10: Learning Disabilities and Autism
C12: My Research on Learning Disabilities and Autism
The question I researched was whether sleeping with the head under the covers had any impact on learning disabilities. From this research I concluded that repeated rebreathing of exhaled air while under the covers is a major cause of learning disabilities.
It has been the practice for many to sleep with their head under the covers. Approximately 20 to 25% (my numbers generated through the survey) of individuals will partially or fully cover their heads while sleeping. About 10% sleep fully under the covers It has always been assumed that some air filters through the bedding ensuring sufficient oxygen supply. But that is an assumption that needs to be reconsidered. Is it possible that under heavy thick bedding over an extended period of time the content of oxygen will be depleted over the course of the night through rebreathing (the breathing of the same air over and over), and that this depletion causes some level of hypoxia, the lack of oxygen to brain cells? Research had already shown that this hypoxia can cause an increase in A-beta proteins the accumulation of which has been considered a significant marker of Alzheimer’s disease. Here I have researched whether this same hypoxia (caused by rebreathing) can lead to learning disabilities, or simply to poor or under performance in a person's life.
To complete this study individuals who were searching information on learning disabilities on the internet were invited to participate in a short survey comparing their sleeping practices to that of their educational achievements, need for support learning, or attendance in a self-contained special education classroom. Part of the survey also asked whether they were identified as autistic, learning disabled, ADHD, gifted, dyslexic, etc.
The research discovered that those who have any learning disability, including autism, practice sleeping under the covers to a significantly higher percentage, compared to those who do not have a disability. This to me indicates a positive relationship between learning disabilities and depleted rebreathing that occurs while sleeping with the head under the covers in a microenvironment where oxygen gets depleted over time.
The survey included over 400 submissions.
For those who required some support with their learning (generally indicating that they had general difficulty learning or a learning disability) the percentage of those who slept uncovered was 51.4%. This increased to 63.3% for those who did practice some level of head covering. However, the highest increase was for those who were in a self-contained classroom. The percentage increased from 14.6% for those uncovered, to 25.9 % for those who did practice some level of head covering. That’s a 77.4% increase.
For those who indicated difficulties in all subjects, the percentage of those sleeping uncovered was 34.7%, which jumped to 49.6 % for those indicating some covering. That is an increase of 42.9%.
Therefore in all areas: those who have difficult in all subjects, those who require occasional support, and those who attend a self contained classes, sleeping with the head covered is practiced to a much higher extent, which to me indicates that head covering while sleeping is involved in these difficulties.
Using the data it is estimated that about 13.1% of all those requiring support were due to the practice of sleeping with the head covered.
To achieve this numbers the percentage of those who require support but who sleep uncovered is applied to those who require support but who do sleep covered. The difference is then applied to all those who required support to obtain the percentage.
Using the same method, the data suggested 21.7% of those who had difficulty in all subjects were due to covering the head while sleeping.
Similarly, the data suggested 34.1% of those who attended a self-contained class were due to covering the head while sleeping. This suggests that over a third of all students who attend a self-contained classroom do so due to their sleeping practice of covering the head while sleeping.
Part of the survey queried whether they had been identified with a learning disability. This part of the data showed that about 75% of those who identified themselves with autism, ADHD, or dyslexia, indicated that they slept with some level of covering the head. From my survey of Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, MS, and Parkinson’s disease, I was able to estimate that the general healthy population practices head covering while sleeping about 20% to 25% of the time (and perhaps less). This is in stark contrast to the practices of those with learning disabilities at 75%.
This data clearly identifies the practice of sleeping with the head covered as either the cause, leading cause, or major factor in the occurrence of learning disabilities, including autism.
What arguments or proof do I have that depleted rebreathing (and the resultant lack of oxygen) are the cause of these disabilities?
1. I had theorized in my book Rebreathing that not only is rebreathing the cause of SIDS but is also the cause of learning disabilities. Rebreathing can occur when a newborn accidentally breathes into soft bedding or toy over a period of time. Rebreathing is considered to take place as a small volume of air is being used over and over, resulting in the depletion of oxygen. This situation is considered to lead to SIDS. In response to this it has been widely recommended by the medical profession that infants in their first year be positioned to sleep on their backs, reducing the chance that they can suffer rebreathing which could occur by being placed face down into bedding or a soft toy. This Back to Sleep program has reduced the incidence of SIDS by about 50%. Simply put, since the avoidance of rebreathing significantly reduced SIDS, then rebreathing must be considered as the cause of SIDS.
Considering that rebreathing causes SIDS, and that rebreathing takes place over a period of time, then the conclusion must be made that SIDS is not a sudden event as many think. This occurs over a period of time, as oxygen gets depleted over time. However, does every occurrence of rebreathing result in SIDS. I don’t believe so, as in many instances the rebreathing can be interrupted before it leads to a SIDS death: by a parent who picks up an infant, by the infant turning away for the obstruction, by the infant waking up, or other avoidance of the restriction. In these cases SIDS may have been avoided, but some neurological damage to brain cells has occurred. It is in these circumstances that I believe that learning disabilities can occur.
