By Stan Kurtz, Parent, Researcher, Teacher
This is a DRAFT document – written 07/03/07 updated 08/27/07.
This document is supported with medical literature, scientific data, clinical observation reports, and parental reports. It also reflects the observations, views and personal experience of the author who is a parent (not a doctor). Mr. Kurtz’s perspective is driven from his personal experience including his son’s recovery and from an evolving data pool in his online group with 25,000+ posts from 3000+ families, many of which are sharing information on what has worked and not worked for their child.
There have not been any published scientific studies to validate the effectiveness of antiviral therapy for children with autism.
This document is not intended in any way to be medical advice. This document is based on the perspective of Stan Kurtz, a parent, independent researcher and teacher. For medical advice, please consider contacting a doctor who understand the Defeat Autism Now! philosophy or a Naturapathic Doctor.
This document is an evolving work in progress.
The Early Origins of My Antiviral Research
William Shaw, Ph.D., was the first person to suggest that I research antiviral therapies. My research began by finding the works of Dr. Michael Goldberg, Dr. Jacquelyn McCandless and Dr. Sidney Baker. Through recovering my son, helping other families and observing a number of reports from families and physicians I quickly realized that a more comprehensive and individualized approach is what seems to work best for the greatest number of children.
In less than a month after starting an anti-infection strategy my son looked completely different. To me he looked recovered from his major symptoms of autism. After my son’s recovery I was quite surprised how very few doctors were treating autism with an anti-infection strategy and how many of those who did not understand the philosophy of using a simultaneous and comprehensive approach.
My current position based on my experience with my son and seeing anecdotal reports from parents is that an antiviral (often a prescription but sometimes natural products) in combination with an azole  antifungal and some other prescription antifungals, as well as dietary supplementation, dietary intervention, and, at times, metals detoxification, given simultaneouslymay improve the health and symptoms of a child with autism and related disorders.
What is Recovery From Autism?
You cannot be cured of being hit by a bus, but you can recover from it. You might even be able to recover enough that you do not need to park in special parking spaces when you go shopping. If you are fortunate enough you might recover well enough that you gain back so much of your functioning such that no one would know you were ever in an accident.
This analogy mirrors my belief about recovery from autism. There are several degrees to this analogy. Some children’s symptoms improve well enough that they start functioning like neurotypical children. They are still autistic but they are making great strides. To me, this means, “greatly improved.”
Some children’s symptoms lessen to the degree that they lose their diagnosis. They are no longer considered autistic. This is one degree of recovery. Typically you might see children like this having some residual symptoms of social, verbal, or learning nuances or ADHD-type symptoms that might alert a specialist to suspect that the child once had an autism diagnosis. For the most part they are free of their symptoms and will likely lead what many would consider a relatively normal life in society.
There is another form of recovery where if you met the child in a room of his or her peers and did not know the child had a diagnosis you would not be able to tell there ever was a diagnosis. When I refer to recovery I typically mean this level or maybe something arguably close. My son recovered from autism to this degree.
When I say “greatly improved or recovered” that is a spectrum that means moderate improvement to significant improvement from the child’s symptoms all the way through to developmental gains that make the child seem indistinguishable from his or her peers.
About MB12Valtrex - My Family and Practitioners Group
In 2005, I founded MB12Valtrex, which is a unique group of families, practitioners, therapists, and teachers (2000+ members and 18,000+ posts as of 8/07) who explore and help develop these therapies and report clinical observations of children who are using this comprehensive antiviral approach for individuals with autism symptoms. This group is a great way to share stories and obtain direct feedback learn about how parents execute these therapies and what they observe through the process. You can join this group by going to the link below.
About External Therapies
I continue to believe in Speech, Occupational, Physical, Educational, Sensory Integration, and Behavior Therapies as being an important part of recovery. I look at biomedical therapies, like this comprehensive anti-infection therapy, as being similar to putting glasses on the brain and free the body up to be able to utilize external therapies better.
Some people talk about the gifts of autism (or ADHD). If your child had wonderful gifts but had a persistent pneumonia, recovering your child from the pneumonia would not take away their gifts, and, in fact, it would probably enhance them. I believe in the gifts that our children have, and I also believe in giving them every possible chance to use them to their fullest potential.
When I speak about autism I usually mean autism as we understand the symptoms today, but I also believe that many chronic illnesses often have a similar origin and modality as autism symptoms. My school that includes a combination of children with chronic illness, autism with “typical” children we see many children and parents improve or recover from the symptoms of illnesses and behaviors typically considered untreatable or incurable. This includes eczema, asthma, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, colitis, chron’s disease, diverticulitis, chronic viral infections, speech delay, sensory issues, food allergies, aggression, sleep disturbance, drooling, chronic runny nose, aggression, biting, anxiety, separation challenges, and more.
I have observed a surprising number of parents and children with chronic illness recover from the same therapies that help many children with autism. I believe that children with autism are some of the most biologically involved cases of chronic illness. It has been my experience that when we find therapies that work on children with autism, that the same therapies often improve and/or preserve the health of many “neurotypical” people and help recover some “incurable” chronic illness conditions.
About Autism and Comprehensive Antiviral Therapy
One developing hypothesis is that autism is often a combination of pathogens and opportunistic infections often combined with toxic body burden that reach a point of expression during critical times of development in (commonly) a young, susceptible host.
Basically, I believe autism, for at least some children, may be an infection that interferes with the body’s ability to detoxify and causes a greater susceptibility to environmental toxins.
The goal of this comprehensive approach is to disrupt the infectious cycle and allow the immune system regain control over these intruders and then better detoxify from the contributing toxins and inflammation that cause the autistic characteristics.
Viral and Other Infections in Autism
In my first search in PubMed, the main database of peer reviewed medical literature, in 2004, I found 80 peer-reviewed viral/autism involved citations in the medical literature. To check peer-reviewed medical literature, it is as simple as doing a Google search of “pubmed” going to that site and doing a search for “virus autism.” Many of these papers included references to specific viruses, inflammation, and autoimmunity. Several of them specifically state the onset of the disorder surrounded the onset of the infection. Three case reports showed late onsets of 11 , 14 , and 31  years old.
I think the average person does not think of infections having a neurological effect, but if you just think about how your brain feels when you have the flu or how a dog acts with rabies we can begin to see quick examples.
