A survey recently commissioned by a health authority found that one in 69 boys in Surrey under the age of three suffers from Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Other health authorities in the UK and abroad also report sharp increases.

Autism is a complex developmental disorder affecting four times as many boys as girls. Such children are withdrawn and often fail to speak or learn from experience.

They cannot cope with unpredictability, finding comfort in rituals and repetition.

Eve Gilmore is a nutritionist, naturopath and homeopath from Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. She has a special interest in autism and I asked her whether we are in the middle of an autism epidemic.

Eve explained that retrospective studies show the huge increase in ASD is not just due to better detection rates and that it runs parallel with the increase in vaccines given to children.

However, this does not mean vaccines such as MMR are the cause of autism.

She says: "We are dealing with a multi-factorial disorder that starts off with a genetic predisposition. Auto-immune diseases, allergies and behavioural disorders are often found in close relatives of autistic children.

"The immune system of a child who goes on to develop autism may have been inadequately prepared to deal with live, combined viral vaccines which also contain mercury and aluminium, plus exposure to antibiotics, pesticides and denutrified food.

"These factors are known to damage the digestive and immune systems and, as a result, the children become less able to cope with an increasing toxic load from the environment.

"We then see abnormal immune responses, inflammation and more infections.

Barrier membranes become increasingly permeable, allowing aggressive agents to leak through which overwhelm detox systems and the brain.

"Most children are robust enough to withstand a number of environmental insults but a small group is not. These are the children with a genetic weakness in detoxification.

"The worry is that this group is growing."

According to Eve, each successive generations health is compromised by the combined effects of pollution and the consumption of an unnatural diet.

"We are seeing evidence of degenerative health problems afflicting ever younger people. There is an epidemic of allergies and behavioural problems."

Once a child has developed autism, Eve suggests significant improvement can be achieved by gently changing the terrain inside the body.

It is important to find out what is going on in each individual case and adopt a staged treatment protocol.

Specialised saliva and urine lab tests can establish the level of immune function, gut health, inflammation and detoxification capacity and determine when and where nutritional intervention may be appropriate.

EVE can be contacted by calling 01702 476805 or visit her web site at www.archealthcare.co.uk A group of nutrition practitioners specially trained in treating the disorder can be contacted via The Autism File magazine, PO Box 144, Hampton, Middlesex. Call 020 8979 2525 or visit the web site at www.autismfile.com
Martina is a qualified nutritionist at the Crescent Clinic of Complementary Medicine, 37 Vernon Terrace, Brighton. Tel: 01273 202221 or email: martina@thehealthbank.co.uk