Saturday, December 22, 2007

Oxidative Stress Research from Dr. Jill James

I have heard Dr. James speak twice now, and while the subject matter is high-level science and has a very real tendency to make my head spin, the conclusions are fascinating. I feel privileged to have Jill James residing here in Arkansas, because not only has she done some brilliant and helpful research, she works tirelessly to help our children. She is currently seeking to begin an Autism Resource Center in Little Rock.

On to the take-home points of her research: These children have reduced methylation capacity, and glutathione cannot be adequately synthesized. Oxidative stress is increased in these children. She stresses that it is undetermined as to whether these biomarkers are present all along or are a consequence of autism. I think one of the most important findings of her most recent research is that "autistic children may be genetically more sensitive to pro-oxidant environmental exposures". Guess what she used to prove this with cell lines? Thimerosal.
Additional information she happened to find was that we as parents(moms in particular) seem to have risk factors. As in the case of our children, we are unsure at this time which of these results may be due to autism (in our case the stress of having a child with autism) or whether they are any case, she highly recommends that we get our homocysteine levels checked. In addition, we also seem to have some of the same methylation cycle & detox issues as our children. Hopefully more research on these important topics will follow.
On another note unrelated to her talk, Dr. James has been working tirelessly to create an Autism Resource Center in Little Rock. As a baby step towards this goal, our Children's Hospital has become part of Autism Speaks' Autism Treatment Network, or ATN. Her goal is to have a "one-stop shop" where parents will have all resources available at their disposal, and a team of doctors...who have a clue:) Here is AR, we have an abundance of cluelessness and outright hostility towards biomedical from the medical establishment, as well as a full-on love affair with vaccines. I applaud Dr. James and the parents working with her as they attempt to turn the mighty river.

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