In the case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or Tourettes Syndrome it was commonly believed to be brought on by stress. Due to some wonderful work by Sue Swedo, M.D., at the National Institute of Health many cases were found to be the immune systems response to a Strep infection (PANDAS) .
Other infections that are linked to neurological issues include: Rabies, Lyme, HIV, Herpes, Polio, Coxackie, Rubella, Borna, Epstein’s Barr (EPV), Eterovirus, Influenza, Measles, Westnile - Borrelia, Shingles, Anthrax, Meningococcus, Mycobacterium, Syphilis, Malaria, Chlamydia, Ricketts, and Candidiasis.
Infections that are in implicated in the medical literature as causing or triggering cases of autism include: Herpes, Rubella, Mycoplasma Pneumoniae, Shingella, Borna, Malaria, Blastocystics, Varicella, Cytomegalo Virus (CMV), Syphilis, Toxplasmosis, Neurocysticercosis, and Clostridium.
In reference to Clostridium, an interesting study was conducted by Dr. McFabe that showed injecting rats with propionic acid caused the onset of autism symptoms . A main source of proprioic acid is Clostridia, a bacterial infection common in autism. My son had rasied levels of clostridia during his autism.
In my son’s case I believe he was affected quite early on to some degree. He was born with eczema, had pale skin and his development was at the late end of his milestones through his first 12 months. He then seemed to decline around the time of his one-year vaccinations. He had irregular hair growth, distended belly, dark puffy eyes, and was hyptonic. In my opinion, eczema and related symptoms may be an infection of the skin. Many people with eczema appear to have gut issues that when properly taken care of seem to heal the eczema quite quickly.
Some video examples include:
Severe Eczema and Fatigue for 49 Years - 6 mins
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Crystal hadn't known a life without excema. She went to more than 100 doctor's visits and nothing helped her. She came to Children's Corner and changed her diet and three days later her eczema was gone and it has never returned.
Eczema and Speech Delay at 2 Years Old - 2 mins
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Samantha suffered from from eczema, speech delay and energetic challenges. Her family was shocked when they realized that foods were at the center of her chronic illness. She recovered in just a few days.
Eczema and Fatigue - 6 mins
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Margaret was suffering from eczema and fatigue for several years. She began with a starter diet and then through IGG Testing with her doctor who understood the Defeat Autism Now! philosophy she learned that asparagus was also a problem for her immune system. She recovered in days and her eczema has not returned.
Other evidence of how infectious activity can affect the brain includes three studies that show hypoprofusion (reduced blood flow to the brain) [33,34,35] and inflammation [36,37,38] in the presense of different types of herpes viral infections.
Secondary Symptoms and Observations of Bacteria and Fungus in the Autism Community
When I was younger and had bowel problems I now realize that I had lots of cavities, gum problems and bad breathe compared to other people. If my gums bled a lot in hindsight I wonder about my bowels. I also had adult acne and smelly feet. Additionally it only seemed like one deoderant worked for me, Secret. Hey, it really was strong enough for a man... with all that aluminum and all. Once I started working on my gut and adding MB12 those symptoms were greatly reduced.
I often hear reports of parents who had many cavities and fillings. Of course, many of us had dentists who used amalgams so not only did we have bacteria that eats away at the mouth but added to that was an almost endless amount of mercury for the bacteria to dig in to.
When I used a used an Arizona Instrument mercury vapor meter (Jerome 431-X) on the parents at my school I found that almost all of the parents were leaking toxic levels of mercury from their amalgams. Two of the three parents who did not leak mercury at all were chronic drinkers from my observation. I asked Boyd Haley Ph.D., about this and he suggested that maybe the alcohol broke down the mucosa from the mouth and the mercury was going straight in the skin. I was not getting any mercury excretion out of the hands of these people either, so this explanation did not make perfect sense to me.
My belief is that the alcohol may kill off bacteria in the mouth (and possibly parts of the GI tract) and that is why the amalgams of these two moms weren't leaking.
I suspect the bacteria and fungal issue so common in parents of children with autism is doing harm in other ways as well. Since I started on working on my gut with an SCD-like diet (less IGG Food Allergies), antifungals, probiotics and Methyl-B12 Nasal Spray I stopped getting cavities, my gums stopped bleeding, and my incessant need to brush my teeth went away, my feet were much better, I could wear less deodorant and different brands, etc.
Smelly Breath and Oily Skin Mixed With Dry Skin
I have found that there is this common smell on the breath of many parents with autism. I also notice it at times with the kids as well. I also see a lot of oily foreheads, dry skin and thick rubbery palms. Certain fungus and bacteria make oily toxins and it seems they are often excreted from the forehead and the scalp. It seems the forehead and scalp specfically excrete these types of oily toxins. I suspect these toxic oils may also be blocking fatty acids from getting into the mitochondria. I visualize the oils blocking the fungal oils and at times secondarily causing fatty acid metabolism issues, dry skin, cholesterol and triglyceride challenges, fatty liver and myelination issues in the brain. Myelination happens in part through fatty acids and management of cholesterol. In my opinion, fungal and bacterial toxins could be a cause of some types of autisms.
I treated fungus and bacteria in my son and supplemented with essential fatty acids, l-carnitine, Co-Q10, and low dose niacin (higher doses can cause red ears and flushing).
About Thick Rubbery Palms
This seems to be common in folks with gut issues and/or mercury exposure (quite often amalgams). In a room full of people I can often tell who has amalgams just by feeling their palms.
I discovered this through my mercury vapor experiments. I found mercury is excreted moreso from the hands and feet than any other part of the skin. It seems that over time this exposure damages the palms of the hands and creates these rubbery feeling layers of toxic skin on the palms (and the bottoms of the feet).
There is a wonderful product to remove this type of damaged skin called 18MMM from GP Deva located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills (310.858.6545). I have not found anything like it. In less than a minute you can have all that bad skin removed in a painless, effortless way. Just rub a little on and the bad skin falls right off. It unfortunately is $100 dollars a bottle but luckily a little goes a long way. If you find another product that works as well please let me know. I began using 18mmm on my entire family once I realized how important the hands and feet are at excreting toxins and heavy metals.
