By Tami Duncan
Legacy Feeds the Epidemics of Lyme and Autism
By Mary Budinger, Guest Columnist
Annual Conference of the Lyme-Induced Autism Foundation
Letter – November 2008 issue
theory" got a stranglehold on Western medicine, thanks to Louis Pasteur.
He was a flamboyant sort of guy compared to his nineteenth-century contemporaries
Antoine Bechamp and Claude Bernard, who, by the way, had vastly different
ideas. Pasteur excited the establishment of his day with his new ideas
of vaccinations and pasteurization. You could say he was a marketing success
extraordinaire. An entire system of medicine came to be built around his
theory that germs make us sick. Pasteur eventually said he was wrong.
But few remember that now; medical books long ago memorialized his germ
the pleomorphic theory: bacteria change into organisms that are increasingly
detrimental to the body. The waste products of their metabolism are harmful
to local body fluids, causing pain and inflammation. It is not the germs,
viruses, and bacteria that make you sick, it is the waste-products of
the metabolism of those organisms that make you sick.
that the immune system was merely a backup" system that took over
when the terrain failed. He downed a glass of water filled with cholera
to make his point that a strong terrain is uninviting to bugs.
his deathbed in 1895, admitted Bechamp and Bernard were right. He said,
"The pathogen is nothing. The terrain is everything." The strength
of the terrain explains why one person gets sick with the flu in winter,
while another person doesn't - or why two people can test positive for
Lyme, but one is asymptomatic and another struggles to live on long-term
antibiotics. Look at a body of water. When it is free-flowing and clean,
the terrain is healthy. But let that water stagnate, and mosquitoes swoop
in to breed and spread mischief. A weak terrain explains why an estimated
one in 150 American children have autism; why Lyme is now the fastest
growing infectious disease, faster than AIDS; and why Lyme disease can
World's Synergistic Effects
conference of the Lyme-Induced Autism (LlA) Foundation functions like
a think-tank, bringing together some of the best minds to compare notes.
At the June 2008 conference, experts concurred that the human immune system
is much poorer now than ever in human history. "Kids don't play in
the dirt, we don't take in a wide range of food with a wide range of taste,
plus we have ecosystem disruption - all these things allow greater incursion
of diseases into the human community," said author and herbalist
Stephen Buhner. The human community lives in a polluted world that reaches
us deep down on a cellular level. Dr. William Lee Cowden put it simply:
"Toxins create a tissue environment to grow microbes."
are perhaps the most troublesome toxins because they have been found to
feed and make up the biofilm that surrounds the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi,
the bacteria that is found in Lyme disease. Biofilm makes Lyme invisible
to the immune system and able to dodge a barrage of antibiotics. Mercury
and lead probably lead the list of heavy metals of concern.
is an everyday occurrence for all of us, no matter where we live. And
mercury levels are rising. The primary source is coal-burning power plants.
Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in 2008 documented
higher rates of autism in the vicinity of coal-burning power plants. Air
currents carry what is burned in China, for example, into the air we breathe
in the US. Other common sources of mercury are dental fillings, vaccines,
plastics, fungicides, and the new compact fluorescent light bulbs. Mercury
potentiates aluminum and pesticides. "Mercury, aluminun;J, and lead
in any amount are potentially toxic, and the combination has a synergistic
effect," Dr. Allan Sosin concurred. When mercury is on board, the
ability to handle infections is significantly
impacted. Mercury damages the 20,000 or so enzymes in the human body.
The lead epidemic
in America may be even bigger than mercury. "Lead came into our environment
with the Industrial Age, but it really got going when we put it in gasoline,"
said Dr. Garry Gordon. "We all have 1000 times more lead in our bones
than people 400 years ago." Lead proliferates in our environment
today as our use of electronic devices grows. Children are especially
vulnerable to lead.
one's genetic makeup can guide the increasingly complicated detox process.
