Published Articles

Allergies Linked to ADD and ADHD
by Karyne and B. William Meads

Michelle Liebermann will never forget what happened to her twins, Sarah and Josh, the day they came home from school with very different allergic symptoms. A note from the school in their backpacks stated that the school grounds had been sprayed with the “usual" seasonal pesticides. Sarah had a runny nose and “scratchy feeling" on her legs, but Josh had a glazed look in his eyes and just wanted to sleep. The next morning, however, his personality turned upside down. Spitting, kicking furniture, banging his head, his personality became worse day by day. “It got to the point where we could take him nowhere with predictability," relates Michelle, a concerned Mom and special education teacher.

Sarah's reaction to the poisons sprayed near enough for her to breath them in, was a healthy immune system response. The body did it's best to excrete the toxin that just came in causing good reactions like sneezing, runny nose, coughing. If they aren't too severe, these responses serve their purpose and expel the offending molecules of environmental poison.

Josh's reaction showed that his immune system was already at “overload" dealing with the daily dose of air borne pollens, the food additives and colorings in his diet. The introduction of this newest “offense" threw his body into a tailspin that changed how his immune system functioned. Instead of protecting him from outside invasions of germs, and molds, his immune system turned inward against itself and began to self attack, or even shut down. That overdose of pesticides began an autoimmune response in Josh that affected his neurology, speech, motor control, sleep patterns, behavior and emotions.

It would be nice to say that Josh's Mom found a simple pill to fix it all. But a domino effect had happened inside of Josh's metabolism. And just like dominoes, each piece had to be separately put back in balance, not just the last one in the row that got knocked down. The good news is that no labels were ever placed on Josh like ADHD or Autism because it was clear in his case that the cause was an environmental toxin and his parents knew to take him to a specialist in environmental detoxification. Nine months of orthomolecular therapy restored him to 80 percent, and another five months of Sound Entrainment Therapy recovered his neurological function.

Their family pediatrician, unfamiliar with environmental allergies, told her not to worry. He said that Josh would grow out of this and to just “wait and see". The outbursts continued and like millions of parents whose children suffer from attention and hyperactivity disorders, Michelle was frantic for answers. Before finding a specialist that understood the complexity of the situation, they went through six weeks of brain scans, lab tests, and psychological evaluations. “We were told that he was fine, normal and bright, and that he would benefit from some speech therapy," she says. Finally, they were referred by a kind and wise elderly physician to the SETI Institute for full testing and evaluation.

Once Josh finished the intensive detoxification programs lasting several months and concurrent Sound Therapy to restore the balance in his brain, he progressed to a maintenance program. He followed a special diet and used combination vitamins and allergy neutralizing drops that reduced his allergies one by one. Today, Josh has no problems making and keeping friends. He is on the school's list for academic excellence and feels great about how his life is progressing. Occasionally, he feels a little strange if his diet gets off track, but his behavior problems and learning disabilities have all but disappeared. Josh has never taken one prescription drug for his condition.

Sometimes referred to as ADD, or attention deficit disorder, ADHD has become the catchall phrase for both conditions because most, though not all, children diagnosed are hyperactive. Other symptoms include impulsivity, inability to sit still or focus, short-term memory loss, irritability, insomnia, learning problems, and mood swings.

The most commonly prescribed treatment plan for ADHD is a cocktail of stimulants (usually Ritalin, Concerta or Stratera) and antidepressants which have never been tested for safety in children. An estimated 10 to 20 percent of schoolchildren take stimulants for ADHD -- that's three to six kids in every class of 30 children.

“We prescribe more Ritalin here than in any other country," says Sherry Rogers, MD. “So the richest country in the world has the dumbest, most hyperactive kids?" Many medical doctors are not trained to measure allergies to food additives, pesticides, or heavy metals that can enter the brain during the first few years of a child's brain development. Those toxins have to be removed before the systems they caused damage to can be repaired. “Calling something genetic and saying there is no cure, has been the norm for doctors who simply didn't have the answers and were afraid to say so," says Dr. Sidney Baker, MD, Medical Director of the Autism Research Institute.

Misunderstood and misdiagnosed, ADHD is by many estimates the most prevalent psychological disorder in children. Without treatment, kids with moderate to severe symptoms are at high risk for underachievement in school and antisocial tendencies later in life, according to George DuPaul, Ph.D., professor and coordinator of school psychology at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Is there a relationship overlooked by our medical establishment as well as our schools? Our children are showing signs from mild to severe reactions to all the environmental pollutants put into the air and water, chemicals in the cleaning agents we use in our homes, metals showing up in dental fillings in our mouths, and food additives in packaged foods.

It is against the law in Germany for a dentist to place an amalgam-mercury filling in a child's or in an expectant mother's mouth. Scandinavian governments are funding the cost of having all their citizen's teeth checked for metals that can cause chronic health issues and removing them. In Japan, it is impossible to find a diet drink with aspartame in it. The scientific research has proven years ago that aspartame affects the brain, as well as the metabolism. Their laws protect the health of their people. It is their “prime directive." The wealth of any country is the health of its people, young and old.

Parents across the country travel to SETI in San Diego with their children for a comprehensive Quantum Spectra-Vision Evaluation. This is a non-invasive technology developed in Germany that tests for thousands of allergy provoking molecules that could be causing a child's ADHD behavior. Ruling out what is NOT the problem is important. A drug should never be used to cover up a symptom being caused by a metal, pesticide, or other toxin that the body is trying to get rid of. The behavior or reaction should be looked at as the “messenger" telling the parents that there is something the child needs that is missing, or there is something the child has, that needs to come out. Drugging the messenger (the symptom) doesn't cure the problem.

