Saturday, January 28, 2012

All in my head?

I'm reading a book titled "Gut and Psychology Syndrome" written by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, MMedSci(neurology), MMedSci(nutrition).

The premise of the author is that the state of health of the gut contributes to and can even be the cause of multiple illnesses, including classic illnesses like Depression, Schizophrenia, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Ulcerative Colitis, Eczema, Chrons Disease, Celiacs Disease, asthma, allergies, ADHD, ADD and Autism, her focus being on Autism.

She describes the anatomy of a healthy gut, several studies done by gastroenterologists and what that means to people who suffer from these diseases. Also what it means to people who are seemingly asymptomatic but who find improved health and immune function after following the diet she outlines in her book. 

Without going into too much detail, people with abnormal gut flora, such as Bifidobacteria, Lactobacteria, Propionobacteria, physiological strains of E.Coli, Peptostreptococci and Enterococci, have guts susceptible to attack by "Opportunistic Flora," such as Bacteroids, Petococci, Staphylococci, Streptococci, Bacilli, Clostridia, Yeasts, Enterobacteria (Proteus, Clebsielli, Citrobacteria, etc.), Fuzobacteria, Eubacteria, Catenobacteria, and many others. 

"In a healthy person their numbers are limited and are tightly controlled by the beneficial flora. Each of these microbes is capable of causing various health problems if they get out of control."

What this means is that the Opportunistic Flora can cause inflammation of the lining in the gut, and this inflammation triggers an immune response by the lymph nodes causing them release a lot of lymphocytes to fight the infection.

One of the signs that the gut isn't functioning properly is that of digestive problems, sometimes quite severe. Colic, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, feeding difficulties and malnourishment, all to various degrees. Many people with intestinal issues also have fussy eating habits, refusing a whole lot of foodstuffs and limiting their diet to a handful of foods, usually starchy and sweet : breakfast cereals, chips, popcorn, cakes, cookies, sweets, bananas, bread, rice, sweet yogurts, ice cream etc. Most of the children Dr. Campbell-McBride has studied refuse to eat vegetables, fruit (apart from bananas), meats, fish and eggs. About 60-70% of the autistic children she has seen in her clinic have extremely limited diets.

Although the connection between gut inflammation and autism is well established the studies done on this subject became subject to a lot of controversy when the gasteroenterologist Dr. Wakefield and his team decided to see whether or not the MMR vaccine had anything to do with the inflammation of the lymph nodes. Suspecting that it might be the measles virus, (Dr. Wakefield) involved a well-known virolohist Dr John O' Leary, a professor of pathology form Dublin. Sure enough Dr. O'Leary found the same measles virus used in the MMR vaccine in the ileal lymph nods of the autistic children (in Dr. Wakefields study). This caused vigorous resistance from government and the medical establishment which distacted attention from the main issue.

At this point I would like to stop in my discussion of this book. At some point the description of the pain that the children Dr. Campbell-McBride has seen in her clinic brought to mind my own pain as I was growing up. I have the ability to communicate, a lot of autistic children cannot communicate very well, their pain causes them to scream in pain at times, to act up at times, to push there belly's against hard surfaces to relieve the pressure.

I have done just that, lain on the hard edge of that couch and rocked back and forth to relieve the pain in my stomach. As a child I remember lying on the couch at dinner time and complaining about my stomach hurting, I felt so helpless, my parents thought I was being difficult. I used to walk home from school, burping along the way with a noxious sulfuric gas coming up. I remember hanging on the door knob of the bathroom door and sitting on the toilet bent over in pain. I remember having really hard stools that sometimes I wouldn't pass a stool for days and it would really hurt and sometimes having diarrhea that would burn my bottom. I remember going for shots before Kindergarten and then sitting in the car afterwords pressing my forehead against the seat belt to soothe the dizziness and throbbing headache that I had. I remember having a hard time knowing what to do with my arms as I walked I felt awkward, unsteady, I liked to have a wall or hand rail to cling to. I had a great deal of depression, I spent the most part of my freshman and senior year at high school walking home falling into an exhausted black sleep and/or crying. Not to mention the many years before that as a child with depression, I cried almost every night that I didn't get how to make friends, that no one liked me, that I felt sick.

If ONLY someone would have known about the diet presented in this book at that time. I would have been healed! My childhood would have been happier and easier.

IF ONLY someone would have known about this diet and had put me and my brothers and my sister on it! Instead of medication, HEALING!! My STARS my brothers! My poor brother Jonathan could have had a more normal life. NO Autism!! IMAGINE? He would be married now, he would have a life!! Evan, he wouldn't have been hopped up on Ritalin! My sister Kelsey has had the pickiest diet that I know of, she had continually complained about stomach problems, has missed school and been in pain. 

I, am going to go on this diet.

After the stomach and intestines are healed I will be able to eat a lot more grains and spices than I can now, and I will have less sensitivity to other foods.

I know, and have always known that people are resistant to change, I wish I could get my family to try this out, even my children... but I cannot force them to hear what they don't want to hear. It is like when God had Moses make a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole. If anyone was bitten by a snake they could "Look upon it and live." But what about those who did not believe? They would refuse to look and would thus die.

I think that faith as a whole involves looking beyond what is seemingly obvious, and looking to that which you have NOT heard before, or read before... thinking about and considering what other people have to say. LOOK and LIVE, and then ACT.