2 New Strange Methods of Therapy to Help Calm Autistic Symptoms
Parents need all the help they can get in helping their children with autism get through the day without meltdowns or sensory overload, with the right equipment to calm down autistic symptoms. Science is ever in a race to find the best new methods to aid autism parents. There may not be a cure, but there are some rather strange or utterly wacky solutions to certain problems autism in children poses.
The American College of Neuropsychopharmacology has newly released a press release outlining the potential benefits of hot baths and worm eggs. That is correct, I did use both those words in the same sentence. Bath time is often a hassle for parents with autistic children and worms are not exactly the preferred meal of the day. The latest studies, however, point towards a rather interesting result when either or both forms of therapy are used. As strange as it sounds, both hot baths and worm eggs are part of a therapeutic intervention to calm down autistic symptoms.
Autism in the Modern World
Over 1 in 88 children are diagnosed on the spectrum, with males four times more likely to have autism. The diagnoses before the latest version included classical autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Rhett's Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD NOS). Symptoms such as aggression, irritability, hyperactivity, negativism, volatile emotions, temper tantrums, short attention span, and obsessive-compulsive behavior also manifest in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, according to the DSM-V (simplified).
Modified inflammation. What this means is that both whip worm eggs and hot baths are used to raise body temperature or fight inflammation that occurs in the body due to asthma or other such health problems.
According to researchers at the college, "a prevailing hypothesis of ASD is that a hyperactive immune system, resulting in elevated levels of inflammation, may contribute to the disorder. Consistent with this possibility, it is known that approximately one third of those with ASD show a clinical improvement in symptoms in response to a fever."
The study looking at hot baths used the theory that fevers trigger anti-inflammatory signals in the body. As such, children who were bathed in 102 Fahrenheit water as opposed to the average 98 Fahrenheit were found to show better social behavior. For those not working in Fahrenheit, that would be about 39 Celsius versus just over 36.6.
The second study involved eating 2500 Trichuris suis ova (TSO), which are the eggs of the worm helminth trichura (whip worm), a day for 12 weeks. The worms are safe in the human body, do not multiply and are cleared out of the system quite spontaneously. They also exhibit anti-inflammatory and immune-mediated characteristics, which were found to help immensely autistic adults quell their repetitive and ritualistic behavior. Following the hygiene theory, researchers believe that some autoimmune disorders might be caused by a lack of microbes or parasites present in the body during less hygienic times. So you might stink but you will be healthy. To test the theories, 10 high functioning ASD patients were studied, where they were given both the worm eggs and the placebos at random, over two 12-week periods.
According to study lead author Eric Hollander, M.D., director of the Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City Hollander, those studied had less temper problems/meltdowns and were less likely to act out.
The studies point towards inflammation as one of the causes of autistic symptoms and help researchers skew their work towards a narrower path that could yield better results. The sample sizes were by no means representative but provided the initial indication that perhaps this is a good path to follow for the moment. Further research is expected to follow suit with these results and provide some more concrete answers as to the cause and the cures of autism. On the other hand, it seems there's good reason to believe fever replication in the body and certain worm eggs help immensely to calm down autistic symptoms.
On a final note, as Christmas is just around the corner, it might be an interesting thought to consider giving autism-friendly books as presents under the Christmas tree. Gifts for the autistic children in your family might need to be modified as well, but there are loads of toys and gift ideas out there that would be very much appreciated. Sensitive Santas are probably still around in some malls, so it would do you good to call up the nearest one and check to see if your autistic child might enjoy a low sensory environment when taking his or her pictures with Santa.
Science discovers new ways to fight against the worst of autism and ensure our children born on the spectrum are able to function as well as others in their surroundings, calming down autistic symptoms and finding that the children with special needs are indeed the best in their class.