The Role of the Gut Microbiome in Autism

The Role of the Gut Microbiome in Autism
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What role do antibiotics play in the development and treatment of autism spectrum disorder?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“There are many examples in nature of intestinal microbes altering host behavior. One such example involves the [brain parasite] Toxoplasma”…when it infects [a] rodent [through the gut, it finds its way into the brain] and causes the animal to lose its innate fear of the odor of bobcat urine.” Why does the parasite care about what mice are afraid of? Because “by not avoiding” predators, they’re “more often caught” and eaten; so, the parasite can then go on “to infect other rodents.” If you’re a mouse-brain parasite, how are you going to spread? Mice aren’t cannibals; so, you have to make sure the mouse you’re in is eaten by something else. So, the parasite evolved a way to alter the mouse’s behavior.

Given the potential power of microbes to affect behavior, might the disruption of our gut microbiome, our good gut bacteria, be a potential factor in the causation of autism? Where’d they get that idea from? Well, kids with autism do tend to have altered gut flora, different than those of children without autism—for example, significantly less Prevotella in autistic children, which, if you remember, characterized the healthy gut enterotype that you can foster the growth of yourself with a more plant-based diet.

But, which came first? Instead of the bad gut flora leading to autism, isn’t it more likely that the autism led to the bad gut flora? Children with autism eat diets with significantly fewer servings of fruits and vegetables, “often characterized by a lack of variety, an inadequate amount of fiber-containing foods [meaning whole plant foods in general] and an increased amount of [added sugars].” So, couldn’t that explain the different gut flora right there?

There are some “perinatal risk factors” for the development of autism, including premature birth, low birth weight, and “delivery by caesarean section”—particularly the C-section. What does that have to do with the microbiome? Well, “[t]here may be a protective value offered by the maternal vaginal microbiome” that the infant misses out on when they instead come out through a surgical incision. During a C-section, the mothers are also sometimes placed under general anesthesia, and it’s possible that the anesthetics could affect the babies’ brains before the babies are disconnected from the maternal blood supply. To differentiate between the two scenarios, we’d need a study that compared autism risk between C-sections in which the moms just got an epidural or spinal block, versus C-sections under general anesthesia. But there had never been such a study…until, now.

“This study examined the incidence of autism in [infants] delivered vaginally, by C-section with [just] regional anesthesia…, and by C-section with general anesthesia.” And, only those delivered by C-section under general anesthesia had higher risk—not those in C-sections where moms just got like an epidural. So, that would suggest the C-section connection is more of an anesthesia drug exposure thing than involving the lack of vaginal flora exposure. This wasn’t an interventional trial, though, in which mothers were randomized to the various groups, just an observational study. So, it’s possible the increased autism risk had less to do with the anesthetic itself than the pregnancy complications that may have led to having to put the mother under. Either way, I’m not seeing the microbiome connection.

They’ve tried probiotics for children with autism, and so far, they don’t seem to have helped much. Some families, in desperation, have tried fecal transplants, where they like beg the neighbor kid to donate. It’s like what one fly said to the other—is this stool taken? Not FDA-approved, though; so, families are forced to go on the brown market.

It can all be traced back to this remarkable study published in the Journal of Child Neurology. “Several parents of children with regressive-onset autism”—meaning the kids started out acting normally before the autism struck—noted that it all seemed to start after their child had taken antibiotics. They had gotten “chronic diarrhea” (autism isn’t the only thing that can run in your genes *ahem*)… suggesting the antibiotics had mucked with their gut flora, and then came the “loss of language, play, and social skills.” Now, this could be a total coincidence, but it led these group of pediatric gastroenterologists to speculate that maybe there was some sort of cause-and-effect link there. Maybe by wiping out the good bugs, some bad bugs took hold, some neurotoxic bugs, and that led to the autism. If this were true, maybe they could clean the slate once again, another dose of antibiotics, but this time to try to clear out any bad bugs lurking down there. Might this reduce autism symptoms in these individuals? That would be groundbreaking.

They put the kids on a powerful antibiotic called Vancomycin, and 80% of the kids got better. But, within a few weeks after the treatment, most of them slipped back towards their baseline—suggesting that perhaps the bad bugs got pushed down, but not out.

This study was performed nearly 20 years ago, and only had an “n” of 11, meaning it only looked at 11 kids. (The letter n is research-speak for the number of subjects in a study.) Surely, by now, there’s been lots larger studies done. But, in reality, there’s only been a single follow-up study published, and it had an n of 1.

“A…case report of a child with autism improving on antibiotics and a father’s quest to understand what it [all] may mean,” written by the father himself, describing a dramatic improvement in his child’s autism after taking amoxicillin. When he talked to other parents of autistic children, he was surprised to discover that many of them “routinely g[a]ve their children antibiotics” expressly for that purpose, though he also heard from other parents that felt that their children’s autism got worse after antibiotics, or that antibiotics were blamed for the emergence of the disorder in the first place. But, that all speaks to the potential role of the gut flora, just reinforcing the notion.

