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US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. March 18 , 2007

Welcome to USAAA Weekly News, an email newsletter that addresses a range of topics on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Asperger's Syndrome.


New feature
We will begin featuring our 32 conference speakers that will be presenting at the USAAA 2007 International Autism and Asperger's Conference, August 8-11, in Denver, Colorado in our weekly email newsletters. The conference is co-hosted by Autism Society of Boulder County.

This week we feature a study on a drug with a favorable safety profile, and with desirable immune and anti-inflammatory properties. The study includes research from three of our speakers that will present at the August conference in Denver: Dr. Jeff Bradstreet, Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, and Dr. Dan Rossignol.


Spironolactone might be a desirable immunologic and hormonal intervention in autism spectrum disorders
A subset of autistic children exhibit higher than average levels of androgens
Bradstreet JJ, Smith S, Granpeesheh D, El-Dahr JM, Rossignol D.
Med Hypotheses (2006), doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2006.10.015
© 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Summary
Multiple studies now demonstrate that autism is medically characterized, in part, by immune system dysregulation, including evidence of neuroglial activation and gastrointestinal inflammation. This neuroglial process has further been characterized as neuroinflammation. In addition, a subset of autistic children exhibit higher than average levels of androgens. Spironolactone is an aldosterone antagonist and potassium-sparing diuretic with a desirable safety profile. It possesses potent anti-inflammatory and immune modifying properties that might make it an excellent medical intervention for autism spectrum disorders. Furthermore, spironolactone demonstrates substantial anti-androgen properties that might further enhance its appeal in autism, particularly in a definable subset of hyperandrogenic autistic children. One case report is briefly reviewed demonstrating objective clinical improvements in an autistic child after spironolactone administration. Additional research in controlled trials is now needed to further define the risks and benefits of spironolactone use in children with autism.

Conclusion
Spironolactone is a low-cost, easily available oral agent with a favorable safety profile, and with desirable immune and anti-inflammatory properties. Its secondary benefits as an anti-androgen might further enhance its appeal in autism, particularly in a definable subset of hyperandrogenic children.

Click here for entire article.

Speaker Spotlight
 
bradstreet Dr.Jeff Bradstreet will present at the USAAA 2007 International Conference in Denver, Friday, August 10, from 8:00am - 9:00 am. Click here for a bio of Dr. Bradstreet.
 
Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh will present at the USAAA 2007 International Conference in Denver, Thursday, August 9, from 2:00pm - 3:00pm. Click here for a bio of Dr. Granpeesheh.
 
Dr. Dan Rossignol will present at the USAAA 2007 International Conference in Denver, Friday, August 10, from 10:30am - 11:30am and also 4:15pm - 5:15 pm, Saturday, August 11th. Click here for a bio of Dr. Rossignol.
To view the entire conference schedule, click here.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy might improve certain pathophysiological findings in autism

by Daniel A. Rossignol, MD
Med Hypotheses (2006), doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2006.09.064
© 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Summary
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder currently affecting as many as 1 out of 150 children in the United States. Numerous studies of autistic individuals have revealed evidence of cerebral hypoperfusion, neuroinflammation and gastrointestinal inflammation, immune dysregulation, oxidative stress, relative mitochondrial dysfunction, neurotransmitter abnormalities, impaired detoxification of toxins, dysbiosis, and impaired production of porphyrins. Many of these findings have been correlated with core autistic symptoms. For example, cerebral hypoperfusion in autistic children has been correlated with repetitive, self-stimulatory and stereotypical behaviors, and impairments in communication, sensory perception, and social interaction. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) might be able to improve each of these problems in autistic individuals. Specifically, HBOT has been used with clinical success in several cerebral hypoperfusion conditions and can compensate for decreased blood flow by increasing the oxygen content of plasma and body tissues. HBOT has been reported to possess strong anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to improve immune function. There is evidence that oxidative stress can be reduced with HBOT through the upregulation of antioxidant enzymes. HBOT can also increase the function and production of mitochondria and improve neurotransmitter abnormalities. In addition, HBOT upregulates enzymes that can help with detoxification problems specifically found in autistic children. Dysbiosis is common in autistic children and HBOT can improve this. Impaired production of porphyrins in autistic children might affect the production of heme, and HBOT might help overcome the effects of this problem. Finally, HBOT has been shown to mobilize stem cells from the bone marrow to the systemic circulation. Recent studies in humans have shown that stem cells can enter the brain and form new neurons, astrocytes, and microglia. It is expected that amelioration of these underlying pathophysiological problems through the use of HBOT will lead to improvements in autistic symptoms. Several studies on the use of HBOT in autistic children are currently underway and early results are promising.

Conclusions
Numerous studies of autistic individuals have revealed evidence of cerebral hypoperfusion, neuroinflammation and gastrointestinal inflammation, immune dysregulation, oxidative stress, relative mitochondrial dysfunction, neurotransmitter abnormalities, impaired detoxification of toxins, dysbiosis, and impaired production of porphyrins. HBOT has been shown to increase oxygen delivery to hypoperfused or hypoxic tissues, decrease inflammation and oxidative stress, and increase the production of mitochondria and the number of circulating stem cells. HBOT might also improve the immune dysfunction, neurotransmitter abnormalities, and dysbiosis specifically found in autistic individuals.

