In 1998, following a routine hospital visit where her son received the hepatitis B shot, Karen noticed her son Jacob had changed.
He became very introverted, and hyperfocused to the point where he wouldn’t hear or respond to people talking to him. Simultaneously, he became extremely oppositional and experienced profound anxiety with headaches and stomach aches that would wake him up screaming at 3 a.m.
It wasn’t till Jacob was almost 10 years old that Karen finally received diagnosis – Asperger syndrome.
Karen finally took things into her own hands, after a behavioural therapist suggested she drugged her son as a form of therapy. Karen was appalled. With her holistic background working with the brain and my craniosacral background, she knew the brain is malleable, and can change. So, she went to work.Today—after 14 years of Karen's intense research into the many causes and triggers of autism, developing treatment protocols and working with her son on her own— Jacob is fully recovered and away at college.
Know what you're dealing with
The prevalence of autism is rapidly escalating, and it's more common in boys than girls by a ratio of approximately five to one. For years it was thought to be primarily a genetic disorder passed on by the parents, but today chromosomal testing reveals that approximately 80 percent of children with ASD have a normal genome.
A growing number of brain studies show high levels of neuroinflammation and neuronal damage in people with ASD, indicating that something else is going on besides inheritance and developmental mishaps.
The science of recovery
Karen, developed her four-step program through years of research and trial and error in her quest to find solutions to her own son's symptoms. Every step is supported by scientific evidence and intended to provide a simple framework for individualized treatment strategies.
1. Heal the gut:An elimination diet supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, vitamins and minerals has been shown to relieve autism symptoms (as well as gastrointestinal disorders).1 A gluten-free and casein (dairy)-free diet has also been linked to reduced symptoms of autism.2 Studies also show an association of gut dysfunction and gut dysbiosis with ASD symptoms.3
2. Detox from Heavy Metals:Exposure to heavy metals such as lead and mercury have been linked to the development of autism by triggering neuroinflammation and excitotoxicity.4 Immune-related excitotoxicity—where inflammation in the brain leads to dangerously high levels of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, triggering a cascade of events that disrupts brain function—is both directly and indirectly linked to autism.5
This inflammation can result from persistent infections and particularly environmental excitotoxins such as aluminum and fluoride. Dr Chris Exsley, PhD, professor of bioinorganic chemistry at Keele University in Staffordshire, UK, has conducted research suggesting that aluminum contributes to autism and that individuals with autism may be more susceptible to aluminum toxicity.
Exposure to mercury is also an established risk factor for autism. In a review of 91 studies on the topic, 74 percent found a connection between mercury and ASD.6 And the baby teeth from children with autism were found to contain more toxic lead and less of the essential nutrients zinc and manganese than teeth from children without autism.7
3. Clear coinfections:
Infection with the Lyme bacteria, borreliosis, has been linked to mental disorders including ASD and autism-like symptoms.8 New brain scanning techniques show that, indeed, brain inflammation is related to Lyme disease,9 as well as being a tell-tale sign of autism.10
4. Clear any mold exposure:
Exposure to molds and their mycotoxins has also been found to negatively impact the nervous system through immune cell activation and thus contribute to ASD.11
Global interestFour years ago, Karen wrote and published a book on her autism recovery protocol titled Naturally Recovering Autism: The Complete Step-By-Step Resource Handbook for Parents. She also started a web-based program called Autism Moms Mentoring Program that takes parents of children with autism through a step-by-step process of recovery.
Karen's four-step program follows the comprehensive yet holistic approach she took with Jacob. Today, both the book and her program are being used by parents in over 40 countries.
1 Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig, 2013; 64: 1-12
2 Nutr Neurosci, 2010; 13: 87-100
3 Front Nutr. 2018; 5: 40
4 Environ Res, 2018; 116: 234-50
5 Surg Neurol Int, 2018; 9: 74
6 J Trace Elem Med Biol, 2016; 37: 8-24
7 Nat Commun, 2017; 8: 15493
8 Healthcare (Basel), 2018; 6. pii: E104
9 J Neuroinflammation, 2018; 15: 346
10 Nat Commun, 2014; 5: 5748
11 Clin Ther, 2018; 40: 903-17