TILT Tutorial Explores Link Between Chemical Intolerance, Autism

TILT tutorial autism 3

Did you know chemical intolerance is linked to autism and ADHD?

Adults in the top-10th percentile for chemical intolerance had 5.7 times the risk of having a child diagnosed with autism and 2.1 times the risk of having one diagnosed with ADHD, compared with adults in the bottom-10th percentile, according to recent research by Dr. Claudia Miller, leader of the Hoffman Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) Program at UT Health San Antonio.

To spur awareness of the chemical-intolerance-and-autism connection, among patients, policymakers, and health practitioners, Dr. Miller developed a TILT Tutorial on Autism and ADHD.

The tutorial explores the growth of autism and ADHD in the United States, how these conditions are linked to chemical intolerance and TILT, how to understand TILT and its origins, and how we can reduce TILT – which could, in turn, help reduce the frequency of conditions like autism and ADHD.

“This tutorial contains information not available in any text. It makes clear the massive health implications of the interwoven rise of chemical intolerance and autism and ADHD, and spells out what we should do about it,” said Dr. Miller, professor emeritus at UT Health San Antonio.

Explore the TILT Tutorial

In the new TILT tutorial, you will find what drove Dr. Miller, an accomplished industrial hygienist trained at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, to become an allergist/immunologist.

You will also learn how, in 1996, she proposed a new “theory of disease,” an entirely new category of diseases, paralleling the germ theory of disease, which she calls “toxicant-induced loss of tolerance” (TILT), and how she worked for decades in pursuit of its underlying biological mechanism.

Finally, in a breakthrough paper published in 2021, Dr. Miller proposed a plausible and researchable biomechanism for TILT, involving alteration of mast cells, our immune systems first responders, by a single major or repeated lower level exposures to toxicants.

This graphic summarizes the two stages of what Dr. Joesph Brain, emeritus professor at Harvard called “Miller’s Mechanism”—Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance.
This graphic summarizes the two stages of what Dr. Joesph Brain, emeritus professor at Harvard, called “Miller’s Mechanism”—Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT).

Based upon her findings in groups of people exposed to organophosphorus pesticides, new construction/remodeling, Gulf War chemicals, and breast implants, she showed the surprisingly wide range of toxic exposures capable of initiating the two-stage TILT process.

These included: 1) biogenic toxicants such as toxic molds and algae; and 2) fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas), their combustion products, and synthetic chemical derivatives—exposures that have grown exponentially in the past 300 years and are foreign to our immune systems’ ancient mast cells. Mast cells first appeared in early vertebrate fish over 500 million years ago to protect our internal milieu from the external chemical environment.

Miller’s work then connects high levels of chemical intolerance and TILT to increased risk for having a child with autism and ADHD in 2015 and 2024 studies.

You can use the new TILT tutorial to explore the implications of this link between chemical intolerance and autism.

The tutorial also contains specific actions that every sector of society – individuals, healthcare professionals, architects, and more – can take to become a part of the solution.

Share the TILT tutorial on Twitter/X, Instagram, and/or Facebook.

“It is in our power to blunt or reverse the current epidemics of autism and ADHD. Our actions may well lead to profound improvements in the health and wellbeing of future generations,” Dr. Miller said.

Future TILT Tutorial Planned

The new TILT tutorial on chemical intolerance and autism is just the beginning.

Dr. Miller is working on a second TILT tutorial for communities, workers, and individuals exposed to toxicants who develop difficult-to-diagnose symptoms and chemical, food, and drug intolerances following exposures to toxicants.

These exposures include:

  • Toxic Molds and Algal Blooms
  • Implants
  • Pesticides
  • Military Hazards
  • Fires/Combustion Products
  • Solvents
  • Oil/Oil Spills/Fracking
  • Indoor Air VOCs/Fragrances

“Our next tutorial will explore the onset of TILT, how to diagnose it, the triggers, and how people, providers, and leaders can reduce the frequency of TILT,” Dr. Miller said.

Do You Suffer Chemical Intolerance?

 You can find out if you have chemical intolerance, or are TILT’ed.

Answer these three questions from Hoffman TILT’s Brief Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (BREESI):

  1. Do you feel sick when you are exposed to tobacco smoke, certain fragrances, nail polish/remover, engine exhaust, gasoline, air fresheners, pesticides, paint/thinner, fresh tar/asphalt, cleaning supplies, new carpet or furnishings? By sick, we mean: headache, difficulty thinking, difficulty breathing, weakness, dizziness, upset stomach, etc.
  2. Are you unable to tolerate or do you have adverse or allergic reactions to any drugs or medications (such as antibiotics, anesthetics, pain relievers, X-ray contrast dye, vaccines or birth control pills), or to an implant, prosthesis, contraceptive chemical or device, or other medical/surgical/dental material or procedure?
  3. Are you unable to tolerate or do you have adverse reactions to any foods such as dairy products, wheat, corn, eggs, caffeine, alcoholic beverages, or food additives (e.g., MSG, food dye)?

If you answer YES to any question, take the Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI) and share the results with your doctor!