The blog is an adaptation from information learned from leading experts in the field of PANS/PANDAS/AE in the book Brain Under Attack. This book is wonderful, and a must read to learn more about this disorder. This blog is also not meant to be a replacement for standard medical care, just and adjunct of things you can do to help a child struggling!
When a child develops PANS or PANDAS it is typically not the first indication that there is a problem. Many of these kids may have had prior chronic infections, eczema, asthma, allergies, or other signs of immune system dysfunctions. What this means is that prior to ever developing severe symptoms a child likely had unrecognized inflammation in the body from excessive immune system reactions, gut imbalances, structural imbalances, stress, and more.
This blog is designed to bring to light any underlying mechanisms that can cause over reaction of the immune system in a child!
The first thing you need to do in any condition is take out the bad things that trigger excess inflammation. Once these items are removed then you will need to replace them with the good things. So the list below is
- Avoid bringing new furnishings, carpet, construction materials, paints, glues, etc in to the house. Many times these are laced with toxic chemicals that your child will not be able to adapt to.
- Reduce exposure to Electromagnetic radiation in your home. This has been shown to break down the blood brain barrier. EMF’s is what you get from your wifi, your cell phones, and microwaves. Your child’s brain runs between 8-25 Hertz (8-25 cycles per second) when they are awake. The problem is that Wifi routers run at 2.5 -5 Gigahertz which for you that don’t know this si 2.5 – 5 billion hertz (cycles per second). Your child’s brain is not meant to be blasted with this amount of abnormal frequency throughout the day and night. When they are constantly exposed to this through school, video games, cell phones, etc they have no chance to actually heal. When they are chronically exposed to EMF’s it turns on their sympathetic nervous system and de activates their parasympathetic nervous system. In other words it turns on their fight or flight state and shuts down their rest, digest, and heal state. So what you can do to limit exposure is:
– Get rid of wifi and hardwire anything that can be
– Don’t have the router in a child’s room.
– Turn cell phones on airplane mode at night and shut router off every night.
– Move your child’s bed away from large appliances that would have EMF’s- fridges, microwaves, tvs, etc
3. Check child’s toys to make sure they are none toxic
4. Check the walls of the house to make sure there is no mold anywhere
5. Make sure your home is checked for radon
6. Do hand soaps or toothpaste contain triclosan (if so choose a safer brand)
7. Change laundry soap, dryer sheets to a non toxic brand
8. Use natural disinfectants instead of industrial grade
9. Don’t use plastics to cook or store food
10. Don’t use aluminum or non-stick pans for cooking.
11. Make sure you have good indoor air filters
12. Remove fluorescent lightbulbs and replace with incandescent.
13. Make sure you have a water filter for your drinking water.
14. Remove perfume and cologne (the chemicals in these can disrupt your endocrine system)
15. Many conventional mattresses have flame retardants in them and are toxic to us.
16. Try not to use a microwave. Use convection ovens instead
17. Avoid pharmaceutical medications unless absolutely necessary!
18. Avoid sunscreen that blocks the body from absorbing vitamin D. Be responsible with your child’s time in the sun and use less sunblock.
**Something that may also be helpful is doing a urine test to test for toxins in your child, or molds in your child. These can be run through the office for a couple hundred dollars.
Diet is probably the thing that helps these kids the most. When you have a child with autoimmunity the reason is because they have so many different causes of increased inflammation or the total load of inflammation is very high! This can come from environmental things listed above, but another very common place is our food. Our food is not what it use to be. It is tainted with pesticides, glyphosate, genetically modified, and highly processed. This whole process kills the nutritional value of many foods, and makes them toxic to our body. When this happens our body produces inflammation to combat this. So that burger from McDonalds, or that macaroni a cheese is likely just and bomb of inflammation waiting to happen! So some simple rules to follow when it comes to diet
- Food is what comes off a tree, out of the ground, or what roams our planet. It does not come in a box with words in the ingredient list that you don’t know and cant even pronounce.
- Eat whole foods that are organic
- Eliminate processed foods
- Eliminate sugar
- Eat a wide variety of foods heavy on vegetables
- Eat clean organic protein
- Eat healthy fats from avocados, coconuts, olive oil, or meat.
- Hydrate adequately with clean water
** Something else that is often helpful is taking a food sensitivity test to see if your body is over reacting to any foods you are eating making your autoimmune disorder worse.
Tests that you can do based off of your child’s past history!
1. Stool test to look at gut dysbiosis (which is an imbalance in gut microbes). This imbalance can create chronic inflammation that is produced by bad species of fungus or bacteria.
2. Test for Nutritional deficiencies, such as low magnesium, iron, zinc, or essential fatty acids.
3. Lood for evidence of oxidative stress (to many free radicals causing damage to cells and tissues).
4. Structural, sensory, or other physiological abnormalities. (This means structural alignment of the body, decreased sensory function, or abnormal developmental reflexes, balance, or eye tracking).
-These are all important to rebalance
This is my favorite topic because it is what I do every day. When you have damage to the brain in anyway you get lack of appropriate integration of the brain. This may result in your Childs primitive reflexes returning (these are reflexes that are present in the first months to year of life that are for survival purposes). When these return it means that your childs brain is reverting back to a survival mode. We can often brake this cycle by getting rid of primitive reflexes again. Secondly you can get impaired eye tracking and visual function, and also start to develop balance and coordination issues. This is often seen in the regression in school performance in these kids. Rebalancing these systems is the key to improving symptoms in many of these kids and getting them out of their constant survival state.
Using homeopathy to get rid of underlying infections. In our office when a kid comes in with suspected PANS/PANDAS we send them to a homeopath that works with chronic infections. This is a vital step because they can give remedies to help your body get rid of the infection naturally.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the things to look at, but it would be where I would start. Remember if a child has an autoimmune disorder there is likely many different variables, the infection was likely just the straw that broke the camels back. You need to not only give attention to the infection, but more importantly give attention to the health of the body as a whole. This is done by looking at any other environmental causes listed above!
Dr. Josh Madsen FIBFN-FN