By Dr. David Berger – Pediatrician and TACA Physician Advisor
Well, here is a concept I bet many parents of children with autism never contemplated….a vaccine specifically designed to inhibit the growth of the gut bugs that so many of us believe are playing a role in these children’s symptoms.
This week, researchers from a university in Canada announced the development of a vaccine that targets Clostridia to reduce the symptoms of autism.
(Full article can be read here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424112309.htm)
Now, if I were to take out certain paragraphs from this article, one could see this as part of a presentation at a DAN!/ARI, NAA or Autism One Conference. “More than 90 percent of children with autism spectrum disorders suffer from chronic, severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Of those, about 75 percent suffer from diarrhea, according to current literature…… Autism cases have increased almost six-fold over the past 20 years, and scientists don’t know why. Although many experts point to environmental factors, others have focused on the human gut. Some researchers believe toxins and/or metabolites produced by gut bacteria, including Clostridia bolteae, may be associated with symptoms and severity of autism, especially regressive autism.”
This made me think a little deeper. What if there was actually a vaccine that could prevent Candida as well? Considering how many children with Autism are “yeast monsters”, and it seems like a never ending battle to keep yeast suppressed or a child regresses, how many families who have ridden the Candida roller coaster would opt for a Candida vaccine if it was proven effective and safe?
To be clear, I am not advocating for us to be actively seeking to vaccinate our kids against clostridia (or Candida). Many times, it just takes good doses of Lactobacillus and/or Saccharomyces to treat and suppress clostridia. And more importantly, by strengthening the immune system from birth (or ideally from preconception and through the pregnancy), by breastfeeding and then moving on to a high quality diet, maintaining good flora, vitamin D and zinc levels, and avoiding antibiotics, most kids would never develop clostridia or Candida in the first place. It is this strategy, along with minimizing toxic exposures, that I attribute to never having seen a child that came to my medical practice as a neonate go on to develop autism.
But I am happy to see the gut/brain connection being taken more seriously at the university level. Hopefully more research will be done to show that the clostridia can be prevented and treated without needing to vaccinate a child.
More on Dr. David Berger: https://www.tacanow.org/about-taca/physician-advisory-board/david-berger/