Preface - By Dr. William Shaw

Many new developments have occurred in the field of autism since the first edition of Biological Treatments for Autism and PDD in 1998. The most significant developments have been the discovery of significant abnormalities in the structure and function of the gastrointestinal tract in children with autism by Andrew Wakefield at the Royal Free Hospital in London and by Karoly Horvath at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Wakefield’s hypothesis is that these gastrointestinal abnormalities are due to the infection of the gastrointestinal tract by the vaccine strain of the measles virus. The presence of this virus in the intestinal biopsy samples of children with Autism while not being present in the controls is powerful evidence supporting his hypothesis. In addition, high concentrations of numerous heavy metals found in many children with Autism and the reduction of autistic symptoms after their removal points to multifactorial causes for autism. The marked increase in the incidence of autism has been confirmed in almost every state in the United States as well as in numerous other nations as well.  The work of Ted Page, Mary Coleman, and others that research the genetic diseases which cause disordered purine metabolism, is very exciting because a simple dietary supplement of uridine can reverse almost all autistic symptoms in this subgroup of people.  Confirmation of the effectiveness of many other therapies introduced in the first edition such as gluten and casein restriction, antimicrobial therapy, gamma globulin treatment, and use of secretin have now been confirmed by both additional scientific studies and the experience of tens of thousands of parents and physicians who have utilized them.  

As in the first edition, the purpose of writing this book is to integrate information from the fields of biochemistry, immunology, genetics, nutrition, and microbiology about autism, ADD, and PDD into a form that could be assimilated by both parents, professionals such as nutritionists, dietitians, and physicians who deal with children with these disorders.  Long conversations with hundreds of parents of children with autism and PDD, including many who are themselves physicians, have provided me with many clues to these disorders.

The information in this book may be useful not only for people with autism, but also for those with other disorders that share in some of the symptoms of autism including pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), Rett’s syndrome, Williams disease, neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis, Fragile X, Down’s syndrome, Tourette’s syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and attention deficit disorder (ADD). Many of the same abnormalities in autism are also present in these disorders and the therapies suggested in this book for autism may also help children and adults with these other disorders as well. My objectives are to describe the abnormalities in autism and related disorders and to discuss some of the therapies that have frequently been beneficial for many children and adults. Although a few children have completely recovered from autism using the therapies outlined in this book (and the parents of two of them include their accounts in this book), I am not suggesting that all children will benefit but hope that many will benefit to some degree. Biological Treatments for Autism and PDD has now been translated into Spanish, German, and Dutch and many other languages. The feedback I have received is that the therapies covered in this book have been effective worldwide.

The accounts of the two mothers whose children completely recovered are very significant because of the similarities of the therapies they used. Both mothers obtained information and instituted therapy independently. Both children were diagnosed early about the age of two years. Both mothers independently began using antifungal therapy, an antiyeast diet low in sugar and free of yeast, treatment of food allergies, and a gluten and casein-free diet as key cornerstones of their therapy, both also used intensive behavioral interventions as well. You will note that there are significant differences in the nutritional and antifungal approaches presented by different authors in this book. I realize that this may be confusing, but this information honestly reflects the fact that there are still many unknowns. You may wish to experiment with several of the different nutritional and antifungal approaches to determine which ones are most beneficial for your patient or child. 

Some of this material may be difficult but every attempt has been made to simplify it without distorting the meaning. Knowledge is power. Much of this information may not be familiar to parents or to medical practitioners. The parent who reads this book should assume that their family doctor or even their neurologist or other specialist may not know nearly as much as they do about autism after reading this book. Until recently, most of this information has been available only in the form of research papers accessible only to medical research specialists, and was essentially unknown by persons outside each narrow specialty. There has been a tremendous increase in the application of knowledge about autism and PDD that was stimulated by a group of physicians and scientists who met in Dallas in January 1995 as a part of Dr. Bernard Rimland’s Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) Conference.

My goal is that this book will enable your child to become healthier and function better so, as a result, both you and your child will have a better life. I am sure to be criticized for recommending therapies based on “incomplete” or “anecdotal” data. While acknowledging the great benefits of antibiotics and vaccines in treating disease, I think the overuse of antibiotics and vaccines have harmed substantial minorities of treated individuals. However, I think the dangers to our children are too great to wait until all the data is perfect, which could take a very long time. The Red Cross refused to act on behalf of the Jews in German concentration camps in World War II despite numerous reports of genocide because the evidence was “anecdotal" rather than “definitive.” It has taken nearly 50 years from the time of the first research linking lung cancer and smoking to get restrictions on cigarette use for minors. It took 25 years from the initial discovery that folic acid supplementation prevented a birth defect called spina bifida until extra folic acid supplements were recommended for pregnant women. The stakes for the safety of our children are too high to wait forever.

