As the United States Centers For Disease Control report that 1 in 6 children in America are now diagnosed with developmental impairments, psychiatrist Andrew Levinson, M.D. provided a presentation this week at the Miami Museum of Science examining the causes of this epidemic and treatments that can be used to effectively help reverse the damage.
Dr. Levinson, speaking on Monday, May 23rd, 2011 before a meeting of P.A.T.H. (Positive Alternative Therapies in Healthcare), explored the multiple causal factors contributing to the rising incidence of conditions across the spectrum of developmental disturbances, which includes Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, and PDD. Levinson identified multiple key factors that are present in many cases, such as mitochondrial dysfunction, gastrointestinal impairment, immune dysregulation, and impaired detoxification and metabolic pathways. Levinson described the children affected by these disorders as “beings of light” who are extra sensitive to their environment. They could be visionaries and healers in societies that support them, however, in our modern chemical and technological age they are overwhelmed by a bombardment of toxic stimuli, such as pesticides, heavy metals, chemicals in plastics, genetically modified food proteins, electromagnetic fields from electronic devices, and more. The combination of physical and emotional stresses that children are exposed to has yielded a vast number of children who are unable to cope with their environment and who require extra attention and supervision as a result of their neurological impairments.
Levinson described a variety of treatments that are used to help heal the biological disturbances and repair the body systems that are affected. This functional medicine approach (which has been referred to as orthomolecular medicine in the past) has been the source of many cases of recovery from autism and related disorders. This approach involves much diligence, as children may need special diets (such as the gluten-free casein-free diet that eliminates dairy foods and most grains), chelation protocols (to detox heavy metals from their bodies), antioxidant support, anti-inflammatory therapies, probiotics, and pure water from non-plastic containers. Dr. Levinson recommended a diet of unprocessed organic foods to help reduce the burden of chemicals and allergens that these children encounter. He also recommended homeopathic nosodes in place of standard vaccine shots, pointing out how the mega-increase in vaccine expsoure in recent decades is a major hazard for vulnerable children whose immune systems have been shown to malfunction when overwhelmed by this form of hyperstimulation. While the mercury preservative thimerosal has been a major focus of debate in the autism community, this presentation pointed out the general hazard of excessive immunizations and the potential of adverse effects from multiple components in vaccines, which can include aluminum compounds and adjuvants such as squalene.
With many parents such as autism advocate Jenny McCarthy now promoting this biological treatment approach, many of the puzzle pieces surrounding autism are being filled in. This model has yielded valuable insights about factors contributing to autism and inspiring results and recoveries – results not seen with conventional medicine approaches that typically focus on suppressing autistic symptoms and behaviors while ignoring the systemic damage to multiple body systems and the environmental triggers that sustain that damage. As Dr. Levinson pointed out, it is somewhat wasteful to be providing children occupational therapy and applied behavior analysis if they are too often sick from immune weakness, allergies, or digestive dysfunction and unable to receive the benefits of those therapies. In many cases children have shown a dramatic improvement and no longer needed the standard autism therapies once their bodies were balanced with detoxification and restoration of proper nourishment. Levinson noted that psychiatric conditions in general tend to be associated with gastrointestinal and immune system dysfunctions, and treating people with conditions like bipolar depression and schizophrenia using functional medicine approaches has also supported many recoveries. Dr. Levinson expressed his view on conventional psychiatric drugs, stating that they all alter brain chemistry in potentially harmful ways and in his view should be used only as a last resort when the conditions can’t be managed in safer ways.
Dr. Andrew Levinson practices in Miami Beach at Vitality Wellness, and is also a Kundalini Yoga practitioner versed in Eastern philosophy and ayurvedic healing wisdom. He pointed out how some herbs such as turmeric that are useful in protocols used to treat autism and ASD have been widely used in ayurvedic medicine. Levinson’s presentation was highly informative and offered the public insight into progressive therapies for helping people who have been diagnosed with conditions such as autism and ADHD. He has treated patients from all around the world who have sought expert care for these neurodevelopmental disturbances.