Autism & the Brain-Body Connection
Autism & the Brain-Body Connection
According to the CDC 1 in 50 children will now be diagnosed with autism.
That is up from 1 in 10,000 in 1970s. To say there is a problem is a gross understatement.
It’s time for society to start asking relevant questions. Like what has changed in this short amount of time to cause such an alarming rise?
This article won’t go into the various causes, but will instead look at one of the most overlooked factors affecting the quality of these children’s lives.
Life is How We Perceive It
I love the quote above because it incorporates two things I love: philosophy and science. No one would argue that our inner experience is a result of the cultural and familial “lens” we see the world through. Our beliefs and experience shape the way we see and interact in the world.
However, many people fail to contemplate how our nervous systems shape our perceptions and ability to respond and adapt to our environments in a healthy manner.
Think of your nervous system as a sponge. It constantly soaks in information through the five sensory organs.
Scientists have estimated that our sensory organs take in over 11 million bits of information every second and some estimates have total brain processing at 11 trillion bits per second!
Much of the sensory information is processed in the part of the brain known as the cerebellum, which is located just above the neck.
The incredible connectivity of the brain, however, is beyond our full comprehension. The image below depicts the amazingly intricate and complex neuronal connections.
With the promises of current and new technology we are learning more and more about how the brain works. What is clear is that in order to be able to perceive and respond to our environments correctly, we must be able to receive and process information properly.
Some of the most important data traveling to the brain is proprioceptive information. Proprioception is from Latin proprius, meaning “one’s own”, “individual” and perception. It is the process by which tiny nerve endings known as proprioceptors detect and relay information about our body to our brain so that we can properly understand and respond to where our body parts are in relation to other parts and our environment.
If the information received by the proprioceptive system and other neurological components is interfered with in any way as it travels to the brain, then naturally, our ability to respond to that information appropriately will be affected.
This is where a common physical condition known as vertebral subluxation comes into the picture for children within the spectrum and with other disorders as well. A vertebral subluxation is a misaligned vertebra affecting the function of the nervous system as the delicate spinal cord travels through the spinal column. This misalignment alters the information being delivered to the brain, the brain’s response and ultimately the quality of life of the individual.
The quality of our lives is dependent upon the information we receive and whether or not we are able to respond appropriately. Vertebral subluxation is a major source of interference to the nervous system that goes undetected in the majority of children within the autism spectrum.
Two studies, one featured in the February 2007 issue of Clinical Neurophysiology (1) and the other in March 2010 issue of the Chiropractic Journal of Australia (2), explore the issue of how vertebral subluxation impacts sensory processing and modulation and are worth reviewing.
In another study featured in the March 2006 issue of Clinical Chiropractic, researchers carried out a series of chiropractic adjustments on 26 autistic children over a 9-month period. Improvement was seen in certain reflexes and sensations, spinal motion, and improvement of other health problems.
Many of the children were able to discontinue medications aimed at controlling their behavior; bladder and bowel control improved; some children started to speak; eye contact and attention span improved while hyperactivity and aggressive behavior were reduced. Also, five children were able to attend regular classes at school for the first time.
I am currently conducting research into how vertebral subluxation correction impacts the quality of life of children who have been diagnosed with autism and associated disorders. If you would like to see if your child has vertebral subluxation and could benefit from care in our office, contact us at (619) 281-1234.
Autism & the Brain-Body Connection
How Chiropractic Care Impacts the Brain and Quality of Life of Children with Autism
This presentation explores one of the most common forms of neurological stress and how restoring normal function can result in quantifiable improvements in language, sociability and behavior in children with autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions.
To schedule a consultation, call 619.281.1234
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Brain Basics: Know Your Brain, http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/brain_basics/know_your_brain.htm
- Stranding, S. (2008). Gray’s Anatomy, 40th Edition. The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier
- Herbert, N. (1994). Elemental Mind: Human Consciousness and the New Physics. Plume
- Purves D, Augustine GJ, Fitzpatrick D, et al., editors. Neuroscience. 2nd edition. Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates; 2001. Mechanoreceptors Specialized for Proprioception.
- Purves D, Augustine GJ, Fitzpatrick D, et al., editors. Neuroscience. 2nd edition. Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates; 2001. Nociceptors.
- Slosberg M, Effects of altered afferent articular input on sensation, proprioception, muscle tone and sympathetic reflex responses. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics [1988, 11(5):400-408]
- Schultz RT. Developmental deficits in social perception in autism: the role of the amygdala and fusiform face area. Int J Dev Neurosci.2005;23 :125– 141
- Hua, X., Thompson, P. M., Leow, A. D., Madsen, S. K., Caplan, R., Alger, J. R., O’Neill, J., Joshi, K., Smalley, S. L., Toga, A. W. and Levitt, J. G. (2013), Brain growth rate abnormalities visualized in adolescents with autism. Hum. Brain Mapp., 34: 425–436. doi: 10.1002/hbm.21441
- Wan C. Structure of language pathways differs in non-verbal autism. Poster presentation at the 2011 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting.
