February 2, 2017

Dear Doctor:

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! Because of your guidance, our grandson has a chance at a fulfilling and joyful life. I watched the Larry King Show again tonight re: autism. I once again was painfully aware of what my grandson and all of us who love him could be facing if not for you. Of course, we know that our daughter is one brilliant and awesome Mom. She would make mountains move for her children, and basically has done that….

I would not have been surprised if our grandson had died prior to coming to you.   Each time I saw him, his health deteriorated dramatically. The door opened to us when we (my daughter and I) both heard Bobby Kennedy, Jr. and Joe Scarborough talk very briefly one evening.

My daughter called me sobbing right after that show! And the next day she got your phone number and began this incredible journey! Our family is not full of religious fanatics, but we do truly believe my grandson had divine intervention—people like yourself were placed in my grandson’s path. We’ve all been blessed because of it.

I was so afraid for my daughter and her husband to chelate my grandson under your supervision that I held a picture of him to my chest and cried myself to sleep that night. But, the results of all the interventions together are astounding!

You really are a pioneer in all this. It isn’t easy being a pioneer….Our grandson was here for a week and he was a pure delight. He is so loving, so bright, and so strong.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, from all our family.

P.S. Keep up the good work!

Posted in Autism
February 2, 2017

After my son Haddon was born, I never felt like we had come home with your average newborn baby. Haddon had a piercing scream, terrible problems digesting his formula, and bloody stools on multiple occasions. Fortunately, I had previously benefited from the experience of having a happy baby, my daughter Liza, as a comparative example. For the most part babies are typically happy and usually only cry when they are hungry, tired, or in need of a diaper change. It was immediately evident that there was so much more to baby Haddon’s screaming. The intensity and the frequency of his screams convinced me that something was definitely wrong. His constant abnormal behavior did not stop until I found out two years later what was wrong with my son. Baby Haddon’s cries implied to me that he was in extreme pain and that his development was progressing in an unhealthy fashion.

At the suggestion of our pediatrician, Haddon was placed on Alimentum, a formula for babies with colic and digestive issues. My husband and I called it “liquid gold” as it seemed to quell his signs of discomfort. We kept Haddon on this special formula until his first birthday. I wanted to believe the pediatrician’s reassurance that Haddon would grow out of this stage and be able to digest his foods in a normal fashion in due time. The situation still did not sit well with me, however, and I continued to worry, as most babies naturally do not need to have special formulas for proper digestion. I felt like we had put a “band-aid” on our son’s problems, but we were still concerned because we were unsure of why he had started out with these problems in the first place.

Eventually, we noticed that his screaming had subsided during his first year on the Alimentum as we started an addition on our 1925 home (this will be important later). When Haddon turned one, and milk replaced his formula and table food was being introduced, the screaming suddenly started to return in full force. Unfortunately, I did not make the connection between his meals due to the lack of bonding or interaction that occurred between us after he had eaten. His pediatrician again said he would grow out of this stage and perhaps he was upset because he was teething. At 18 months old, I began to panic about his unhappy demeanor because he was not showing any signs of typical development, particularly with his communication skills.

At 23 months, Haddon was not waving bye-bye as our daughter had and he was not enjoying everyday activities appropriate for his age. He clung on to me for dear life when we entered public places and screamed at anyone who tried to converse with him. He was a very cute toddler so people would naturally want to touch or hug him, which was a terrifying experience for all parties involved. That summer he ruined several birthday parties and had to be taken out of public places in a constraining type hold, so I naturally stopped taking him everywhere. I was exhausted and did not know what to do with my son. I called an out of town friend whose son was the same age and not talking. He suggested I have my pediatrician refer him to a developmental service agency. It took a lot of courage, but I knew I had to find out what was wrong with Haddon or we would all expire from his abnormal behavior and development.

