Dr. Sydney Finegold Interview

Interview by Marion Gruner

How long has your career in microbiology been?

Dr. Sydney Finegold Well, my first paper was published in 1951. It was based on work I did as a medical student in the late ‘40s and we finally had enough data to publish it in ’51. And at that point, my wife and I and another medical student all agreed to take some antibiotics to see what the impact would be on the bowel flora, and so we documented changes, even with the crude techniques available at that time. Now, I’ve been at it ever since then. Our first anaerobe entered our stock collection in 1957, but we were working with them for several years before that.

When did you start making a connection between gut bacteria and autism?

In 1998, I had a phone call from Dr. Richard Sandler in Chicago. He’s a pediatric gastroenterologist, and he had been seeing the autistic son of a lady named Ellen Bolte. She had done a remarkable job reviewing the medical literature on autism and related diseases, and concluded this might well be a bacterial infection. And she thought the best example of this was infant botulism, wherein the organism grows in the gut of the baby, produces toxin, and it’s absorbed. It goes to the central nervous system and produces the disease. That’s in contrast to the usual type of botulism where we eat a food and it’s contaminated with the toxin from the organism and there’s no involvement of the gut at all. The disease occurs directly. So, she had recommended to Dr. Sandler that he treat her child with oral Vancomycin, reasoning that this drug would be active against the type of organism she thought might be causing the disease, and that would be a Clostridia group. They’re Gram-positive and the Vancomycin is particularly active against Gram-positive organisms. So, he agreed to do this and the child had a dramatic improvement, starting within a few days and persisting for six weeks while he was still on the drug. This involved improvement in language skills. He actually had no language beforehand, but he picked up a few words and even began to string together tiny sentences towards the end, like, “No, Mummy, I’d like this.” He was much more malleable. He would listen to people and respond. He would look at them, which was quite different from his usual behaviour. He didn’t have any fits of anger and generally was a much more, nearly normal child.

What impact would repeated antibiotic use have on gut bacteria?

Antibiotics have an impact on the bowel flora. Virtually all of them do. Some, when given systemically, do not enter the bowel, so they would not, but most antibiotics, even given systemically, are secreted into the bowel to some extent. So, virtually all the time that we use antibiotics, one of the lesser-known problems with antibiotic use is that they do impact the bowel flora. The bowel flora, we’re finding out more and more in recent years, does a number of amazing things for the body. Our innate immunity is developed by virtue to exposure from bacteria living in the gut. And we know now that at least some forms of obesity are related to changes in the bacterial flora from the norm. We don’t know that antibiotics are involved in that particular problem, but they certainly seem to be in autism and clearly are in Clostridium difficile-associated colitis. So, you have a normal complement of organisms in your gut. It varies according to your diet and if you have an immune system problem. If your immune system is not fully effective either because of genetic problems or, more commonly, toxins in the environment, then you are not able to control bacteria that get out of the gut into other parts of the body, as you would if you had a normal immune system. So, we have that kind of background, and then on top of that, the key thing is that these children are susceptible to ear infections; probably to other types of infection. And so, they receive antibiotics, and the antibiotics that are favoured for that type of infection, ear infections, do have a significant impact on the bowel flora and tend to select out certain organisms while they suppress much of the rest of the flora. And the organisms that tend to persist are Clostridia, and this accounts, in Clostridium difficile colitis, for that problem. And we think it accounts for the problem in autism as well. Maybe not due to Clostridia specifically. Recent work suggests that there’s another organism that’s much more important.

What is this new bacterium you’re looking at and how is it related to autism?

