Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Last night I couldn't sleep. So I got up and fired off a few emails to Mr. Higgs, including copies of some PowerPoint Presentations I gave in April of this year. Among them was a presentation I put together in which I researched some of the specific toxins we have in abundance, here in Southwestern Indiana.
This morning I received an email from Mr. Higgs, with a few questions. Among them was the question of what to call those who seek out my services. Patients? Clients? and how to refer to their diagnoses: ASD?
The result of that email turned into a lengthy response, which I think makes a good blog post, so here it is:
As far as what to call those who seek my services...clients is more appropriate, I think. I wish I had given you one of my business cards. The tag I use on them (and my "letterhead") is "Family Coaching for Fragile Children." I work with kids (and adults) who have received any number of diagnoses, from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia in adults to autism, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and Learning Disabilities in kids.
I was thinking about this a lot last night/this morning, and feeling so discouraged because there is SO MUCH to do and often feels like only me to do it.
I had another parent email and call yesterday, with questions about how to get her physician to order the labs we need. This is a 17 year-old with chronic GI pain, upper respiratory infections, strep, bronchitis, etc. (immune system dysfunction) since infancy. At 17, he now has pre-cancerous lesions in his gastroinstinal tract and the parents have been told that things will probably not ever get better for him; he'll just have to learn to live with the pain. The primary care physician has seen this kid probably 100 times in the last 12-13 years and has made numerous referrals to other specialists (GI docs, allergists, therapists, etc.). He has also collected many thousands of dollars from the family and their insurance company over that time. I saw this kid and spent more than 50 hours going over his medical records, abstracting them, putting everything in chronological order, researching and documenting everything that had happened to him since conception. I also spent about 5 hours with the family (and drove almost four hours round-trip to do so). When I wrote up the report, I did it in such a way that everything flowed and made sense. It was this kid's life story. The reason I did this was to be sure to make the case for the doctor, so he would understand the rationale behind what I was asking him to do. He had no problem with it. Said he would order the tests. However, he will not take the time to pick up the phone and call (or have his staff call) the labs to request the test kits. I even provided interactive links and telephone numbers at the end of the report, to make things as simple as possible. All it would take is five minutes and unfortunately, that's something he or his staff has to do. I can't order the kits and neither can the parents. (There are some labs - Great Plains, for example, that make this process much easier by allowing parents to order kits and take them to the doctor for his/her signature. Others are not as user-friendly, but the information provided by the labs is worth the effort, in my opinion.)
This is the most frustrating thing for me. Even when they finally begin to see why this makes sense, it's like pulling teeth to get physicians to change the way they do things. I don't think I explained this blatantly in my powerpoint about Biomedical Interventions, but this is why I talked about the two doctors (Marshall & Warren) who discovered H. pylori bacteria and its role in ulcers. They made the discovery in 1982 and it wasn't until 1995 that "Standard Medical Practice" finally changed from the mantra of "stress causes ulcers" to recognizing that if a bacterial infection was the cause, then it makes sense to treat with an antibiotic. As a result of the extremely slow awakening of the medical community, hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people suffered with ulcers that could have easily been treated. It took 13 years for them to wake up. How many children will we lose in 13 years? (This may be a good time to read the first post on my blog: AUTISM IS TREATABLE)
When we talk about biomedical interventions for autism and other "spectrum disorders" like ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Asperger's, PDD-NOS, bipolar disorder, etc., we are talking about a "whole-body" affliction. That's the major problem with why the medical community is not "on-board." This is completely the opposite of what medical schools have taught for the last few generations, at least. The medical system has moved almost exclusively to specialty care, where you see one doctor for your feet, another doctor for your gut, another doctor for your ears, another doctor for the fungus under your nails, and another doctor for your "mental" or "cognitive" difficulties. Each one sees only a part of the patient, rather than looking at the entire person. The biomedical approach to autism (and other whole-body afflictions) is a systems approach that emphasizes the fact that there is no such thing as mind-body. It's mindbody. All one child; all one word. There is nothing physicially separating the mind from the rest of the body and we need to stop treating our children as if they have been decapitated. What happens in the body affects the brain and vice-versa. This is another reason why the impact of environmental toxins is so important to consider. Lead, mercury, and other heavy metals negatively impact the entire body by damaging enzymatic processes. They cause disruption everywhere. Until we start assessing and addressing the damage caused by environmental toxins, everything else we do is just bandaids.
