Immune System Disorders a Cause For Autism

Immune System Disorders a Cause For Autism

autism immune disorderDid you read the article in the New York Times about Immune Disorders and Autism?  I read it and didn’t think much of the article.  I considered most of it as information I already knew.  Immune system disorders as a cause for autism wasn’t a new thing for me.

So here’s the short of it: At least a subset of autism — perhaps one-third, and very likely more — looks like a type of inflammatory disease. And it begins in the womb.

I’ve always believed that the many illnesses I had during my pregnancy with my son lead to him being autistic.  My husband always told me that I shouldn’t think that.  When my son was born, he was immediately diagnosed with some kind of infection and transported to another hospital.  They were not able to determine what kind of infection he had, but placed him on a ten day course of antibiotics.  He remained in the hospital for the full ten days.

As I was reading the article in the New York Times, I started getting bored with it.  The first page of the article didn’t cover any new information for me.  I didn’t bother going on to the second page.  Today, after seeing a couple articles posted online, quoting the NY Times, I went back and read it again.  Over on the second page, there is some new information for me.  Scary information.

Introducing Parasites As A Treatment for Autism

Dr. Parker has more radical ideas: pre-emptive restoration of “domesticated” parasites in everybody — worms developed solely for the purpose of correcting the wayward, postmodern immune system.

Practically speaking, this seems beyond improbable. And yet, a trial is under way at the Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine testing a medicalized parasite called Trichuris suis in autistic adults.

First used medically to treat inflammatory bowel disease, the whipworm, which is native to pigs, has anecdotally shown benefit in autistic children.

Introducing a parasite into a child or adult to treat autism?  That seems crazy.  And yet, there is a medical trial going on centered around this.  I am horrified.  As are many others.  Some people think that the NY Times article is dangerous.  They think that it will lead parents to have their child given the whipworm, and the child will get sick and die.  I worry about that, too, but I would hope that this parasite isn’t something you can just go out and buy.

The fact that it is a scary idea doesn’t change the fact that it might be a viable research avenue.  Should we discount a research area because it is scary?  Should we hide under our beds, or disparage the doctors that are doing the research?  No.  As far as I am concerned, everything and anything they can think of to treat autism should be researched.  Does that mean that I want to infect my child with a parasite?  No.  I don’t.  At least, not unless they have solid medical research and proven medical results that show it would work.  What do you think?

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