Posted - 07/17/2006 : 15:38:34
It will come as no surprise to parents throughout Scotland that there has been a "sharp increase in autism" (July 14). The diagnosis of this devastating childhood developmental condition has increased to such an extent since 1990 that many, many families are now affected. It is very worrying that it has taken well over 10 years for the authorities at last to recognise that an autism epidemic has been sweeping the UK.
Psychiatrists and psychologists and those within the traditional autism support and services organisations must bear some responsibility for this sad state of affairs, as it is they who have continually denied that what we have been witnessing with our own eyes was actually happening. An estimated 12-fold increase in autism was apparently a mirage!
By sustaining this irrational stance these interest groups have hampered clinical examination, and likely condemned seriously ill children to years of unnecessary pain and distress. The psychobabble "experts" must now be informed that we have not been experiencing the world's first genetic epidemic!
Importantly, there is much to learn from this latest Lancet paper. What it tells us is that (1) autism is not solely genetic in origin, (2) environmental factors play a far greater role than was previously understood, and as a result, (3) autism may be a treatable condition for some.
Supported by parents, Autism Treatment Trust opened an autism consultation and treatment centre in Edinburgh in April this year and to date we have comprehensively tested more than 60 autistic children. It is early days, but the results so far are very revealing.
For example, heavy-metal toxicity is a common feature, with significantly high levels of lead, aluminium, tin and antimony present in autistic kids, in comparison to typical children. Inflammation, particularly of the bowel, is often identified. Immune dysfunction is a recurring theme.
If these problems were addressed how would it affect the child's autistic behaviours? Watch this space!
If the medical establishment continues to abandon these children, without addressing their underlying problems, this will rightly be interpreted, by every decent person with an ounce of compassion, as scandalous.
Bill Welsh, Chairman, Autism Treatment Trust, 26b Great King Street, Edinburgh.