The Philosophy Behind The Philosophy – Autism, For Some, As An Environmentally Involved Infection
I do not personally believe that vaccinations are the only cause of autism, but, as scary at it is for some people to believe, in some children they seem to be a factor . Many people talk about “the” factor as being a genetic predisposition, and for some that may be, but I believe that a transmittable viral, fungal and/or bacterial infection at times combined with an exposure to environmental toxins or vaccines may be a more frequent onset framework for many children. If that is the case, then genetic patterns of children with autism is secondary to better understanding and treating the infections and toxins these children have.
In an unpublished study by Jim Adams Ph.D. and Sophie Rossenu Ph.D. children with autism and bowel issues had and average of 10,000 times the amount of e-coli than controls. E-coli, strep, staph, and yeasts can methylate mercury [16, 27] and other metals making the exposure more toxic.
There was a study in Kuwait that showed that children with autism had much higher uranium levels than controls, which were often their siblings. It is fair to say they had similar genes, and similar exposure to toxins but ended up with dramatically different levels of uranium in their hair . This concept was very interesting to me considering my son had uranium levels in his hair in excess of 14 times the “safe” levels of exposure. He also tested with high levels of candida (a fungus) and clostridia (a “bad” bacteria) in his intestines. My belief is that my son’s raised levels of fungus, bacteria, and possibly viral infection , which is quite common in children with autism, made him more susceptible to environmental toxins.
In 1975, there was an interesting mouse study that showed if a mouse was exposed to coxsackie virus and cadnium that raised levels of metals could be found in the brain .
This is a common framework of how the crossing of an infection and environmental toxins might lead to autism.
While trying to better understand how mercury is excreted by the body I did a mercury containing flu shot experiment. I injected myself with a flu shot and used an Arizona Instrument 431-X mercury vapor meter to track my mercury excretion. What I expected to see an immediate increate in mercury vapor, similar to what I had seen when I ate sushi which was an increase in minutes. With the mercury containing flu shot my levels dropped to practically zero. The levels went lower than just prior to the flu shot and they stayed near zero about the same amount of time I felt like I had flu symptoms which was about 7 hours. As soon as I felt better the mercury started pouring out of me.
It was a lesson learned by accident, but it seems to me that nature decides to worry more about infection than toxins.
My child may have had some type of genetic predisposition, sure, but when I helped him take care of his nutritional, fungal, viral, bacterial and toxic issues, he recovered. The Autism Research Institute has documented more than 1,000 cases of autism recovery through approaches that include infection and toxin management.
I believe if society weighs genetics too heavily we may miss the opportunity to remove the infectious and toxic issues commonly involved in many of our children with symptoms of autism.
A challenge for many parents is to consider genetics as an element of the issue and not the cause, especially when many pathogens, bacteria and fungus (some that we may understand and some that we do not) can easily be passed down by sexual intercourse, birth and other transmissions.
I speak quite often to parents with chronic infections and toxins who blame the symptoms on their genetics because other family members are suffering from the same symptoms. "My whole family has allergies" or "We all have autoimmune issues," etc. Sadly, there are a lot of companies and organizations who benefit from other people not knowing they are chronically ill and that those ill people can improve or recover.
In my humble parental opinion, autism is often at least related to a whole family health challenge with many family members having chronic energetic, immunological, physiological, infectious and toxic issues. It should not take much effort to see ADHD, OCD, autoimmunity, viral/bacterial/fungal infections, chronic anxiety, depression and cancer within the immediate family of a child and/or the parents who are affected by autism.
I often see families racing to help their child only to lose sight that the child has the best chance of recovery if the individuals in their family learn from and treat their own biological issues.
Cases of Children Improving and Recovering
When I starting speaking to the few doctors who treated their patients with autism I was quite surprised to hear how many of their patients improved from antiviral therapy especially considering how uncommon it was to hear of doctors treating children with antivirals. I was also hearing reports from doctors who said that many of their patients in the autism community “react negatively” to antivirals so they stopped using them.
The conflicting reports were initially puzzling, but once my child began improving on this therapy I began to understand the unique roller coaster process of improvement antiviral therapy can provide for many children. I focused on the nuances of this therapy in relationship to what works with special consideration to some of the co-infections, toxins, and metabolic challenges commonly found in children with autism.
I found that when addressed comprehensively, antiviral therapy (really anti-infectious therapy) can often provide a child with symptoms of autism the opportunity to experience a remarkable improvement and at times a seemingly complete recovery from their symptoms.
Testing for Viral Therapy
You can talk to your primary care physician about viral testing, which can be completed by any regular laboratory and is often covered by insurance. Many people have run these tests and they can be helpful for some children who do not respond to a trial of this therapy. However, many children who respond well to antiviral therapy have had negative viral test results, meaning they did not appear to have a testable virus. My son was one of them
Some people say these children have difficulty creating antibodies to viruses. Some people say the therapy might be affecting a virus that we are not yet aware of. Some people believe that this therapy is doing something other than fighting viruses.
The bottom line is that there is a real group of people who respond wonderfully to this therapy that never test positive for a virus before, during, and after the therapy.
Who Should Try This Therapy?
My conclusion, after experiencing first hand and seeing many families report gains without positive viral testing, is we do not yet know all the modalities that will benefit children with autism and related conditions. The best way to see if your child will respond, in my opinion, is a trial of the therapy.
How Long Is a Trial?
Based on reports from our parent and physician group, it typically takes up to 50 days to see if a child will be a responder to the therapy. Many times it is much less and sometimes, although rarely, it can be longer.
According to an ongoing MB12Valtrex group poll, 38% of the families who try this therapy report what I call a “healing-regression.” I use the term healing-regression to best describe what sometimes happens when this therapy is first put in place. Typically the child’s specific symptoms of autism will worsen for a period of 14 to 50 days and then is often immediately followed by developmental gains.
This response is different than a herxhiemer response in that you typically see some small underlying gains along with the regressive symptoms.
Since it seems counter-intuitive that a short regression is a common part of this important healing process, I spend a good deal of time observing and explaining the healing-regression.
Case Example - Joseph
Here is a case example of a 4-year-old boy named Joseph who was doing biomedical interventions for 18 months with some mild gains but then tried the comprehensive antiviral approach.
