We all know that lab results can never be 100% accurate. Have you ever thought about the implications of a test result that says a child is free of a condition, but the child is not? This is called a “false negative.” Many people suffer for years because a false negative diverts them away from the actual cause of their condition. This is especially true in autism. Here’s what you can do to make sure a false negative doesn’t subvert your child’s recovery.
Two of the most devastating but treatable conditions that impact as many as 80% (or more) of people living with autism are Lyme and parasites. Why are these two very different types of infections found together in autism? A hallmark of autism is a weakened immune system. Lyme and parasites are able to gain hold on people whose immune system is not strong enough to keep them out.
Though I will focus on Lyme and parasites, this advice about false negatives applies to any condition you are testing for such as food sensitivities, heavy metals, and other types of infections.
Lyme and parasites are 2 of the most difficult conditions to diagnose. Lyme is difficult because most Lyme tests are looking for Lyme antibodies. Unfortunately, Lyme severely impairs a person’s immune system to the point that the body often cannot produce sufficient antibodies to be detected on a lab test.
Parasites are difficult to detect too. Most doctors order a stool sample when testing for parasites. Parasites or their eggs will not be present in every stool sample so multiple collections on separate days are necessary. However, even multiple samples may miss parasites. Many autism parents have reported that they have even sent large worms that are clearly parasites from their child’s BM to labs. The lab results still came back negative! Why? One hypothesis is that many labs use mechanical testing. Interestingly, autism parents have had much better luck diagnosing parasites with veterinarians perhaps because vets are more experienced in looking for parasites!
Four Diagnostic Options
Standard lab tests are not the only way to diagnose Lyme, parasites and other issues. Here are four options to help you rule out a false negative.
Diagnostic Option 1: Look at Symptoms – Until recently, doctors didn’t have modern laboratories to test for diseases. They had to diagnose and treat disease based on symptoms. Lyme and parasites cause a wide range of symptoms that are also common in autism. I have listed some of the symptoms of each here.
|Symptoms of Parasite Infection:
o Abdominal pain
o Chronic constipation and/or diarrhea
o Cravings for foods high in carbs and sugar
o Distended belly
o Eating more than normal and not feeling hungry
o IBS symptoms
o Inability to gain weight
o Brain fog/disorientation
o Poor coordination
o Joint pain
o Teeth grinding
o Slow growth
o Itching/burning/picking of the anus
o Nasal itching
o Increase in symptoms around the time of the full moon
|Symptoms of a Lyme Infection
o Persistent malaise
o Brain fog
o Brain block when trying to focus.
o Difficulty thinking, processing information, planning, organizing, problem-solving
o Difficulty taking in the “whole picture”
o Difficulty with judgment – inability to think things and their consequences through
o Difficulty tracking objects in motion
o Difficulty with focus or concentration – easily distracted (ADD/ADHD)
o Racing Thoughts (OCD)
o Difficulty with basics, social, and day to day functioning.
o Dental problems; chronic gingivitis, receding gums, thinning enamel.
o Painful/stiff jaw, mimics TMJ or jaw joint arthritis.
o IBS-type symptoms
o Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or speaking.
o Stomach pain
o Bloated belly.
o Sound sensitivity
o Body temperature slightly below 98.6
As you can see, most, maybe all children with autism have symptoms of both Lyme and parasite infections. I have heard some of the most effective practitioners say that their first line of diagnosis is symptoms, and a negative test result should never trump symptoms.
Many children see significant reductions in autism symptoms when they are treated for these two infections.
Diagnostic Option 2: Treat and Retest
There are natural treatments for both Lyme and parasites. For example, parasites can be treated with herbs. Since these conditions can be treated, work with your natural medicine practitioner to start a treatment plan. Once your child’s immune system is able to catch up, it will start expelling more parasites and create more antibodies for Lyme. Thus, upon retest, you may get that positive lab to reinforce you are on the right track. However, if the lab still comes back negative, but the treatment is helping, seriously consider continuing the treatment.
Diagnostic Option 3: Muscle Testing
According to Dr. Dietrick Klinghardt, muscle testing is generally about 90% accurate. He uses muscle testing in his practice and finds it very reliable. I have taken my son to 7 practitioners on our healing journey, and the two who have been by far the most helpful both use muscle testing.
If you suspect something like Lyme or parasites and get a false negative, find a practitioner who is skilled in muscle testing. Muscle testing isn’t 100% accurate, but it is likely much more accurate than lab tests for difficult to detect infections such as Lyme and parasites.
A couple of years ago my son had chronic nausea. We saw many doctors and ran expensive (out-of-pocket) tests and found nothing particularly helpful. Finally, I turned to a chiropractic internist and our acupuncturist. Interestingly, both practitioners diagnosed the cause of the nausea as parasites. As soon as we put him on herbs for parasites, his nausea began to fade.
By the way, muscle testing is a fraction of the cost of traditional lab testing. Even if you are skeptical about muscle testing, it might be worth a try if it could save you hundreds of dollars in lab fees and multiple blood draws.
Diagnostic Option 4: Conduct Multiple Tests
You can also opt to test and retest periodically in hopes of catching these guys eventually. However, this testing option is likely to be time consuming and expensive. In addition, your child won’t be happy to get frequent blood work!
Stay the Path!
If your child has autism, ADD/ADHD or another related conditions, don’t check off a negative lab test as something that doesn’t need to be addressed. In my experience, the most effective practitioners diagnose first by looking at symptoms and use lab tests as a backup rather than the reverse. Don’t let a false negative lab test divert your attention from what your child needs for recovery. If you child has multiple symptoms of parasites, Lyme or other issues, continue on the path and consider gentle, natural remedies with no side effects. Consider finding a practitioner who specializes in diagnosing parasites, Lyme, and other conditions.