Changing the way you look at your health creates an open road in front of you, poised for a healthier life. Once you recognize that you actually do have control over your own health and wellness, you can then chart that journey. Looking at where you are today and where you want to be in the future defines the road you need to take. For some who are already vibrant and healthy it is a short trip, for others it may be the marathon I have been helping people traverse since starting my private practice well over a decade ago. Regardless if you are merely looking to support an already healthy lifestyle or to change years of deteriorating health, this shift in approach enables you to have control in a way you most likely have never imagined.
I began using this approach with adults who had issues with Chronic Fatigue, ALS, MS, IBS and Parkinson’s disease. I had spent years studying biochemical and molecular pathways for my undergraduate degree in chemistry, PhD in Microbiology/
Immunology and my fellowships in Pediatric Immunology, Cancer Research, Cell Biology as well as working to design molecular tests and products for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. I found that I think in biochemical pathways. The way some people have an innate sense of direction I see pathways in the body. I have literally gotten lost driving my own children home from school, yet I can tell you how different natural products join together in traffic circles in your body.
When I moved from a metropolitan area to rural Maine, I not only moved demographically. I also shifted scientifically from considering the impact of pharmaceutical products on the pathways in our system, to thinking about the use of natural products to achieve similar results; how herbs and supplements could have a positive impact on those very same biochemical and molecular pathways.
In my private practice, I used natural products to have a positive effect on biochemical and molecular pathways in the body, finding that was what was helping to improve health for adults with a range of chronic inflammatory conditions. One day a woman I was working with asked for my help with her young daughter’s inflammatory gut condition. The use of herbs and other natural supplements not only helped the gut but also helped to restore her verbal language. Unbeknown to me, this young girl was autistic. I am embarrassed to admit but I was not fully aware of autism at that time. This was 1999 and my focus for almost twenty years had been medical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology approaches to solve standard research topics in a more traditional arena. My more recent foray into herbs and natural supplements, along with courses in natural health care had only begun in 1998. While I was thrilled with the ability to use natural products to impact known biochemical and molecular pathways in the body, the success with respect to adult inflammatory conditions was satisfying but not a surprise. The well documented impact of herbs on inflammatory conditions along with a focus on limiting over excitation of nerves lent itself to these health imbalances. But autism, that was something that had been outside of my radar, it was not a field being approached at that time via biochemical and molecular researchers and the finding that I had helped to restore language in this young girl by working to address inflammation in her gut was totally unexpected. At that time, there were very few language therapists in Maine. The same therapist working in the rural mountains of western Maine was also responsible for language therapy in the ‘big city’ of Portland, Maine. And so via speech therapists, word of the success of this program spread from person to person in Maine.
At the time of this entree into the autism community I was still firmly rooted in adult inflammatory conditions coupled with a strong emphasis on the role of spirituality in health. It was the 4th of July weekend, 2002, and I had literally just finished giving a talk to a group of monks in a friary in Yonkers, NY about the role of spirituality in health when my office in Maine called about the outpouring of requests from mothers of children with autism. The internet is a wonderful tool, and word had spread beyond Maine to the real big city, New York City, citing the ability of this program to help those with autism. It was a learning curve for me personally to truly understand autism, just as it was a learning curve for anyone choosing to use this program.
From the onset I have always believed in sharing the rationale behind choices of herbs and supplements; giving the power and control to each individual to make informed personal health care choices. What this means is that there is a steep learning curve to be able to make decisions governing your own or your child’s health. I have spent the past decade pouring my heart and soul into autism and refining the program, generating more resources to help understand and implement the program, and now have come full circle to include adults with inflammatory conditions, those simply looking for a healthier lifestyle, as well as those with autism on this journey to better health and wellness.