Friday, October 30, 2009
I have gotten more comments about this post than any other previous post, including the one in which I cautioned about getting the seasonal flu vaccine because of concerns about mercury.
As I noted in my post, Sambucol has been shown to produce a 44.9 FOLD increase in TNF-Alpha, which is usually a very good thing in fighting the flu, but concerned me because TNF-Alpha increases have also been associated with "Cytokine Storm."
Here are the two articles I referenced in the previous post:
The above article on Influenza and the Cytokine Storm was written by Stephen Allen Christensen, M.D. For more information on Dr. Christensen, here is a link:
I am not a doctor and have never claimed to be one. I care very much about the people I work with and about those I have never met but who may read this blog. I would never want anything I write to be the cause of harm coming to anyone.
I have published all of the comments that I have received about the Sambucol post, including those that accuse me of possibly being responsible for deaths if someone does not use Sambucol for treating the flu.
I have been tempted to remove the post and even take down the blog, because as I said, I definitely do not want to be responsible for misinformation - mainstream media, the AAP, and the AMA are already doing a good job of that.
Please read the original post, and follow the links to the articles I have provided, as well as those that have been provided by folks who have commented. I have no idea of the extent of the education or experience of those who have commented as they have, for the most part, chosen to remain Anonymous.
I do know that there is at least one physician in my area, whose opinion I respect greatly, who disagrees with my concerns regarding Sambucol. That is why I am posting this update.
I hope you are well, and I hope you stay that way.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Leah came home on Tuesday with a cough and fever. She spent Tuesday night and Wednesday in bed - sleeping, watching TV, eating popsicles and crackers, and occasionally blowing her nose and coughing.
I spent Tuesday night and Wednesday checking her fever every 30 - 60 minutes (round the clock), administering supplements, running up and down the stairs with 7-up, popsicles, crackers, books, paper and colored pencils. I also spent every waking moment in fear, hoping I was right about what I was doing, and praying that her fever wouldn't spike and we wouldn't have to go to the hospital.
Thankfully, Leah has had a mild case of the flu (which is what most people experience), and today her fever is gone. It never got above 102 degrees, so I never gave anything to reduce the fever (which probably has something to do with why she is doing so well now). I did give her several things to help modulate her immune system, and to help her fight off the infection. Call me conceited (please don't) but I believe the steps I have taken with Leah have really made a difference, and I would like to share them with others.
As a side note, yesterday afternoon I made a quick trip to the health food store to pick up some Turmeric (curcumin) and Colloidal Silver. I think my friend, the owner of the store, was surprised to see me. A few weeks ago I received an email from her asking if I had fallen off the face of the planet. I explained to my friend the reason I haven't been in is because when I first heard about the "Swine Flu" in the spring of this year, I spent more than $400 stocking up on everything I thought I might possibly need to fend of the virus. The photo below shows what I purchased for my own family's use in anticipation of this year's flu season.
I am well aware that not everyone can afford to shell out $400 on supplements to fight the flu. I can't really afford it either, but if I'm going to recommend things to others, I want to make sure they work. Therefore, I use these things myself (and I give them to my guinea pigs...I mean my kids).
So, for those who cannot shell out the money to cover every possible scenario (or for those whose OCD is not as severe as mine) - what are the most important things to buy, if you want to protect your family from the flu this year? The next photo shows what I actually used to treat Leah's flu.
