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Preventing Degenerative Disease

Asperger's - Dr. Mark Hyman

Though the effects of toxins on adults are serious, leading to fatigue, depression, sleep disorders, cognitive loss, and dementia, the toll on our children is staggering.

I believe that an overload of heavy metals in children who are genetically susceptible to their effects is one of the root causes of our epidemic of ADHD, learning disorders, Asperger's, and autism, not to mention depression, anxiety, and bipolar disease. Today, a doctor who takes care of kids at summer camp has to be a psycho-pharmacologist trained in the dispensing and monitoring of psychoactive cocktails. What is wrong with this picture?

One little boy's story reflects the "heaviness" of the problem.

He was a wild child–uncontrollable, violent, unpredictable–in fact, mercurial. At the young age of three his "diagnoses" ranged from severe ADHD to bipolar disease to Asperger's (a mild form of autism) to oppositional defiant disorder (where children are very defiant of authority).

His pupils were always dilated like those of someone in constant pain or danger, and like many children on the autism spectrum, he couldn't look directly into your eyes.1 Autistic children look at you sideways, not because they don't want to look into your eyes, but because they can see better out of the corners of their eyes. This may have to do with the effects of vitamin A and omega-3 fat deficiencies on the retina and the way the proteins (rods and cones) that do the "seeing" are out of alignment in "sick" cell membranes.2 (Cod liver oil, which contains vitamin A and omega-3 fats, often corrects this "sideways" seeing).

His mother had to use her fingers to remove his feces every day from his rectum, and every night he wet his bed, problems all too common in these children.

At social outings to the pool or park, the other parents would chastise his mother. "Can't you control your kid?" He was asked to leave every type of activity he joined. At school he had to have one-to-one supervision every day and still couldn't be controlled. He was kicked out of a special behavioral therapy group for children who couldn't be in groups and was not allowed into a special camp for kids who couldn't be in a regular camp.

Aside from starkly autistic children, I had never encountered a more difficult child.

It turned out he was weighed down by an extraordinary amount of metals. I have performed more than ten thousand tests for heavy metals in my patients. This boy had the highest level of lead I had ever seen and a load of mercury on top of that.

His mother had plenty of mercury fillings; he was born at the time of peak immunization schedules before the thimerosol was removed from vaccines; and he grew up in an urban, industrialized area where the mercury and lead from emissions ended up in the soil and the floors of homes. (Perhaps we should be like the Japanese and remove our shoes before entering our homes so we don't track in the pollution from the soil and streets.)

Because his genes made him susceptible, he accumulated and accumulated these poisons instead of naturally detoxifying them.

How did he get better? Parents, doctors, and scientists track the benefits of every type of treatment given to autistic children whose parents or doctors are connected to the Autism Research Institute ( and the DAN! Group, which work closely together.

By far the most beneficial treatment is the detoxification of heavy metals, which unblocks the metabolic and biochemical traffic jams that create problems. Then immune, gut, and brain function can resynchronize and rebalance.

Our little boy was "heavy" with metal poisoning. So we slowly chelated out his mercury and lead; fixed his gut; improved his diet; took out the sugar and dairy from his diet; boosted weak metabolic pathways with B12, folate, and B6; calmed his nervous system with magnesium; and used zinc3 to help him digest his food and activate enzymes (called metallothionein) that naturally eliminate mercury and lead.

Now he is twelve years old and thriving. He has no aide in school, and he can look you straight in the eye and have a normal conversation. He doesn't wet his bed and goes to the bathroom normally. When I asked him how he felt after all this treatment with pills and dietary changes, he said, "I feel like my brain is not short-circuiting all the time."

To learn more about how you can help your children overcome Asperger's, autism, ADHD, and many other "neurological" and "psychological" conditions, see Dr. Hyman's new book, The UltraMind Solution..

Ritvo ER, Creel D, Crandall AS, Freeman BJ, Pingree C, Barr R, Realmuto G. Retinal pathology in autistic children–a possible biological marker for a subtype? J Am Acad Child Psychiatry. 1986 Jan;25(1):137.
Megson MN. Is autism a G-alpha protein defect reversible with natural vitamin A? Med Hypotheses. 2000 Jun;54(6):979-83.
Peixoto NC, Serafim MA, Flores EM, Bebianno MJ, Pereira ME. Metallothionein, zinc, and mercury levels in tissues of young rats exposed to zinc and subsequently to mercury. Life Sci. 2007 Sep 29;81(16):1264-71. Epub 2007 Sep 16.