I went to the youngest pediatrician in our clinic (the older ones are typically engrained with their old school mentality and not very keen on potential alternative avenues for any given diagnosis) and finally received a referral to the Children’s Developmental Service Agency. Within two weeks, the agency evaluated Haddon and diagnosed him with Pervasive Development Disorder, (PDD), a disorder found on the autistic spectrum. At two years old, Haddon had a 13 month old’s receptive language skills and a 17 month old’s expressive language skills. His cognitive skills were at 17 months and his self-help skills were at 14 months. Haddon was occasionally walking on his toes and had very poor eye contact. He was shy and intolerant of meeting new people. He had limited social reciprocity and joint attention. His only speech was rote utterances and he was unable to identify pictures of objects, body parts, or clothing. I finally knew what my son’s deficiencies were and was now eager to try to encourage his development and natural healthy growth the best way possible. My husband and I were devastated and worried about our son’s future.

Fortunately, I fell into the right therapists hands. Christine Duffy of “Fixin’ to Talk” referred me to the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the call to make an appointment with Dr. Allan Lieberman at the center would ultimately change my son’s condition and all of our lives consequently. I could tell from the lengthy and specific application that asked detailed questions from Haddon’s birth to the present that we were finally going to be able to get to the bottom of Haddon’s diagnosis and overall health problems. I knew I would not be told that Haddon was going through a stage and that he would definitely be assessed differently during our visit to the COEM. It was evident that Dr. Lieberman was not the kind of doctor who would say “take two aspirin and call me in the morning” and I was excited about finding out alternative ways to help our son.

My husband, Haddon, and I spent the entire day at the COEM during our initial appointment. Dr. Lieberman carefully reviewed and assessed Haddon’s history. He analogized that Haddon’s digestive and immune systems (which old school theory suggests are not symbiotic) was like an elevator whose capacity had been maxed out. He wanted to remove all toxins from his body to eliminate any further detrimental exposure to Haddon. He reasoned that he had trouble with the pesticides and aerosols that we had sprayed in our house.   He further hypothesized that the renovation to our 1925 home likely facilitated his problems, primarily with the introduction of contaminants to the atmosphere like the lead paint in our walls. Dr. Lieberman told us that his detoxification process would depend solely on our efforts to remove chemicals and toxins as much as possible from Haddon’s sensitive system.

Dr. Lieberman put Haddon on a gluten/casein free diet after the center performed very thorough food allergy tests. [These are two commonly ingested proteins that are known to break down into peptides that have opioids (from the root word opium) activity.   Casein is a protein in cow’s milk, and gluten is a protein from wheat, rye, oats, barley, spelt, and kamut]. Dr. Lieberman believed that these two proteins were stunting Haddon’s mental growth development by acting as opioid receptors in his brain that would prevent synapses from taking place in a normal fashion. The COEM’s caring staff also took hair and urine samples to further check for potentially toxic elements and perhaps the absence of basic essential elements. The analysis was sent off to a lab and results were later sent to us. We left the center with renewed hope and a new plan for Haddon that included environmental control, various vitamins and minerals for nutritional support and a new diet. I was so excited with this alternative and previously undiscovered approach to help my son, but did not really believe that environmental factors could be the primary contributing elements of Haddon’s recent diagnosis. Nonetheless, I began removing all chemicals from the home including dishwashing detergent, sprays, aerosols, and anything else that contained environmental toxins. I began to use only non-toxic products. I even went so far as to stop spraying starch while ironing and put only chemical free sunscreen on everyone in the family.

My efforts for removing toxins from Haddon’s system seemed to have immediate results. Haddon responded very well to the gluten-free/casein-free diet. We saw immediate improvements with his eye contact and his ability to communicate improved daily. Haddon’s father gave him the nutritional supplements (19 in total) prescribed by Dr. Lieberman every night and he continued his speech and social therapy in which he had already been enlisted.

We received the results from the hair and urine analysis and Dr. Lieberman was correct. Haddon had elevated lead levels likely from the lead paint particles that became airborne during the renovation of our house. Dr. Lieberman then suggested a process known as chelation to remove the toxins. He prescribed him a cream to rub on the skin over the liver area. We were reluctant at first, but decided to trust Dr. Lieberman’s recommendation because we felt so safe and secure with his direction and advice throughout our past experiences with the COEM. Haddon had made such great progress with their recommendations that we gave chelation a try. We are so glad we chelated Haddon!