Mom writes: “The regression began on day 4 with gains along with it. He became extremely irritable, throwing things and tantruming and hitting people. While he was hitting and tantruming we noticed he was actually looking us in the eye. He rarely would look us in the eye without being prompted. Since we began Valtrex [and the combination anti-infections along with it] in January 2006, his eye contact has been excellent…. [Now two months later] he is about 80% recovered with expressive language delay. Now he is basically indistinguishable among the kids in the neighborhood…”
Not everyone who improves does as well as Joseph, but a surprising number of children do. Not everyone has the healing-regression either, some just improve.
Here is an open poll in our group that asks about improvements and the healing-regression.
Healing-Regression Poll – 121 Responses
A Fungal-Eczema Rash Compared to The Antiviral Rash
If there is not a proper fungal strategy in place, the rash that may appear when you start your antiviral therapy could be a fungal, eczema-like rash. This type of rash can interfere and mask the underlying gains from the antiviral therapy.
Why do children with autism have these fungal/bacterial flares so often?
It seems there is a biological warfare going on within these children,
We received many reports of eczema-like fungal symptoms from our group when we first started tracking antiviral therapy. This was before families began combining antiviral therapy with antifungals, supplementation and dietary interventions. I have not found another community that reports a rash of this nature from viral therapy.
There is some evidence in the medical literature of a symbiotic relationship between viruses and bacteria, meaning that when you have a latent viral infection it seems to keep bacteria in check .
My belief is that within our child’s intestines a battle rages between high levels of pathogens, fungus, and bacteria. If we disrupt one element we may allow another to propagate more freely. This theory in combination with the larger number of positive gains reported in our group is why I advocate for a comprehensive approach to antiviral therapy that includes antifungals, supplementation and dietary interventions at the same time.
The Treatment Triangle
A similar example of this theory is demonstrated in a filmed interview I conducted of a man with chronic fatigue and asthma that started dietary interventions and probiotics for his symptoms. His symptoms quickly improved and then the treatment appeared to mobilize what seemed to be a smoldering underlying viral infection at the core of his symptoms. It seemed his fungal infection was “holding” his underlying virus at a low level. When he changed his diet it appeared that some of his fungus and bad bacteria died off it then mobilized an underlying viral infection. He then became quite ill with viral symptoms for about a week and then had a wonderful recovery from his chronic fatigue and asthma.
Video Example: Mobilizing a Smoldering Virus With Diet and Probiotics
Diet and Chronic Fatigue, Asthma - 5 mins.
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Doherty's Chronic Fatigue and Asthma improved greatly through our diet techniques and probiotics, vitamins and supplements. As his fungal levels dropped it seems a smoldering viral infection was kicked up that manifested in his throat and ultimately left a small scar on his forehead. Thereafter he said his energy and general health were greatly improved.
In a perfect world, Doherty might have done even better had he started with the diet and supplementation and added MB12 Nasal Spray (and possibly Valtrex or Olive Leaf Extract) at the onset of his viral symptoms, but his experience happened before I had invented the MB12 Nasal Spray.
For more common throat infections, we often see reports of MB12 Nasal Spray being immediately beneficial.
The following link is a video example of a throat infection that was recovered in minutes of MB12 Nasal Spray.
Video Example: Acute Viral Infection and MB12 Nasal Spray
MB12 Acute Infection, Chronic Fibromyalgia - 4 mins
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Donna describes her symptoms of acid reflux, back pain, post nasal drip, candida, swollen glands, upper respiratory infection and sore throat along with chronic stress and fibromyalgia which she describes as clearing in minutes with MB12.
Assuming you have a comprehensive viral, fungal and dietary approach in place and the rash is not itchy and seems to be mobile and/or changes color during the day then you are probably experiencing what I call an antiviral detox-rash.
The Antiviral Detox-Rash and Possible Metals Dumping
My son developed a rash during the therapy that did not itch and moved down his body from day 14 to day 21. It also seemed to change color during the day. When the rash moved down to his stomach he had several days of diarrhea and on day 21 he looked better than ever.
I have polled the two largest viral groups in Yahoo Groups, which consisted of more than 10,000 members, and no one responded that they had rashes of this nature using antiviral therapy. I interpreted that to mean this rash and its underlying origin may be indigenous to our community, and I often wonder if it is part of the core issue in some children with autism.
Rash Poll – 77 Responses
In December of 2005, I conducted a mercury-containing flu shot experiment on myself, and I had a rash on my chest that was very similar to the one my son experienced. The rash on my chest tested positive for high levels of mercury vapor. This small experiment continues to be interesting to me as I consistently see similar rash reports from parents during antiviral therapy.
The Treatment Triangle Focused Metals Involvement
Antiviral Therapy and Metals Detoxification
A growing number of families are reporting that when they combine the comprehensive antiviral philosophy with metals detoxification (for example chelation) they often see more heavy metals excretion than with metals detoxification alone.
Metals Detox (DMSA) Example Without Antiviral Therapy
What I find interesting about these two test results is many of the toxic heavy metal excretion levels are doubled from the initial test. Symptomatically, this child was greatly improved to the point of being unrecognizable among his peers within three months of starting the comprehensive antiviral approach.
Metals Detox Example Combined With Antiviral Therapy (2 months later)
Metals Detoxification and Virus
Dr. Amy Yasko has postulated that metal particles take up residence on the lining of a viral infected cell and that treating with antivirals mobilizes that metal. This is one possible theory.
When I conducted a mercury containing flu shot experiment on myself using a Jerome 431x mercury vapor meter my mercury excretion levels dropped immediately after I received the flu vaccine. This was a surprise to me. The levels remained low for about 7 hours and during that time I felt ill. When I began to feel better my mercury vapor excretion levels went up dramatically. This experiment led me to believe that the body is more concerned with a viral infection than heavy metal excretion, and that a smoldering virus may chronically interfere with the body’s natural ability to protect against and detoxify from heavy metals.
Summary Of Measurements – Mercury Containing Flu Shot Experiment
In April 2006, a study was published that demonstrated virally infected mice had higher levels of iron and copper in their brains if there was also an exposure to cadmium .
We may not know the exact modality why, but there is evidence that heavy metals may be more toxic to the body in the presence of a viral infection.
The Methylation / Adenosine Connection
Methylation, a key to health, detoxification and neurotransmitter and DNA replication, is often impaired in children with autism . One of these impairments, found by Jill James PhD. and observed by other researchers and physicians, is the abnormal levels of adenosine. Adenosine has the unique status of being a neurotransmitter and a metabolite involved in methylation. Adenosine is also an important anti-inflammatory.