 About the Authors

William Shaw received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Medical University of South Carolina. He has board certifications in both the fields of Clinical Chemistry and Toxicology. He worked for six years in nutritional biochemistry, endocrinology, and immunology at the Centers for Disease Control; for twelve years in a large medical testing laboratory called Smith Kline Beecham Clinical Laboratories, involved with specialized medical testing for toxicology (poisons and drugs), chemistry, immunology, and endocrinology. The next five years, he was an associate professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) School of Medicine and Director of Clinical Chemistry, Toxicology, and Endocrinology and the organic acid testing for metabolic diseases at Children’s Mercy Hospital, the teaching hospital for the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Medicine. Dr. Shaw has lectured throughout the world on autism and has been a keynote speaker at the Autism Society of America National Meeting, the National Meeting of the American Association for Environmental Medicine, and the National Meeting of the American College for Advancement of Medicine. He is actively involved with both the “Defeat Autism Now” (DAN) group and the “Cure Autism Now” (CAN) foundation. Dr. Shaw is the author of many scientific papers and the co-author of two book chapters dealing with laboratory medicine and nutritional biochemistry. Dr. Shaw can be reached by phone at (913)341-8949 or by e-mail at The website for The Great Plains Laboratory is and the mailing address is The Great Plains Laboratory, 11813 W. 77th St, Lenexa, KS 66214.

Bernard Rimland Ph.D. passed away in 2006.  He was a research psychologist and was the director of the Autism Research Institute since it was founded in 1967. He was the editor of the Autism Research Review International and was the founder of the Autism Society of America. His prize-winning book Infantile Autism: the Syndrome and its Implications for a Neural Theory of Behavior is credited with changing the field of psychiatry from its “blame the mother” orientation to its current recognition that autism is a biological disorder, not an emotional illness. He lectured on autism and related problems throughout the world, was the author of numerous publications and received many awards for his work on autism. Dr. Rimland served as primary technical advisor on autism for the film Rain Man. Dr. Rimland, who earned his Ph.D. in experimental psychology and research design at Penn State University, had also conducted research on the relationship between nutrition and behavior. He was a past officer of several societies devoted to research in this area, and had lectured and published extensively on this topic, as well as in the field of autism.

Bruce Semon M.D. Ph.D. is both a child psychiatrist and nutritionist practicing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He has practiced nutritional medicine since 1991.  He received his M.D. from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1984 and his Ph.D. in Nutrition from University of California-Davis in 1989.  He was a Fellow at the National Institute of Health, National Cancer Institute (Laboratory of Nutritional and Molecular Regulation) from 1989-1991.  He completed an adult residency in psychiatry at the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1995 and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry in 1997.  Dr. Semon has published several academic papers relating to nutrition.  Dr. Semon has treated many patients suffering from autism and other disorders in conventional ways, seeing very few positive changes.   He has treated many patients for yeast-related illnesses, including eczema, psoriasis, depression and autism, with remarkable results.  He is using the nutritional approach in his private practice in Milwaukee, as well as in a Milwaukee based mental health clinic with which he is affiliated. Dr. Semon and his wife, Lori Kornblum, have publishing a cookbook Feast Without Yeast with recipes for a diet free of yeast and fermented foods, casein, gluten, eggs, corn, and soy. Dr. Semon can be reached at:  250 W. Coventry Court, Suite 101, Glendale, Wisconsin 53217, (414) 352-6500.

Lisa S. Lewis Ph.D. is the mother of two children, one of whom was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Her formal academic training is in biological anthropology and while earning a doctorate in that field, she studied genetic variation and performed studies of blood proteins in several species of non-human primates. This background in science laid the foundation for understanding the theories underlying dietary interventions. In additions, she has a great interest in baking and runs a small catering business which specializes in children’s birthday cakes. For the last ten years, Dr. Lewis has been in the computing field. After her son’s autism diagnosis, she found that doctors had little to offer in the way of information or treatment. As a result of doing her own research, dietary intervention, which began as a trial, has now become a way of life for her son. Having spent so much time and energy trying to understand the why’sand the how’s of this diet, she was able to put together an eighteen page information brochure that was widely distributed.  She is the author of the recent book Special Diets for Special Kids: Understanding and Implementing Special Diets to Aid in the Treatment of Autism and Related Developmental Disorders.

Karyn A. Seroussi is the co-founder with Lisa Lewis of the Autism Network for Dietary Intervention, and a co-founder of the Rochester, NY chapter of Parents of Allergic Children.  She lives with her husband and two children, all of whom have different dietary requirements.  She has completed a very popular book, Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder A Mother’s Story of Research and Recovery, which tells of her family’s experience and her son’s recovery from autism.

Pamela Scott is a parent first and an advocate for life.  She is currently working as a Parent Training Consultant for The Parent Connection.  The Parent Connection is devoted to making broad systems change in the way families access services through Missouri's Division of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. The Parent Connection offers educational workshops, training, and presentations. These services are available to families, parent groups, and the professionals who work with them.

 Forward - By Bernard Rimland Ph.D.

Dr. Shaw has performed a great and much needed service for the parents of children with Autism--and the physicians who work with children with Autism--by publishing this book.

There are a great many parent guidebooks, which offer psychological and educational advice. There are also many books, which discuss esoteric medical and scientific issues. There are, however, very few books like this one which address the practical, here and now biomedical treatments that can bring about dramatic improvement in many autistic individuals.

The term autism (and the newer, quite confusing term “PDD”) are umbrella words which cover a broad array of disorders sharing a number of overlapping symptoms, but having a large variety of different causes. No one knows how many causes of autism there are. But there are some causes we do know about, and about which we have a rudimentary understanding.

Children or adults with autism caused by some of the factors covered in this book can be treated with some success and often with quite dramatic success. And it is to some of these known causes, and their treatments, that this important new book is addressed.     

The reader will quickly discover that this book is “user friendly”. Its purpose is to clarify, to explain, to guide, and to encourage so that at long last the parents themselves can begin to do what they have always wanted to do—have a real hand in the healing of their child with Autism.

Thank you Dr. Shaw.