Dueling Doctors Discuss: What Causes Autism?

by Sumdima Rai

In this episode of Dueling Doctors, show host Dr Frank Spinelli invites Dr Kevin Campbell, MD, Cardiologist, and Dr Kristine Gedroic, MD, Naturopath, to discuss different ways to help manage the effects of autism on your daily life.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental lifelong disorder that appears in early childhood. Symptoms vary in severity but involve the child’s inability to communicate and interact with others. The exact cause is unknown, but there seems to be a genetic link to the disease. Autism is one of the fastest growing developmental disabilities and affects 1 in every 88 births.

Each doctor has 1 minute to present their treatment plan and then the doctors discuss among themselves.

Natural Holistic Medicine
Dr Gedroic, who takes a more holistic approach in her medical practice, believes there is no one cause of autism, but rather supports a "multiple-hit" hypothesis. That means there are a group of disorders that cause autism and children are affected for their individual reasons. Dr Gedroic believes that the common denominator among these children is that they are "toxic" and they’re inheriting genes that govern their ability to detoxify. These toxins could be acquired during the gestational period or during early infancy period.

Conventional Western Medicine
Dr Campbell agrees that autism has a genetic predisposition and that it is in fact a "multiple-hit" hypothesis. But where he disagrees with Dr Gerdroic is that rather than focusing on removal of toxins, he is more focused on studying the effects of toxins. Therefore, his treatment recommends medications along with psychotherapy for the child and the family that help the autistic children become less aggressive, less hyperactive and be receptive to the therapy. These medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and Risperdal.

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