September 2, 2016
I am beyond ecstatic to report that today, September 2, 2016 is the seven-month anniversary of my son with regressive autism being seizure-free! Trevor turned 18 in July, and mysteriously began having grand mal seizures at age 15. He had 12 grand mal seizures over two years. On two occasions, he had two seizures the week after adding new supplements. He would do a foot detox, and he would have a seizure within a few days. Really? What was happening here? He’d never had a seizure in his life! He actually had a grand mal seizure in the hard HBOT chamber last summer (which he had done three times prior with great results), and I almost had a heart attack, unable to get to him before he could be decompressed; 911 was called, he bit his tongue and was bleeding, it was absolutely horrifying.
It was a brutal two years of PTSD and hypervigilance for me. Every sound he made was a potential seizure. Every phone call, my heart sank dreading that it was a “Trevor had a seizure” call from my mom or his school.
I am a contributing author (nickname Oracle) for the soon to be rereleased TEAM TMR book, the TMR cookbook, and the upcoming puberty book. At AutismOne this past May, I was part of the TMR Panel on Puberty, and when asked what the hardest part of puberty was, of course my answer was the onset of grand mal seizures. I write about it in gory detail in the TMR puberty book. After the puberty panel, I was approached by a few moms inquiring about what I was doing that reduced my son’s seizure activity to zero in nearly four months (at that time in May). I told them what I was doing in a nutshell, but didn’t have the time to fully explain all of the intricacies of the treatment. The only options most of us have ever heard of for seizures are pharmaceutical meds (whose side effects include seizures, among other things) and medical marijuana, which isn’t an option in all states, and some people (or their family members) have a personal opposition to it. There are also other issues with both options.
I asked my son’s new doctor if I could interview him about what we are doing to share with TMR, and he said, “Absolutely!” He loves TMR and respects me for all I have done for Trevor. I wanted to share his words of wisdom, not just my version, since I’m “just a mom” with a measly BA, and he is Dr. Randall Gates, BS, DC, DACNB (Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Neurology Board, a rare achievement accomplished by roughly 400 other Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologists worldwide). This specialty is post-graduate work based on the teachings of world-renowned chiropractic neurologist, Ted Carrick, PhD, DC, DACNB, the developer of functional exercises, stimulations, and strategies to correct and enhance brain and peripheral nerve function in many conditions. Dr. Gates was also valedictorian of his chiropractic graduating class. On a personal note, he is one of the smartest and kindest men I’ve ever met.
One of Trevor’s former practitioners (BioSET) was one of Dr. Gates’ patients and recommended him to me years ago. Then another friend mentioned that she was seeing him for Lyme and autoimmune diseases. It wasn’t until I saw a video from their clinic, Power Health Rehab and Wellness in Reno, NV, on a noninvasive visual test to detect which parts of the brain were weak and treatment of the brain with targeted exercises (I’m a Pilates instructor and certified Personal Trainer, so my curiosity was piqued), that I finally decided to check them out. I went in for a free consultation to see if we were candidates for the program with clinic director and owner, Dr. Martin Rutherford, BA, BS, DC, CFMP, who’d had numerous chronic illnesses, including chronic fatigue, celiac disease, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which were all resolved through functional medicine and nutrition.
I sent in the lengthy preliminary paperwork including all the treatments I had done over the years with Trevor, and he was very impressed. At first, I didn’t think I was interested in any dietary advice because I thought I had it all figured out. Trevor had been on a gluten-free, organic, non-GMO diet for years. We had also done NAET to eliminate all of his food and environmental allergies. I just wanted to heal his brain and stop the seizures. Part of their protocol included blood testing (gulp), which I had never done before, mostly out of fear. I found comfort in noninvasive testing modalities for allergens, pathogens and toxins such as computerized scanning programs like EAV, Quantum Biofeedback and Diacom and also muscle response testing, and I had avoided blood work for 17 years. I know, right?