I have been giving (and taking) vitamin D3 for prevention (2,500 iu daily for my kids and 5,000 iu daily for me). We also take fish oil daily (1-2 grams). When Leah got sick, I increased her D3 to 20,000 iu/day (for adults, the recommendation is up to 50,000 iu/day for 3 days). I gave 2 grams (2,000 mg.) of fish oil and 2 grams (2,000 mg.) of Vitamin C, in divided doses (morning and night). I gave 1 capsule of Virastop (from Enzymedica) 3x/day on an empty stomach. I gave Oscillococcinum (available at Walmart or CVS) 3x/day, and a squirt of colloidal silver 2x/day.
On a shoestring budget, the first thing I would buy is Vitamin D3. If you don't have a shoestring budget but know someone who does, buy a bottle and give it to them. We're all in this together.
Purchasing enough supplements to cover every possible scenario during the flu season: $400.
Cost of Vitamin D3, Fish Oil, Vitamin C, Oscillococcinum, ViraStop, and Colloidal Silver: $95.
Cost of buying a bottle of D3 for your neighbor who can't afford it: $10.
Treating the flu without worrying about Mercury or Squalene from vaccinations: Priceless.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I just had to send out a warning about Sambucol (black elderberry). This is a very good anti-viral for use with many strains of the flu. It works to prevent infection (including with H1N1) by preventing the virus from attaching to cells. It also works in reducing the duration of illness and severity of symptoms IN SEASONAL FLU because it stimulates the production of inflammatory cytokines.
The increase in inflammatory cytokines is usually a good thing for treating the flu because it "kicks in" your immune system to fight the virus.
Here is a link to a PubMed article about the benefit of Sambucol (black elderberry) for treating the flu:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11399518
Here's the gist of the abstract: "Adherent monocytes were separated from PBL and incubated with different Sambucol preparations i.e., Sambucol Elderberry Extract, Sambucol Black Elderberry Syrup, Sambucol Immune System and Sambucol for Kids. Production of inflammatory cytokines (IL-1 beta, TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-8) was significantly increased, mostly by the Sambucol Black Elderberry Extract (2-45 fold), as compared to LPS, a known monocyte activator (3.6-10.7 fold). The most striking increase was noted in TNF-alpha production (44.9 fold). We conclude from this study that, in addition to its antiviral properties, Sambucol Elderberry Extract and its formulations activate the healthy immune system by increasing inflammatory cytokine production."
HOWEVER, THE H1N1 VIRUS IS DIFFERENT FROM THE SEASONAL FLU BECAUSE IT CAUSES A CYTOKINE STORM.
This is what is making kids SO sick so fast. With H1N1, the kid generally gets a mild form of flu, with fever, cough, and other "flu-like symptoms." Then, they start to get better and seem like they are getting over it, when suddenly their fever shoots up and they get VERY SICK VERY FAST. This is the cytokine storm happening. The immune system has done it's job by reacting to the virus and sending out the troops! Unfortunately, in some people, with H1N1 the immune system goes into Hyper-Drive and it doesn't know when to stop. This is why so much mucus is produced and pneumonia results. Mucus is the body's shield - it's trying to protect itself from the invasion. In cytokine storm, there is actually too much protection from too many cytokines, including IL-6 and TNF-a.
So, you definitely do not want to use a treatment that INCREASES those cytokines any further. (Remember, the above study found that black elderberry (Sambucol) increased TNF-a by 44.9-fold - THAT's a HUGE increase!) If you (or your child) has H1N1, you want to give things that DECREASE inflammation (fish oil, curcumin, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, including aspirin [adults] and motrin/ibuprofen in kids).
Sambucol is still great for PREVENTING H1N1 and for treating seasonal flu, but once someone has symptoms, they should not use Sambucol unless they are sure it's not H1N1.
Finally, I always encourage others to do their own research before simply taking anyone's word (including mine), especially when it comes to the health of your children. Please check out the things you are giving to your kids - and that includes anything you allow others to inject into their bodies or spray up their noses. And when it comes to researching treatments for H1N1, remember that this IS NOT the same as the seasonal flu. You cannot make generalizations about things that we know work for seasonal flu. This is different.
So go to PubMed, and do your research, but be sure to check the date on the publication and remember that nothing in the literature about "influenza" or seasonal flu applies to H1N1 if the study was published before 2009.
