Monday, December 18, 2017

Jaundice in Newborns Linked to Autism

Recently a large study out of Denmark discovered an association between hyperbilirubinemia (jaundice) and children diagnosed with psychological development disorders such as Autism. The lead author, Dr. Rikke Maimburg noticed a large portion of children diagnosed with psychological developmental problems were twice as likely to have been admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) when compared to children without Autism. So he set out to find the reason why.

After controlling for low birth weight, malformations, preterm birth and low Apgar scores (all reasons an infant is admitted into the NICU), he discovered the most common reason for being in the NICU was hyperbilirubinemia.

Normally 60% of term (born on time) infants with jaundice resolve within the first week of life, however excessively high or prolonged exposure increased the chance of developing a psychological developmental disorder by 1.5 to 1.8 times the normal rate. For Autism alone the risk was 1.67 times greater.

My biggest concern from this study revolves around an idea I’ve been kicking around for quite some time. I’ve wondered why a large portion of children lately have had increased lengths of jaundice (I’ve not noticed an increase in levels, just the length the levels stay mildly or moderately elevated). Infant’s liver, the organ that helps remove bilirubin from the blood as well as other toxins, are born immature and small increases of bilirubin are normal, but if this liver is taxed with a larger demand making its ability to function even less, could this be the culprit of why bilirubin levels are high for a prolonged period? It’s got to contribute.

Well, what’s the most common cause of the infant’s liver being taxed at birth – the Hepatitis B vaccine with all its foreign ingredients. It’s the only thing I could think of that a brand new baby needs to detox from.

(SIDE NOTE: I currently am in the process of studying the relationship between the Hepatitis B vaccine and neonatal jaundice. If your child was not vaccinated at birth with the Hepatitis B vaccine and would like to help me out, please shoot me an email and I will provide you with details of the study.)

The most interesting fact for me that emerged from this study was that children born to mothers between the months of October and March, the risk jumped up to 2.21. The increased rate disappeared if the child was born between April and September.

I asked myself why this large jump?

It’s actually quite obvious when looking at Autism as an immunological predisposition (which is the case in a majority of children). October to March are months of the year where the sun’s ability to help our body generate Vitamin D is the lowest. Over the last two years study after study have shown the relationship between low Vitamin D and neurological disorders revolving around an aberrant immune system. This just adds fuel to the fire.

If your child develops jaundice, please be aggressive with your doctors in treating it. Often physicians aren’t even aware of these risk factors so don’t be afraid to mention this to your pediatrician. If you talk to any parents in my office, I’m liberal with the use of a bili-blanket (a blanket that provides UV light for bilirubin breakdown/removal), even at lower levels. It just makes sense to be overly cautious. Checking bilirubin levels is just a little heel prick so don’t be afraid to keep a close eye on those levels.

Don’t forget Vitamin D, its essential your newborn infants and young children get it. Plenty of sunshine is vital, even during the winter months (I just took my 2 week old boy out in the sun for 20 minutes, he loved it). I do recommend vitamin D supplementation for infants born during winter months with the dosage around 400 IUs and children after the age of one the dosage increases to around 800 IUs. A good quality cod liver oil is my favorite way to get vitamin D, plus the additional fish oils are huge for development. DHA Infant (for infants) and Arctic Cod Liver Oil (for kids over 1) my top choices.

Pediatrics October 21

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