Neuro-physiotherapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder
Judith Ann Miller Ph.D. & Dallas Shepard, RP
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) was previously defined as a pervasive developmental disorder marked by deficits in social interaction, communication and behavior. In addition symptoms may include high anxiety difficulties with attention and impulsivity, and specific learning difficulties. ASD is characterized by the early onset of impairments in social and communication skills along with restricted and repetitive interest and activities. Recent research has shown that ASD has links to neuro-physiological disorders which include neural executive deficiencies, oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction. This presentation is two-fold in that it first - introduces LENS (Low Energy Neurofeedback systems) training for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Secondly, NFR2 is introduced as an activation product designed to reduce oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction for ASD. A brief literature review presents a description of LENS and progress reports of individual children diagnosed with ASD; followed by a description of how NFR2 works to alleviate stress for ASD. While the best is yet to come, this article acknowledges successful, innovative integrated treatments for ASD.
Coordinated Alternative Therapies - Dr. Julie Kibby, in a presentation to World Dreaming: World congress for Psychotherapy entitled: “The interface of psychotherapy and Autistic Spectrum Disorder reported: Autistic spectrum disorder is a condition of delayed speech development, impaired emotional responsiveness and a desire for sameness. In early life young people are described as being in a dream world separated from others. The etiology is multi-factorial but the awareness of transcriptor genes in forming neural synapses increasingly implicates environmental factors. There is anecdotal evidence of improvement through life experience but with increasing frequency and a plethora of treatment options. It is timely to consider the interface of this condition with psychotherapy. A consideration of ASD as a presentation of anxiety in mother and child is proposed; the infant brain bathed in glucocorticoids. Transcriptor genes are thereby induced or impeded. This study considers the diagnosis made through psychotherapy; the referral of a young male with treatment resistant depression; the therapy for an autistic adolescent with school refusal and depression; the enriching of the emotional environment of parents of children with ASD and treating the trauma of the sibling through therapy through a recognition of autistic features and the adaptation required by the therapist utilizing the Conversational Model. The potential of psychotherapy is affirmed where a new form of relatedness can be established (Kibby, 2010).”
History of ASD Treatment - Historically, the prognosis for individuals diagnosed with ASD in childhood has been poor: Levy and Perry (2011) found across studies that prior to 1990, only 25 percent of such individuals were classified as having “good” or “fair” outcomes based on an operationalized definition of a “good” or “fair” outcome for an adult with ASD as having achieved some form of formal education, maintaining employment, living independently, and sustaining social relationships. Currently, the state of affairs is not greatly improved.
Autism was first described by Dr. Leo Kanner, (1943) an Austrian-American Psychiatrist as a form of childhood schizophrenia and the result of cold parenting, then as a set of related developmental disorders, and finally as a spectrum condition with wide-ranging degrees of impairment. During the 1950s and 1960s, autism was thought to be rooted in cold and unemotional mothers, whom Bruno Bettelheim dubbed ‘refrigerator mothers.’ The ‘refrigerator mother’ concept was disproved in the 1960s to 1970s, as a growing body of research showed that autism has biological underpinnings and is rooted in brain development.
Current research is focused on identifying the biomarkers for autism and the connectivity or un-connectivity between different regions of the brain. Specific under connectivity is suspected between the prefrontal cortex and posterior regions (Just & Keller, 2004). Research has documented its presentation, etiology, and treatment. Individuals diagnosed with an ASD typically experience difficulty in three main areas: (1) communication; (2) social interaction; and (3) flexibility of thinking and behavior (Wing and Gould 1979).
The Advent of Neuro-physiological Therapy for ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has traditionally been framed as a behavioral disorder and thus classified as a psychiatric disorder. Much research has been dedicated to neural executive deficiencies (Hammond, 2-011). Also, recent evidence has been linked to physiological abnormalities in ASD, which strongly implicate that ASD has a clear biological basis with features of known medical disorders. The past couple decades have revealed a strong correlation between oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction and causes of autism (Chauhan & Chauhan, 2007, and Rossigignol & Frye, 2014).
Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Dysfunction Related to ASD – A number of studies using peripheral biomarkers have linked oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and immune dysregulation in individuals with ASD (James et al., 2009a; Mostafa et al., 2010; Zhang et al., 2010; Napoli et al., 2013; Theoharides et al., 2013; Frye et al., 2013a).
The Gut-Brain Relationship as Related to ASD – As many as 90% of people with autism exhibit gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction including bloating, abdominal pain, and alternating diarrhea and constipation, which can exacerbate core autism traits [Buie et al., 2010 & McElhanon, et al. 2014).