- Stoodley C. Imaging finds cerebellar changes in autism, other disorders. Poster presentation at the 2011 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting.
- Mohan G. Is the autistic brain too wired or not wired enough? Los Angeles Times. June 27, 2013.
- Uddin LQ, Supekar K, Lynch CJ, et al. Salience Network–Based Classification and Prediction of Symptom Severity in Children With Autism. JAMA Psychiatry.2013;70(8):869-879. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.104.
- Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science. Penguin.
- Chestnut J. (2003). Fourteen Foundational Premises for the Scientific and Philosophical Validation of the Chiropractic Wellness Paradigm. The Wellness Practice – Global Self Health Corp.
- Haavik Taylor H, Holt K, Murphy B. Exploring the Neuromodulatory Effects of the Vertebral Subluxation and Chiropractic Care, Chiropractic Journal of Australia 2010; 40: 37-44.
- Haavik Taylor H, Murphy B. Cervical spine manipulation alters sensorimotor integration: A somatosensory evoked potential study, Clinical Neurophysiology, February 2007
- Haavik Taylor H, Murphy, B. The role of spinal manipulation in addressing disordered sensorimotor integration and altered motor control. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 2012 Oct;22(5):768-76.
- Haavik Taylor H., & Murphy, B. (2011). Subclinical neck pain and the effects of cervical manipulation on elbow joint position sense. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 34(2), 88-97.
- Haavik Taylor, H., & Murphy, B. (2007). Transient modulation of intracortical inhibition following spinal manipulation. Chiropractic Journal of Australia, 37(3), 106.
- Haavik Taylor H, Murphy B. (2010). The effects of spinal manipulation on central integration of dual somatosensory input observed after motor training: a crossover study. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 33(4), 261-272.
- Haavik Taylor H, Murphy B. (2010). Altered central integration of dual somatosensory input after cervical spine manipulation. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 33(3), 178-188.
- Haavik Taylor H, Murphy, B. (2008). Altered sensorimotor integration with cervical spine manipulation. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 31(2), 115-126.
- Grostic J.D. Dentate ligament–cord distortion hypothesis. Chiropractic Research Journal. 1998 p. 50.
- Pickar JG. Neurophysiological effects of spinal manipulation. Spine J. 2002;2(5):357-371.
- Seaman DR, Winterstein JF. Dysafferentation: A novel term to describe the neuropathophysiological effects of joint complex dysfunction. A look at likely mechanisms of symptom generation. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1998;21(4):267-280.
- Sato A, Swenson RS. Sympathetic nervous system response to mechanical stress of the spinal column of rats. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1984;7(3):141-147.
- Sato A. The reflex effects of spinal somatic nerve stimulation on visceral function. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1992;15:57-61.
- Sato A. Neural mechanisms of autonomic responses elicited by somatic sensory stimulation. Neurosci Behav Physiol 1997;27(5):610-621.
- Bolton PS. Reflex effects of vertebral subluxations: The peripheral nervous system. An update. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2000;23(2):101-103.
- Bolton PS. The somatosensory system of the neck and its effects on the central nervous system. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1998;21(8):553-563.
- Budgell B, Hotta H, Sato A. Spinovisceral reflexes evoked by noxious and innocuous stimulation of the lumbar spine. JNMS 1995;3(3):122-131.
- Carrick FR. Changes in brain function after manipulation of the cervical spine. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1997;20(8):529-545.
- Harris W, Wagnon RJ. The effects of chiropractic adjustments on distal skin temperature. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1987;10(2):57-60
- Budgell B, Polus B, The effects of thoracic manipulation on heart rate variability: A controlled crossover trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2006;28(8):603-610.
- Budgell B, Hirano F. Innocuous mechanical stimulation of the neck and alterations in heart-rate variability in healthy young adults. Auton Neurosci. 2001;91(1-2):96-99.
- Swensen D. Heart Rate Variability and Spinal Manipulation: A Review of the Literature. JACO Dec 2011.
- Dimmick KR, Young MF, Newell D. Chiropractic manipulation affects the difference between arterial systolic blood pressures on the left and right normotensive subjects. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2006;29(1):46-50
- Igarashi Y, Budgell BS. Response of arrhythmia to spinal manipulation: Monitoring by ECG with analysis of heart-rate variability. Chiropr J Aust 2000;30(3):92-95.
