What is Autism?

Autism, high functioning autism and ADHD are developmental disorders, usually diagnosed at an early age.

  • Autism is characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.
  • The term neurodiversity covers both autism and  autistic spectrum disorder previously known as Aspergers or more specifically high-functioning autism ( HFA).
  • ADHD stands for ‘attention deficit hyperactivity disorder’, characterised by inattentiveness, impulsivity and hyperactivity.

The symptoms of high functioning autism and ADHD overlap substantially. Many children are diagnosed with ADHD before subsequently being diagnosed with high functioning autism ( HFA).

Private GP offers a full range of assessments for the diagnosis of ADHD and Autism.  We also offer in-depth investigation to diagnose and treat medical and nutritional problems that may run alongside those with autistic spectrum disorders.

Autistic spectrum disorders are thought to be underpinned by a combination of factors, both genetic and environmental. Some studies suggest a combination of immune dysfunction, gastrointestinal abnormalities, dietary habits, and toxic exposure that interact with genetic or environmental factors, which may expedite the expression of autism ADHD or HFA.

We cannot yet treat the faulty genes, but we can treat environmental factors and the impact they have on the body and mind. This approach typically reduces the severity of an autistic spectrum disorder, and in some cases will eliminate all symptoms. We offer specific treatments aimed to target specific problems, read on for more information on causes, treatments and benefits.

Causes, tests and treatments

Immune Dysfunction

Amino acids are the key building blocks that work on the brain, if they are not absorbed by the body, it can influence mood and behaviour. Evidence suggests poor diet and nutrition absorption may in some people play key roles in the expression of autism.

We can carry out a urine sample test to check for amino acids and organic acids. The proper balance of nutrients is essential for healthy development and for this reason this urine test is very important as it assesses certain nutritional needs.

The ability to digest, absorb and use amino acids is also dependent upon factors like vitamins and minerals. The patient’s ability to metabolise amino acids and other nutrients is assessed through the metabolic analysis profile test. The metabolic analysis profile evaluates for critical areas of metabolism such as:

  • Gastrointestinal function
  • Cellular energy production
  • Neurotransmitter processing
  • Amino acid/organic acid balance as influenced by vitamin and mineral co-factors

Through urine sample tests and metabolic analysis profile tests we can determine what our patient needs, whether it is supplements of specific nutrients or treatments of metabolic dysfunctions. By treating immune dysfunctions development of autism or severity of symptoms may be stemmed.

Please note that this approach is very individual and is not backed by Class A Medical Evidence such as double blind controlled randomised clinical trials. There are no promises of improvement. The Clinician will discuss options with you for you or your child/children and ensure that you are realistic in your expectations. Some children do well, but others may not respond so well.

Gastrointestinal Abnormalities

Autistic children often develop chronic digestive problems that can be linked to changes in mood and behaviour. 

Common gastrointestinal abnormalities:

  • Digestive enzyme deficiencies
  • inflammation and overgrowth of infections in the bowel

If the lining of the intestines is not working properly, the body cannot ensure absorbing of nutrients and blocking of toxins, allergens and other potentially harmful substances. We are able to conduct a test which provides a non-invasive assessment of these areas and can be used to develop individualised treatment strategies to improve function and reduce symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract.

Dietary Habits

Significant imbalance of the fatty acids in red blood cell membranes have been reported in patients with autism.  

The forerunner to fatty acid must be supplied by the diet and the body must be able to properly metabolise these fats. We are able to measure the presence of essential and metabolic fatty acids and can advise patients regarding any adjustments that are needed.

Care givers of autistic children often report that certain foods can exacerbate their childrens’ symptoms.  There are different mechanisms of trying to assess food hypersensitivity.  None of the tests available are gold standard but the tests that we use in the practice are the IgE-mediated test, and IgG test.  We also like to test for coeliac disease in order to eliminate it.  Results can then be used to help tailor the diet plan that eliminates irritating substances until the underlying upregulation of the immune system has settled.

Toxic exposure and bio-transformation

Heavy metal absorption may pose a threat to healthy neurological development.  

Autistic patients, particularly children, are less able to handle and eliminate toxic metals from their bodies due to various mineral deficiencies. Which results in patients becoming more susceptible to heavy metal absorption.

Chronic infection

There is conflicting evidence to suggest that one of the contributing factors to autism may be the presence of a chronic infection such as Lyme disease, toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, Bartonella etc. We are able to test for these conditions here and organise appropriate treatment where necessary.

Deficient neurotransmitters

When deficiencies or excesses occur they may play a role in the development of autism.

Deficiencies or excesses of electrolytes and blood elements such as copper and magnesium, need to be assessed as these are co-factors in the production of brain chemicals.

Tests assessing the production of neurotransmitters are useful. These measure the levels of various brain chemicals such as dopamine, adrenaline and GABA. Understanding the excesses or deficiencies found by these tests can help in the management of mental health and autism.

Gut barrier test

The heavy inflammatory action of LPS in the body, (LPS stands for lipase polysaccharides; which are endotoxins produced by bacteria in the gut ) may be one of the considerations in neuro-inflammation that takes place in the body and the brain, in conditions such as Autism, HFA , ADHD, psychosis, depression and anxiety and other mental health conditions; also indeed many other conditions in the body.

One of the tests that we do is the advanced gut barrier assessment. This test looks at levels of Zonulin, Histamine, and Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) in the bloodstream. The results of this test can help to manage the various factors that are involved with gut wall permeability. It is considered that the blood-brain barrier has similar mechanisms of exchange and that the gut wall in some ways can reflect the blood-brain barrier.

Fatty acid imbalances

Fat is used throughout the human body in the formation of membranes. We organise a detailed test with a prescription for dietary fat management.

Each case varies and patients require individual assessment and treatment, we take extra care to evaluate each individual separately. We work as a team, enabling you to decide on a suite of tests that will give you the answers, with guidance from your practitioner.

You are unique and we are ready to listen

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