by Marcia Hemstreet
And Here’s Marcia Hemstreet…
Imagine this scenario: You suspect there is something medically wrong with your heart. So you go to the doctor, and would probably expect him or her to start a treatment plan involving medical tests, medications and possibly adjustments to your diet.
But what if that doctor said, “I’m not going to do any medical tests to determine if there is something wrong with your heart, and anyways, there are no medical treatments available to help heart conditions. But maybe you should see a psychologist as I can see you’re getting upset.” Now, wouldn’t that just be horrifying to hear as a patient?
I’m guessing right now that many of you reading don’t think such a thing could happen in this day and age, but what if I were to tell you it is happening right now, and to children, no less. When you have a son or daughter who starts to present with psychiatric/behavioral, or autistic-like symptoms, and you go to your doctor to get help, you quickly discover that your time in the medical world is up, and it’s off to the land of psychiatry. But what if we were to look at our children’s brains in a more objective way, before we ship them off into the fairly subjective field of psychology? What if we were to use our 21st century tools, and look at the structure and function of the brain itself, and made sure we ruled out any possible medical explanations for autistic-like behaviors?
That is what many families in this country, and the U.S.A. are doing with their children right now, and I am just starting the same process with my son. What these families are discovering is shocking, to say the least. These children, many of whom had normal MRIs (looking at brain structure), are getting SPECT scan results (looking at blood flow/brain function) that are abnormal. And a common theme is emerging, as time and time again, these children’s scans are showing hypoperfused temporal lobes of the brain. The temporal lobes play an integral role in language and social skills. This reduction of blood flow to the temporal lobes is thought to be an immune-mediated process. With proper medical treatment, blood flow to these areas can be improved, and autistic-symptoms relieved.
So why isn’t this information being made available to parents on a routine basis? Why aren’t these medical tests and treatments being done for these children, possibly saving them from a life time of dependence? At minimum, children presenting with autistic-like behaviors need a BRAINSPECT scan to rule out hypoperfusion in the brain. And while it may sound expensive to send all these children for scans, let’s not forget the staggering cost to taxpayers for providing a lifetime of support to people who may have ultimately been misdiagnosed.
It is also my understanding that many medical professionals simply are not aware of the research linking autism to neuro-immune dysfunction and the temporal lobes. For so long, autism has been considered developmental, not medical, and about two decades worth of gene research has provided not one effective treatment to date. The time has come to stop wasting efforts and research dollars on theories that are not providing answers, especially when a real, medical solution is staring us in the face with those SPECT scans.
I challenge the medical and research communities to be open to this information, and take action. Children can get better from this disabling medical illness that robs them of so many aspects of life that you and I take for granted. It is almost too horrible to consider the number of children who may be misdiagnosed with autism, when they could in fact be medically ill. I encourage everyone who has been touched by autism to learn about Neuro Immune Dysfunction Syndrome or (NIDS). This is a term coined by a doctor to explain what autism really is.
For too long, we have made doctors and pharmaceutical industries the villains in autism. Yes, there are still many unanswered questions for a lot of families. And believe me, I understand the anger and the frustration because I’ve lived it with my son. But the reality is, if your child’s SPECT scan shows reduced blood flow to key areas of his or her brain, you need a doctor’s expertise to treat such a condition, and will also need pharmaceutical companies to provide appropriate medications.
I am prepared to receive much criticism for that statement, as many families will argue that their children wouldn’t be sick if it weren’t for big pharma. But I strongly feel that at this point, we need to start finding effective treatments, and not just focus on the causes. At least now with the SPECT scans, we finally have somewhere conclusive to start.
NOTE FROM MARCIA HINDS – Megan and Ryan’s mom:
Ryan became an aerospace engineer, because he received proper medical treatment combined with behavioral, and educational interventions.
To preview my book, “I Know You’re In There – winning our war against autism” click on http://a.co/a5GWrpM
Contact info for Marcia: