Health News Digest

Leo Kanner

April 3, 2017

Autism April—Featuring CMV and HHV-6

By Michael D. Shaw

Another April, another National Autism Awareness Month. The statistics, of course, are appalling. The CDC states that about 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, and is about 4.5 times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189). Consider that this incidence rate has more than doubled since 2000.

In previous articles, we have dealt with the disconnect between what Dr. Leo Kanner—who first described the disorder in 1943—and what now constitutes the diagnostic criteria for the condition. Kanner’s landmark paper, entitled “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact,” published in Nervous Child, is both widely cited and assiduously ignored.

Fearless contrarian and pioneering pediatrician Michael J. Goldberg MD has long railed against the conventional approach to autism—and has cured many of these kids. As he says…

“These children present with multiple symptoms that we were trained were medical, but somehow we’re writing it all off as ‘autism’ and ‘psychological.’ It’s impossible for a developmental or genetic disorder to ever become an epidemic, and yet we are condemning these parents and children to no future. I have essentially watched families go to experts around the country, go to leaders around the country, and realize that those experts, those leaders have completely turned their back on these families. They are desperate, they need help, and that’s supposed to be our job as pediatricians.”

“If you throw out autism, then you suddenly realize we have a massive medical epidemic affecting the brains and bodies of these children. It is time we recognize that these children are ill, and have autistic-like symptoms, but do not have autism.”

Which brings us to the human herpesviruses known as CMV (Cytomegalovirus) and HHV-6 (Human herpesvirus 6).

According to learned sources, CMV is ubiquitous and generally asymptomatic in healthy children and adults. Yet, it is also a major cause of morbidity and occasional mortality in newborn infants. Moreover, CMV has been identified as the most important cause of congenital infection in the developed world, that frequently leads to mental retardation and developmental disability.

If this weren’t bad enough, a body of evidence links CMV to a number of adult health problems, including immunosenescence (the age-dependent decrease in immunological competence) and an increased risk of malignancy and vascular disease. As with all human herpesviruses, they establish life-long latency and can become reactivated later in life.

HHV-6, which infects nearly 100% of human beings, typically before the age of three, is another potential baddie—associated with a shocking number of illnesses. We’re talking Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cervical cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and myocarditis, among many others.

Listen to Dr. Goldberg:

“I was taught as a pediatrician, that when a baby is born severely brain damaged, CMV was one of the organisms you must look for, and rule out.  Imagine my shock when I discovered that up to 1.5% of newborns have CMV—yet explained away as ‘asymptomatic’.”

He further notes that HHV-6 should become inactive and in theory not harmful. But, should it become chronically activated via a stressed immune system, it is known to cause chronic dysfunction and harm over time.

As such, Goldberg asks the medical establishment: Why not acknowledge that the evidence of activated viruses in ASD children is not normal, but rather is consistent with, and is a reflection of, their stressed immune systems?  If so, ASD becomes a medical condition (phenotype) and not DSM autism!