Other parents were talking about it, but then when he scoured the medical literature to learn more, all he was able to turn up was that 11-child study. How is it possible that there hadn’t been follow-up studies? Here it was, right before his eyes, personally witnessing evidence in his own child of what that study had shown, this seemingly intractable condition rapidly and dramatically ameliorated in response to an antibiotic—at least in some children, but surprisingly there were no attempts to repeat that study. Now, I think most parents would probably just count their blessings, that at least it worked on their child, and leave it at that, but not this parent. He started his own “Autism Research Foundation, with the mission of encouraging, sponsoring, and communicating breakthrough autism research.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Little Rock Air Force Base. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“There are many examples in nature of intestinal microbes altering host behavior. One such example involves the [brain parasite] Toxoplasma”…when it infects [a] rodent [through the gut, it finds its way into the brain] and causes the animal to lose its innate fear of the odor of bobcat urine.” Why does the parasite care about what mice are afraid of? Because “by not avoiding” predators, they’re “more often caught” and eaten; so, the parasite can then go on “to infect other rodents.” If you’re a mouse-brain parasite, how are you going to spread? Mice aren’t cannibals; so, you have to make sure the mouse you’re in is eaten by something else. So, the parasite evolved a way to alter the mouse’s behavior.

Given the potential power of microbes to affect behavior, might the disruption of our gut microbiome, our good gut bacteria, be a potential factor in the causation of autism? Where’d they get that idea from? Well, kids with autism do tend to have altered gut flora, different than those of children without autism—for example, significantly less Prevotella in autistic children, which, if you remember, characterized the healthy gut enterotype that you can foster the growth of yourself with a more plant-based diet.

But, which came first? Instead of the bad gut flora leading to autism, isn’t it more likely that the autism led to the bad gut flora? Children with autism eat diets with significantly fewer servings of fruits and vegetables, “often characterized by a lack of variety, an inadequate amount of fiber-containing foods [meaning whole plant foods in general] and an increased amount of [added sugars].” So, couldn’t that explain the different gut flora right there?

There are some “perinatal risk factors” for the development of autism, including premature birth, low birth weight, and “delivery by caesarean section”—particularly the C-section. What does that have to do with the microbiome? Well, “[t]here may be a protective value offered by the maternal vaginal microbiome” that the infant misses out on when they instead come out through a surgical incision. During a C-section, the mothers are also sometimes placed under general anesthesia, and it’s possible that the anesthetics could affect the babies’ brains before the babies are disconnected from the maternal blood supply. To differentiate between the two scenarios, we’d need a study that compared autism risk between C-sections in which the moms just got an epidural or spinal block, versus C-sections under general anesthesia. But there had never been such a study…until, now.

“This study examined the incidence of autism in [infants] delivered vaginally, by C-section with [just] regional anesthesia…, and by C-section with general anesthesia.” And, only those delivered by C-section under general anesthesia had higher risk—not those in C-sections where moms just got like an epidural. So, that would suggest the C-section connection is more of an anesthesia drug exposure thing than involving the lack of vaginal flora exposure. This wasn’t an interventional trial, though, in which mothers were randomized to the various groups, just an observational study. So, it’s possible the increased autism risk had less to do with the anesthetic itself than the pregnancy complications that may have led to having to put the mother under. Either way, I’m not seeing the microbiome connection.

They’ve tried probiotics for children with autism, and so far, they don’t seem to have helped much. Some families, in desperation, have tried fecal transplants, where they like beg the neighbor kid to donate. It’s like what one fly said to the other—is this stool taken? Not FDA-approved, though; so, families are forced to go on the brown market.

It can all be traced back to this remarkable study published in the Journal of Child Neurology. “Several parents of children with regressive-onset autism”—meaning the kids started out acting normally before the autism struck—noted that it all seemed to start after their child had taken antibiotics. They had gotten “chronic diarrhea” (autism isn’t the only thing that can run in your genes *ahem*)… suggesting the antibiotics had mucked with their gut flora, and then came the “loss of language, play, and social skills.” Now, this could be a total coincidence, but it led these group of pediatric gastroenterologists to speculate that maybe there was some sort of cause-and-effect link there. Maybe by wiping out the good bugs, some bad bugs took hold, some neurotoxic bugs, and that led to the autism. If this were true, maybe they could clean the slate once again, another dose of antibiotics, but this time to try to clear out any bad bugs lurking down there. Might this reduce autism symptoms in these individuals? That would be groundbreaking.

They put the kids on a powerful antibiotic called Vancomycin, and 80% of the kids got better. But, within a few weeks after the treatment, most of them slipped back towards their baseline—suggesting that perhaps the bad bugs got pushed down, but not out.

