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Autism – it’s not all about genetics

Extract from Irish Times Article:

Autism – it’s not all about genetics

What I was told at diagnosis – that autism is an inborn genetic disorder – has been debunked in recent years

Adrienne Murphy, The Irish Times

Tue, Mar 18, 2014, 01:00

The journey of knowledge-acquisition that I began when I attended an international conference in Edinburgh last year called Changing the Course of Autism , has led me to finding professionals in Ireland who are educated in the biochemistry of ASD and its underlying “comorbidities” (one or more additional disorders or diseases which co-occur with the primary disorder). And through reading and research, I am becoming a lay expert.

What I was told eight years ago at diagnosis – that autism is an inborn genetic disorder – has been debunked by scientific research over the past couple of years.

Genetic disorders don’t explode in prevalence the way autism has done, with the US Centre for Disease Control now stating that one in 88 children will become autistic.

We’re on the cusp of a massive paradigm shift, which understands autism to be the result of a complex intermeshing of degenerative diseases and comorbidities, largely created and exacerbated by environmental factors.

While this new, scientifically backed understanding of autism has shocking implications, it is also an immense source of hope. Underlying comorbidities can be investigated, diagnosed and treated.

Harmful environmental exposures can be reduced. Children with autism who are being tested and treated for biomedical problems are improving and even fully recovering.

With the help of Dr Goodwin McDonnell, a Dublin GP who is also a homeopath and an osteopath, Caoimh was diagnosed with gastrointestinal disease, including permeable gut, bacterial dysbiosis and candida infection. He had aluminium toxicity. He was severely deficient in zinc, vitamin C and serotonin.
Gut and brain inflammation
These issues had been causing gut and brain inflammation, allergic reactions, compromised immunity, neurological impairment, learning disability, mood and sleep disorders, chronic anxiety and chronic pain.

As treatment, Caoimh’s father, his step-mother and I began the Gaps grain-free, sugar-free, lactose-free, organic-only diet, developed by neurologist/ nutritional scientist, Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, and described in her book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

McBride is particularly condemnatory of fluoride, a known neurotoxin, and cutting out Caoimh’s exposure to dangerous contaminants in Irish tap water via reverse osmosis filtration was the crucial first step on his healing path.

Five months into the two-year Gaps dietary programme, painkillers are now a thing of the past. Caoimh loves going to bed, falls asleep easily and generally sleeps for 10 hours.

He is able to breathe through his nose at night, and his stomach, which was distended for years, has flattened. He is calm and happy, often to the point of serenity. He looks much healthier. His temper rarely flares and, when it does, he knows how to get it under control.

He has lost his self-injurious, aggressive and hyperactive behaviours. His ability to concentrate has increased dramatically. His comprehension of speech and his ability to follow instruction have leapt ahead.

His vocal articulation and clarity are improving. He is learning piano, drumming and art.

For the first time in our lives, we can sit down with him and enjoy picture books together. He is learning to read.

The new science shows that when medically assessed, the majority of autistic people test positive across a wide range of comorbid medical conditions, many of which are progressive if left undiagnosed and untreated.

Genetic ‘myth’ of autism
These conditions affect mood, sleep, communication, social interaction, cognitive function and behaviour. Every parent and health practitioner dealing with autism needs to become aware of this.

Perpetuating the myth of autism as a primarily genetic disorder is a disservice to those who might benefit from treatment, and diverts attention from non-genetic causes.

It’s time to take autism beyond the boundaries of psychiatry and neurology, and recognise it as a whole-body disorder, with many of the common behaviours that have been attributed to ASD being surface manifestations of a systemic and complex disease process. When we do this, kids like Caoimh can begin to recover.

Further reading: Medical Com orbidities in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Primer for Health Care Professionals and Policy Makers , downloadable at; The Autism Revolution by Dr Martha Herbert; Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr N Campbell-McBride.

Full article available at

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