Please spread this around to anyone you believe may benefit.
Blessings and stay well!
Monday, August 31, 2009
You may be asking yourself the following questions:
1. Did they present the whole story?
2. Was important information edited out?
The answers to these questions are (1) NO. and (2) YES.
My own impressions of the show were that it was grossly biased in favor of Brian Deem and Paul Offit. For example, Brian Deem has made a big point of accusing Dr. Wakefield of being guilty of "conflict of interest" because he was paid "a quarter of a million dollars" for his work as a paid expert in a court case. Mr. Deem said nothing of his own conflicts of interest or those of his employer on behalf of Glaxo Smith-Kline (Big Pharma).
As for Dr. Offit (a.k.a. "Dr. Profit"), while Matt Lauer did mention that Dr. Offit was involved in vaccine development, nothing was said about the $182 Million dollars that was paid in royalties for the Rotavirus Vaccine, of which Dr. Offit received "an undisclosed amount." I'm just speculating, but I'm sure it was more than "a quarter of a million dollars."
There was also no mention of the fact that while Dr. Offit was developing and selling vaccines, he was also sitting on the board of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) - the very same group that was charged with "reviewing the research" on vaccine safety, and ultimately pronounced there was No Connection between vaccines and autism. I think that's a conflict of interest that bears mentioning.
To learn more about Dr. Offit and his conflict of interest issues, as well as COI issues involving the American Academy of Pediatrics, click the following link:
To learn more about Dr. Offit and the licensing of his Rotavirus Vaccine, click the following link:
It is also worth mentioning that the increased incidence of measles infection in the last few years consists of a majority (more than 50%) of cases that developed in children as a result of vaccination. (This was part of the increase in "vaccine-preventable illnesses" Dr. Offit spoke about during last night's program - he just failed to mention that most of the measles infections were BECAUSE the kids were vaccinated, or came into contact with a child who had been vaccinated within five days and was shedding the virus.)
As far as the voice of reason, NBC did a hatchet job on their interview with Dr. Bernadine Healy, the former Head of the National Institutes of Health. To their credit, NBC has posted more of the interview with Dr. Healy on their website. I urge you to watch it by clicking the following link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/32584905#32584905
After watching what Dr. Healy REALLY said to NBC in preparation for last night's program, PLEASE go to the following link and listen to what the former Director of NIH had to say on this subject in May 2008: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/05/12/cbsnews_investigates/main4086809.shtml
Thoughtful House has posted their response to last night's program. You can read it here:
Here is Dr. Wakefield's response to the program: http://www.thoughtfulhouse.org/newsletters/2009-08b.pdf
Finally, regarding the link between autism and gastrointestinal disease: Dr. Wakefield is not the first, nor is he the only researcher to observe this association. While I would never presume to count myself as worthy of keeping company with a researcher of his caliber, in April 2009 I put together and delivered several PowerPoint presentations about Autism. One of those presentations was entitled, "Gastrointestinal Illness in Autism" and involved my own literature review and observations from the last several years of working with families of children with Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, Learning Disabilities, and other Developmental Disabilities. If you would like a copy of the presentation, email me at email@example.com and I'll send you a copy.
In closing, I hope you watched the show last night. It was an excellent lesson in whether or not to believe everything we see or read from the media. I also hope you will take the time to check out the links in this post and educate yourself and those you care about.
The truth is out there, we just have to work a bit harder to find it. We cannot rely on clicking the remote to give us the information we need.
Blessings 4 all of you!
Friday, August 21, 2009
I am not going to offer anything new today, but instead will repost a very long, detailed article I wrote in May 2009. I am reposting this because I believe it is exceptionally pertinent and needed. If it helps save one child, it is worth it.
There are several links in this post, please take the time to view the videos as they are essential to the message as a whole. After viewing the videos, please click the "back" arrow to return to the post.
Blessings for all of you.
