Biomedical Considerations for Autism Spectrum Disorders

While there has not been one definitive cause nor cure identified to date, there are a number of interventions that have been shown to successfully reduce the incidence of autistic symptoms and even more so, treat the potential underlying causes of many presentations within the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) population.
The use of biomedical interventions in an individual on the spectrum of autism disorder has varying responses in different individuals and is only one of many considerations of their care. Other areas that often require attention and consideration are speech therapy, behavioral therapy, sensory integration, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.
As there are numerous areas to consider, a systematic assessment and individualized treatment will expedite the potential for a positive response and determine if any given intervention is having a therapeutic benefit.

Diet

Dietary interventions have proven time and time again to offer the broadest impact on individuals and are often one of the first areas we consider; this includes improvement from the standard American diet to the gluten-free and dairy-free diet. An adjunct to dietary considerations is the assessment and treatment of dietary and other allergies; these often exacerbate symptoms as well as potentially cause additive negative effects in the immediate sense as well as long-term.
One of the reasons we often start with the digestive and nutritive system is that if an organism is unable to absorb the basic nutrients to sustain normal growth and development, any other area of support will be relegated by this need. Another reason is there are often symptoms present (abdominal pain presenting as a constant need to press the abdomen against something like the back of a chair or couch, self-injurious behavior, difficulty swallowing, projectile vomiting, intractable constipation or diarrhea) which can have profound impact on the quality of life yet can easily remedied by avoiding problematic food items, once identified.

Nutritional Supplementation

Second to dietary considerations, nutritional support is an important aspect due to the common genetic and metabolic differences in the ASD population. This includes basic as well as high-dose supplementation of common vitamins and minerals (vitamins B6, B12, D, E, folate, Co-enzyme Q 10, calcium, magnesium, etc), amino acids (tyrosine, phenylalanine, GABA, etc) and fatty acids (DHA, EPA, GLA). As each nutrient deficiency can present with numerous symptoms, in turn, each nutrient can treat specific symptoms quite well.

Genetic

From a genetic perspective, methylation disorders are also very common areas requiring attention. Methylation is a complex and interwoven process that involves a number of systems in the body, particularly DNA expression and repair. It is with methylation that our genes are expressed and interpreted the right way which enables normal brain function, normal cellular metabolism and so much more.

Mitochondria

The mitochondria are tiny energy-making components of our cells that are responsible for the energy production each and every cell in the body uses for its day to day functions. Mitochondrial problems can present as poor muscle tone, low energy, poor cellular detoxification ability, adrenal and thyroid disorders, seizure and other neurologic disorders, and an increase in infection tendencies.

Gastrointestinal

Basic support with items as simple as probiotics and digestive enzymes can have a profound impact on the symptoms such as gas and bloating, constipation, diarrhea, pain and many others. Another area that is often considered and addressed is that of latent infections. There are often bacterial overgrowth patterns, excessive yeast or other problems than can be easily managed once identified and treated.

Detoxification

Detoxification ability varies on genetics and disorders or limitations in these areas, as well as exposures from our environment; whether by excess burden or reduced ability to clear day to day exposures, either can have a more significant impact in this population than in others. Evaluation of detoxification ability and toxic burden can further improve the health of an individual on the Autism Spectrum and enhance specificity of therapeutic efforts.

Others

These are just a few of the main considerations yet the biomedical support for the ASD population is multidisciplinary, including but not limited to specialist evaluations in gastrointestinal, endocrine, neurologic, genetic, metabolic, psychological fields of medicine.

Resources and References

There are several well-researched books and journal publications regarding all of the aforementioned areas, and these are just a few of them:
Martha Herbert, MD: The Autism Revolution: Whole Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be"
Kenneth Bock, MD: "Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies"
Julie Buckley, MD: "Healing our Autistic Children"
Dan Rossignol, MD: "Age of Autism"
Jon Pangborn, PhD and Sidney Baker, MD: "Autism: Effective Biomedical Treatments"
Jaquelyn McCandless, MD: "Children with Starving Brains"
A quick glance through Autism Research International’s on-going parental survey on varying interventions and their efficacy, reveals the breadth and hope for others considering any of these approaches:
http://www.autism.com/pdf/providers/ParentRatings2009.pdf
For a regularly updated listing of peer-reviewed publications on any of the above topics, visit Autism Research Institute’s collection of citations:
http://www.autism.com/index.php//advocacy_research_1#biomarkers
Autism 360
An incredible multi-dimensional compilation of data for parents, healthcare providers and caregivers.
Autism Research Institute
The original organization spearheading biomedical treatment for autism.
Mundo Pato
Family and community support for those with autism in their lives.
Special Needs Project
A wonderful resource store for books for individuals with special needs; includes general information, cookbooks, special topics such as building confidence in your child, how to address and prevent bullying and many more.
TACA
The best thing that ever happened to the local community for those with autism in their live; incredible support in numerous avenues with chapters in every state across the country.
Autism 101:
http://legacy.autism.com/danwebcast/presentations/anaheim2007/Jepson.pdf
The Encyclopedia of Dietary Interventions for the Treatment of Autism and Related Disorders
There is still a great deal to learn about childhood disorders like autism and ADD, but we do know that for some individuals, changes in diet can make a significant difference. In addition to improved physical symptoms (such as skin rashes or digestive problems), behavioral and learning problems can also improve through dietary intervention. This reference guide includes discussion of the research behind dietary interventions and the principles behind the different types of diets discussed. Read More
Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in a Total Population Sample
Objective: Experts disagree about the causes and significance of the recent increases in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Limited data on population base rates contribute to this uncertainty. Using a population-based sample, the authors sought to estimate the prevalence and describe the clinical characteristics of ASDs in school-age children. http://www.autismeurope.org/files/files/new-study-on-autism-prevalence.pdf

Autism, vaccines:

Vaccines and autism: a new scientific review
For all those who've declared the autism-vaccine debate over - a new scientific review begs to differ. It considers a host of peer-reviewed, published theories that show possible connections between vaccines and autism. Read more
Monkeys Get Autism-like Reactions to MMR & Other Vaccines In University of Pittsburgh Vaccine Study
Someone did perform safety studies the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should have mandated be performed and vetted BEFORE numerous vaccines were released into the public sector for mass vaccinations. Read more
Doctor claims to have 3 ways to lower the risk
More children in the United States than ever before are being diagnosed with some form of autism. Watch Video http://www.wtsp.com/news/article/253469/0/Doctor-claims-to-have-3-ways-to-lower-the-risk