Research Articles

March 29, 2018

Cannabis for Autism: Biological Clue to Effectiveness

Many parents are reporting success using cannabis for their child with autism. A new study by researchers at Stanford University gives a clue to why cannabis might be effective for the person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study, “Plasma anandamide concentrations are lower in children with autism spectrum disorder,” found reduced amounts of a neuromodulator, anandamide (N-arachidonoylethanolamine or AEA), in the blood of 60 children with ASD compared to 56 neurotypical control children. The children were ages 3-12 years. The ASD group had a confirmed autism diagnosis. The typical controls had no history of neurodevelopmental or mental health problems.

March 31, 2017

More Data Points to Acetaminophen Exposure for Children Potentially Inducing Autism

In 2015, SafeMinds published a short article I wrote about the potential dangers of acetaminophen to children, specifically addressing its potential role in the development of autism. In the discussion that followed that posting, I noted that exposure during childhood, NOT during pregnancy, appears to be the most dangerous time to expose the developing brain to acetaminophen. I pointed out that exposure during pregnancy poses a significant risk, increasing the chance of having a child with autism by slightly more than 10 percent, but that the major concern is that exposure of babies and children to acetaminophen is actually driving the epidemic, resulting in a 10-fold or greater increase in the incidence of autism. I also elucidated that many parents are unaware that their male infant was exposed to acetaminophen at the time of circumcision, and that vaccination was, at one time, a major cause for using acetaminophen.

September 11, 2015

Acetaminophen as a cause of the autism pandemic? It makes absolutely no sense … at first.

My research looks at what causes harmful inflammation in people in Western societies. The triggers of inflammation are recent developments in human history, appearing after the agricultural revolution only 10,000 years ago. Most did not appear until just a few decades ago, as we entered the post-industrial age. 1 My favorite example is the loss of biodiversity from the human body. Humans have always been bathed inside and out with bacteria, viruses, fungi, worms, and other organisms, but in recent decades our bodies’ ecosystems have become much less diverse, to our detriment.

June 08, 2015

Duke University Study Finds Helminths are Beneficial to the Gut Biome Promoting More Good Bacteria and Less Bad

Acting on this discovery could have a profound affect on human health. The idea that from the ecosystem of the human body is leading to inflammation and disease is gaining widespread acceptance. This loss of diversity, known as “biome depletion”, is caused by a variety of factors in modern society and has an effect on every aspect of our body’s development and function, including our brain’s development and function. Most attention among scientists and the media alike has focused on the microbiome, the microorganisms or germs in our biome. However, a substantial body of experimental evidence points toward the presence or absence of larger organisms, helminths or worms, as having a generally more global effect on the body’s function, including alteration in the microbiome.

May 24, 2015

Study Finds Autism-Mercury Link Through Elevated Antibodies to Critical Brain Proteins

A study published in the current issue of the Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology found indicators of autoimmunity to critical brain proteins associated with mercury exposure in children with autism. The authors, Gehan Ahmed Mostafa and Laila Yousef AL-Ayadhi at the Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University,  in Cairo, Egypt and the Autism Research and Treatment Center in the Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, respectively, hypothesize that mercury might play a causative role in some cases of autism through increased levels of antibodies to myelin basic protein, or MBP.

April 08, 2015

SafeMinds Funded Research Discovers that Increased Biome Diversity Produces Healthier, Smarter Immune System Responses

Allergy and Autoimmunity Decreases, Without Compromising Immune Response: Conventional wisdom in modern medicine has assumed that a necessary consequence of blocking allergies and autoimmune reactions is immune system suppression, which in turn causes patients to be more vulnerable to other infections and cancers. A new study published today in PLOS ONE by Duke University researchers, and funded in part by the Coalition of SafeMinds, found that increasing biodiversity in the body via biome enrichment, known to decrease allergies and autoimmune reactions, is not immune suppressive. This discovery holds great promise to treat autoimmune diseases successfully without compromising appropriate immune responses.

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