Reducing Immune Stressors
The next step in the Goldberg Approach ™ is to initiate treatment. Treatment is based specifically upon a child’s history, a physical exam, and lab results. There are some broad groups of medications deemed safe that might be used with a child. The purpose of these medications is to get rid of an infection that the child should not have and allow the immune system to have a chance to return to a more normal, less stressed level of functioning.
Common Culprits of Immune Stress
Evidence of chronic viral activity—where viruses are reactivated—is seen with many patients. Antiviral medication can be used to control or stop the virus, which results in less stress on the immune system and provides an opportunity for it to heal and potentially to return to normal functioning. Herpes-related viruses, which have an affinity for the nerves in the temporal lobes of the brain, are often found in NIDS patients. Antiviral choices are limited to those that are known to be safe when monitored. They must be carefully dosed at full, appropriate levels without starting and stopping. These antivirals can be effective as long as patients are careful not to create ongoing immune dysfunction by consuming reactive foods or supplements.
An overgrowth of Candida, or other types of opportunistic organisms, may be present in some NIDS patients. The idea that yeast (or another opportunistic organism) can be present is because of a situation called altered “delayed hypersensitivity,” which is abnormal. A yeast overgrowth does not cause the primary problems, but this opportunistic pathogen may function as a secondary factor in stressing the body. The use of antifungal medications, if appropriate, must be limited to those that safely can be monitored by Liver Function tests. They must be used judiciously and for a sufficient length of time to be effective. It’s critical that a patient does not use an antifungal intermittently, because that will increase the resistance of the yeast or other organism you are trying to suppress with that medication.
Recent research shows the involvement of certain bacterial pathogens in NIDS-related conditions. Reactivations of certain Streptococcus bacteria can trigger symptoms of OCD and tics in children, a dysfunction labeled PANDAS. This condition can be resolved with antibiotics. There also may be involvement of other bacterial pathogens, such as Mycoplasma, which if present, in theory, is found in the lungs and lymph nodes (not the red blood cells or bloodstream) and can be difficult to detect. Treatment with specific antibiotics can be used to reduce the impact of these pathogens on the immune system. Since these are secondary pathogens, a heavy, currently primary treatment type antibiotic, should be avoided. The addition of a very basic probiotic, with a bacterium whose actions are known, can be an adjunct to any antibiotic therapy.
Respiratory allergies can be a significant factor in some children with NIDS. Fortunately, there are good medications available, including nasal sprays. Proper allergy control decreases stress on the immune system, giving it an opportunity to return to a more normal level of functioning.
Patients who have a history of certain symptoms have a significantly higher probability of a concurrent complex viral process, which is probably secondary to their dysfunctional immune state. Research also has shown evidence of the presence of a retrovirus in many CFS patients, and in initial research, patients with autism and other NIDS conditions. This greatly heightens the magnitude of the medical problem. Since retro-viral agents are generally not considered healthy for children, this also increases the urgency to open the door to agents and real concepts to make the immune system healthy. The immune system then could (like it is supposed to) control these herpes viruses (and possible retro-viruses).