Metallothionein and Autism Update

Metallothionein and Autism Update

Metallothionein and Autism Update

by William Shaw, PhD, Founder, Great Plains Laboratory Healthcare professionals treating children with autism spectrum disorders have shown considerable interest in metallothionein (MT) in the last few years because of pioneering research by William Walsh, PhD of the Walsh Research Institute. I feel that Dr. Walsh is correct that the copper to zinc ratio is abnormally high in individuals with autism. However, I believe that the reason for this abnormal ratio involves the complex interaction among MT, zinc, copper, as well as ceruloplasmin and glutathione. Metallothionein (MT) MT is a family of small proteins containing 61-68 amino acids that play a major role in heavy metal detoxification. MT deficiency could explain why individuals with autism respond unfavorably to heavy metals like mercury. MTs function as intracellular distributors and mediators of copper and zinc. MT also contains an unusually high (30%) concentration of cysteine, which reacts with a number of metals including zinc, mercury, copper and cadmium. However, the most important…

Nutrient Therapy for Autism

by Kelly Dorfman, M.S., Co-founder, Developmental Delay Resources Every day we hear a new theory about the cause of autism.  First it was “refrigerator mothers,” then sulphotransferase deficiency or DPP4 enzyme malfunction, then G-alpha protein malfunction.  More recently we targeted heavy metal toxicity and now a metallothionein protein (MT) defect.  Just listing the biochemical shortfalls associated with developmental delays would fill this website. Collectively, these theories are critically important and are leading to a striking number of dramatic recoveries.  Because the number of proposed metabolic defects is skyrocketing, however, they are increasingly being promoted in isolation as single entities.  Autism, the headlines scream, is a metalo-enzyme defect!  Developmental delays come from heavy metal poisoning! Simple Solutions: Tempting but Risky It is natural for parents and professionals to seek simple solutions. Sorting through long metabolic mazes seems pointless when the recovery stories of children doing one therapy are so compelling.  Then when a youngster’s modest improvement fails to live up to…

Metallothionein and Autism

William J. Walsh, PhD Metallothionein and autism:  At the DAN! 2001 Conference in San Diego, I presented a model which assumes that metallothionein (MT) dysfunction is the primary cause of autism. My model is the culmination of 30 years of experience, focusing on applying the work of Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, a pioneer in using nutrient therapies for chemical imbalances found in behavioral disorders. A Metallothionein Theory of Autism While engaged in research at the Argonne National laboratory, I pursued a prison volunteer project that launched me into the middle of the autism epidemic. I have now applied my knowledge about what makes bad guys bad to what causes depression and autism. In 1989, I established the Pfeiffer Treatment Center in Naperville, Illinois, where I am the Chief Scientist. In 2000, researchers there studied the results of approximately 100 separate chemical analyses of blood and urine tests from each of 503 patients diagnosed with autism, PDD and Asperger syndrome. Over 99%…