Wholistic Pediatrics and Family Care, under the direction of David S Berger, MD, is one of the few medical practices in the world that offers individualized wholistic treatment plans prepared by a Board Certified Pediatrician. Because we also provide primary and sick care to our patients, we are able to provide comprehensive medical services for the special needs child. We have developed protocols that are age and weight specific to safely utilize both natural and pharmacological agents in the healing of the patient. We prescribe specific brands and products that we have thoroughly researched for safety and efficacy.
We have found that there are many biochemical and genetic similarities among patients with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Disorders (with or without hyperactivity), seizures, and other neurological, behavioral, communication and social disorders. Certain findings are also seen in patients with allergies, asthma, eczema and auto-immune diseases. At the same time, each person is different and an individualized approach to testing and treatment plan needs to be followed. After a thorough history is obtained, options are discussed with the family to determine the best treatment regimen for the patient. There are many tests that can be run to delineate the needs of a particular patient.
The gastrointestinal tract is the main body system that allows nutrients into and prevents toxins from entering the body. A patient’s history of antibiotic or steroid use, and the form and frequency of stool passage may indicate the need for tests that check for the presence of intestinal pathogens, such as bacteria, yeast, and parasites, which release toxins into the body and cause local damage to the intestinal lining. This leads to inflammation, improper digestion, and inadequate nutrient absorption. These problems frequently present as abdominal pain, abnormal or foul smelling stools, and bloating or flatulence. These toxins also impose a direct negative effect upon the body’s immune and neurological systems. Damage to the intestinal tract by these organisms allows toxins and foods to enter the bloodstream, causing negative reactions. Furthermore, the presence of certain intestinal organisms can interfere with other therapies that may be needed to treat the patient. Lab testing can tell us about both the presence of these organisms, as well as which therapies are most likely to work in eliminating the organisms. We use natural treatments and, if necessary, pharmacological approaches to eradicate these pathogens.
If the elimination of intestinal pathogens does not improve a child’s bowel symptoms, the cause may be compromised intestinal digestive capacity. We employ various digestive enzymes to treat the problem. We also use the hormone secretin to stimulate the pancreas to secrete digestive enzymes. Secretin has also helped to improve speech and cognitive function in some individuals.
A urine test, called the Organic Acid Test, is often used to provide additional useful information about the toxins produced by yeast and bacteria. Sometimes a stool test will miss these organisms. This test also tells us about certain vitamin and co-enzyme needs, and how the body is metabolizing proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
We are also concerned about heavy metal toxicity in our patients. Many people with chronic disorders have mercury, lead and other heavy metals accumulating in their body. Often, this is due to dysfunction of the detoxification pathways(see below). These metals can directly damage the cells of various organs, including the brain and nervous system, liver, kidneys and hormone glands. Testing for the presence of these metals is difficult, since often they are no longer circulating in the blood and are instead bound to the tissues and organs they are damaging. A blood test is significant if it shows the metals to be present, but a negative result could indicate that the metals have moved out of the blood stream and into the organs. Hair testing often misses the metals as well. Since hair is an excretory organ, people who do not properly eliminate metals will not have it excreted into the hair. We have found that a chelation challenge test is the best way to identify the presence of toxic metals. By comparing a baseline urine sample to a sample taken after the administration of a chelating agent which extracts heavy metals from the tissues, we can demonstrate 1) the presence of heavy metals in the body, 2) the body is not a screening the heavy metals on its own (assuming the baseline is normal), and 3) that the chelating agent works for that individual. We have protocols for oral, rectal, transdermal and IV chelating agents.
Current research initiatives are attempting to determine why some patients with chronic neurodevelopmental disorders have higher levels of certain toxins in their body while others do not. Research is indicating that the problem is due to the inability of the patient’s body to excrete these toxins. Recent studies by world renowned biochemists are showing that many people with these disorders have abnormalities in their sulfation and methylation systems, which are involved in the detoxification process. By checking the blood for metabolites of these pathways (methionine, homocysteine, cysteine, glutathione, sulfate, copper and zinc), we can evaluate these critical pathways and certain therapies are employed depending on the findings. Certain B vitamins (such as forms of vitamin B-12, folic acid and B6), methyl donors (such as DMG and TMG) and other co-factors (such as NADH) are very helpful in improving the function of the detoxification symptoms.
Negative food reactions frequently occur in patients with chronic disorders. Often, the avoidance of certain foods will cause a patient’s condition to significantly improve. Various lab tests help to identify which foods are causing symptoms. For example, casein and gluten derivatives that produce opiate-like reactions can be isolated in the urine. IgE blood tests identify histamine related reactions, while IgG tests identify delayed hypersensitivity. White blood cell reaction tests can measure the response to specific food items at the cellular level. These tests are useful, but an elimination/reintroduction diet approach is the preferred method to identify problem causing foods. A particular food can be identified as causing symptoms if the patient shows a positive response to its elimination from the diet and a negative reaction to its reintroduction to the diet, without regard to lab results.
We often find one or more major immune system abnormality in patients with chronic disorders. Some individuals have weakened immune systems, allowing for repeated bacterial and viral infections. These infections often lead the patient to be placed on antibiotics, with resulting yeast and other bacterial infections as mentioned above. Other patients’ immune systems are over reacting, causing negative symptoms when exposed to particular foods or things in the external environment. Other patients may exhibit auto-immune diseases, as the body may create antibodies which can directly attack particular proteins in the brain, thyroid, joints, or kidneys. Many of these immune system problems can be identified by various blood tests, and we can treat them with particular natural and pharmacological therapies
Many individiuals with chronic disorders have deficiencies in certain essential fatty acids. These “good” fats are the preferred fat the body uses to make the membranes of nerve and cardiovascular cells. A blood test can help determine if there are deficiencies in these essential fatty acids, and fish and plant based oils can be used to treat the deficiencies.
As one can see, there are many different treatment strategies that may need to be used in the Wholistic treatment of patients with chronic disorders. Often these treatments need to be used simultaneously. Under the care of a Board Certified Pediatrician such as Dr Berger, patients with these disorders are showing improvements in their symptoms every day. Please feel free to contact our office for a consultation.