Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
November 8, 2021

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a widespread neurodevelopmental disorder in children. It is usually detected in childhood and mostly continues into adulthood. Children with ADHD may find it challenging to pay attention, control their impulsive behavior, or be extremely active.

February 3, 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!

February 3, 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.

February 3, 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…

February 3, 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.

February 3, 2017

By Allan D. Lieberman, M.D.

These are some of the many case histories of successful treatment of behavior disorders in children and adults. All of our patients are treated with an individualized, comprehensive program.

Case 1: This patient came to us when she was 4 years old. Her behavior could be described as “the Attention Fatigue Syndrome”, meaning she would appear very hyperactive and not able to focus one minute, and the next she would be whiney or crying with fatigue.

She also had allergic rhinitis, with runny nose and dark circles under her eyes and other classic allergy symptoms.

As we read through her medical history, we saw that she had often had ear infections and had been on many antibiotics. It was also documented that she had developed thrush and even vaginitis (infection of the female reproductive tract) as an infant and toddler, most probably as a side effect of all the antibiotics given for her ear infections. Based on so many symptoms of yeast overgrowth, we emphasized eradicating the yeast overgrowth as part of her initial treatment. Since her history of yeast-related problems was so clear, we used a systemic anti-fungal drug.

At the first follow-up visit, the mother said her child’s behavior had been better from the very first day of treatment. Overall, her symptoms were 50 percent better. About 4 months later as we continued to monitor her progress, we again prescribed a different anti-fungal medication and again her behavior improved significantly.

I had just heard Dr. William Shaw’s lecture about his research into the correlation between yeast overgrowth and neurological and behavior disorders. So eventually we tested this child with the Organic Acids Test as recommended by Dr. Shaw and found high levels of four metabolites from yeast overgrowth and also high levels of a bacterial metabolite from bacterial overgrowth.

On the basis of this test, I prescribed an anti-fungal medication again and the child’s behavior improved so markedly that the mother commented she had had only one tantrum in several weeks, whereas she used to have several tantrums daily.

However, we did not wish to continue to treat this child (or any patient) with medications to control yeast overgrowth, so we knew we had to look further into her case.

We suspected she had developed a hypersensitivity to the yeast metabolites we had found on her laboratory testing and that allergy testing could be an important key to her further improvement. During allergy testing in our Center’s testing room, she developed symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, restlessness, itching, and stomach pains when we tested her with allergy extracts of yeasts. Her symptoms all improved when we reached a neutralizing dose. Seeing these symptoms provoked and then “turned off” was amazing to the parents, but we see this sort of thing in our allergy testing process quite often. This little girl continued doing well with a maintenance treatment program of allergy desensitization extracts, a probiotic supplement (a supplement to replenish the normal good gut bacteria that are often killed by antibiotics), and, equally important, dietary measures. Her behavior continued to further improve over time with this comprehensive program.

[NOTE: Yeast eradication can play a powerful and important role in alleviating behavior problems, but need not be continued for an extended period of time when all the other parts of our Center’s comprehensive programs are followed.]

Case 2: This 12-year-old boy came to us with a long history of truly severe behavioral problems. His medical and school history showed he had been diagnosed with hyperactivity and aggressive tendencies by age 3 and difficulties with learning and focusing by age 6.

He was placed on Ritalin in first grade, but developed migraine headaches. He repeated first grade, was placed on Tofranil and became very fatigued. A pediatric neurologist was consulted and different medications tried, all of which provoked side effects of various kinds. Medications were discontinued but his behavior was so bad he was on the verge of being thrown out of school.

He was referred to a child psychiatrist at age 9. His formal diagnoses by age 11 were Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Dysthymia (a form of depression). High-dose Prozac (60 mg.) was prescribed. On this drug, he was somewhat better, but developed screaming tantrums in school, especially in spring and fall. By age 11, he was prescribed Zoloft, whereupon he developed more OCD behaviors. He was placed in a class for learning disabled children, with additional behavior modification instituted after school.

When this child came to our office for initial evaluation, he was still on Ritalin and Zoloft but was unable to sit still or stay in one room. He persisted in wandering all over the building while his mother tried to give his history to one of our physicians. She related that he had had many antibiotics as an infant due to recurrent ear infections. His favorite foods were milk, sugars, and chocolate. There was a family history of Bipolar disease. Our physical examination of this boy showed allergic rhinitis (runny nose), athlete’s foot and jock itch (fungus diseases of the skin), mouth ulcers, and nail biting.

We placed him in our Center’s allergy testing room (we have a separate room where restless children can go) and tested him for foods, pollens, and inhalants. These tests showed moderate reactivity so he was started on allergy desensitization. Due to the obvious symptoms of yeast overgrowth (athlete’s foot and jock itch), we also started him on medications to eliminate yeast and fungus. We strongly recommended that his diet be changed to eliminate sugars and milk products, since these foods feed yeast and were the things he craved the most and ate the most (probable signs of allergic addiction).

When we received the results of our laboratory testing a few weeks later, they showed he had elevated levels of mercury and low levels of the essential minerals magnesium and selenium, again specific imbalances that we were able to address.

