|A fever of the mind
James Ottar Grundvig
Is there a link between the explosion of the autism
epidemic and the sharp increase in the number of
elderly contracting Alzheimer's disease?
For the past few years, I have asked myself that
question whenever I took my 8-year-old son, Fridrik,
who was diagnosed in 2003 with Pervasive Development
Disorder (PDD), an increasingly common form of autism,
to his physician, Dr. Henry Sobo, in Stamford, Conn.
That's because Dr. Sobo, an internist who tailors
individual programs for patients by using homeopathic
therapy, had built his reputation on treating neurological
disorders, from children with ADHD to adults with
Parkinson's disease. Although autism was new to
him, it was déjà vu.
Do All Roads Point to Toxicity of the Brain?
Since doing research into the cause of Fridrik's
neurological disorder, I have come to an understanding
about both diseases. Alzheimer's, which appears
in adults older than 65 years, is the incremental
degradation of the brain. Autism is the acute poisoning
of the brain in a growing subpopulation of children.
Besides unique genetic flaws in each, the common
thread between an adult with Alzheimer's and a baby
at the onset of the regressive form of autism is
myelin, the insulation of the brain's wiring.
Myelin, or the membrane blanket that protects the
brain circuitry, doesn't completely form and wrap
the brain in an infant until 18 months old. For
the adult, the unwrapping of the protective sheath
takes place at mid-age, or about 50. Thus, the brain
is vulnerable to toxins during its development and
after its primary use, due to the absence of myelin.
Little of this biological fact seems to filter back
to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC). Maybe this will change based on a new study
on autism and a new treatment for Alzheimer's, both
of which are currently undergoing more testing,
both of which point to the same underlying root
cause, with one maybe helping the treatment of the
other, and with autism perhaps explaining the therapy
Fever Reduces Symptoms of Autism
Last December, Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore,
Maryland, announced with great fanfare that fever
in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
reduced or even eliminated the symptoms of autistic
behavior not only during a fever, but also up to
a week after it subsided. Dr. Andrew Zimmermann,
whose team ran the study for the child neurological
institute, which was founded in 1937 to study and
treat kids with cerebral palsy, must have wondered:
What caused this?
When I first heard the news, it confirmed to me
what I always suspected about autism: Heavy metals
toxicity is the reason behind the fever-induced,
temporary relief of autistic symptoms in children
of the autism spectrum.
To me, having worked in the construction industry
more than 25 years and having studied the behavior
of material properties in college, the fever angle
made sense. The first point was due to its simplicity-one
event. One global change to the brain explaining
the why, how, and what of a very complex neurological
disorder, for which modern medicine has failed to
find the cause since the first case was diagnosed
during World War II.
Imagine heavy metals on the micro scale embedding
tiny specs and flakes in certain regions of the
pre-myelin-protected brain, and the child being
unable to excrete those particles that most children
can. The particles lodge themselves in, around,
and between the nodes and nerve endings that make
up the neural network, and interrupt the brain's
As more metals accumulate, they block more signals
and break down the brain cells' ability to process
key functions-like a virus-infected computer. For
ASD kids like my son that means impairing their
ability to speak, rendering fine-motor skills of
their fingers useless, flattening arched feet, and
amplifying the auditory reception of their ears
to the point of pain.
How Could a Fever Help a Child Suffering From Autism?
With heavy metals planted at the exact nodes in
the brain where the damage occurred, the fever would
heat up the metal particles, and they in turn would
bridge the interrupted break points in the neural
In other words, metals, being highly conductive
of both heat and electricity, would complete what
has not been working in ASD (autism spectrum disorder)
kids since the first year of their lives. Okay.
But then what would cause the temporary connections
of the neural network to continue to work for a
week after the fever had dissipated?
Again, the answer is heavy metals. Metals consist
of a different material makeup than brain tissue
and blood. They would retain the heat produced by
a fever longer, thus keeping the electrical pulses
working well after the fever was gone. But once
the heat of the metals matched the body temperature
of the brain, the temporary, bridged connections
would no longer work, and the full-blown symptoms
of autism would return.
The week that I heard the news, I contacted Elise
Babbitt-Welker, the communications manager at Kennedy
Krieger Institute. I told her what I believed was
the answer to the riddle.
She said that the Institute had received many inquiries
to its study and that she would pass on my "heavy
metals angle" to Dr. Zimmermann's team of scientists.
In an e-mail, Ms. Babbitt-Welker wrote: "This
phenomenon has been widely reported on by parents,
clinicians and researchers alike, but this most
recent research was the first to study the association
using a controlled scientific methodology. That
said, [with it] being a study with only 30 children,
he and his fellow researchers know that more research
is needed to confirm the findings."
The Alzheimer's Hat
With Dr. Zimmermann applying for grants to further
research the findings, we can only wonder how one
would replicate a fever in a child without spiking
the core body temperature.
Then, in a stroke of timing, on Jan. 28-seven weeks
after the fever study had made news-an answer to
that question arrived. On ABC News, a segment on
Alzheimer's disease caught my eye. Dr. Gordon Dougal,
along with a team of researchers at the University
of Sunderland in the United Kingdom, showed the
"Alzheimer's Hat," which looked like a
cross between a football and motorcycle helmet.
In a preliminary testing phase, the Hat, which would
be worn 10 minutes per day by an Alzheimer's patient
like Dr. Dougal's father, pulses the brain with
infrared beams-the claim being that the Hat relieved
memory-loss and speech-impaired symptoms in his
The doctor also tested the Hat's infrared technology
on 30 lab rats, "20 of which were deemed to
be experiencing middle-aged mental decline,"
for which he stated the "rays improved the
memory functions of these rats to that of young
Many entrenched American doctors and scientists
scoffed at and belittled treating the brain with
infrared; they should withhold judgment until the
findings from both the Kennedy Krieger fever study
has run its course, while Dr. Dougal confirms the
Alzheimer's Hat in a wider study. Since the University
of Sunderland has an autism department, perhaps
the autism-fever study and the Alzheimer's infrared
treatment could start to share information.
With the bulk of the autism epidemic related to
some form of heavy metals toxicity, I believe it's
about time that the heat angle as a form of treatment
in ASD kids receives the funds to find out whether
the jump-start in the damaged neural network of
the brain can be produced by heat-whether it's the
body's own temperature or artificial as in infrared.