Does your child have ADHD, autism, Tourette’s, OCD, dyslexia, learning disabilities, multiple allergies or intolerances, or another disorder?
Or perhaps you’re having second thoughts about conceiving because you’ve heard that immune imbalances raise the risk of giving birth to a child who develops a brain development disorder.
Couples choosing not to have children due to fears of autism
If so, Dr. Robert Melillo’s new book, Autism: The Scientific Truth About Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders–and What Parents Can Do Now, was written for you. Dr. Melillo was compelled to write this book based partly on emerging research, but more so on disheartening conversations with young couples.
“I was coming across young, smart, professional couples who were choosing not to have children because the risk of autism, ADHD and other disorders is so much higher today,” says Dr. Melillo. “The rate of autism has increased 2,000 percent in the last 20 years and ADHD now affects at least one in 10 children. What these parents don’t know is that new research shows environmental and lifestyle factors influence childhood brain development and that in the majority of cases we can prevent and even rehabilitate autism, ADHD, and related disorders.”
Environmental and lifestyle influences on genes before conception is key
Dr. Melillo is a pioneer in new understandings and approaches to childhood autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, OCD, dyslexia, learning disorders, and more. He has a gift for being able to illustrate how a parent’s diet, physical activity, stress hormone levels, immune health, and exposure to environmental chemicals can affect a child’s brain development, beginning in utero.
This is called epigenetics—when environmental factors influence gene expression. It doesn’t mean genes are mutated, but instead diet and lifestyle determine whether genes turn on or off. If we turn off the genes for healthy brain development in the mother or the father before conception, those genes can pass on to the children in the turned-off position. Researchers have been able to trace this in up to 11 generations.
Simply improving the maternal diet before pregnancy can alter gene expression in the offspring and their susceptibility to certain diseases for up to four or five generations. For couples hoping to have children, epigenetics means they can reduce the risk of giving birth to a child who will develop autism, ADHD, or another disorder by choosing dietary and lifestyle factors that favor healthy brain development.
Functional neurology helps children with autism, ADHD, Tourette’s and OCD
We can also positively influence genes after the child is born by improving external influences, such as by removing inflammatory foods from the diet and supporting good nutrition and brain health. Because a child’s brain is so malleable, we can also activate specific areas of the brain to recover missed stages of development (such as learning to crawl) in a practice called functional neurology.
Brain drops connections in autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, and OCD
The human brain is divided into two hemispheres that work together. It is the ability of the human brain to fire in both hemispheres simultaneously that distinguishes humans from other species in terms of intelligence and complexity. However, the slightest disruption in the timing of this firing can have devastating affects on brain function. In autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, OCD, and other brain development disorders the brain is extremely good at firing short-range connections within one hemisphere of the brain, which may make a child gifted in particular areas, such as math.
However, we see poor simultaneous firing of long-range connections between the left and right hemispheres. This poor long-range firing is also evidenced by a smaller than normal corpus callosum in children with autism, the bridge between the left and right hemispheres across which communication travels. This poor long-range firing can begin in utero or during the first few years of life due to epigenetic influences. As a result of this lopsided stimulation, one side of the brain may become over developed while the other side never catches up to normal, which makes communication between the two sides difficult. It’s like a brand new computer trying to communicate with an old, outdated computer. In autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, and OCD, we see a left brain that is overdeveloped compared to a weaker right brain. This explains why these children have unusually strong skills in some areas and unusually weak skills in others. Dyslexia or learning and processing disorders are examples of right brain over development. Researchers have been able to identify these imbalances by looking at how different areas of the brain vary in size, electrical imbalances, and concentrations of blood flow.
Contact his office directly at DrMelillo@aol.com or 480-926-1115 to Schedule a Personal Consultation with Dr Melillo.
Written by Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MS
Learn more at Northwest Functional Neurology.