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in 1970 the rate of autism in the United States was one-in-ten-thousand. Fast forward to 2017 and the rate of autism in the United States was is one-in-forty-five. If the rate of autism keeps increasing at the same pace, by 2022, it is anticipated that 1 in 9 three-year-olds will be diagnosed with autism.

Sobering isn’t it?!?!

Why the Massive Rise In Autism?

For decades there has been a “witch hunt” for the “cause” of autism.

Fortunately, we have come to understand that there is no ONE cause but rather a “perfect storm” of increasing stressors that have collided, forming the diagnosis called “autism”.

The increasing number of chemical, physical, and emotional stressors on the developing fetus and infant are known to cause neurophysiological disruption that often times present itself as “autism”.

Some of the top stressors that have been shown to be associated with a child that has been diagnosed with autism are:

Exposure To Various Medications

Acetaminophen exposure during pregnancy or in infancy has been associated with an increased risk of being diagnosed with autism.

It is the key ingredient in Tylenol and is known to wipe out glutathione; the master antioxidant of the body. This impairs the body’s ability to get rid of toxins.

Approximately 65% of pregnant women report taking acetaminophen during pregnancy.

Asthma medications taken during the prenatal period and/or during pregnancy have also been associated with a later diagnosis of autism. And, antidepressants medications taken during the second and third trimester of pregnancy showed a 75% increased chance a child being diagnosed with autism.

Birth Factors

Preterm birth, low birth weight, older maternal and paternal age, and cesarean delivery have all been associated with an increased chance of a child later being diagnosed with autism.

Various studies have shown that cesarean delivery has been associated with a 21% increased risk of a child later being diagnosed with autism.

Maternal Thyroid Status

Children born to mothers diagnosed and treated for the first time for thyroid dysfunction after their birth may have been exposed to abnormal levels of maternal thyroid hormone already present during the pregnancy, and this untreated condition could increase the risk of specific neurodevelopmental disorders in the child.

Maternal hyperthyroidism diagnosed and treated for the first time after the birth of the child increased the risk of ADHD in the child, whereas hypothyroidism increased the risk of autism spectrum disorder.

Due to the increased stressors on the human body, thyroid problems are very common and are also sharply on the rise in the United States, but often go undetected.

Increased Exposure To Toxins

Several environmental factors have been associated with the development of autism spectrum disorders. These include pesticides, phthalates, polychlorinated biphenyls, solvents, air pollutants, fragrances, glyphosate and heavy metals, especially aluminum in vaccines as the adjuvant. 

Importantly, the majority of these toxicants are some of the most common ingredients in cosmetics and herbicides to which almost all of us are regularly exposed to in form of fragrances, face makeup, cologne, air fresheners, food flavors and preservatives, genetically modified foods, detergents, insecticides and herbicides.

Gastrointestinal Dysfunction

The digestive system has its own “nervous system” that regulates gut function. It is now well accepted that the gut-brain axis is a two-way street.

Many studies have shown that gut bacteria have an influence on the brain function and behavior. It has been hypothesized that altered intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”) may play a pathogenic role in autism.

Indeed, several studies have reported impaired intestinal barrier function in ASD.

Low Vagal Tone

The vagus nerve is the “master nerve” that connects the gut to the brain.

Low vagal tone; the inability of the vagus nerve to do its job, has been associated with autism spectrum disorder.

The vagus nerve regulates key systems of the body that are known to be dysregulated in those with autism such as:

Immune System
Inflammation
GI Function
Peristalsis (constipation/diarrhea)
Heart Rate

You may want to consider working with a holistic practitioner well versed in preconception and prenatal care that can create a comprehensive individualized care plan to ensure an optimal health status for mom and baby.

Our consultation is always complimentary. Call today at 443.333.9876 to find out more.

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*Article originally published by Monika Buerger on Intersect4Life