At the first follow-up 6 weeks later, his mother reported her son’s behavior was 30 percent better. Because of such marked improvement, she had been able to taper him totally off Zoloft and down to one-half of his previous dose of Ritalin. Her son had brought home the best report card ever. He was obviously calmer and showed increased focus. Athlete’s foot and jock itch had been eliminated. His symptoms of runny nose, constipation, and headaches had also decreased.

At the 3-month mark after beginning treatment at our Center, his mother reported that her son was 60 percent better in both his behavior and his physical symptoms. She had tapered him totally off Ritalin.

He had brought home straight E’s (for Excellent) on his report card and had recently attended a summer camp! This young man was so dramatically changed in demeanor and behavior that it was hard to believe he was the same person. Since he was still craving sugars and having mild headaches, we recommended further allergy testing to uncover hidden food allergies. Other nutrients were added to his plan.

For this young man, a comprehensive evaluation and treatment program provided an almost incredible turn-around from a tragically dismal history to a promising future. It’s hard to describe how deeply satisfying it is for the parents, the child, and the physician alike to see what wonderful results are possible when an effective comprehensive program is developed and then carefully followed.

There have been many, many such success stories at The Center. We only wish more parents could learn that there are natural, effective treatments for overcoming ADHD and other behavioral and developmental problems in their children.

February 3, 2017

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Submitted by Timothy J. Callaghan, M.D. for COEM’s Website

Three to seven percent of children (and one to six percent of adults) have been diagnosed with ADHD, and the use of pharmaceutical drugs to treat this condition is estimated to double every six years. Why?

In schools across America, teachers and nurses find themselves having to supervise administration of their students’ ADHD psycho-stimulant medication. In order to deal with ADHD symptoms, more and more children are being placed on drugs like Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta.

Let’s first define ADHD.

ADHD is a persistent lack of attention with the inability to control impulsiveness. This manifests as restlessness, difficulty sitting still, problems completing tasks, and may be accompanied by learning issues, decreased memory, mood swings, and even temper tantrums. As a consequence, the child’s self-esteem may be devastated and the parent exhausted.

Since there is no clear objective test to diagnose this condition, it is critical to get a second opinion and, hopefully, one opinion should be from a developmental specialist. There is a fear that many “boys who are just being boys” will be labeled in error.

What is happening in these children’s brains?

Current research indicates that there may be a “perfect storm” combining genetic predisposition (vulnerability) and environmental triggers. We in Environmental Medicine feel that “genetics loads the gun but the environment pulls the trigger.”

Professor Richard Deth of Northern University has discovered that ADHD (and autistic) individuals have problems at the D4 (dopamine) receptors of the brain. These receptors, critical to normal brain transmission and signaling, are genetically different in ADHD children and may explain their susceptibility.

Note that the susceptibility doesn’t mean inevitability!

Researchers Harding, Jodahand Gant list in their 2003 study eight categories of triggers. The researchers can be commended for identifying and initiating research into these eight areas of possible “triggers.” This concept of triggering mechanisms is the big key and has been utilized by Environmental Medicine physicians to successfully treat this condition for nearly thirty years!

What are the treatment options for ADHD?

The traditional approach to ADHD treatment is psycho-stimulant medication. It can be very effective and has helped many. However, there are often dangerous side effects and concerns over long-term use. One study showed chromosomal breaks with Ritalin. Another study found possible growth suppression. Some children exhibit insomnia, headaches, dizziness, and loss of appetite, neurological ticks, abdominal pain, social withdrawal, fatigue, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), “Zombie”-like behavior, and the possibility of increased risk for drug addiction. Side effects often necessitate anti-depressants and mood stabilizers being used to control emotional problems that are consequences of the medicine.

Is there a non-drug option to treat ADHD?

At the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, we look at the entire biochemistry pattern of the patient and utilize non-toxic treatments. After a very comprehensive initial evaluation, a battery of tests is performed to look for triggers. Testing includes tests to evaluate levels of toxic metals; hidden yeast or bacterial infections; allergies (including food allergies); deficiencies of important minerals, especially iron, as well as essential fatty acids and amino acids; and blood levels of glucose and insulin to rule out poor blood sugar control as a cause of mood swings.

Based on this wealth of information obtained from a comprehensive diagnostic work-up, we are often able to identify causes behind the behavior of ADHD. With proper diagnosis, treatment becomes much easier, and more importantly, more effective.

Adults also suffer from ADHD and these same principles apply. When the causes are identified, there are a multitude of natural and effective treatment options available.


Crook, WG. The Yeast Connection and the Woman. Jackson, Tennessee: Professional Books, Inc., 1995.

Harding KL, Judah RD, Gant G. Outcome based comparison of Ritalin versus food supplement treated children. Altern Med Rev 2003; 8(3) 319-30.

Pangborn, JB and Baker SJ. Autism: Effective Biomedical Treatments. San Diego, California: Autism Research Institute, 2005.

February 3, 2017

Kawasaki disease is the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children. It affects about 7,000 children in the United States every year. Although most with Kawasaki disease are younger than 5 years, it can occur in children of all ages and even in young adults.

