AUGUST 5, 1999



Autistic children are "waking up" using a pioneering approach created by developmental pediatrician, Mary N. Megson, M.D.

Megson is testing the effects of natural Vitamin A on children with autism. So far, results seem promising. "Many of these kids are waking up," Megson says.

Many autistic children develop normally until about 15-18 months of age. "Then all of a sudden, they shut down," says Megson, the former director of developmental pediatrics at Children's Hospital.

But why do they shut down in the first place? Megson's theory is that the receptors in the brain controlling vision, language and perception may already be weakened in some children. These receptors may depend on natural forms of Vitamin A, found in sources like cold water fish such as salmon.

For these at-risk children, Megson theorizes it's possible some vaccines may act as an "off switch" to the already weakened receptors. "The kids stop talking," and descend into a world of their own, she says. Natural Vitamin A may "switch on" these receptors, Megson says. Her patients take safe doses that she carefully monitors. High dosages can be toxic, she cautions.

Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., of the Autism Research Institute (ARI), and Portia Iverson of Cure Autism Now (CAN), both report that many parents of autistic children note symptoms soon after vaccinations.

The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) reports significant increases in vaccine reactions, including immune system dysfunction and autistic behaviors, as the required number of vaccinations increases. Currently, any relationship between vaccines and autism is not proven, but parents are asking questions.

As advocacy groups around the country demand answers, Megson is one pioneer who may have found the trigger. Megson advises that parents investigate their child's Vitamin A status through a simple blood test to determine the timing of vaccines. If Megson's theory is correct, more research is needed in the use of these lifesaving vaccines, while minimizing possible risk.

Now in private practice, Megson is researching possible causes of autism. Meanwhile, she is devoted to finding effective treatments for the children. "More studies need to be done right away to identify these at-risk children," she says. "We can't wait any longer."