This article originally posted May 7, 2009:
Yesterday's episode of "The Doctors" was worth watching, if only because it is sure to stir more debate and controversy about the link between vaccines and autism. Hopefully, this will help to keep the vaccine/autism connection from fading away as the AAP and "99.9 % of pediatricians" (according to Dr. Stork) would like. For anyone who did not see the show, let me set the stage.
Jenny McCarthy, Dr. Jerry Kartzinel, J.B. Handley, and Stan Kurtz were guests. Probably everyone knows by know that Jenny McCarthy is the mother of Evan, a little boy who was diagnosed with autism and who is now recovered. He no longer has autism. Dr. Jerry Kartzinel is the Defeat Autism Now! Pediatrician who helped Jenny McCarthy and Evan by utilizing the Biomedical Approach to address the underlying medical problems that led to the autism diagnosis. Jenny Documented Evan's recovery in her book, "Louder Than Words." Jenny and Dr. Kartzinel have recently written a book together, "Healing and Preventing Autism: A Complete Guide." J.B. Handley and his wife Lisa founded Generation Rescue, a non-profit organization that provides information and support to families who are working to recover their children from an autism diagnosis.
I don't usually watch "The Doctors" and wouldn't have seen it yesterday if I had not been given a heads' up via email from a friend who is also the parent of a child diagnosed with autism. I don't know anything about "The Doctors" other than the two who were most involved in the debate were Dr. Stork and Dr. Sears.
At the beginning of the show, Dr. Stork introduced the topic by saying, "Some of the theories you’re about to hear we may not agree with, but we know as doctors, this is an important issue to discuss."
As the discussion began, Dr. Lisa Masterson was supportive of Jenny McCarthy's work and gave her kudos for standing up, not only for her own kid but for so many other kids in this country and beyond. However, as the discussion heated up, Dr. Masterson disappeared from the stage and we were left with Dr. Sears and Dr. Stork. Dr. Sears, a pediatrician and member of the AAP, was reasonable and asked thoughtful questions about the science behind the GF/CF diet, specifically questioning, "Why doesn't it work for ALL kids?" Dr. Kartzinel responded that while the GF/CF diet does not work for ALL kids, it DOES work well for a significant percentage, and we CAN test to see if children have allergic reactions to certain foods and we CAN TEST to see if an individual child is making opiates from gluten and casein proteins. This is what medicine is supposed to be about. You base the treatment on the results of laboratory tests.
Dr. Sears then asked Dr. Kartzinel about his opinion with regard to whether or not there is a genetic component to autism. As Dr. Kartzinel responded, we talk about a "genetic predisposition" - something that makes an individual child more vulnerable to having a bad reaction to particular environmental insults - including toxins, and including toxins that are injected into the child's body via vaccinations.
Dr. Kartzinel: "What thing can we do in medicine to an entire population, and not expect a certain small group not to do well with? There is nothing in medicine that we do…lidocane, anesthesia, certain surgical procedures...Why would we think that we can give every child in the nation not one vaccine, but multiple vaccines and not suspect anything to go wrong with them. So, genetically, whether it be penicillin, or vaccines we have to understand there are going to be some children who will not do well with it…That’s probably one big reason we have a problem with this…we don’t look at the children as individuals…we look at them as a population."
As Dr. Kartzinel pointed out, in medicine, nothing works for everyone, so why would we expect that a universal vaccine schedule would work for ALL kids, without a certain percentage of them having problems as a result? Jenny joined in to say that the message is, there are too many, too soon and that the increase in the number of vaccines from 10 in 1983 to 36 in 2009 is unwarranted and IS related to the increase in autism. This is when things turned ugly. Here is a link to a discussion you may want to see (or see again): http://www.thedoctorstv.com/main/procedure_list/269
What I noticed is that when J.B. Handley stated that he is tired of physicians telling parents that vaccines are safe when the physician has not personally looked at the science, Dr. Stork blew a gasket. Dr. Stork began yelling at J.B. Handley and accusing him of "antagonizing me" and "personally attacking me on MY stage." Dr. Stork then switched the topic away from vaccines and started talking about environmental toxins and dietary changes that may be contributing to autism. He was willing to entertain the idea that there are other toxins and seemingly benign things that may be problematic for our kids, but to question vaccines? That is out of bounds. Wait...I thought he wanted to have an open debate...
