Maybe Autism Shouldn't Have a Cure

Marj Hatzell

boy with autism drawingA few exciting studies this week in the World of Autism have everyone buzzing. New medications have been discovered that help improve cognitive and social functioning. And an important discovery was made regarding impaired mitochondrial function in individuals with autism and its impact on neurodevelopment.

This is HUGE because researchers had several theories on what caused autism, even isolating genes and have had treatments for autism but nothing was standing out. Until now.

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Dr. Mark Hyman claims to have reversed autism. We've seen it time and time again. Jenny McCarthy claims to have reversed in her own son, with the help of certain doctors. There are countless parents on the Internet and in the news who have written books about it. About how their child was taken away from them but brought back, thanks to the treatments to reverse autism. Even Andrew Wakefield, notorious doctor who fudged data to "prove" autism was caused by vaccines, had tons of supporters. And they got people listening.

The problem? It has largely been ignored by mainstream physicians. There are so many loony-toon treatments out there that it's hard to figure out which is bad science and which actually helps individuals with autism. Doctors know that. They are cautious and skeptical. So many bad people are preying on the hopes and fears of parents because they know that sometimes we are desperate, that we'd do ANYTHING to help our children improve. It's a tough life, of COURSE we're looking to make it easier for our children. And ourselves.

The best part of this information coming to light is that it is a bona fide, published, scientific study. They know that there is mitochondrial dysfunction in some autistic children. They know it is possibly caused by exposure to pedticides and herbicides in utero or after birth. Now they have to figure out a few things. How do we prevent this from continuing to happen? And what can we do about the children who are already affected and much older? Can they be treated and can autism be reversed? I can't help but think that attempting to cure my son would change the very essence of who he is. And while I pray and hope and wish for a Christmas Miracle every year, just to hear his sweet voice (well, that and some SLEEP would be nice), I don't know if it is something I have the right to hope for.

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I want to believe it, I really do. Part of me is excited that this information is out there. If they find definitive causes then they can find definitive treatments, right? And possibly a way to prevent it from happening to more families. Isn't that good? Isn't that what we've hoped for? The problem I have is that I am slow to trust, especially since we've put our hopes and dreams (and bank account) out there to help our child and have been let down time and time again. How do I know this isn't more of the same? More building up our hopes, praying for a miracle, only to be let down one more time.

Do you think they are close to finding causes for autism?

Image via Dubova/shutterstock

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