Rates of autism have skyrocketed over the years, from an estimated 1 child in 5,000 in the 1960s and 1970s to just 1 in 54 kids today. The diagnosis of autism can be shocking and difficult for parents and families which may leave them feeling isolated, alone, helpless, and hopeless, but it doesn’t have to be that way. While we don’t have all the answers, and more research is needed to identify and validate the causes and treatment of autism, there are new signs of hope. And there is no such thing as “autism.” Rather there are “autisms”—different patterns of biological dysfunction unique to each child that result in multiple insults to the brain that all manifest with symptoms we call autism. Like every condition or illness, the key is to dig into the layers and peel the onion to discover what is really happening. It is not usually one thing but a collection of insults, toxins and deficiencies piled on susceptible genetics that leads to autism.
In this episode, Dr. Hyman sits down with Dr. George Papaicolaou to discuss the Functional Medicine approach to treating children with autism. They also share specific patient stories that they have treated.
George Papanicolaou is a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and is Board Certified in Family Medicine from Abington Memorial Hospital. He is also an Institute for Functional Medicine Practitioner. Upon graduation from his residency he joined the Indian Health Service. He worked on the Navajo reservation for 4 years at the Chinle Comprehensive Medical Facility where he served as the Outpatient Department Coordinator. In 2000, he founded Cornerstone Family Practice in Rowley, MA. He practiced with a philosophy centered on personal relationships and treating the whole person, not just not the disease. He called that philosophy “Whole Life Wellness”. Over time as the healthcare system made it harder for patients to receive this kind of personal care Dr. Papanicolaou decided a change was needed. He began training in Functional Medicine through the Institute of Functional Medicine. In 2015, he established Cornerstone Personal Health – a practice dedicated entirely to Functional Medicine. Dr. Papanicolaou to join The UltraWellness Center in 2017.
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