Nine months after Haddon’s first evaluation. He was re-evaluated. Haddon jumped from 13-month receptive language skills to the level of a 2 year and 7 month old child (An 18 month gain in 9 months!). His expressive language skills jumped from 17 months to 22 months. His eye contact had vastly improved along with his ability to engage and play with other children. Altogether, he was making outstanding progress. We continued the environmental control, diet, and nutritional support. We took a 3-month break from chelation and continued later that fall.

Haddon made as many gains in his second year of school as he had in his first year. He is now talking appropriately for his age with only articulation being a concern at this point. Haddon has mastered eye contact, initiating interactions with peers, taking turns independently, and completing most age appropriate tasks, to include being completely potty trained. To our amazement, Haddon is now answering yes/no questions and “who” questions. As I write this testimonial, I hear Haddon and his sister playing with the doll house in an imaginative fashion. He enjoys friends and can be taken anywhere without concern. Haddon has made a complete transformation. We cry tears of joy when we recall his second birthday and the first evaluation. When you now observe our son’s behavior, it is hard to imagine that we ever had this very trying and stressful experience. We do not know if we can say for certain exactly what changed his health and development. Was it the diet, nutritional supplementation, chelation, removal of chemicals or the four hours of therapy a week? The answer is most likely all of the above, but I believe that our early intervention was by far the most powerful factor. We started this total implementation at age 2 and by age 3 and a 1/2 his issues were nearly undetectable. I am extremely thankful and recognize that the COEM combined with our fortitude and perseverance turned our son’s life completely around.

If you are reading this and concerned that your child won’t ever talk, won’t have relationships, and could be deprived of a happy childhood, you are not alone. I had all these fears after Haddon’s evaluation two years ago, but with faith, determination, the COEM, and most importantly early intervention, you can make the difference. Now I regularly hear “I love you” from my son, as well as age specific dialogue I never thought possible. With our dedication and commitment, and a lot of help from Christine Duffy and Dr. Lieberman, we were able to help Haddon in the best way possible that ultimately turned him into a typical child before his critical early development years had been compromised by these deficiencies.

Posted in Autism
February 2, 2017

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disability in children that creates a significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. Individuals with this condition have restricted, repetitive pattern of behavior, activities and interests. The term Autism Spectrum Disorder means that there is a wide range of variation that it affects people. The word spectrum refers to the variation of symptoms, skills, levels of impairment and disabilities that children with ASD can have. The considerable overlap among the different forms of autism has led to the concept of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

ASD affects about 1 in 68 children. Boys are affected with ASD 5 times more than girls. It belongs to an ‘umbrella’ category of 5 childhood-onset conditions called Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD). However, when we use the term ASD, we are basically referring to three most common types.

  • Autistic Disorder – Children who generate more rigid criteria for a diagnosis of autism have autistic disorder. These children portray more severe impairments including social and language functioning, as well as, repetitive behaviors. In this condition, children may also have mental retardation and seizures.
  • Aspergers’ Syndrome – The mildest form of ASD is Asperger’s Syndrome and affects boys three times more than girls. Children with Asperger’s Syndrome are obsessively interested in one topic or object. Although, their social skills are markedly impaired and are often awkward and uncoordinated. It is also known as high functioning autism, as children with this condition frequently have normal to above average intelligence. As these children enter adulthood, they are at a high risk of anxiety and/or depression.
  • Pervasive Development Disorder – not otherwise specifies (PDD-NOS) – Children whose autism is more severe than Asperger’s syndrome, but milder than Autistic disorder, are diagnosed with PDD-NOS.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Rett Syndrome are the other PDD, but as both being the extremely rare genetic diseases, they are usually considered to be separate medical conditions and truly do not belong to ASD.


