Approximately 1 in 6 children in the United States had a developmental disability in 2006-2008.
This is according to a joint study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The conditions ranged from mild disabilities such as speech impairments to serious disabilities such as cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, and autism.
The group of developmental disabilities known as autism spectrum disorder is fast becoming an epidemic, increasing by 119.4% from 2000 to 2010. These disorders are often characterized by varying degrees of difficulty in social interaction and communication and by a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that roughly 1 in 68 children has a form of autism, which is almost five times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189).
We don’t completely understand what causes autism or how it develops, although many factors are clearly involved. Each child may have a unique set of causes—different factors that interact with one another to produce the same general symptoms. As a result, children with autism especially benefit from the personalized medicine practiced at Kellman Center, individualized treatments targeted to the specific needs of each patient.
The range and severity of symptoms associated with autism can vary wildly, and they are often accompanied by other medical conditions. Common symptoms include the following:
- Communication issues
- Delayed speech development
- Inappropriate social interaction
- Learning disabilities
- Obsessive interests
- Poor eye contact
- Repetitive behaviors
The absence of normal behaviors, rather than the presence of abnormal behaviors, is one of the earliest signs of autism.
While signs indicate a genetic component to autism, evidence suggests that the autism epidemic is growing in response to environmental factors. Among these are an overwhelming number of endocrine disrupters, toxins that behave like hormones, thereby disrupting the body’s hormonal balance. The hormonal disruption then throws other systems off balance, including the microbiome. This community of trillions of bacteria governs many of our body and brain functions.
The health of the microbiome also has a huge impact on a person’s genetics. Specifically, these bacteria have the ability to modify a gene’s expression, known as epigenetics. We have found that treating the microbiome through diet, nutritional supplements, hormonal balancing, and other treatments can restore brain function, thereby overcoming a genetic predisposition to this disorder.
In addition, many autistic children have subclinical hypothyroidism—levels of thyroid hormone that don’t read as low on standard medical tests, but appear low on the more sensitive test that we use. These low levels of thyroid hormone disrupt a child’s ability to focus, relate, and manage their behavior.
By the time a child develops autism, he is almost certainly struggling with dysfunction in four of the body’s major systems: gastrointestinal, neurological, endocrine (hormonal), and immune. We administer a comprehensive panel of tests that evaluate all of these systems and how they work together, including biomarker screens and the thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) Stimulation Test. We test for microbiome imbalances and genetic variations, including in the MTHFR, GMST1, and COMT1 genes.
ART + SCIENCE = DIAGNOSIS
At Kellman Center, we blend art and science by examining all of the body’s systems and how they interact, including the gut, the brain, and inflammatory markers. Our unique biomarker tests allow us to identify precisely which type of autism a child has developed.
When treating autism in our NYC office, we look deeper to diagnose each child as an individual. A treatment that might work wonders for one child could be of little use to another. We closely evaluate presenting symptoms and test results to devise a specific treatment plan, customized to the patient’s needs.
Unlike traditional autism doctors in New York, we rely primarily upon evidence-based natural compounds to improve a child’s metabolism and hormonal responses. We assist the child’s ability to detoxify environmental poisons and to metabolize hormones that can disrupt the entire body. We also reduce oxidative stress and heal inflammation.
Some of the therapies used include the following:
- A gluten- and casein-free diet
- Inflammation reduction
- Intravenous treatments
- Microbiome support
- Thyroid support
- Treatment with the BioMat, a device that restores gut function with infrared light