This study was performed nearly 20 years ago, and only had an “n” of 11, meaning it only looked at 11 kids. (The letter n is research-speak for the number of subjects in a study.) Surely, by now, there’s been lots larger studies done. But, in reality, there’s only been a single follow-up study published, and it had an n of 1.

“A…case report of a child with autism improving on antibiotics and a father’s quest to understand what it [all] may mean,” written by the father himself, describing a dramatic improvement in his child’s autism after taking amoxicillin. When he talked to other parents of autistic children, he was surprised to discover that many of them “routinely g[a]ve their children antibiotics” expressly for that purpose, though he also heard from other parents that felt that their children’s autism got worse after antibiotics, or that antibiotics were blamed for the emergence of the disorder in the first place. But, that all speaks to the potential role of the gut flora, just reinforcing the notion.

Other parents were talking about it, but then when he scoured the medical literature to learn more, all he was able to turn up was that 11-child study. How is it possible that there hadn’t been follow-up studies? Here it was, right before his eyes, personally witnessing evidence in his own child of what that study had shown, this seemingly intractable condition rapidly and dramatically ameliorated in response to an antibiotic—at least in some children, but surprisingly there were no attempts to repeat that study. Now, I think most parents would probably just count their blessings, that at least it worked on their child, and leave it at that, but not this parent. He started his own “Autism Research Foundation, with the mission of encouraging, sponsoring, and communicating breakthrough autism research.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Little Rock Air Force Base. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

Here’s the link to the video I refer to: What’s Your Gut Microbiome Enterotype? But the more important one is How to Change your Enterotype.

Tons of other videos on sprucing up your friendly flora; for example:

For those interested in trying to prevent or treat autism (I completely respect not everyone is), you may want to check out my videos, such as:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

61 responses to “The Role of the Gut Microbiome in Autism

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  1. N=1 is a fascinating title chosen by that father. It is certainly true that the plural of anecdote is not data, but those anecdotal accounts can be suggestive for further inquiry, and there is a lot suggested here. At the very least we can infer that the microbiome has potentially tremendous ramifications for autism. We just don’t know why and how yet. The suggestive way this was presented was way more stimulative for me this morning that my usual coffee.

    Now looking at this from another angle, we know that the gut flora will form butyrate when it has access to macs (microbiota accessible carbohydrates that become accessible in the colon in high fiber diets.). We also know that butyrate, in addition to enhancing the colonic mucosa and protecting against colon cancer, also enters the blood stream and aids in neurological protection. That neurological protection factor strikes me as an obvious potential link for the autism topic as well as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s et al.

    So while many of us do not have a family member with autism, I dare say almost all of us have the ghost of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s lurking closely. So I hope I see many more like this one.

    1. I was thinking the same thing about the title.

      n of 1 is more than a title.

      It is how so many people have to walk through so many things.

      I think about the song lyrics, “One is the loneliest number…”

      Proud of this parent for standing up and fighting back against the singularity.

      1. Wish I could “like” both your comments!

        One thing that comes to mind is wondering how many other ways we may be both mentally and physically affected by our gut microbiome.

        It is shameful and pathetic that further studies have not been conducted. We are capable of understanding so much but those capabilities are squandered.

        1. S

          I don’t think it is true that these things are not studied. For example, I came across this article on the intestinal microbiome and ocular health (i think you have to register first to view the article, but registration is free).
          https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/894978

          However, I recall seeing others on the gut microbiome and obesity, mental health etc etc. Then there is the lung microbiome, ear/nose/throat microbiome, vaginal microbiome and I dare say the rectal microbiome to consider.
          https://www.redjournal.org/article/S0360-3016(17)31179-3/abstract

          Then there is the skin microbiome and let’s not forget microbiomes peculiar to the eyes and ears.

          There is so much to study but it is not something that drug companies can justify funding research about.

          1. TG, I was actually referring to this particular study never being followed up on apart from a father of an autistic child. And I really do believe that our capabilities of learning and understanding things are severely underminded due to warped priorities.

            And then there’s just general sloppiness when conducting otherwise good studies which just blows my mind… the original casein and gluten study on autistic children being a good example. In cases like that I can’t understand how any group of scientists could justify the time, resources, and effort put into something without properly following it through for conclusive results. I understand cases where funding is limited.

            Microbiome affecting us in so many ways is a subject I’m new to and find fascinating.

  2. The study I would like to see is where they compare autism rates of children who have been fully vaccinated per CDC schedule vs children who have had minimal vaccinations. I understand that Dr G bases his work on published research exclusively, so he can’t report what they refuse to study. . . and they never will. . . too much money.

