The Story


The Hypothesis

Certain symptoms of autism, including agitation, anxiety and self-abusive behavior, are the result of an aberrant immune response. Down-regulating the immune response may decrease or eliminate these symptoms.

I did a literature search and found that my hypothesis was supported by the medical literature.  I spent the early part of 2005 further researching this hypothesis and potential treatments. I discovered in interesting avenue of potential treatment in an area of research known as the “Hygiene Hypothesis”. This hypothesis states that asthma and potentially other autoimmune disorders are associated with increased levels of hygiene. A group of doctors and scientists in Iowa refined this hypothesis by carefully examining the epidemiological data.  Their conclusion was that the dramatic increase in autoimmune disorders over the past several decades was the result of elimination of helminths (worms) from the human gut. These worms, which evolved in concert with the human immune system, have been completely eliminated in most developed countries. They developed several clinical trials for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease that involved introducing helminths in the form of porcine whipworm eggs (Trichuris Suis Ova, or TSO) to patients with these diseases that had not responded to available treatments.  There were three published studies in mainstream medical journals; a safety study, an open label larger study, and a double-blind placebo-controlled study.  Each of these studies showed very dramatic results. In many cases people disabled by their disease became symptom-free while taking this agent.  The mechanism of action of TSO was thought to be down regulation of the human immune response, which was exactly the mechanism I was looking for. With this in mind, I prepared a research paper incorporating my hypothesis and the potential use of TSO for the treatment of certain symptoms of autism.  I presented this paper to Dr. Hollander in 2005 and suggested that we obtain TSO and try it on my son.

The Treatment

The first trial was 1000 ova every three weeks for 26 weeks; during that time the only change observed was complete elimination of symptoms for a total of four non-contiguous days.

The second trial was 2500 ova bi-weekly. After 8 weeks on this higher dose we began to see huge improvements in behavior; by week 10 all symptoms had completely disappeared. The dosage has continued at this level for 15 months and there has been no recurrence of the symptoms during this period.

The change in my son has been beyond my wildest expectations. After being a virtual prisoner of his agitation and anxiety for most of his life, he is able to go out in the community every day without incident. Restaurants, theaters, concerts, all totally off limits to him previously, are routine events now. Previously unable to deviate from routine in the slightest, he is now able to act spontaneously and accept major unplanned changes in schedule without any problem.  Gone is the repeated face smashing and hand biting that caused me to have to physically restrain him many times a day.  Gone are the meaningless daily rituals (lining up the shampoo bottles, opening and closing drawers repeatedly, etc.). Rather than becoming frustrated and agitated over any “mistake”, no matter how small, he simply tries again until he gets it right, and willingly accepts correction and encouragement. Regardless of what caused it, the result has been nothing short of a miracle for my son and my family.

Allergies

Many people taking TSO for Crohn’s Disease reported losing all their allergies while taking the medication. My son has had seasonal allergies and a life-threatening tree nut allergy his entire life. He has carried an Epi-pen since he was 4 years old and we found out (the hard way) that he had nut allergies. We had him tested and his scores for tree nuts on the blood tests for allergies were off the charts. The few times he has come into contact with nuts the reaction has been swift and severe. These would often be caused not by actually eating a nut, but simply by touching something that was at one time stored next to something with nuts. He once touched an m&m candy that had been in a bag with nuts, then touched his face; his face blew up like a balloon and he almost went into anaphylaxis.

Several months into the TSO therapy, my son, for the first time in his life, accidently ate a pecan cookie. Pecans are the nuts that he is most allergic to, both by blood test score and by our experience with him. He had absolutely no reaction of any kind. He has also had no seasonal allergies since he started TSO, something he was always plagued with in previous years. Evidently, the TSO therapy has eliminated my son’s allergies, consistent with the accounts of the Crohn’s patients.

Safety and Disclaimer

I am not a doctor or medical professional and nothing in this website should be construed in any way as medical advice. Whether or not to pursue the treatment described here is a decision that is up to each individual seeking treatment, in concert with their own physician. No negative side effects from this agent have been reported in any of the published studies, nor have I seen any in my son. Like many autistic individuals during adolescence, my son has developed partial seizures lasting a few seconds, with no loss of consciousness, that he is currently being treated for. I do not believe, nor do the doctors treating my son, that these mini-seizures are in any way related to TSO. They did not appear until he had taken the agent at some dosage level for almost two years, and there have been no reports of seizures in other individuals taking TSO.