Innovative Treatments for ASD - A number of studies have reported improvements in autism using nutritional supplements and medications which can support mitochondrial function (Geier et al., 2011; Frye and Rossignol, 2012b; Rossignol and Frye, 2012b; Fahmy et al., 2013), reduce oxidative stress (Dolske et al., 1993; Chez et al., 2002; Adams and Holloway, 2004; Rossignol, 2009; Adams et al., 2011; Rossignol and Frye, 2011; Hardan et al., 2012; Ghanizadeh and Moghimi-Sarani, 2013), and decrease inflammation (Stefanatos et al., 1995; Shenoy et al., 2000; Boris et al., 2007; Bradstreet et al., 2007; Asadabadi et al., 2013; Taliou et al., 2013)
Neural Executive Dysfunctions - There is also mounting evidence that executive function deficits may contribute to the core symptoms of ASD (Hill, 2004). During the past two decades research on Neurotherapy for autism and Asperger’s Syndrome has shown significant success (Coben & Meyers, 2010; Coben & Pudolsky, 2007; Jarusiuwic, 2002; Kouijzer, de Moor, Gerits, Buiterlaar, & van Schie, 2009; Kouijzer, de Moor, Gerrits, Congedo, & van Schie, 209; Koupijze, van Schie, de Moor, Gerrits & Buitelaar, 2010; Pineda et al., 2007; Pineda et al., 2008; Scolnick, 2005; Siche, Fehmi, & Goldstein, 1995). This understanding has led to advanced treatment strategies for ASD, namely neurofeedback and NfRF2, an activation product that reduce oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction.
Neurofeedback - A recent scientific literature review by Dr. Corydon Hammond, (2011) of the University of Utah, School of Medicine reported that neurofeedback has shown positive research support as a beneficial treatment for autism spectrum problems. Such findings have shown positive changes in brain function, attention, IQ, impulsivity and parental assessments of other problem behaviors such as communication stereotyped and repetitive behavior, reciprocal social interaction, and sociability. Dr. Hammond notes that neurofeedback while not a cure for these conditions seems to significantly improve chronic autistic symptoms.
Researcher Coben and Associates (2002 & 2010) review of positive findings with neurofeedback treatment of autism found a 41% reduction in overall autistic symptoms, including a 55% decrease in social interaction deficits and improvements in communication and social interaction deficits
A 2010 case study of nine (9) autism spectrum syndrome patients who received 40 to 60 neurofeedback sessions, found statistically significant improvements in measures of attention, impulsivity, auditory and visual attention, reading, spelling, arithmetic, EEG measures and an average full scale IQ score gain of 9 points (Thompson, Thompson & Reid, 2010).
The Neuro-feedback Application: Low Energy Neurofeedback Systems (LENS) – LENS as developed by Dr. Len Ochs of Ochs Labs, Inc., is designed to restore the brain’s neurochemistry by gently releasing repressions and enhancing mental efficiency. This system utilizes low energy biofeedback signal to connect neurological pathways compromised by physical and emotional trauma. Treatments are non-invasive, painless, and can lead to dramatic improvement in chronic debilitating neurological conditions. It is an exceedingly mild form of non-cognitive biofeedback that takes information from the brain directly and the client does not have to do anything but sit quietly in the treatment chair. The neurological activity from a single site location is processed through a biofeedback loop in the computer and a return stimulation is sent back to the brain with slight modifications. The feedback signals can have a remarkable therapeutic effect as they allow the brain to re-connect its own blocked nerve pathways.
Progress Reports: LENS Application for ASD Children - This section presents progress reports for children diagnosed with ASD who were successfully treated with LENS. While most are experiencing continual therapy, their progress is remarkably encouraging.
Timothy F – Timothy is a 6-year-old, non-verbal very active intelligent boy attending a local rural school. He began his second month of LENS training on a very cold day and when he walked to his van with his grandparents he said: “Cold”. A few days later he woke his grandfather from a nap and said: “You gotta get up”. He has progressed to singing Christmas Carols and speaking in phrases. His past behavior was to flop on the floor as he entered the therapy room and his grandmother would pick him up and hold in in the chair. The technician was insightful enough to say to the grandmother: “You don’t have to pick him up, he’s a big boy, he can get up by himself”. He immediately jumped up and said: “Big boy”. He sat in the chair by himself and said: “Gotta sit still”. Now Timothy sits in the chair with no one holding him, wraps his legs around the technician whom he calls “Lady” and calls out the colors “red, yellow, blue” as he watches on the computer screen. After 3-months of LENS he is singing his ABCs and recently sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. His teacher is amazed at his progress. By 6 months Timothy now hugs his grandmother and says “I love you”. He has learned in school a song about “eyes, fingers noes and toes, eyes fingers, knees and toes, eyes, fingers ears and toes”. His teacher reports that he is reading.