"An underlying cause of autism is genetic defects in sulfation, methylation,
and other detoxification pathways," Dr. Cowden explained. "Heavy
metals block various enzymes and enzyme cofactors in these vital pathways.
Mercury binds to the microtubules in the cell. When a cell is going to
divide, the mercury means you do not get proper division." So not
only do metals impair healthy cellular activity, they make it harder for
our body's detoxification system to keep us cleaned out, and they feed
the bugs within us.
Environmental Working Group (EWG), we know b<:lbies today marinate
in a virtual toxic stew in the womb; EWG counted some 287 chemicals in
newborn umbilical cord blood. The modern human terrain is compromised
from Day One. "This kind of body burden leads to suppression of the
immune system and helps create an environment where chronic infections
flourish," Dr. Gordon said. "Beyond the damage these infections
themselves create, they signal the body to create fibrin, which protects
the organisms from the reach of many therapeutic interventions by thickening
the blood and providing the pathogens a place to hide. As we kill infections,
dying organisms release heavy metals into our bodies. You need something
in place to mop up those released metals." !
medicine, heavy metal toxicity is an uncommon diagnosis. A July 2008 Associated
Press story reported the suspension of a study that would have looked
at the effects of chelation on autistic children, "a move some scientists
see as an unethical experiment in voodoo medicine." In contrast,
chelation was described as a standard treatment when it was used to detox
US Navy sailors from lead-based paints during the World War II era. "Some
doctors do not know how to measure heavy metals," said Kazuko Grace-Curtin,
a self-described "warrior mom," who created care clinics for
Lyme-affected children. "We can't measure what departs through the
skin. Many of these children are not natural secretors. They need a provoking
agent, a chelator."
Gordon says many parents are ahead of mainstream medicine by insisting
that their Lyme or autistic children undergo chelation to remove heavy
metals. "We must lower our total body burden of pathogens to help
lower our inflammation, which is holding heavy metals in tissues in spite
of using the best chelators," Dr. Gordon explained. "There is
no drug that can overcome all the infections we all have today, so we
have to go back to improving the terrain."
The L1A Foundation
estimates that the majority of children with autism may be also infected
with Lyme disease. Informal studies put the number at about 30%; clinicians
are reporting numbers ranging from 20% to 90% of children with autism
who test positive for Borrelia (Borrelia burgdorferi). Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt
suggests that the best way to fix autism "is to test the mothers
before conception because most will test positive for Lyme." He said
giving chiarella (a species of green algae that grows in fresh water)
to moms before birth "can mean a reduction of 30% of toxin transfer
to baby because it removes most environmental toxins including mercury,
and it has high level of methyl B 12." He also suggests that 80%
of people have Lyme and do not know it. "Most autistic Kids have
Lyme disease because most docs do not treat for Lyme first to knock it
down enough that the white blood count can mount an attack and give you
something to measure," Klinghardt said. "That is why it is unknown."
told the conference, Lyme bacteria consumes collagen tissues. So it shows
up most often in the joints and in the brain. "Lyme fog" is
a phrase used to refer to the cognitive impairment victims experience,
the inability to connect the dots on any given day. Autism spectrum disorders
are characterized by dysfunctional neural processing and significant social
deficits - two diseases where the brain is impacted, yet two different
expressions of that impact. And our educational system is mostly ignorant
of the differences.
Leventhal, PhD, and Leo Shea III, PhD, have directed their efforts toward
the schools. "They want to put Lyme kids in ADD classes," Leventhal
said. "Lyme kids often look to the school psychologist like an ADHD
kid, because the Lyme kid will also have some attention traits. But even
if you can improve a Lyme kid's attention issues, their processing speed
still is not normal. Many of these kids cannot synthesize what they read."
