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Autism Treatment – Pandas, Probiotic Problems and Autism

By Dr. Kurt Woeller Subscribe to RSS | January 9th 2012 | Views:

PANDAS is a phenomenon that I have seen in a number of children with Autism, and even in some kids who have not been classically diagnosed with Autism. And PANDAS is an issue in the body which stems from a streptococcal infection, and more specifically Group A Beta Hemolytic Strep. And what this causes many times is tics, side glancing, weird movements of the head or eyes, behavioral issues, obsessive compulsive behaviors, etc. And many times an infection, like a sore throat, will precede the onset of these behaviors. After the infection you may see a marked change in behavior and like I mentioned before a very severe form of obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety and even social anxiety.

Now you can have PANDAS and all that it causes like the tics and obsessive compulsive disorder and not be on the Autism spectrum, but some individuals with Autism also have PANDAS as well. One thing to be aware of is that a common supplement that people take, often times probiotics, can have a bacteria in them called streptococcus thermophilus which is a natural bacteria that is a beneficial bacteria that is supposed to improve digestion and overall health. Some yogurts also contain streptococcus thermophilus. Theoretically streptococcus thermophilus is very different in protein structure than Group A Beta Hemolytic Strep and therefore should not be impacting the manifestations of PANDAS like obsessive compulsive disorder. However the problem is that in my own clinical practice I have not seen this to be true. Many children I see, whether they are on the Autism spectrum or not, do not seem to react well to probiotics with streptococcus thermophilus if they have PANDAS.

So this article is just to make you aware that if you suspect that PANDAS is an issue for your child, you may want to check the ingredients on their probiotics. If the ones they are taking have streptococcus thermophilus then you may want to switch to a different one without it. While it is not problematic for every child, many times it can be.

I was treating a child for PANDAS a few years ago who was successfully in remission. The child had started a new group of supplements and saw a reemergence of those symptoms of PANDAS again including the tics, anxiety and the obsessive compulsive disorder so we looked at all of the new supplements and found a new probiotic had been introduced. It contained streptococcus thermophilus and the mother had no idea that it would be a contributing factor. But once we removed that supplement the PANDAS symptoms, including the OCD and anxiety, all went away. And I have seen this with others in my practice as well. So when I am reviewing supplements with a patient and they appear to have an issue with PANDAS, I will suggest removing supplements that contain streptococcus thermophilus. I wanted to share this information with you as well.

Dr. Kurt Woeller - About Author:
Don't let ANYONE tell you there is nothing you can do to help your child. Autism really is treatable! Start your child down the road to recovery from autism. For free biomedical autism intervention information and videos from Dr. Kurt Woeller go to and interact with him directly at his membership website at

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