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Viruses and Children with Autism

Introduction

The impact of viruses on autism has been an ongoing discussion for many years.  There has been much talk about in utero exposure and early on exposure to viruses that may increase the risk of autism.  Researchers have found that children with autism have a decreased number of T-cells which means their immune system is impaired and unable to fight infection.  It is also possible that early exposure to viruses may cause the immune system to create a production of antibodies against the child's own brain which would result in neurological deficits as seen in ASD.  Viruses can cause harm to the nerve tissue, thus negatively affecting the nervous system.  Viruses can also stimulate an immune response by creating antibodies in order to eliminate the viruses.  Sometimes environmental toxins can activate these antibodies.  If the immune response is too weak then the viruses may affect the body tissue which causes inflammation.  Inflammation is the body's way of fighting an attack, so long term and widespread inflammation (especially in the brain), as seen in children with autism, results in chronically sick children with neurological and behavioral changes.  The following viruses may play a role in autism: Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) 1& 2; Human Herpes Virus #6 (HHV 6); Epstein - Barr Virus (EBV); Measles, Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV), and Cytomegalovirus (CMV).  Talk to your child's doctor about testing for these viruses and also see the PANDAS/PANS section for related information.

Related Sites

Autistic Disorder and Viral Infections
Description:  From the Journal of Neurovirology.

Martha Herbert, MD
Description:  Dr. Herbert is a Harvard trained neurologist and a brain development researcher. For nearly two decades her main clinical, research and advocacy focus was on autism. She recognizes that many children with autism are chronically ill.

Viral Exposure and Autism
Description:  News and views on autism research.

Altered T Cell Responses in Children with Autism
Description:  A PubMed article.

Books

Plague: One Scientist’s Intrepid Search for the Truth about Human Retroviruses and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Autism and Other Diseases by Kent Heckenlively and Judy Mikovits
Description:  This book is a daunting account of the author’s personal scientific battle. Dr. Judy Mikovits discusses human retroviruses and how these viruses are linked to chronic fatigue syndrome, autism, prostate cancer, lymphoma and other neurodevelopment disorders in children. Dr. Mikovits faces severe scientific criticism and prejudice as she defends the underlying viral factor in CFS and autism.

Myth of Autism: How a Misunderstood Epidemic Is Destroying Our Children – Expanded and Revised Edition by Michael Goldberg M.D.
Description:  Myth of Autism was one of the first books to address the underlying viral infection attacking the brain and the immune system in children with autism. Dr Goldberg maintains that autism is biomedical in nature and a dysfunction in the neuro-immune system and neurotropic viruses that impact the brain’s immune system. He calls it NIDS – Neuro-Immune Dysfunction Syndromes.

The Autism Book: What Every Parent Needs to Know about Early Detection, Treatment, Recovery and Prevention by Robert Sears MD
Description:  The Autism Book is an essential guide book for every parent authored by Dr. Robert Sears. Dr. Sears provides an excellent resource for parents beginning right after diagnosis. He focuses on a biomedical treatment approach and gives a comprehensive explanation on autism and viruses and how this impacts the disorder. Dr. Sears also talks about how to recover and prevent the diagnosis.

Tools

Viral Infections, Brain Inflammation and Autism
Description:  This is an informative webinar video with Dr. Kurt Woeller on viral infections, brain inflammation and autism.

Viral Infections, Brain Inflammation and Autism by Kurt Woeller DO
Description:  Chronic viral infections and immune dysfunction is a serious problem in autism. Research is showing that immune imbalances often brought on or in association with chronic viral infections leads to brain inflammation, microglia activation and neurologic dysfunction. This two part presentation will explore this important topic in-depth and give the audience a deeper understanding regarding autism, brain inflammation and treatment, along with important testing options that can help define this problem more clearly.

Parent Forums/Blogs

Some forums require you to sign in to Yahoo or Facebook to locate forum names.

Forum/Blog Name:  Lyme Induced Autism Family Support Group
Description:  Sharing info on Autism that is associated with bacteria (Lyme disease and its co-infections).

Forum/Blog Name:  Viral Exposure and Autism
Description:  This blog presents the evidence from many sources of viral exposure and autism. There are numerous scientific papers and their links on this topic. In addition there is information on the connection of Vitamin D deficiency and its relationship to autism.

Forum/Blog Name:  Viral Exposure and Autism
Description:  Questioning Answers - Viral exposure and autism.