- NOVEMBER 2008
Lyme - Autism
Connection In both Lyme and autism, brain function is affected, but in
different ways. "Lyme kids have memory problems and are accused of
not studying when they did," Leventhal explained. "The ADHD
children cannot stay still. If you remove all the sensory distractions,
the ADHD kids are still not okay, but Lyme kids are. Lyme kids have 'mental
blinks' where, like a cell phone dropping out, you miss a few words -
the brain neurons didn't fire. So they miss the words the teacher just
said, and the teacher thinks they are not paying attention. The teacher
thinks the child has ADHD because that is what she knows." How many
"Lyme kids" get shunted off on the wrong path is unknown.
Fields - Silent but Deadly
threat to the human terrain is electromagnetic fields (EMF), also sometimes
called electromagnetic radiation (EMR). One of the hallmarks of autism
is its ability to rob its victims of the power to communicate, and . ironically,
the very technology that fuels the information
age may be
to blame. Cell phones and wirejess Internet access are relatively new,
and they are large contributors to the blizzard of EMF that envelops us
every day. That blizzard appears to be biologically active. "Electromagnetic
coupled with accumulation of heavy metals, has damaged the cell membrane
and made this generation of children more vulnerable [than earlier generations],"
said Tamara Mariea, PhD.
In 1984, the
US embraced cell phone use, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
changed the vaccine. schedule. The autism rate was said to be one in 5000.
By the late 1990s, the autism rate was pegged at one in 500. Today, that
rate is one in 150. "Information-carrying radio waves cause disruption
of the human intercellular communication," said Mariea. "Unprecedented
levels of exposure to EMF combined with at-birth vaccinations that include
mercury provide a unique trigger that accounts for the dramatic rise in
autism rates in the past five years." The Hepatitis B vaccine is
given at birth to US babies, and it contains mercury and aluminum.
The base station
for a portable, cordless phone is a particularly intense EMF source, for
example. It can blast a radio frequency signal for several hundred feet
throughout a house and likewise penetrate more deeply into human tissue.
A 2007 study conducted by Mariea and George L. Carlo found evidence that
the steep rise in the incidence of autism correlates with the rapid and
universal deployment of wireless technologies. They postulated that when
exposed to EMF, cells harden their membranes. That creates a buildup of
toxins and disrupts the normal DNA repair process. But most of all, it
impedes communication between
the systems - immune, nervous, endocrine. This break in communication
results frequently in clinical symptoms consistent with autism.
body acts like an antenna for ambient electric fields in the home and
these interfere with body functions," said Dr. Klinghardt. "Neurons
cannot function at higher than 40 microwatts." Dr. Klinghardt explained
there is a synergistic effect of environmental pollution and EMF and growth
of microbes. "We need oxidation to kill the bugs, but there is too
much oxidation where we don't need it, in healthy cells, because of EMF."
He suggested that if you live out in the country with no cell phone reception,
and you have Lyme, you may have no symptoms. "But move to the city,
and the Lyme microbes will believe they are under attack and put out 600
times more toxins in defense. They are simply doing what they need to
survive," he explained. Dr. Cowden added that EMF can combine with
parasites and fungi to create Leaky Gut Syndrome, a common problem in
children with autism.
LETTER - NOVEMBER 2008
Modified - Unlabeled and Unreported
modified (GM) foods represent a dangerous and radical change to our food
supply. Europeans have resisted GM food, but American supermarket shelves
are full of it. The American media has been comparatively quiet, neglecting
to report, for example, that the only human GM feeding study ever published
showed that foreign genes inserted into GM food crops can transfer into
the DNA of our gut bacteria. So, long after we stop eating GM corn chips,
our intestinal flora might continue to manufacture the Bacillus thuringiensis
pesticide - "Bt," for short - that the GM plants are engineered
Andrea Lalama shared her hypothesis with the LlA conference that the Bt
pesticide may be the genesis of the autism epidemic. After Lalama's child
turned autistic, she researched intensively. She concluded that vaccines
are only a contributing factor because autism showed up in 1943, three
years after the use of Bt pesticide began. "The pesticidal properties
of Bt are due to the effects of a protein that punctures the insect's
mid-gut, causing it to leak uncontrollably," she reported, noting
the parallel with the high number of autistic children who suffer from
Leaky Gut Syndrome.