    But elsewhere, you can find this work. My practice in learning nutritional science has always been to read broadly, view everything with a healthy skepticism, and apply selectively, always keeping detailed records of my body’s response to each action taken. And while I have credited Dr G as my go-to source on nutritional science, when it comes to vaccines and GMO’s, there is just too much money involved in both and so the moneyed interests will never allow the science to be conducted which could interfere with their profits. That’s why published research doesn’t include any. For example, can you show me one single research study that has EVER been done to demonstrate that you can inject children with 69 doses of 16 vaccines (or whatever the number is today) and have no adverse affect, I will be happy to study that. Hint: it does not exist. Our children are the guinea pigs for this massive experiment. Here is just a few if the many presentations available. :

    Pam Popper lays out the debate in a balanced perspective.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7nNAUclGAM

    Robert Kennedy Jr takes a much tougher stance:
    https://worldmercuryproject.org/news/congress-gets-vaccine-safety-project-details-including-actions-needed-for-sound-science-and-transparency/

    Dr Suzanne Humphries:
    https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-05-21-dr-suzanne-humphries-reveals-the-stunning-fraud-of-the-cdc-and-vaccine-propagandists.html

    This is why I read broadly. Following Dr G with a WFPB diet reversed multiple simultaneous chronic diseases beginning 6 years ago. IMO his teachings saved my life. But there is no science in the medical establishment that satisfies my criteria to convince me this is safe. Rather, there is mass vaccination schedule of very young children who are only partially developed, which in IMO is what causes the gut damage. . . . which in turn makes susceptible children much more likely to get chronic disease and damage the brain.

    1. Good points, farm country. While no data may be available for vaccines and autism, there is some data connecting the Hib vaccine and Type 1 diabetes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1116914/

      Just on a common sense level, all of these vaccines are meant to affect the immune system–can messing around with the immune system of a young infant be completely safe? Are the ingredients in vaccines completely safe? aluminum, formaldehyde, human and animal cell lines etc
      http://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/vaccine-ingredients

      1. These are good questions, but as someone who probably grew up in a vaccinated world, you may not realize how many thousands of deaths these vaccines are preventing. Sure it’s important to find out any hazards of vaccines, but don’t lose site of the known benefits. Here are some CDC facts from their website:

        Nearly everyone in the U.S. got measles before there was a vaccine, and hundreds died from it each year. Today, most doctors have never seen a case of measles.
        More than 15,000 Americans died from diphtheria in 1921, before there was a vaccine. Only two cases of diphtheria have been reported to CDC between 2004 and 2014.
        An epidemic of rubella (German measles) in 1964-65 infected 12½ million Americans, killed 2,000 babies, and caused 11,000 miscarriages. Since 2012, 15 cases of rubella were reported to CDC.

        Dr. Ben

    2. farmcountry,

      You expressed my thoughts so much better than I could have. Thank you. I’ve been bothered by Dr G’s seeming embrace of GMOs and the massive vaccine schedule (“there’s no evidence…”), when common sense dictates that “food” which is officially designated as a pesticide has to be detrimental to the critters living in our bodies which are so important to our own health. And injecting aluminum and who-knows-what other toxins into our babies before their own immune systems are even mature seems to be pure lunacy. I appreciate the research he does, and all I’ve learned from him. But I do wish he would come out boldly on issues where money rules over research, and say there isn’t any research, and why.

      1. Dr Greger is not pro-GMO. He is pro-organic.

        And he has done some videos on some of the topics you are talking about, but his videos ARE based on studies and I think this video talking about n of 1 is the smallest study possible, but he cares enough about the topic, that he posted that, so it isn’t nice dissing him for not choosing a political position about a topic, which is clearly complicated. This one video, had: general anesthesia, vaginal microbiome, antibiotics, and overall gut microbiome, because THEY DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER and it is ALL speculative until more research is done.

        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-role-of-pesticides-and-pollution-in-autism/

        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/heavy-metal-urine-testing-and-chelation-for-autism/

      2. Rebecca, he actually says there isn’t much research available on GMO’s in an article of his somewhere on this site. Like farmcountry pointed out, Dr. Greger can only go over the research that exists (or is available – I say this because some studies have been purposefully hidden). When he says “there’s no evidence,” that’s just what he’s saying… there’s no available evidence and this is a strictly science based site which is why it’s so credible.

        In the case of GMO’s, I would LOVE if Dr. Greger did a video on all the shady and outright bullying things these corporations (particularly Monsanto) have done and continue to do, maybe he will one day, but he does so much and already he’s reccomended organic if possible and certainly hasn’t been guilty of promoting GMO’s.

        1. Also, i’d Imagine he’d have to be extremely careful in this regard, Monsanto is lawsuit-happy to unbelievable extremes. Certainly he’d never be swayed by this in regards to his findings, but he’d have to stick with actual evidence which is, thanks to agenda, severely lacking.

