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“Hunter”: A Case of Autism Treated with Homeopathy

By Jessica A., Year 3 Student, 2017-2018 Initial: November 7, 2016     Follow-ups: November 28, 2016, February 6, 2017, May 1, 2017, May 28, 2017, March 2, 2018 Initial Appointment — November 7, 2016 (Skype) Hunter is a 2 and ½ year old boy. I spoke with his mother on Skype to talk about his case. Hunter was not present, but I’ve met him before, and have observed his temperament on a few occasions. His mother’s main complaint is Hunter’s delayed speech development and lack of eye contact. Some pediatricians have diagnosed Hunter with highly functioning autism. Their speech therapist thinks he has apraxia. Intake Supplements: Multivitamin, liquid iron Diagnostics: Negative test for fragile x syndrome, negative test for one gene of autism, possible apraxia diagnosis by speech therapist, Organic acid test revealed a lot of yeast, Anemia Family History: Older brother has mild apraxia Observations Hunter is big for his age and solidly built. He walks on the tips of his toes, and his toes are adducted. He avoids eye contact but will respond if his name is called. He has a white spot on his left leg that corresponds with the vaccine site. The spot appeared shortly after the MMR vaccine. Initial Assessment According to his mother, Hunter had an obvious reaction to the MMR vaccine. The site of injection became very itchy and he would scratch it until it bled. A lump developed “like scar tissue”. Ever since, a white birthmark-like spot exists in its place. She also believes this is when his autism-like symptoms began. Hunter is warm-blooded, and never chilly. He does not like blankets on while sleeping. He is lazy in the morning and always naps at 11 am, even at school. When he has a fever, he is usually sweaty, with no chill. He has suffered four ear infections before age 2. There is fluid in the right ear. His ears are very waxy. Sometimes the thick wax will drip out. His eyes often tear, especially the left. He hates leafy, green vegetables. He has a good appetite. He enjoys fruit, milk and eggs. He has a normal level of thirst, he usually sips his bottle throughout the day. He has always had soft stools, 1-3 times per day. It is light-colored and reminds his mother of peanut butter. He gets diarrhea every 2 weeks approximately. If he eats mandarin oranges, he gets runnier stool. His pee smells distinctly sour, like vinegar. Hunter sleeps very well through the night, a full 12 hours. He must be woken up for school, but if left he will wake naturally before 8 am. He likes his blankets framing his face when he sleeps and favors the right side or on his stomach with his bottom in the air. He heavily breathes during sleep. He sweats at night on the forehead and upper body. Hunter’s mother miscarried right before getting pregnant with him. The first 18 weeks she was very sick with headaches and vertigo. He was born 4 weeks too early with an induction and epidural. He was born 7 pounds. He has hit every milestone except speech. At 15 months his parents realized he was not as talking much as their other children did. He does not say as many words. There was an absence of cooing and babbling as a baby. There was also less eye contact, and he did not point to things as a baby. At 2 ½ he is just mastering words like “no” and putting other words together. When playing or when excited he makes a throat clearing noise which sounds like a car imitation. His speech therapist thinks this is verbal skimming. Other motor skills, like clapping, are delayed. Teething was fine. I asked his mother to describe his personality. She said he usually happy and makes jokes like “wiping off my kisses and then laughing”. He is serious and stoic. He is quiet but not timid to approach strangers. He likes to play alone and likes his space from other kids at school. Playing with the other kids must be on his own terms. You can tell if he does not like something, he knows what he wants. He is fearless, he loves to climb things and will go upstairs without the lights on. Repertorization (Using Mac Repertory- by totality) Generalities; Vaccination, after (40) Extremities; discoloration; spots; legs (36) Speech & voice; Monosyllabic speech (9) Mind; talk, talking, talks; slow, late learning to (18) Head; perspiration; night (25) Ear; wax; profuse (45) Ears; inflammation; middle ear (140) Eye; lachrymation; left (29) Stool; soft, too (267) Stool; light-colored (98) Urine; sour odor (21) Analysis To me the most striking and reliable symptoms about Hunter’s case are his reaction to vaccinations, the spot that appeared on the same leg as the