Kawasaki disease is a rare syndrome of unknown origin that causes high fever, reddening of the eyes (conjunctivitis), lips and mucous membrane of the mouth, gingivitis (ulcerative gum disease), swollen neck glands and a bright red rash over the skin of the hands and feet, in young children.

Kawasaki disease causes inflammation in the walls of arteries throughout the body, including the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle. As it affects the lymph nodes, skin, and mucous membranes inside the nose, mouth and throat it is also called mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome.

Kawasaki disease is more common in boys than girls. It was first diagnosed by Tomiraku Kawasaki, a Japanese doctor in 1967, hence the name. Kawasaki disease has nothing to do with motorbikes or motorbike accidents.


Although Kawasaki disease can occur in community outbreaks, particularly in the winter and early spring, no one knows the cause. The peak age of occurrence in the United States is between six months and five years.

Infection – The symptoms of Kawasaki disease are similar to those of an infection. This means that bacteria or a virus may be responsible. However, so far, a bacterial or viral cause hasn’t been identified. As Kawasaki disease isn’t contagious, it can’t be passed from one person to another. Therefore, it is unlikely to be caused by a virus alone.

Genetics – The children who develop Kawasaki disease may be genetically predisposed to it. This means that the genes they inherit from their parents may make them more likely to get the condition. One theory is that rather than there being a single gene responsible for Kawasaki disease, it may be the result of many genes that each slightly increase the chances of a child developing the condition.

Others – One theory is that Kawasaki disease may be an autoimmune condition (where the immune system attacks healthy tissues and organs). Other theories suggest Kawasaki disease may be a reaction to certain medications, or environmental pollutants such as chemicals or toxins (poisons).


Risk Factors

Three things are known to increase your child’s risk of developing Kawasaki disease, including: –

  • Age – Children under 5 years old are most at risk of Kawasaki disease.
  • Sex – Boys are slightly more likely than girls are to develop Kawasaki disease.
  • Ethnicity – Children of Asian descent, such as Japanese or Korean, have higher rates of Kawasaki disease.


Major Signs and Symptoms

One of the main symptoms during the early part of Kawasaki disease, called the acute phase, is fever. The fever lasts longer than 5 days. It remains high even after treatment with standard childhood fever medicines.

Other classic signs of the disease are –

  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • A rash on the mid-section of the body and in the genital area
  • Red, dry, cracked lips and a red, swollen tongue
  • Red, swollen palms of the hands and soles of the feet
  • Redness of the eyes

Other symptoms that may develop include –

  • arthritis-like symptoms (joint pain and swelling of the joints)
  • extreme irritability
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • enlarged liver or gallbladder
  • cough and respiratory symptoms

Kawasaki and Autism – Studies reported that there is a statistically significant association between Kawasaki disease and the diagnosis of an autistic disorder. Population-based claims database, tested the hypothesis that Kawasaki disease may increase the risk of autism.


Even though complications are very rare, when they do occur they can be serious, and on some occasions fatal.

Aneurysm – the blood vessels leading to the heart can become inflamed, causing a section of the artery wall to weaken and bulge outwards. If the aneurysm does not heal itself a blood clot can form, which raises the risk of a heart attack or internal bleeding if the aneurysm bursts.

The following complications from Kawasaki disease are also possible:

  • Myocarditis – inflammation of the myocardium (heart muscle).
  • Pericarditis – inflammation of the pericardium (lining around the heart).
  • Arrhythmia – irregular heart beat.
  • Cardiomegaly – the heart becomes larger than normal as a result of heart disease.
  • Mitral regurgitation – blood flows back from the left ventricle to the left atrium of the heart due to a valve problem (blood flows back when it shouldn’t).


Medications – Two main medicines for Kawasaki disease treatment:

  • Aspirin – children under 16 should not be given aspirin. However, it is prescribed if a child has Kawasaki disease. Children with Kawasaki disease have a very high blood platelet count, making them very susceptible to blood clots forming in their bloodstream. Aspirin helps prevent blood clots, as well as reducing the fever, rash and joint inflammation.
  • Gammaglobulin – these are cells in the blood which help fight infection (antibodies). Gammaglobulin is administered intravenously (through a vein in the child’s arm). Symptoms tend to improve rapidly; within 24 hours of administering gammaglobulin.

Coronary artery angioplasty – this procedure opens up an artery that has narrowed by inflating a small balloon inside the artery which squashes a clot against the wall of the blood vessel.

Stent – a stent may be placed in the clogged artery to help prop it open, reducing the risk of it becoming blocked again. A stent placement is often done along with an angioplasty.

Coronary artery bypass graft – blood flow is rerouted round a diseased coronary artery by grafting a section of blood vessel from the chest, arm or leg to use as the alternate route. The bypass effectively goes around the blocked area of the artery, allowing blood to pass through into the heart muscle.

Alternative Treatment

Copper Supplements – Copper is essential to all living organisms and is a universally important cofactor for many hundreds of metalloenzynes. Copper deficiency is widespread and appears in many forms . It leads to Kawasaki disease.