Dr. Rutherford felt that their program could help Trevor and he agreed to take him on as a patient, but I had to do a few blood tests to determine the route of treatment. I agreed. I took Trevor in for a few vital blood tests. One is for leaky gut syndrome, called the Intestinal Antigenic Permeability Screen, the other for myelin basic protein antibodies, called the Neurological Autoimmune Reactivity Screen (both Cyrex Labs tests, Arrays 2 and 7). The results showed that Trevor had severe leaky gut still (what?) and that his body was having an autoimmune reaction and attacking the tight junctions in his gut. This means that proteins in food and bacteria can pass through the gut through the bloodstream to the brain. The second test (myelin basic protein) showed high antibodies, which meant an autoimmune response to the myelin sheath (an insulating layer around nerves in the brain and spinal cord), i.e. leaky brain. Leaky gut, plus leaky brain, plus testosterone can equal seizures. Who knew? Many kids with a diagnosis of autism don’t start having seizures until they are teenagers, including mine.
Trevor did just fine during the blood draw and was a total champ, but I was a nervous wreck. I brought my mom along for backup, but it was literally over in a minute and I felt like an idiot for making it such a big deal for so long. I was just glad that it was over with to be honest. I think I have PTSD over needles.
We went in for a three-hour evaluation with Dr. Gates, which included the noninvasive visual test. It looked like a scuba mask which is attached to a computer screen with a close-up of the person’s eye on the screen.
Various visual stimuli and tests that Trevor could follow directions to showed what areas of his brain were weak, and targeted brain exercises were determined from the test. After the evaluation, Trevor did a few targeted exercises while breathing oxygen. When Dr. Gates retested a few things and we saw immediate improvement, I felt confident that this was worth a shot. I reasoned that if it didn’t work, at least I tried. What follows are excerpts from our interview.
Oracle: “First, why don’t you explain your background for our readers.”
Dr. Gates: “I have a degree in biology, and then I went to chiropractic school, and immediately I became interested in this field termed ‘Chiropractic Neurology.’ It consists of activating certain areas of the brain, rehabbing the brain so that we can change function in those that have neurological disease. Which is a little different paradigm than standard Medical Neurology. In Medical Neurology the focus is typically medications and if the medications don’t work, is there a surgical intervention that the person can be referred for? Really, the diagnostic aspect in both medical neurology and chiropractic neurology is the same: you have to identify the problem. If somebody has autism, you have to be able to identify it. But our approach is to see if we can go into the brain instead of using medications, and start exercising that area of the brain. Similar to what you are doing with your clients from a musculoskeletal standpoint, and then see if we get a change in neurological function.”
Oracle: “What is chiropractic neurology?”
Dr. Gates: “It was developed by Ted Carrick, and in essence he used the concept of neuroplasticity, which is going into the brain and this concept that we can stimulate the brain to create either new connections or stronger connections between different brain cells. And he first started looking at how the chiropractic adjustment could affect the brain to help someone’s back pain for example, or their neck pain, and then he went on to study neurophysiology and neuroanatomy to come up with all these different exercises that you could do to basically rehab the brain. And that’s what chiropractic neurology is, or now it’s termed functional neurology for some. That’s the approach that we are using. It’s very exciting, and our goal is to not use a medication if we don’t have to refer a person for a medication. You can rehab that brain.”
Oracle: “How can chiropractic neurology help a child or young adult with regressive autism, with gut and brain damage and vaccine injury?”
Dr. Gates: “A chiropractic neurologist can accurately assess what’s going on with the gastrointestinal immune interface. So they can assess leaky gut syndrome; they can assess leaky brain syndrome. They can thoroughly assess what areas of the brain are not functioning correctly because that is a difference maker. You know from a standard neurological exam, you can say ‘Okay, well this person has autism.’ But, what parts of their brain are contributing to their autism? Is one part of their brain over-firing, is one part of their brain under-firing? Are they not shutting off neurological signals, which would be the case with Trevor in his autism. So all of that needs to be assessed, and chiropractic neurologists are really skilled in doing that. And then coupling the dietary and the gut healing approaches with the brain rehab approaches, that’s how a chiropractic neurologist can help someone with autism.”
Oracle: “Awesome! Can you explain Trevor’s results from the blood work that we did? He had leaky gut and leaky brain. Can you explain what that means? In layman’s terms, ha-ha.”
