Preventing Sensory Processing Disorder in High-Risk Infants

Preventing Sensory Processing Disorder in High-Risk Infants

Preventing Sensory Processing Disorder in High-Risk Infants

Kelly Dorfman, MS, LDN, discusses how a good neurological diet and healing the gut may stave off Sensory Processing Disorder in a high-risk infant. Three year old Charlie was recently diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and his parents were relieved to finally have an explanation for his extreme fussiness, poor sleep, and developmental delays.  What Is Sensory Processing Disorder?  Previously labeled Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Sensory Processing Disorder relates to the commonly known senses of touch (including pressure), taste, smell, vision and sound as well as other senses such as: Proprioceptive sense:  This sense helps a person determine where they are in space in relation to other things and people. Children with Sensory Processing Disorder often feel disconnected from their bodies and thus often have poor coordination, which can often lead to delays in social development. Vestibular sense:  Proprioception is intertwined with the vestibular sense, which is controlled by the movement of fluid within the inner ear. Because the vestibular…

Phthalates in Personal-Care Products

Phthalates in Personal-Care Products

Phthalates in Personal-Care Products

Patricia S. Lemer, MEd, NCC fills us in about the dangers of phthalates, another family of toxic chemicals, in this blog post. Phthalates (pronounced THAY-lates) are plasticizers used to add texture and luster to hair spray, deodorant, nail polish, lipstick, perfumes and many other products. These ubiquitous chemicals can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled as fumes, and ingested if children mouth toys made out of plastic.  Thousands of studies have shown that phthalates can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system. In pregnant women, phthalates pass through the placenta to be absorbed by the fetus. Later, they show up in the breast milk of nursing mothers, whose babies ingest them. In male fetuses and infants, phthalates can cause testicular atrophy, leading to a reduced sperm count.  As we learn more about the role of toxins in disease and developmental delays, reducing our toxic load must be a priority. What Can You Do About Phthalates? Discover what toxins are lurking…

Parasites Can Cause Seemingly Unrelated Symptoms

Parasites Can Cause Seemingly Unrelated Symptoms

Parasites Can Cause Seemingly Unrelated Symptoms

It took me years to understand how my seemingly unrelated symptoms of dental, digestive and respiratory issues as well as obesity were all due to parasites. Blood in the Stool It’s really frightening to have blood in the stool, especially with a family history of colon cancer. At first, I thought it was remnants of beets, and a colonoscopy showed no abnormalities, not even a tiny polyp. I eliminated wheat and dairy. No change. As my symptoms gradually worsened, I made an appointment with Pittsburgh’s “best” gastrointestinal specialist.  Gastrointestinal Symptoms The candy in the waiting room and the intake with not one query about diet should have been fair warning. “Dr. GI” requested a stool test. “I did one two weeks ago with a top lab; the results will be back soon,” I said, expecting him to be impressed. “Why’d you do that, honey?” he asked kindly. “We have a great lab down the street.” I explained that mine could…

Undiagnosed Lyme Disease

Undiagnosed Lyme Disease

Undiagnosed Lyme Disease

Nika Hamblin relates her personal story of dealing with undiagnosed Lyme disease in this post. Many years ago, my husband and I were living in southern Germany. I became very ill with what doctors thought was a severe strain of flu. Mentally and physically, I haven’t been the same since because of these symptoms: Memory loss Mental fogginess Weight gain Intolerance to alcohol Weakness Joint achiness Complete inability to exercise Doctors kept telling me “if you’d just lose some weight….” Nobody wanted to listen to the fact that I gained a lot of weight BECAUSE I was sick. Five years later, my internist sent me to Johns Hopkins. Diagnoses: chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and Neurally Mediated Hypotension (NMH); I later discovered that some patients diagnosed with CFS in actuality have Lyme disease.  Both Sons Have Multiple Diagnoses While still sick, I gave birth to my first son, Spencer, who was born five weeks prematurely for no known reason. When it…

MTHFR Mutation

MTHFR Mutation

MTHFR Mutation

A genetic mutation called MethyleneTetraHydroFolate Reductase, otherwise known as an MTHFR mutation or methylation defect, may be one reason why some children develop autism or other neurodevelopmental disorder. There are many contributing factors involved in this “perfect storm” situation which may accurately describe your child. The MTHFR mutation may explain why some children survive the overload of environmental toxicity whatever the triggers may be, whereas others, at some point during their early stages of neurological development, regress and remain somewhere on the vast spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders. MTHFR is a type of folate that crosses the blood brain barrier (folic acid, which is synthetic, does not) needed to make the brain methylate; put simply, methylation is a method of detoxification. Children with autism have been found to have “Cerebral Folate Deficiency” (CFD) which means an insufficiency of folate in the brain causing defects in the methylation process.    What Is Methylation?  Defects in the methylation process can affect: Speech Language Auditory…

