Dr. Bock went for cute with the 4-A title. According to Dr. Bock the immune system is compromised in these children and food sensitivities trigger the immune issues, keeping the child in a vicious endless cycle that is responsible for distracting the body from developing normally. Since the body and brain are too busy fighting off perceived invaders, as that is what an allergy is, it cannot expend sufficient energy to learn. Hence the connection between the medical issues and the developmental delay(s) or educational difficulties.
Here let us take a look at otitis media. I choose otitis media (OM) for three reasons. 1) It is not addressed in Dr. Bock’s book. As the goal here is not to summarize the book, I will discuss related items that Dr. Bock does not directly address and leave you something to read in his book. 2) OM is in my professional area of expertise as I am a developmental audiologist. 3) Because OM is the all-time most common childhood illness. It is reported that 80-90% of children experience OM.
Otitis media is the medical term used for fluid in the middle ear regardless of whether it is due to an infection, virus or swallowing a drink wrong. This distinction is important because many pediatricians recognize the harmful side effects of antibiotics and will not prescribe antibiotics unless they determine your child has an ear infection. The distinction, which is of developmental significance here is this, if a child has fluid without signs of infection said pediatrician will tell the parent the child does not have an ear infection but may not tell the parent there IS fluid present.
The developmental implication of the presence of fluid is very significant because: 1) The fluid indicates an immune issue unless feeding position as the cause is directly ruled out i.e. baby drinks flat on his back causing the fluid he drinks to enter the ear. I am deliberately not including reflux, although it is a feeding related cause that can result in fluid entering the ear, because reflux too is a medical condition that requires the same exploration as the other conditions under discussion (what is causing this problem?). 2) The fluid causes a hearing loss of educational significance, some of it permanent. This means that the child does not require hearing aids but will struggle academically with following directions, acquiring language, learning to read, and other hearing related development. 3) The fluid causes auditory deprivation. What is little appreciated, even by many sensory practitioners, is that since hearing is a sense it stands to reason that auditory deprivation is a form of sensory deprivation and one that packs a powerful punch seeing that the balance (vestibular) system is housed in the ears. In my experience many sensory avoiding and / or seeking behaviors are eliminated when the fluid issue is addressed relieving the auditory deprivation and the child’s search for alternative input.
Now that we have demonstrated the serious developmental repercussions on the immune connection. The presence of non-food related fluid indicates a weak immune system. You want to be able to answer, “What is causing the fluid?” and from our perspective it doesn’t matter where in the upper respiratory system this fluid is manifest. It may manifest as a cold, cough, seasonal allergies, asthma (notice that two of these are addressed in Dr. Bock’s book), or fluid in the ears. All indicate a compromised immune system which, after treating immediate symptoms, should be addressed in the same way – look at the root cause. Pressure equalizing tubes and chiropractic adjustments are both techniques to relieve the symptoms of OM. They do not address the underlying cause that brought the fluid to the ear in the first place. It’s like taking Tylenol for a fever. You certainly want to do so or the medical condition may escalate to a critical point. But you also appreciate that Tylenol relieves symptoms, it does not heal you of the condition that brought on the fever. If the food triggers are eliminated and the immune system is boosted through appropriate supports then the medical condition would be eliminated rather than temporarily relieved. Now the brain will not be distracted from learning and developing. A win-win for your child and you in all departments.
Next time, the repercussions of antibiotics, whether appropriately prescribed or not.