Recently, on our Facebook group for parents of children on the autism spectrum, a question was asked about PANDAS, and how Heilkunst can address this issue. The answer to the question is a simple one, but it also requires some explanation. And while the question may be a particular one for parents of ASD children, the issue and the answer should be of interest to anyone struggling with some kind of microbial infestation.
PANDAS is the acronym for “Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections”. Like most things these days, it is a fancy name attached to a group of symptoms and then linked to a microbe that is supposed to be responsible.
This is consistent with the prevailing ‘germ theory’ of disease ever since Louis Pasteur proposed it over 150 years ago. There are two problems with the germ theory of disease: one, not everyone who comes in contact with the germ gets sick, so there is another factor operating, namely, the immune system; two, not everyone who gets the symptoms has the germ.
The first problem was raised by eminent scientists at the time, most notably Antonine Béchamp and Claude Bernard in France, contemporaries of Pasteur, who argued that the more important factor in disease was one’s ability to resist any infectious microbial agents – immunity. Béchamp also argued that there were exogenous microbes that could invade a body if weak enough, but that most microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi) were actually produced by the body as part of a normal cycle of healing and metabolic function, and were not outside invaders. For example, in children who have so-called ‘ear infections’ (otitis media – which really just means inflammation of the middle ear) bacteria are produced by the body to clean up dead cells (acting like garbage collectors) and using antibiotics only serves to stop this process and results in a soggy mess, known as ‘fluid in the ear’. This necessitated, in many cases, surgery to drain the fluid and put tubes in. Most ‘infections’ are really just inflammations started by the body to try get rid of damaged cells and tissue, build new tissue and restore a balance upset by something.
However, Pasteur’s more simplistic ‘germ = disease’ mantra won the day as it provided the appearance of a scientific basis for medical diagnosis and also for treatment (not to mention that it is the basis for a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry).
The second problem – how to know if a microbe is really the cause of a disease or part of the body’s own healing effort – was recognized and addressed by Koch’s Postulates, which effectively state that for a germ to be considered the cause of a disease, it must be isolated in then identified in all disease cases and then shown to cause the same disease consistently in persons or animals injected with it. However, this standard has more or less gone by the board these days. The SARS epidemic in Toronto a number of years back, a sudden respiratory condition that struck a large number of people, showed how low the standard had become. While the outbreak was blamed on a highly infectious microbe, actual tests and results later published in medical journals showed that only about 40% of people diagnosed with SARS – sudden acute respiratory syndrome – had the virus, and of those who did, there were only traces, often which had to be searched for, compared to the the teeming viral numbers usually associated with an infectious disease. But the virus still is declared guilty for the outbreak.
Today, we face much the same dilemma. We are taught to fear microbes, that microbes are bad, and that if we can make any kind of link, whether circumstantial or even just hypothetical, we need to kill the microbes deemed responsible. There are certain microbes that cause disease, but the list is a short one. Most microbes are there because of a disease condition, not the cause of it. However, once there, they can trigger a number of symptoms that then get labelled as as disease, but is really just a secondary condition or syndrome resulting from a deeper issue or problem.
So, let’s look at the condition called PANDAS. The microbe involved is commonly found in people’s throat, but is kept under control by a healthy immune system; if not, due to too much stress and other factors weakening the immune system, it can result in strep throat. Again, this is not really an infection as much as a battle between the microbe and the immune system over control and territory. Usually this can be resolved without recourse to antibiotics. As Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, the former associate professor of paediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine wrote in his book, How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, antibiotics are to be avoided and he almost never used them in his over 30 years of practice. Most conditions will resolve readily on their own with no ill effects to the child. He said the same about so-called ‘ear infections’.
So, there is a tenuous causative link between strep and other related microbes and the behavioural symptoms collected under the name PANDAS. This is even recognized by the fact that more recently, PANDAS is being replaced by the term PANS, Pediatric Acute Neuropsychiatric Syndrome. The link with microbes has disappeared.
It is true that some children benefit from treatment for strep, yeast, etc., to the extent these aggravate a situations, as antibiotics, anti-fungals, etc. will kill microbes. However, this improvement tends to come at a high cost, weakening the immune system further and is only really a temporary solution at best. My father likened it to selling sand while living on a sand bar. I liken it to shooting the messenger and avoiding the message (that something deeper is going on and needs to be addressed).
Where does Heilkunst stand on all this?
For Heilkunst, there can indeed be infectious microbes. The good news is that these, such as malaria, cholera, measles, chickenpox, tetanus, yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, etc. can be effectively treated with energy medicine. We also accept that when certain microbes either in the gastrointestinal track or inside the body are out of balance, such as strep or candida, these may need to be addressed acutely, again with energy medicine, but that the real problem here lies in why the immune system is so out of balance that such problems arise. Energy medicine aimed at a secondary microbial problem avoids the problem of side-effects (really the disease causing or iatrogenic effects of drugs), but unless you also address the deeper issues behind the microbial problem, it will keep coming back.
Thus, PANDAS/PANS is the name of a complex condition with various underlying disease causes – traumas, drugs, vaccinations, inherited disease factors, etc. These deeper causes need to be addressed, and in a systematic, logical manner, each case being somewhat different. In some cases, the roots are not too deep and early results can be seen; in other cases, the roots are much deeper and progress is much slower and even for a time seemingly not there. However, our experience over more than 20 years is that consistent, systematic treatment of the underlying causes (based on a broad map we have developed of potential causes in any given case) does produce good results even in the most difficult of case, even where such cases have been labelled ‘non-responders’.
UPDATE: The HCH has posted a video of Rudi discussing this issue on our YouTube channel.