Medical diagnostic coding books have historically defined autism as a psychiatric or behavioral disorder. However, autism is not a psychiatric disorder, but a medical disorder with neurobehavioral symptomatology. In fact, it appears to be a chronic systemic inflammatory disorder that also affects the brain. Furthermore, autism is not a single entity, but rather a spectrum with multiple phenotypes (physical presentations) and multiple factors that contribute to its variable symptomatology. Using various biomarkers allows us to subtype the so-called "autisms" and further understand the underlying imbalances -- metabolic, immunologic, neurologic and gastrointestinal. We can then use this knowledge to help craft individualized biomedical treatment programs, which, when coupled with behavioral, clinical and educational interventions, offer realistic hope for improvement for affected children and their families.
Kenneth A. Bock, M.D., FAAFP, FACN, CNS, received his M.D. with Honors from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in 1979. A pioneer and leader in the field of integrative medicine for over two decades, Dr. Bock's expertise lies in bringing a comprehensive integrative medicine approach to complex medical problems, including the 4-A disorders -- autism, ADHD, asthma and allergies. His healing program for the 4-A disorders is detailed in his book, "Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies," which has received international acclaim.