Becoming A DAN! Doctor

by Richard E. Layton, M.D.

For almost 40 years I have experienced a unique medical career. The first half included medical school, pediatric residency and 15 years practice as a conventional pediatrician. During the past ten years, I became aware of the dramatic increase in autism, and that immunizations contained a mercury-containing preservative. I found the overuse of antibiotics and the increasing number of immunizations given to babies in the first year of life frightening.

I gradually began combining my conventional background with new techniques I learned from complimentary medicine. NOW I can address children’s behavior and developmental issues more comprehensively. In the past several years, my primary medical interest has been in autism spectrum disorders including attention deficits.

What Happened to Me?

In 1985 I read that craving a specific food can be a problem. I thought of two children in my practice. The first, a peanut butter junkie had severe migraine headaches, diagnosed as a psychosomatic illness by a highly regarded pediatric neurologist. After removing peanut butter for 10 days, his migraines disappeared. The second child had debilitating abdominal pain, again considered psychosomatic. Wrong again! A milk avoidance diet cured the problem. These two children changed my future.

Traditional vs. Complimentary Medicine

I, like most physicians learned to diagnose and treat disease in medical school. I took no courses on the importance of listening to parents/patients, using common sense, making clinical judgments. Fortunately, my medical school education has been very effective in treating life and death problems such as acute infectious illnesses. For my patients with autism, hyperactivity, language and developmental delays, relying on double-blind controlled studies and objective lab data is often less effective than listening, looking for possible underlying causes and trying elimination diets.

My Medical Career – Part II

In the mid 1990’s I began working with Kelly Dorfman and Patricia Lemer, DDR co-founders. They introduced me to occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, vision therapy and auditory training. They encouraged me to attend DAN! Conferences and learn about the biomedical issues in autism. I am delighted that I followed their advice.

I have just returned from my fourth DAN! Conference, and I learn something new each time. The medical lectures on nucleotides affecting methylation, transulfuration and the role of oxidative stress, have helped me understand my patients’ needs more fully. I have now become a more complete physician as a DAN! doctor.

Call to Physicians

Many parents and physicians are looking for non-invasive ways to help children with developmental problems. Here is my list of helpful treatments that I have added to my tool chest:

In summary, I am enjoying being a physician the more I learn and help. Attending DAN meetings, consulting with DDR experts, listening and learning from parents has been a wonderful experience. Thanks to DAN, DDR and parents, I have been able to improve the way I practice medicine.

Richard E. Layton, M.D. practices specialized pediatrics, allergy and preventative medicine in Towson, MD. You can reach him at 410-337-2707 or go to his website.

[Initially published in New Developments: Volume 9, Number 3 - Summer, 2004]

All material in this web site is given for information purposes only and is not to be substituted for advice from your health care provider.


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