Epigenetic Insult and Membrane Disturbance in Autism (practitioner registrants only)

Our research consortium has found that epigenetic insult drives the clinical course of neurological disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), resulting in disturbed organelle interplay, unfolded protein and cell danger response, and the formation of aberrant proteins (misfolded, aggregated, unfolded) and lipids (VLCFAs, ceramides, deranged conformations, damaged). Testing and protocols identify and address the epigenetic derangement of neural, cellular and organelle membranes, along with cardiolipin serving as primary therapeutic targets in ASD. Epigenetic insult, the unfolded protein, phospholipid derangement and optimal membrane and neurometabolic function will be discussed. Subjects with ASD have a characteristic accumulation of very long chain fatty acids revealing cell membrane derangement per disturbance in peroxisomal respiration from toxic exposure which interrupts cell membrane integrity and neurometabolic function, in addition to nuclear and mitochondrial DNA adducts that further compromise gene expression due to epigenetic insult. In capturing visual images of distorted phospholipid membranes, we have linked the impact of the DNA adducts altering gene expression to aberrations in lipid metabolism, cellular dysfunction, unfolded protein, cell danger response and alteration of the structure of phospholipids in the cell membranes characteristic to the presenting diagnosis and symptoms.

Learning Objectives

1) Evaluate and fully appreciate epigenetic factors, nuclear/mitochondrial DNA adducts and adverse effects upon gene expression and phospholipid membrane derangement as it relates to neurological degradation in autism from toxic and infectious exposures.

2) Discuss testing and evaluation of phospholipid derangement, epigenetic insult, unfolded protein and cell danger response, impaired peroxisomal respiration and altered organelle interplay characteristic in autism

3) Describe gene expression resulting in abnormal proteins and lipids following epigenetic insult in autism.


Patricia C. Kane, PhD

Patricia Kane, PhD, serves as Director of the NeuroLipid Research Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization in Millville, New Jersey. Her expertise in addressing neurological, genetic and epigenetic disorders with targeted bioactive lipid intervention has led to direct neurometabolic application utilized by physicians and researchers worldwide. Dr. Kane's clinical experience, working as a 'living library' for physicians, spans 39 years. She pioneered targeted neurometabolic application of university based red cell fatty acid analysis for the past 21 years. In 2008, she applied a specialized epigenetic analysis ‘a portal into the cell’ whereby images of the membrane surface, phospholipids and mitochondria of each patient along with their DNA adducts were utilized to approach the patient’s epigenetic aberrations. Dr. Kane’s work has expedited the incorporation of current research and evidence based medicine directly into clinical practice to yield resolution of some of the complex medical disorders of our time.Dr. Kane's dedication and success in working with patients with fragile brain architecture has brought her widespread recognition in the field of biometabolic intervention by blending lipid bench science and medical lipid research with clinical medicine.