- McLain, R. F. (1994). Mechanoreceptor endings in human cervical facet joints. Spine, 19(5), 495-501.
- Daligadu, J. (2012). Cortical and cerebellar motor processing changes subsequent to motor training and cervical spine manipulation.
- Marshall, L. D. (2013). The effect of cervical spine manipulation on elbow joint position sense in patients with acute cervical facet syndrome.
- Schmahmann, J. Disorders of the Cerebellum: Ataxia, Dysmetria of Thought, and the Cerebellar Cognitive Affective Syndrome. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 2004;16:367-378.10.1176/appi.neuropsych.16.3.367
- Whatmore, G. B. and Kohli, D. R. (1968), Dysponesis: A neurophysiology factor in functional disorders. Syst. Res., 13: 102–124. doi: 10.1002/bs.3830130203
- Kent C. A Four-Dimensional Model of Vertebral Subluxation. Dynamic Chiropractic – January 1, 2011, Vol. 29, Issue 01
- Kent C. Chaos Theory, Heart Rate Variability and Vertebral Subluxation. Chiropractic Leadership Alliance website.
- Zhang J, Dean D, Nosco D, Strathopulos D, Floros M. Effect of chiropractic care on heart rate variability and pain in a multisite clinical study. J.Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2006;29:267–274.
- Gutman G. Blocked atlantal nerve syndrome in infants and small children. Originally published in Manuelle Medizin, 25:5-10,1987. English translation published in International Review of Chiropractic 1990 46(4):37.
- Towbin A. Latent spinal cord and brain stem injury in newborn infants. Develop Med Child Neurol 1969;11:54.
- Frymann, V. Relation disturbances craniosacral mechanisms to symptomatology of the newborn: Study of 1,250 infants. JAOA. 1966. 65:1059-1075.
- Campbell CJ, Kent C, Banne A, et al: Surrogate indication of DNA repair In serum after long term chiropractic intervention: a retrospective study. J Vertebral Subluxation Res, Feb, is ,2005:1- 5.
- Khaled A. Khorshid K, Sweat R, Zemba D, Zemba B. Clinical Efficacy of Upper Cervical Versus Full Spine Chiropractic Care on Children with Autism: A Randomized Clinical Trial, Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, March 9, 2006, pp 1-7
- Jennings J, Barker M. Autism: a chiropractic perspective. Clin Chiropr: MAR 2006(9:1) 6-10.
- Collection of Journal Abstracts, studies and personal accounts
Being a mom with a special needs child who is now a young man, we have had a long journey with many different therapies and procedures, but we had never come across a doctor, like Dr Steve. He is super sweet, super patient, and makes my family feel extremely comfortable. Dr. Steve has been our long awaited blessing towards a new road to recovery. God bless you Dr. Steve!
Dr. Tullius has been adjusting me for at least 2 years now. I had injured my back while serving in the Army in Germany in 1988. The VA spent nearly 20 years trying to help me, but Dr. Tullius did more in 2 weeks than they did in 2 decades. Dr Tullius and his staff are absolutely wonder and I highly recommend them. I even recommended him to my parents while they were here visiting.
Dr. T and his staff are very friendly and professional. My neck had been hurting for years from working overhead. This is completely better. Also, a wonderful side affect from my adjustments and getting in line is I no longer have post nasal drip, which has bothered me for many many years. I wish I had known what a chiropractor could do to help get many things in the nervous system working as it should be.
Thank you so much, Dr.Steve. I love to see how Jesus is improving so much with his adjustments. We are so blessed that I found you and that you are a part of my son’s treatments. Can’t wait to see more beautiful changes with Jesus!
The increase in affection has also been the greatest reward since Joseph started getting adjusted. We are so grateful Dr. Steve.
Thank you so much, Dr.Steve. I love to see how Jesus is improving so much with his adjustments. We are so blessed that I found you and that you are a part of my son’s treatments.
Dr. T and his staff are first rate professionals. They are always seeking the best way to help their patients achieve good health. I’m impressed with Dr. T’s ambition and willingness to broaden his mind and advance his techniques. Highly recommend this office for Chiropractic care.
We have seen so many changes in Liam. He went from having up to 60 seizures a day to being seizure free over the last 3 months. We are big proponents of chiropractic and Dr. Steve.
An increase in affection has been the greatest reward since Joseph started getting adjusted. We are so grateful Dr. Steve!
Zack is saying Mama more and it’s clearly said. He is able to express more wants and needs, using more signs to request and eye contact is better. He is happier and getting more affectionate, giving me kisses on the check. He loves to explore much more and is more curious of things and places.