October 11 , 2002
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Neuroendocrinology Letters incl. Psychoneuroimmunology & Chronobiology

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Reproductive Medicine, Chronobiology
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ISSN 0172–780X


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Vol.23 No. 4, 2002

Treatment of Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Children with Thiamine (Vitamin B1) Disulfide
(Derrick Lonsdale)

Many people are not aware of an extremely threatening incidence of an appalling disease affecting our very young children. Although the disease known as Autism was described many years ago, the manifestations of it that are appearing in virtually epidemic form are associated with environmental factors. The exact mechanisms are still not clear but a number of important medical articles have provided evidence that intoxication with heavy metals, including mercury used in some inoculations as a preservative, and possibly antibiotic abuse, all might be behaving as triggers in genetically sensitive individuals. Since it is reported that there are 8 new cases a day in California alone, it is very unlikely that this is a purely genetically determined disease.
The only treatments so far acceptable, most of which sometimes give symptomatic relief, are various nutritional supplements and a diet free from wheat gluten and casein, the peptide found in milk. Drugs are of no value except to modify symptoms and do nothing for the ultimate causes. Also, their effect is unpredictable. To date, the only phenomena that can be used for diagnosis are the diverse symptoms that apply to the developmental and behavioral characteristics observed in the children, including serious disturbances of the gastro-intestinal tract. There is no known biologic test to guarantee the diagnosis.

In the August issue of Neuroendocrinology Letters, Lonsdale and associates report on the use of a supplemental nutrient know as thiamine (vitamin B1) tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide (TTFD) in treating 10 autistic spectrum children between the ages of 3 and 8 years. This synthetic disulfide derivative of the vitamin is manufactured in Japan where the original naturally occurring substance was discovered in garlic. Since it has never been approved for use in the U.S.A. Dr. Lonsdale holds an Independent Investigator License from the FDA. The patent in Japan expired years ago and no drug company in the U.S. has undertaken the rigorous testing required for its use here.

Dr. Bernard Rimland, head of the Autistic Research Institute in San Diego, and his associates have constructed special forms that give numerical value to the severity of symptoms, These forms are filled in by the parents as treatment proceeds and evaluated by computer, providing evidence of the trend in symptom severity. The study reported by Lonsdale and associates showed that 8 or the 10 children improved with two months of continuous treatment with TTFD. There was evidence of biologic disturbances that may be an important part of the environmental factors involved. For example, it is known that it is not uncommon for many of these autistic children to suffer from various vitamin deficiencies and three of the children in this study were shown to be deficient in vitamin B1. Since TTFD provides high concentrations of this vitamin as part of its metabolic action, later tests showed this deficiency to be much improved. Six of the ten children had unusually high concentrations of arsenic in their urine that increased after 30 days of treatment with TTFD and decreased after 60 days, thus providing evidence that this toxic metal was being removed from the child thus affected. There were also sporadic appearances of mercury, cadmium, lead and nickel in the urine of some of the children, all of which have the effect of damaging important aspects of sulfur metabolism in the body.

An important discovery made by Dr. Walsh of the Pfeiffer Treatment Center in Illinois is that more than 90% of over 300 tested children with autistic spectrum disorder had evidence of a missing sulfur containing protein called metallothionein. This is known to provide protection from the toxic effects of some of the metals, referred to above, that attack sulfur metabolism. It is therefore, an obvious strategy that removing these metals from the child's body is mandatory if they are responsible for detrimental metabolic changes. This Pilot Study suggests that TTFD may be a valuable agent in carrying out this role and further study will be required in order to confirm this effect.

Scheduled for publication in the August issue,
Vol. 23 No. 4, 2002

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