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DAN'S PAPERS, December 19, 2008 Page 54 www.danshamptons.com

Health/Fitness

Autism: Causes, Symptoms, Maybe Even Preventions By Maria Orlando Pietromonaco We probably all know at least one child in our circle of family and friends who suffers from autism. I happen to know several children, and it’s astonishing to see how widespread this disorder has become. Growing up, I can hardly remember a classmate, cousin, or neighbor afflicted with autism. The numbers today are staggering: one in 150 kids (that number is a bit conservative – some studies are revealing it’s more like one in 90) have autism, and boys are four times more likely to be affected by autism than girls. These facts alone have to make you wonder what the heck is going on. Why the sharp increase in recent years? Though there are no concrete answers, there are a lot of theories and speculations about the causes. They are mind-blowing, and though they might leave you feeling vulnerable as a parent, the knowledge and information might just help protect your family. Medically speaking, autism is a brain development disorder that, unfortunately, usually lasts a person’s lifetime. It’s marked by an inability to communicate and relate to others. Though autism can now be diagnosed as early as six months of age, it’s most commonly identified by around age three. Essentially, parents first realize that their child is not reaching some developmental milestones. Some red flags might include: - Absence of smile by six months of age. - No non-verbal exchange of facial expressions by nine months of age.

- No babbling, or discontinuation of babbling, by 12 months. - Lack of gesturing, including pointing, reaching or waving by 12 months. - No words by 16 months. - Any termination or change in communication or social interaction after they have been developing normally. “Autism is an epidemic that is accelerating… Autism is a medical illness. The majority of children are not born with it. These children are born ‘normal’ and somewhere in the first two years of life their biochemistry is damaged and the tipping point can be a vaccine, antibiotics, environmental pollutants or some other insult that causes them to recede into the world of autism,” explained Dr. Andrea Libutti, a cer-

tified Defeat Autism Now! physician. She should know. Dr. Libutti’s son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 20 months, and now she has devoted her medical and personal life to the disorder. Through her practice in Remsenburg, the Spectrum Healing Center, she is dedicated to the treatment, education and prevention of autism. Though there are many factors that can contribute to the onset of autism, Dr. Libutti is convinced, along with many parents of autistic children, that it was a vaccine that caused her son’s autism. She noticed a change in him just one week after receiving it. The majority of her patients think their children fell victim to the effects of a vaccine as well. This is a highly controversial conviction, as it’s not a widely accepted belief among the medical community. However, the evidence is building that vaccines could be a trigger. It isn’t just the vaccine alone; it’s the “rigorous vaccine schedule” our kids are subjected to at such a young age. They are given multiple vaccines together in a single visit to the doctor, and these vaccines are being given at younger age than they used to. Other factors believed to play a role in the epidemic of autism include overuse of antibiotics, pesticides in the food we give our children, toxins in our environment and heavy metals, like mercury, found in our water supply. Also, a family’s health (continued on page 57)

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Dan's Papers 2008 Holiday Issue  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...

Dan's Papers 2008 Holiday Issue  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...

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