Thursday, 24 October 2013

Endocrinology & Autism - the Final Frontier

When I started this blog 85 posts ago, I could not even spell endocrinology, let alone know how important it might be in my quest to figure out autism and how best to manage it.  Endocrinology is all about the biosynthesis, storage, chemistry, biochemical and physiological function of hormones and with the cells of the endocrine glands and tissues that secrete them.

What does that have to do with autism?

Well, 85 posts later, I think I can safely tell you that while oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in the damaged autistic brain are the two drivers of autism, most of the behavioural consequences are likely mediated by you child's endocrine system. 

Like me, you can try as hard as you like to minimize oxidative stress and neuroinflammation and this will take you a long way; but the ultimate goal would be to give the endocrine system a little help to switch from autistic homeostasis towards neurotypical homeostasis.  Is this really possible?  A year ago I would have said this was pure fantasy; now I am not so sure.

There are numerous well documented hormonal imbalances in autism, only some of which have been investigated and none very thoroughly. 

Medicine is full of "-ologies" and you would have thought autism had most to do with Neurology, but I have a feeling that Endocrinology will give me the final piece of the puzzle that I am looking for.

For this next stage in my investigation I will be taking advice from an Endocrinologist.



  1. Hi I found your blog while looking for links for my blog I just started, in a similar vein. Please stop by and let me know what you think sometime... mine needs more work! ;)

    I've linked to your blog on mine hope that's ok - if its a faux pas, let me know brand new to the world of blogging!

  2. do you know of any endocrinologists that have successfully treated young adults with autism? NYC based would be best!

    1. I am not in the US. Perhaps another reader can help you.

  3. Hi, folks.

    Here's some stuff I've learned:

    Some adults have had good responses to clonidine and beta blockers, like propanolol (they turn down or block the hormones' affects on the cardiovascular system via neuro-hormonal receptor specially (alpha for clonidine, beta for propanolol).

    These two medications are commonly prescribed by both neurologists and psychiatrists (who strangely never check blood pressure) for the prevention of migraine and the treatment of insomnia (both common among the neuro-atypical).

    I don't know if these drugs are safe for children or if there are others. However, some kids like turkey, and L-tryptophan is also a "house-hold beta blocker." Turkey sandwich on quiz days anyone?

    For the child with migraine or other sorts of neurologic struggles, a healthy sports drink can make a world of difference to replace electrolytes the nervous system relies on to function. I learned this at a talk for doctors given by a pediatric neurologist specializing in headache.

    My own twist is DIY: sophisticated hydration, eg, table salt, potassium or mashed banana, agave, citrus juice or berry juice for flavor and anti-oxidants rather than spendy hydration is key. If it's cold, it's even better because then it also serves as a distraction which focuses the mind (response to cold in the mouth; brain-freeze is way too far, but you can get the idea, I hope). Socially, this also creates an opportunity for the person to literally cool their brain down, focus internally on feeling better and getting physiologic needs met to regain inner calm. Because the person would be drinking and enjoying, it gives the entire spectrum of surrounding people a chance for a break from talking and listening and processing. Everyone has a chance to regroup. The beauty of distraction.

    Both children and adults with migraine benefit from eating protein for breakfast, according to the neurologists, and Mom. There are lots of options, not just eggs or smoked salmon or turkey sausage or smoked mackeral or tofu scramble...whoops! Gave myself away. LOL

    I hope my sharing this knowledge helps.

  4. Hello Peter,

    Actually a post on some of the systems of the human body, particularly the endocrine, circulatory and excretory and probably the nervous system could put things in a perspective for many of your lay readers, I am sure. The heavy molecular stuff makes me dizzy though I have studied a bit of hardcore biology up till my MSc after which i decided to escape hoping to make it while my brain was still intact.

    And the comment made by anonymous on 'sophisticated hydration' seems like coming from a place of wisdom. Cardiovascular system and excretory system, in my opinion, might be of greater significance than we give credit to.

    By the way, in India where people are donkeying around in temperatures crossing 40 deg Celsius and unlike Western countries, sunlight has a sedative effect, mid noon, a version of this concoction is pretty much standard . Lemon juice, rock salt, a little sugar and ice cold water. A taste of heaven in the hell of North Indian summers.


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