reported a corresponding rise in autism as the use of Bt spread. "The
Bt pesticide was introduced into genetically modified corn, then potatoes,
then fruits and vegetables./I Countries around the world where Bt use
is low have low rates of autism, she said, arid where Bt use is high as
it is in the US and China, autism rates are high.
of the top researchers at the FDA know how dangerous GM food is, but they
are not permitted to say anything, so, officially, the FDA does nothing
to warn us about the potential for serious harm,/I said Dr. Gordon. "GM
food can help introduce antibiotic resistance, and it also carries a virus
than can lead to the development of various 'stealth infections,' which
may not be detected on today's standard tests for infections. This means
that although we are all focused on things like food sensitivities, even
the most astute doctors are doing little to combat the ever-present infection
component contributing to our current health crisis.
Diet Change the Terrain
could test positive for Lyme, and one would be sick, while the one would
not be. The reason is the condition of the host. Genetics playa part,
and get a lot of attention. But nutrient deficiencies are silently becoming
epidemic. What we eat day after day profoundly influences our inner terrain.
Dr. Jeffrey Wulfman has said nutrition is the first thing he looks at
with patients. "The organisms change depending upon the soup they
are in", he explained. "We evolved as a species eating 100 different
organisms. Now we eat maybe ten; we need more variety. And the soi I has
lost a great amount of its nutrient content./I According to Dr. Wulfman's
figures, 50% of the calories children consume come from white flour and
high fructose corn syrup. "Whole foods provide thousands of inter-related
that gradually shift the milieu of the body in an empowering direction",
he said. "What you put in your mouth is treatment",I He says
the most common mistake he sees with autism and diet is that people will
say they are gluten-free, but they are still eating gluten-free pretzels,
waffles, cookies - in other words, junk food. "You removed a negative
thing, but you didn't add a positive one".
autistic children find it difficult to get good nutritional advice. Dr.
Rick Melde explained that formal medical training still ignores the power
of food in favor of treating symptoms. "In med school, the emphasis
is on finding the" diagnosis", Dr. Melde said". Then you
have a treatment regime that is basically drugs and surgery. I don't remember
ever hearing that nutrition was a way to treat anything. Amy Derksen,
NO, said parents need to choose foods containing fewer artificial ingredients
and preservatives, and choose organic meats. The poultry industry is pushing
a message right now that chickens are never fed hormones. "But non-organic
chicken is full of arsenic and mercury", she clarified. Also, chickens
raised under inhumane conditions have higher stress levels, which makes
the meat acidic. When people eat such chicken, they in turn get acidosis,
a clear invitation to disease. Eating organic food minimizes exposure
to pesticides, fertilizers, mercury, and exogenous hormones.
like Lyme and autism involve multiple infections, different genetics,
and multiple environmental toxins that impact them. No matter how many
antibiotics we throw at the pathogens, they continue to evade us and survive.
"One of the most foolish things humans did was to assume that bacteria
were not intelligent,/I said Buhner. "Bacteria can actually analyze
ways to deactivate an antibiotic and give that info to other bacteria
the}' encounter. Lyme seeds every part of the body where it has been with
spirochetes. It generates scores of alternate forms of itself to maximize
LETTER - NOVEMBER 2008
Lyme - Autism
have come to believe most of us have intracellular bacterial infections
that never go away. They can be suppressed, so there are no symptoms for
a time, but the infections still lurk within us, waiting for an opportune
moment to strike. One way these infections show up is as an autoimmune
disease, so common today.
intracellular organisms hide from the immune system," explained Garth
L. Nicolson, PhD. "Only part of their life cycle is outside the cell.
When they escape the cells and cause an infection, they carry a little
bit of the host cell with them and can trigger an autoimmune response.
They can carry host antigens when released."
long ago taught us that some bugs are able to change their modes of transmission.