Hannah W – Hannah is an 11-year-old girl whose parents, to no avail, have spent nearly a million dollars seeking brain therapy. Hannah was introduced to LENS and has made remarkable progress. Her prior diet consisted on only white rice, but now she is eating a variety of healthy foods. When she boards her school bus she says: “Love bus”, and proceeds to hug all the kids. Hanna’s father recently passed away. Her most astonishing behavior occurred when her mom took her to the cemetery, where she had never been, and she ran to her father’s grave and climbed up on the tombstone. How did she know?
Michael Beasley of Neuropaths of Austin Texas – Reported: I only worked with a few autistic clients, all of them young. One taught me a lot. Such a great kid. What his parents and I observed after each session was an increase in vocabulary. New words were added along with more social interaction, hugging and more eye contact. One day his uncle came to the family’s door and got a big hug along with a verbal greeting. Neither of these events ever happened previously. So naturally the Uncle was stunned and wanted to know what they were doing differently.
Other changes occurred; the child decided to rearrange his room because he was too old for it, whereas before no one could move or rearrange items without big emotional outbursts until the room was returned to “normal”.
One of the more interesting revelations about using the LENS with this autistic child was associated with the speed of recovery following strong immune system activity. During one session I was asked to smell his hair which had the aroma of bread dough. The mother explained that when he experienced a yeast bloom his hair smelled like bread. His progress would not only slow but travel backward in time until the yeast bloom stopped and then he would start the return progress. If the responses were sufficiently strong the ability to walk and/or talk stopped. Once the yeast situation was under control again the abilities to walk and talk returned, but it could take two or more months. His mother told me that since we started working with him, this took only a couple of weeks, not months. Somehow the therapy seems to shorten the recovery time in this situation.
Dallas Shepard of Harmonized Brain Centers of Colorado Springs, Colorado – Reported: A four year old autistic child with a lack of social skills, fine motor skills, low communication skills, attention deficit, hard time sitting still and was not potty trained. It took two sessions to complete a 21 site map as sensitivity was heightened. As shown on JH1 (Mean Total Amplitude) image the range in microvolts tops out at 110 microvolts (this range is quite common with young Autistic children). However, this is extremely high as up to 35 is more the norm. The more drastic display is in the JH1 bottom chart (Mean Dominant Frequency). This chart is measured in frequency (cycles per second) and as shown 19 of the 21 sights fall below 4 cycles per second meaning most of this brain is dominated with deep sleep delta waves. In essence most of his behavior seems to be related to his brain trying to sleep yet he was in an awake state.
Chart JH2 is after 12 sessions of LENS Neurofeedback and we saw great improvement in that the child would sit still in the chair, engage in brief conversation, was able to button his shirt, became potty trained, was a lot less restless and had better interaction at school. The JH2 chart (Mean Total Amplitude) is now 35 microvolts and below and the Mean Dominant Frequency only has 5 sites with deep sleep delta waves. Huge improvements in behavior and processing.
Evolving Innovations For Neurological Disorders –Neurological disorders represent a great challenge and are the leading cause of death and disability globally. Although numerous complicated mechanisms are involved in the progressions of chronic and acute neurodegenerative disorders, most of the diseases share mutual pathogenic features such as oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, neuro-inflammation, protein misfolding, excitotoxicity, and neuronal damage, all of these are the common targets of nuclear factor erythroid 2 related factor 2 (Nrf2) signaling cascade. No cure has yet been discovered to tackle these disorders, so, intervention approaches targeting phytochemicals have been recommended as an alternative form of treatment. Sulforaphane is a sulfur-rich dietary phytochemical which has several activities such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor via multiple targets and various mechanisms. Given its numerous actions, sulforaphane has drawn considerable attention for neurological disorders in recent years. Nrf2 is one of the most crucial targets of sulforaphane which has potential in regulating the series of cytoprotective enzyme expressions that have neuroprotective, antioxidative, and detoxification actions. Neurological disorders are auspicious candidates for Nrf2-targeted treatment strategy. Sulforaphane protects various neurological disorders by regulating the Nrf2 pathway (Ubin, 2020).