It’s quite a different bug from the Clostridia. It’s Gram-negative instead of being Gram-positive. It does not produce spores, but it’s a very virulent organism. We have seen it over the years in serious infections like blood poisoning. So, we know about the organism, but it’s difficult to grow and it’s not been cultured many times when it has been involved in infection. So, laboratories such as ours and many others that have worked with anaerobes for years can grow this and it turns out to be important in autism. We found about this when some of the more high-throughput, detailed molecular approaches to studying the bowel flora became available. So, this allows you to find at least 1,000 different organisms per gram of fecal content, whereas with the old techniques, if you stayed for some time you could eventually pick up 300 different species. And now, there’s talk that there may be as many as 10,000. So, this is a very powerful tool and using it, too, we found out that the flora of autistic children is basically quite different from that of normal control children. The organism of interest is in a phyla called Proteobacteria. Our studies suggested that Desulfovibrio, one of the Proteobacteria, might be important in autism because it was seen with some frequency; about 50% of patients with autism but not at all in any of the controls. Now, Desulfovibrio, as the name suggests, changes a sulfate compound such as a hydrogen sulfate. It desulfates them and you end up with hydrogen sulfide rather than sulfate as the principal end product of that metabolism. Hydrogen sulfide is a major toxic compound, known for centuries, actually, but not known to be important in relation to bacteria. So, that may be one mechanism of its action. Also, the cell wall of this organism, Desulfovibrio, contains a potent endotoxin, and endotoxins are known to be very damaging to people, and animal models as well. And there are probably other factors that account for its virulence.

Where is Desulfovibrio found and how could it get into the body?

It’s found in the environment. It likes the environment around oil wells, for example. And it’s such a powerful toxin producer that the oil people are concerned about it because it corrodes metal in their apparatus and is a real pest to them. We ingest it with certain foods; meats in particular and cooked meats especially. And so, it is found in the normal flora in low numbers of probably half the people. But again, it depends on the diet, so that in the United Kingdom where probably they eat more meat than we do, they have higher counts in normal individuals of Desulfovibrio. If you take antibiotics for prophylaxis or treatment of infections, and if you take certain ones that are active against common elements of the normal flora of the bowel but not active against Desulfovibrio—and that’s true for a number of compounds, antibiotic compounds—then you tend to select out Desulfovibrio. get much higher counts and so more toxins produced and then, you can get disease in that manner.

What type of autism have you been studying?

Regressive autism is the type that we have worked with exclusively. As the name suggests, these children develop normally up to about eighteen months of age, and then they begin to go backwards. They lose their social graces. They’re not warm and friendly with their parents. They don’t maintain eye contact. They have difficulty with other children of the same age. They have gastrointestinal problems that often are quite striking and may be the main feature of their illness. These include abdominal distension, abdominal pain. Constipation is a principal problem but not always obvious overtly. They may have so-called compensatory diarrhea, attempting to get rid of the obstruction from the constipation. And they, in the extreme, may bang their head against the wall; be very damaging to themselves, to their playmates and siblings, and even their parents.

Why would Clostridia and Desulfovibrio be important in regressive autism?

Well, first of all, these children are only susceptible to autism up to the age of four. Anybody that has suspect autism after the age of four, unless they’ve had it starting before the age four, it’s not autism; it’s something else. So, you have to have a central nervous system that’s being developed at a certain critical stage. Then, you have to have impairment of the immune system. This can be on a genetic basis but we think much more commonly it’s due to environmental toxins. So, that sets the stage, and then the bacteria get into it when antibiotics are given, appropriately or inappropriately. And the typical scenario for that to happen is when the child develops an ear infection. If a beta-lactam antibiotic, such as a penicillin or a cephalosporin, is given, that eliminates certain parts of the bowel flora, and that creates a niche for organisms such as Desulfovibrio and Clostridia to grow out to larger numbers where they produce enough toxin to cause the disease.

What are the reasons to wonder if this condition might be somehow “infectious”?

Yeah, this leads to consideration of how these diseases spread from one to another and why the incidence of autism should be increasing so much, and why C. difficile colitis is a big problem in hospitals. So, let’s start with C. difficile colitis as the model. Patients acquire Clostridium difficile. Again, it may be present as a normal flora. Seems to be the case in about 3% of adults. But we think it’s been pretty well established now with C. difficile colitis that when the organism contaminates the environment of a hospital, it’s a big problem and accounts for spread from patient to patient. Clostridium difficile, when it’s exposed to antibiotics, tries to protect itself. It does this by converting the ordinary vegetative bacterial cells into the spore form where they can withstand anything short of autoclaving. So, we’ve demonstrated spores from Clostridium difficile on the floor of a hospital room that was cleaned after the patient left and left without patients in it for over a month, and we were still able to culture C. difficile. They knew the study was being performed, so the housekeepers tried to do an extra good job on cleaning, and we could still find them. I think that same sort of thing is going on in the case of autism, but it remains to be documented. With Desulfovibrio. now, that organism is not a spore-former, but it has other mechanisms, various enzymes that protect it from exposure to oxygen and to other deleterious influences. So, Desulfovibrio can live in the environment for months on end in its vegetative state until conditions are improved and it has the opportunity to survive and multiply.

