory urine test is sensitive enough to reveal evidence of functional inadequacies of vitamins and minerals, toxic exposures, efficiency of cellular energy production, neuroendocrine activity and intestinal bacteria overgrowth. For a doctor properly trained in the interpretation of this metabolic profile a tremendous amount of vital information can be gained. This information was crucial to knowing what may have interrupted Timmy's healthy brain development.

Through various metabolic pathways all cells, including brain cells, convert food into usable energy, new structures and to clean house or detoxification. This is accomplished with the assistance of vitamins and minerals. What if there was not enough of a specific nutrient or a toxic chemical blocked one of these metabolic pathways? Those cells affected may not have enough energy or necessary building blocks to function properly. Or, they may not be able to "clean house" sufficiently allowing damaging substances to accumulate.

Five very important questions of clinical relevance to brain health can be answered by this metabolic (UOA) profile:

  • Are there nutrient deficiencies because of increased demand or decreased intake?
  • Is there excessive bacterial growth and fungi in the intestines?
  • Is there a high toxin load and are detoxification pathways keeping up?
  • Is there sufficient antioxidants protecting cells against free radical damage?
  • Is cellular energy production adversely affected?

Let me use a poor analogy; imagine the Twin Cities freeway system at rush hour with an accident somewhere along a major route. By analyzing the number of cars taking alternate routes you could pinpoint exactly where the accident occurred. Similarly by measuring the specific level of some 49 different intermediate metabolites in the urine of Timmy I was able to pinpoint where the "accidents" were taking place in his metabolic pathways.

Timmy's Metabolic Profile

The complete results of all of Timmy's laboratory tests are beyond the scope of this article. However, to illustrate the importance of this urinary organic acid profile a few of the important findings will be discussed.

  • D-arabinitol was highly elevated showing the presence of pathogenic Candida in his intestines. The removal of the invasive yeasts and subsequently normal D-arabinitol levels caused a marked improvement in his behavior.
  • Glucarate was also elevated showing indication of chemical toxins in his environment that needed to be removed and avoided.
  • Even more troubling was the fact that a metabolite known as 8-OHdG was elevated showing free radical damage to the cellular DNA. Therefore it was vital that he increase his intake of specific antioxidants to protect cellular function and his brain.

Because Timmy had dedicated parents, who strove to have a healthy child free of drugs, over time he caught up and got along well with his peers. This process is a journey necessitating the need for a knowledgeable guide, but in the end it is the hard work of the parent and child that reclaims the promise of a healthy brain and a magnificent life.

Author Dr. Greg Fors

About Dr. Greg Fors

Dr. Greg Fors, D.C. is a Board-certified Neurologist (IBCN), certified in Applied Herbal Sciences (NWHSU) and acupuncture. As the clinic director of the Pain and Brain Healing Center in Blaine Minnesota he specializes in a functional medicine approach to fibromyalgia, fatigue, brain fog, digestive disorders, depression and anxiety. He is a sought after international lecturer for various post-graduate departments and state associations. Dr. Fors is the author of the highly acclaimed book, “Why We Hurt” available through booksellers everywhere.

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