Nutrigenomics: The study of how nutrients and naturally occurring compounds effect our genes – Introducing the Protandim Tri-Synergizer products: NAD; NRF2, NRF1, Probio and Axio :
NAD – Recently, scientists have been sharing the importance of proteins called situins. Studies showing situin activity comes from a cascade of health benefits. Including supporting a healthy vascular system, maintaining cholesterol levels already in the health range, supporting the body’s healthy inflammation response, supporting joint health, heightening mental focus, improving mood, motivation, energy, and much more. Protandim NAD Synergizer was specifically formulated to target NAD, and has been shown to double situn activity in 24 hours, supporting increased health, focus, energy, mental clarity, and mood.
Benefits of Protandim NAD Synergizer
· Supports healthy longevity
· Supports autophagy (removal of cellular waste)
· Improves mental focus and concentration
· Supports positive mood and motivation
· Boosts mental and physical energy
· Supports body’s healthy inflammatory response
· Maintains cholesterol levels already in the healthy range
· Supports healthy vascular system
NRF2 – Protandim NRF2 Synergizer was sculpted to activate the Nrf@ pathway, a pathway responsible for antioxidant production. With peer-reviewed studies conducted by Harvard, Ohio State University, the American Journal of Physiology and many more, Protandim Nrf2 Synergizer has been shown to reduce oxidative stress by 40% in just 30 days.
Benefits of Protandim NRF2 Synergizer
· Helps the body detoxify genes, keeping the master blueprint of the cell’s function intact
· Reduce oxidative stress by 40% in just 30 days
· Significantly reduces cellular stress through Nrf2 activation
· Produces enzymes capable of neutralizing more than 1,000,000 free radicals
· Helps to regulate survival genes
· Supports the body’s natural ability to repair and rejuvenate its own cells.
NRF1 – Nrf1 is based on the fact that our mitochondria are literally powering everything in our bodies, from our heartbeat to or brain cells, and unfortunately, our mitochondria decline over time when stressed. The NRF1 pathway is responsible for mitochondrial health.
Benefits of Protandim NRF1 Synergizer
· Improves performance through energy function
· Enhances cellular health – cells function at peak performance
· Increases cellular energy (ATP)
PROBIO for Healthy Digestion – Probio is science’s answer to gastrointestinal health as it provides the right balance of probiotics and immune system to support and keep the body on track. It provides beneficial bacteria to maintain a healthy gut flora while enhancing the immune system. It features a unique controlled-release technology, delivering probiotics throughout the day and deep into the digestive system where they are needed most.
Benefits of PROBIO
· 6 billion CFU’s of healthy bacteria to support the digestive system
· Providing beneficial bacteria to maintain a healthy gut flora
· Safely enhancing the immune system
· Featuring a unique controlled-release technology, delivering probiotics throughout the day and deep into the digestive system – where they are needed most
· Helping to support tight junctions and the communication between brain and gut to help signal when full.
AXIO Start Energy – Axio is specifically formulated to give energy to the mind, not just the body. Engineered with Nrf2 ingredients, it’s designed to deliver mental clarity, focus, and concentration without the jitters of caffeine crash.
Benefits – The Brain-First Approach
· Supports mental endurance and mental activity
· Supports concentration and memory retention
· Supports physical and mental energy
· Supports positive mood
· Ore resiliency to everyday stress
· Enhanced information processing and attention
· Reduced mental fatigue and brain fog
· Clean formula – natural sweeteners (no addictive sugars), natural flavors, natural colors, non-gmo, gluten-free, low calories, low carbs, vegan, (BSCG approved)
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) –The American Psychological Association (APA) embraces applied behavior analysis as “clearly within the scope of the discipline of psychology and … an integral part of the discipline of psychology” and affirms “that the practice and supervision of applied behavior analysis are well-grounded in psychological science and evidence-based practice.’
Evidence based” means that ABA has passed scientific tests of its usefulness, quality, and effectiveness. ABA therapy includes many different techniques. All of these techniques focus on antecedents (what happens before a behavior occurs) and on consequences (what happens after the behavior). While ABA is the most widely used therapy for autism, some people say its drills and routines are cruel, and its aims misguided.
Since ABA was began 50 decades ago (Baer, et al, 1987), more than 20 studies have established that intensive and long-term therapy using ABA principles improves outcomes for many but not all children with autism. “Intensive” and “long term” refer to programs that provide 25 to 40 hours a week of therapy for 1 to 3 years. These studies show gains in intellectual functioning, language development, daily living skills and social functioning. Studies with adults using ABA principles, though fewer in number, show similar benefits,
Combing LENS, Nutrigenomics and ABA for ASD Relief – It seems that ABA while proven to be an effective behavioral therapy, could be even more effective if LENS and Nutrigenomics were added to the treatment regime for ASD sufferers. The purpose of this paper is to provide science-based information for therapists and parents to consider the value of the science that suggests that this combination could actually be the best possible therapy for ASD.
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