Laundau-Kleffner Syndrome & Herpes Simplex

It’s common knowledge that Autism Spectrum children are extremely different in their symptoms. Some, like my son, are highly-cognitive, highly-functioning, while others may never speak, never walk. It’s clear to me, in researching bio-medical causes of Autism, that there are any number of ways these children could have become “infected” – in other words, the immune system is somehow involved, probably compromised In Utero, and certainly not helped by some immunizations given in a relatively short time after birth.

If the immune system is involved, blood panels would reveal a great deal of information. My continual frustration is that mainstream medicine either won’t pay for these tests, or worse, as confessed by my son’s pediatrician, “there won’t be anyone in our system that will know how to correctly read these tests or know what to even look for”. And this is a doctor who is part of one of the largest health care systems here in New England.

I know several people who have put themselves in such tremendous debt, they’re no longer able to keep their home, and doubt that home ownership will ever be in their future. I’m not talking a mere $10,000, or $20,000 – any of these families would have felt fortunate if that was the cost. I’m talking anywhere from $75,000 to $150,000. Their children are not yet 5 years of age which means there are many costly years remaining….

Autism is now recognized as one of the most expensive “disorders” of our time. What we need is for the mountain of evidence, pointing to Autism as an auto-immune disorder, to be accepted by the mainstream medical community. Can you imagine the outcry if AIDS were treated in this manner? How about channeling some of that funding into Autism? That sounds like material for another blog. In the meantime,

Here’s an article I ran across this piece, written by Theresa Binstock, about Landau-Kleffner Syndrome and Herpes Simplex, further strengtening the bio-med concept of Autism as being immune-sytem based.



This set of abstracts shows how the language impairments associated with Landau-Kleffner syndrome are similar to what can occur during focal herpes encephalitis. Among these cites, note the variation from person to person. Keep in mind that most of these studies were done prior to PCR, so these studies may represent a “tip of the iceberg”, ie, language impairments induced by HSV may be more common than has been realized.

<1> Greer MK. Lyons-Crews M. Mauldin LB. Brown FR 3d.
A case study of the cognitive and behavioral deficits of temporal lobe damage in herpes simplex encephalitis.

Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders. 19(2):317-26, 1989

Herpes simplex viral encephalitis is a fairly common nonepidemic encephalitis which produces severe neurological sequelae in survivors. Most viral infections of the central nervous system produce diffuse damage, but the herpes simplex virus demonstrates a predilection for localization in the temporal and orbitofrontal regions of the brain. This case study illustrates the highly significant language difficulties, marked memory deficits, and propensity for physical aggression following temporal lobe damage brought about by herpes encephalitis, and presents the usefulness of a new diagnostic measure in delineating such a variable cognitive pattern.

Immunity and infections

I believe that biological aspects of autism-spectrum disorders will not have a firm foundation until thorough immune-panels become part of the overall autism-spectrum database (3). Furthermore, for each specific child, the thorough immune panel may enhance the parents’ and physician’s understanding of etiologically significant factors for that specific child; and this knowledge ought augment avoiding treatments that may be harmful while aiding in the design of positive treatments for that child.

At the Orlando conference (4), the importance of immune and infectious contributions was conveyed most clearly by Dr. Luigina Romani, who focused upon immune- and infection-related factors that can shift immunity and thereby contribute to persistent or recurring Candida—an infection that not only is worthy of treating but also is a symptom of the underlying immune shift whose symptoms, signs, and causes need be addressed. Her lecture complemented my own interest and early findings in immunological and infectious profiles of autism-spectrum children.

In recent years a parents of autism-spectrum kids have been sending me the child’s immune-panel, often accompanied by other lab reports, occasionally including an entire medical history. As previously mentioned, the most thorough immune panels were ordered by Hugh Fudenberg, MD (5); and most of these reports demonstrate at least one, often two, and occasionally three signs of atypical chronic infection and/or immune atypicality.

Importantly, these infectious and immunological signs cannot be identified and delineated by data-sets A thru F in the above list. Instead, to fully comprehend the biological aspects of many (probably most, I’d now say) autism-spectrum kids, immune-panel data are necessary. She presents a case for acquiring immune-panels to get an overall picture of what is truly going on with a child before starting any treatment protocol.

  1. My husband has early onset Alzheimer’s disease and prolonged history of recurrent fever blisters (herpes simplex I) – after doing some research, I believe there is a connection with autism and came across you website. A lady who has an 11 year old with Asperger’s clearly links the sudden neurologic decline in her daughter to coming off infant formula, at age 18 months, these formulas contain medium chain triglyceride oils in several forms. I suggest you look at my website and there is considerable information about why this could affect children – perhaps the formula is delaying the onset of symptoms/ suppressing the herpes virus infection.

    Mary Newport MD    Aug 16, 02:45 PM    #
  2. Thanks for writing, Dr. Newport! Great to see another WAPF person connecting herpes with immune system. Are you familiar with the work being done on dissolving bacterial biofilms? It may yet be another link to a compromised immune system. Looking forward to visiting your site. Here’s the biofilm information.

    Sharon    Aug 16, 03:17 PM    #
  Textile help