The book's author, Dr. Marvin Anderson, is a longtime conventional medical practitioner as well as a naturopath who has ten years of experience caring for children with autism. He draws on this experience, as well as on recent studies and research conducted by his colleagues in the medical and natural-health fields, to take a fresh look at the causes of this childhood-developmental disorder and what must be done to effectively manage and prevent it.
While it discusses some quite complex topics and issues, this book is written for the average layperson in a simple, direct style and is very reader-friendly. Each of its six chapters is divided into two main sections, one entitled "The Problem" and the other entitled "The Solution." Under these two general headings, the discussions are broken down into numerous brief subsections, each with its own descriptive subheading, which enables the reader to easily absorb each crucial bit of information presented. In addition to traditional print format, the book is also available from the Apple i-Bookstore as an e-book for iPhones and iPads.
The picture Dr. Anderson presents is as disturbing as it is revealing. It includes a medical establishment and political system blind to the real causes of a growing autism problem and subservient to a mushrooming vaccination industry that puts private profit ahead of the public health. It includes toxic hazardous waste and sewage sludge being "recycled" as a filler ingredient in artificial fertilizers that are spread over American cropland daily. It includes food that is nutritionally deficient, genetically modified, and contaminated with antibiotics, pesticides, artificial growth hormones, and chemical additives. And it includes newborn infants with 287 different toxic chemicals in their umbilical-cord blood, more than two-thirds of which have been banned from the American market for years.
In Chapter Two, "The Cumulative Effect," Dr. Anderson criticizes the American medical establishment to which he belongs for failing to effectively recognize and treat the root causes of the growing autism problem. One of these root causes is the administration of more and more childhood vaccines simultaneously at earlier and earlier ages to infants and young children, some of whose immune systems are not sufficiently developed or healthy enough to properly handle this massive influx of foreign microbes into their bodies. The medical community is allowing the ever-growing vaccination industry to determine ever more-rigorous childhood-immunization schedules without regard to the potentially harmful side effects of these multiple vaccinations on weaker children. After a brief but forthright discussion of the necessity of childhood vaccinations versus their safety and an urgent appeal to his colleagues to face the autism problem head-on, Dr. Anderson makes a novel yet sensible recommendation: the establishment of a new medical discipline devoted to the study of vaccinations and to the pre-testing of infants and children in order to determine, on a case-by-case basis, which (if any) vaccines should be deferred to a later age or even withheld altogether. Dr. Anderson partly credits the low incidence of autism among the Amish people to their practice of delaying or withholding childhood vaccinations (p. 31).
Also ignored by the conventional medical establishment is a clear link between gastrointestinal disorders and autism. In Chapter Three, "The Enemy Within," Dr. Anderson reports that upwards of 75 percent of the children whom he has treated suffer from gastrointestinal maladies. He discusses how various problems in the GI tract can affect the brain and cause behaviorial problems, and he stresses the key role of healthy intestinal flora to overall health. He explains that infants who are breast-fed receive beneficial bifidobacteria through their mother's milk, promoting the development of a healthy intestinal flora in their guts, while infants who are not breast-fed (such as those in neonatal intensive-care units) do not receive this healthy bacteria, allowing harmful bacteria to take root and grow in their GI tracts. Dr. Anderson posits that the latter infants are at higher risk of developing autism due to their intestinal dysbiosis and weakened immune systems. Remarkably, he has found that correcting digestive disorders is the single most effective remedy for his autistic patients.
Furthermore, the medical establishment pays little attention to the role of environmental poisons, such as heavy metals and industrial chemicals, in the ever-worsening U.S. autism epidemic. In Chapter Four, "Dark Skies and Dirty Water," Dr. Anderson brings to light some shocking and disturbing facts about the pollution of our natural environment, and he notes a link between increasing environmental-toxicity levels and rising autism rates. He explains that autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder because it affects the development of the human embryo in utero. One study found almost 300 different toxic chemicals in the umbilical-cord blood of American newborn children across different social strata, although more than two-thirds of these chemicals have been banned from the American market for years (p. 79). Another study shows that of the 2,863 chemicals manufactured in excess of one million pounds daily in the United States, only 12 of them--0.4 percent--have been tested for neurodevelopmental toxicity in accordance with EPA guidelines (p. 80).