        2. S, how would you know if studies have been hidden, much less “purposefully hidden?” Though some studies are fraudulent — and at least some have been exposed. Andrew Wakefield comes to mind as one example.

          1. Dr. J, these kind of occurrences have been exposed in the past, I’ve actually learned about a couple from watching Dr. Greger’s videos. For one example off the top of my head, there were all these selectively unpublished research articles on probiotics.
            Now this I can’t say is true or not for sure, I no longer have the source and I read it years ago, but I’ve read that Monsanto had been caught burning down their testing sites… personally I’d be more surprised if it wasn’t true after learning about Monsanto.
            It’s not unheard of for industries to hide negative data nor would I imagine this would be extraordinarily surprising to anyone.

          1. So sickening Liisa, I never did trust Whole Foods very much, there has been so many reasons not to… such a shady, greedy company. Thank God for third party certifiers! I will only buy things certified non-gmo or certified organic. At this point I pretty much assume anything not marked otherwise is GMO.

      1. This is like looking at effect on smoking by choosing people who smoke 2 packs per day vs 1 pack per day.

        Maybe you will see a difference in rates, maybe not. Maybe it is a meaningful measure, maybe not.

        Would it be so hard to do a study on smokers vs non-smokers? Of course not, and it would be infinitely more meaningful.

        Why is so hard to get an analogous study regarding vaccines I wonder?

        Plenty of parents choosing not to vaccinate their children, or at least some of their children if adverse effects previously occurred in siblings.

        CDC has been confronted directly in congress with this question and indicates they have never done it and have no interest in ever doing it. As a multi-billion dollar vaccine manufacturer themselves, I’m sure there is no conflict of interest there… /s

        Meanwhile in regards to the famous CDC paper which allegedly showed no rise in rates of autism concurrent with ages of administration of MMR vaccine, one of those CDC authors is now a whistleblower claiming the evidence was manipulated akin to how “tobacco science” was (i.e. simply trim your population sample of all those showing negative effects until there is no more statistically significant correlation). He has turned over all documentation to leading whistleblower attorney and has been trying to get subpoenaed by congress for some years now, as his own personal public disclosure rights are limited, but to no success.

        Fact is there is no evidence on vaccinated vs unvaccinated children per current CDC schedule or anything approximating it. There is individual vaccine (MMR) and one of the individual ingredients (thimerosal).

        Clinical safety trials are riddled with pseudoscience, such as using entire vaccine formulation minus the pathogen as the “placebo”, or using a previous version of same vaccine as “placebo”. So equal numbers of e.g. death, paralysis, autoimmune conditions, neurological damage, skin conditions, GI conditions, etc occur in either and it is deemed “safe”.

        I am a longtime follower of Dr. G’s work on nutrition and consider him the best source on the topic short of the literature databases themselves.

        However his failure to adequately cover this issue to a degree equivalent to his investigation into e.g. the egg, smoking, or meat industries is a glaring lack of comprehensiveness.

    3. Brilliantly said, farmcountry! Thank-you for this post. I actually made a similar post after the last video regarding vaccines, but by the time I had honed it to be “just what I wanted to say”, it was buried behind over 200 other posts! Dr. Greger, PLEASE check out the links farmcountry presented above, and PLEASE watch the movie “VAXXED”! Thanks and love, Liam Vogel

    4. Purely anecdotally, I know 2 boys ( now men, 20yrs ago) on the spectrum; neither immunized. That was back when controvery was manufactured.

    5. In the video of Dr. Greger’s, which I just watched, one study showed a correlation between thimerosal from vaccines and autism, one has opposite results, where the more thimerosal from vaccines, the less autism and the rest of the studies had results, which made it look unrelated to the thimerosal from vaccines. He added that they removed thimerosal from vaccines, so that is not as important right now, but either way, it wasn’t as much of a correlation as air pollution.

      So, in the breadth of the studies, it was inconclusive about whether thimerosal from vaccines would be a cause.

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-role-of-pesticides-and-pollution-in-autism/

    6. Again, where is the like button? Love your post. I wish somehow scientific research could be protected from things like pharmaceuticals and GMO corporations, particularly Monsanto who I know has bullied scientists out of research and even journalists out of investigations.

    7. The problem with reading broadly is that you’re going to be influenced by people’s opinions which is not objective. Dr. G sticks with the peer-reviewed evidence because it’s the best evidence there is. People’s opinions and feelings are not evidence. The placebo effect is a fantastic example of why reading broadly will likely lead you down the wrong path. And as someone who has performed research, I can tell you that no drug company can use their money to prevent publication of research that would show hazards of their products. There is no grand conspiracy. There is either no deleterious effects, or there as simply not enough money to perform the study that you would like to investigate.