This metabolic diagram, provided by Jill James Ph.D., shows where abnormal levels of adenosine can disrupt methylation, raise levels of SAH (a marker and cause of oxidative stress) and lower levels of glutathione (the body’s most important antioxidant).
Dr. Sid Baker, in cooperation with Jill James Ph.D., conducted a pilot study of 10 children with autism. Nine children were treated with acyclovir and one child was not treated.
Note: Valtex is quickly converted to acyclovir in the intestines and the liver5. From a viral treatment perspective many viruses that Valtrex can affect can also take up residence in the liver. Valtrex is also more bioavailable than oral acyclovir6 (more similar to IV acyclovir) and has what seems to be a safer side-effect profile.
In all the 9 children adenosine levels were seemingly improved. Some children had higher levels of adenosine and they were lowered. Some children had lower levels and they were raised. The untreated child’s level remained unchanged. This striking normalizing effect is not very common in medicine.
There are very few tools to modulate adenosine and it appears that Valtrex is one of them. Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (1.3 ATA) may be the only other therapy that I understand may affect adenosine. The only lab I am aware of that can test for adenosine levels is Jill James’ lab at University of Arkansas which is not publicly available.
There is still much to learn about why Valtrex and other antiviral therapies help so many children. Additionally, there does not seem to be a way of measuring adenosine that is easily available to the general population. This, combined with parent reports of children who improve with negative viral testing continues to suggest that an antiviral trial may be the best method to see if your child would be a responder.
A subset of parents in our group began reporting what they described as “black flecks” in their child’s stool (and about three reports of black flecks in the hair) during the early stages of comprehensive antiviral therapy. Some people believe this to be part of metals detoxification, others believe these are related to parasites, others believe, in some children, these are related to scar tissue from an infection healing in the intestines. I would like to get them tested but I do not yet know of a lab that can help us. I am open to suggestions.
Either way this is an interesting observation and we continue to see reports about these flecks.
Black Flecks Poll
What is Antiviral Therapy Really Doing?
I am not sure we really know. Some believe Valtrex (and other antivirals) may be affecting viruses that we cannot test for (in addition to the obvious ones that we can). Some believe Valtrex is modulating adenosine in a way that improves methylation. Some believe that in some instances neither is right since we see some of the same symptom resolution with Olive Leaf Extract, which works completely differently.
The bottom line is that we do not really know all the answers yet, but many children improve when using this therapy and when done properly the worst outcome is typically a temporary healing regression with no gains. The more common response is gains and, at times, recovery, which is what happened in my son’s case.
My common sense tells me that if a therapy has a low risk and many children have improved and some recovered it makes sense to try.
The Treatment Triangle Momentarily Focused On Fungus, Bacteria & Parasites
What Are We Really Dealing With?
There are hundreds of known bacteria and fungus in the gastrointestinal tracts of humans and I believe many we do not yet know. I believe there are bacteria strains in our kids that we do not have the knowledge to test for just yet. Yes, we often see high levels of candida, clostridia, e-coli, h.pylori and a lack of good bacteria in the gut. Some say it has to do with metals toxicity in the gut, but I believe that many of these kids are infected with strains of bacteria and/or fungus and/or viruses before these other downstream infections and toxicity occurred. Could it be from the vaccines? Maybe in some, yes, but many children with autism have not been vaccinated. I believe there are a myriad of ways to get to the autism condition through infectious means. One way that has been interesting me is genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These are man altered bacterias used as pesticides. A recent California study showed that women who lived near farms had a far greater chance of having children with autism. What if the pesticide was in the form of a bacteria and that bacteria could cause not only a production of toxins but could kill off certain types of bacteria in the guts of our kids? Sounds like something out of a movie, but one such GMO that falls into the timeline of autism is Bacillus Thuringiensis.
This is only an early theory, but I believe that in time we will find infections like the Bacillus Thuringiensis in these kids. Bacillus Thuringiensis can feed on lactobacillus and other good bacteria and create pesticides. It would be another explanation as to why so many of these kids have such disregulated digestive tracts and are so toxic.
Maybe it is Bacillus Thuringiensis or something like it causing the intestinal havoc in these kids or maybe not. Either way these kids quite often have a vicious bacterial and/or fungal and/or viral infections that seem to interact with each other and I believe we need to execute as much diligence as we can to go after this triangular infection comprehensively, simultaneously, and aggressively.
There are several natural remedies that parents report benefits from. I will focus on a few that are supported by the medical literature.
Antiviral, Antimicrobial Alternatives
Olive Leaf Extract (OLE)
Olive Leaf Extract is a natural antiviral remedy that some parents have administered to their children and reported gains in our group. OLE can inhibit retroviruses like HIV-1 and prevent RNA to DNA reverse transcription [7,8], inhibit cell-to-cell membrane fusion , and may help for colds and flu symptoms .
Some families have used OLE as a primary antiviral therapy or as a secondary antiviral to Valtrex. Reports suggest considering OLE in your trials to see if your child benefits from it. The typical dosage we see in our group is working up to 20 drops up to three times a day.
My child did not respond to OLE but I have read reports of children who do.
Lauricidin are Monolaurin are short chain fatty acids that I find very interesting because they not only seem to help with some viruses like Cytomegalo Virus (CMV) , but can also act as an antibiotic seemingly effective against Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium terrae and extremely effective against Helicobacter pylori .
Elderberry is a combination of plants that seem to have natural antiviral properties. Elderberry has been shown to fight HIV-1 , to shorten the symptoms of influenza A and B , and said to be very effective at treating symptoms of Avian Bird Flu H5N1 .
Oil of Oregano (OoO)
Oil of Oregano has been shown effective against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, and Mycobacterium terrae .
Virastop is a protease inhibitor that is said to break apart the wall of infected viral cells. There are no references in the medical literature to support its effectiveness and several people have challenged the science behind its claims but we do have some reports from parents that it has been helpful and since it is just an enzyme there seems to be no harm in trying it.
More information about enzymes
There are many probiotics acidophilus that seem to work well. The probiotics below are additional suggestions that we commonly see (either individually or combined with other probiotics) in positive parent reports from our group.
