The MAPS Standard of Care Conference wrapped in Orlando last week, at the awesome Rosen Shingle Creek resort and attended by the Who’s Who of the biomedical physician community. The purpose: to present the latest research, to standardize the biomedical approach to children with developmental issues, and to provide a spotlight on the underlying core metabolic issues. Here’s some take home points – from the conference’s Module 2 training, to my brain, to yours:
- Autism and related disorders have inflammation as a core component.
- Similarly, mitochondrial dysfunction can be a central feature, and how to find it through lab testing is better understood.
- The gut remains the most important ecosystem. It is intimately connected to brain function, and brain tissue inflammation. Treatment starts there.
- Up to 35% of autistic children have a seizure disorder. Many need 24 hour EEG’s, and anti-seizure treatment to optimize learning and healthy development.
- Nutrition deficiencies, within the body or the brain compartment itself, are documented. B6, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin D, EFA’s, Vitamin A, Folinic acid and others are measurably important.
- Diet therapy plays a central role in management.
- Environmental toxicants promote both oxidative stress and an inflammatory state.
- Methylation defects are relatively common.
- Microbes and metals are key players – triggering autoimmunity, oxidative stress and acquired mitochondrial impairment.
- Children’s brains need protection now more than ever – and the process can start before conception.
- An experienced biomedical physician is a critical part of the autism management team.
As an Integrative Medicine physician for 15 years now, I am as excited as I’ve ever been about the prospects of assisting chronic conditions, by applying an understanding of metabolism and nutrition-based therapies. We have better research informing a more consistent approach, starting with a proper understanding of the message symptoms are sending. It all begins with listening to patients and/or their parents, following the timeline, ordering appropriate tests, and utilizing the arsenal of supportive treatments at our disposal. The complexity is still there, but the mystery is less.