This program began with adults, was adapted to help those with autism, and in this book I now define the steps to take to chart your own Roadmap to health. This is not just about autism; it is about health and well-being. I believe that autism, as with other chronic conditions is a multifactorial condition. That underlying genetic susceptibility, along with exposure to infectious agents, toxic chemical and the stress of lifestyle all contribute to complex health issues. In this book I will make analogies using the concept of a Roadmap to help you to visualize the contribution of genetics, epigenetics, as well as other factors that play a role in health. Understanding the contributing factors gives you the information needed to pick the right tools to get back on a path to health and well-being. Every child with autism has a parent, a grandparent and siblings, and hopefully will have children of their own someday. The predisposing genetics come from somewhere. According to current statistics the rate of autism is one in fifty. In other words, with a rate of 1 in 50, every one of us has a relative, a child, an uncle a cousin or a brother that may be on the autism spectrum. Even if those same related genetics are not manifesting as autism they may be a factor in Parkinson’s, CFS, MS, Lupus or some other inflammatory condition. Recognizing that this is not just about autism, and realizing that the genetics are inherited in a familial pattern, means every single person in today’s society needs to be thinking about charting their personal Roadmap to health.
Alzheimer’s disease, Chronic Fatigue syndrome, ADD/ADHD as well as autism are increasing at an alarming rate. While medicine has made incredible strides clearly we need to think about a different approach to deal with a range of chronic health conditions in today’s society. What I have been sharing is a paradigm shift in how we deal with chronic conditions. The idea is to make you the expert on your own path to health. I share the information to give you the tools to make informed decisions in conjunction with your own doctor/practitioner.
When the increase in Alzheimer’s was first noted the explanation was that people are living longer so of course more of them are dying of Alzheimer’s disease. Today, Alzheimer’s is listed as one of the leading causes of death in this country.
When the number of individuals with CFS was on the rise, the explanation was that the stress of women working while raising their children was to blame.
The increase in ADD/ADHD was cited as being due to poor health choices for children’s snacks and too many families with two working parents. By 1997, the number of children labeled as having “ADHD” had risen alarmingly to 4.4 million and by 2009 the figure was closer to six million, with approximately one in every 10 children now diagnosed with the disorder.
“In 2002 the Center for Disease Control estimated that autism affected about 1 in 150 children. By 2012 the CDC estimate had increased to 1 in 88. Now, according to the latest revision of the estimate recently released, autism affects 1 in 50 children. That’s a phenomenal 300 percent increase in 11 years” (National Health Statistics, March 2013). This alarming increase in autism has been explained by better diagnosis.
I see these as excuses, not as explanations.
I feel that we live in a society where we are stressed emotionally, financially, physically and exposed to a range of toxins in our environment. Combining underlying genetic susceptibility with these other factors creates all the ingredients for a perfect storm By understanding where our weak points are located, where the ‘accidents’ are on our particular highway of life, it is possible to bypass those detours, accidents and breakdowns and chart a better Roadmap to Health. This is the approach that I used in my private practice for adults, for children and have been sharing online at no cost. This is the approach that is explored through this book, simplified by analogies of driving a car and following a Roadmap that we can all understand. This is the approach that will help you and your doctor to bring you better health and well-being.
Just as with a Roadmap and a car you can travel anywhere in this country, so too does the impact of chronic health issues traverse the country. While the incidence of ADHD, Alzheimer’s CFS or autism may differ depending on where you live, there is no state in this country that is free from these chronic health conditions. This is why a program to help you to take charge of your heath, regardless of your physical location is so relevant in today’s society.
This program helps you to understand a central pathway in your body, a pathway that is directly related to a range of health conditions, a pathway that in my opinion is the key pathway to life and health. I personally believe that if this pathway cannot function, or is severely compromised that it is inconsistent with the ability to survive. That is how important I feel the Methylation Cycle is for your health, the health of your children, your grandchildren, your parents and grandparents.
This pathway is so important that I truly believe that everyone should have an equal ability to understand it and to make informed choices to support it in their body. The overriding tenant of this program is to give you the tools you need to make informed personalized decisions about your own health. The more information you have, the more power and control you have. No one is going to be more interested in your health and wellness than you are. No matter how lovely, smart and involved your doctor is, with the volume of patients he/she has to see each day there is no way they can give you the level of priority that you can give yourself. This is not to say that you can do this solely on your own, without your doctor. I am not suggesting that at all. What I am suggesting is a paradigm shift in how we view healthcare. Instead of the classic view of the doctor in the white coat dispensing medicine and answers where you obediently take whatever is given with no explanation, this program gives you the tools to change that dynamic and take charge of your own health by understanding the role, importance and genetics of the critical Methylation Cycle in the body.