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Want healthy children? Keep your phone out of your pants pocket.

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  • Autism needs to be approached as a system; systems biology looks at everything in biology as a web where everything is connected. When you tug at one part of the web, the rest of the web changes
  • Dr. Martha Herbert believes autism develops in response to environmental factors that irritate and excite the brain, such as toxic exposures, allergens and electromagnetic fields
  • Autism can be predicted by looking at the level of brain irritability in the child. Mercury, EMF, glyphosate, vaccine adjuvants and processed foods are all contributing factors
  • The neural network disturbance found in the brain of autistic children has been shown to be proportional to the amount of mitochondrial dysfunction they have; in other words, autism is an outgrowth of mitochondrial stress and dysfunction
  • De novo (new) gene mutations can result when sperm is exposed to wireless radiation. Men desiring healthy children should avoid carrying their cellphone in their pants pocket

This interview was recorded in November 2018 at the annual Academy for Comprehensive and Integrative Medicine (ACIM) convention in Orlando, Florida, but this is the first time it was ever run on the site. At the time there was concern that the topic was too controversial, but now that five years has passed and COVID changed the controversial landscape we thought it would be good to release the video on this important topic.

I had the opportunity to interview two experts on autism and dirty electricity, Peter Sullivan and Dr. Martha Herbert, who cowrote “The Autism Revolution: Whole-Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be.”1 Here, we discuss some of the toxic factors that contribute to the development of autism, especially the role of electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) and dirty electricity.

Sullivan’s Journey

Sullivan has struggled with electromagnetic hypersensitivity, and still does to some degree, which was his primary motivation for learning more about it. He’s become a fount of knowledge as a result. As a software engineer in Silicon Valley in the 1990s, he was passionate about personal technology.

In the early 2000s, problems began to take root. Fatigue and food allergies cropped up, and his children were struggling with developmental delays. He eventually realized he had toxic levels of mercury in his system.

He eventually learned about dirty electricity, and once he started addressing his exposure, he regained 10 pounds in a couple of months, along with his health. Today, he’s passionate about sharing information about the dangers of EMFs and dirty electricity, and how to address electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

“We’re just trying to share the information, make the field credible, because it’s very credible, and make sure people don’t have to suffer,” he says.

He even created an EMF-free tent that he brings with him to different seminars and conferences that people can sit in, as many of these events are held in places where you’re exposed to very high amounts of EMF. He’s also funded some of Herbert’s research.

Herbert’s Story

I first met Herbert at a Cure Autism Now event (now Autism Speaks) in 2009. Herbert’s two children struggled with symptoms of autism when they were young. Today, they’re both grown and have fully recovered. Her initial focus was on mercury toxicity, looking at ways of doing noninvasive screening for toxic metals.

A lifelong environmentalist, Herbert went to medical school after getting a Ph.D. in history of consciousness at the University of California Santa Cruz. She studied pediatric neurology, and fell into working with autism after inheriting magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans from the first MRI study performed on autistic children in 1989.

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A Systems Biology Approach to Autism

Systems biology looks at everything in biology as a web, in which everything is connected to everything else. When you tug at one part of the web, the rest of the web changes. In conventional science, individual components and variables are studied in isolation. That’s how clinical research is designed.

The Transcend Research Program

Herbert has created a brain research program at Harvard called TRANSCEND2 (Treatment, Research and Neuroscience Evaluation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders). They use MRI, magnetoencephalography (MEG) and electroencephalogram (EEG). MEG measures the magnetic activity of the brain, whereas EEG measures the electrical activity.

“When you have electrical activity, the magnetic is at 90 degrees. They measure the same thing, but in somewhat different ways,” Herbert explains. Her hypothesis is that autism is not something you’re born with. It’s something you develop in response to environmental factors.

Whole-Body Wellness Approach Can Minimize Autism Risk

Using this early predictive ability, a small number of primary care pediatricians have started implementing whole-body approaches to the parents and children, showing that when whole-body lifestyle modification is implemented, such as avoidance of toxins and allergens, virtually none of these predisposed babies actually develop autism.

There are many anecdotal stories from families with autistic children suggesting EMF causes problems, and Herbert and Sullivan are working on setting up an online database to capture this data.

Common Risk Factors

Essentially, Herbert believes autism can be predicted by looking at the level of brain irritability in the child. But what might contribute to this kind of irritability? Sullivan believes mercury, EMF and glyphosate are three major triggers, even more so than vaccines.

Herbert believes processed food is another major contributor. “Simply reducing allergens in the mother’s diet from preconception to pregnancy is a really big deal,” Herbert says. That said, it’s really the total load that matters, not any particular given factor.

“There are 10,000 different ways to injure mitochondria. It all piles up. All these little seemingly innocuous exposures add to the pile, so they all matter,” she says. Sullivan has created a video talk and booklet, “Simplifying Autism Improvement and Recovery,”3,4 which includes a list of suspects for parents to consider.

One big one that few people consider is de novo mutations resulting from sperm being exposed to wireless radiation from cellphones and laptops. Men desiring healthy children would do well to avoid carrying their cellphone in their pants pocket while it’s on, as the cellphone radiation can mutate the genes in the sperm. If you’re going to keep it in your pocket, make sure it’s off or in airplane mode.

Herbert is currently enrolling patients for her Child Health Inventory for Resilience and Prevention (CHIRP) study, which will gather information about the associations between the total burden of environmental stressors and exposures and chronic disease in children. If you have a child between the ages of 1 and 15, you can apply5 by filling out two prescreening questionnaires to determine your eligibility.

Most Parents Start Treatment at the Wrong End

Herbert and Sullivan have worked with autistic children and have advised parents for a long time. What are some of the common mistakes they see people make? Sullivan replies:

More Information

For more information about autism and wireless radiation, how EMFs affect sleep, and recommendations for EMF meters and tips for EMF safety, see Sullivan’s website,

On Herbert’s site,, you can find information about how to improve your overall health and lower your total body stress burden for a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Sullivan and Herbert: EMF Exposure – A Major Factor in the Development of Autism (



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    • frosty

      American children will typically be given 69 doses of vaccines by the time they are 18 years old. Is it any wonder that these kids they are having increasing rates of Autism?

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