How does Dr. MacFabe’s work relate to yours?

We don’t have the full connection that we need to be able to say that Dr. MacFabe’s work fits in key and lock with what we’re doing, but it seems like a likely possibility. Dr. MacFabe takes certain compounds that are by-products of the activity of bacteria in the gut—we call them short-chain fatty acids—and he injects them into the brain of rats and that leads to a set of symptoms and findings that are characteristic of what we see in autism in humans. So, it may be a very good animal model for us, and so that would be very helpful. Research would be sped up considerably if we knew that was a reliable animal model and we could do a lot of manipulation of the bacteria in the gut of the rat and save time in terms of coming up with answers that apply to humans. Now, Clostridia do produce some of the compounds that MacFabe uses in his model and Desulfovibrio does not, but it does it in a roundabout way. In other words, it doesn’t produce those compounds itself, but it leads to their production in a roundabout way. So, both of those things would fit with his hypothesis and with his animal model.

Can you comment on the connection of these bacteria to the foods we eat?

Well, I think we’re beginning to appreciate that diet is extremely important. It has a definite impact on the bowel flora and the impact can be good or bad depending on the diet. I think we need to study it further, but there’s been one study done where subjects, volunteers who were not ill, agreed to go on several different diets with intervals between the diets of whatever they chose to eat normally. And that showed clear concordance with a high meat content diet, cooked meat, and overgrowth of Desulfovibrio. So, I think that’s an important lead. Also, others have found over the years that certain diets benefit autistic children. So, a gluten-free, casein-free diet, which is difficult to make, time-consuming, and expensive, but many autistic children improve to a degree—sometimes a significant degree—on that diet. There’s also a specific carbohydrate diet, which is even more difficult to make and more expensive, which is helpful to other autistic children. Ellen Bolte’s son, for example, did not respond to the gluten, casein-free diet, but did respond well to the specific carbohydrate diet.

What do you think about the future of gut bacteria research and its connection with autism?

We think that bacteria are very important in autism, as I mentioned, and knowing what bacteria do in other circumstances, it’s easy to visualize spread of these bacteria to siblings of autistic children. And we do see now more multiple cases in families than we did before and an increased frequency of autism, probably because of spread of these organisms by way of the environment and even direct transfer from one person to another. The very encouraging thing about all of this is that we know a lot about bacteria and if we know for sure which bacteria are involved in autism, we have ways of combating them. Knowing what we know about bacteria, we can visualize making a vaccine that could be given by mouth. It would be very well-tolerated in all respects and would build up antibodies and other parts of the immune system that fight Clostridia and Desulfovibrio, and could not only control it once it’s established but could prevent it entirely. So, the day may come when we have a vaccine that could be given just as any other vaccine could be given—polio vaccine, for example—to totally prevent the disease and wipe it out. But besides waiting for the vaccine, we can be working on developing these good bacteria that we know about. And we don’t know enough about them, so we have to do more research there. But we have things called probiotics. And you’ll hear and see a lot of advertisements for this yoghurt or that yoghurt, which supposedly is good in its own right and is supplemented by some of the good guys. You can hardly buy ice cream these days, especially yoghourt-based ice creams, without addition of these things. That’s because it’s a good advertising gimmick. But the scientific background for it is not solid. There’s no research to prove that these foods can do something good for autism, for example. But there are ways of putting good bacteria back into people to fight the bad ones, and as soon as we have enough research done to know which particular types of bacteria, and sub-types, are the absolute good ones which would not backfire on us, then we could put them into probiotics.

Not long ago people thought autism was a permanent condition but, now, are there suggestions that it may be at least party reversible?

