Biomedical Treatment for Autism and Speech Delay
Introduction to Biomedical Treatments at Vitalia Vancouver
Thank you for choosing Dr. Tasreen Alibhai, ND and Vitalia Health Care. We look forward to working with you and your child, developing an individualized treatment plan to address your child’s needs and reach your treatment goals.
As a parent, researching treatments for Autism can be overwhelming and confusing. As a DAN and MAPS trained Naturopathic Doctor with over 16 years of clinical experience, I can help you understand your child’s unique biochemistry, choose the correct medical tests, prescribe the correct supplements or medications, and develop a treatment protocols that fit your child’s unique needs. Thank you for choosing me to be a part of your child’s health care team. We are here to support you and guide you through this journey.
Before we begin, let’s answer some important questions so that you have a clear understanding of the foundations of your child’s biomedical treatment plan.
What is Biomedical Treatment?
Biomedical Therapy looks at imbalances in an individual’s unique biochemistry, obstacles to development, removing these obstacles and treating these imbalances with specific nutrients. Biomedical therapy does not focus on drug therapy. Instead the focus is on diet, nutrition and supplements to correct biochemical imbalances and repair cells.
Specific areas that will be investigated include:
- Specific Diet including Gluten and Casein Free diets
- Food sensitivities
- Vitamin and Mineral Supplements based on laboratory test results.
- Improving Digestion by treating Constipation, treating fungal or bacterial infections and reducing Gut inflammation.
- Improving detoxification by adding appropriate supplements and Glutathione.
- Supporting methylation and reducing Oxidative stress.
- Improving the immune system
- Reducing oxalates
- Investigating underlying infections such as Strep (PANDAS), clostridia or yeast
Gains reported by parents who utilize a biomedical approach for their child.
Biomedical treatments take time to work. We are working on improving your child’s biochemistry and repairing at a cellular level. This takes time. Most parents report an improvement in their child’s language, social and behavioural development in 4-12 weeks.
Gains reported include:
- Improved eye contact
- Decreased sensory issues
- Improved focus and attention
- Improvements in receptive and expressive language
- Decreased or eliminated aggressive behaviours and tantrums
- Improved social interaction with others
- Better response to behavioural therapy
- One parent described it perfectly; “It’s as if my child is looking at the world for the first time, understanding his world differently”.
Are there any side effects of the treatments used?
Because biomedical interventions include diet and natural supplements, side effects are minimal to rare. Medications will only be prescribed if Dr. Alibhai really feels it would be the best treatment approach for your child. Moreover, Dr. Alibhai will only prescribe medicines that have a low risk of serious side effects or are not absorbed into the bloodstream (these are non-absorbed medications that are simply eliminated from the body through the bowels)
As each child is unique, Dr. Alibhai cannot know exactly how your child will respond to treatment. Die-off reactions can occur. Dr. Alibhai will explain potential die off reactions and discuss ways to reduce the severity of these reactions. (See list of die off reactions and ways to reduce them). Die off reactions indicate the treatment is working. These reactions are not caused by the supplements or medications used. They are a result of your child’s immune system reacting to the “bugs” that are being killed off from the therapy. Don’t stop treatment due to die off. Discuss your concerns with Dr. Alibhai so that she can discuss ways to reduce them.
We hope to see positive changes in 4-12 weeks. Many parents report better eye contact, decreased sensory issues, and increased attempts to communicate verbally and/or non-verbally. Biomedical treatment is about repair and recovery. This process takes time and to see the best results, the treatment plans should be adjusted and changed every few months as a child moves through different stages. In the beginning, it is essential to stop further damage to the body. The second step is to repair and then after 1-3 years our patients are on maintenance programs to continue to support their development.
What Can you Expect During the First visit?
The first initial visit is approximately 1 hour long. In order to determine the best treatment approach for your child, it is important to get a complete medical history.Please complete the intake form before you come to the clinic as the form is extensive and you may prefer to complete it in the comfort of your own home.It is not necessary for your child to attend the initial appointment. If you feel your child will not be able to sit for the whole appointment, you can attend without your child and we will book another brief appointment to meet your child. A lot of information will be discussed during the first appointment and some parents prefer to come alone.
