our journey of hope and healing through autism

Science Saturday: Anxiety and OCD in ASD Webinar by Dr. Chandra


Last night, I watched a webinar on a topic of interest of mine- anxiety and autism spectrum disorder.  Hannah used to be the queen of anxiety before we began biomedical treatments for autism.  It was hard on us as her parents, but downright crippling for her.  Between the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and antifungal treatments, both of which help improve the gut microbiome balance,  we’ve seen HUGE improvements in her anxiety,  such that it’s not usually an issue  anymore.  Isn’t that wonderful?  I’m still very interested in the topic, though, and learned some great things:

-There is a poor track record  of SSRI antidepressants among the autism population.

-Cortisol plays a role in the body’s flight or fight response.  Cortisol regulation is usually tightly controlled in healthy individuals, but cortisol control is more scattered in individuals with autism.  One potential  behavioral evidence of this can be having a difficult time waking up and getting going in the morning, and a hard time settling to sleep at night.

The supplement Phosphatidyl serine can help regulate cortisol levels.

The next one, I find so fascinating:  “The GI systems contains about 100 million neurons, more than either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system.”  More than 95%  of the bodies serotonin is in the digestive tract.  Serotonin is the neurotransmitter with the strongest relationship with anxiety.

A study in rats found that early separation of the young from their mothers lead to leaky gut.  (That has very interesting potential implications for kids in foster care).

Preliminary studies show that in healthy individuals, probiotic supplementation can improve mood.

She proposes that’s it a failure of neurogenesis that leads to anxiety and depression.

Excercise and rhodiola both increase neurogenesis.

At 41:42 sec she has a great slide with calming herbs, which she said can be helpful if a child’s anxiety presents as hyperactivity and difficulty sleeping.  (We don’t usually think of those as anxiety, do we?)


Overall, I thought this was an excellent webinar.  I learned a lot and loved that it was presented by an MD, with plenty of peer-reviewed research presented, supporting the suggestions made.  If anxiety affects someone in your family, this would be a great webinar to watch!

Art by Sarah, grade 2


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This entry was posted on June 28, 2014 by in autism, biomedical.
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