Reference –

February 3, 2017

Hunter Syndrome (or Mucopolysaccharidosis/MPS II) is a rare condition affecting between 1 in 100,000 to 1 in 150,000 male births, although it is estimated that the grouping of MPS conditions collectively affect 1 in 25,000 births in the United States (MPS conditions include MPS I, II, III, IV, VI, VII and ML II and III).

Hunter’s Syndrome is one of a family of disorders called enzyme deficiencies. Enzymes are special types of proteins required to break down food molecules into fuel during metabolism, the process by which the body gets energy for normal growth and development. Enzyme deficiencies, or the absence of these enzymes, are inherited defects that result in a number of life-changing or life-threatening conditions.

Hunter syndrome is often severe and always progressive. It affects the brain and spinal cord, resulting in debilitating signs and symptoms that include developmental delay, and progressive mental decline. It also affects the body resulting in loss of physical function, impaired language development (due to hearing loss and an enlarged tongue), corneal and retinal damage, carpal tunnel syndrome and restricted joint movement.

Unrelated children with Hunter Syndrome often look alike and have a distinctive coarseness in their facial features, including a prominent forehead, a nose with a flattened bridge, and enlarged lips and tongue. They may also have a large head, short neck, broad chest, thick hands, and an enlarged abdomen.

There is no cure for MPS diseases, but there are ways of managing and treating the problems they cause, including enzyme replacement therapies.


The cause of Hunter syndrome is a mutation in a gene which controls the production of (codes for) the enzyme iduronate sulfatase. This gene, known as IDS, is located on the long arm of the X chromosome (Xq27-28).

The enzyme iduronate sulfatase contributes to breaking down mucopolysaccharides (also known as glycosaminoglycans). These saccharides, with their long chains of carbohydrate units, are components of various tissues. Breakdown of the mucopolysaccharides normally takes place in the cell lysosomes, small units found in all cells except red blood cells. Lysosomes contain enzymes, proteins that contribute to chemical reactions without themselves undergoing any permanent change, and their function is to digest and break down various substances.

Mucopolysaccharides are long chains of sugar molecule used in the building of connective tissues in the body.

  • “saccharide” is a general term for a sugar molecule (think of saccharin)
  • “poly” means many
  • “muco” refers to the thick jelly-like consistency of the molecules

Hunter syndrome is characterized by iduronate sulfatase deficiency, which results in the build-up of undigested mucopolysaccharides in the cells. These aggregations damage various tissues and organs in the body.

Heridity – The inheritance pattern of Hunter syndrome is X-linked recessive. An X-linked recessive inheritance pattern is caused by a mutated gene located on the X chromosome, which is one of the chromosomes determining sex. Men have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome, while women have two X chromosomes. Inherited X-linked recessive disorders usually occur only in men, being passed down via a healthy female carrier who has one normal and one mutated gene. Sons of female carriers of a mutated gene run a 50% risk of inheriting the disease and daughters run the same risk of being healthy carriers of a mutated gene. A man with an inherited X-linked recessive disease cannot pass it on to his sons, but all his daughters will be carriers of the mutated gene.

Risk Factors

There are two major risk factors for developing Hunter syndrome:

  • Family history – Hunter syndrome is caused by a defective chromosome, and a child must inherit the defective chromosome to develop the disease. Hunter syndrome is what’s known as an X-linked recessive disease. This means that women carry the defective disease-causing X chromosome and can pass it on, but women aren’t affected by the disease themselves.
  • Sex – Hunter syndrome nearly always occurs in males. Girls are far less at risk of developing this disease because they inherit two X chromosomes. If one of the X chromosomes is defective, their normal X chromosome can provide a functioning gene. If the X chromosome of a male is defective, however, there isn’t another normal X chromosome to compensate for the problem.


Hunter syndrome is one type of a group of inherited metabolic disorders called mucopolysaccharidoses (MPSs), and Hunter syndrome is referred to as MPS II.

Hunter syndrome symptoms vary and range from mild to severe. Symptoms aren’t present at birth, but often begin around ages 2 to 4.

Common childhood occurrences but early symptoms of Hunter syndrome –

  • Inguinal hernia
  • Ear infections
  • Runny nose
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart murmur

Signs and symptoms may include –

  • An enlarged head (macrocephaly)
  • Thickening of the lips
  • A broad nose and flared nostrils
  • A protruding tongue
  • A deep, hoarse voice
  • Abnormal bone size or shape and other skeletal irregularities
  • A distended abdomen, as a result of enlarged internal organs
  • Diarrhea
  • White skin growths that resemble pebbles
  • Joint stiffness
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Stunted growth
  • Delayed development, such as late walking or talking

It is difficult to be precise about life expectancy because of variation in severity and age of onset. Some individuals whose brain is affected have lived into adulthood but this is usually accompanied by a decline in their quality of life as brain function deteriorates.

If the brain is not affected, a more normal life span can be expected, but significant physical problems can develop that, without treatment, may reduce life expectancy.