      Dr. Ben

      1. Dr. Ben, I speak as a DES daughter. Drug companies DO bury their research that is not an outcome favorable to approval. DES did NOT stop spontaneous abortions, but rather, there were more than the controls. They hid the breast cancer link in our mothers – it was in their files, though. The CCA of the vagina and/or cervix was also hidden away. That is why lawsuits have been settled before many days in court. Hush money. Breast cancer in daughter’s over 40 is much higher and now there are evidences being looked into for increased rates of pancreatic cancer. DES does not stand alone. Viiox is another. They know it was a killer, but they made their millions before it came out. And Bextra.

      2. Dr. Ben, I first learned that drug companies do in fact hide or fail to disclose research from reading and learning from Dr. Greger. Of course there’s conspiracy where there’s a multimillion dollar industry, there usually is… from animal agriculture to pharmaceuticals and even resources like diamonds and even sports like football!
        It’s a pretty big conspiracy when Monsanto has bullied the scientific community out of publishing or further researching GMO’s (Lynn posted a link below where one specific incidence and scientist is named) and have had journalists fired for not signing a contract that would prevent them from reporting or even speaking about their investigation and findings.
        You seem to assume that simply because people here may have different concerns than you, that they too aren’t doing relevant research. I wouldn’t describe my learning about these things as “reading broadly,” I pay attention to sources and names and have learned to do so significantly better as I went and in a large way, Dr. Greger has taught me to be a better researcher.
        Dr. Greger has also exposed several times, conspiracies.
        It is in fact ok to use common sense based on past and present events and observation of the world around us. No one here is saying to stake a claim in the ground before there’s conclusive evidence on something, but asking questions is not only ok but has always been an important part of both the scientific and investigative process and I don’t think people should be passively belittled for it.
        It’s ok to both acknowledge the importance of sound evidence and ask questions and acknowledge common sense and observation at the same time. All of these aspects are required for learning.
        I don’t believe anyone or at least most here would argue that Dr. Greger focusing on the best available evidence is not essential for validity and providing the proven science, to argue that makes no sense. But people aren’t automatically naive or ignorant or under some placebo effect when they’re discussing other concerns amongst themselves, especially concerns that have been validated in many ways.

  3. “Immune system and gastrointestinal deregulation linked with autism
    UC Davis MIND Institute research finds increased inflammation may be culprit

    (SACRAMENTO, Calif.) —
    Researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute have found that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have reduced immune system regulation, as well as shifts in their gut microbiota. The immune deregulation appears to facilitate increased inflammation and may be linked to the gastrointestinal issues so often experienced by children with ASD. The research was published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.”
    http://ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/newsroom/12807

    Inflammatory response is necessary for vaccine efficacy

    “Highlights
    •All effective vaccines stimulate innate immunity with induction of cytokines.
    •G-CSF was produced three hours after vaccination in muscle tissues.
    •Inflammatory nodules were detected with neutrophils at the injection sites.
    •Neutrophil extracellular traps were noted, and stimulated the DAMPs.
    •An inflammatory response is essential for acquired immunity.”
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X16307381

  4. The financial benefits for the “sickness maintenance industries” from illnesses of any kind is huge, so why bother poking their cash cows. I am totally disgusted with our broken system and the legal drug pushers who are oblivious to the “first do no harm” oath. My ex went from being an active, big, loud, social man to a shriveled, ancient hull of his former self in one season, and 8 doctors and “specialists” so far have done NOTHING to diagnose or help him, besides repeating a slew of useless, expensive tests and pushing a long list of antidepressants – solely because his facial expression is totally flat and he barely responds. He’s also lost 1/2 his body weight, has no strength, serious and obvious balance and movement issues, a slight tremor, barely speaks, on and on, and can’t even take care of himself. None of these symptoms are subtle, and their onset wasn’t either, but again and again, I’m just told he’s old and depressed? What a BS copout! Out of disgust and desperation I finally googled some of his obvious symptoms for some ideas, and as I suspected, got a page of Parkinson’s links. When I asked his useless yet egotistical doctor what he thought about the possibility, he went off on me for thinking my googling something trumped years of his medical school education, clinical practice, and diagnostic experience! WHAT? He’d done nothing but refer his desperately sick, paying, patient to a list of cronies who did the same, and his biggest concern was his own bruised ego? I just couldn’t believe his arrogant, self centered, protracted tirade and had to walk out before I got arrested for ahem, raising the pitch of his voice. Sigh, thanks for letting me vent, so frustrating!

    1. Way to go Vegetator!
      Vent away!

      Rage against the dying of the light!

      Check Brain Plasticity, Neurogenesis and Vascular.

      I saw a med for Parkinsons where they were doing Neurogenesis and they had a theory that it was similar to a stroke, but only half the damage.

      If stroke people can come all the way back, use what they do and go for it.

      Stimulate the nerves to the brain and get rid of that saturated fats and eat for neurogenesis!

