In the mid-1980s, I conducted a study on food sensitivities and their effects on ADD/ADHD symptoms. After testing the patient for delayed food sensitivities, the study consisted of two phases:
The Avoidance Phase, in which the offending foods are avoided for six weeks.
The Challenge Phase, in which the excluded foods are slowly added back into the diet. The reason for the challenge phase is to prove that the foods identified by the test are actually causing specific symptoms.
Included in this particular study, was an autistic child around 2 years old. During the avoidance phase when the harmful foods were removed from this child’s diet, ALL of the Autistic symptoms disappeared. With such dramatic results, the parents withdrew the child from the study before the challenge phase. They not only feared that challenging the foods back into the child’s diet would cause the symptoms to return, but that they would not be able to reverse them again.
This was the first Autistic child I had ever encountered. I consulted my dad who had been a General Practitioner for 50 years, and he had never seen a single case.
As an Otolaryngologist, I didn’t see many cases of Autism. However, just before I moved from Pittsburgh to Florida, I saw the son of a nurse at the hospital who had just been diagnosed with Autism. After I tested him for delayed food sensitivities, I instructed his mother to have him avoid the harmful foods. 16 years later he and his mother stopped by my office. He had continued the protocol and was preparing for college. As far as I could tell he was normal. The only unusual remnant of his autism was that he couldn’t lie.
In Florida, I started seeing more and more patients on the Autistic Spectrum. I have been watching results in my own practice and getting feedback from DAN doctors and others who regularly treat Autism. What I have found is that, in delayed food sensitivity, immune complex plays a vital role in the progression of Autism. And the younger the child we treat, the better the results.
Certainly there are genetic predispositions that affect the population, but since it was rare before the 1980s, there is obviously something else which is drastically contributing to if not causing the huge increase in cases.
Allergic load and an over-stimulated immune system seem to me to be major culprits. Allergic load is the amount of allergens the body can successfully tolerate. When we’re exposed to more than we can handle, the immune system reacts badly. In the case of autism, the brain is affected during its development.
By decreasing the allergic load, the immune system is better able to handle any other onslaughts it may encounter. Since food is such a large portion of the potential allergic load, it makes sense to test children early for both immediate and delayed food sensitivities and eliminate the foods to which they react. This increases the chance that the brain can develop normally.
By Daniel Dantini, MD
* Stories From the Heart is an ongoing series of user contributed heart warming stories, that shine light on the Autism and special needs experience.