Although the mystery of autism continues to puzzle the medical community, some doctors are finding a link between autism and Lyme disease, which is called "Lyme-Induced Autism," FOX40 Sacramento reported.
Mary Hendricks, 19, was diagnosed with a severe case of autism at the age of 2, but also showed symptoms of digestive problems, skin infections and pain.
After 17 years of constant doctors' visits to diagnose the problem, a specialist told Mary's mother, Tina, that the key to diagnosing her daughter would be to diagnose her first.
In the past, Tina had suffered from colitis, fibromyalgia and flu-like symptoms.
Doctors ordered a Lyme disease test, which came back positive. Then, the same test showed that Mary also suffered from Lyme disease. After receiving the results, Tina recalled that before getting pregnant with Mary, she had two ticks removed from her skin and hadn't thought about it since.
"If a child has autism from birth, many times it's because the child inherited an infection from the mother. I do think that Lyme disease, especially congenital Lyme is a cause of autism ," autism specialist Dr. Lynn Mielke told FOX40.
Mielke said she thinks that Mary contracted Lyme disease from her mother during the pregnancy, which played a big role in Mary's development of autism. He started intense treatment on Mary's Lyme disease, and the outcome was successful beyond their expectations.
"As we treat Mary for her Lyme, some of her check list autism symptoms are disappearing," Tina said.
"For her to wake up, smile and giggle and laugh .. we haven't heard that for years," added her father, Danny.
Miekle told FOX40 the severity of Mary's autism may mean she'll only improve minimally, but for the Hendricks even small improvements translate to huge miracles.
"I have had patients in my practice with autism, who when we treated their Lyme disease, their autism improved so much that they were no longer autistic," Mielke said.
In general, at this time Dr. Mielke will not be the prescribing doctor for the complex antibiotic and herbal protocols that chronic and acute Lyme patients need. She will refer patients to the appropriate ILADS physician for that. However, she will work closely with those doctors, making sure that the Lyme patients have all of the additional therapies that they need for an optimal treatment outcome.