Saccharomyces Boulardii (S. Boulardi)
Although the medical literature is mixed regarding effectiveness of S. Boulardi, we see many reports of it helping our kids particularly when bowel issues or clostridia is suspected. If you focus on the positive S. Boulardi medical literature, you will find may cases of positive results.
Coconut Kefir is a fermented probiotic used in the Body Ecology Diet  and we have seen some really nice reports on its effectiveness. More information on how to make it.
Fermented foods are a bit of an effort but many families reports gains with fermented foods. Considering the impaired digestion and disbiosis of our children, it may make sense to try fermented foods for their easy digestion and probiotic properties
Candex is an enzyme that breaks down the cell wall of Candida. I see reports of it working well on Candida and affecting intestinal health. Candex often seems to cause short-term diarrhea as the Candida dies off.
There are many non-medication remedies said to help with fungus and products like Candex are worth trying but when doing antiviral therapy we have not seen reports of non-medication remedies working well by themselves. It seems that azole antifungal medications (Nizoral, Diflucan, and Sporanox) or Amphotericin B or Lamicil work best.
It is very possible for these and other natural remedies to help our children in ways beyond what is listed in the medical literature but you cannot tell until you do a trial.
Comprehensive Dosing Strategy
There are two important mindsets to have about dosing.
- Keeping the dosing consistent across the day. According to parent reports it seem that the sweet spot for antiviral dosing is three times a day.
- The Antiviral to Antifungal Ratio - Finding the right ratio of antiviral administration to antifungal administration. This might be the most important element of antiviral therapy.
- Typically a large percentage of children improve with just the common administration of this therapy, but other times the therapy requires tweaking for a particular child.
- I like to think about is as the right mix of air and gas for your car. Gas is important and without it the process of ignition could not happen and if you don’t have enough air the gas will work against you.
- I think of Valtrex as kicking up and out the toxins and the antifungals as cleaning up the fungal mess left over from the process.
- When you see a child starting this comprehensive approach and he or she starts to become aggressive (and they may also have a whiter tongue or some topical skin symptoms) most people think about lessening the antiviral. That may work as far lessening the symptoms, but you may not have enough combined strength to shake this disorder free.
- As they say, less is sometimes more, but sometimes more is more and this can be one of those cases. To be on the safe side (and typically more effective) I would make sure I was leaning more towards having more antifungals onboard more often throughout the day and at bedtime.
- Getting the dosing and the ratios of antivirals to antifungals can be part of the art of this combination therapy for many kids. It is one of the reasons I created the MB12Valtrex parent and practitioner group so feel free to join and share your experiences and hear from others what they have done to help their kids.
- Choosing the right antifungal for your child
- Typically Nizoral and/or Diflucan, for example, work quite well for many children but not always. Some children have infections that are resistant to these medications. I believe that is why many of the families start the antifungal before the antiviral. This way they can start the antiviral and watch carefully for fungal symptoms and better understand if the antifungal approach is effective for that particular child.
- Many families who see a growing and consistent amount of aggression and hyperactivity using this therapy change their antifungal medication to another azole or use a combination of azoles and see their children greatly improve.
In summary, if you have the right antifungal for your individual child and the right ratio of antiviral to antifungal is on (meaning you have enough antifungal onboard compared to your antiviral) your chances of success are much greater.
There are several variables you need watch.
Is the diet and supplementation right for your child? The most common diet we see with comprehensive approach is The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)19 less IGG Food Allergies since it seems like the best way to control fungus. Some children might also require The Low Oxalate Diet (LOD)20 if SCD less IGG Food Allergies (alone) does not seem to work for them.
Is the antifungal right for your child? Is this antifungal helping your child’s symptoms and does the antifungal hold up when the antiviral is added in. Should you add more antifungal throughout the day or do you need another antifungal. Some parents consider having two onboard at the same time. It may be the most effective approach.
Is the antiviral right for your child? What we see most effective in order of reports is: Valtrex, Olive Leaf Extract, and Lauricidin/Monolaurin. Some people start with Valtrex and add or pulse the other two in to see if they are effective (see pulsing below).
Nystatin Vs. Azole Antifungals (Diflucan, Nizoral, Sporanox) and Lamicil and Amphotericin B.
One of the most common mistakes I have seen is an administration of Nystatin during the antiviral therapy. In traditional medicine, I am told that Nystatin is preferred with pediatricians because it is designed to stay in the intestines and is easier on the liver. We have seen consistent reports of significant and persistent fungal flare symptoms with this method. It seems that in hundreds of reported cases that Azole antifungals (or Lamicil or Amphotericin B) are the best strategy. This may have to do with the entire body being involved in this infection or some other property of these antifungals.
After seeing this mistake made time and again with a success rate of less than 5% per parental reports, to me it seems to be a waste of time to engage in antiviral therapy with Nystatin as your fungal strategy.
Summary of Tools For Anti-Infection Treatment
Here is a draft summary of different tools to consider in the Anti-Infection Strategy. I believe this is a good way to view your approach by considering all the sides of the treatment triangle at the same time. You might want to use this as an outline to talk to your DAN! doctor about and to have handy as you discuss your strategy in our family and practitioner group. Join here.Anti-Infection Strategy
|Area of Focus||Remedy|
|Anti-fungal – Medications||Diflucan, Nizoral, sporanox, Lamicil, Amphotericin B, Nystatin
|Antifungal – Naturals/OTC||Saccharomyces Boulardii, Oregano Oil,Caprylic Acid, Candex, Garlic, Alkalinization
|Bacterial – Medications||Flagyl, Vancomycin, Gentamycin, Bicillin(OCD)
|Bacterial – Naturals/OTC||Coconut Kefir, Probiotics, Lactobacillus GG, C/Salt, Colloidal Silver
|Nutritional Support –
Metabolic/Methylation, Sulfation, etc.
|Bile Support: Vitamins A, D, E, K, Taurine
Other support: MB12, B6, P5P, Epsom salt baths, calcium, selenium, folic/folinic, C, B1, biotin, molybdenum
|Fungal Toxin Support||L-carnitine, niacin or inositiol hexanicotinate
|Fatty Acid Metabolism||cod liver oil, fish oiul, black currant oil, ground flax seed|
|Digestion||Bethenecol, Secretin, zinc, MB12, digestive enzymes
|Bowel Movement||Magnesium, vitamin C
|Support Diet||SC Diet, remove IgG foods, low oxalate, medium meat
|Main Viral Therapy – Medications
||Valtrex, or famvir, or acyclovir
|Viral Therapy – Naturals||Olive leaf extract (OLE), Lauricidin,/Monolaurin, Virastop
The Antifungal, Probiotic, and Dietary Elements Are Critical
Parent reports have consistently indicated that the antifungal strategy is one of the most important elements of the comprehensive approach. We have seen most cases of success (possibly all) have a solid azole antifungal (or Limisil or Amphotericin B) onboard for the entire therapy. Here is a recent report from a family whose doctor made the mistake of not keeping the antifungal onboard during the entire therapy.
