OK, I wrote this back in June, and I have no idea why I didn't post it here.
I think part of the reason was because I wanted to sprinkle this post with links. Obviously I never got around to that, so I'm going to just dump this out there and hopefully at some other point, I'll be able to post properly.
In June I went to the rheumatologist. At that point, my joints were swelled up more than was usual, and I had MORE affected joints at the moment than I have before. There are a few reasons for this: 1) a poorly tolerated probiotic 2) possibly one of their supplements and 3) unblanched almond flour. Apparently I CANNOT eat unblanched almond flour. It made me incredibly sick.
But according to my labs, I was better than ever before. All my disease markers were down.
AND... there was something new.
Some of you know I'm on long term antibiotic therapy. This is something the Arthritis Center in Riverside specializes in.
Their theory is that a large percentage of people with rheumatoid arthritis are actually infected with a microorganism -- called mycoplasma.
Organisms in the genus mycoplasma are very small -- so small, in fact, they are virtually undetectable. They're single celled bacteria with no cell wall. They behave much like viruses and are capable of hiding in tissues -- tissues like your joints. Your body can't really detect them very well, seeing as they don't look like normal bacteria.
But even though traditional rheumatologists think people with RA have randomly malfunctioning immune systems, the doctors at this center believe that your immune system is reacting to something (mycoplasma infection). Thus, your immune system is NOT just going haywire in a random fashion.
Now, testing someone for mycoplasma infection doesn't work all that well. The tests are VERY expensive and difficult to do. So what the Arthritis Center does is put people on long term antibiotic therapy, and then they wait and see what will happen.
Eventually, if you are infected with a strain of mycoplasma (there are several), the antibiotics will be steadily killing them over time. And when they die, they can't hide any more, and they get flushed out of your joints and wherever else they are, and make it into the mainstream functions of your body as they are eliminated. They also will cause a temporary increase in inflammation, because they release toxins as they die.
Once you kill off a certain number of them (billions), your body finally 'sees' all the dead guys and goes, "Hey! Those are not supposed to be there!" and starts to produce antibodies.
Now, as I said, the doctors cannot detect mycoplasmas easily. But they can check for those antibodies.
And for the first time -- after more than a year! -- they found antibodies to a specific strain of mycoplasmas -- mycoplasma pneumoniae, to be exact.
What does this mean? It means I have a confirmed mycoplasma infection.
It also means that their therapy is working.
Pretty cool, huh?
When your doc starts talking about remission, that's pretty cool. :)
Anyway, he wrote me a prescription for a stronger anti-inflammatory and pain medication and sent me on my way.
After thinking about this, I started to formulate a bit more about my theory with autoimmune diseases and infections such as mycoplasma. I think that everything starts with disordered digestion, which affects the immune system over time -- the standard leaky gut explanation. Due to disordered digestion, the immune system then becomes disordered.
This allows infections such as mycoplasma to take hold more easily.
OK, now, stay with me here.
Your child inherits the bacteria of the mother's digestive system. So if the mother has disordered digestion, that will be passed on to the child.
Mothers of autistic children have a higher incidence of autoimmune disorders than the general population.
Autistic children have a higher rate of gut dysfunction than their neurotypical peers.
So, is it a stretch to say that autistic children might also be suffering from a mycoplasma infection in addition to their disordered digestive and immune systems?
I don't think it is.
So I did more research.
Can mycoplasma be passed from mother to child? Yes.
Can mycoplasma cross the blood brain barrier? Yes.
Can doxycycline and minocycline, the drugs used to treat mycoplasma infection, cross the blood brain barrier? Yes.
So could some cases of autism be caused by the effects of mycoplasma infection of the brain?
And could they be treated similarly to the way I'm being treated right now?
This gives a whole new meaning to the "feeding bad bacteria" portion of straying from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Starving bad bacteria through the digestive system has a systemic effect. It stands to reason that it starves out the parasitic mycoplasma bacteria strains as well as imbalanced digestive bacteria.
I don't know all the answers here, but I am compelled to discuss this with my rheumatologist at my next appointment.
I want guidance and I want answers, and I want people to not think I'm crazy. I sometimes dream that I am telling people about the dietary changes we've made and the great strides we've also made, and they ignore me and mock me.
So this is the post I've been meaning to make for months. Hopefully I can clean it up with appropriate references at some point. Thanks for listening.