With cases of autism on the rise in the United States, the cause of the disorder is being investigated and debated—sometimes with controversial results. Dr. Oz talks to Dr. Ken Bock, physician and author of Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies, about the effect of toxins in the environment, immunization schedules and how to make your home safer for your kids.
While Dr. Bock says that there is a genetic predisposition to autism, toxins in the environment can also cause it. Children who can't naturally detoxify their systems are more susceptible to disorders like autism and allergies, he says. "The whole area is something people never think about—we're [detoxifying] 24-7, but it's only when it doesn't go well that we start talking about it," Dr. Bock says. "We're living in a world where we're paying a price for more toxicity."
Dr. Bock says there are a few simple ways to lower the levels of toxicity in your home and make it a safer, healthier place for your kids.
Wash your hands—they can transmit many toxins.
Take off your shoes when you come into the house to avoid bringing in dirt and other pollutants.
Check for mold, especially in basements and areas where kids play.
Aside from toxins, some believe that immunizations could be to blame for the rise in autism. Dr. Bock says he is pro immunization, but he offers the following guidelines for safe vaccination:
If you are concerned about your child getting more than one vaccination during a trip to the doctor, Dr. Bock says to ask to have them spread out.
You can have live virus vaccines (the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR) spread out into consecutive, monthly office visits.
As for vaccinations at birth, Dr. Bock says it's not necessary unless the mother is hepatitis B positive.
Be aware of your family's history of autoimmune disorders or heavy allergies and inform your child's doctor.
Don't bring your child in for immunizations while they're ill or on antibiotics.