“When my son went on Valtrex, his DAN doc put him on Diflucan for 2 weeks prior, then removed it, then started him on Valtrex. She told us that doing the Diflucan before would take care of his gut and that he would not need it during. For us, this was a HUGE mistake. After three weeks on Valtrex, the 1st at 1/2 dose then increasing to full dose, my son went from a happy little boy who slept through the night to a child who could not hold himself together for more than 10 mins at a time, having complete emotional breakdowns crying, screaming fits and kicking 24 hours a day and all through the night. Large doses of Goldenseal 2x/day worked wonders but I at the time I was so scared, I took him off Valtrex. If I ever were to try it again, I would never do it without a [antifungal] script on board the entire time. He did experience benefits from the Valtrex even at half dose but in no way did the negatives outweigh the positives.”
Just my 2 cents....
This was followed by another report,
“If I may add....we experienced the same our 1st go round w/out a rx on board. 2nd attempt went much better with Diflucan and Nizoral being rotated. We are on month 4 with some great results!!”
Comprehensive Antiviral Therapy – A Typical Administration Used In Our Group
In my son’s case, he was 28-32 lbs during the 9 months we kept him on this therapy. Much of this therapy is based on his particular body weight since that is what I have first hand experience with.
Parents typically work closely with their doctors to find the right dosages for their specific child.
The Treatment Triangle – Diet and Supplements
Step 1: Diet
Since antiviral therapy seems to uniquely kick up yeast and fungus in our children, it seems important to make sure you avoid feeding your child foods that may cause an opioid response, can disrupt the immune system, or can feed fungus and/or bacteria.
- Consider eliminating Gluten and Casein (all milk and wheat products) and any IGG Food Allergies (in reality it is IGG sensitivities)
- Reduce or eliminate complex carbohydrates and starches
- Purchase Organic Foods
- Juice organic vegetable and fruit for children who have difficulty with vegetables. See my juicing video for more information.
Ethan February 2007 - 3 mins
• Windows Media Player (.wmv file)
• Quicktime (.mov file)
This short video shows Ethan working his dietary program including juicing, in his words, "super-yummy" green vegetables, pears and an apple. Juicing is a wonderful way to get good food in our kids.
This step can cause a temporary regression from the reduction in levels of opioids caused by the foods and/or through fungal die off.
Diets for our children are an art and discipline in itself. Some families report gains regardless of the diet, but more families report an easier and more effective journey when the proper diet for the particular child is in place. I do not want to discourage a parent fearful of dietary interventions from trying this therapy, but at the same time if you want to increase your chances of success having the right diet in place seems to play an elementary role.
Step 2: Supplementation
I suggest getting an Organic Acid Test or a Metabolic Assay Profile to see what supplements your child may need. Also consider going on an MB12 Nasal Spray or Sub-Q injection trial.
My son was typically on the following:
Epsom Salt Baths (very important for this therapy), Vitamin C, Vitamin B5, B2, L-Carnitine, Cod Liver Oil, Calcium, Niacinamide (B3), Zinc, Calcium and Super Nuthera.
Many families are careful to add one supplement at a time to better understand if the child has a specific challenge with a particular supplement.
Probiotics often cause a temporary die-off that takes several days and is often followed by gains.
Step 3: Probiotics
My son was taking probiotics at night on an empty stomach. There are many types of beneficial probiotics. Typically if you find one that works for your child you may see an initial die off often followed by some type of beneficial gain. Acidophilus, S. Boulardi, Coconut Kefir, and fermented foods are a few common examples of probiotic strategies.
Step 4: Antifungals
We have an overwhelming number of reports from parents about yeast-like flare-ups when this therapy is initiated without antifungal medications. Typical natural antifungals are not typically effective for our community.
We have seen families successfully use 50 to 200mg of azole antifungals like Nizoral (which is what we used), Diflucan, Sporanox Additionally some families successfully use Lamicil and/or Amphotericin B. Our child was on 50mg of Nizoral two times per day (generally in the morning and at bed time). Some children have been reported to require more. We also used activated charcoal (put in organic apple sauce) for the first week of die off symptoms.
It is important to work closely with your doctor to find the antifungal that best suits your child’s specific condition.
Step 5: Antivirals
Once your child has adapted well to steps 1-3, you may want to start your antiviral therapy with your choice of antiviral. We have had reports of gains with Olive Leaf Extract, Lauricidin, Monolaurin, Virastop and some other non-drug antiviral therapies, with some of them leading to very significant gains in certain children. That said, Valtrex is by far the method of choice for the largest number of children. Some try the naturals first. More people seem to try Valtrex first and then add in the naturals if they do not get the results they want.
In our case, we only used Valtrex as the antiviral.
We started with a 1/4 dose for a few days and then worked our way up. We ended up giving 250mg of Valtrex three times a day (remember that our child was 28-32lbs). The blue coating of the tablet has an aluminum product in it that some children react to. I suggest washing off the blue coating first, then crush the pill with a pill crusher, shake vigorously in juice, then let it dilute for 15 minutes and shake again.
We have seen reports of gains as low as 1/8 the typical dosage. Some people feel lower doses work best for their child, some feel the best gains came from higher doses and their child needed to go through a healing-regression to get there. These are typically parental or physician guided choices and are often part of the art of customizing the approach to fit the specific child.
People also often ask questions about dosing for older and larger children. Sometimes “less is more” when it comes to this therapy so there is nothing wrong with starting or staying at lower doses if you feel that is what works best for your child.
That said, on page 13 of the Valtrex Prescribing Information document it suggests 1000mg three times a day for adults with herpes zoster5, so it might make sense for some larger children or adults with autism try higher dosages if smaller dosing does not seem to be working. This is, of course, between you and your physician to decide.
