So what is autism exactly? It is described as a social and communication difficulty combined with odd, repetitive behaviors, obsessions, and a withdrawal from the fabric of social life. When we don’t feel well, we all have a tendency to remove ourselves from social life, to be by ourselves until the feeling subsides. But in the autist, the feeling of discomfort doesn’t subside. The immune response from lutein is long-lasting. When lutein becomes a regular part of the diet, the immune response is constant. Withdrawal becomes habitual. Speech and social development is affected, not just by the effects of the natural painkillers the body produces, but from a hormonal change that effects the limbic system, the centers of learning and socialization in the brain. One of the findings of the brain studies was an immature development of the limbic system. We believe that this is another protection mechanism that is built into the brain, where protection from harm takes precedent over social development. When the lutein-free diet is implemented and the immune system calms down, the limbic system is switched back on and language, socialization and emotional development can resume. The progress we have seen in autists who start a lutein-free diet confirm this. Another aspect of the change is that the immune system regulates Serotonin uptake to reduce arousal. This leads to the familiar day-night reversal in many autists, who prefer to be awake during the night.
Another finding of the brain studies that were mostly done in Japan in the 1980s was damage to the ascending fibers of the Cerebellum. The Cerebellum gives us our awareness of our bodies in space, how we move, our balance. This awareness is known as proprioception. This damage may be more difficult to reverse and may be a result of the immune response to lutein in the womb or early childhood. Damage similarly occurs in rat studies into the effects of certain toxic chemicals. Autists are not typically good at sports and are often diagnosed with movement disorders such as dyskinesia.
It is very difficult to describe the experience of autism. I once tried to describe it as feeling as if my nerves were being stretched with a pair of pliers. I mostly just wanted to be left alone but that is not always possible, so I struggled through the necessities of school, sitting in desks, trying to be normal, getting criticized for my terrible handwriting and lack of punctuality, not handing in assignments on time, seeing my grades get worse and worse. Finally, leaving school with no diplomas I had to take on brain-numbing jobs in horrible environments, saving up money to take time off to travel, taking long periods of unemployment and spending my time in libraries and bookstores, and finally with the advent of the internet, being able to share my story and do the research necessary to understand this complicated and misunderstood condition.