The reversibility of autism is a very exciting proposition. As I indicated, children who have had it for even a year or so, within two to three weeks of antibiotic therapy are much better, and it’s within the realm of possibility that we can maintain the improvement and take it all the way back to a totally normal child if we treat them early enough. There’s been a lot in the lay press recently about the importance of diagnosing autism early and suggestions have been made to both physicians and parents as to how one can suspect it and verify the diagnosis. I’m afraid that as the child gets older, when they get into their teens and, particularly, into adulthood, it may be much less reversible.

47 thoughts on “Dr. Sydney Finegold Interview

  1. New autism treatment has 106 parents reporting it cured their children from autism as of Oct 2013.

    Some parents report gains within the first week, 20 recovered (all ages) within the first year this protocol started (2011).

    Website http://www.mmsautism.org, for me the most valuable information came from watching the video of Kerri’s presentation at AutismOne 2012 so I recommend you start there (link to it is in left side of the website titled “Kerri at AutismOne 2012”).

    Amazing that such a new treatment has done so many recoveries and so very fast.

    If your feeling down watch the video, it filled me with new hope and I think those that watch the video will feel the same way too.

  2. Hi,
    I got three year old daughter who has IBSC after an episode of gastro early in February. Since then she is very different person. She cries all time for small reason eg: changing clothes, difficulty with toilet training ….
    I have contacted CDD Sydney they do not accept kids and I contacted Katherine Ellard and she is not taking new patients.
    To go to normal gastro specialist they just diagnose you with IBS.
    I believe a bacteria overgrowth responsible for my child different behaviour.
    Would anyone know another specialist who believes bacteria can have negative effect on development behaviour?


    • Hi Anna,
      Like you I believe that my children’s gut issues and developmental issues are linked and caused by abnormal gut flora
      My children are on combination therapy and we have seen massive improvement in behaviour, speech and reading since starting
      Email me on lucindathaw@gmail.com and I let you know who we saw
      Take care

    • Hi Anna, I do believe that the bacteria overgrowht is responsible pour child behavior. I am a Naturopath and I have a boy with autism. I have put him in a diet that kills bacteria and during the last year his behavior has changed and he was a kid in specials schools and couldn’t be in place for 2 min. This year he is in normal school and he is first in his class. When we give him exceptions in food his behavior change. This comes from neurotoxicity made in his gut and this come from excrement of these bacteria. It goes directly to brain. I hope that I can help you. Julie

      • Hi All, I am very grateful knowing you all are out there trying to help each other. I’d be very grateful if you could help us too. My boy had reflux problem since the beginning of his live. At some point, he got a very bad diarrhea when he was only 4 months. It went on badly so I took him to the doctor every week but the doctor here said it was ok until he was pooing blood then I decided to look for a second opinion. And that was the first antibiotics he had. After that he was so sick and had to take the antibiotics every 6 weeks or so until he turned 3. From his 2 years old, we had noticed the signs of stubbornness but well, we also tried to cope with like loving parents would do and looked for help paralelly. One thing led to another and he was diagnosed as ‘PDD NOS?’. Yes, with a question mark in the report after 9 months of observation. Maybe that was because he was so sweet (still is) and no one was sure about what it might be. After the second opinion we sought after when he turned 4, we now know he fell just right in the grey area (a few symptoms) of PDD NOS, ADHD and ODD which defined him as high functioning autism or asperger; depending on who I talk to. We’re lucking to eventually find him a mainstream school with small group where the teachers are really willing to help us. He is 6 now and doing quite well and mostly happy. We can reason with him and solve behaviour problem (mostly social skills) almost one by one. Now it’s only his concentration that can really jeopardise his grades. I have been trying some homeopathic solutions, feldenkrais and qigong massage. but when I watched the movie about this theory and treatments, I think I might as well have to kill that bacteria for good. My problem is that I don’t know exactly where to start. Though we eat very healthy, I get started with gluten free and probiotics but I would like to do it properly. I tried to ‘cure’ his intestines by giving him 5 spoons of chia seeds and 5 prunes every morning. Looks like he’s got it easier going in there. How can I know what type and dosage of probiotics exactly should I use? And the menu or list of food to adapt to cook. Do you all go to the doctor to get your child checked for the bacteria? What exactly are the foods that kill that bacteria? Could you share your pattern when you started to try food? What is ‘Inulin’ precisely, is it recommended by Dr. Finegold? Can we buy it in the pharmacy? I am pretty sure, my doctor here wouldn’t prescribe anything extra for this problem. Is there a book/bible to help us through this problem? Well, basically if you have advice, they are all very welcome! Thank you very much in advance. Best wishes to you all. Dorothy