Why Three Times A Day?
We often see reports that demonstrate better results when families are dosing three times a day. We haven’t conducted any polls, but the half-life of Valtrex is 2.5 hours so when considering the possible affects on methylation it may make sense to keep a stable amount of the medication in the child. We dosed three times a day.
Step 6: (Optional) Inflammatory Relief
Part of the healing-regression may be inflammation related to processes like kicking up the underlying infection or the release of toxins. We have seen some beneficial reports of parents doing Cranial Sacral therapy during this period.
We also have some positive reports of families doing low doses of steroids (like 5mg of prednisone) for the short term of the healing-regression (typically 14 to 50 days).
I also wonder if Spironolactone might be helpful based on the recent publication by Bradstreet et at. 26 discussing its anti-inflammatory properties.
Step 7: Try To Wait Patiently
During the first 50 days you might see fevers, pox, a non-itchy, mobile rash, stool changes and other healing-regression symptoms. It is not always easy to watch your child go through this, but try to put it in perspective. This therapy does not typically cause any negative looking affects to the typical community. What we see is typically part of the healing or clearing out of this terrible disorder. It is not typically caused by the therapy; it is typically caused by the die-off, detoxification, and healing.
Why is there a healing-regression?
There is no other community that I have found that responds to antiviral therapy like ours. I have personally tried ultra-high doses of Valtrex on myself without an antifungal and I cannot replicate a healing-regression. I also have not seen a report in any other population that is similar to reports that we see when our children are healing. Based on my son’s experience and seeing so many children improve after a healing-regression I believe it is a critical part of the healing process for some children. I also believe that leaving whatever we are kicking up inside our child, meaning not addressing this issue head on, may likely more long-term damage and lessens our chances of getting our kids back.
To me, the healing-regression may be, for some, possibly many, at the core of the condition itself. Some parents are even disappointed that their child did’t go through this healing-regression because they know their child may not be a responder to the therapy.
Here is my son’s recovery video for a little encouragement if you need it.
Ethan's Recovery - 5 mins
• Windows Media Player (.wmv file)
• Quicktime (.mov file)
Stan's son Ethan was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD) at 20 months and autism at three years old. Through countless hours learning to help his son, Stan also discovered how to recovery himself and many others from Attention Deficit Disorder - AD(H)D using similar therapies that he used to recovery his son.
What is a healing-regression and what is a negative reaction?
This can be a challenging question. Typically the healing-regression looks like your child is more autistic but also has some new subtle developmental gain(s) possibly in eye contact, speech, balance, or socialization.
A negative reaction might look like a full-on fungal flare in which case many people consider changing or increasing their antifungal strategy.
Another type of negative reaction might be a healing-regression or regression that lasts for 50 days with no gains in sight. If you decide to stop the antiviral therapy the child should look like they did prior to therapy in just a couple of days.
Many people who do not see gains with Valtrex try switching to Acyclovir, Famvir, or Olive Leaf Extract and find gains with those therapies. While a majority of families report gains through this therapy, some do not see improvement on any of these therapies.
Just like any therapy, if you have tried all the variations that you feel comfortable with and you do not see progress, I would move on to other therapies continue doing trials until you find a therapy that works for your child.
Step 9: Pulsing
Some people mix the natural antivirals into the therapy during a 5-day (Valtrex) and 2-day (natural, like OLE or Lauricidin/Monolauren) or 3-day (Valtrex) 1-day (natural
If the therapy does not seem to be creating improvements during the trial period (up to 50 days), then some families have tried pulsing the therapy.
We did not have to pulse the therapy for my son but the concept of pulsing makes more and more sense to me especially if you want to mix in trials of natural treatments.
Pulsing came about when parents thought the therapy was not working and stopped administration only to find their child have a rash, a pox, or a cold sore breakout immediately after discontinuing the therapy. We are not sure why, but it seems in these cases there is a two stage process going on. It seems that the therapy itself does one-half of the cycle of work and stopping does the other. In these cases some parents have moved to a five day “on” and two day “off” or three day “on” and one day “off” schedule.
I would not stop the antifungal strategy on the “off” days.
On the off days you may want to consider mixing in natural remedies, mentioned earlier, and if you see consistent gains from those remedies you might want to consider keeping them on throughout the week.
The key to this therapy is learning what works best for your specific child.
My child was on Valtrex and Nizoral for 9 months straight with consistent gains until about 9 months. If I had a diagnosed child today I would probably be mixing in natural remedies and consider a pulsing trial to see if the therapy was working optimally.
When to Stop
In my son’s case I didn’t want to stop as long as I was seeing gains. I have seen case reports of parents stopping after two months (sometimes because their child looks recovered) and then the child regresses. We kept going until my son seemed to plateau at 9 months. At that point, I took him off of all his biomedical therapies except the diet. He immediately began progressing again. I waited two weeks and ran an Organic Acid Test from Great Plains and found it markedly improved. The only thing that was indicated was L-Carnitine. I kept him on L-Carnitine, Vitamin C, Fatty Acids and the diet and he has been on that regiment for almost three years now and is doing wonderfully.
In short, I would look for your child to “tell” you when they no longer need the therapy.
Like many therapies, antiviral therapy does not work for all children with autism. For some children this will be an important part of the journey. For other children it will be a tool for recovery. Diet and supplementation were important for my son, but once that was in place I believe antiviral therapy is what took him the rest of the way. Since it seems to work for many children and it seems relatively safe, I believe in doing a trial and using this type of comprehensive approach and seeing for yourself.
With hundreds of families in our online group, you do not need to do this therapy alone. Feel free to join MB12Valtrex in Yahoo! Groups and read and share stories of trials with other parents and some practitioners.
I wish you and your family all the best in your recovery journey.
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5 – GlaxoSmithKline, Valtrex Prescribing Information, downloaded 7/5/07.
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37 - Caparros-Lefebvre D, et. al., J Neurol. 1996 Mar;243(3):248-56.
Cognitive and psychiatric impairment in herpes simplex virus encephalitis suggest involvement of the amygdalo-frontal pathways.
38 - Landgren M, et. al., Ann Neurol. 1994 May;35(5):631-5. Diagnosis of Epstein-Barr virus-induced central nervous system infections by DNA amplification from cerebrospinal fluid. PMID: 8179310