vaccination site, monosyllabic speech thus far, delayed speech, perspiration on the head at night, waxy ears, recurrent ear infections, lachrymation of the left eye, soft and light- colored stools and sour smelling urine. The lack of eye contact, adducted toes and walking on the tippy toes are typical symptoms of Autism, therefore I did not repertorize them, but I used them as confirmatory symptoms, as well as the desire for eggs. The remedies that were highly represented in these rubrics were Calcarea Carbonica, Mercurius, Silica Terra and Thuja Occidentalis. I also examined Mezereum because of its peculiar parallels to this case. Calcarea Carbonica: Hunter features two of the definite pictures of Calcarea Carbonica in provings; the picture of anemia and the picture of mental deficiency (specifically, delayed speech). He is big for his age and solidly built, which fits the physical picture of a Calcarea Carbonica child. They have sour-smelling discharges, like Hunter’s urine, and perspire on the head at night. There is a lot of ear wax and the stools are soft and light- colored. Calcarea Carbonica children often walk on the tips of their toes and are prone to multiple ear infections. They desire eggs. Calcarea Carbonica does not appear in the “Generalities; Vaccination, after (40)” rubric, but it does appear in the “Extremities; discoloration; spots; legs (36)” which was the result of the vaccination. Personality wise, Calcarea Carbonica children tend to be cautious and timid. Hunter’s mother did say that he is shy, but he does not sound overly cautious. They may be timid, but they are independent children and prefer to play alone. They are stubborn and strongly prefer their routine. This sounds like Hunter’s preference to play alone, play with other children on his own terms, and how he is very certain of what he likes and dislikes. Contradictions include the fact that he is not chilly and fearful, which are typical characteristics of Calcarea Carbonica. However, overall, I find this remedy to fit Hunter’s case quite well. Mercurius: Mercurius features ailments from vaccinations, sour smelling urine, profuse ear wax, eye lachrymation and soft and light- colored stool. Speech is monosyllabic and stammering, and they are prone to middle ear infections. This remedy is featured in the “Extremities; discoloration; spots; legs (36)” rubric and perspiration on the head at night is another characteristic. Mercurius children can also be timid and shy, but I don’t find this remedy resembling Hunter as strongly as Calcarea Carbonica. Silica Terra: Features ailments after vaccinations in children, increased ear wax, eye lachrymation, soft and light-colored stool and tendencies to develop middle ear infections. It is also featured in the rubric for leg discoloration, and children who are late learning to talk. There is perspiration on the head at night. Children needing this remedy are typically precocious with delicately thin bodies. I would say Hunter is the opposite of this, as he is solidly built with some mental delay. Thuja Occidentalis: This remedy is well known for ailments from vaccinations in children. There is profuse ear wax, lachrymation of the left eye, sleepiness at 11 am and soft and light-colored stool. This remedy features monosyllabic speech, arrested development, a tendency for middle ear infections and discolored spots on the legs. As this remedy suits some of the more specific symptoms that the other remedies don’t, I might consider this remedy if Calcarea Carbonica does not provoke progress. Mezereum: I looked at this remedy for it’s specific affinity for children, age 3, after vaccination where an itch-like eruption appears, and the child itches until they are bleeding. Other concomitant symptoms include soft stool and middle ear infections. However, this remedy did not feature nearly as many similar characteristics to Hunter’s case as Calcarea Carbonica. Plan: 1. 200 CH Calcarea Carbonica 3 pellets once, repeat weekly if no aggravation. I based my posology on Hahnemann’s dosing advice for Calcarea Carbonica, “In cases of children, several doses may be given in succession, provided the remedy continues to be indicated: the younger the children the more frequently may the remedy be repeated”. 