        • Hi Dorothy, I have just seen your comment. Sorry for the delay. The only food that will kill the bacteria is alcaline food. The purpose of bacteria is to decompose non digested food. If someone stop eating food that is not digested eventually, when the bowel are clean, these bacteria will die. It can be very long and the best food to achieve that is only raw fruits and raw vegetables. The fruit have simple sugar that doesn’t request the gut to digest it. I think it’s the best food to eat and you can survive all your life only on fruits. In 3 weeks you will see a difference. Smoothies are even doing a better job. If you need more informations you can contact me. http://www.facebook.com/lacledevotresante

          • Hello Julie,
            Thank you very much for your reply. Definitely we will try more of fresh fruits and vegetables. We used to make loads of smoothies but my son made funny face and even ‘rejected’ them in a not very conventional fashion. We will try to reason with him on this; it might not be as difficult as before. We will put his health upfront. It should be alright.
            Again thank you very much!
            Best wishes to all!

  3. Probiotics are a rip of. If the gut lining is faulty and inflamed and allows “leaking” because its inflamed,the bacteria has a hard time living there in a hostile environment. Inulin not only feeds the bugs and gets them in balance,but helps heal the gut lining. It does 2 things at once. I had IBS for 7 years. Inulin fixed this in 3 months. Its cheap and work up to 2 teaspoons a day. I would encourage anyone who thinks this might be a problem to try inulin ! And if one thinks Autism is caused by gut and bacteria problems..work up to 2 tablespoons. Try it and see what happens !

  4. I am a mother of 3 two of which have been diagnosed as having clostridium. All my children have lot of food allergies (+astma + reflux disease) and we have lot of food restrictions. I basically try to treat clostridium with good bacteria and Precosa and also diet treatment.

    This subject interests me a lot since one of the biggest problems is the behavior of my 7 and 3 yr olds. I have noticed that especially with the older one, some foods have an instant effect on his behavior. He doesn’t have diagnosis but has been said to have autistic features. His behavior got a lot better when I took milk, soy and egg and some grains away from his diet. Also, he used to be sick constantly, but not anymore after this diet change.

    I wast watching the behavior of the boy in the document at the age of 4 and one thing that I would really much like to know… Did you try any reflux medication? The symptoms although said to be from autism seem to me similar, but maybe a bit worse, than my children have when their reflux disease is really bad. Back arching is one symptom but similar behavior and walknig with toes.. they seem like they are in much pain. Which they actually are… My kids’ reflux disease gets really bad at the same time as clostridium gets worse – they affect each other. And I think getting rid of clostridium might mak the reflux better, although I think overall treating it with any antibiotics might eventyally make reflux maybe even worse. Did they take do ph measurement? Reflux could also be one reason in addition to the boy’s condition, it is really badly recognized still among doctors 🙁

    I would really much appreciate if you find the time to answer me, maybe even discuss futher.

    • Hi there,
      I was interested to hear that your children have reflux in addition to their developmental/behavioural issues.
      I have done extensive reading on the subject on how abnormal gut flora cause all sorts of problems including developmental issues. The latest thinking is that an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria is caused by Microbiota disruption, when the good protective bacteria are destroyed, often through over us of broad spectrum antibiotics . Kids with developmental issues commonly have more than one infection and their reflux could be caused by Helicobacter Pylori which is a bacteria which causes reflux and can lead to stomach ulcers and oesophageal and colon cancer. I would have them tested for H Pylori(either a stool test or breath test) and if they test positive look up the Centre for Digestive Diseases website. They are world leaders in treating H Pylori and publish their treatment protocol for your doctor to prescribe. Take care Lucinda

