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Autism. In our society today, Autism doesn’t need much explanatory introduction. Some statistics say that 1 in 59 children and 1 in 37 boys are now diagnosed as Autistic, and it is quickly becoming one of the most common disorders among children today. The disorder’s name was first used around 1911 by a Swiss scientist named Eugen Bleuler. In the 1940s, researchers in the United States began to use the term “autism” to describe children who exhibited emotional or social problems.
The diagnosis of Autism has historically been unlike most treatable medical conditions. It usually comes as a devastating blow, even if it confirms suspicions that parents have had. The words “he/she has Autism,” usually opens up an entire realm of life that is unknown by most parents with neurotypical children.
Suddenly the calendar fills with therapy appointments, but not with just one therapist. Multiple specialties must be employed to help with speech difficulties, behavioral abnormalities, and physical delays. As the realization that things may not get better and some things may get worse sinks in, the world starts to look a lot more scary. Questioning whether their child will ever be able to function in a way that most people would consider basic for survival, parents begin to mourn what could have been, but may never be.
As bleak as the picture may seem for parents with autistic children, the reality is that there is still so much that we don’t know in science about different systems of our bodies and their potential to operate at a greater degree of functioning despite setbacks and damage that has occurred.
One doctor highlights the idea that hope is not lost, and in fact, there is much hope to be found through his book, The Nemechek Protocol for Autism and Developmental Disorders. Published in 2017 by Autonomic Recovery, LLC, Dr. Nemechek’s faith in the potential for change comes through loud and clear on the book’s cover:
“FACT #1: MIRACLES DO HAPPEN”
This “how-to guide” for restoring neurological function implies that a state of homeostasis can be reached either again, or for the first time in a child’s life.
One aspect of the Nemechek protocol that is very attractive to me is that there are only three simple components.
As a parent, this simple solution offers a welcome relief compared to other systems and protocols. But don’t be fooled – simplistic doesn’t mean ineffective!
Dr. Nemechek begins the book The Nemechek Protocol for Autism and Developmental Disorders with a “short” glossary of scientific terms. For parents who aren’t familiar with many terms associated with their child’s health conditions, this 5-page glossary may prove to be a bit daunting. But to parents who are researchers, especially bioMed parents, these terms are likely just a cursory review of information they’re already mostly well-acquainted with.
Dr. Nemechek is a D.O. whose experience in the field of medicine includes being a clinical instructor for the Department of Medicine at UCLA, where Albert Einstein’s nephew mentored him and strongly encouraged him to get into HIV medicine. After helping to establish UCLA’s first HIV clinic, Nemechek moved to Kansas City, MO where he founded his own HIV treatment and research facility.
Nemechek’s years working with HIV, disease for which no diagnostic testing, treatment, or answers for patients existed, prepared him for his later work with Autism.
Dr. Nemechek’s training in nervous system disorders took place at Universidade De Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal. He currently practices at his own clinic in Arizona, Nemechek Consultive Medicine, specializing in Internal Medicine and Autonomic Medicine. His wife, Jean, helps with the business and helped co-author his book.
Through his experience in his current practice location, Dr. Nemechek discovered that the key to treating, and at times being able to reverse, many of the conditions and disease manifestations that people are afflicted with requires a 3-part approach1:
Reversing autonomic nervous system dysfunction
Renew stem cell production
In chapters 1-3, Dr. Nemechek lays out his hypothesis on how autism develops, starting with the “right” conditions that are usually in place for the regression into Autism to take place. He discusses the role of microglia in repairing the brain and how that function can be impeded. Closely related to the balance of bacteria in the small intestine, Dr. Nemechek gives a thorough overview of why the microglia may not be able to function as designed. I found his description and illustrations of bacterial overgrowth in the gut very easy to understand and follow as he described it in layman’s terms.
In chapter 2, Dr. Nemechek discusses excess propionic acid’s effects as well as systemic inflammatory conditions and the damage these can cause.
This naturally leads into chapter 3’s explanation of “The Inflammatory-Neurotoxic Spectrum” as a result of the three processes described in the two previous chapters2:
Unrepaired brain trauma
Slow/abnormal neuronal pruning
Finally, in chapters 4-6, Dr. Nemechek shares his method of bringing children’s bodies back into balance using a few simple additions to the child’s diet.
The three components to Nemechek’s protocol are:
Inulin increases the acidity of the small intestine, repressing the growth of the bad bacteria in the small intestine. The fiber encourages the growth of the healthy bacteria. It is not a probiotic, and Dr. Nemechek does not recommend the use of probiotics on his protocol3.
Fish Oil DHA serves as a suppressant to the dysfunctional mi-microglia, and combined with the reduction of omega-6 oils in the diet can result in a cytokine reduction, which lowers systemic inflammation4.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains 70% oleic acid. This acid can upend and reverse underlying inflammation that results from too much omega-6 and palmitic acid. The only olive oils that Nemechek recommends are certified by the California Olive Oil Council, to avoid adulterated imported oils5.
The remainder of Dr. Nemechek’s book offers a fairly extensive section of support and troubleshooting while utilizing his protocol. He addresses what to watch out for in case of relapse after going off of it, as well as a chapter on how potential mothers can do their best to prevent autism and other disorders prior to pregnancy as well as a strategy for after birth.
The concluding chapters of his book include encouraging recovery stories and a final note of hope and inspiration.
A few helpful appendices include a more thorough description of autonomic dysfunction and cumulative brain injury, as well as an autonomic brain quiz.
Recently, after having correspondence with a mom who has healed from Lyme and her kids from PANDAS/PANS while on the protocol, I have put the components of the Nemechek protocol into place in my own life. Although I have to take things like this very slowly, I do believe I’ve noticed some positive effects. I’m sure it will take some time and consistency to see the results that I’d like. Dr. Nemechek says that some studies indicate that developmental delay recovers at about a rate of 2-3 months for each calendar month that brain inflammation is lowered6. This process is a long-term commitment, but it’s worth it in the long run.
What has been most impressive to me has been hearing the success stories from parents in one of the Nemechek protocol Facebook groups. Some parents who have reportedly “tried everything,” including extensive bio-medical protocols, sing the praises of Nemechek’s methods and the amazing effects it’s had on their child(ren). Non-vocal children begin speaking, or those with limited vocabularies expand. Non-social children start interacting, and teachers report amazing behavioral gains unseen before.
Check out one mom’s success story with her daughter here!
Of course, not everyone will experience incredible results right away, but there is much hope to be had in its potential.