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The first to coin the term autoimmune autistic disorder, Singh immediately recognized the therapeutic value of his findings. "Once you have identified the precise problem, then you can correct it with immunotherapy," he says.

Singh first presented these startling research findings nine years ago in San Diego. Since then the number of parents and physicians who have contacted him has grown into a second career. Sometimes they seek his advice. Other times they are emailing to share the results of individualized immunotherapy. Autistic children treated with intravenous immunoglobulin and glutathione therapy, for instance, show considerable improvement in their attention span, language, communication and social interaction. For the past five years Singh has also researched nutritional supplements that can achieve comparable results with none of the side effects associated with conventional drugs. Two thus far have proven their merit - Transfer Factor and Glyconutrients.

Singh's findings are now being corroborated by other scientists worldwide. After 25 years of research in relative obscurity, his tenacity has finally paid off. "Understanding the causes of brain disorders has been the goal of my entire scientific career," he says. In his 1972 doctoral thesis he speculated that viruses and other environmental factors might play a prominent role in neurological disorders. "Hardly anything was known at the time about Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis or schizophrenia. We were just beginning to understand neurotransmitters like serotonin," he says. When he narrowed his focus to autism, one of the least understood and researched of the devastating childhood brain disorders, he obtained blood samples from autistic and normal children, and measured the antibodies to five viruses. The blood samples from the autistic children contained abnormal levels of measles' antibodies. Was this the result of a current infection, previous infection or reaction to the measles vaccine? Singh decided to study the antibodies' response to the vaccine itself. At first he thought the trigger might be the mercury-based preservative in the vaccine but after finding no evidence of that, he detected a protein in the blood samples that fingered the measles virus.
Even in miniscule amounts, it could cause swelling in the brain that damaged the developing neural pathways in children with compromised immune systems.

 

Even in miniscule amounts, the measles virus could cause swelling in the brain that damages developing neural pathways in children with compromised immune systems
The World Health Organization cites brain disorders as one of the most serious health problems facing the global community. As autism, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder rates skyrocket, the cost of treatment surpasses that of cancer and heart disease. While some epidemiologists attribute these increases to better reporting methods and greater public awareness, Singh and other scientists who have followed his lead are convinced that rates will keep rising until we have a better understanding of the environmental triggers.

Securing the funding for such research can be very challenging. Federal and private agencies in this country dedicate most of their research dollars to genetic rather than biomedical research.This year Singh went on sabbatical after his usual funding sources dried up. Bombarded with requests from desperate parents, he is determined to continue. "Young men and women keep calling me to say they have OCD, or some other devastating problem. They say, 'No one will help us. Could you kindly help? We have been ignored by the medical community.' I am very touched but I am also frustrated because I can't land more funding."

Some of the queries come from his native country. A father in India asked for a phone consultation with his son's doctors. Normal at birth, the boy was diagnosed with autism at age two, and that was only the beginning. A teenager now, he suffers from a constellation of neurological disorders that have paralyzed him physically and emotionally. Two weeks after that request another email arrived from a radiologist in India. At age 25 he had to give up his profession because of the obsessive thoughts that plagued his mind. "People are looking for outside-the-box thinking because there is literally nothing out there," says Singh.

More research must be done, he adds, years and years of it. What gives him hope, and sustains his interest now, is the anecdotal evidence from parents whose autistic children have been treated with neutraceuticals. Thirty-five testimonials so far, as encouraging as the nurse's in Connecticut, whose temper-tantrum throwing, self-mutilating, fixated boy is now a sociable, straight-A student at an Ivy League school.
Even though he's footing the bill for the time being, Singh is developing the research parameters to test the effectiveness of promising natural therapies.

"This is a great thing when a son can say 'Daddy' and hug his father for the first time," he says. Half-a-million Americans suffer from the most severe form of autism. Three-hundred and fifty thousand of them could find relief with a custom immunotherapy program. A
 










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