Bio-Balance held their annual conference in Melbourne recently with some great speakers from the US and Australia. The wealth of knowledge these speakers passed onto the attending delegates was invaluable. There was also an opportunity to speak to a number of exhibitors and “pick their brains” on the latest products that they offer specifically suited to treating mental health issues.
Bio-Balance Health is a not for profit organisation, whose primary aim is to make available in Australia, information on the use of a comprehensive biochemical assessment and advanced complementary nutritional treatment of a range of disorders such as behavioural disorders, ADD, ADHD, learning disorders and autism as well as mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.
Below is a summary of talks given by Dr Nancy O’Hara and Dr Kelly Francis and Dr William Walsh at the recent Melbourne Bio-Balance Conference held in March 2018.
Dr Liz Mumper
Dr Liz Mumper was unwell so Dr Nancy O’Hara presented her talk followed by her own. Some key points from both lectures:
- Glymphatics is a new term to describe the newly discovered lymphatic system in the brain. We dump toxins in our sleep. Therefore, sleep has an important detoxifying function on the brain
- Sleep apnoea decreases ADHD type symptoms when treated effectively (it is being increasingly accepted that there is an overlap between ASD and ADHD)
- Interestingly, wild rats learn faster than lab grown rats that have been grown using the usual rat chowder – indicating that the environment in which you are brought up in is important
- Talked a bit about the grain beetle and HDC (Hymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids) therapy using these beetle eggs. Google HDC and TSO (Trichuris suis ova) helminth therapy for autoimmune conditions and this blog may be a starting point for parents that want to know more.
- Methylation DNA SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) – many practitioners/parents are doing DNA testing for methylation status – but Dr O’Hara says that it is much more complicated than that, and just relying on DNA can be misleading.
- Persistent Cell Danger Response (CDR) – is an ancient metabolic response to a threat. The CDR encompasses inflammation, innate immunity, oxidative stress, and the stress response. Abnormal persistence of the CDR lies at the heart of many chronic diseases, including autism. See a review here.
Dr Nancy O’Hara
Dr Nancy O’Hara’s talk was on PANDAS (Pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections) /PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome) and many parents were particularly interested to hear her talk on this topic.
- 1:150-200 children are diagnosed with PANS
- At least 25-30% of OCD and tic disorders have PANDAS/PANS
- It has an ACUTE onset – does not come on gradually
- Sudden onset of bedwetting when children have been dry throughout the night may be PANS related
- 17% show abnormal EEG (electroencephalography) brain wave activity in EEG studies
- ANA (Anti-Nuclear Antibodies) – over 56% are positive for ANA, with a “speckled” pattern
- If a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy is done – do a culture for Strep bacteria
- Some of the clinical signs that you may see is peeling of the skin of fingers, raised “strawberry” papillae of the tongue
- Azithromycin (antibiotic) dosing was discussed
- Herbal antimicrobials that Dr O’Hara may use – Usnea (Personal comment: just started using this herb – brilliant herb), Taiga, Golden seal, Neem, xylitol (as an oral spray and intranasally)
- Vitamin D – 80% are deficient
- Ibuprofen as a diagnostic test – 10mg/kg – if symptoms improve then it proves that it is an inflammatory process that needs to be addressed
- Probiotics are like “peeing in the ocean”, but they do help set up the immune system
- Omega-3 – increase the dosing until bruising or nose bleeds occur or fat is seen in the stool THEN back off the dose.
- Saffron/curcumin in combination
- Flavonoids – quercetin, luteolin, rutin
- Goat colostrum
- High family history of autoimmune disease in PANDAS/PANS
- Anti-strep titres may be negative in up to 40% of children
- Also mentioned “piano fingers” as a diagnostic tool for PANDAS – get the child to close their eyes and outstretch their hands – often their fingers will start to move like playing the piano!
Dr Kelly Francis
- Talked about a recently published study that she was involved in (in collaboration with Dr Bill Walsh of the Walsh Research Institute) Micronutrient therapy for Violent and Aggressive Male Youth. An Open Label Study.
- This supplement formula significantly reduced violent and aggressive behaviour in the first 8 weeks of the trial! Regardless if they were on psychotropic medication or not
- Psychotropic medication may work faster BUT has side effects, this nutrient protocol has minimal side effects
- Nausea was the most common adverse effect, but if given with a high protein meal resolved with a good breakfast (not cereal but a good healthy breakfast)
Dr William Walsh
Dr Walsh posed the question at the beginning of his talk:
Why has the increased provision of psychiatric treatment not reduced the prevalence of mental disorders?
Some of the contributing factors may include:
- Stress and competition in society
- Poor quality lifestyle
- Social factors like loneliness
- Risk factors not addressed adequately
- Medications are not sufficiently targeted
Or is it something else that is being missed?
Why is copper involved in so many psychiatric disorders?
- Post-partum depression: 95%
- ADHD: 68%
- Anxiety: 60%
- Behaviour disorder: 55%
- Schizophrenia: 50%
- Bipolar disorder: 40%
Copper for example drives the breakdown of dopamine to norepinephrine by binding to dopamine β-hydroxylase. Therefore, high copper levels will drive this pathway and generate more epinephrine causing an imbalance in neurotransmitters in the brain.
In pregnancy copper increases dramatically. So we see a high incidence of post-natal depression.
Zinc can keep copper in check.
Maintaining adequate zinc levels is very important in preventing brain related disorders.
The average plasma zinc levels in 15,000 mental-health individuals in their data base was 76 mcg/dl (11.6 mmol/L)
In Australia most plasma zinc is reported in mmol/L. Typical reference range for plasma zinc is 10 – 25 mmol/L. Most mental health patients will have a low normal plasma zinc.
The plasma zinc range Dr Walsh considers optimal is 90 – 120 mcg/dL (13.8 – 18.4 mmol/L).
Therefore, nearly all patients need zinc!
It takes at least 60 days to correct a copper overload.
In ASD there is a higher need for antioxidants. The three main antioxidants in the brain are:
- Glutathione – first line of defence
- Metallothionein – Nature’s back-up system
- Selenium – speeds up the process
There was much more in relation to epigenetics and depression. It is beyond the scope of this article to do a complete review and do the topic justice. I would strongly recommend the reader to spend some time in listening to the video recordings available for free on the Walsh Research Institute website.
For parents that have not been able to attend, one of my favourite websites that I spent many, many hours on in the early days when my son was diagnosed, was listening to the experts webinar recordings at Autism Research Institute Webinar Recordings – if you miss them at the time, they are all there to listen to at your leisure. Plenty of talks there by Dr Mumper, Dr O’Hara, and many others. Much of what was discussed at the conference is there, maybe not as up to date. I highly recommend these webinars to new parents – learn from the experts on the front line, so to speak. Some new parents found some of the content a bit daunting. In that case access these webinars and spend an hour occasionally and you will have a much better understanding of biomed treatments and why they work.