Pediatrics, PANDAS / PANS, + Autism

My focus when treating children is preventative care, and using the least invasive intervention possible to get the best results. We all know how uncomfortable it is for kids who don’t feel well to be poked and prodded, so compassion is key! When treating children, my aim is to be empathetic, and my goal is to gain trust. I welcome any questions from the parents, and much of the visit is spent educating the parents about what they can do to achieve better health for their little one.

PANDAS and PANS 

PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infection) and PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome are conditions that are characterized by sudden and dramatic onset of one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Anxiety, separation anxiety and irrational fears
  • Tics – motor and/or verbal
  • Food restriction
  • Depression, irritability, aggression
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Behavioural regression or deterioration in performance at school
  • Urinary frequency or bedwetting

PANDAS is a diagnosis that follows immediately or shortly after a Group A beta-hemolytic Streptococcal infection such as Strep throat, although not all children may have a confirmed Strep throat history or a positive Strep test.  PANS is a similar condition, associated with an infectious trigger other than Streptococcus, which may include Mycoplasma or Borrelia (Lyme disease) and Lyme co-infections.

Testing and Treatment for PANDAS and PANS

The following tests may be warranted, depending on the case:

  • Strep throat swab
  • Strep antibody titres: Antistreptolysin-O, Anti-DNase B
  • Testing for other infections such as: Mycoplasma, Lyme disease and co-infections, Herpes Simplex Virues (HSV) I and II, Human Herpes Virus (HSV) 6, Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • Food Sensitivity Panel
  • Testing for celiac disease
  • Stool analysis for bacterial and yeast overgrowth, beneficial bacteria levels, and parasitology
  • Organic Acids Testing

Treatment strategies for PANDAS and PANS are unique to the needs of each child.  A general protocol may include:

  • Antibiotic therapy
  • Probiotic bacteria and beneficial yeast
  • Immune support and immune system modulation
  • Natural anti-inflammatories, ibuprofen, or prednisone
  • Gut healing program for digestive tract inflammation, infection, dysbiosis (bacterial imbalance),  leaky gut syndrome

 

Well-Child Visits

Preventative check-ups can be done at birth, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 2 years, then yearly after that. These visits give me an opportunity to do a physical exam, detect any problems early on, and monitor growth and development. Assessments will be done to ensure your child is meeting developmental milestones, and measurements are taken to ensure their height, weight, and head circumference is growing appropriately over time.

Well-child appointments also offer me a chance to answer any questions the parents may have, and check-in about diet and nutrition, exercise, mood, digestive health, and immune system function. Many common childhood illnesses can be prevented if the symptoms or predisposing factors are caught early.

Vaccinations

Many parents have questions about vaccinations, side effects, and the vaccination schedule. I am happy to provide information about the pros and cons of each vaccine, and to discuss alternate vaccination schedules and vaccine titers. My goal is to help parents get the information they need to make informed choices about vaccinating their child.

Common Childhood Conditions

  • Food allergies and sensitivities
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Ear infections, otitis media
  • Colic
  • Constipation, Diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Atopic Conditions: Eczema/Dermatitis, Asthma, Allergies
  • Teething
  • Cradle Cap, Seborrheic Dermatitis
  • Cold and Flu
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
  • Thrush
  • Impetigo
  • Diaper Rash
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

 

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder and PDD

 

Autism is a condition that has touched my life closely, and changed what I know about the human mind. I spent 5 incredible and challenging years as a behaviour therapist with a young girl with autism, and she has inspired me to help other families unravel the amazing personalities within these children.

 

What is autism?

1 in 110 children are diagnosed with autism, and boys are 3-4 times more likely to receive this diagnosis than girls. The recent rise in these statistics over the past several decades indicates that the incidence of autism is on the increase.

Children with autism may show difficulty with social interaction, impaired or abnormal use of language, repetitive behaviours, and strict adherence to routine.

Autism spectrum disorders (autism, pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger’s syndrome) are the result of a complex blend of factors. A single cause for autism cannot be identified, but more and more research points to a multi-factorial etiology, which may include several of the following factors:

  • Genetics
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Toxins and heavy metals
  • Impaired detoxification pathways in the body
  • Excess inflammation
  • Autoimmune reactions
  • Infections and vaccinations
  • Food sensitivities and allergies
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Abnormal brain chemistry
  • Brain inflammation due to Streptococcus infection/ PANDAS

 

The Biomedical Approach

The biomedical approach is based on the most up-to-date scientific research about the biochemical pathways in the body. In contrast to earlier theories, such as the Refrigerator Mom hypothesis, which blamed autism on emotionally distant mothers, current research tells us that autism is treatable.

First, the causative factors underlying the symptoms must be identified. Because there are so many potential contributing causes to autism spectrum disorders, a series of tests can be used to identify which treatments are best suited to the individual patient.

Testing may include:

  • Blood count and blood chemistry
  • Cholesterol panel
  • Thyroid function
  • Urinalysis
  • Food sensitivities
  • Heavy metals
  • Organic acids
  • Gluten + casein peptides
  • Stool analysis for digestion, yeast, parasites and bacteria profile
  • Immune deficiency testing
  • Specific vitamin and mineral levels

Treatment is based upon what is found during testing, and the specific protocol is catered to the child and the needs and limitations of their family.

  • Diet and nutrition counseling
  • Supplementation to compensate for deficiencies and support various organs and systems
  • Detoxification
  • Medication – natural or pharmacological, if required
  • Other treatments may be recommended (Infrared sauna, hyperbaric oxygen therapy)