This year at the Autism One Conference in Chicago, I gave a new talk, "Simplifying Autism Improvement and Recovery."
Simplifying Autism Improvement and Recovery - Slides (pdf format)
Simplifying Autism Improvement and Recovery - Audio (mp3 format)
Autism appears to be a highly complex condition. Researchers looking for a single genetic mutation have now found more than 1000 genes that increase the risk of autism. Researchers also looked for a single rising environmental factor, but they found a large number of diverse factors that all increase the risk of autism. The symptoms of autism vary dramatically and there are so many biological symptoms that it's hard to know which areas to focus on.
Despite all this complexity, people are improving and even recovering from autism. And there are new ways of looking at autism that may dramatically simplify our understanding of the condition. When researchers look at the genetic risk factors for autism, the largest cluster of genes are associated with calcium channel signaling. There are some key environmental factors which impact calcium channel signaling. This is relevant because all of the major symptoms of autism are also all impacted by calcium channel signaling.
Calcium channel signaling is used to excite cells. For a neuron, the more excited it is, the higher the probability that it will fire. In autism there is too much excitement (an imbalance of excitement and inhibition--the ability to calm down). Overexcitement, over the long-term, can actually damage cells and interfere with learning and brain development. Viewing autism as a long-term overload of excitement and excitatory environmental factors simplifies this complex condition and allows us to take action to reduce environmental exposures, calm the body, and restore functioning. This clearer understanding of autism may help simplify how we treat the condition and make it easier to improve and even recover.
Simplifying Autism Improvement and Recovery Booklet - (Pending further edits and copywriting)
Talk and Booklet References
 What Is Autism?
 Ng, Michelle, et al. "Environmental factors associated with autism spectrum disorder: a scoping review for the years 2003-2013." Chronic Diseases and Injuries in Canada 37.1 (2017).
 Rossignol, D. A., S. J. Genuis, and R. E. Frye. "Environmental toxicants and autism spectrum disorders: a systematic review." Translational psychiatry 4.2 (2014): e360.
 The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism (2016) by James Lyons-Weiler
 Hallmayer, Joachim, et al. "Genetic heritability and shared environmental factors among twin pairs with autism." Archives of general psychiatry 68.11 (2011): 1095-1102.
 Herbert, Martha, and Karen Weintraub. The Autism Revolution: whole-body strategies for making life all it can be. Ballantine Books, 2013.
 Wen, Ya, Mohamad J. Alshikho, and Martha R. Herbert. “Pathway Network Analyses for Autism Reveal Multisystem Involvement, Major Overlaps with Other Diseases and Convergence upon MAPK and Calcium Signaling.” Plus one 11.4 (2016): e0153329.
 Wu, Jianping, et al. "Structure of the voltage-gated calcium channel Cav1. 1 complex." Science 350.6267 (2015): aad2395.
 Büsselberg, Dietrich. "Calcium channels as target sites of heavy metals."Toxicology letters 82 (1995): 255-261.
 Lozac, N. B. S. "Central role of voltage gated calcium channels and intercellular calcium homeostasis in autism." (2010)
 Feske, Stefan. "Ca2+ influx in T cells: How many Ca2+ channels?." Frontiers in immunology 4 (2013): 99.
 Herbert, Martha R., and Cindy Sage. "Autism and EMF? Plausibility of a pathophysiological link–Part I."Pathophysiology 20.3 (2013): 191-209.
 Herbert, Martha R., and Cindy Sage. "Autism and EMF? Plausibility of a pathophysiological link Part II."Pathophysiology 20.3 (2013): 211-234.
 Faber, Scott, et al. "A clean room sleeping environment’s impact on markers of oxidative stress, immune dysregulation, and behavior in children with autism spectrum disorders." BMC complementary and alternative medicine 15.1 (2015): 71.
 Naviaux, Robert K. "Metabolic features of the cell danger response." Mitochondrion 16 (2014): 7-17.
 “Wired for Healing” by Annie Hopper
 Brain State
 Thomas, David. "A study on the mineral depletion of the foods available to us as a nation over the period 1940 to 1991." Nutrition and Health 17.2 (2003): 85-115.
 Mayer, Anne-Marie. "Historical changes in the mineral content of fruits and vegetables." British Food Journal 99.6 (1997): 207-211.