Monday, 20 January 2014

How to avoid Autism (and also treat TBI)

It appears that in classic autism, most of the damage is done before birth, but a gradual second decline does often seem to occur between 24 and 54 months, even in a child who you would not think of as suffering from regressive autism.
When people think back about their child with regressive autism, they often recall examples of odd behaviours occurring long before the big regression occurred.

So my "extrapolation" from this, is that there are actually two waves of neurological damage in these two common types of autism. It is just that in one case there is a tidal wave before birth and a smaller change as a toddler.  In regressive autism, the first wave usually passes unnoticed, and the main, unmistakable damage occurs in the second wave.
Perhaps we can avoid this first wave of damage done before birth, in both classic early onset autism and regressive autism.
In an earlier post, I made my case for why girls do not get mild autism and why mothers, who are alpha-females, are more prone to have kids with ASD.
This was based on reading that the female hormone progesterone is extremely neuro-protective and that oxidative stress, now seen as a cause of autism, has many causes and is extremely damaging to the brain.  A good example of progesterone use, is its experimental use immediately after a traumatic brain injury.  All I did was extend this to autism.  Now it appears I am not the only one.

Here is a paper I spotted in a corner on Paul Whiteley’s ASD blog.

Studies show increased autism risk among children born to mothers experiencing obstetrical complications. Although this is usually interpreted as suggesting that the obstetrical complications could be causing autism, it is possible that a single factor could be responsible for both complications and autism. We hypothesized that low levels of the hormone progesterone is responsible since it is supplied to the fetus maternally and does not only support pregnancy but also promotes brain development. Following a review of the literature, we report findings from a survey of mothers of autistic children (n=86) compared to mothers of typically-developing children (n=88) regarding obstetrical histories, including five obstetrical risk factors indicative of low progesterone Using this analysis, the ASD group had significantly more risk factors than controls (1.21 ± 0.09 vs. 0.76 ± 0.08, p< .0001), suggesting low progesterone. Thus, results suggest that low progesterone may be responsible for both obstetrical complications and brain changes associated with autism and that progesterone levels should be routinely monitored in at-risk pregnancies. Our hypothesis also suggests that ensuring adequate levels of progesterone may decrease the likelihood of autism.

The authors’ hypothesis suggests that ensuring adequate levels of progesterone may decrease the likelihood of autism.  Well, I for one, find this interesting.
In another earlier post, I referred to my advice to Ted, the nom de guerre of my very neuro-typical elder son, on how to avoid autism in the next generation.  I think I can now extend that advice further:-

People like Ted, with a close relative with ASD, could do some of the following:-

·        Find a partner who is calm beta-type female

·        Ensure she avoids emotional stress and shocks during pregnancy (particularly early on)

·       Take maternity leave straight after pregnancy is noticed, rather than mainly after birth; or, best of all, have the partner quit work as soon as pregnancy is noted

·        Ensure high levels of neuro-protective agents throughout pregnancy

·        Progesterone

·        Glutathione GSH (i.e. take NAC)

You might be expecting me to have statins on my list, since they are also very neuro-protective, but I do not;  even though:-

During pregnancy, statins are detrimental to human placental development.  So although people in high speed skiing accidents, who suffer traumatic brain injuries, would have a clear benefit, for a woman with a 10% chance of having a child with ASD, the risks would outweigh the possible benefit.  Most likely, the primary, cholesterol lowering effect of the statin, is doing the damage, since the baby’s brain does need cholesterol. 

Progesterone would also be a potential therapy for people with ASD.  It might though not be wise for boys around puberty.  There are reports of people with ADHD finding progesterone helpful.

Should I happen to have a TBI (traumatic brain injury), please put in my IV drip progesterone, atorvastatin/lovastatin and N-acetylcysteine.

P.S.  During pregnancy, ensuring the mother is not hypothyroid and does take folic acid will also shift the odds away from an outcome with ASD.

1 comment:

  1. genetic testing and consultation will be useful.
    Try to have babies as early as possible.


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