Here is a link to the next segment of the show: http://www.thedoctorstv.com/main/procedure_list/271
Again, let's have an open discussion, but not about vaccines, since we "Know the Truth" that "Vaccines have been studied and scrutinized" so let's stop talking about that. Did anyone else hear Jenny McCarthy, Jerry Kartzinel, and J.B. Handley saying over and over again "They've looked at 2 vaccines and only one ingredient (mercury)." Drs. Sears and Stork continued to talk over their guests as if they could not hear what they were saying. They just continued to tow the party-line, from the AAP and the CDC. During the break, after the above "discussion," Dr. Stork stated that they contacted the AAP and had recieved a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics. This is the official party-line:
- “It is upsetting for families not to know what caused their child’s autism. While it is likely that there are many environmental factors that influence the development of autism, because of very careful and repeated studies we know that vaccines do not cause autism. We share the concern that additional research is needed to investigate genetic and environmental factors that may affect the developing brain.”
J.B. Handley: "It’s maddening for them to put out a statement like that…scientific dishonesty."
Who are you supposed to believe?
To boost The Doctors' position that vaccines have been proven safe, Dr. Stork showed a clip from a previous episode where the expert, Harvey Karp, M.D. declared: "A dozen or so large studies that have shown zero association between vaccines and autism."
That might be pretty convincing, IF any of those studies had included children with autism as part of the subject pool. But wait...this "expert" is declaring that 36 vaccines have been "proven" safe and to have "zero association" with autism, and ALL of that information has been gleaned from "A dozen or so" studies. In order for that to be true, each study would have had to cover 3 different vaccines, since "a dozen" goes into 36 (the number of childhood vaccines) 3 times. I would like to see those studies because I've looked at PubMed and they aren't there.
Why don't we ask Dr. Bernadine Healy, former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Click here to see what Dr. Healy has to say. Please be patient and wait for the advertisement at the beginning to play through. Dr. Healy's interview is well worth the wait.
According to the former director of NIH, not only has the question NOT been answered, it has not even been addressed. Injured children have not been studied because the government is afraid of what they will find. “The public health officials have been too quick to dismiss…”
Aha! you may say...Dr. Healy is only ONE physician and she is no longer the director of NIH anyway. Why should we believe her?
The problems with mercury have been known for decades, and it's not just mercury. Aluminum does many of the same things that mercury does. If you want to learn more about this read the article by Dr. Russell Blaylock, reporting on the cover-up at the Simpsonwood Conference.
If you have read much about vaccine safety, you may be familiar with Dr. Paul Offit; the biggest proponent of vaccines, and member of the Institute Of Medicine (IOM), which has declared with a great degree of certainty that vaccines are safe. I encourage you to watch this video clip of Dr. Offit, promoting his latest book about the subject.
Dr. Offit is pretty impressive. Unfortunately he doesn't understand neuroscience. If he did, he would realize that his argument about problems with the synapse being the cause of autism, he is actually MAKING the CASE for vaccine injury, since mercury and aluminum (both vaccine additives) are both NEUROTOXINS and damage the ability of one neuron to communicate with another by way of the SYNAPSE.
Dr. Offit makes a big point of the fact that in the last year there has been the largest oubreak of measles in decades. 135 cases of measles, and 10% of those children had serious complications. For clarification: 10% of 135 is 13.5, meaning that when Dr. Offit is cautioning about the impact of measles, he is talking about complications that impacted less than 14 children in the United States in the last year - which was "the largest measles outbreak in years." What Dr. Offit doesn't tell you is that more than 50% of the measles cases he talks about have been determined to be from the vaccine strain of measles, meaning the children who got measles either got them from the vaccine, or from being exposed to someone who was shedding the virus after being vaccinated. This is the same thing that happens with many of the polio cases, but Dr. Offit is not going to tell you that. Why would he want to be...less than honest about these facts? Watch this video clip and draw your own conclusions.
