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A Case of Angelman's Syndrome

by Dr Neil Slade(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 129 - November 2006

Ben’s mother was a former student of mine who had successfully completed her course and then fallen pregnant with her first child. The pregnancy and scans, etc., were all fine, and the delivery was normal, with the exception that he was born six weeks premature. However, it soon became apparent that something wasn’t quite right with Ben. As time passed, he was not developing as was expected, and it was advised that Ben should have various tests to try and ascertain what was wrong. A scan of his brain showed a degree of cerebellar atrophy, which would account for his lack of balance and coordination, and also his jerky movements. Later he was diagnosed with Angelman’s Syndrome. This is not a widely known condition, and I had to return to the text books in order to try and find out as much as possible about what I was dealing with.

Ben was 14 months-old when he was first brought to see me. He presented with a wide range of things, including holding his left arm up in a flexed position, and jerky hand flapping movements with both hands. He needed continual support to maintain an upright position, his toes were permanently curled over, his hands were held in continual fists, and he was having fits. Blood tests showed that his ferritin (iron) levels were very low too. As Ben’s problems were due to a partial chromosome deletion, I was not sure what I could do to help him. My thought was that treatment at such a young age might be able to stimulate a degree of brain development he might not otherwise have got, and that the homeopathy might be able to help with the low ferritin and fits.

A thorough case analysis brought me to Phosphorous as his indicated remedy, and I prescribed this in the 30c strength. Alongside this I prescribed Ferrum phos 9x (a tissue salt) in order to address the ferritin. His mother had waived the orthodox treatment to raise his ferritin levels in order to do it naturally. When Ben came back for his follow-up, his mother reported that the first thing they noticed was a leap in his development, which had been very much delayed. He seemed to be better coordinated and was not holding his arm up as much. His hand flapping had calmed down too. He was also more aware of his surroundings, and appeared to take greater interest in things near him. His curled toes and fists were not such a permanent feature. I decided to repeat the prescription; this carried on at monthly intervals for five months with Ben showing greater and greater improvement. Before I changed the prescription he was sitting up unaided and standing with only limited support, his fist and toe curling were history and he was generally much more coordinated. The raised arm had come down and he wasn’t hand flapping. Blood tests at month three had shown normal ferritin levels. He was attempting to feed himself and use his drinking cup. His mother also reported that he seemed to know his own mind more and was making word associations. All these are developments that we normally associate with a much older child diagnosed with Angelman’s. However, the downside was that the mild fits, which had also calmed down to a degree, had taken on another form and were coming through as very definite tonic-clonic epileptic seizures. I took the precise details of the seizures and their modalities and did the analysis. The indicated remedy came through as Nux vomica. Ben’s mother was reluctant to put him on the Sodium valproate prescribed by the Consultant, and after detailed conversations with the Neurologist, it was agreed to allow some time to see if the homeopathy would work for this.

Ben’s follow-up showed that the remedy did indeed stop the tonic-clonic seizures, but he still had a mild shaking fit when sleeping. We carried on with the Nux vom. which seemed to help further, but when he was given a break from the remedy he had a seizure straight away. As a result, more Nux vom. was given and he hasn’t had a ‘big’ seizure since.

This brings Ben’s case up-to-date, even though he is still on an on-going treatment plan. My dilemma at the moment is how long the Nux vom. will continue to work, as it seems more palliative in its action, and I am trying to find a way round this.

Some of you may wonder why I have chosen to write about a case that does not have a definite conclusion. The reason for this is because it is caused by a chromosomal defect, it is often assumed that there is nothing that can be done for such cases. Ben’s case shows this is not true. Although he will never be a ‘normal’ child, and will always need continual care, he is much more advanced now than would normally be expected given his diagnosis. This alone shows it is always worth trying!

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About Dr Neil Slade

Dr Neil Slade  PhD LCH RSHom. Neil is a senior lecturer at two leading complementary therapy colleges and has two busy homeopathic practices. He is the Deputy Director of Pure Medicine in London's Harley Street. He regularly contributes articles to the national press, radio and television. Neil can be contacted on Tel: 01372 361669;  NeilSld@aol.com     www.neilslade.co.uk

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