Although, there is no dingle known cause for ASD, but, based on the complexity of disorders and the variety of symptoms and severity, both genetic and environmental factors may play a key role.

  • Genetic Factors

A variety of genes appear to be involved in autism spectrum disorder. In identical twins that share same genetic code, if once have ASD, the chances of the other child to get this condition in 9 out of 10 cases are very high. It appears that there is no single gene involved in the causing of autism; instead there is an involvement of multiple genes, each being the risk factor of the different part of ASD.

  • Environmental Factors

The term “environment” in medical, means anything outside of the body that can affect health, which includes air, water, food, medicines and many other things that our body may come in contact with. Environment also refers to our surroundings in the womb, where our mother’s health directly affects our development. This also include premature birth and exposure to alcohol or certain medications during pregnancy such as sodium valproate

  • Neurological Factors

Problems related to the development of brain and nervous system contributes to the symptoms of ASD. Studies suggest that the connection between parts of the brain called the cerebral cortex, the amygdale and the limbic system may have become damaged or scrambled in children with ASD.

The causes of ASD can be describer in two ways, namely:

  • Primary ASD also known as idiopathic ASD – where no underlying Factors are identified to explain the cause of ASD.
  • Secondary ASD – where underlying medical conditions or environmental factors are responsible to increase the risk of ASD.

About 90% of ASD cases are primary and about 10% are secondary.

Gut Micro biome and ASD

In Autism Spectrum Disorder, there are hints that the gut micro biome may play a role. The human gut shelters a complex community of microbes that deeply influences a variety of aspects related to growth and development, including that of the nervous system. A large sub group of individuals with ASD show abnormalities in mitochondrial functions and in gastrointestinal symptoms. Studies show that, fecal DNA extracts have Clostridium or Desulfovibrio clusters over represented in children with ASD who have gastrointestinal (GI) complaints, than in children with GI but typical neuro-behavioral development. A study shows that if the gastrointestinal problem is blocked, the behavioral symptoms can be treated. Studies of humans have shown tantalizing observations on potential differences in the composition of gut micro biota associated with the behavioral disorder like ASD.


Many children with ASD may reflect developmental differences when they are babies – especially their social and language skills. As they sit and crawl on time less obvious differences like development of gestures, pretend play and social language are left unnoticed.

Symptoms of Social Differences

  • Difficulty in maintaining eye contact or very little eye contact
  • Doesn’t look at objects, parent is pointing to.
  • Portray empathy issues
  • No response to parent’s smile or expressions
  • Often have inappropriate expressions
  • Unable to make friends
  • Not pointing at objects to show interest (for example. Not pointing at the flying airplane)

Communication Differences

  • Fail or slow in responding to their name or other verbal attempt to gain their attention
  • Babble in the first year of life, and later stop to do so
  • Repeats exactly what others say without understanding the meaning
  • Fail or slow in developing gestures
  • Speak only in single word, unable to make sentences o combine words into meaningful sentences.

Repetitive or Stereotyped Behaviors

  • Rocks, spins, sways, twirls fingers, walks on toes for a long time or flaps hands
  • Habituated to certain routines, unable to manage with change
  • Doesn’t seem to feel pain
  • May be over sensitive or not sensitive at all to sounds, smells, lights, textures and touch.
  • Unusual use of vision or gaze

Difference between children with ASD and typical developing children

A child with typical developmentAn child with ASD
At 12 months


Will turn his head when the name is called outMight not respond, even if called several times, might respond to other sound
At 18 monthsWill point, gesture, or use facial expressions to communicateMight not even attempt to compensate for delayed development of speech.
At 24 monthsBrings objects to show his mother and expresses joyMight bring an object like a bottle to open to his mother, but won’t look at her face, when she does so or share the pleasure of playing together.

