Autistic spectrum disorders appear to have a biomedical basis which adversely affects the immune system. Greater than 95% of autistic children have significant environmental and food sensitivities and allergies. Food allergies and sensitivities occur in 5-8% of the general population, 36% of the autistic population (Lucarelli, 1995) and up to 50% of surveyed families report evidence of food allergy/sensitivity in the autistic child (Horvath, 2002). These allergies can affect any part of the GI tract and manifest as pain, diarrhea, constipation, gastritis, skin rashes, hives, eczema, hyperactivity and self-injurious behavior.
It is important to test for these allergies by removing offending foods, confirming using IgE blood testing, rotation diets. Conventional allergy testing/immunotherapy usually involves blood or skin testing at the lowest possible level of reaction to environmental allergens, i.e. dust, molds, trees, grasses, weeds, etc. Skin testing for food sensitivities is rarely done. Serial End Point Therapy is a treatment method done at our office that has been found to alleviate allergic symptoms by using dilute injections of the offending allergens. The allergic symptoms may be manifested in different organ systems such as respiratory, skin, nervous and gastrointestinal. Many children on the spectrum will manifest increasingly aberrant behaviors during times of the year when the pollen counts are at their highest. Serial End Point Testing is only done in a few centers in this country yet is widely accepted in European countries as the first line testing modality.
Serial end point testing consists of a series of skin tests to determine the precise dose of extract that will alleviate symptoms without producing side effects. A small amount of allergy extract is injected under the skin and a wheal (a welt or bubble) forms. The wheal is measured, timed for seven to ten minutes and measured again. The strongest dose that does not produce significant skin reaction is called the neutralizing dose. In addition, careful note is made of any symptoms that may be induced. Symptoms may be provoked, especially when testing with foods, which is helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of the condition. At the conclusion of the testing, an extract is made either as a nasal spray or injectable extract. The extract is preservative free and requires refrigeration. New extracts are prepared monthly for the individual patient.
Treatment with neutralization therapy usually produces rapid relief from symptoms. The dose is constant, and does not have to be built up and increased over a four to twelve month period as in conventional immunotherapy. Serial End Point/Neutralization Testing can alleviate sensitivity to foods and inhalants.