Monday, April 26, 2010

A Functional Approach to Childhood Developmental Disorders

A child born today has a 1/150 chance of being labeled with autism. The autistic spectrum covers a number of increasingly common childhood developmental/behavioral disorders including:

• Autism
• Asperger’s

Each of these is classified by specific qualitative behavioral impairments. While they all differ in some ways, the underlying causative factors are very similar. The VAST majority of these children have right frontal lobe deficits. The frontal lobe acts as the executive.

Frontal lobe functions
• Attention
• Focus
• Planning
• Motivation
• Personality
• Appropriate Modulation of emotions
• Appropriate modulation of Reflexes

Boys have larger right frontal lobes so they are more affected by a right sided delay which may explain the increased incidence of these conditions in males. Anything that interferes with prenatal development, the birthing process, or healthy growth and development during the first two years of life can affect how the right brain develops. During the first 16 – 18 months of development, development is largely right brain. At around this time, the emphasis switches to the left side. This is the time when a ‘regression’ may first be noticed. This imbalance between the right and left brain rarely will correct on its own.

Right Brain Left Brain

Big Picture Small Picture
Non-verbal communication Verbal communication
Large Muscle Control Small Muscle Control
EQ (emotion) IQ
Cautious and Safe Curious and Impulsive
Likes newness, novelty Likes routines
Social skills

So in a child with a right brain deficit and/or dominant left hemisphere you would see a child who may be uncoordinated, impulsive, likes routines (and is upset if disrupted), is into the details or obsessed with parts and how things work, has difficulty interpreting facial cues and has poor social skills. Some children will have verbal delay because language is heavily dependent on a foundation of non-verbal communication (understanding ones emotions, facial expression, body language etc).

This hemispheric imbalance can be addressed through specific brain based therapies. It is also important to avoid stimulating the dominant hemisphere and further accentuate the discrepancy. A thorough evaluation and understanding of these disorders is necessary for this approach to be effective.

While these conditions have a strong neurological component, there is also a complex network of GI, immune, hormone and other metabolic factors which must be unraveled. Addressing these factors through diet, lifestyle and specific supplementation can greatly improve the success of any other treatments or therapies.

To request a Case Review and Functional Assessment of your child to determine whether Brain Based Therapy and Functional Nutrition may be right for them, please call our office (814)238-0232

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A four Part Approach to Chronic Health Problems

Chronic pain and other health problems can be debilitating. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. Traditionally, medications are used to help manage or dampen the symptoms. Often times these medications are accompanied by unwanted side effects. Also, over time, they may become less effective.

Overcoming chronic health problems requires time and commitment. The approach used in our office is to support and improve function through:

1) Diet A healthy well balanced diet is essential to good health and healing. Making the right food choices is very important and may require guidance and supervision. Just as important as knowing what to eat, is knowing what not to eat. Many people have unknown food sensitivities and they continue to eat things daily that are making their condition worse. Finding and eliminating these hidden food sensitivities is critical to improving their health.

2) Lifestyle
a. Sleep- We recover and heal while we sleep. A person should get at least 7-8 hours/night. Long term deprivation can contribute to many health problems.
b. Stress Reduction- Many chronic health problems are caused by or exacerbated by stress physiology. Today’s fast pace lifestyle leave many of us in a perpetual state of “fight or flight”. You can not heal in this state.
c. Exercise- The benefits of exercise are many and well established. Unfortunately, many people’s conditions prevent them from being able to exercise. Whole Body Vibration (WBV) may be a suitable substitute until a person is physically able to exercise on their own.

3) Specific Supplementation- Most people believe that taking supplements is important for their health but how do you know what to take and how do you know that it is helpful? If you are buying supplements at the grocery store on the advice of your neighbor, there is a very good chance that you are throwing money away. In our office, we use only the highest quality all natural supplements. We base all of our supplement recommendations on lab findings and use follow up labs to monitor their effectiveness. It is important to monitor not only that you’re feeling better but that you’re functioning better and that your physiology has improved.

4) Brain Based Therapy – A healthy brain and nervous system are essential to good health and bodily function. Your brain and nervous system need 2 things to be healthy: Fuel and activation (use it or lose it). Fuel comes in the form of glucose and oxygen. Managing glucose levels is very important. Unfortunately as we age our bodies ability to utilize oxygen decreases. We use supplemental oxygen with our chronic patients to help them heal faster. By combining exercise with oxygen therapy (EWOT) we can increase brain function and help a number of chronic health problems.

To discover whether Dr. Diehl may be able to help you with your health problem, please call (814)238-0232 to request a consultation and case review.