Most shocking of all, Dr. Anderson reveals that our farmland is currently being polluted with "recycled" hazardous waste and sewage. He quotes Diane Olson Rutter of the Rodale Institute: "'A sickening flow of heavy metals, nerve-gas residue, dioxin, PCBs, pesticides, industrial solvents, petroleum oils and radioactive plutonium, americium, radium, and strontium-90 makes its way from the Lowry Landfill Superfund site southeast of Denver, down 17 miles of pipe, and into the Denver Metro sewage-treatment plant. There it joins the city's domestic and industrial waste and comes out the other end as sludge. Almost unbelievably, this sludge is then used to fertilize wheat'" (p. 86). Dr. Anderson sounds the alarm that this outrageous, immoral, and widespread practice of converting toxic waste into agricultural fertilizer is polluting our nation's farm soil, imperiling the safety of our food supply, and contributing to growing rates of autism and infertility worldwide. He says, "Respected scientists soberly warn us that something must be done if the human race is to survive."
What can be done to remedy this alarming situation? Dr. Anderson offers two common-sense solutions: 1) Take control of your own food supply, and 2) care for the soil properly by using natural fertilizer (animal manure, humus) and earthworms (vermicomposting). Dr. Anderson points out that autism rates are very low in Amish communities and in Cuba, where natural methods of caring for the soil are used instead of artificial fertilizer (and toxic waste). He also cites an amazing and hopeful discovery by Austrian researchers, who grew organic vegetables in soil contaminated with nuclear fallout from the Chernobyl accident. Remarkably, these scientists found that applying humus-rich compost to the soil before planting resulted in crops completely devoid of radioactivity (pp. 105-106). Dr. Anderson further notes that in Cuba, the incidence of autism is only one in 16,800 despite a rigorous vaccination schedule and high immunization-compliance rate. He links this remarkable finding to the Cubans' natural methods of soil management and plausibly contends that their resulting good nutrition makes their children's immune systems strong enough to withstand a heavy vaccination load (pp. 107-108).
This leads directly into a discussion of the critical role of good nutrition in preventing and managing autism--a role not fully appreciated by the current medical establishment. In Chapter Five, "Help from the Barn," Dr. Anderson points out that conventional food crops grown with artificial fertilizer are not only heavily contaminated but also pathetically deficient in the nutrients required for human health and well-being. He also contrasts the extremely low rate of autism among the Amish--one in 10,000--with the skyrocketing U.S. national rate (one in 150 in 2002, one in 88 in 2008; pp. 32, 197), and suggests that the wholesome agrarian lifestyle of the Amish based on their natural methods of soil treatment is what makes autism practically unknown among them. Dr. Anderson then strongly recommends that families of children with autism who are able to do so should purchase their own small piece of farmland on which to live and grow their own clean and healthy food. For families of autistic children who are unable to do this, he says, the next best option is to purchase the best organically grown food available and add nutritional supplements.
Some people may reasonably ask: If all of the foregoing is true, why aren't all Americans ill? Good question. In the first and last chapters of the book (Chapter One entitled "Sink or Swim"), Dr. Anderson responds that each individual's health background and biochemical makeup is different and explains how some people, for various reasons, are better able than others to handle the same toxic load. Dr. Anderson warns that the rapidly growing ranks of autistic children in the U.S. today signal an impending national health crisis of unprecedented proportions. Like canaries in a coal mine, these unfortunate individuals are the first victims of our irresponsible agricultural practices and heavily poisoned modern environment--and unless we do something about it soon, our country will be in serious trouble.
Autism--Prevention Care and Management is a powerful wake-up call for the American people to the reality of the health catastrophe our nation is staring in the face unless we have the wisdom and courage to change our agricultural policies, beginning at the grassroots level of the individual person and family. It's a timely reminder of the truth once stated by FDR that a nation that destroys its soil destroys itself. This book deserves a mass audience and I highly recommend it to everyone.