The Connection Between Autism and the Gut Discussed in Latest Issue of Pediatrics

January 6, 2010

Below is a summary report prepared by Rebecca Estepp for TACA (Talk About Curing Autism), an organization that LTP Natural Medical Center supports.  The report discusses two articles published in Pediatrics that make the association between gastrointestinal imbalances and Autism Spectrum Disorder.  I am pleased to see that mainstream medicine is beginning to acknowledge the connection between the gut and the brain.  100% of our patients with Autism are tested and treated for gastrointestinal imbalances.  There is no question that doing so generates positive results.  For more information on treating brain/biochemical disorders visit www.sicksyndrome.com. This site discusses the link between brain dysfunction and inflammation in the body, and ways to treat the condition using Naturopathic Medicine. One of the most significant ways to reduce inflammation in the brain is by testing for and treating digestive disturbances.

There is an old saying known in the Naturopathic Medical community that the gut is the second brain.  Modern research is now starting to validate this notion.

In health,

Dr. Gina

Pediatrics Looks at Gastrointestinal Disorders and Autism


January 4, 2010

Prepared by Rebecca Estepp

Two reports were released yesterday in the American Academy of Pediatrics medical journal, Pediatrics. Both articles focused on gastrointestinal disorders in individuals with autism. The first report entitled Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders in Individuals With ASDs: A Consensus Report is a review of available medical literature surrounding autism and gastrointestinal symptoms from a panel of experts.  These experts came to the following conclusions:

• Medical disorders, including gastrointestinal problems, occur commonly in individuals with ASDs, but because symptoms may be atypical these medical conditions may be undiagnosed.

• Individuals with ASDs whose families report gastrointestinal symptoms warrant a thorough gastrointestinal evaluation.

• The care of individuals who are non-verbal or have difficulties in communication or who display self-injurious or other problem behaviors present special challenges. Nevertheless, the approach to evaluation and diagnosis of possible underlying medical conditions, in particular gastrointestinal disorders, should be no different from the standards of care for persons without ASDs. (emphasis added)

• The communication impairments characteristic of ASDs may lead to unusual presentations of gastrointestinal disorders, including sleep disorders and problem behaviors.

• Management of co-occurring gastrointestinal problems in individuals with ASDs usually begins with the primary care provider and may eventually warrant multidisciplinary consultation.

• Anecdotal reports that restricted diets may ameliorate symptoms of ASDs in some children have not been supported or refuted in the scientific literature, but these data do not address the possibility that there exists a subgroup of individuals who may respond to such diets.

• Integrating behavioral and biomedical approaches can be advantageous in conceptualizing the role of pain as a setting event for problem behavior, facilitating diagnosis and addressing residual pain symptoms to enhance the quality of life.

The second report, Recommendations for Evaluation and Treatment of Common Gastrointestinal Problems in Children With ASDs. provides health care providers guidelines in treating abdominal pain, chronic constipation, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. This report recognizes that the expression of gastrointestinal disease can be diverse in individuals with ASDs. It also concludes that unusual behaviors can be a result of gastrointestinal disorders.

TACA views these two reports as giant leaps forward for treatment of gastrointestinal symptoms that cause unnecessary pain to many individuals with autism and their families. This landmark paper will pave the way for pediatricians across the country to start treating children suffering through different gastrointestinal maladies.  We sincerely hope this is the first step towards individuals with autism receiving the medical treatments they need and deserve.

About TACA

Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) provides information, resources, and support to families affected by autism. For families who have just received the autism diagnosis, TACA aims to speed up the cycle time from the autism diagnosis to effective treatments. TACA helps to strengthen the autism community by connecting families and the professionals who can help them, allowing them to share stories and information to help people with autism be the best they can be.


Screening Teens for Depression..Not Necessarily in the Best Interest of American Teens

April 14, 2009

Abstract Silhouette PrayingAs evidenced by an article published this month in Pediatrics, there is a strong push by the US Government’s Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to encourage doctors to routinely screen ALL American teens for depression using subjective mental health screening questionnaires.   Unfortunately, this can very quickly lead to over-prescription of addictive psychotropic medications, some of which have been proven to increase risk of teenage suicide.  What is most interesting is that the screening methods that the USPSTF is recommending were at one time discouraged by the same task force, which discerned that there is no evidence that screening for suicide risk actually reduces suicide attempts or death.

Teens will typically be prescribed SSRI antidepressants unnecessarily as a consequence of widespread screening. SSRI antidepressant medications have been shown to be no more or only slightly more effective then placebo.  Additionally, these antidepressants carry the FDA’s strongest “Black Box” warning for increased risk of suicide among teens and young adults.

These medications are highly profitable in the US, bringing in approximately $286 Billion in ’07.

Watch this video for more info.

You can treat depression naturally. It is absolutely worth the time, money and energy to go that route first, before considering an antidepressant.   I see the most success in my practice when we use a variety of laboratory tests (e.g. blood amino acid & nutrient levels, Organic Acids, Food Allergy panels, as well as hormones) coupled with individualized treatment protocols aimed to work with the body’s unique and natural tendency to come to a state of balance, rather then forcing it to produce a single neurotransmitter, like serotonin, at the expense of overall health and well being.

