NEWS: Treating autism with antibiotics
French TV station reports on the apparent connection between autism and infections such as Lyme disease. With antibiotic treatment, many symptoms of autism disappear.
Evening news, France 3 TV channel, 19/20 Friday Feb 17th 2012.
(English subtitles provided by Nelly Pointis, from France. She is a Lyme advocate and co-moderator of EuroLyme.)
Transcript of subtitles:
Health, with this very promising lead : will we be able to cure autism thanks to antibiotics ? It seems unbelievable and yet in many cases, it works and symptoms do disappear. This is the hypothesis put forward by some American scientists and some French doctors are also leading the way in the fight against autism.
200 young adults with autism have already benefited from these treatments, here is the report of this 19/20 (News program) from Claudine Gilbert and Antoine Pasquier.
(Two children, aged about 10, are playing quietly inside the house they are also chatting together very “normally”)
Commentary: Nothing unusual to be noticed about this young boy anymore, he is chatty and he is at ease in front of the camera, yet he is autistic. His mother was given an official diagnosis in 2008 after many years of anxious ponderings. Alexandre had suddenly stopped communicating when he was 18 months old.
Laurence Raguenet (Alexandre’s mother) : « he withdrew into himself, he no longer paid attention to what he was asked, he seemed lost in his thoughts, lost in his own world, we could see he did not pay attention, he did not appear present at all…
Commentary : Around that time, he also had dark rings under his eyes, he suffered from headaches, eczema and itching which made him feel exhausted. Today his health issues are practically all gone.
As well as getting all his energy back, the young boy has also regained a taste for learning. He owes this complete metamorphosis to a doctor who discovered the culprit for his problems: Lyme Disease due to bacteria transmitted by ticks. Treating this chronic infection had unexpectedly positive effects.
Dr Philippe Raymond (a member of a group of doctors and scientists called CHRONIMED) : « Alexandre received regular courses of antibiotics. The courses were given regularly during the first 6 month period but the frequency of the courses decreased after that and from the second year on he was only retreated whenever he suffered a relapse (yes, sometimes there are relapses).
About 10 doctors in France prescribe anti-infective drugs to children with autism, the results are amazing: in the last 6 years, 200 children were treated with antibiotics and 4 out of 5 of these children saw their symptoms regress dramatically or disappear altogether.
Dr Philippe Raymond : « When it works, the results on behavioural and even cognitive symptoms are obvious after only 3 months. In the first month, I am finding that these children already have a more serene outlook on life, they smile, their faces are more relaxed, they don’t misbehave as much, they are not as ill »
Alexandre made amazingly speedy progress at school and also with the speech therapist
Sylvie Manternach-Bancel (speech therapist) : «I can tell the difference between when he has taken a course of antibiotics and when he has not had them for a while. Recently, in the last 2 weeks, Alexandre became disturbed again, he was a bit aggressive, he was a bit more touchy. When I spoke to his mum, she confirmed that he had not had any treatment for 3 or 4 months, and that she felt the effects were starting to wear off, so it might be time for him to be treated again, to have another course of antibiotics.
In the Paris suburb of Jouy-en-Josas, Professor Luc Montagnier is investigating the infectious hypothesis. The researcher has devised a novel method which enables him to detect latent infections in the blood of young people with autism.
Pr Luc Montagnier, Nobel Prize for Medicine : « we think that they are bacteria that come from the intestinal mucosa which, when inflammation is present, will seep through the very fragile mucosa into the bloodstream and will produce toxins which can then reach the brain. That’s the mechanism we are looking at, but we don’t want to speak of one bacteria in particular. What we know though is that the signals we are detecting usually come from bacteria that are pathogenic to humans »
Commentary: This is not a first in medical history, certain illnesses that were long considered to be psychiatric illnesses, turned out in fact to be infectious, as in the case of syphilis.
Prof Christian Perronne, (Head of the Infectious Diseases Department, University Hospital of Garches, Paris-Ouest, member of the High Committee for Public Health) : « another much more recent example is that of stomach ulcers which were considered to be linked to stress, they were thought to be of psychosomatic origin, we now know that they are due to the Helicobacter pylori bacterium which is treated with 10 days of antibiotics. In the history of medicine we see that many illnesses can be due to microbes, in fact, it depends mainly on the evolution of diagnostic techniques for these microbes. »
American scientific publications are already establishing a link between autism and chronic infections. In France, a large University Hospital is about to launch a study on the efficiency of antibiotics against autism. Alexandre’s mum is already convinced, at the age of 10 her son has definitely got back his appetite for living.