Human Canaries on the Autism Spectrum
Oxygen Model of Autism – Part 2
Majid Ali, M.D.
Children and others on the autism spectrum make a clarion call for the future of humankind. They teach us that humans have a finite capacity to sustain and survive existential threats to their brain cells. Specifically, they inform that environmental toxicities that put in jeopardy the oxygen order and energetics of their brain cells can be expected to affect all humans with time. Simply stated, they are human canaries on the autism spectrum.
I opened my book The Canary and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (1994) with the following words: “Chronic fatigue sufferers are human canaries—people who tolerate poorly the biologic stressors of the late 20th cenutury…[They] are telling us something important about the shape of things to come. None of us are really immune to oxidative stressors that fatigue them.” My point then: Given planetary chemicalization and “angerization” trends, Nearly all humans in the future can be expected to develop fatigue that is considered undue today. How could I have imagined that in merely two decades I would hear the same clarion call from children with autism and related disorders on the spectrum.
Autism Canaries, One in 29 Boys
Consider the following quote from the November 6, 2012 issue of New York magazine: “Before 1980, one in 2,000 children was thought to be autistic. By 2007, the Centers for Disease Control were reporting that one in 152 American children had an autism-spectrum disorder. Two years later, the CDC updated the ratio to one in 110. This past March, the CDC revised the number upward again, to one in 88 (one in 54, if you just count boys, who are five times as likely to have one as girls). A South Korean study from last year put the number even higher, at one in 38. And in New Jersey, according to the latest numbers, an improbable one in 29 boys is on the spectrum.”
Autism Is Not a Psychologic Disorder
Nor is it a psychiatric disorder. To think so, as I have shown in articles on my Oxygen Modebelow to order l of Autism, is a grave injustice to children and others on the autism spectrum. Psychologists and psychiatrists do not study nor practice nutritional medicine. Nor do they study or practice environmental medicine. Stress simply cannot be managed without effectively addressing nutritional and environmental issues relevant to individuals on the spectrum. I discuss this subject at length in two video seminars linked below. Please click on the boxes to order them.
A Brief Historical Note
In 1911 when Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler coined the term autism for socially-disinterested, self-preoccupied individuals with schizophrenia, he focused on one behavioral aspect of the disease. In 1943, when American psychiatrist Leo Kanner introduced his term “autistic disturbances of affective contact” in 11 children, he focused on children’s social plight. When Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger claimed that the clinical syndrome named after him was a specific disease, he failed to see what we now see clearly: what he considered to be a specific disease was not so. It is not uncommon for me to see cases in which the initial diagnosis of autism was later revised to Asperger’s syndrome, and still later to “high-functioning” Asperger’s. In 1967, Bruno Bettelheim published his book The Empty Fortress. He claimed that autism is caused by “coldness” of mothers. This ushered a long period of “coldness” and “darkness” of exulting in psychological theories and ignoring the crucial biologic elements that alter the evolutionary patterns of neuro-development. It was a grave injustice to both mothers and their children. In 1990, Bettelheim took his own life. His three former patients questioned his work and characterized him as a cruel tyrant (source: Wikipedia).
In 2013, a psychologist informed me that American psychiatrists had decided to remove Asperger’s from their sacred lexicon, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.