OMG! My autism is missing?

Subtitle: well not really, it’s just taking a break…

I’ve been pretty sick for the past two months. First it was a nasty Sjogren’s Syndrome flare-up (Lupus Lite) then followed by a sinus infection which turned into bacterial pneumonia.

Yikes! 🙂

Consequently I’ve been cramming anti-inflammatory drugs down my throat to fight these little attackers.

In mid-January I started my ritual steroid protocol (Prednisone) to battle the flare-up, and when the sinus infection/pneumonia kicked in, my doctor put me on antibiotics along with mega doses of ibuprofen (NSAID). I’m still taking Prednisone, one of the first anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant drugs invented.

All of the drugs above assist with immune dysregulation by quieting down one’s autoantibodies along with fighting the pneumonia bacteria.

Last night I was doing my favorite hobby, thinking, and it occurred to me that some of my autistic traits (OCD) have been dormant for the past few weeks and I wondered how that happened?

That triggered my internal computer processor (brain) to tap into my database (knowledge) looking for correlations based on past research.

The first data that popped up in my thought processes were the anecdotal reports by parents of severely autistic children being miraculously cured of their autism by ingesting antibiotics and other anti-inflammatory drugs. To be fair and accurate, those miraculous cures were only temporary during the course of taking those drugs.

However, if those stories are true then it could be inferred that inflammation is a culprit in the autism mystery.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is the body’s way of fighting attack. Ideally, when a “foreign” substance, a toxin, bacteria, or a virus enters the body, a cascade of inflammatory chemicals and processes ramp up to fight off the invader. When the battle is over, an anti-inflammatory process begins and calms the body down again.

In some people, this process of ramping up and cooling down does not go smoothly. Those people can become stuck in a constant state of inflammation, a state of battle, in which the body produces chemicals such as cytokines. Over time, these inflammatory chemicals can damage the body.

Over the past decade, there have been numerous research studies substantiating a relation between mothers with autoimmune diseases having a much higher chance of having babies with some form of autism. Those autoimmune diseases can be diabetes associated with obesity, asthma, or more severe autoimmune diseases such as Lupus.

When I consider those studies, I think of my own case. My mother had severe asthma and a chronic skin condition that was probably cutaneous Lupus. In addition, she was 39 years old when I was born and other studies point to older mothers having a higher chance of giving birth to an autistic child. And to top it off, she was a daily smoker.

Assuming all of this scientific gibberish, facts, research, and hypotheses are correct, what is that going to tell us?

First we’re not going to eradicate autism nor are we going to stop making babies just because a mother has an autoimmune disease or is over 35 years old. That’s silly.

Second most autistics, myself included, do not want to change the way that we are. We’re comfortable being ourselves and we’re used to the way that our brains function and think.

However it is plausible that we can mitigate some of the autistic traits that most autistics complain about, i.e. our social ineptness and our inability to make friends and assimilate amongst non-autistics, especially if a biological process, inflammation, is playing a part by affecting our brains.

The infamous and vile concept of ABA tries to reprogram our behaviors via the old fashioned reward and punishment methods. Many parents of autistic children swear it works. I practiced this on myself as an adult and it does work. However, in the process I was stressed out so much that it caused immense anxiety.

As an alternative, if my theory might have some credibility, a simple daily cocktail of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs might produce the same results, i.e. Ibuprofen (Advil).

As a scientist I like to run experiments. Therefore, I’m going to continue with this one because I need to in order to mitigate my other severe problem, an autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s Syndrome, and if it happens to tone down my OCD and ADHD propensities, then hallelujah! 🙂

I posed the question in a previous post, “Is autism an autoimmune disease?”

It just might be…

[To be continued…]

Link to Autism Research Institute: Immune Function & ASD

Link to YouTube Video Dr. Judy Van de Water, UC Davis MIND Institute, Biomarkers & ASD

Link to UC Davis MIND Presentation Handout:

PubMed research paper:

A Meta-Analysis of Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorder Risk in Offspring

Sometimes when the shoe fits, it’s quite painful…

Subtitle: Being autistic and getting old is the pits…

I ran across the attached article a few days ago and it resonated with me profoundly.

I’m old, in my third trimester of life at the age of 64, I suffer depression daily, and my physical health has diminished as well due to a comorbid autoimmune disease, Sjogren’s Syndrome.

It’s hard for me to pinpoint which is worse, the lack of realtime friends and family or the daily struggles dealing with a chronic disease.

It’s also hard for me to figure out whether or not the depression is caused by either of those ancillary aspects or whether or not the depression fuels the physical symptoms and the inability to socialize.

In the end it doesn’t matter. It is what it is and I have to deal with it.

I used to relish spending a few hours every night connecting with others on the various Facebook groups related to autism but lately I haven’t had the physical nor the mental energy to do so.

When I was active either posting or commenting on others’ posts I felt engaged and I did not feel alone nor that terrible abstract feeling of loneliness.

But my physical health has been rather poor for the past few months due to a severe Sjogen’s Syndrome flare-up then followed by a chronic bout of pneumonia; I’m still getting over that one.

Most research is geared towards helping young autistics make it as adults in a foreign world. Immense progress has been accomplished in a very short timespan which enables those individuals to learn how to be self-sufficient and participate in a world that still views autistics as broken.

We have job training programs and large corporations realizing the value that many autistics bring to an enterprise with their gifts of seeing the minutest details and their capacity to do routine and mundane job functions better than non-autistics.

But what’s in store for their future when they arrive at my age, still carrying the baggage of being socially inept, and many without their own families which includes having their own children?

That’s the real puzzle that still needs to be solved and it appears that some researchers are realizing the gap in that support structure.

To be continued…

Spectrum Article: Adults with autism face old age without much support