There has been little, if any, evidence that stimulants work when used longer than two years. The long-term side effects can be addiction and “zombie-like" behavior. Methylphenidate, or Ritalin, the most widely prescribed stimulant, is classified by the US Department of Justice as a Schedule II drug because if its strong addictive properties. Cocaine and morphine are also Schedule II drugs, and like them, Ritalin is also a documented street drug (known as “skittles"). Health related claims for Ritalin include severe side effects in some children, including appetite and weight loss (or gain), insomnia, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and becoming unaware of how their behavior affects others. This can lead to antisocial behavior. Studies are in progress linking violent juvenile behavior with use of these prescribed drugs that seem to alter a child's ability to discern right from wrong and consequence from their actions.

Detoxifying the body: nutrition's promise
For more than 26 years, specialists in the field of orthomolecular medicine have helped patients with a variety of maladies, including ADHD and other learning disabilities. The term, coined by two time Nobel scientist Linus Pauling in 1968, is the practice of treating and preventing disease (including allergies and the body attacking itself) by providing the body with optimal amounts of its own substances. “The question is not do the nutritional supplements work, but how could they not work? It's the stuff we are made of." -- Charles Gant, MD, Ph.D.

One of orthomolecular medicine's early pioneers was the late Benjamin Feingold, MD a San Francisco allergist who created an uproar in the medical community in the mid-1970's with the now-legendary Feingold Diet. Dr. Feingold claimed that the elimination of processed foods and their preservatives, food colorings, and additives, as well as most sugars, could cure hyperactivity and other behavior disorders.

The SETI clinical approach is similar to what experts like Billie J. Sahley, Ph.D., a researcher and founder of the Pain and Stress Center in San Antonio, Texas, practice with a philosophy that patients have individual needs and won't get everything they need from their diet to reverse their condition. An orthomolecular therapist since 1980, Sahley treats patients with amino acid supplements, which she says help reverse the neurotransmitter deficiency in the brain that may cause ADHD.

At SETI, we interview both child and parent for a medical history. The Quantum Spectra-Vision is then used to understand the brain chemistry profile and to identify nutrient deficiencies. Sahley claims 90 percent success rate with her patients, and within three to six months we notice dramatic change in the child's behavior and learning in school and at home.

Specialists like Drs. Doris Rapp and Sherry Rogers, focus more on allergies and also investigate patients' home environments. In their opinions, high levels of dust, mold, and other toxins contribute to the behavior problems synonymous with ADHD. Simple measures, like purchasing an air purifier, can help many patients. In others, allergies are discovered and treated with allergy extracts and given to children easily in drops under the tongue. Eventually, most patients are able to occasionally eat all varieties of good foods again.

Rapp, who now lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where she focuses on writing and research rather than direct practice, says that 80 percent of her patients were 80 percent better within six months of combined therapies such as the ones named above. “Some of these children were so violent to others or themselves they wanted to kill everyone and everything on the earth", she says. “They bit, hit, or battered their mothers repeatedly." Years of clinical experience show that the child is suffering from a metal toxicity like aluminum, lead, mercury, or an allergic reaction to a baby vaccine. Once the cause is removed and neutralized, the child's behavior and brain come back to balance or homeostasis.

Dr. Sidney Baker, MD, illustrated the importance of balance in this way: “If I am standing on one foot and you push me over with your thumb, I could conclude that I am thumb-sensitive and need to stay away from thumbs. Now if I put both feet on the ground I regain my balance and I am no longer so sensitive to the effect of your thumb. In the same way a toddler with eczema may itch all over and keep himself up half the night scratching because of sensitivities to foods, fabrics, dust or other factors that cannot easily be determined. He just seems sensitive to everything. Then, for example, if a zinc deficiency is found and his balance is restored with respect to zinc, his sensitivity will diminish."

Once the toxins are out of the brain, the neurology can be stimulated to grow and work properly using Sound Entrainment Therapy. Fifteen to 30 short therapy sessions are usually all that is needed to bring back a child's ability to think, focus, speak, and write. Combined therapies always work best and faster then one OR the other.

Those who improved only slightly were usually non?compliant or lived in an allergen-filled house that couldn't be modified. This is hard work on the part of the parents for many months, and some parents can't find it in themselves to weather the storm through a healing recovery when it's easier to have the symptoms just go away with a pill. Being realistic about treatment is just one challenge; nutritional therapies take a lot of time and effort for parents and kids alike.

In the end, Dr. Gant, MD, believes that patients and their families will bring nutritional therapies into the mainstream. “Consumers are way ahead of the medical community in understanding nutrition." A family faced with the reality of healing their child now or waiting for the government to change it's policy of letting industry pollute the air and environment will choose to simply change how they protect their children in a toxic world.

While there may be some instances where a prescription drug is indicated, the goal of every concerned parent should be to just say NO to drugs, including prescription drugs, when it comes to any learning disability that can be treated through orthomolecular nutrition and sound therapy. Pressure from teachers or school officials should have little bearing on whether to give your child an addictive drug. Find out the reality of why the school wants your child to take a drug. Say YES to healing the body from what is really causing the problem. There is no germ or substance called ADHD. It's a name given to a group of symptoms that now fit the picture of toxic and allergic overload of the body. Do something for your child and have them environmentally tested with the best technology used by doctors who know how to heal their children, not just drug them.