Lyme, for example, used to be something you got from a tick bite. Recent
studies reveal Lyme disease is now transmitted by mosquito bites, fleas
and gnats, and even human-to-human transmission since spirochetes have
been found in semen, vaginal fluid, tear ducts, sweat, and mothers' breast
milk. "Eradication is not the approach; making peace with it is."
Buhner offered. "In the case of Lyme, the longer the organism has
been in the body, the less effective the antibiotics are because the more
the Lyme has adapted."
pointed out there are more bacterial cells in our body, mostly in our
gut, than there are body cells. "There is a constant relationship
among us and the bugs," he said. "Diet and toxins are changing
our immune system competence. And the organisms may be changing as well.
The Pasteur way of thinking - a person is sterile, a bug comes along from
the outside and exists in only one form - is fairly stupid. The thinking
that we kill it and are sterile again - that does not work."
are coming to believe that Mother Nature is now fighting back - or at
least defending herself. "That is why these superbugs are on the
horizon," said homeopath Cindy L. Griffin. "Antibiotics may
be medical science's attempt to kill something that perhaps cannot be
killed - something that preceded us and will post-date us." For that
reason, Griffin is concerned with protocols that rely on antibiotics.
"The biomedical world does not get it. They tout every new drug there
is," she said. "I was most impressed when Buhner said he is
now working toward supporting the immune system instead of attacking the
germ. We've been trying to bully the body with antibiotics, but that usually
backfires. There is a lot of literature now about biofilms, and it is
obvious that the widespread use of antibiotics may be why we are seeing
so many biofilms - it is the pathogen's way to fight back at the antibiotics."
Griffin believes homeopathy is a better way to go and clarifies that "classical"
homeopathy needs to give way to "sequential" homeopathy because
healing comes in stages. "There isn't one magic bullet; we have been
too polluted since World War II for one magic bullet to do it."
Bernard Vindicated at last
species has evolved over many millennium, and we are incredibly adaptive.
"But we have maxed out what we can do to a child's brain," suggested
Dr. Klinghardt. Some suggest that autistic children are like the canaries
of our society. In older times, miners would take a cage of canaries down
in the mine with them, and when the canaries keeled over, the miners knew
to get out because unseen, toxic gases were in the air. "Children
in our society are becoming ill, and if we don't pay attention, we won't
learn from the lessons the autistic children are teaching us," said
Dr. Cowden. "It has been my observation that many of the causations
for autism are also the causations for Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis,
ALS, Parkinson's, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and other chronic diseases
that are becoming more prevalent."
120,000 chemicals are released into our envi ronment. Most of them have
not been tested i nd ivid ually, and it is almost impossible to study
the synergistic effects. Experts at the LlA conference proposed that the
proportion of damage we are seeing in the population is the result of
the synergistic effects. The world is not likely to lessen our pollution
exposure anytime soon. The global scale of industrial chemical production
is expected to grow fourfold by 2050, according to a November 2007 resolution
by the California Medical Association.
are routinely touted. Genetically modified sugar is about to come on the
market. Our blood supply is not checked for Lyme. The Infectious Disease
Society doctors continue to dismiss the idea that Lyme disease can be
a life-long debilitating infection. Yet increasingly, the impetus for
change is coming from parents and doctors in the front lines of the battle
for health. More and more, moms are demanding BPA-free baby bottles, buying
organic food, learning about non-toxic cleaning products, and questioning
links between vaccines and autism.
and mumps, for example, are more an inconvenience than "dreaded childhood
diseases," why do we need to vaccinate children against them? A child
who experiences measles and mumps will gain lifelong immunity; childhood
vaccines impart immunity for perhaps just eight years. Experiencing these
diseases as adults can be serious. Yet parents who resist the childhood
vaccines have been threatened with arrest and jail time. Louis Pasteur
is likely rooting from the grave for those who resist. The terrain is
is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She is a freelance researcher and
writer for complementary and alternative medicine.
- NOVEMBER 2008