2. Excess ear wax is often a sign of food intolerance. Recommended to avoid dairy, wheat products and processed foods. Eliminating citrus fruits, potatoes, corn products, peanuts, red meat, sugar, fried food may also be helpful. I wanted to see how the remedy worked alone before approaching an elimination diet, but I advised Hunter’s mother to try to limit the dairy intake which she was already attempting to do. 3. DHA supplement: essential fatty acids for the brain (2000mg per day) 4. L-glutamine for healthy gut (1g per day) 5. Lactobacilius Acidophilus + Bifidobacterium Bifidus (12 billion organisms per day) to restore gut bacteria Follow-up — November 28, 2016 (text message check-in) Mother: “When first given the remedy, Hunter was scratching at the spot on his left leg where he was vaccinated. He was sick with the flu but once he threw up he was better, and even though he was sick he was in high spirits. At daycare the teachers say he has been a ball of energy. Had a great first week with the remedy. He spoke 30 words in one day which is good for him and normally cries when getting a haircut but this time he got up on the chair all by himself and did not cry. For 2 days that week he was getting warm all over and sick but did so awesome”. The fact that Hunter became sick after the remedy leads me to believe that the remedy is pushing his immune system to heal itself, often times prompting a fever to kill bacteria. Then, despite being ill, he is a “ball of energy”, and his speech has already improved in one week. He also shows signs of maturity and independence  at the hairdressers. Assessment: Continue same dose of 200ch Calcarea Carbonica 3 pellets weekly and I advised his mother to protect the itchy spot, so he does not scratch it until it bleeds or gets infected. Follow-up — February 6, 2017 (skype) I spoke to Hunter’s mother over Skype. She informed me that his stool is not as light. His ear wax has lessened. Hunter is using more words. He is still tippy-toe walking but not as much. His sleep and appetite are good. Hunter has started blinking and rubbing his eyes like he is trying to focus. He blinks a lot while watching TV or focusing hard. His eyes have been tested and they are fine. At daycare he is funny and in a good mood. He repeats sentences and speaks 10 more words than before. He has matured and goes into daycare without crying, completely co-operating with the routine. He is more social. The throat clearing is very seldom. His motor skills, like clapping, are not delayed anymore. He follows instructions better. Even his eye contact has improved. At speech therapy he is more engaged. His therapist says she has another high functioning autistic child who was initially similar to Hunter and Hunter is now “blowing him out of the water”. Pee smell is less strong. Stool is harder, and there is no more diarrhea every 2 weeks. He will ask for water which he didn’t do before. He is generally happy all the time. He scratched the vaccination site a few times after last follow-up and still scratches at it in a warm bath. His toes are still adducted, with the right slightly more. So far this winter he has had nothing but a minor cold with a runny nose, where he wants to cuddle, lay on his mother and sleep. His mother expressed that she is looking into detoxing the MMR vaccine which she believes triggered the Autism symptoms. She is also looking into getting him tested for MTHFR gene. Plan: 1. Continue with Continue with Calcarea Carbonica 200 CH. I assured her that this remedy may act as a “vaccine detox” in time. 2. Other Detoxifying Efforts: Epsom salt baths, lymphatic drainage therapy, cilantro in smoothies. 3. Continue with L-glutamine, probiotic and DHA supplement. Follow-up — May 1, 2017 (skype) When I spoke with Hunter’s mother on skype, he had just run out of remedy last week. Hunter turned 3 in March. He recently started riding his brother’s bike with training wheels. He is starting to talk a little more. In therapy last week he said all of the colors and matched them correctly. Throat clearing is completely gone. The blinking that came up in the last follow-up is on and off. It occurs at the movies and when really tired, otherwise it is less than before. When he ran out of the remedy, the ear wax increased, and the poop became lighter. Other than that, he is doing very well. Sleep is good. He suffered an ear infection in the right ear which was treated with antibiotics (Sandoz Azithromycin). I urged her to contact me next time for an acute remedy. He suffered a lung infection at the same time, with a fever that was on and off. The ears were very red, he would pull at them and scratch and that is how his mother knows an ear infection is coming on. Tippy-toe walking is better. Pee does not smell sour. Sometimes he refuses food. Toes are less adducted. He still sweats at night on the forehead and upper body. Since running out of remedy, he started to cry going into daycare again. In general, he makes jokes and responds to jokes. He asks for food and water (knows hunger and thirst