Dr. Gates: “Leaky gut syndrome is an irrefutable entity, in my opinion. We did a broadcast on it and I attached 110 references that I could find in one night. So there are a lot of references on this topic. But there is a lot of misinformation on it too coming from other sources. Leaky gut is a significant problem as it relates to autoimmune disease, and autism is being tied to having autoimmune components. So with Trevor, we found that he has leaky gut syndrome, which was allowing dietary molecules, peptides as we term them, to enter into his bloodstream. His immune system was attacking those, and then what we are seeing with this is that it can create other immune responses to the brain and perpetuate the whole autism process. Not only does the gut break down, but the barrier separating the bloodstream from the brain also breaks down. So now we get immune chemicals from the body going into the brain where they shouldn’t be at too high of a level.”
Oracle: “When we first came to see you, we did a visual test with goggles to find weak areas of the brain. Can you explain this more?”
Dr. Gates: “Absolutely. So those are eye movement tests; they come from a book called The Neurology of Eye Movements. There are upwards of a thousand references for several chapters, I think there are 14 chapters [editor’s note: there are 12). So, we know from a very precise standpoint, when we are doing a certain eye movement test, what part of the brain is being activated, and from that, if the eye doesn’t move correctly in that fashion, then we know that that part of the brain is not working correctly. And the really cool part is that then we can create an intervention and do a treatment and go back and recheck the eyes and see a change; so we know that now that part of the brain is working better.”
(The test showed that the parts of Trevor’s brain that were not working correctly were both frontal lobes, the right worse than the left. The right side controls attention, nonverbal communication, and social skills. The left side controls speech, and also the left cerebellum, which controls fine motor skills.)
Oracle: “We did that with Trevor right after the evaluation, and he improved right away.”
Dr. Gates: “Yes, so then we knew we were going to be able help him at that point, which is really exciting. And it’s much better than having to have a SPECT scan, which are really cool from a graphics perspective and an illustration perspective for the patient and the family, but they’re not as practical in a day-to-day clinical atmosphere. So that’s where those eye movement tests are really valuable for us in what we are doing.”
Oracle: “Yeah, that was really cool to see. Can you explain a little more about the autoimmune attack on the tight junctions in the gut and how you go about treating it? It is a big topic in the autism community now.”
Dr. Gates: “Yeah, in essence, kind of like what we saw in Trevor’s case, is that there can be a number of different foods that can be causing the tight junction problem. In our clinical experience, gluten has been definitively linked to tight junction pathology. Basically, gluten acts as a tight-junction toxin, and then we are finding that the bacterial makeup in the gut changes with certain foods. Then, as a result, it can lead to inflammation, which breaks down the tight junctions in and of themselves. Also, once the tight junctions start breaking down, what we are using with our tests, is tracking how the immune system is responding to those proteins breaking down. So the immune system starts attacking those proteins. The fallout is asking if the immune system is attacking those proteins because they are being broken down from dysfunction in the gut, or does the immune system now become so rampant that it is actually killing the tight junction and keeping this whole process going? That’s what we think is happening.”
Oracle: “Okay. That makes sense. In your opinion, why would Trevor, or any child with a diagnosis of autism start having seizures at age 15?”
Dr. Gates: “I think because with his development, his brain was becoming more active and his hormones were changing, so that was changing the activity in his brain. With seizures, there is an imbalance between an excitatory activity and an inhibitory activity. And so, he was kind of pushed over the edge so to speak, because there were other things going on in the background the whole time that predisposed him to having these seizures. Seizures is semi-complicated, so I don’t know if I can describe it well.”
Oracle: “Well, grand mal seizures.”
Dr. Gates: “Exactly. Think about it like the brake pedal went away from his brain. That’s why his grand mal seizures happened. There are two kinds of neurotransmitters primarily involved with seizures: GABA and glutamate. Glutamate is the excitatory neurotransmitter, and GABA and glutamate are always kind of battling one another. And he didn’t have enough GABA for whatever reason, or he had too much glutamate activity. And what I think was going on with him was that his immune system was so overactive because of the gut dysfunction and the leaky brain problem that he was getting excessive glutamate activity in his brain. Since we changed that immune dysfunction, now that glutamate is calming down. And we are seeing that across the board with our concussion patients. It really extends to a number of disorders.”
Oracle: “What do you think the role of testosterone is in seizure activity in teenagers?”