Problems faced by ASD children

Research has shown that children with ASD face following issues:

  • Sleep Problems- Children with ASD tend to suffer from sleep problems like falling asleep or staying asleep extensively.
  • Intellectual Disability- In this condition, children have some degree of intellectual disability. This may include cognitive or language disability.
  • Seizures- 1 out of 4 children with ASD has seizures – the changes in behavior that occur after an episode of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Sometimes high fever can trigger seizure.
  • Sensory Problems- Children with ASD either overreact or under react to certain sights, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes.
  • Fragile X- Syndrome- It is a genetic disorder and is the most common of inherited disability with symptoms similar to ASD.
  • Tuberous Sclerosis- This condition occurs in 1 out 4 ASD patients in which numerous non-cancerous tumors grow in the brain and other vital organs.
  • Gastro Intestinal Problems – The children in ASD suffer from severe GI issues.


  • Early Interventions – This includes an intensive behavioral therapy during the early years, significantly improves cognitive and language skills in children with ASD. This therapy focuses on: language and communication, social skills, cognitive skills etc
  • Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)- One of the widely used treatment for ASD is ABA which includes- Verbal Behavior and Pivotal Response Training
  • Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship based (DIR): This type of therapy is carried out in natural settings such as home and pre-school. It aims at improvements in communication skills, thinking and social skills.
  • Interpersonal Synchrony- It focuses on social development and imitation skills and teaches children how to establish and maintain engagement with others.
  • Medications- Medications help improve the symptoms. The medications include –
  • Antipsychotic Medicines – Commonly used to treat serious mental illness
  • Anti-Depressant Medicines – Like Prozac or Zoloft are prescribed.
  • Stimulant Medicines – like Ritalin, but in most ASD cases children do not respond to it.

All medications carry a risk of side effects when consumed.

Alternative Treatments for ASD

  • Creative Therapies – Some parents of ASD children choose to go for art therapy which includes art or music therapy, which aims at reducing child’s sensitivity towards touch or sound.
  • Yoga Therapies – Yoga is a mind-body approach which helps to control anxiety in ASD patients.
  • Chelation Therapy- This type of treatment is used to remove mercury and other heavy metals from the body.
  • Acupuncture- This therapy is used as a tool to improve ASD symptoms.

Natural Treatment

  • Melatonin – Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle in ASD children, as they suffer from sleeping problems.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Fatty acids are very important in the development and function of the brain. Several studies have proven that omega3 fatty acids reduce the symptoms of ASD.
  • Nutritional Supplements- Studies show that children with ASD tend to be deficient in various nutrients. Multi vitamin supplements are highly suggested.
  • Gluten-free, Casein-free and Soy-free diet
  • Probiotic Intake – It helps in improving the gastrointestinal issues that ASD children suffer from.

How we treat ASD-

At our center, we perform a comprehensive diagnostic workup, which helps us to study the entire history of the child. This includes the following:

  • Allergy Testing- to determine food triggers and inhalant allergy.
  • Structured food elimination diet- to yield vital information about gastrointestinal functioned food tolerance
  • Urine Tests- to determine abnormal peptides from wheat or dairy products to see if gluten-free or casein-free diet should be implemented for the child.
  • Hair Analysis- to examine toxic metal and essential minerals for its toxicity or deficiency and suggests us the safest forms of detoxification or supplementation.
  • Hidden sources of toxic pollutants are examined
  • Neuropeptide Levels, the biomarkers of brain chemistry and function are tested to uncover certain imbalances that can be treated with individualized amino acid programs.
  • Organic Acid Analysis –to determine the metabolites of yeast and some bacteria species.

With the above way of treatment, we have successfully unlocked the mysteries behind altered brain function and resulted in providing comprehensive treatment that helps us to reach out to these children and help them to reach out to the world…

Posted in Autism
February 2, 2017

Prior to the 1980’s, autism was rare, perhaps only 3 cases per 10,000 births. Today the number of children with this terrible disease is 1 in 150! What is causing the rate to sky rocket?

First, what is autism?

Autism is part of a spectrum of disorders that includes ADD, ADHD, and Aspergers syndrome… It describes a child who suffers from a medical disorder that severely impairs their interactions both verbally and socially. The diagnostic criteria are very specific but common to all autistic children: lack of awareness of others’ feelings; lack of peer interaction; impairment of communication; and the absence of, or abnormal seeking of, comfort at times of distress.