Click here for entire article.


BREAKTHROUGH AT FDA IN 2006 – First Hearings in 13 Years Reviewing Health Risks of Mercury Amalgam Fillings
Showdown, Moms Against Mercury v. FDA: US Court of Appeals to hear oral argument March 27
by Charles G. Brown, National Counsel, Consumers for Dental Choice
1725 K St., N.W., Suite 511, Washington DC 20006
Ph. 202.822-6307

Dear friends -- The case of Moms Against Mercury, et al., v. FDA heads to a showdown next Tuesday morning, March 27. I will argue the case against the government before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Our case, filed April 27, 2006, by 9 petitioners charges FDA with illegally allowing the sale of mercury fillings. For thirty years, FDA has defiantly refused to classify amalgam -- even though this step is required as the legal prerequisite to sale of any implants. Even the repudiation of its pseudo-science by two FDA Scientific Panels on September 7, 2006 has not deterred FDA, who is making false and deceptive claims to mask the vote of these Panels. Faced with standing before a federal court, FDA now departs from its role as chief cheerleader for mercury fillings. In its brief, FDA admits, five times, that it does not know if mercury amalgam is safe or unsafe! This is a breakthrough not thought possible a year ago. To repeat, FDA now admits that the evidence is “changing,” thus the safety of mercury fillings is not “definitive” and is “the subject of intense disagreement.” The question we have put to the Court, then, is: Since FDA no longer knows, shouldn’t sales of this mercury device be stopped? FDA’s defense is procedural and technical -- claiming our petitioners don’t have standing, and claiming that the Court lacks jurisdiction. If you wish details about attending this public event, write Freya Koss, frekoss@aol.com. Charles Brown, 3/18/07

Click here for additional information.


Evidence of Toxicity, Oxidative Stress, and Neuronal Insult in Autism
by Janet K. Kern, Anne M. Jones
Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, Texas 75390-9119, USA. janet.kern@UTSouthwestern.edu

Abstract
This article discusses the evidence for the case that some children with autism may become autistic from neuronal cell death or brain damage sometime after birth as result of insult; and addresses the hypotheses that toxicity and oxidative stress may be a cause of neuronal insult in autism. The article first describes the Purkinje cell loss found in autism, Purkinje cell physiology and vulnerability, and the evidence for postnatal cell loss. Second, the article describes the increased brain volume in autism and how it may be related to the Purkinje cell loss. Third, the evidence for toxicity and oxidative stress is covered and the possible involvement of glutathione is discussed. Finally, the article discusses what may be happening over the course of development and the multiple factors that may interplay and make these children more vulnerable to toxicity, oxidative stress, and neuronal insult.

For more information and related links, click here.


Behavioral effects of biomedical interventions
A report from the Autism Research Institute; parents rate non-drug interventions
ARI Publication 34 Asp/Feb. 2007

Since 1967, the Autism Research Institute (ARI) has been collecting parent ratings of the usefulness of the many interventions tried on their autistic children. The following data is part of an extensive report compiled by the Autism Research Institute. The data has been collected from 1199 parents based on cases identified as "Asperger's Syndrome" (AS) and data from more than 25,000 parents on cases identified as "autism".

The following percentages show parents responses in the category of "Got Better" with the intervention. Other responses were Got worse and No effect. A full report, that contains additional interventions including drugs, may be obtained from ARI.

Detox (Chelation) - 77% got better, AS; 73% got better, autism
Digestive enzymes - 63% AS; 57%, autism
Fatty Acids - 65% AS; 55% autism
Food Allergy Treatment - 61% AS; 62% autism
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy - 50% AS; 52% autism
Melatonin - 74% AS, 64% autism
Vitamin B6 - 60% AS; 50% autism
Vitamin B12 - 61% AS; 62% autism
Gluten- /Casein-Free Diet - 70% AS; 65% autism
Removed Milk Products/Dairy - 54% AS; 51% autism
Specific Carbohydrate Diet - 59% AS; 66% autism

Please note that the information is compiled from parents responses from an ARI questionnaire and not a medical clinical study. For additional Autism Research Institute information, click here.


Mushroom extract boosts flu immunity
Ritz BW, Nogusa S, Ackerman EA, Gardner EM.
Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. bwr24@drexel.edu

Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) is a natural mushroom extract reported to increase natural killer (NK) cell activity, survival, and bacterial clearance in young mice. These data suggest that AHCC supplementation boosts NK activity, improves survival, and reduces the severity of influenza infection in young mice. Bolstering innate immunity with dietary bioactives may be one avenue for improving the immune response to primary flu infection. Reference, click here.

Drug Safety Tests Lag Behind FDA Approvals
Drugmakers have failed to conduct 71 percent of the latest safety tests they promised to perform on approved prescription drugs now on the U.S. market.