Dr. Gates: “I think it is activating his brain in a different way than when he didn’t have those hormone concentrations. Testosterone does bolster frontal-lobe activity.”
Oracle: “A lot of people whose kids start having seizures as teens think testosterone is the cause.”
Dr. Gates: “I think it is a definite possibility for sure. We have seen in depressed subjects in guys, that low testosterone is a cause of depression, which is a low frontal lobe activity issue, amongst many other things.”
Oracle: “Can you explain how the anti-inflammatory diet that Trevor is on works to help with seizures?”
Dr. Gates: “So, there are probably two possibilities, and there are many nuances to this. Generally, we know that there are autoimmune components with autism, like myelin basic protein antibodies. I have some suspicion that some people with autism may have GAD antibodies as well. So, either he was making antibodies to GAD, which is glutamic acid decarboxylase; it’s the enzyme that makes GABA. So he may be making immune cells to the enzyme that makes GABA, so that could be a problem. Or, what I think is more likely what is going on, is that there is this association with too much glutamate in the brain, and that’s stimulated by people with inflammation in these autoimmune responses. So the anti-inflammatory diet is basically calming down inflammation in the body, which is calming down how the body processes tryptophan. So when there is inflammation, rather than taking tryptophan and making serotonin and melatonin, the body is going to make these inflammatory metabolites, that increase glutamate transmission. Is that too technical?
Oracle: “No, not for us. How long generally does someone stay on the anti-inflammatory diet before you start re-introducing certain foods?”
Dr. Gates: “Everybody is different. Our baseline is 8-12 weeks, but for someone who has something more severe going on, usually 4-6 months before we introduce foods.”
Oracle: “Like Trevor, he’s been on it for 6 months now.”
Dr. Gates: “Yeah, because it really takes that long to heal the gut, and then we retest. It’s patient specific; it depends on the disorder.”
Dr. Gates: “After years of trial and error with different supplements relative to fixing the microbiome, which people in the autistic community are very familiar with, there are a number of different approaches. There is the probiotic approach, and then there is the starve and kill approach. We go along with the starve and kill approach because we found that if you feed the microbiome the right diet and you basically try to starve the bad bacteria by eliminating the problematic foods that people are still eating on gluten-free diets, and kill them off with the berberine, we have better results than by just using the probiotic approach.”
Oracle: “Trevor did worse on probiotics, adding all these new species.”
Dr. Gates: “Yeah, absolutely, all these other bacterial species make byproducts that affect the brain. There is that component too – is that going on?”
Oracle: “Are there any similar case studies you are aware of with seizures using this approach in autism?”
Dr. Gates: “Not with this exact approach, but with what we were talking about earlier relative to tryptophan, there is a new study, the first study that I have seen on this, where they are showing that autistic patients process tryptophan differently from normal control subjects, and the result is they make all these inflammatory metabolites that then excite glutamate receptors. As a result, we get over-excitation of the brain, which we see with autism, amongst many other issues. So, this is incredibly exciting, and it ties in with a pro-inflammatory link because this tryptophan goes down the wrong pathway because of inflammation in the body, likely stemming from the gut. Which may actually be coming from the brain, breaking down the gut barrier.”
Oracle: “Wow! One of the other treatments we are using with Trevor during targeted brain exercises is electrodes on the side of his face, and his inner thighs. The ones on the inner thighs were for bedwetting, which was eliminated from the treatment. The electrodes affect the brain, that’s all I know, can you explain more clearly?”
Dr. Gates: “It’s analogous to if you want to build a bicep, you do a bicep curl. That’s what a bicep does, you exercise the bicep. The same principle applies to chiropractic neurology, and what we are doing with Trevor. We know which areas of the brain are stimulated, for example by stimulation in different parts of the body. We know which eye movements will stimulate different parts of the brain. So, based on his exam, I came up with a treatment designed to stimulate the parts of his brain that are not working, one of which is using the electrical stimulation in certain spots. It gets more nuanced than that though, because for patients who have an autoimmune disorder relative to the brain, stimulating the involved brain is not always the best idea. So, sometimes, we start very gentle, doing more general exercises for the brain and build up over time, just as you would with a workout regime, and getting more specific for those parts of the brain as it can handle that type of workload.”
