4myLearn Learning Challenge Model

Level 1: Environment (External)

Level 1 deals with interactions between genetic makeup and the immediate chemical and physical environment that promotes expression of some genes and development of select brain modules while hindering the development of others. The most striking feature of LD is that that it is often accompanied by relative strengths in some areas of cognition, while challenges in others.

Prenatal and Neonatal Care Infants are harmed by prenatal exposure to poor nutrition, drugs or alcohol, radiation, toxins, viral or bacterial infection or Corisol due to maternal severe stress. There seems to be a genetic predisposition in LD children to be more sensitive to heavy metals and other toxins. A 2006 CDC report found that the average American had 116 of the 148 toxins tested for. These were also found in human milk, placental tissue, umbilical cord blood, and the blood and body fat of newborns, sometimes at higher concentrations. For instance, mercury accumulates in breast milk 8 times the level in the mother. Induced deliveries, Caesarean sections, bottle-feeding reduce the amount of oxytocin produced in mother and infant. Each doubles the incidence of ASD.
Medical Interventions Medical interventions such as surgery, medications, vaccinations, and extensive antibiotic use impact the nervous, immune, and digestive systems. LD kids have a disrupted immune response. Therefore, vaccines of live viruses can be an environmental contributor. A real infection would be a greater contributor. Wise practices can reduce the impact. Some hospitals mandate Hepatitis B vaccination for all newborns at 12 hours old to prevent transmission by an infected mother to her newborn. This is unnecessary when the mothers are tested to be Hepatitis B free, and potentially harmful. if the vaccine is given before the baby is72 hours old it may compromise proper development of the immune system. The MMR and DPT vaccines are combined injections that seeks to protect against measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) for MMR and diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus for DPT. They are combined for convenience. Unfortunately many young children's immune systems cannot cope with more than one virus at a time. There are apparently periods of susceptibility, when both the brain and immune system are undergoing rapid development.
Extensive use of antibiotics, acid blockers, and anti-inflammatories disrupt protective intestinal microbiota and create a favorable environment for colonization by opportunistic pathogens. Some of these pathogens can lead to the production of neurotoxins that disrupt neurotransmission.
Medications targeting level 4, for example, Ritalin, is often utilized to “control” problems at the derived behavior level. This can lead to other expressions of the primary issue, other maladaptive derived behaviors, or a limit the child’s ability to learn appropriate adaptive behaviors, skills,or understandings.
Toxins Differences in metallothionein protein (MT) in LD can lead to extreme sensitivity to toxic heavy metals and other environmental substances. MT proteins regulate blood levels of trace minerals copper and zinc, which detoxify cadmium, mercury and other heavy metals, and assist in development of the nervous system and digestive tract. Heavy metal toxicity impacts gene regulation. Children with autism, ADHD and PDD have differences in glutathione which interacts with MT as the chief detoxifier of harmful substances like pesticides and PCBs, increasing sensitivity to these toxins.
Diet Standard American Diet (SAD) is comprised of industrially-processed nutrient-depleted products dominated by genetically modified corn and soy derivatives along with high salt and trans fats, artificial colorings, flavorings, sweeteners, and high fructose corn syrup, coupled with pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables, and meat from genetically-engineered grain-fed confinded animals treated daily with low doses of the same antibiotic as humans, increasing consumption of drug-resistant bacteria. Dyes such as Red 3, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Green 3, Yellow 10 and Red 30 are especially harmful.
Illness Epileptic seizures and viral diseases, especially when experienced in early childhood, have also been found to be associated with developmental disorders.
Stress Stress-induced cortisol, in response to inadequate, depriving, excessive, threatening, overly harsh, erratic, unusual, or inconsistent and insecure environment, negatively impacts behavior and executive function skill development and can cause developmental delays, or even disorders.