    2. That is disgusting Vegetater… And so sorry to hear about your ex. In fact, people in desperate situations like yours quite regularly trump egotistical schmuck doctors like that by doing their own research! People like him have no place in medicine. I hope your ex gets a new doctor!

    3. Vegetater, unfortunately too many of us have had to deal useless, egotistical, arrogant & self-centered doctors just like the one you described. They hate it when people try to think for themselves or take the initiative to find out what’s really going on instead of just taking their word as gospel. Fortunately, not all doctors are like that. If you can find one on your own who is not an egotistical bully, & if you can convince your ex to give him/her a chance, it might be what saves him.

  5. Watch the documentary “The Brain That Changes Itself” free on YouTube

    Watch Ted Talks on neurogenesis.

    If there is no pacemaker or brain stent involved, TMS, Ultrasound, Direct Current, Acupuncture, Cold Laser, Electric Foot massagers, etc.

    It is all about stimulating the nerves to the brain to stimulate those neurons in the brain.

    I just did all kinds of research for stroke recovery and Alzheimer’s and was fascinated that one group in the Parkinson’s Community put them all in the same category and they were aiming for the same types of recovery stroke patients can get.

    Right now though, I am doing the silica in the diet and looking for Volvic water to get the aluminum out of the brain and I fixed the Copper / Zinc ratio.

    Also check homocysteine.

    All of the usual suspects.

  6. Also, if your ex had antibiotics, this whole gut microbiome / fecal transplant or pet the nearest WFPB person’s dog for a very long time and use their bathroom is something, which will sound like a joke, but it isn’t, because there is such a strong gut / brain connection.

    There are resources on-line about DIY fecal transplants if you find a donor who is healthy enough or there are professionals out there doing it, but no insurance coverage for it.

  7. I could also give odd things, which I encountered where things like TMJ can cause nerves to be pinched is one of the Parkinson’s topics.

    It will be more likely to be a cluster of things, like Bredesen talks about, where it is ten out of sixty things, which causes the Alzheimers.

    Your ex needs to know “the usual suspects” and that is things like:

    Lack of nutrition – deficiencies can cause the problems directly or can cause things like homocysteine.
    Lack of sleep – meaning lack of Melatonin and lack of your brain’s immune system cleaning up, because it happens while you sleep
    Blood sugar problems – uncontrolled insulin, too much sugar – intermittent fasting, getting rid of refined flours, getting rid of saturated fats
    Vascular problems – animal products, refined flours, oils, etc.
    Inflammation – Dr. Greger has foods and spices, which help this.
    Toxins – Aluminum, Copper, RoundUp etc. Lots of sources of that from cookware and aluminum foil to cheese to baked goods to toiletries. And Copper and Iron in multivitamins. Get it out with silica water – one liter a day, drink it within an hour for 12 weeks or so.
    Blood flow to the brain – there are gadgets like Vie light (and there are cheap versions of that on Amazon marketed as sinus lights.)

    The list goes on and on, but getting rid of the toxins and getting the nutrition and dealing with blood sugar are places to start.

    I have had Alzheimer’s symptoms and I am just doing one thing at a time and I am walking someone through stroke, so we are in this together.

    Just don’t let any doctor trick your ex out of trying things.

    I mentioned electric foot massage and that is because they did a stroke study in Hong Kong, where way more people who received electric foot massage walked again than those who didn’t.

    I bought a MicroPulse ICES, which is a research devise, which does increase circulation and circulating blood is wonderfully healing.

      1. Vegetator,

        There are different types of Parkinson’s and you should tell him to get a second opinion and change doctors and find one who will test for the various types.

        Idiopathic Parkinson’s affects the sense of smell.

        Having your ex take a peanut butter test (like Alzheimer’s – see Dr. Greger’s video) might help diagnose it. ” One recent suggestion
        not mentioned by Thanvi is that as the sense of smell is universally affected in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease and not in vascular parkinsonism, testing smell can aid with diagnosis [13]”

        One they talked about one type where people who had anticoagulation did better.

        One type, they were able to drain the fluid out of the brain.

        One type is related to TMJ affecting the Trigeminal nerve. A dental mouthpiece helps that type.

        I am not trying to diagnose your ex.

        What I am saying is that, part of the problem your doctor probably has is that there are a lot of things with the same symptoms and even if you know the condition outright, there are so many theories out there and all of the theories have studies and none of the research is complete, but, from my experience, researching and trying things has helped so much and doctors who shut that process down keep people from having improvements.

        It has caused me to turn away from “what do I have” and turn toward what they are doing to heal brain issues and all of the other things and all of it has a cluster of theories and Dr. Greger is covering them.

        Gut Microbiome
        Toxins
        GMO
        Homocysteine
        Saturated Fat
        Is it Vascular
        Is it blood sugar

        Dr. Bredesen said that he started with a handful of risk factors and now, I believe he said that he has found 60-something risk factors.

