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Doctor with Autistic Son Explores Condition as a Metabolic Disorder

Dr. Bryan Jepson, a former emergency room physician who now treats children with autism, will speak about his research and his family’s odyssey on Thursday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m. in Duquesne University’s Power Center Ballroom.

Jepson’s second son, Aaron, was born in 1998 and diagnosed with autism as a toddler. The family was told Aaron would eventually be institutionalized, found that unacceptable and began searching for alternatives.

The free presentation, Changing the Course of Autism, shares its title with Jepson’s 2007 book. A question-and-answer session, reception and book signing will follow the talk.

Now a staff member at Thoughtful House Center for Children in Austin, Texas, Jepson, has come to view autism as a metabolic disorder, contrary to conventional consideration of it as a developmental disorder. He believes that although genetics may play a role in determining susceptibility, the condition is likely triggered by environmental exposures.

“We think that many of the symptoms of autism may be related to problems caused by environmental toxins,” Jepson has said. Although potential causes still are not clear, he suggests that likely candidates include heavy metals such as lead and mercury, organopesticides, infectious agents and food additives. “We know autism has some sort of environmental component, and toxins can be neurologically damaging, so this is logical. Trying to correct the underlying metabolic abnormalities and using methods to remove environmental toxins can help our autistic children get better.”

For more information on Jepson’s talk, visit www.science.duq.edu/autism.html.

Duquesne University

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