  5. Dr Sydney Finegold is a visionary
    I too was blown away by the autism enigma and the amazing discoveries he and Ellen Bolte have made
    Having see the documentary I have done a lot of research on Google Scholar and in the clinical world the evidence is gathering that regressive autism is caused by gut disruption: the destruction of good bacteria such as bifidobacterium and the overgrowth of pathogenic microbes such as Clostridium
    Our girls, in fact, the whole family have gut issues( Colitis, Coeliac, Constipation, Reflux and bloating)
    We had our twins tested through Metametrix and found they have the classic autistic gut profile: very low bifidobacterium, very high lactobacillus and high numbers of the pathogens Blastocystis Hominis and Clostridium
    We have been following Professor Borody, a leading gastroenterologist’s, combination therapy to eradicate the Blasto
    Followed by therapeutic brand of probiotic called Symbiotique
    Almost immediately after the first round of treatment we all began to see huge improvements in terms of energy levels, mental clarity, anxiety levels and noticed that the most affected twin has become markedly more socially engaged
    The final stage will be to eliminate the Clostridium with Vancomycin and follow up with Professor Borody’s oral human probiotic, which he is trialing at the moment and which contains donor flora from healthy volunteers
    As with all pathogens, these are very hard to get rid of and the challenge is to stop them from coming back
    But we have been amazed at what we have experienced so far
    Professor Borody’s protocols are available on line at the centre for digestive diseases website and through the Sydney Compounding Chemist website

  6. Please could someone help. I have a cousin who has autism not sure what kind but he is non verbal. Everything has been fine until now he is 17 years old and has now taken a turn for the worse to the point where he is banging his head against the wall and punching himself in the head and his appitite has changed dramatically, and we don’t know why. Could anyone please help me to help my Aunty find someone that can help as she has not been sleeping in fear he might extremely hurt himself. Please we don’t know where to turn to for help.. My email is angelhauwai@hotmail.com if anyone knows of a place in Sydney Australia that can help. We all have been taking in turns to watch him so my Aunty can get some sleep.

    • Hello there,
      As he is an adult, he can be treated by Professor Borody,
      Of the Centre for Digestive Disease
      in Five Dock Sydney
      If you look up their website you will see that they treat classic gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s but they also treat GI infections such as Blastocystis Hominis and Clostridium which cause GI issues and developmental issues such as ADHD and Autism
      Those who are overseas can go through the medications department of the CDD( they do give you the protocols and guide you through treatment) or access Professor Borody’s protocols from CDD and Sydney compounding chemist website then ask their doctor to half the dose for children
      But remember its important to do the stool tests first to assess what you have so you treat appropriately
      Good luck!

  7. I have done some research in Low Dose Naltrexone use for autism. LDN helps the
    immune system work better so now I wonder If it helps the immune system fight of the bad gut
    bacteria too.

  8. I read an article in the news today about feacal transplants being used to restore the floral balance of the gut to successfully treat a host of conditions caused by the use of anti biotics. Has it been used with autism?

    • Yes Professor Borody of the Centre for Digestive Diseases in Sydney Australia, has developed and trialed an oral version of the probiotic that is set to be realised early next year
      He currently does the colonic version on those over 16

  9. GAPS Diet. Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Why were neither of these diets mentioned in the documentary? SCD has been around since the 1950s and has been successfully treating GI disorders since it was developed. GAPS is an offshoot of SCD, was developed by a doctor in the UK to treat her own son, and she’s been successfully treating patients in the UK for years. She published a book. I believe she was on Oprah. Surely some scientist in North America knows about her or at least GAPS.

    I encourage everyone to google GAPS or SCD and learn about the gut/brain connection and how these diets can cure disease, including helping with autism. These diets will help heal the gut and repopulate it with healthy bacteria to put it back in balance. I am living proof it works. It saved my life.

    • Children with Autism crave starches and carbs and in our case, my son will only eat beige foods: rice, bread, crisps, McDonalds chips, cakes, crackers and thankfully sausages (sometimes) and chicken schnitzel. How do you propose we have GAPS or SCD diet limited to these items?

      • My 4yo daughter who has ASD has been on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for 7 months now. She also had been mostly stuck on a diet of rice and potatoes before the diet. I don’t know if this happens for everyone, but once she started eating the SCD foods, her sensory sensitivities improved, and she began accepting a wider variety of foods. While we still have challenges, SCD has been life changing for my daughter. There’s a great yahoo group for SCD, called “pecanbread” if you want to try SCD but have questions or need support.