How can this lead to a variety of learning disabilities? The closer rebreathing occurs near birth, the more likely it is occurring during the developmental period of the brain. Basically, any lack of oxygen, however short, will harm any part of the brain that is developing at that time, and how that function works with other functions of the brain to complete consciousness and a functioning individual. A weakness in one area, or weaknesses in many areas, limits the individual to learn, understand, and succeed as others can.
2. There are other complications during birth that are considered to cause an interruption of oxygen to the brain, such as when an umbilical cord gets wrapped around the fetal neck. In this instance it is often agreed that it is this temporary lack of oxygen that is the cause of the disability, including such severe disabilities as cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Again lack of oxygen is considered as one of the possible causes, if not the direct cause. Rebreathing is considered to cause a lack of oxygen; however, it occurs after birth rather than during birth. If temporary lack of oxygen can cause disabilities during birth, then why shouldn't the lack of oxygen after birth not also cause disabilities, particularly when it occurs while the brain is developing immediately after birth? It is possible that depleted rebreathing might be responsible for a few cases of cerebral palsy. Unlikely, but can't be ruled out.
3. This is a statistical inference. There is a pattern of many males as opposed to females suffering these learning disabilities. Almost all statistics show about a 1.5 factor of males to females suffer many learning disabilities. SIDS follows this same statistic, therefore there is a strong argument that the cause of SIDS is also the cause of these learning disabilities.
4. There has long been a recognized relationship between learning disabilities (cognitive dysfunction, by one of many other names) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). One of the considered causes of AD is hypoxia. From this relationship it can be assumed that the cause of AD is also the cause of learning disabilities. Therefore hypoxia can be considered as a cause of learning disabilities as it is considered a cause of AD. Depleted rebreathing due to sleeping under the covers has shown to be a factor in AD on this site, therefore it should also be considered as a cause of learning disabilities.
5. This survey that I conducted here clearly implicates depleted rebreathing and hypoxia as the main cause of learning disabilities, including autism (including Aspergers), ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, and many others.
Are their other disorders related to rebreathing?
I believe so. I have only listed a few here, such as ADHD, autism, as these are the most recognized. There are many others, such as, epilepsy, asthma, dysphasia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), Tourette's, and many other auditory and visual disorders. As well, there are many mental disorders that may have been caused by depleted rebreathing, including schizophrenia. I also believe that rebreathing may be the cause of homosexuality, as hypoxia interferes with normal sexual development. Also I show it's involvement in Alzheimer's disease and Multiple Sclerosis. I have thrown out the net wide here, and fully expect that in time some of these will be found to be caused by other factors. Considering them is part of the process of research, even if it later results in elimination as related to depleted rebreathing. The purpose of my research is to propose theories that will spur more detailed research.
One of my theories concerns the apparent reduction in schizophrenia and crime in general that has occurred over the past few years. My theory here is that the Back to Sleep program unknowingly not only reduced SIDS, but also the severity of learning disabilities and mental disorders. This reduction in learning disabilities and mental disorders is the reason there has been a decrease in schizophrenia and crime in general.
Another theory that I have relates to genetics. Often some disorders seem to run in families, but it has been difficult to clearly identify the disorder as genetic. I have observed from my surveys that families follow similar sleeping practices, and through depleted rebreathing, therefore, suffer similar disorders. These sleeping practices, and depleted rebreathing, may be the cause of some disorders that appear genetic, but which are not.
My most serious concern is that pregnant women are participating in this behaviour of sleeping with their head under the covers, and that if it is practiced long enough, there may be an deficiency of oxygen to the fetus, and this will result in learning disabilities and other disorders. This occurrence of depleted rebreathing may very well be the most serious cause of learning disabilities and other disorders as it occurs to the fetus when many functions are in a developmental stage. Doctors need to be aware of this sleeping practice and recommend to their clients that they stop so that they protect their unborn child! I can't stress this enough.
To sum up, depleted rebreathing can have outcomes through three differing ways: one is the accidental occurrence when an early infant has their breathing restricted by bedding, fluffy toy, or other article. This can lead to SIDS, learning disabilities, and other neurological damage that may show up later as MS or Alzheimer's disease. The second is depleted rebreathing through sleeping with head under the covers. This can lead to learning disabilities, MS, or Alzheimer's disease. The third is when pregnant mothers sleep under the covers; how this impacts on the fetus is unknown and untested, but cannot be expected to be positive.
This research is an important discovery since a drug free, cost free change in behaviour may result in the avoidance of many learning disabilities and other disorders, not to mention that considerable societal savings could be realized.