Vitamin D Deficiency and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Increasing amounts of research (see References, below) point to a vitamin D deficiency as being linked to autism, as well as ADHD, allergies, asthma and autoimmune disorders. What Is Vitamin D and How Do We Get It?   Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced naturally as D3 or cholecalciferol (pronounced koh·luh·kal·sif·uh·rawl) when sunlight hits the skin. Most people used to get sufficient vitamin D3 from sunlight. Today, vitamin D deficiency is rampant largely in part to increased use of sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, coupled with a move away from an agrarian society.   A Perfect Storm for Vitamin D Deficiency With just 10-40 minutes of unprotected summer sun our bodies produce about 20,000 units of vitamin D. The body makes what it needs, accumulating and storing significant reserves in the tissues, liver, spleen, bones, and brain; it can be then be available during darker months. Vitamin D is fat soluble, requiring sufficient “good” fats in the diet for…

How Nutrition Affects Hypotonia

How Nutrition Affects Hypotonia

How Nutrition Affects Hypotonia

Many children with developmental delays have low muscle tone, or hypotonia, because external factors that impact the nervous system can also affect the muscles. Premature birth, heavy antibiotic use, and exposure to toxins damage all types of cells, causing generalized low tone or low tone in specific areas such as the hands or mouth. In severe cases of hypotonia, the muscles may be so weak that a child has difficulty sitting up for extended periods, chewing, or pushing out bowel movements. Milder cases, affecting the finger or eye muscles, cause fine motor delays or visual processing disorders. All children with hypotonia have reduced stamina.   Symptoms Associated with Hypotonia Fatigue/low arousal:  The body’s inefficient processing of nutrients results in reduced available energy overall.   Reflux/constipation:  Poor or reduced trunk tone can cause stomach flaps to flop, thus impeding food movement.    Poor sitting posture or “slumping” can be a result of soft trunk muscles.   Weak chewing and poor/picky eating:  Low tone in the…

flame retardants

Flame Retardants: A Threat to Our Children‘s Development?

flame retardants

Patricia Lemer, M. Ed., NCC, discusses the danger of flame retardants to a child’s neurological and endocrine development in this post. Since the 1970’s, manufacturers have been treating mattresses, textiles, plastics and car parts with flame-resistant chemicals known collectively as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), otherwise known as flame retardants. Today, these ubiquitous chemicals are showing up not just in our stores, but in our landfills, ground water, house dust, blood and breast milk, and in animals as diverse as fish in Virginia and polar bears and whales in Alaska.  What Are PBDEs?  PBDEs come in three varieties: deca, penta and octa. Deca, the most heavily used, is one of the many potentially hazardous chemicals in use, due to a failed national policy that presumes chemicals are safe until proven to cause harm. North American industry accounts for almost half the world’s market of Deca chemicals.  PBDEs did not attract much attention until 1999, when Swedish scientists first detected them in…

Epigenetics: Genetics and Environment

Epigenetics: Genetics and Environment

Epigenetics: Genetics and Environment

Epigenetics is the biology of how external modifications to an individual’s DNA can turn genes “on” or “off” with environmental triggers. Epigenetics is so important that it has made the cover of Time and Scientific American. In 2012, the International Journal of Epidemiology devoted an entire issue to it, calling epigenetics “the next big thing.” Epigenetics and Autism Epigenetics is at the heart of the matter in autism. Epigenetics explains why all young children exposed to today’s environmental chemical, electromagnetic, and sociological soup don’t end up with autism. Why do some and not all children regress into autism? Individuals with autism appear to have a genetic propensity or predisposition that manifests itself only when triggered by the “right” combination of environmental factors. Any of the environmental exposures mentioned above can change gene expression, resulting in MTHFR or SUOX mutations. Tylenol (Acetaminophen) Related to the SUOX mutation is another environmental impact: the coincidental timing during the 1980s of a recommendation by…

Mold Toxicity: A True Story

Mold Toxicity: A True Story

Mold Toxicity: A True Story

It Took Years to Realize It Was Mold Toxicity Over the last 3 years, the brain fog gradually worsened, as did the fatigue. With it came weight gain, dramatic increases in food and chemical sensitivities and dreadful insomnia, with months on end of 3 or 4 hours sleep. Already gluten-, dairy-, soy- and GMO-free due to multiple autoimmune conditions and reactions to GMO foods, the next thing to go was corn. Beware the “Corn Monster” First, it was only GMO corn. I was already avoiding GMO foods, but with the encouragement of friends, I went on a hunt for sources of hidden GMO corn. I found it in a supplement I was taking, calcium citrate. The company told me that yes, the citrate was derived from GMO corn. So out went the calcium citrate – replaced with an equivalent made by a company that was sourcing from non-GMO corn. For a while I felt better. My digestion improved, the bloating…