      • Refer to page 128 of “Gut and Psychology Syndrome”. The diet provides delicious recipe replacements for the sugar, grains and starchy vegetable recipes. These include flour made from nuts such as almonds and a sugar substitute using unprocessed honey and dried fruit.
        Most of these children are picky eaters. Dr McBride says 60-70% of all parents who bring their children to her clinic have the same feeling that such a diet change would be impossible for the same reasons you mention but that most have success with it after following the advice in the book including having a careful introduction diet where foods are gradually introduced, allergies are carefully and simply monitored, and by the use of applied behavioural mangement (p223).

  10. Hi …We just watched Autism Enigma. WOW….well we have run the gammit with our 6 year daughter and her autism. Diagnosed at 2 years old…hit every milestone her first year ….had words, looked at us all the time and smiled and was very engaged. Then she lost all words, lost eye contact and slipped away. We have done The Sonrise program….have worked with 2 DAN doctors…have been seen and are seeing GI Doctors…..she has severe contipation, she has tested positive for clostridia by Genova Dignostics… the GI doctors ignore this and will not do thier own testing. She has had fecal decompaction procedures…..botox injections into her sphincter….she had tons of ear infections and many rounds of antibiotics as a baby also breathing treatments for a cough..we stopped dairy and the cough stopped. We have done GFCF diet…We are on 3 years of ABA….our daughter goes to school in a “special room”. Our daughters severe sleep issues have been looked into for 3 years now with no help. Her day is about 21 hours long and she is nonstop. She does have some words again and eye contact is better. I feel like she is suffering and does not need to be but we have not had much insight from the many doctors we have seen….Genetics{has had testing} sleep clinics, GI doctors and more. I agree the gut plays a major role in autism behaviors. We have done probiotics and other supplements. Is there a probiotic they you could suggest? We get items from Kirkmann. Now that we have seen The Autism Enigma we are re-energized to battle her gut bugs. Thank you for doing what you do for the world of Autism

    • The strongest probiotic available is VSL#3
      But you need to eradicate the pathogenic bacteria clostridium first with Vancomycin
      The follow up with probiotic( the good protective bacteria) to regenerate the gut and maintain with GF, caesin free diet

    • I just saw your post. My 4yo daughter, who has ASD, had severe sleep issues that were only helped by the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. The Specific Carbohydrate diet is hard work, but I am so glad to put the energy into cooking that I used to put into being up with her crying for hours and hours 4 nights a week. With SCD, you eliminate most all foods, and introduce certain well cooked and easily digested foods one at a time, we were able to discover that all sorts of common food made my daughter hurt and not sleep well. I hope this helps- I have been where you are at.

    • Hi. If you are still interested, I am finishing my degree in naturopathy and I have made big changes in my son diet and we had a miracle in everything. My son was like your daugther 2 years ago and now he is speaking and has appoximately no signs of autism. We still send him to a special school but hope soon to be able to send him to normal school. If you are interested just answer me and give me your informations and it will be a pleasure to help you.

    • Hi,
      If your going to look into probiotics can I suggest you also consider using this in conjunction with activated charcoal. The activated charcoal can be used to remove the toxic environment setup by the bad gut bugs as it absorbs toxins and wipes the gut. This means that the good bug in probiotics have a chance to re-establish a balance gut environment or micro flora.
      Search on activated charcoal and you will find sites that speak to its benifits, its natural and is an aid in the probotic approach.

      Ross – Australia

      • Hi Ross
        Do you use the charcoal first to wipe the gut bugs and then try to repopulate with good via the probiotics? or do you do them side-by-side? If you know of any site with a protocol it would be gratefully received.Melinda

    • Have your Dr. open up the CPS which is the book they prescribe from and they will see a product called Immunocal. There is a Medical Clinicl Trial underway at the Eleanor Roosevelt Clinic in Huston for Autism. Children taking this nutricutical supplement are returning back to there parents. Glutathione is the bodies Master Antioxidant. When there is problems in the digestive tract of these young babies they cannot maintain the supplements or to process what is necessary for a healthy child. This product is a cistine delivery system which when ingested the three precoursors(Amion Acids) bind and metabolizes as
      Glutathione being the bodies MASTER ANTIOXIDANT. Without this we cannot sustain a healthy life. Immunotec is located in Montreal Canada. This product is food. It can be expensive. I feel that my life is worth it! Deborah David Courtenay B.C.

