Studies Show Zinc-Copper Rhythmicity and Zinc Levels May Play a Role

A study released in Science Advances shows that baby teeth can show the relationship between copper and zinc— levels present both in-utero and post-natally—can be a predictor in diagnosing autism.

According to study authors, “Using novel tooth-matrix biomarkers that provide direct measures of fetal elemental uptake, we developed a predictive model to distinguish participants who would be diagnosed with ASD in childhood from those who did not develop the disorder.”

The study authors used laser ablation to take 152 samples from each tooth. Children while in utero and in the early months of life, add a new layer to their baby teeth before they erupt. Researchers found that using these samples, they could predict with 90% accuracy which children would later develop autism.

Earlier studies such as one from Australia that links zinc deficiency to communications issues in brain cells. Children with autism frequently have zinc deficiencies. Now researchers must determine if zinc supplementation will help and if so, at what levels. Too much zinc can be toxic.



Not Again. . .

Okay, cranial-synostosis of multiple sutures is frequently described as having a genetic basis so, being the paranoid mother I am, I checked Nathan’s forehead and, lo, and behold, the boy has a ridge along his metopic suture.

I called the pediatrician’s office and made an appointment for this morning. And just as I thought, the pediatrician felt the ridge too and ordered an x-ray. The radiologist’s report said that synostosis was indeterminent meaning he didn’t see anything. However, the radiologist’s report on Peter didn’t mention his metopic suture either. So the pediatrician wants Dr. Tye, the neurosurgeon at the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) we saw with Peter, to take a look at Nathan’s x-rays.

Dr. Childress, the pediatrician, is faxing the radiologist’s report to Dr. Tye and I’m picking up a CD of the x-rays from the imaging center tomorrow to send to Dr. Tye’s office. This may come to nothing but if both boys have synostosis it could be syndromic and the geneticist who tested the boys will need that information. It could also help in future autism studies.

What this means for Nathan and Peter is unknown at this time. We are hopeful that having the information will give us more in our arsenal against autism and maybe help some family in the future.

Summer Activities

Since both boys have been in school all year, it’s easier to get them to participate in craft projects and activities with their big sister. She always wants to do projects but, in the past, this was problematic because the boys wouldn’t use the glue correctly (What am I saying? Peter used it properly the other day but then finished by trying to shampoo his hair with it. He got a haircut.) or they would throw feathers, glitter or sequins all over the floor.

This year has been better. They’ve painted and glued objects onto paper. Next we’re going to try popsicle stick projects or something like them.

We’ll see how it goes but I would like for kids to do more than play outside or watch television. We’ve planned picnics for days when Daddy is home (and it’s not raining) and we’re hoping to do a few field trips to museums.

I would love for someone to put together travel books for parents of children with special needs. Maybe that’s my next project.

Eggs, eggs and more eggs

I don’t know why but Peter and Nathan are fascinated with eggs. Peter maybe more so but only because he is more capable of getting into the refrigerator to take the carton out. He got one, oops– make that two, out this morning and dropped them on the floor.

Part of this may be my fault. To encourage social interaction and Peter’s genuine curiosity, he’s been helping me cook. He’s actually pretty good for his age. I measure things out and he dumps. Now, of course, this means that he assumes he can help me every time I’m in the kitchen which isn’t always desirable (try frying chicken with a little helper– it’s very stressful trying to explain, every two minutes, why he can’t stand on a stool in front of the frying pan). Today, we made brownies even though I’m on deadline for three opinion pieces– oh, well, I’ll get them done somehow.

The End of School

The end of the school year is always bittersweet. Teachers give so much of themselves over the year in an effort to teach our children.

Nathan’s teacher was crying already when I dropped him off this morning and when I asked why (since it was the beginning of class and not the end) she said she realized that it was last time she would help this particular set of children off their buses. The two-year-olds move up and stay in the preschool 3 and 4 year-old class for at least two years but Nathan’s teachers get them for only a year before they move on.

I’m a little emotional myself. I realize that this is the last time Nathan will be in this particular class and his teachers have done so much for him. He has mastered a number of areas that were considered seriously deficient only last summer.

To each teacher who sacrifices your time and energy to help our children, thank you. I don’t know if you realize how much we appreciate what you do. Our gifts of thanks at the end of the year really don’t say enough.

I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said, “I am a part of all whom I have met.” Each teacher leaves a mark on every child. You have helped to challenge them and to open up a door to a world that before now they didn’t have the keys to. So it is heartfelt when I say thank you.

A Day Like No Other

Yesterday had to rank in my top ten “worse personal days” of all time.

Nathan’s diaper was dirty when I picked him up at school. His teachers change diapers right before it’s time to leave but I was running a couple of minutes late. (I had picked up juice boxes for his class picnic next week.) And the interim between when they changed him and before I picked him up was apparently just enough time for him to dirty the clean diaper. This would have normally been okay but Peter was “helping” on Wednesday and took my spare diapers out of the car and carried them in the house.

I put Nathan in his seat but he fought me because he wanted to “drive.” He slumped out of his seat and that was when I discovered that he was not a little dirty but a whole lot of dirty and it was on his carseat and carseat buckle. I had no diapers and only a clean shirt for him so I stuck him in his sister’s booster seat (her’s is easier to clean) and drove him home. Once home, it took an hour to clean him and the car up.

Later, Peter, Nathan and Gabrielle each made very specific, very big messes. Gabrielle left milk out and Peter poured it on the floor. This of course happened while I was cleaning two of Nathan’s messes. Gabrielle left her dinner plate out and Nathan had carried it off and had gotten syrup all over the couch (Peter wanted pancakes last night so. . .we had pancakes) then Nathan wanted everything out of the toy box. While I was cleaning the couch, Nathan was pulling all of the toys out of the toy box– he would look at them for a moment and then throw them on the floor.

Gabrielle, meanwhile, was playing with friends in the front yard and they all decided that it would be neat to open my papers (I get two) and spread them on the lawn or something. I opened the door to give her a ten minute warning to come inside and to ask her to bring me my newspapers and instead discovered the papers in a very messy pile on the front porch. I asked Gabrielle to bring them inside and she did. She piled them up on top of the toys Nathan had thrown on the floor right inside the front door. Oh, and she was wet from head to toe because one of the little boys she was playing with dumped a watering can on her head.

And daddy came home and walked through the back door.


Ah, the Flood. . .

Well, it happened again. I was rushed for a deadline for some writing projects but I took a break to take my daughter to Tae Kwon Do. My husband had gotten home from work early but had risen early for his job (2:30 a.m.) yesterday so he was tired. Peter had a dirty diaper and I couldn’t get him out the door fast enough so my husband said he would watch him. I dropped Gabrielle off and took Nathan to get gasoline for the car (just down the street) and came back to get Peter. I opened the back door and walked past the kitchen just in time to see water cascade down the soffit and into the sink. Peter had managed to flood the bathroom again, less than fifteen minutes after I had left.

When Tae Kwon Do was over, the writing project was placed on hold and I installed the lock intended for the bathroom door.

Peter will not flood that bathroom again. (I hope.)