“Does my child have an infection? or “Is my child allergic?
Presented by Claudia Miller, MD, PhD at the Fall 2012 Autism Research Institute Conference
One hundred fifty years ago, with no germ theory of disease, and no immune theory of disease to guide them, doctors had no way of answering such questions, let alone saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers dying from infections during the Civil War.
Today’s doctors face the same dilemma, as another new theory of disease emerges from the post-World War II petrochemical revolution. This time it’s an exposure-driven dynamic—TILT, or Toxicant-induced Loss of Tolerance—with evidence from dozens of industrialized nations linking chemicals in our diets and environments to a wide range of unexplained chronic illnesses, from asthma and allergies to chronic fatigue, depression and autoimmune disorders, to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and, yes, autism. In a recent study of 400 consecutive chronically ill patients who visited a primary care clinic, 20% met stringent criteria for chemical intolerance. Recent evidence also suggests that mothers of children with ADHD and autism, and their children, share a common bond: chemical intolerance.
Environmentally controlled medical facilities could help doctors determine whether today’s chronic illnesses are environmentally mediated and whether the symptoms are reversible. As a first step, doctors can take an exposure history and use the validated Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI) to diagnose chemical and food intolerances. (www.drclaudiamiller.org)
Claudia Miller, M.D., M.S. is Assistant Dean and Professor of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Texas School of Medicine in San Antonio. She co-authored the professionally acclaimed Chemical Exposures: Low Levels and High Stakes (Wiley), and currently is working on two new books, including one on autism and ADHD. The website drclaudiamiller.org provides a downloadable, validated questionnaire for assessing chemical and food intolerances.