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From the Townsend Letter
April 2007


Searching for Answers to the
Autism Epidemic

by Kathy Blanco

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No stone should be left unturned when it comes to finding out what caused a child's autism. Though arguments of autism's complexity are valid, and research tends to steer away from known and controversial etiologies, one must reflect upon what has turned autism from a rarity into a commonality amongst US children. Recent estimates from NIH/CDC reports say that autism prevalence has increased from one in 10,000 to now a frightening one in 150 children affected within a span of a couple of decades.

Doctors treating autistic children astutely started questioning whether or not children with autism had the spiral bacterium Borrelia burgdoferi and multiple co-infections such as Babesia, Ehrlichiosis, Mycoplasma, and Bartonella. While these infections were found, the correlating symptoms such as a tick bite or a circular rash or flu-like symptoms had not been present. It is possible to pass this bacterium through semen, breast milk, and other bodily fluids and not even know if one is affected at a sub-clinical level. It is also been elucidated that this infection may be more widespread by virtue of the fact that these children could have been exposed to it congenitally, which has been proven in animal models as possible through the placental barrier.

Since this isn't impossible, in light of the fact that children seemed to harbor a complex of infections due to their known immune/metabolic quality, from viruses, bacteria and fungi, doctors began to test – and parents of autistic children request – a valid screen for Lyme. Details were starting to emerge, and parents started to wonder why this has not been talked about in their communities. Though Lyme may seem endemic to certain areas of the country, it is a more commonly held belief at present that Lyme is under-reported and is more prevalent. Lyme knows no geographical boundaries; is barely understood; is not talked about by average physicians, is not tested properly; and, in the autism medical community, is by and large overlooked.

In 2005, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) ( declared that Autism Spectrum Disorders are amongst the 300 diseases Lyme can mimic. However, Lyme is a Borrelia complex, a complex of infections that seems to go after and have affinity for the fatty tissues of the body, including the brain, especially in host bodies that are immune-deranged by oxidative stressors, including heavy metals like mercury often found in childhood vaccines and the environment. These two "hits" (amongst others) may be the reason for this epidemic. Borrelia is not easily detectable, especially in immuno-incompetent children with autism, and requires a fair amount of knowledge to treat it, detect it, and suppress active disseminated long-term disease. The same can be said for the co-infections found, such as viruses and opportunistic fungi.

This is why the LIA Foundation was founded. Lyme-literate doctors and DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) doctors started talking about this infection. Some knew about it for more than a decade and found high rates of positive results with clinical antibiotic/natural therapies greatly helping many children with this infection. It is their wish and ours to disseminate valid information, to research Lyme further in terms of the autistic child, to learn Lyme's role in autism and how to treat it properly, and, most of all, to tell parents to screen themselves and their child for this infection even before birth. We believe it is the missing puzzle piece in many instances and amongst several other known oxidative stressors that are known to be a part of the complex infection/metabolic-based model of autism.

Kathy Blanco
Co-Founder Vice President
Lyme Induced Autism Foundation (LIA Foundation)

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