It is time to re-focus our attention on doing what is in the best interest of the people (in this case US teens) and the planet.

Dr. G


Reminder: The Mother’s Act is Headed to the Senate… Please Act Now

April 14, 2009

I previously posted on the Mother’s Act. This Act would mandate  that all new mothers be screened for mental healthStop! challenges based on a subjective analysis.  This is a concerning issue that appears to serve Big Pharma rather than new moms.  Please act now to protect new mothers from unnecessarily being prescribed psychiatric medications that can cause an addiction that is difficult to overcome later on.

Oftentimes post-pregnancy depression is associated with a deficiency of progesterone, low adrenal gland function, and some specific nutrient deficiencies that can easily be tested for and treated naturally.

Below I have reprinted a plea from Sheila Matthews of http://www.ablechild.org regarding the significance of this Act and what you can do today to help prevent it from coming into law.

In health,

Dr. Gina

A sweeping government policy for all new births in the United States has just passed the House of Representatives and is now headed to the Senate.  The Mother’s Act, if passed, will mandate that all new mothers be screened by means of a list of subjective questions that will determine if each mother is mentally fit to take their newborn home from the hospital.   Just imagine that after your child is born, you are told that you can’t take them home since a multiple choice questionnaire wasn’t answered correctly.  Just imagine being told that the only way you can take your child home is if you or your spouse goes into treatment or on anti-depressants which we know causes psychosis, delusions, and even homocidal thoughts.  It just doesn’t make sense.  Unfortunately, this bill is on a fast track–No public debate, no public disclosure of the broad impact on our society and that is why we need you to act now!

The Mother’s Act violates our Constitutional right to privacy and your right to liberty and it is just outright dangerous.  That is why we need you to help stop this.  We urgently need you to call and email each Senator on the HELP Committee and tell them you STRONGLY OPPOSE the MOTHER’S ACT and that you are OUTRAGED that there was NO public debate or disclosure on the impact this would have on our society as a whole.

Send a letter by going here:  http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1918/t/7870/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=26855

Please call the following Senators on the HELP Committee and tell them that you want the Mother’s Act to die in committee.

Lisa Murkowski, R: 202-224-6665, AK

John McCain, R: 202-224-2235, AZ

Christopher Dodd, D: 202-224-2823, CT

Johnny Isakson, R: 202-224-3643, GA

Tom Harkin, D: 202-224-3254, IA

Pat Roberts, R: 202-224-4774, KS

Edward Kennedy D: 202-224-4543, MA

Barbara Mikulski D: 202-224-4654, MD

Richard Burr, R: 202-224-3154, NC

Kay Hagan, D: 202-224-6342, NC

Judd Gregg, R: 202-224-3324, NH

Jeff Bingaman, D: 202-224-5521, NM

Sherrod Brown, D 202-224-2315, OH

Tom Coburn, R 202-224-5754, OK

Jeff Merkley, D 202-224-3753, OR

Bob Casey, D 202-224-6324, PA

Jack Reed, D 202-224-4642, RI

Lamar Alexander R 202-224-4944, TN

Orrin Hatch R 202-224-5251, UT

Bernard Sanders, I: 202-224-5141, VT

Patty Murray, D, 202-224-2621, WA

Michael Enzi, R, 202-224-3424, WY

Thank you so much for caring enough to call and take action!  Remember “We The People” are in charge!

Respectfully,

Sheila Matthews

Cofounder http://www.ablechild.org


The MOTHERS Act-Please Take Action Today

March 19, 2009

The MOTHERS act has been introduced once again to the US House of Representatives and the US Senate.   This bill is concerning as it would mandate the federal government to screen all new mothers for “psychiatric” conditions.  It parallels the “Teen Screen” phenomenon where schools began screening kids to see if they were at risk for suicide. It appears like a good idea on the surface however, it opens the door for over-prescribing potentially lethal psychiatric medications with questionable justification.  If you follow the money trail, it leads straight to the pharmaceutical industry, and new moms and teens are both huge markets that have, until now, been virtually untapped.

In my practice, I see many patients who have been prescribed psychiatric medications, feel disconnected from who they really are, and have grown extremely frustrated with the process of trying to get off the medications, with little if any support from their prescribing psychiatrist.  I often learn that these patients felt better before taking the medications and are now left confused and totally disenchanted by the Healthistock_000007074398xsmallcare system that offers no answers once a patient decides that his or her antidepressant is causing more harm then help.  Had they come in prior to taking the medications we would have worked together to find the underlying cause for the sad or anxious feelings. Oftentimes it is due to a multifaceted condition called Sickness Syndrome Depression that is best treated with natural medicines. Sometimes it can be related to adrenal stress, or compromised immune function, or an amino acid imbalance or other nutrient deficiency. Sometimes, and especially in new moms, it is simply due to a hormonal imbalance that can be easily and safely corrected through natural, nutrition -based medicine.  Patients are able to eventually break free from the psychiatric medications, but it is a long and committed process that takes time, energy and patience.