  11. Basically to follow up on the up-date of this matter on your web site and would really want to let you know just how much I treasured the time you took to generate this valuable post. Within the post, you really spoke regarding how to actually handle this thing with all comfort. It would be my personal pleasure to gather some more ideas from your web page and come as much as offer other folks what I have learned from you. Many thanks for your usual wonderful effort.

  12. Hi
    My mother had c difficil in her 80s and we used the book The Gut Solution and enteric peppermint oil in order to kill the spores. We still us BioK and other probiotics but she is doing great and still paints her fence, deck etc. this summer at 90.
    Wendy from Edmonton, AB

  13. I am 46 years old and recently was diagnosed with Asberger’s Syndrom. As a child I had strep throat every 3 to 4 weeks and I was constantly on antibiotics. I also had ear infections, but not to the degree I had strep. I had severe constipation which left me incapacitated as I would not have a movement or pass gas for 4 weeks at a time. After multiple tests and hospitalisations, in 1994 I was diagnosed with Megacolon, a condition where there is paralysis of the membranes within the colon. I had a sub-total colectomy in December of that year where they removed part of the large intestine. In December of 1995 I had 2 more surgeries; a.total colectomy and then an emergency surgery 8 days later to fix a blockage. Things did not go well and they removed the rest of the large intestine, colon, and part of the small intestine. The rest of the small intestine was stretched, made into a bag-like pouch to ressemble the colon, and then it was resectioned to the anus. I struggle with my health, my immune system is compromised and despite the fact I try to operate like a regularly healthy person in a professional capacity, coping and just getting through many of my days is tremendously challenging. Could you please point me in the direction where I could find some help, for instance in diet, and coping strategies? My diagnosis of Asberger’s my doctor advised me to keep secret as it might cause me to eventually lose my job. I live in Canada. Could you please try to connect me to some help.
    Thank you,


    • Hi Vicki,
      I used to have IBS…which developed into dysbiosis. I tried everything. Nothing helped. Then i discovered INULIN. It feeds the good gut bugs and they crowd out the bad..and reduce bowel inflamation. PLEASE try it for at least 6 months. You can get it on ebay. work up to 2 teaspoons morning and night. Im “cured” of my condition now for 8 years. I will never stop taking INULIN. All the best !

    • Hi Vicki, I also have Aspergers. I kept quiet for many years while organizing and volunteering on the side in the autism field, because of fear; it may not be as bad as you think, now to be “out”. I was lucky. My parents were throw-backs, eating a much more whole-food, probiotic-rich, and healthy fats diet than most of my generation (I’m also 46). When I was eleven, they sent me to a wilderness camp for one month, where my functional gains and the drop in pain levels was more than enough to raise my curiosity and determination to figure out WHY. 3/4 of my life later, I’m still following that thread of what makes things better, and what makes things worse. Look for thrive with autism, for the 5 root causes of autism report. It’s free, and it’ll help frame things a bit. Best wishes, and don’t give up hope. A lot of us have seen improvements well beyond what the medical field promises.

    • Hi Ms Tara,

      My son is on the diet you described ( gluten, sugar and diary free). I find it difficult to find a selection of foods to prepare. Could you give me some suggestions. I buy organic foods for my son. My son is six years old and he is also is a vegetarian.


  14. Extremely interested in this after watching a TV program called “The Autism Enigma” – my 4+ year old was recently diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder – Non Specific. I now realize that several of the symptoms I’ve come to know as those associated with Autism were ones that my daughter has displayed off and on since she was a toddler. I’m now trying to take in all the information while trying to get her help. It’s rather a helpless feeling at the moment, but I am hopeful we’ll get her on the right path and that she will make progress and be okay.

    • I found the program on tv great. My mother had c. difficil and was a skelleton. We used the book The Gut Solution and enteric peppermint oil to kill the spores and now do biok and other probiotics. She does wonders at 90.

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