Remember the American Academy of Pediatrics' statement on "The Doctors?" Why would they declare 36 vaccines "safe" when only "a dozen or so" studies have been done and none of them have included children with autism? Follow the money.
Fifty-five doses of vaccines by age six. Wait, you might say...I thought it was 36! Thirty-six vaccinations or shots, but because so many are multi-dose shots (DTaP, MMR) when you add them all up, it's actually 55 doses of vaccines.
Remember, it's not just mercury that is neurotoxic, aluminum is a huge problem that most people haven't even considered at this point. Here is a link to a very informative article about aluminum, and why we should be concerned. This article is written by Dr. Robert Sears. Dr. Robert Sears happens to be the brother of Dr. James (Jim) Sears of "The Doctors." Both are pediatricians, but they apparently have some different views on the issue of vaccine safety. If you saw the episode of "The Doctors," you may have noticed that at one point after being asked by Dr. Jim Sears about "the scientific studies" showing that diet is effective in treating autism, Dr. Kartzinel spoke about how so many doctors are questioning if diet works, but they are not coming to his clinic and actually talking to parents of kids who are improving. He also made reference to Dr. Robert Sears, saying something along the lines of, "Those who are saying there are no studies are not talking to your brother about what he sees at the clinic." My hunch is that the reason Dr. Jim Sears appeared more rational and reasonable than Dr. Stork on the subject of vaccine safety is because he has had this conversation many times within his own family. Unlike Dr. Stork, who seems to be married to his position of "Devil's Advocate." Interesting choice of terminology.
Dr. Stork is okay with talking about ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS as a possible contributing factor in autism, but he adamantly denies that toxins in vaccines (which are injected directly into the bloodstream of a tiny infant) could have anything to do with autism. Let's ask another pediatrician (one of the .1% who disagrees with Dr. Stork, according to his own estimate) about her experience with autism. Dr. Stephanie Cave is a Defeat Autism Now! pediatrician in Louisiana. She is also author of the book, "What Your Pediatrician May Not Tell You About Vaccinations." In an interview with Mothering Magazine, Dr. Cave stated:
- We started testing hair, urine and blood samples…we found low levels of mercury in the hair and high levels of several other metals like aluminum, antimony, arsenic, and tin in the blood and urine. These children retain mercury, which is toxic to them.
…these children don’t have to be around a high exposure to metal – they just have to be around metal, per se, because they do not have the biochemistry to aid them in the removal of metals. I believe that’s because we have overloaded them with metal through the vaccines. We give them so much metal early in life, specifically through the hepatitis B vaccine given at birth, that their bodies keep producing metallothionein, which is what helps us to remove metals from the body. After their biochemistry is depleted, they end up with an inability to handle any metal at all.
Biochemist Bill Walsh of the Pfeiffer Treatment Center tested 503 autistic children…91% had deficiency of metallothionein. Neurotypical children did not.
To read the interview with Dr. Cave in its entirety, click here.
So, what is the source of the mercury and aluminum? There are many environmental sources of mercury and aluminum, especially here in the midwest. We have a lot of coal-burning power plants, and they put a lot of heavy metals into our environment. When it's in the air, water, and soil, it's hard to avoid it, which is exactly why it is so important to be able to detoxify. If your metallothionein is depleted, that's not going to happen and metals are going to build up in your system. As a side-trip, this might be a good time to mention that when we talk about genetic predisposition and considering which children might be most at risk, we need to consider where the parents live and how many toxins are built up in the mother before she gets pregnant. The message is, "It's all ADDITIVE." It's not JUST the vaccines, but if the mercury and aluminum that is injected into an infant on the first day of his or her life shuts down the baby's ability to detoxify AND that infant lives in an area with a lot of toxins, ENVIRONMENTAL toxins are going to pose more of a problem for that child.