Oracle: “Another treatment we use are what I call the “John Lennon glasses,” which are blue on half the lens and red on the other, and we throw a ball to his right side and play catch. Can you explain a little more what the glasses do?”
Dr. Gates: “Yes, the glasses are calming down his fight/flight, his sympathetic nervous system responses, and that is really important relative to healing the gut. This is one piece I feel that is missed in a lot of functional-medicine-based treatments. There is a lot of attention on diet, probiotics, and gut repair protocols, but what we are finding is that typically the gut breaks down due to abnormal stress responses coming from the brain, which we saw in Trevor. So we are using those glasses to calm down his stress portion of his brain in essence. We are having him throw the ball off to the right side because I’m trying to activate his left frontal lobe to enable his ability to communicate a little better, and we have seen some improvements there, his ability to verbalize different things. It’s exciting!”
Oracle: “Yeah! How do you choose what specific exercises to do with somebody?”
Dr. Gates: “That answer is basically lots of clinical experience and doing the exercises and learning what works for what person. So I work off of probabilities of what I’ve seen in the past, and then I’ll do an exercise and look for a change – like with the eye movement test. If I don’t see a change, I’ll go to a different set of exercises, and I may go away from the part of the brain I’m trying to stimulate. For example, if we are trying to exercise Trevor’s left frontal lobe to improve his speech, I may not stimulate the left frontal lobe, I might stimulate the right cerebellum which talks to the left frontal lobe 12-14 times a second. Because that will be a gentler stimulation for his left frontal lobe.”
Oracle: “That’s so interesting. That’s why we need professionals like you, instead of winging it as moms like we always do. How long does it take to heal leaky gut and leaky brain?”
Dr. Gates: “In Trevor’s case, I’m anticipating about six months, where most patients with autoimmune diseases, it’s usually like three months.”
Oracle: “Would somebody be able to do this themselves, on their own? A lot of us try to take bits and pieces and do our own protocol.”
Dr. Gates: “They might. I feel that we have come up with something that’s pretty unique because we have tried so many different things and we have the background to evaluate what’s going on with each different treatment. Especially, the supplement industry is advertising more and more to parents to take this supplement for this problem, and it becomes incredibly confusing if you’re doing more than one thing at one time to really discern what’s going on. As you told me, Trevor was having seizures as he was reacting to these supplements, and that’s the perfect example. Supplements are powerful, they are incredibly powerful, good and bad. So that’s where, yes, people possibly can. But all I can say is that we have a lot of doctors coming to us wanting assistance with what they are doing because of our results. And if doctors are having a hard time figuring it out, parents are going to have a hard time figuring it out.”
Oracle: “Personally, I feel that the testing is really important, and I was never really into testing, as you know. I was very adamantly not wanting to do blood work, but I knew I needed to see if he had a problem because then I need to treat it. And I thought he had healed his gut because he was on what I thought was a really clean diet. He was gluten-free, organic, non-GMO, but he was eating other grains and nightshades. He ate tomatoes every day. I didn’t realize they could be a problem for him and were inflammatory in his case. When I saw the results from the test, I was pretty shocked. The blood test was easy, and I felt stupid that I was so against it. It was fear, and I didn’t want to harm him or have him be hurt. Anything with a needle, get it away from him! In or out, it doesn’t matter. PTSD. I was fine by the second blood test.”
Dr. Gates: “Yeah, good point, for sure.”
Oracle: “So, are there other resources, or similar doctors with your background that do what you do in other states?”
Dr. Gates: “There are others, yes, doing similar things, but within those similar things, everything is kind of different too.”
Oracle: “Do they focus on the nutritional component as much as you?”
Dr. Gates: “Some do, some don’t. And some focus on the nutritional component, but they don’t focus on the neurological component as much. So that’s what’s different. And within autism, a lot of people are doing heavy metal chelation series, things of that nature. You can draw all these bubbles of things that are wrong, from chelation to mitochondrial problems, to autoimmune, to genetics. You have the MTHFR people who are all about the B vitamins. And you have to be able to look at all of those things and say ‘Okay, can I create a treatment with the fewest supplements possible?’ That’s our perspective, because I don’t just want to have a patient sign up for a $30,000 chelation program when they may not really need that, when we can fix their gut with a couple supplements and do brain exercises and not have to go down that road.”