        I am not doing his oils, but I am doing intermittent fasting and I did get rid of supplements with copper and iron and I am drinking silica water to get rid of aluminum and I have tried to get rid of every aluminum and copper kitchen device and I switched to glass storage containers made in America.

        And I learned to eat blueberries and cacao and eat my greens and go out in the sun for my Co-enzyme Q10.

        The list of things I have done goes on and on, and I haven’t finished.

        1. I found that doctors are almost always resistant to the newer theories and newer research and it has been so frustrating to read something on PubMed and have every doctor shut that sentence off, as if PubMed was a snake oil salesman site.

          1. There is also this condition and when they talk about it, this is similar to Parkinsons, but one leans forward and one falls back.

            https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Progressive-Supranuclear-Palsy-Fact-Sheet#3281_3

            If you read about it, they describe things like tau, and, to me, that makes it similar to Alzheimer’s even if it is a different section of the brain and it is damage to brain cells, like stroke.

            I am clearly not a medical person and don’t want you to follow my advice, but I know that “inspiration” leading to changes, which actually help, helps.

            I have gotten rid of so many symptoms to things doctors have never diagnosed me for, just looking for the “causes” of things, rather than diagnosing.

            If there is smoking or eating animal products or drinking soda… I find that dealing with all of the “smoking guns” has helped more than my relatives who went and got diagnosed and put on meds, which made them worse. None of them were Parkinson’s, but researching stroke, I found a drug for Parkinson’s and they were using brain plasticity, which is what I was looking at for stroke, but they combined Stroke, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and they got me just ticking off a list of theories and fixing the causes of all of the theories.

            Dr. Bredesen is doing that process right now for Alzheimers and I don’t like the whole oil thing, but I like having a check list for brain issues.

            1. To me, WFPB is easier if you do it in the direction of make the changes and see which health issues get resolved.

              The brain things are the same to me.

              Do every good thing for the brain from every theory, except put the theories people argue about over to the side for later.

              I have walked people through with doctors before and never had them walk anyone through any of these processes at all.

              Nor did they ever talk about the theories or studies or alternatives to medicine.

              I know how seriously broken my brain still is, but I also know that I am ten thousand times better than 5 years ago and that is an understatement.

              Feels like the answers will always be “fix all the causes of everything” first. Then, if it is cancer or heart related or inflammation related or nutritional related, the solution reveals which thing it was.

  8. On the graphic chart beginning around 5:18 in the video, the word “Physician” is spelled incorrectly as “Phisician”.

    1. How terribly embarrassing! I’ve asked the video team to correct it and we’ll upload a fixed version–all thanks to you!!! Please email me and I’ll send you a token of my eternal gratitude! (or the flax bag–whatever you want!)

  9. My niece had twin boys and has autism and the other doesn’t. They have eaten the same diet and been exposed to antibiotics in similar ways. Twin studies might provide more understanding.

  10. After reading this thread and seeing brief mention of GMOs throughout, I just had to chime in. I’m sure all of you are familiar with Jeffrey Smith’s phenomenal work over the years, exposing Monsanto and the dangers of GMOs (Seeds of Deception, Genetic Roulette, http://www.responsibletechnology.org). Last week I had the opportunity to see the West Coast premiere of his latest documentary, Secret Ingredients (www.secretingredientsmovie.org.) It focuses mainly on case studies of two families with multiple serious health issues including two kids with autism. As the families moved to a completely organic diet (thus reducing glyphosate contamination), and vigilantly eliminated all GMOs, the health issues were resolved and the two kids showed no signs of being on the spectrum at all. Granted this is all anecdotal but it is a powerful documentary. The theory of the gut microbiome connection with autism and other disorders was convincingly addressed. There was a Q&A session with Jeffrey Smith after the film, during which he asked the audience how many would now be 80-100% vigilant about eating only organic, and most of us raised our hands. Prior to showing the film he had asked us the same question, and only about 1/4 of the audience had been in the 80-100% group! He said the film would be in theaters and on dvd probably this fall.

    1. Stephen, that was brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing! Also, I love her! I really enjoyed listening to her presentation, and the woman sang to jellyfish as a little girl for crying out loud!

      Dr. Greger has some great stuff on telomeres as well. One of the first things I’m hos book “How Not To Die” explains about telomeres and how plant based diets can regrow them!

  11. My brother has schizophrenia and I wonder if the wisdom tooth removal surgery he had when he was about seventeen triggered the disease. About four or five years after that time he had his breakdown. Have any studies been done to check for a relationship between anaesthetics and schizophrenia?

  12. Hi. It jight also be worth looking into the role of histamine in autism. I have been reading about that and it looks like several people have had an improvement from taking antihistamines.

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