As is the case with all disorders, there are often many different causes and each case is unique. There has been an increased amount of literature regarding the cause and growing incidence of Autism, ADD, and ADHD. The use of medications can often be helpful to the patient and allow for better integration in school and social settings. However, there are often many harmful side effects with these prescriptions. Additionally, the cause of these disorders is ignored by the traditional medical approach. While there is no one therapy that can cure these disorders, the key to successful treatment is to identify the unique etiology for each patient.
History and Exam
All of our patient care begins with a detailed history and exam. Our doctors spend the time necessary to understand the history and extent of the patient's problem. It is these details that help our doctors determine the tests necessary to find the cause of the condition and to develop a subsequent treatment plan.
More and more research is showing that early exposure to chemicals and toxins can impair neurological development in infants. Some of these toxins include mercury, aluminum, chloride, fluoride, cadmium, arsenic, and lead. With increasing amounts of exposure to these harmful elements from environmental pollution, food treatments, packaging, and additives, it is essential to evaluate these levels in any patient with Autism, ADD, or ADHD. Our office offers a heavy metal analysis test and can provide natural treatment protocols to help eliminate the toxicity once identified.
Food allergies seem to be increasing at epidemic rates. While the exact causes of these allergies are not fully understood, it is evident that they are due to a number of environmental and lifestyle factors. However, these conditions continue to be ignored by many physicians. A food allergy develops when the immune system reacts in an attempt to reject a food in the diet. This is called an autoimmune reaction. An autoimmune reaction is an event where the immune system is reacting and attacking substances that it should normally recognize as harmless. There are four different types of autoimmune reactions: Types 1, 2, 3, and 4. More than one type of reaction can occur at the same time in the same allergic individual. These reactions are well documented in medical literature and are referred to as the Gell-Coombs classifications. It is the Type 2 and 3 reactions that can affect mood, energy, and mental clarity. Types 2 and 3 are delayed autoimmune pathways and cannot be checked using traditional medical scratch testing that is used for general allergies. Once a delayed food allergy is identified, a specific course of elimination and rotation must occur to allow the body’s system to heal. Our office utilizes advanced blood testing procedures to identify and correct these conditions.
Gluten, Whey, Casein, and Chemical Sensitivities
While the cause of sensitivities to chemicals and various protein particles in foods remains undetermined, it is evident that an increasing number of patients are presenting with these problems. Once the immune system becomes hyper-sensitized to a protein or chemical, many different disorders can arise, including altered neurological function and mood disorders. Our food allergy testing includes identification of these sub-categories. Our office can also customize food allergy panels to the patient's needs.
An overgrowth of yeast can occur due to poor diet, early antibiotic use, and a variety of other reasons. This overgrowth of yeast can produce abnormal toxic metabolites which can cause or worsen behavior disorders, hyperactivity, and aggressiveness. These can also affect energy levels and immune function. Yeast can attach to the intestinal wall and lead to "leaky gut syndrome", which can exacerbate food allergies, impede absorption, and create multiple nutrient deficiencies. Our office offers systemic yeast testing as a part of our food allergy testing or we can order a more specific yeast test called an Organic Acid test. Once yeast overgrowth is diagnosed, dietary programs are established and targeted nutrition is utilized to destroy the yeast and restore health.
Wide varieties of nutritional deficiencies have become common in modern society. Some reports indicate gestational nutrition as a source of origin for nutritional deficiencies in infants and toddlers. Additionally, increased dairy, white sugar, and white flour compound these nutritional problems as children grow. Nutritional conditions are further complicated by lifestyle and environmental factors such as antibiotics, additives, and toxins that displace nutrients.
An increasing number of studies suggest that insult to the nervous system--at the upper most part of the spinal cord (aka the brain stem)--can contribute to a variety of disorders including ADD and ADHD. It is essential for optimal health that the brain communicates with the body through the nervous system, uninterrupted. Small misalignments in the upper part of the neck caused by birth and childhood trauma can create severe disruption to this communication system. Our doctors use the NUCCA technique to correct this part of the spine. Our office routinely receives infant referrals from pediatricians due to the safety and efficiency of our approach to cervical misalignment. We are currently the only office in North and South Carolina with doctors trained in the NUCCA technique.
Fats and Fatty Acid Imbalances
While it is yet undetermined whether Autistic, ADD, and ADHD patients have cholesterol deficiencies as a secondary result of other problems or as a genetic predisposition, the research supports that it is a common problem among this population. Prescription medication is often given with the goal of lowering cholesterol in adults at all costs. However, cholesterol is an essential component for proper neurological function since the nervous system uses fats to conduct impulses. When cholesterol levels get below 160, neurological function is impaired which can result in lethargy, aggression, reduced concentration, and other mood alterations. Having a proper balance of fatty acids is also imperative to normal neurological function. Modern diets create extreme imbalances in these fatty acid ratios. Our office offers testing for fats and fatty acids and has natural treatments available once the diagnosis has been made.
There are many neurotransmitters in the body. Some of the most common are Serotonin, GABA, Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, Dopamine, and Glutamate. These can be divided into two categories: 1) excitatory and 2) inhibitory. These hormones are responsible for controlling all of the other hormones in the body and helping to regulate the nervous system. Since hormones are derived from fats and amino acids, these imbalances can arise from poor absorption, fatty acid imbalance, low cholesterol levels, and a variety of other conditions. These imbalances can severely alter sleep patterns, anxiety, aggressiveness, concentration, mood, and energy. Our office offers advanced neurotransmitter testing with natural treatment protocols.
Visual Integration Problems
Next to the spinal cord and nervous system, the visual system is the most complex in the body. Difficulty with visual perception can dramatically affect development. Interruption of this system can cause agitation to the nervous system and result in developmental delays, hostility, frustration, and withdrawal. Our office works closely with other professionals that specialize in vision therapy when this condition is indicated.
Impairments in methylation, detoxification, or the clearance of catecholamines may contribute to symptoms of autism. Our Neurogenomic test from Genova Diagnostics Laboratory evaluates single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes that modulate methylation, glutathione conjugation, oxidative protection, and potential vascular oxidation. This allows our office to determine if the patient has genetic weaknesses and to utilize nutritional therapy to minimize the effect of these weaknesses.
There is no system that is more important in the treatment of ADD, ADHD, and Autism than the digestive system. Since there are many factors that can contribute to gastrointestinal dysfunction, treatment often first requires a measurement of function in the intestinal lining. Our intestinal permeability test from Genova Diagnostics Laboratory allows our office to assess how well or poorly nutrients are absorbing through the intestinal wall, how much inflammation is present, and what the best course of action will be. This test directly measures how well two nonmetabolized sugars permeate the intestinal mucosa. The small intestine has the paradoxical dual function of being a digestive/absorptive organ as well as a barrier to permeation of toxic compounds and macromolecules. Either one of these functions may be disrupted by various mechanisms, resulting in local as well as systemic problems. Once evaluated, a treatment plan can be created.
Amino Acid Imbalances
Poor protein sources, steroids in our meats and dairy products, and poor gastrointestinal absorption can result in amino acid imbalances. Amino acids are essential for neurological function, neurotransmitter production, and muscle development. Our office uses advanced amino acid testing and can customize an amino acid product for each individual's requirements.
Our office offers a complete approach to childhood behavior disorders that includes the most modern diagnostics and a holistic treatment plan. We believe every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential while living a healthy life.