  • Airway obstruction
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Hearing loss that gets worse over time
  • Loss of ability to complete daily living activities
  • Joint stiffness that leads to contractures
  • Mental function that gets worse over time


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first treatment for Hunter syndrome. The medicine, called idursulfase (Elaprase), is given through a vein (intravenously).

Treatment focuses on managing signs, symptoms and complications to provide some relief for the child as the disease progresses –

Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) can help slow the disease for boys with milder Hunter syndrome. It replaces the protein their body doesn’t make. ERT can help improve –

  • Walking, climbing stairs, and the ability to keep up in general
  • Movement and stiff joints
  • Breathing
  • Growth
  • Hair and facial features

ERT is the first treatment for kids whose brains aren’t affected. It doesn’t slow the disease in the brain.

Bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants – These transplants bring cells into your child’s body that can hopefully make the protein he’s missing. The new cells come from either a bone marrow donor whose cells match your child’s or the stem cells of umbilical cord blood from newborn babies.

Relief for respiratory complications – Removal of tonsils and adenoids can open up your child’s airway and help relieve sleep apnea. But as the disease progresses, tissues continue to thicken and these problems can come back.

Addressing heart complications – The child’s doctor will want to watch closely for cardiovascular complications, such as high blood pressure, heart murmur and leaky heart valves. If the child has severe cardiovascular problems, the doctor may recommend surgery to replace heart valves.

Treatment for skeletal and connective tissue problems – Because most children with Hunter syndrome don’t heal well and often have complications after surgery, options are limited for addressing skeletal and connective tissue complications. For example, surgery to stabilize the spine using internal hardware is difficult when bones are fragile.

Managing neurological complications – Problems associated with the buildup of fluid and tissue around the brain and spinal cord are difficult to address because of the inherent risks in treating these parts of the body.

Managing behavioral problems – If the child develops abnormal behavior as a result of Hunter syndrome, providing a safe home environment is one of the most important ways of managing this challenge.

Addressing sleep issues – The sleep patterns of a child with Hunter syndrome become more and more disorganized. Medications including sedatives and especially melatonin can improve sleep.

Reference –

February 3, 2017

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, that result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia often experience difficulties with both oral and written other language skills, such as writing, and pronouncing words and writing. The word ‘dyslexia’ comes from the Greek and means ‘difficulty with words’

Dyslexia affects individuals throughout their lives; however, its impact can change at different stages in a person’s life. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed without phonics-based reading instruction that is unavailable in most public schools.

Dyslexia affects people of all ethnic backgrounds, although a person’s native language can play an important role. A language where there is a clear connection between how a word is written and how it sounds, and consistent rules grammatical rules, such as in Italian and Spanish, can be more straightforward for a person with mild to moderate dyslexia to cope with.

However, languages such as English, where there is often no clear connection between the written form and sound, as in words such as “cough” and “dough,” can be more challenging for a person with dyslexia.

Dyslexic people are highly creative, intuitive, and excel at three-dimensional problem solving and hands-on learning. Our visual and holistic learning style means that we learn best through the creative process, with methods that focus on mastery of the meanings of words and symbols. The true gift of dyslexia is the gift of mastery.


The exact causes of dyslexia are still not completely clear, but anatomical and brain imagery studies show differences in the way the brain of a person with dyslexia develops and functions. Moreover, most people with dyslexia have been found to have difficulty with identifying the separate speech sounds within a word and/or learning how letters represent those sounds, a key factor in their reading difficulties. Dyslexia is not due to either lack of intelligence or desire to learn; with appropriate teaching methods, individuals with dyslexia can learn successfully.

Genetic causes of dyslexia – Genetic defect linked to reading problems – a team at the Yale School of Medicine found that defects in a gene, known as DCDC2, were associated with problems in reading performance. They also reported that this defective gene appears to interact with KIAA0319, a second dyslexia gene.

Acquired dyslexia – A small minority of people with dyslexia acquired the condition after they were born. The most common causes of acquired dyslexia are brain injuries, stroke or some other type of trauma.

Neurological Differences – Dyslexia results from a neurological difference; that is, a brain difference. People with dyslexia have a larger right hemisphere in their brains than those of normal readers. That may be one reason people with dyslexia often have significant strengths in areas controlled by the right side of the brain, such as –

  • artistic, athletic, and mechanical gifts
  • 3-D visualization ability
  • musical talent
  • creative problem solving skills
  • and intuitive people skills

Environmental – Studies provide evidence is mounting that these disorders may be linked to exposure to chemicals in the environment.

Brain activity – To be able to read, our brains have to translate the symbols we see on the page into sounds. Then those sounds have to be combined into meaningful words. Typically the areas of our brains responsible for language skills work in a predictable way. But if your child has dyslexia, those areas don’t work together in the same way. Kids with reading issues end up using different areas of the brain to compensate.

