Archive for May 27th, 2008

A Clean Room to Treat Autism?

Doctors at the Children’s Institute in Pittsburgh are proposing to house children with autism for weeks at a time in a pollutant-free “clean room,” in an attempt to detoxify their bodies. Although no cause for autism has been found some doctors believe it is caused in part by environmental factors, including air and food-borne chemicals.

Scott Faber is a pediatrician at the Children’s Institute. He has several hundred patients with autism and a waiting list six months long. He is one of the believers in toxic causes and the institute is trying to back him with a multimillion dollar test of this theory. The pediatric “clean room” plan would be the first of its kind in a mainstream American hospital environment.

At the beginning, the plan would be to have severe cases of children with autism that have not responded to other treatments. They would stay six to 12 weeks, allowing an estimated four to six children to be treated per year. Furniture, paints, toys and floor coverings would be designed to be toxin-free, and food, clothing and water organic and clean. Doctors would seek to rid patients’ bodies of chemicals and boost their immune systems through natural means such as nutritional supplements and dietary changes. After leaving, spaces at each patient’s home would be equipped with lower-level clean technology, such as ultraviolet lights and air filters, and children would continue with special diets.

Basically, it would be pushing a “reset” button on the child’s body, with the hope of wiping any symptoms away. “What we would like to do is have kids live in this wonderful environment where they are exposed to almost none of the Industrial Revolution. And we wonder, if the chemicals come out and the heavy metals come out, will the children start improving?” Faber said.

“We’re not saying this is the full cause” of autism and related illnesses, Faber said. “Obviously there are multiple causes, and there are going to be found many genetic causes, many environmental causes and many genetic-environmental interactions. But we wonder — we speculate — that it’s possible if we have children living in a unique environment that has not (previously) been created scientifically that we can make a difference.”

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