Treating Autism with Integrative Medicine

Andrew Schorr:

Let's meet Dasha's doctor, Dr. Sanford Newmark, and learn more about autism and learn more about integrative medicine for autism.  So now joining us is Dasha's doctor, pediatrician Dr. Sanford Newmark.  He is head of the Pediatric Integrative Neurodevelopmental Clinic at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF in San Francisco. 

Dr. Newmark, first of all, I know you must be delighted that the work that you're doing at the center has made a difference for Dasha. 

Dr. Newmark:

Oh, I certainly am.  That's what we're here for. 

Andrew Schorr:

Well, let's talk about, first of all, the increase in autism.  Do we know what's going on? 

Dr. Newmark:

Well, I wish we knew better.  The increase has been very dramatic from, maybe, four or five in 10,000 to, as you say, more than one in a 100.  There is a great deal of controversy about how much of this increase is due to more awareness of autism, and how much is due to widening the diagnosis, and how much is due to just a lot more real autism.  I believe that it's all of those, but I believe there's really a lot more children with autism around. 

And so the question is why, and we really don't know.  It must have something to do with the environment, because the genetics—autism is something that where children are genetically predisposed to have, and it's something about the environment must have changed.  And whether that has to do with food or toxins in the environment or other factors we don't even know of, is just really not clear yet. 

Andrew Schorr:

Of course, for the parents of the child who has been diagnosed, they move on and they say, okay, what can we do about it, to have my child to be the best they can be, have as full life as they can.  So, they sort of pick themselves off the floor, and they say, okay, let's get to work.  So, help us understand this term, "integrative medicine."  What does integrative medicine mean?

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Page last updated on February 20, 2019