Risk Factors

Dyslexia risk factors include –

  • A family history of dyslexia
  • Individual differences in the parts of the brain that enable reading


Learning to read – the child, despite having normal intelligence and receiving proper teaching and parental support, has difficulty learning to read

Milestones reached later – the child learns to crawl, walk, talk, throw or catch things, ride a bicycle later than the majority of other kids

Speech – apart from being slow to learn to speak, the child commonly mispronounces words, finds rhyming extremely challenging, and does not appear to distinguish between different word sounds

Slow at learning sets of data – At school the child takes much longer than the other children to learn the letters of the alphabet and how they are pronounced. There may also be problems remembering the days of the week, months of the year, colors, and some arithmetic tables

Coordination – The child may seem clumsier than his or her peers. Catching a ball may be difficult

Left and right – The child commonly gets “left” and “right” mixed up

Reversal – Numbers and letters may be reversed without realizing

Spelling – May not follow a pattern of progression seen in other children. The child may learn how to spell a word today, and completely forget the next day. One word may be spelt in a variety of ways on the same page

Phonology problems – Phonology refers to the speech sounds in a language. If a word has more than two syllables, phonology processing becomes much more difficult. For example, with the word “unfortunately” a person with dyslexia may be able to process the sounds “un” and “ly,” but not the ones in between

Concentration span – Children with dyslexia commonly find it hard to concentrate for long, compared to other children. Many adults with dyslexia say this is because after a few minutes of non-stop struggling, the child is mentally exhausted. A higher number of children with dyslexia also have ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), compared to the rest of the population

Sequencing ideas – When a person with dyslexia expresses a sequence of ideas, they may seem illogical for people without the condition

Autoimmune conditions – People with dyslexia are more likely to develop immunological problems, such as hay fever, asthma, eczema, and other allergies.


Dyslexia can lead to a number of problems, including –

  • Trouble learning – Because reading is a skill basic to most other school subjects, a child with dyslexia is at a disadvantage in most classes and may have trouble keeping up with peers.
  • Social problems – Left untreated, dyslexia may lead to low self-esteem, behavior problems, anxiety, aggression, and withdrawal from friends, parents and teachers.
  • Problems as adults – The inability to read and comprehend can prevent a child from reaching his or her potential as the child grows up. This can have long-term educational, social and economic consequences.
  • Depression is also a frequent complication in dyslexia. Depressed children and adolescents often have different symptoms than do depressed adults. The depressed child is unlikely to be lethargic or to talk about feeling sad. Instead he or she may become more active or misbehave to cover up the painful feelings. In the case of masked depression, the child may not seem obviously unhappy.


It is important for family members and the person with dyslexia to remember that dyslexia is not a disease. We live in a society where reading and writing are integral parts of everyday life – interventions that help people with dyslexia are aimed at improving their coping skills.

Some children find that tracing their finger around the shape of letters helps them process data more effectively.

The child will receive help in improving the following skills –

  • Learning to recognize phonemes
  • Understanding that these phonemes are represented by letters or groups of letters strung together
  • Reading out aloud
  • Vocabulary building
  • Reading comprehension.

It is vital for the child’s self-esteem and personal ambition that he or she is reminded that even though reading and writing may be problem, millions of people with dyslexia worldwide have thrived and become successful and productive citizens.

Complementary & Alternative Treatment

Scotopic Sensitivity (Irlen) Syndrome – Irlen lenses (colour tinted) or filters have been found to reduce or eliminate glare which causes some readers to experience perceptual difficulties.

Nutritional Supplements / Diet – Essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils) are said to help maintain eye and brain function. These essential fatty acids are found in oily fish (e.g. salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and in vegetable oils and seeds (e.g. sunflower, flax, pumpkin and sesame). Nutritional supplements are also available in pharmacies and health food stores.

Zinc is one of the body’s most important trace minerals and there have been suggestions that people with dyslexia and other learning difficulties may be deficient in this mineral. Iron is also extremely important for building our bodies. Research indicates that even a minor deficiency in iron may weaken the immune system and impair general physical performance.

Movement-Based Therapies – Educational kinesiology, neuro-developmental therapy, primary movement, brain gym, DDAT programme – these theories hold that learning difficulties can be caused by primitive reflexes remaining active in the body. Attainment of balance, hand-eye co-ordination, motor control and perceptual skills may be delayed or inhibited as a result.


Reference –

February 3, 2017

Down syndrome is a developmental genetic disorder disorder caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21. It is by far the most common and best known chromosomal disorder in humans and the most common cause of intellectual disability.

Our bodies are made up of millions of cells. In each cell there are 46 chromosomes. The DNA in our chromosomes determines how we develop. Down syndrome is caused when there is an extra chromosome. People with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes in their cells instead of 46. They have an extra chromosome 21, which is why Down syndrome is also sometimes known as trisomy 21. The extra chromosome is associated with other conditions such as varying degrees of developmental delay and intellectual disability, characteristic facial features, and increased risk of certain health conditions. This extra copy changes how the baby’s body and brain develop, which can cause both mental and physical challenges for the baby. The degree of these conditions varies greatly from child to child.