During this appointment the following will be discussed:
- Appropriate dietary interventions for your child
- Appropriate medical tests
- Appropriate supplements to start
A follow up appointment will be booked approximately 3 weeks later to allow enough time for the results to be sent back to our clinic and for Dr. Alibhai to review.Subsequent follow up appointments are usually booked monthly unless Dr. Alibhai would like to see your child sooner.
STARTING A HEALTHY DIET - THE NUTS AND BOLTS:
- Consume 3-4 servings of nutritious vegetables and 1-2 servings of fruit each day.(Corn is not a vegetable, it is a grain; potatoes have only limited nutritional value,especially if fried). Fruit juice is less healthy than eating the whole fruit, but better than soda.
- Consume at least 1-2 servings/day of protein (meat, chicken, eggs, nuts, beans).If child shows periods of irritability between protein meals, consider smaller protein snacks given more frequently.
- Greatly reduce or avoid added sugar (soda, candy, etc.).
- Avoid “junk food” – cookies, fried chips, etc. – they contain empty calories.
- Greatly reduce or avoid fried foods or foods containing trans fats.
- Avoid artificial colors, artificial flavors, and preservatives.
- If possible, eat organic foods as they contain lower levels of pesticides. Organic milk and chicken contain higher levels of essential omega-3 fats. If eating non-organic food, wash fruit and vegetables well if eating the outside, and consider peeling the outer layer.
Benefits of a healthy eating plan:
- Vegetables and fruits contain essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to improve and maintain mental and physical health.
- Protein is needed to provide amino acids, which are the building blocks for neurotransmitters and many other key amino acids and proteins in the body.(Please see list of sources of protein provided in manual)
- Reduction in sugar intake can prevent rapid rises and falls in blood sugar, which can cause irritability and difficulty concentrating. (Kohlboeck G, et al. Food intake,diet quality and behavioral problems in children: results from the GINIplus/LISA-plus studies. Ann NutrMetab. 2012;60(4):247-56.)
- Artificial colors and flavors can irritate some sensitive individuals, causing behavioral and other problems.
- Organic foods have lower levels of pesticides, and one study found that people living near areas with higher usage of agricultural pesticides had a significantly higher risk of having a child with autism. Pesticide use inside the home is probably a similar concern. (Roberts EM et al., Maternal residence near agricultural pesticide applications and autism spectrum disorders among children in the California Central Valley. Environ Health Perspect . 2007 Oct;115(10):1482 - 9 . Shelton et al.,Tipping the balance of autism risk: potential mechanisms linking pesticides and autism.Environ Health Perspect. 2012 Jul;120(7):944 - 51.) ARI Publication 40 – 2013 Version
- A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of food additives found that they increased hyperactivity in typical children. This was a large study of 153 3-year- old and 144 8/9-year- old typical children, and found that either artificial colors or sodium benzoate (a food preservative) at levels typically found in foods caused hyperactivity. (McCann et al, Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3 - year - old and 8/9 - year - old children in the community: a randomized,double - blinded, placebo - controlled trial. Lancet . 2007 Nov 3;370(9598):1560 Erratum in: Lancet. 2007 Nov 3;370(9598):1542 Individuals with autism appear to be more sensitive than the general population, since they often lack the sulfate needed to detoxify food additives and preservatives (see Sulfation section).
- A major study reviewed the reported benefits of organic foods. It analyzed a total of 17 studies in humans and 223 studies of food content/contamination.The major differences were: 1) Organic foods rarely had detectable levels of pesticides (7%) compared to conventional foods (37%). Two studies found that children on organic diets had lower levels of pesticides in their urine. 2) Organic milk and organic chicken had higher amounts of certain essential omega-3 fatty acids. Similarly, two studies of mothers found that those who ate mostly organic dairy and meat products had higher levels of beneficial essential fatty acids in their breast milk compared to mothers on more conventional diets. 3) Vitamins and most minerals were present in similar amounts in organic foods vs. conventional foods. However, organic foods had higher levels of phosphorus, an essential mineral. (Smith - Spangler C et al., Are O rganic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives? A Systematic Review, Ann Intern Md. 2012;157 Crystal Smith – Spangler)
For more information on diets avoiding unsafe food additives, go to: www.feingold.org