AARP Bulletin March 2007

"Buyers beware. Drug manufacturers failed to conduct 71 percent of the latest safety tests they promised to perform on approved prescription drugs now on the U.S. market. That figure, released last month, comes from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an agency increasingly under fire for being an ineffectual drug safety watchdog. FDA policy allows approval of some drugs even though questions linger about their efficacy and safety - if the manufacturer promises follow-up tests once the new drug is on the market. These post marketing tests - which the FDA has no power to force companies to complete - are key to determining whether an approved drug causes side effects when used over time. The tests also have led to new patient warnings, as was the case for Sporanox, a toenail fungus drug that could cause heart failure. But many manufacturers haven't kept their word. The latest FDA report shows that 899 of the pending 1,259 studies drugmakers promised to carry out on drugs now on the market had not been launched as of last fall. That's an increase of about 5 percent over the previous year. Yet, according to an FDA spokeswoman, the agency 'remains committed to ensuring that manufacturers complete [these studies] in a timely manner.' Still one study in 2000 by a consumer health group found that 'new' drugs had been sold for five and even 10 years before the promised tests were done. 'How can the FDA claim it is committed to improving drug safety when it can't even get drugmakers to do the studies they promise?' says Bill Vaughan, senior policy analyst with Consumers Union." — Barbara Basler


USAAA 2007 conference registration online

US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. (USAAA) kicks off its annual International Autism and Asperger Conference in Denver, Colorado, August 8-11, 2007. Thirty-two of the world’s most renowned leading autism experts will present new interventions and new research in both education and medicine. The conference is co-hosted by Autism Society of Boulder County (ASBC) and will be held at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center. The conference is presented in part by International Hyperbarics Association.

Click here for more conference information. To register, click here. For conference partial scholarship information, click here.


Collecting Social Security as an adult dependent
AARP Bulletin March 2007

Q. My 54-year-old sister has been disabled since her teens. She collects Social Security as an adult dependent under my father's Social Security benefit, but she gets only 50 percent of what he gets. When my father dies (he's 90), will my sister's benefit increase to 100 percent of what my father received?

A. No. It will increase to 75 percent of your father's benefit under Social Security disability rules for children of deceased parents. For more information on this issue, visit the Social Security Administration online or call them at 1-800-772-1213.


DID You Know?
Better Nutrition Feb 2007

- Soda may increase osteoporosis in women
Drinking soda, even diet and decaf versions, has been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis, revealed the longest-running population study in existence. Caffeine is a risk factor for osteoporosis, while phosphoric acid, found in cola drinks, interferes with calcium absorption. The Framingham Heart Study, which followed more than 2,500 men and women for 30 years, found that women who drank soda daily had low bone mineral density than those who drank it once per month. Osteoporosis and bone fractures affect 40 percent of women and 13 percent of men. However, male study participants showed no relationship between soda consumption and lower bone mineral density.

- The safest fish to eat
According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program, the safest fish to eat include Pacific Cod, Pacific halibut, sardines, and wild-caught Alaska salmon. The program found that farmed salmon, Atlantic cod, orange roughy, imported shrimp, tilapia, and bluefin tuna are higher in toxins.


Children with autism: effect of iron supplementation on sleep and ferritin.
Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Abstract
To determine if there is a relationship between low serum ferritin and sleep disturbance in children with autism spectrum disorder, an 8-week open-label treatment trial with oral iron supplementation was conducted as a pilot study. Similar prevalence of low ferritin at school age as preschool age indicates that children with autism spectrum disorder require ongoing screening for iron deficiency. Reference, click here.


 

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In This Issue :
New feature
Conference speakers highlighted in USAAA WeeklyNews

Spironolactone might be a desirable immunologic and hormonal intervention in autism spectrum disorders; A subset of autistic children exhibit higher than average levels of androgens

Speaker Spotlight
Jeffrey Bradstreet, MD, FAAFP
Doreen Granpeesheh, PhD
Daniel Rossignol, MD

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy might improve certain pathophysiological findings in autism

BREAKTHROUGH AT FDA IN 2006 – First Hearings in 13 Years Reviewing Health Risks of Mercury Amalgam Fillings
Showdown, Moms Against Mercury v. FDA: US Court of Appeals to hear oral argument March 27

Evidence of Toxicity, Oxidative Stress, and Neuronal Insult in Autism by Janet K. Kern, Anne M. Jones

Behavioral effects of biomedical interventions
A report from the Autism Research Institute; parents rate non-drug interventions

Mushroom extract boosts flu immunity

Drug Safety Tests Lag Behind FDA Approvals
Drugmakers have failed to conduct 71 percent of the latest safety tests they promised to perform on approved prescription drugs now on the U.S. market.

USAAA conference registration online

Collecting Social Security as an adult dependent

DID You Know?
Soda may increase osteoporosis in women
The safest fish to eat

USAAA News Around the World
Children with autism: effect of iron supplementation on sleep and ferritin.


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2007
USAAA International Conference

presented in part by International Hyperbarics Association

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International Hyperbarics Association



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©2007 US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc.
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