These children often suffer from various physical ailments, including:

  • Recurrent vomiting
  • Failure to thrive
  • Recurrent infections of the upper respiratory tract, including ear infections
  • Bed wetting
  • Constipation
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Hyperactivity
  • Autism and emotional and neurologic ailments

People with Down syndrome often experience a gradual decline in thinking ability (cognition) as they age, usually starting around age 50. Down syndrome is also associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer disease, a brain disorder that results in a gradual loss of memory, judgment, and ability to function. Approximately half of adults with Down syndrome develop Alzheimer disease. Although Alzheimer disease is usually a disorder that occurs in older adults, people with Down syndrome usually develop this condition in their fifties or sixties.

Down syndrome, itself, does not have a cure. But, treatment is available for many of the symptoms and conditions that can accompany the diagnosis.

Types of Down Syndrome

There are three types of Down syndrome. People often can’t tell the difference between each type without looking at the chromosomes because the physical features and behaviors are similar.

Trisomy 21 – About 95% of people with Down syndrome have Trisomy 21.With this type of Down syndrome, each cell in the body has 3 separate copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual 2 copies.

Translocation Down syndrome – This type accounts for a small percentage of people with Down syndrome (about 3%).This occurs when an extra part or a whole extra chromosome 21 is present, but it is attached or “trans-located” to a different chromosome rather than being a separate chromosome 21.

Mosaic Down syndrome – This type affects about 2% of the people with Down syndrome. Mosaic means mixture or combination. For children with mosaic Down syndrome, some of their cells have 3 copies of chromosome 21, but other cells have the typical two copies of chromosome 21. Children with mosaic Down syndrome may have the same features as other children with Down syndrome. However, they may have fewer features of the condition due to the presence of some (or many) cells with a typical number of chromosomes.


Down syndrome occurs in about 1 in 800 newborns. About 5,300 babies with Down syndrome are born in the United States each year, and an estimated 250,000 people in this country have the condition. Although women of any age can have a child with Down syndrome, the chance of having a child with this condition increases as a woman gets older.

Genetic – Down syndrome is typically caused by what is called nondisjunction. Nondisjunction happens when a pair of chromosomes fails to separate during egg (or sperm) formation. When that egg unites with a normal sperm to form an embryo, the embryo ends up with three copies of chromosome 21 instead of the normal two. The extra chromosome is then copied in every cell as the baby develops. Interestingly, nondisjunction events seem to occur more frequently in older women. This may explain why the risk of having a baby with Down syndrome is greater among mothers age 35 and older.

Risk Factors

Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels, though older women have an increased chance of having a child with Down syndrome. All 3 types of Down syndrome are genetic conditions (relating to the genes), but only 1% of all cases of Down syndrome have a hereditary component (passed from parent to child through the genes). Heridity is not a factor in trisomy 21 (nondisjunction) and mosaicism. However, in one third of cases of Down syndrome resultuing from translocation there is a heriditary compontent – accounting for about 1% of all cases of Down syndrome. The risk factors include –

Advancing maternal age – A woman’s chances of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome increase with age because older eggs have a greater risk of improper chromosome division. By age 35, a woman’s risk of conceiving a child with Down syndrome is about 1 in 350. By age 40, the risk is about 1 in 100, and by age 45, the risk is about 1 in 30. However, most children with Down syndrome are born to women under age 35 because younger women have far more babies.

Having had one child with Down syndrome – Typically, a woman who has one child with Down syndrome has about a 1 in 100 chance of having another child with Down syndrome.

Being carriers of the genetic translocation for Down syndrome – Both men and women can pass the genetic translocation for Down syndrome on to their children.

Metal Toxicity – Since mercury and other toxic metals destroys DNA, it’s possible that they may increase the risk for Down syndrome in few cases.


Down syndrome can affect a child physically, cognitively, and behaviorally. Remember that every child with the condition is unique and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all.


A child with Down syndrome will have some, but perhaps not all, of the following features –

  • Eyes that slant upward, from inner corner to outer corner
  • Small ears that may fold over slightly at the top
  • A smaller than average mouth, and larger appearing tongue
  • A smaller than average nose, with a flattened nasal bridge
  • Short, stocky arms and legs. Some children also have a wide space between the big toe and second toe.
  • Some babies with Down syndrome have short necks and small hands with short fingers
  • One single crease that goes straight across the palm, and a second crease that curves down by the thumb, rather than having three creases in the palm of the hand
  • Shorter than average height
  • Low muscle tone (hypotonia) throughout the body and increased looseness or flexibility in the joints

Developmental, Cognitive, and Behavioral Symptoms

  • Most children with Down syndrome have delays in meeting developmental milestones. They typically learn to walk and talk at later times than children without Down syndrome.
  • Children with Down syndrome often have mild to moderate cognitive impairment and intellectual disability
  • Children with Down syndrome often have specific patterns of cognitive and behavioral features including –
    • Strengths in in social engagement and social behavior, visual learning, and word reading.
    • Challenges with attention span, verbal memory, and expressive communication.
  • Tailored and specialized educational programs and support enable children with Down syndrome to learn and grow at their own pace.
  • Behavioral problems such as stubborrness, impulsivity, and temper tantrums may be more common in children with Down syndrome
  • A child may use “self talk” (talking out loud to himself) as a way of understanding and processing information

Down syndrome is not a progressive condition. Therefore, symptoms do not get progressively worse over time. However, some of the complications associated with Down syndrome can occur at different stages in a child’s life.