There may be absent facial expression, strange speech patterns or sounds, fixed preoccupations with things, repetitive body movements, and great distress if anything in their routine or environment is changed.

What is the cause of the spectrum of autism and autism-like disorders?

There is a great debate about causes of autism. The medical community at large thinks it is a genetic problem but is unsure. The doctors who use a DAN (Defeat Autism Now) approach feel that it is multi-factorial and know that great improvements can be made in many children. We physicians at The Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine share this view and are DAN providers.

Dr, Richard C. Deth at Northeastern University has discovered a genetic variation at the D4 dopamine receptor on the surface of brain nerve cells.

This variation–“a seven repeat”–causes the developing brain to be vulnerable to infections, toxins, allergens and other insults. When damage occurs, the synchrony of brain function may be affected. Those of us who practice Environmental Medicine believe genetics may load the gun, but it is the environment that pulls the trigger.

This problem with the D4 receptor is related to the general defect in a biochemical process called methylation. This methylation process is a key factor in cell repair and is critical to keeping a child’s brain protected and able to detoxify. If a developing brain can’t detoxify, it becomes damaged. About 20 percent of the population has this defect, but they won’t exhibit problems if their toxic load is low.

In autism, there is also a problem with energy supply to the brain cells, which is related to metabolic defects with methionine and creatine phosphate. There are about six other genetic factors involved in autism, as well.

The environmental insults that can result in these genetic vulnerabilities being triggered are suspected to be:

  1. Heavy Metal Toxicity: many physicians find significant levels of mercury and lead, possibly from mercury (thimersol) in vaccines, especially the measles virus
  2. Immune deficiency/ infection
  3. Candida overgrowth
  4. Intestinal bacterial dysbiosis
  5. Food allergy
  6. Neurotransmitter imbalances
  7. Nutrient deficiency

What are possible solutions?

The Defeat Autism Now organization has at least 1000 documented cases of full recovery from autism spectrum disorders. While full recovery is difficult to obtain, doctors regularly see significant changes in personality, vocabulary, peer interaction, moods and behaviors.

The use of a comprehensive biochemical “DAN” approach allows physicians to identify any potential triggers that have played upon the genetic vulnerability of these children. It also provides avenues for treatment and allows the maximum opportunity for change in this distressing condition. Due to the large number of possible triggers, it is important to perform a comprehensive medical evaluation that includes a full battery of laboratory tests that can more objectively pinpoint each child’s individual problems.

If you are interested in this approach, the physicians at The Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine have nearly forty years of experience with autism.

In our work with autistic children at The Center, we have seen improvements in behavior, eye contact, concentration, co-ordination, and communication, and reductions in night terrors and other intense fears and aversions, abnormal feeding patterns, and abnormal sensory or tactile responses.

Sometimes, even many times, these improvements are so dramatic over a period of several months’ persistent and consistent implementation of our comprehensive programs, that the child is no longer considered as falling anywhere at all within the range of autistic spectrum disorders. At The Center, we also never underestimate the role of parents in implementing our programs—we honor and appreciate their efforts at every step.


Edelson, Stephen B., MD. Conquering Autism: Reclaiming Your Child Through Natural Therapies. Twin Streams, Kensington Publishing Corp, 2003.

Kennedy, Robert F., Jr. Deadly Immunity. (Investigating the government cover-up of a mercury autism scandal), Rolling Stone Magazine, June 17, 2003.

Pangborn, Jon, Ph.D. and Sidney Baker, MD. Autism: Effective Biomedical Treatments. San Diego, CA: Autism Research Institute, 2005.

Shaw, William, Ph.D. Biological Treatments for Autism and PDD (2nd ed.). Lenexa, KS: The Great Plains Laboratory, 1998.

Treatment options for mercury and metal toxicity in autism and related developmental disabilities: Consensus Position Paper. San Diego, CA: Autism Research Institute, February 2005.

Posted in Autism