Alternative Treatments for Autism | Kathy Marshack

alternative treatments for autism spectrum disorder People are desperately trying to find a cure for their loved ones with Autism Spectrum Disorder. A great deal of research is being done on alternative treatments based on recent findings that good gut bacteria can change the way the brain works. A New York Times article reports on many of these studies and I’d recommend reading it. It’s fascinating to learn about their findings.

Science has shown for a long time that an estimated 50 percent of the dopamine and a majority of the serotonin we need originates in the intestine, where these chemical signals regulate appetite, feelings of fullness and digestion.

In 2007, scientists started the Human Microbiome Project to catalog the micro-organisms living in our body. Gut bacteria does break down our food and contributes to our digestive health. Biologists now believe that much of what makes us human depends on microbial activity. Many scientists are researching how microbiota can improve or cure physical diseases, Autism, depression anxiety and more.

One alternate treatment is called “psychobiotics”, which is a term coined by neuroscientist John Cryan to describe the process of introducing potentially mind-altering microbes. So far they’ve been experimenting on mice and have been achieving promising results.

Another alternate treatment that some people are trying is fecal transplants. (Yes, people are taking fecal matter from a donor and implanting it in another person.). They base this practice on the theory that introducing the bacteria from a healthy donor will establish good gut bacteria in the patient who’s lacking it because they didn’t receive it at birth because of a cesarean delivery. I can’t in good conscience recommend this treatment because of the health risks associated with it. Will scientists in time be able to isolate individual strains of bacteria that can cure Autism? Time will tell.

While this ongoing research is fascinating, if you have a loved one that has been diagnosed with ASD, you want a proven effective treatment. A holistic health approach, which may include medications and therapy benefit those with Autism. Consult with a mental health care professional who specializes in ASD to determine the best treatment for your loved one. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

You will also benefit from learning how science is unlocking the key to understanding Asperger behavior. My book, Out of Mind – Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome (ASD), explores the science behind Asperger’s. If you want to understand your Aspie better, this is a must read.

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