As regards the explosion of individuals who are diagnosed with autism, progress seems agonizingly slow. It is the parents of affected children who are leading the way, and traditional explanations are, literally, the thinking of the last century. Why is information about prevention, cause and treatment so sparse?
Researchers are still debating the existence of an Autism Epidemic. Why should it matter whether there are more affected individuals because of reason “A” or reason “B”? That confusion holds up funding for studies, however.
The likelihood of discovering a ‘magic bullet’ is low. There will probably need to be multiple treatments for the signs and symptoms documented in the DSM 5.0, depending on the myriad of causes and presentations.
There are no practical, accepted biomarkers for diagnosis. This is especially important in order to evaluate treatments(s) in an acceptably objective manner. This discovery alone could significantly advance research.
Surrounding the topic of ASD are highly charged issues, such as vaccinations, or complicated treatments, such as HBOT and chelation. Rather than stimulate further investigation, the situation appears to impede conventional researchers from documenting efficacy (or the lack thereof) in such controversial interventions.
Successful treatments of the various co-morbidites displayed by autistic patients, such as those offered at The Child Development Center of America, which combine biomedical and conventional protocols, are frequently viewed with skepticism, at best. These protocols deserve the attention of the medical establishment.
Proven associations, such as toxins, poisoned food and the environment, are not popular areas for discussion. Preventive measures receive little promotion or even acknowledgment. Cleaning up can be accomplished, at a cost. This involves not only public education and policy making, but personal choices, as well.
Antibiotics and steroids continue to be overprescribed by doctors, and are requested or too readily accepted by patients. There is a price to be paid for taking strong pharmaceuticals for every ‘cold’ or rash.
Research findings that implicate genetic variations imply feelings of futility about the plausibility of successful intervention. “If it’s genetic, we can’t fix it.” But, every day there are new discoveries about personalized medical treatments for autoimmune conditions or cancer, for example. Tiny chromosomal errors are not insurmountable.
Tools for early diagnosis and intervention, already proven successful, continue to elude the pediatrician’s black bag. Psychiatrists and neurologists, likewise, employ old-fashioned thinking and potent, risky medications that are barely and rarely effective.
In order to take autism research and treatment into the 21st century, organizations that are responsible for actually providing answers need to address these concerns and get serious about forming a unified and thoughtful approach to this medical puzzle.