cues). He is attentive to movies and sits quietly. His tantrums are no different than her other 2 children. His body temperature is still warm in general, he is never chilly. Assessment: The return of the ear wax, lighter poop and crying when going into daycare made me think that maybe Hunter needs a stronger dose of Calcarea Carbonica Plan: 1. Move up to 1M Calcarea Carbonica 3 pellets once weekly 2. Continue with L-glutamine, probiotic and DHA supplements Follow-up — May 28, 2017 (skype) In the time between running out of the 200 CH remedy and obtaining the 1M remedy, Hunter’s mother noticed that he cried when dropped off at daycare and he blinked more often. After being on 1M Calcarea Carbonica for 2 weeks he does not cry going into daycare— he actually runs into daycare. Blinking has decreased. He potty trained in one weekend. His speech is excellent. Ear wax is not as bad, but the poop is still light. His appetite is good, and he eats whatever he is given. Tippy-toe walking is almost completely gone. He is very compliant when told what to do. He got accepted into government funded behavior intervention therapy. His mother was told this program might evoke some frustrated behavior. He seems to meet all challenges presented, for example, riding a bike successfully with training wheels. Social interaction with kids has improved; he will stick up for himself but also cooperate and share with the other kids. He waits patiently for another toy and mimics the teacher by telling other kids to wait their turn or share. Mother: “So Hunter has this blister looking bump on his hand for months and now I’ve noticed all the kids have a few of these bumps. They bathe together, and each have 4 or 5 bumps each”. Hunter has had one on his hand for a year, a couple small ones under his eye, one on his tummy and on his lower back. Assessment: The spots appear to be Molluscum Contagiosum, a very common viral infection in children that often spreads through day cares, kindergarten and elementary classes and especially targets immune compromised patients. It is recommended to remove dairy from diet as well as other food sensitivities. There are no long-term issues, it is much like the common wart. Kids often grow out of it. This is a confirmatory for Calcarea Carbonica as children needing this remedy are prone to molluscums. Plan: 1. Continue with 1M Calcarea Carbonica weekly and as needed with temper tantrums or frustrations at therapy. 2. Replace cow’s milk with non GMO organic soy milk (appropriate replacement in terms of nutrients, as long as no allergic reaction) and limit Hunter to either 1 cheese or yogurt a day, with yogurt being more tolerable on the dairy scale. 3. Continue with L-glutamine, probiotic and DHA supplements Follow-up — March 2, 2018 (text message check-in) Preparing this case, I got in touch with Hunter’s mother to inquire about his condition. Mother: “It has been recommended for Hunter to see an ear, nose and throat doctor because he’s so nasally, but he’s doing great. In 2 weeks we find out his 6-month review from going to Intensive Behavior Intervention therapy. We have registered him to start school in September. He hit every milestone and his speech is coming along; he’s counting to 10 and he’s telling stories. He is very self-aware, telling you his likes and dislikes or if he’s mad. He is almost skating on his own. I’m sure mentally he is behind in some learning things, but he knows all his colors and some counting, has a great imagination when playing. You can ask him how his day was and what he had for lunch. We don’t treat him any different. We can have a conversation with him. All his teacher’s love him. He’s so loveable.” I told her that sounds wonderful, that she is doing an amazing job of facilitating his needs and not to hesitate to contact me for further homeopathic assessment whether acute or chronic. The next step would be to address the nasal congestion and determine whether Calcarea Carbonica is his constitutional remedy and he requires an acute or if he needs a reassessment of a chronic remedy. I suspect that a dose of Thuja Occidentalis may be useful as it proved to match a lot of Hunter’s symptoms as well (see initial analysis).   If Calcarea Carbonica is his constitutional remedy, Nash says it would be worth looking into Belladonna as an acute N.B. Homeopathy treats many conditions and this case is just one example References: 1. The American Homeopath 2007 pg. 32-36 2. The New England Journal of Homeopathy Spring/Summer 2001, Vol.10 – No.1 3. The New England Journal of Homeopathy Fall/Winter 1999, Vol. 8 – No. 2

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