Oracle: “Yeah. That’s what most parents would want too, the least invasive protocol. A lot of us have already tried a lot of those things and our child is still pretty affected. What next? Like with Trevor, he started having a seizure with everything I did. Any new supplement, detox, HBOT . . . seizure, seizure, seizure. There was something else going on that I was missing. It was the gut, leaky gut and brain, inflammatory process going on. I didn’t figure that out.”
Dr. Gates: “You were going in the right direction for sure, absolutely.”
Oracle: “I’m just over the moon that he hasn’t had a seizure in this long; so that’s why we are here. You explained this to me once, the healing the brain to heal the gut in reverse concept. How you can’t fully heal the gut if the brain is dysfunctional. That was a new concept to me: heal the brain to heal the gut. Can you explain it a little more?”
Dr. Gates: “Absolutely. Because the brain has incredibly powerful connections to the gut. It innervates the gut, it’s what causes us to move food through the gut in large part or it controls that so to speak, and it controls innervations that create digestive juices as well as healing responses in the gut. In addition to the effect of cortisol. So the brain fires cortisol levels. So when cortisol levels are high, then the gut tends to break down, because the gut is just skin. So the new paradigm in dealing with leaky gut, dealing with autoimmune issues relative to leaky gut, dealing with irritable bowel syndrome, things of that nature, it’s all about the brain. In fact, some people want to rename irritable bowel syndrome to irritable brain syndrome. In essence, the simplicity is that you have to calm down the fight/flight response coming from the brain that’s negatively affecting the gut. You do that, and good things can happen.”
Oracle: “That makes sense to me because when I was younger I didn’t realize that I had food allergies, and I went to the doctor because I had terrible pain and other stuff happening and was given a trash can diagnosis, just like autism, of irritable bowel syndrome. Then, decades later, I found out I had all of these food allergies including wheat and dairy and had them eliminated with acupuncture. Then I could eat the foods again in rotation. I don’t eat them now; I eat pretty much what Trevor eats, although he’s stricter right now. But I could reintroduce those foods and not have the same reactions. So, I know firsthand it can be what you’re eating that is causing symptoms. Most people don’t make the connection of food and gut symptoms; they think it’s normal. They think that’s how their body just is.”
Dr. Gates: “I know, I was there too. I totally know what you mean.”
Oracle: “I know it’s probably TMI, but you think, ‘Oh yeah, I always get diarrhea when I eat dairy; that’s normal. I have to go to the bathroom five minutes after eating ice cream. That’s normal, right?’ (Both laughing in agreement). I think it’s a predisposition, kids with regressive autism, their parents have gut issues or their families have autoimmune issues. Then all the triggers are there later, but there is that initial underlying genetic component.”
Dr. Gates: “Absolutely, yes.”
Oracle: “We do a home program too, the brain exercises at home. Can you explain the maintenance program for someone like Trevor? How long will he have to do those brain exercises?”
Dr. Gates: “Daily, it’s about 15 minutes, twice a day, or 30 minutes once a day. It’s analogous to going to the gym. We can’t work out for six months and be good for the rest of our lives, we have to maintain it. And that’s what we have to do with the brain and these neurological disorders. I mean, 30 minutes is not that exhaustive for most people, they can do it, and because they get such a good response from the exercises, they are happy to do it. Like Trevor, you get him set up and he’s happy doing them. It’s so great!”
Oracle: “Yeah, he does them every night before he goes to bed. He’s super compliant. I was kind of amazed. I thought he’d hem and haw about it, but I think he knows it’s doing something for him. So he laughs and giggles and likes doing it. He loves going to see you. He knows it’s helping him. When he’s having a problem with his ears, he pulls on his ear and asks to see you.”
Dr. Gates: “I know, I love seeing him too.”
Oracle: “Is there anything else you’d like to add?”
Dr. Gates: “I think you highlighted the important pieces of the puzzle. I think the most important thing that most parents with an autistic child need to know is that it takes kind of an algorithm to fix these issues, in my experience, and you want to try to fix the bigger problems first. And that’s kind of what we hit with Trevor. Fix the bigger problems first; then you can get out into the more esoteric problems. In our algorithm, we like to go least invasive first, and yes, we’ve had patients who needed chelation, or other vitamin therapies, or things of that nature, but it’s not that common when you fix the source of the problem, which most of the time is the gut and the brain.”
