This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dr Yasko's work

This talk was given at AutismOne and its an introduction to her approach and philosophy.  It is an excellent place to start if you are interested in her protocol.  I will expand this post soon and add additional ones with more specific resources of hers.  She is one of the pioneers in using genetic information to guide autism treatment, and her work is extremely valuable as a guide for people interested in pursuing this whether or not they choose to use her protocol specifically or her services.  Many families now are using 23andMe testing, which is much less expensive, and then using her resources (many of which are available for free) to develop an approach themselves.

An Individualized approach: Introduction to the Yasko Protocol

An Individualized Approach: Introduction to The Yasko Protocol from Holistic Health on Vimeo.


Dr Yasko's approach is to base treatment on the genotype of an individual, rather than the usual emphasis on phenotype (how the individual presents, what symptoms they exhibit). This is not because there is no value in phenotype-based treatment, it is more about being able to individualize the treatment to the unique needs of the individual.  She primarily looks at what are called SNPs, which stand for Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms.  These are small changes in our DNA, caused by the substitution of one nucleotide for another at a specific place along a gene, and which results in altered functioning of that gene.  Many SNPs are common variants of genes and the results of having these variants are studied.  By taking these SNPs into account, treatment can target the specific underlying causes of symptoms, which is especially important when there are many possible underlying causes.  Additionally, potential side effects and pitfalls are easier to avoid this way.  Part of her protocol is also to do regular biometric testing (such as urine and blood tests) to measure actual progress in an individual.

She says that she sees autism as a multifactorial disorder, in which "a number of components need to come together in the wrong way".   The main components are genetic, environmental, infectious disease, and stress related.  More specifically, these factors include increased glutamate receptors, methylation defects, chronic bacterial and viral infection, heavy metal burden, vaccine injury, and issues of cell membrane fluidity and function.  From a genetic standpoint, it's not about "an autism gene"'s not about finding one or a few genes that cause the whole picture, rather more a question of many genetic alterations in key metabolic and other pathways that add up to a person's unique form of autism, in combination with other factors.  These are genes that are influenced by the environment, and which influence how our environment affects us.

According to the genetic information based on the several thousand people with autism, who are working with her, certain SNPs come up frequently and not others (these are discussed beginning at 20:35).  She describes following the program as being more focused on making meaningful improvement, not just a focus on recovery.  Improvements can be very significant in a person's  quality of life.  She also says the journey is more like a marathon than a race, and also much like a rollercoaster with the ups and downs.