To gain a better understanding of the consequences of allowing this bill to pass, click here.

To see and hear one woman’s story about being misled by the psychiatric field and losing her child as a consequence, click here.

To sign a petition urging congress not to pass the MOTHERS act click here.

In the spirit of doing what is best for the patient,

Dr. G


Taking a Summer Break from ADHD Meds

July 16, 2008

Summer is a perfect time for kids to take a break from their ADHD meds. Some experts feel that taking a medication vacation when your child is heading off to summer camp can be problematic. This is because with psychotropic medications like ADHD drugs and antidepressants, symptoms can get worse when you stop the medication-even worse then they were when you first started the treatment.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  If you start working with a qualified and licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor experienced in treating ADHD without psychotropic medications, then you can start naturopathic  treatment before taking your child off the medication, making the transition to a medication-free holiday a smooth one.

Some of the foundational natural medicines I use in practice when helping children get off of their prescription medications include:

  • Digestion and Absorption of Nutrients
  • Immune Support
  • Full Spectrum Antioxidant, Alkalizing, Daily Detoxification
    • ½-1 scoop of ITI Greens Formula in juice or water. *Note- can mix with Coconut Milk Powder if desired to improve taste
  • Multivitamin-Mineral
    • 1 scoop of Spectrum Awakening, three times daily, away from protein food. Can be mixed with juice or applesauce.
  • Neurological Support
  • Learn more about ADHD and how to treat the underlying cause of this condition by clicking on the links below:

    Whole Food Nutrition for ADHD

    Nutritional Treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: The Hype and the Hope -A Review of Current Research

    Dr. Gina


    Treat the Cause of Depression-not its Symptoms

    July 10, 2008

    There are new reports being published that validate what Naturopathic Medicine has been saying for some time now; you must treat depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and other mental health challenges by addressing their root cause- not by trying to increase chemicals in the brain, like serotonin.  The science of depression has been influenced a great deal by the advent of antidepressant medications such as Prozac.  Unfortunately, research is now showing that antidepressant medications don’t treat the cause of depression, and can in some cases make the problem worse.

    About three years ago, I began researching, writing and lecturing to physicians on one of the underlying causes of depression- Sickness Syndrome Depression– which is best treated without the use of pharmaceutical medications.  I have personally watched patients overcome depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and bipolar disorder by treating the underlying cause of these conditions which involves decreasing inflammation in the body and in the brain.   There is a five-step plan to manging Sickness Syndrome Depression that you can try for yourself.

    Learn more about the causes, symptoms, and ways you can heal yourself from mental health challenges at the official Sickness Syndrome website.

    I was invited by the World Congress of Anti-Aging Medicine to present this information to physicians at the Dubai Congress on Anti-Aging and Aesthetic Medicine on this topic November 9th, 2008 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

    -Dr. Gina


    N-acetylcysteine Holds Promise for Chronic Schizophrenia

    June 24, 2008

    A new research study shows that supplementation with N-acetylcysteine significantly improves symptoms in schizophrenia patients in as little as two weeks.

    In the study, 140 patients (mean age, 37 years) with chronic schizophrenia were randomly assigned to receive, in double-blind fashion, NAC (1 g twice a day) or placebo, in addition to their usual medication, for 24 weeks. The primary outcome measure was the change from baseline on the Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale (PANSS) and on subscales that measured positive and negative symptoms separately. In intent-to-treat analysis, at 24 weeks the degree of improvement was significantly greater in the NAC group than in the placebo group for the PANSS total score (p < 0.01) and for the PANSS negative symptoms score (p < 0.02). The effect sizes were consistent with a moderate beneficial effect of NAC. No improvement was seen in the NAC group relative to the placebo group after eight weeks, indicating that the beneficial effects of NAC were slow to develop. Secondary endpoints included scores on the Clinical Global Impression Severity and Clinical Global Impression Improvement scales, which measure treatment effects not necessarily related to psychosis. NAC was also significantly superior to placebo on these scales, and the beneficial effects were evident as early as two weeks after the start of treatment. In addition, when compared with placebo, NAC treatment significantly improved akathisia (p = 0.022), which is a movement disorder caused by antipsychotic medications. NAC had no effect on the PANSS positive symptoms subscale.

    NAC is a precursor to glutathione synthesis which is why it is showing benefit in schizophrenia. Glutathione levels are decreased in the cerebrospinal fluid and in portions of the brain of patients with schizophrenia.This is interesting because glutathione plays a key role in the removal of free radicals and schizophrenia patients tend to have a higher level of oxidative free radicals in their brain.

    I practice Orthomolecular Medicine, and often utilize stabilized glutathione in patients with schizophrenia.This new research further validates the benefits of using stabilized glutathione to treat schizophrenia, as glutathione levels are often low in the cerebrospinal fluid and in the brain of schizophrenia patients.

    -Dr. Gina


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