A book review of: Healing and Preventing Autism: A Complete Guide
Jenny McCarthy: Playboy Centerfold. Comedienne. Mother Warrior. Brash. Blunt. Love her or hate her, one thing cannot be disputed, she has been paramount in bringing awareness to a growing developmental disability that now affects 1 in 110 children.
Dr. Jerry Kartzinel: Dedicated Father to a child with autism. Researcher. Pediatrician. Calm. Reserved. Methodical. He in contrast, is the polar opposite of Jenny. Together, they combine to provide an easy-to-read book about the possible co-morbid conditions that exist in autism and the possible nutritional and dietary interventions that may alleviate some of those symptoms. The book is entitled: Healing and Preventing Autism: A Complete Guide. The book is written in an interview format and has candid and honest conversations. It is written in layman’s terms and is sometimes “dumbed” down by Jenny in order to provide relevant analogies. This is a good “starter” book for biomedical interventions to autism. It is by no means a complete guide- just as every child with autism is different, every treatment plan for autism is different. It should be used to acquire knowledge, particularly if your child manifests real, validated medical symptomology otherwise dismissed as “just being part of autism”. Many children with autism experience gastrointestinal problems, sensory dysfunction, neurological impairment, underlying viral issues, metabolic issues, heavy metal issues, and fungal infections. Armed with information, a parent can have open and honest dialogue with a knowledgeable health care provider- one that is qualified and supports independent research. Knowledge is power. It is with this knowledge, that hope is derived.
Both Jenny and Dr. Kartzinel do not doubt that autism, or its related spectrum disorders, has a genetic component- a genetic predisposition. They portray it as some environmental trigger that is the catalyst that spirals the child downward into the world of autism. The analogy that “genetics loads the gun and the environment pulls the trigger” is quite appropriate. Environmental insults can range from off- gassing of carpets, lead based paint (home renovations or poor housing conditions), mercury and aluminum in vaccines, amalgam fillings, toxic foods, unclean air, viral infections, etc. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list. It provides an alternate theory as to the reason these children manifest true medical problems in an otherwise behavioral diagnosis.
Dr. Katzinel provides lists of behaviors, possible causes and nutritional interventions. He explains why they are recommended. Some feel his mention of vaccines as a trigger for autism is inappropriate and misleading. He lists the chart of the CDC vaccine schedule from 1983 which includes 10 vaccines and an autism rate of 1 in 10,000 children. He compares it to today’s schedule which has 36 vaccines and an autism occurrence of 1 in 100 children. Is this coincidence, correlation or causation? Does hyperbaric oxygen therapy work? Are restrictive diets the key? Is chelation appropriate for an autistic child when their symptoms mimic that of heavy metal poisoning? Are methyl B12 injections safe? The questions surrounding the possible medical interventions are endless. Ongoing science research continues to search for those answers. Until then, the parent and his/ her physician must decide what treatment plan is most beneficial through appropriate laboratory testing and clinical outcomes. This book provides real success stories of things that did make a difference in the world of autistic children through both Jenny and Dr. Kartzinel’s pediatric practice and other clinicians in the DAN! (Defeat Autism Now) movement. It is these success stories that provide the HOPE that every parent with autism is searching for.
Nowhere in this book is there a promise for a cure. There is mention of “recovery”. These appear to be quite different. The definition of cure is: a complete or permanent solution. The definition of recovery is ironically: a regaining of something lost or stolen. Many parents, including myself, experience this very feeling of loss and confusion about the future after realizing their child had autism. I did decide to pursue some of the book’s medical interventions in conjunction with ABA, speech therapy and occupational therapy (all conventional therapies). A myriad of the book’s interventions have provided my daughter, now 11, with a road to recovery. I, her dad, her two younger brothers and family and friends could not be prouder. The book also provides possibilities of reducing the risk of having a subsequent child with autism. In my personal experience, I did follow these recommendations. I felt that the knowledge provided was worth trying since boys are four times more likely to develop autism than girls. Obviously this is not a guarantee, but in our case, my 2 boys, (4 and 7) are healthy, bright and as defined in the autism literature as “neurotypical”. Every parent must decide what is best for their child. This is a private and individual decision. Jenny and Dr. Kartzinel have provided a “guide” for consideration that MAY make a difference in your child’s life.
Love it or hate it- you will walk away with more knowledge. It is with this information that you can start putting the pieces of the puzzle together for your child’s behavioral, neurological and biological health.
Proud mother to Kaylie
On her way to recovery!!!!
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