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A Psalm and some Genetics (2006-07-24 - 5:44 p.m.)

I read this in the Psalms today. I read either a whole or partial Psalm every day, depending on the length. I want it to be short enough to actually chew on for a few minutes. Today, I read Psalm 44. Verses 4-8 spoke to me strongly.

You are my King, O God; ordain salvation for Jacob! Through you we push down our foes; through your name we tread down those who rise up against us. For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me. But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us. In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever.

I don't believe it can be said that I have any literal "foes" or enemies. I don't know of anyone who hates me (although there's this girl at work...never mind). But things rise up against us all the time. All of the things that we struggle with in our lives are things that "rise up against us." Stephanie's "high-functioning autism" is our foe. We believe that God is treading down our foes. We believe that, in his name, we are "more than conquerors," as Paul says in Romans 8. And we will give thanks to his name forever.

In other, more exciting news, we received the genetic testing results back from Dr. Amy Yasko's people Saturday. Hold on, let me go get it.

Thanks for waiting...

This is called a "Nutrigenomic Test." It's got more stuff I don't understand than I have ever seen in one place before. We will be taking this to Dr. Hamel on Friday, hoping like crazy that he will be able to make something of it.

One thing, though that we have been able to discern from these results, is that...Stephanie is a mutant.

Ok. That was a tad tongue-in-cheek, but really not so far off. This child has tons of mutated genes. We aren't really sure how to respond to this. It makes me want to test everyone in the family. I mean, she gets her genetic make-up from her mother and me, so in a twisted kind of way, this is all our fault?

One of the significant mutations is in the COMT "single nucleotide polymorphisms." (If there is anyone out there who understands this stuff, please help me!!) The change in the V158M significantly decreases the activity of the COMT enzyme. Stephanie has double mutations in two of the three COMT genes which is like a double-whammy in enzyme activity.

By the way, all of these affect the methylation process, which has been found to be severely curtailed in people with ASD.

In the VDR Bsm/Taq gene, she has a double mutation (this means that ther is a change in both sets of the genetic make-up, mine and Christi's). This means that her dopamine levels are reduced.

In the case of the MTHFR gene (I'm not going to tell you what the "Mercury Moms" call this gene...use your imagination...), there are two. In one, Stephie is -/-, indicating both sets are normal, but in the other, she is +/+, indicating mutations in both sets.

Like I said, even though there is a book that came with this test, and a dvd set with lectures by Dr. Yasko, it is still very difficult to understand. She talks at a high technical level, and is hard to grasp. She also doesn't check for typos, which can be annoying.

But, she does seem to have a strong grasp on this stuff, and maybe some ways to help.

If you are interested in looking at her materials, you can find her at several different sites. The one that I go to most is Autism Answer. I believe that there are links to her other sites from that one.

Like I said, we are going to share this information with Dr. Hamel and hope that he can figure something out. This should help us dramatically in knowing what kinds of treatments will help and what kinds won't. For example, based on the results concerning the MTR and MTRR genes, massive doses of B12, which has been shown to help other autistic kids, won't help Stephanie very much, because all of hers are either -/-, indicating no change, or +/-, indicating a change in only one set.

I'm sorry if I have confused everyone. I'm also sorry if my lack of understanding has muddled things even more. Be patient with me, I'm still learning.

But, then, we never want to stop doing that, do we?

TTFN, y'all.


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