What’s Lyme’s Got to Do with Autism?.

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What’s Lyme’s Got to Do with Autism?.

Sinister image of pills and microbes at war

Photo by Holohololand, freedigitalphotos.net

Gut Dysbiosis is one of the five root causes of autism.  There are no autistic spectrum individuals without some degree of digestive and malnourishment trouble, and often, dysbiosis is behind the problem. On its own — with no other root causes of autism at play — having the wrong creatures in the wrong parts of the gut will:

  1. prevent you from being able to break down and absorb most of the food you eat
  2. create a lot of toxic wastes that burn through antioxidants and other nutrients faster than they’re supplied
  3. cause a high degree of inflammation and impairment, everywhere those wastes get carried

The nicest thing about having GUT dysbiosis is that those nasty funghi, yeasts, and undesirable bacteria are only in your gut.  And for the most part, our guts are pretty good at keeping nasty things in the gut, and not in the blood, the brain, the joints, the muscles, the lymph, or the other organs.

However, some of the worst symptoms of autism (e.g. projectile vomiting, toe-walking, irrational violence, seizures, etc.) stem from gut dysbiosis.  We know that the worse the dysbiosis, the more likely it is that the gut is leaking straight into the bloodstream.  But we don’t yet know how many of these digestive undesirables, these scavengers and opportunists, these mafioso micro-organisms are travelling and accumulating elsewhere in the body or brain.

Which is where we come to Lyme’s Disease.  When that fateful deer tick bites you, it dumps a wide and variable selection of nasty microbes directly into your bloodstream (not your gut).  And your bloodstream carries them everywhere throughout your body.  Evidence is accumulating that these critters can cross the placenta into babies, and some of them seem to be sexually transmissible.

Some people who get bitten by an infected tick have healthy enough immune systems that it’s only when something wears them down (like a friend of mine’s infected tooth) that they being to show Lyme’s symptoms.  And some people carry these microbes without any symptoms ever… except in their lovers and children.

People suffering from Lyme’s tend to have a rapid downhill slide into the worst symptoms… which look a LOT like autism in adults with no prior sign of it.  When these symptoms are showing up in children, even in places where infectious ticks are endemic, these children are often being diagnosed with autism.

Some people are upset about this, because the media and medical standards of practice are over 50 years out of date, in keeping up with the autism research.  When people hear the word autism, they still believe it’s an “incurable neurological disorder — nothing can be done”.

But if dysbiosis from Lyme’s is at fault in these children’s autism symptoms, then treating the dysbiosis effectively should help those children recover… which is exactly what happens.

You might think that we have pills to fight off the wrong critters in our gut or elsewhere in our bodies.  You’d be right — sort of.  We have pills, but unless you take them for a very long time, and support your body with other things like a very careful diet, the pills don’t kill off all the undesirable microbes, from all their hiding places, and in all of their forms.

If they’re treated soon enough and thoroughly, some children with Lyme’s (or those misdiagnosed as Autistic) are recovering.  Some adults with Lyme’s are also recovering. But people suffering from Lyme’s are having the same problems accessing up-to-date and effective medical care as people with ASDs do.

Standards of practice aren’t keeping up with the research, and many professional associations are punishing doctors who ARE paying attention and staying current in their field in terms of Lyme’s treatments that work.  How are these MDs being punished?  The same way Autism MDs are:  rigid supervision of practice for adherence to standards, or removal of license to practice.

So if you have Lyme’s, where can you go to get medical help?  A good place to start is ILADS, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society.  ILADS has a directory of savvy health professionals which you can search by proximity to your location.  Finding good health support for autism is more difficult, because there are five root causes (not just gut dysbiosis), and very few health professionals are familiar with all five.  Often, the best you can do for autism is mix and match…

The main thing to remember is, if a doctor tells you “nothing can be done”, don’t stop there.  The best advice my nurse-grandmother ever gave me was to keep looking for answers until I was satisfied that I knew what was going on in my body, and felt empowered to make my own decisions (instead of blindly following what doctors told me).

Actually, what she started that lecture with was “How DARE he play God!” when an MD told me I’d never walk right again (26 years later, I’m still walking, and not planning to stop).  Every day, I’m grateful for her advice.  I hope it serves you well, too.

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