Oracle: “How long will somebody like Trevor need to continue the treatment?”
Dr. Gates: “Maintenance is different for everyone. Currently, I try to follow up with patients every three months as a standard for the first year. And then I go out to every six months or a year after that just to check in on them, make sure they are doing their home exercises, they are following their diet. We do lab tests to make sure everything looks good. That’s what most people can expect. With Trevor, we have a little different case; so I may be following up with him a little more frequently in the first year. And then we can spread it out from there. The goal is not for the patient or the parents to be dependent on us. The goal is for them to have the tools and the solutions, the power so to speak, to control everything.”
Oracle: “Is there anything else you can say about seizures in general, not just in the autistic community?”
Dr. Gates: “Sure, there is a lot of talk about different diets for seizures – like ketogenic diets, things of that nature – this inflammatory glutamate process relative to diet.”
Oracle: “What is the difference between the diet that we are doing and the ketogenic diet for seizures?”
Dr. Gates: “The difference is that we are not as focused on pushing Trevor into ketosis, relative to he can still have sugar. He can still have fruits and things of that nature; so we are not eliminated there. We are working on a food intolerance perspective; we are working on a diet to change his microbiome to change his leaky gut. Where the ketogenic aspect is really to change the processing of calories to more fat-based, so it’s easier on the mitochondria to help seizures in that fashion. It’s so confusing. And that’s what you have to be able to do as a practitioner, is to change the diet if the person is not responding, which we haven’t had to do with Trevor because he is responding. I have 6-7 different diets that I use depending on the person. If they have rheumatoid arthritis, they will probably be on a vegetarian diet. If they have a horrible case of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), we are going to probably start them out with just eating chicken and then introduce a food every day to see how their gut responds to each different food. Because it is that nuanced between food allergies and the gut microbiome, leaky gut, what the brain is doing talking to the gut.”
Oracle: “I know, even with Trevor, he had his food allergies eliminated with NAET, but he was still reacting to food. A lot of parents like myself think, ‘Oh, well this pizza is gluten-free; so it’s fine.’ What do you think other grains do? Do people become reactive to other foods?”
Dr. Gates: “In our clinical experience, some patients have food immune reactivity, is the best way to say it, to other grains. From my clinical experience, some people when they eat grains and other foods like potatoes, they may grow the SIBO, or it may promote dysbiosis for a long period of time. So that’s what I think they do. For myself, and this is one criticism of the gluten-free diet, is that sugar and carbohydrate content is a lot higher. A lot of people gain weight on it. Gluten-free is just the tip of the iceberg; it gets so much more involved than that.”
Oracle: “When we started with Trevor on gluten-free, dairy-free, this was before they had the foods available in stores. I had to make it from scratch or order it online. Now it’s available at every grocery store, and people are so rushed and they see that it’s gluten-free and has the non-GMO symbol on it and think, ‘He can have this!’ I fell into that trap, not realizing that he still had leaky gut the whole time. It was a wake-up call to me. Just because it says it gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO doesn’t mean he couldn’t react to that food. Maybe parents need to know that there is more going on to what you are feeding them than meets the eye. Until we did that blood test, I was clueless.”
Dr. Gates: “Absolutely. Kudos to you for being open to it, because not all people are open to it.”
Oracle: “I’ve changed his diet so many times that it was just another thing. We went gluten-free, cleaned out the pantry cold turkey. When we went non-GMO, same thing. Bags of crap just thrown away. So we had to start from scratch again, and he was super compliant with the diet. We have been lucky in that aspect. Thank you so much for doing this and showing another option to parents regarding treatments for seizures.”
Dr. Gates: “Thank you! This was fun!”
So there you have it. Seven months (and counting) without a grand mal seizure by using a non-drug approach incorporating testing, dietary intervention, a few key supplements, targeted brain-based exercises and chiropractic neurology. At TMR, when we find the good stuff, we share with our tribe. With 40 percent of the autism population having seizures, we can use all the help we can get!
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