Biomedical treatment addresses underlying biochemical and physiological imbalances using scientific, evidence-based therapies. The goal is to restore health to all the body’s systems in order to normalize growth and development.
Dietary modifications are a critical component in the treatment of autism and pediatric conditions. Changing the diet can profoundly impact the functioning of not only the digestive system, but also the immune and nervous systems, including the brain. When dietary factors are addressed and corrected, there is improved digestion and absorption of nutrients necessary for proper growth and development.
Specialized diets are the foundation of biomedical intervention. These include the Gluten-Free & Casein-Free diet (GFCF), Food Allergy/Sensitivity Avoidance diets, Anti-Yeast diet, Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), and the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (GAPS). Individualized diet plans are implemented based on testing results.
The rationale behind the GF/CF diet is that most children with ASD have abnormal digestion of proteins found specifically in dairy and gluten foods. Casein in dairy and gluten in wheat and certain other grains require a specific enzyme to be properly digested. In children with autism, this enzyme often is not functional, resulting in incomplete protein digestion, and forming opiate-like compounds. These compounds called casomorhin and gliadorphin, can be tested for with the gluten and casein peptide test, to see whether the child has this problem. When the test is positive, it means the food acts like a drug, producing symptoms such as unresponsiveness, spaciness, constipation, pain insensitivity, and compromised ability to speak and process information. Removing casein and/or gluten is critical for these children, as this drug effect severely impairs their ability to learn and develop normally.
Food sensitivities are delayed immune hypersensitivity reactions, determined by blood testing. These reactions to foods can occur hours to days after ingestion, making pinpointing reactive foods difficult without individualized testing. Food sensitivities can manifest as chronic issues, such as digestive disturbances, mood changes, sleep issues, skin rashes, difficulty with thinking and attention, and recurrent infections. These foods challenge the child’s immune system whenever they are ingested, and set up a cycle of reactivity and resulting symptoms. By removing offending foods for a period of time, this allows the digestive tract to heal, strengthens immunity, and allows for proper absorption of vital nutrients.
In autism spectrum disorders and other developmental conditions, it is very common for significant digestive imbalances to occur. Overgrowths of harmful microbes, such as yeast, bacteria and parasites, often lead to inflammation and malabsorption of nutrients. These microorganisms also release chemicals toxic to the brain and nervous system, causing certain symptoms such as hyperactivity, self-stimulatory behavior, sleep disturbances, spaciness, tics, obsessive tendencies and even aggression. Using diet modifications and targeted treatments to remove the underlying infections, behaviours can be normalized or resolve completely. The anti-yeast, SCD, and GAPS diets are most often implemented for this purpose.
Nutritional supplementation is a large component of biomedical treatment, based on current nutritional research in pediatrics. This requires replacing any missing nutrients, and adding in symptom-specific supplements to normalize underlying imbalances in digestive, immune and nervous systems.
Deficiencies of vitamins and minerals can cause or contribute to pediatric disorders. Comprehensive analysis of nutrient status for each child is important to detect possible deficiencies, most often using a combination of blood, urine and hair testing. These include vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D. Deficiencies can lead to a myriad of symptoms, such as ADHD, sleep disturbances and learning disorders with low iron levels, and impaired immunity, sleep problems, and speech delay with vitamin D deficiency.
Studies show the benefits of using many natural substances for children with developmental challenges, such as Omega 3 fatty acids for brain health, speech and cognition. Regulating neurotransmitters, chemicals used by the nervous system to relay messages, can also be effectively done through nutritional supplements. By normalizing neurotransmitters, symptoms such as hyperactivity, inattention, anxiety, obsessive behaviours, and aggression can be safely treated without the need for psychiatric medications.
A complex biochemical cycle called methylation is often impaired in children with autism and ADHD. It is critical for many biological processes, such as producing glutathione, the body’s main detoxification protein, as well as regulating the expression of DNA.
Based on the pioneering work of Dr. James Neubrander and research by Dr. Jill James, methylation treatment has become standard practice for ASD. Treatments involve the use of vitamins methylB12 and methylfolate, delivered by injection, nasal spray, or oral dosing, depending on the child’s needs. This addresses core autistic issues such as speech and language delay, social interaction, attention and focus, cognition, and sensory processing. Refer to Articles section for more information on methylation therapy.
CHELATION & DETOXIFICATION
We are all exposed to toxic compounds, from gestation through adulthood. Toxins can have a profound effect on the development of children. Toxic metals such as lead and mercury, are known neurotoxins that injure brain and nerve cells, and poison many biological systems. This can lead to conditions such as ADHD, cognitive impairments, learning disabilities, and developmental delays.
Research has shown that autistic children have defective detoxification systems, resulting in excessive build-up and damage from toxic chemicals in their bodies. Therefore, they need targeted treatments to detoxify effectively, reduce body load of toxic compounds, and heal injured organs. This is accomplished by various methods, including supplementation to raise glutathione levels, and chelation therapy.
Chelation involves the binding of a substance to toxic metals in tissues and organs, so that they can be removed safely from the body. Chelation is implemented based on biomedical testing, using appropriate prescription agents such as EDTA, DMSA, and DMPS. Routes of administering chelators vary, we use oral or transdermal doses in our clinic and do not offer IV (intravenous) chelation. Chelation therapy must be supervised by a doctor. Dr. Bratt is board-certified in Chelation Therapy by the College of Naturopathic Physicians of BC.
In conjunction with natural-based treatments, prescription drugs may be required. These may be necessary for addressing infections, immune support, chelation, or specific behavioral issues. Due to the sensitivity of special needs pediatric patients, specialty compounding pharmacies are often used to create individualized prescriptions, free of additives or in specialized delivery forms as needed. Dr. Bratt does not use ADHD medications (Ritalin, Biphentin, Concerta), psychiatric drugs (anti-depressants, Risperidone), or narcotics. She is board-certified in Pharmaceutical Prescribing, and patients can submit prescription receipts for insurance coverage.