Many people with Down syndrome have the common facial features and no other major birth defects. However, some people with Down syndrome might have one or more major birth defects or other medical problems. Some of the more common health problems among children with Down syndrome are –

  • Hearing loss (up to 75% of people with Down syndrome may be affected)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea, which is a condition where the person’s breathing temporarily stops while asleep (between 50 -75%)
  • Ear infections (between 50 -70%)
  • Eye diseases (up to 60%), like cataracts and eye issues requiring glasses
  • Heart defects present at birth (50%)

Other less common health problems among people with Down syndrome include –

  • Intestinal blockage at birth requiring surgery
  • Hip dislocation
  • Thyroid disease
  • Anemia (red blood cells can’t carry enough oxygen to the body) and iron deficiency (anemia where the red blood cells don’t have enough iron)
  • Leukemia in infancy or early childhood
  • Hirschsprung disease
  • Pulmonary hypertension, a condition that affects arteries in the heart and lungs, and which often resolves in the newborn period.
  • Atlantoaxial instability (cervical spine vertebrae may be more flexible causing a small but increased risk for spinal cord injury or compression).
  • Obesity/Overweight

Health care providers routinely monitor children with Down syndrome for these conditions. If they are diagnosed, treatment is available.


There is no cure for Down syndrome. But physical therapy and/or speech therapy can help people with the disorder develop more normally. Screening for common medical problems associated with the disorder, followed by corrective surgery, can often improve quality of life. Moreover, enriched environments significantly increase children’s capacity to learn and lead meaningful lives.

When breast-feeding, the baby should be well supported and fully awake. The baby may have some leakage because of poor tongue control. However, many infants with Down syndrome can successfully breast-feed.

If the person has any heart defects or other heart problems, antibiotics may need to be prescribed to prevent a heart infection called endocarditis.

Special education and training is offered in most communities for children with delays in mental development. Speech therapy may help improve language skills. Physical therapy may teach movement skills. Occupational therapy may help with feeding and performing tasks. Mental health care can help both parents and the child manage mood or behavior problems. Special educators are also often needed.

Alternative & Complementary Treatment

Various traditional and alternative treatment methods for Down syndrome have been popular over the years including the use of pituitary extract, glutamic acid, thyroid hormone, 5-hydroxytryptophan, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), dihydroepiandosterone, sicca cell therapy and growth hormone.

Physical therapy includes activities and exercises that help build motor skills, increase muscle strength, and improve posture and balance.

Speech-language therapy can help children with Down syndrome improve their communication skills and use language more effectively.

Occupational therapy helps find ways to adjust everyday tasks and conditions to match a person’s needs and abilities.

Emotional and behavioral therapies work to find useful responses to both desirable and undesirable behaviors. Children with Down syndrome may become frustrated because of difficulty communicating, may develop compulsive behaviors, and may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and other mental health issues. These types of therapists try to understand why a child is acting out, create ways and strategies for avoiding or preventing these situations from occurring, and teach better or more positive ways to respond to situations.

Vitamins – Deficiencies of vitamin A vitamin B12 and vitamin C in individuals with Down syndrome have been reported.

Minerals – A considerable number of studies have looked at the role of zinc in Down syndrome. Serum levels of zinc have been reported as below normal, as well as plasma levels and whole blood levels. One study, however, did not find a general deficiency.Whole blood levels and plasma levels of selenium have also been reported to be below normal in children and adults with Down syndrome.

Amino acids – Imbalances in amino acid levels have been claimed in adults with Down syndrome.

Probiotics – Probiotics Can Alleviate GI Problems Of Down’s Syndrome Patients.

Tryptophan, Serotonin, Melatonin – Down’s syndrome individuals frequently show low serum tryptophan levels. Whether this deficiency is primary (poor tryptophan absorption) or secondary (increased tryptophan catabolism) is not known. Regardless of the cause, low tryptophan levels impair protein synthesis (tryptophan is usually a rate-limiting amino acid) and decrease serotonin levels (tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin). Serotonin is the brain neurotransmitter that not only regulates emotional control and sleep quality, but helps influence carbohydrate feeding behavior. People with low serotonin levels tend to have carbohydrate cravings.

Glutamine and Arginine – One of the key ammonia-carrying molecules in the brain is glutamine, an amino acid which tends to accumulate in Down’s syndrome. Glutamine is made from glutamate (glutamic acid) by the addition of one ammonia molecule, and from alpha-ketoglutarate by the addition of two ammonia molecules. Due to the general overabundance of ammonia in Down’s syndrome, alpha-ketoglutarate is the ideal precursor to supplement the glutamate/glutamine pathways without increasing the ammonia burden.

Collagen – The collagen connection to Down’s syndrome is fairly obvious. Newborn infants and children exhibit extreme joint laxity. In addition, structural defects in the formation of the heart affect roughly half of all Down’s syndrome individuals. Of the dozen-plus collagen genes that have been discovered, two of them reside near the tip of the 21st chromosome.


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