A Holistic Approach To Autism
Interviewed by Rasa Fournier
Wednesday - March 23, 2011
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Dr. Curtis Takemoto-Gentile
Primary care practitioner
Where did you receive your schooling/training?
I’m a graduate of the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine. I did my family practice residency in Buffalo, N.Y., followed by a fellowship in geriatric medicine here at JABSOM. When I was at the medical school, I held the position of chairman for the Department of Family Practice.
How long have you had your own practice?
I am going on my 11th year in private practice. I do pediatrics, immunizations, teenage medicine, adult medicine, food allergies, bio-identical hormones, geriatrics, and environmental and alternative medicine.
The latest news is that immunizations don’t cause autism, so what does?
All autistic children start off from birth behaving and developing normally. Some parents of children with autism believe that the development of autism was triggered from a reaction to vaccinations. Most often, it seems to be when the MMR (mumps, measles and rubella) vaccination was given. Usually, this is around 15 to 18 months of age. It is believed that mercury (called thimerosal) that is used as a preservative in vaccinations is the problem. Today, many of the primary vaccinations are thimerosal-free, and physicians can order thimerosal-free vaccines. However, children and adults are still being given vacci-nations with thimerosal such as the swine flu and the annual influenza vaccines. Mercury also can be passed from mother to fetus because the mother is being exposed to mercury from her diet and from the mercury in her dental fillings. I believe that autism is caused by multiple toxins, which include mercury, as well as toxins from certain “healthy foods” like dairy and wheat. Other toxins affecting the body are candida yeast and environmental toxins such as heavy metals including aluminum (which is the preservative replacing thimerosal), antimony, cadmium, lead, arsenic and even uranium.
So autism is linked to immunizations?
If not, why has the vaccine industry removed thimerosal from vaccines? Things like that don’t easily happen. Pharmaceutical companies don’t want to admit that what they produce may be connected to autism. They have actually changed the preservative in the vaccines and have been replacing thimerosal. Another fact is that there are more and more vaccinations being added to the pediatric immunization schedule. If you look back, historically, in 1976 children received a total of 10 vaccinations. Today, children will receive more than 36 vaccinations. In the early 1980s, the incidence of autism was one out of 10,000 births. By 2005, the incidence jumped to one out of 250. Today, an estimated one out of 150 births are diagnosed with autism. I have heard that the incidence is even higher here in Hawaii.
Would you say vaccinations do more harm than good?
I am not against vaccinations.
They have a purpose. Usually, I change the schedule by delaying some of the shots if there is a history of autism in the family. If the child is older, you have given the child more time to build their natural immune system so that when they are exposed to the vaccination they can tolerate it better. The issue is, do they need multiple vaccinations at 4-8 weeks old and do they need to be vaccinated every eight weeks?
If the child does develop autism, what next? In my experience, many of these autistic children are treatable. I have autistic children in grade school, and their teachers have no clue that they were diagnosed as autistic. I have two autistic patients who are starting college this year! Autism is reversible with treatment.
Are they cured of autism or do they still have a mild case?
They speak, they write, they draw, they play music, they are like normal kids. These children have typical, normal social interactions - they make eye contact and can be very articulate. With many autistic children, if you take a sound nutritional and environmental approach, they make tremendous improvements. Typically, they don’t need sleeping pills, stimulants (like Ritalin), anti-psychotics, antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. The key is physicians have to know when a supplement is needed and when a medication is needed.
Do you have to start treatment early to get the best results?
I get better results the younger the child is. The neural pathways haven’t yet been permanently fixed or damaged, they are still young enough that if the toxins are removed, the brain will function and everything will catch up. For example, a lot of these children’s histories include head banging, biting themselves or hurting themselves in some way. They also may exhibit repetitive motions called “flapping” and gnawing at their fingers. We sometimes mis-interpret these behaviors and label these children as “mentally impaired.” These behaviors are actually the child’s form of communication because they’ve lost their speaking abilities. They are trying to say “I can’t feel my skin so I’m biting myself. I am hitting my head against the wall because I know something is not right.”
Treating candida yeast is another important aspect in the healing of autistic children. Candida produces more than 200 toxins that affect neural functioning; at least two of the toxins are morphine analogs. The child’s body is so numb from the morphine analog they resort to hurting themselves in order to feel their body. For some autistic children, eliminating gluten and dairy from the diet can be dramatic. Sometimes as early as eight weeks later, the parents will say their child is speaking again, sleeping better, has stopped hitting their head and flapping their arms and hands. When more toxins are removed the child can integrate cognitively - the child can begin to better socialize and play with the other kids. I then refer them for special assistance, which may include teacher’s aides, speech therapists, physical therapists and occupational therapists, and I will refer the parents to local autism support groups.
I’ll bet you’re not popular with other doctors.
We are not taught this in medical school. We are disease and illness-driven using pharmaceuticals. Medical doctors are trained to make diagnoses and to treat illnesses through the uses of medicines or surgeries. If we ask what is the cause of sickness, what is the cause of the disease, what is the cause of the illness or condition, we could possibly find more cures rather than treating symptoms. This approach has made me a better basic science doctor, meaning I went back to the basics of cell biology, physiology, metabolism, vitamins and nutrients. Many conditions are caused when something that is beneficial is being blocked or when something harmful is constantly bombarding the body.
Getting to the cause of autism or any disease can be a lengthy journey. The treatment of autism is not a sprint to the finish, it is more like running a marathon.
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