The cause of most cases of autism remains a constant source of friction between doctors and parents of autistic children. A small percent of cases - between 2 and 6 percent-- are believed to be caused by a genetic condition called fragile x-syndrome. Researchers are also looking into the possibility that vaccines can trigger the disorder in some children.
The case of 9 year old Hannah Poling has re-ignited the debate surrounding a possible link between Autism and common childhood vaccines. In march, a Federal Court ruled that vaccines did cause the Autism of the 9 year old Georgia girl who had an underlying cell disorder.
Doctor Kyle Vandyke has a child with severe Autism. He's been a doctor for nearly 15 years and is a trained a DAN Practitioner. "DAN Practitioners are traditional doctors that have gone through the Defeat Autism Now Training Course," says Dr. VanDyke. Doctor Vandyke says DAN doctors focus on treating Autism. Many of his patients have expressed concern about vaccines. "Just from talking with dozens and dozens of parents certainty it is a factor in a lot of kids. A lot of parents had normally developing kids, they had certain shots and saw their kids regress after that."
Tracy Graveen of Edgar believes an ingredient in a vaccine may have contributed to her 4 year son Jaxon's Autism diagnosis. She says at 16 months old he suddenly stopped talking. "It was like someone flipped the switch after he got his MMR, he woke up the next morning a completely different child" says Graveen.
Doctor Vandyke says researchers are still exploring the possible link between vaccines and Autism but until someone figures out how to prevent autism - he's focusing on *treating* it - with a Bio-Medical Approach that removes certain foods from a child's diet. "90% of the children I’ve seen in my clinic have chronic diarrhea and chronic constipation. When you take away the gluten and the casein those problems get better or are completely resolved and as their GI problems get better their behavior gets better."
Doctor Vandyke recommends parents try the GFCG Diet because children with autism often have problems digesting the gluten found in wheat products and the casein found in dairy. He says he has seen positive results first hand with his son. "On my way home I bought a gallon of soy milk and gave him a bottle instead of regular milk and with in 24 hours he was aware and alert. It was a remarkable change and that was the only thing I had done"
Doctor Vandyke is not Jaxon's doctor but the Graveen's are trying the biomedical approach. Jaxon's mom says they noticed a change in Jaxon after two weeks. "The few weeks were really tough but two weeks later we actually able to see him say sentences things we never imagined would happen for years."
Jaxon's mom says right now he only eats about 6 things-- mainly peas and hamburgers but he continues to develop. "I do believe that there is a cure and I see it happening everyday in our own house and it's the best feeling in the world." As research continues into the possible link between immunization and autism - many pediatricians worry families will skip vaccines in hopes of avoiding autism.
But they warn that could lead to a resurgence in many dangerous diseases those vaccines prevent.