The problem is, Dr. Stork is thinking just like a traditionally trained physician who practices traditional western medicine and is not open to considering any other points of view because that would be inconsistent with the party-line. He does not see the cumulative effect of toxins, but only wants to attribute the effects of poisons to those he is not involved in administering. This is the same kind of thought process behind his statement that there are increases in autoimmune diseases and all kinds of other diseases, and using that argument to establish as "truth" the "fact" that there is no connection between vaccines and autism. As Jenny McCarthy and Jerry Kartzinel pointed out, those other diseases are ALSO related to vaccines.
I found it interesting that nobody on the show brought up aluminum, or the increase in Alzheimer's disease since the administration of yearly flu vaccination (which not only has a lot of aluminum, they also contain mercury). On this subject I encourage you to go to PubMed and search for "aluminum with alzheimer's" - I just did and I got 775 studies.
Do you know anyone with Alzheimer's Disease? or "Alzheimer's type dementia?" If you do, I would ask you to envision that older person as a young child with the same problems: memory problems, communication problems, disturbed sleep and wake cycles, anxiety and irrational fears, behavior problems, etc... Sounds like autism, doesn't it?
Many pediatricians will tell you there is "No mercury in the childhood vaccines" anymore. This is not true. For a list of childhood vaccines that still have mercury (thimerosal) click here. When you are evaluating how much poison is safe for your infant to have injected into his or her body, the following information may be helpful: 12.5 mcg. of ethyl mercury (thimerosal) is 25 times the EPA "safe level" for an adult. When Dr. Cave gave her interview in 2002 she talked about the vaccine schedule at that time, pointing out that at 2 months of age, children were receiving 62.5 micrograms of ethyl mercury from just two vaccinations (Hep B & Hib). 62.5 micrograms in a 10 pound infant is up to 125 times the EPA "safe level." Dr. Cave went on to explain that mercury is a neurotoxin and as such, inhibits brain function. It also suppresses the immune system.
Dr. Cave relates, "When Hepatitis B began to be administered at birth during the 1990s, we started seeing ear infections beginning around two weeks of age, which was almost unheard of before that…they have antibodies to the basic myelin protein in brain tissue. These antibodies disappear after the children are treated and the mercury is eliminated.”
As noted, this interview was given in 2002, and according to the current information from the FDA and AAFP (American Academy of Family Practitioners) there is no longer 62.5 mcg. of ethyl mercury in the Hep B and HiB vaccine combination. However, as you will see if you check the information for yourself, there is still plenty of mercury to damage your child's brain, particularly if you follow the newest "guidelines" and get the flu shot every year, beginning in utero. If 62.5 mcg is 125 times the "safe limit" for a 10 pound infant, I wonder how many times the "safe limit" 25 mcg is to a 1 or 2 pound fetus.
Okay, so you now know that mercury is a neurotoxin and it also damages the immune system. If you watched "The Doctors" show yesterday, you will recall that the first thing Jenny McCarthy and Dr. Kartzinel talked about was dietary changes - specifically the Gluten Free/Casein Free Diet. Jenny stated that when she removed casein from Evan's diet "his eye-contact returned."
You also heard Dr. Kartzinel talk about how some children produce opiates from certain foods (gluten and casein) and how removing those foods from their diet often leads to improvement in the "symptoms" associated with autism. Here is an explanation of how all of this is related to mercury:
- Mercury and other heavy metals deactivate DPPIV
- DPPIV is an enzyme that breaks down gliadomorphin and casomorphin peptides in the body.
- Casomorphin comes from casein, the protein in milk and dairy products.
- Gliadomorphin comes from gluten, the protein in wheat, oats, barley, and rye
- Casomorphin & gliadomorphin are endogenous opiates – morphines – that make children spacy & irritable
- Children with autism are spacy & irritable
This is why the GF/CF diet works. It is also why it is necessary. Mercury and other heavy metals deactivate the enzyme that breaks down the peptides that are formed from gluten and casein. When they are not broken down, the kid is making his or her own opiates and is therefore spaced out and irritable - just like any other drug addict. This is also why so many kids on "the spectrum" are such picky eaters - they will often ONLY eat things that contain gluten and casein (bread, pizza, pasta, cheese, milk, ice cream, etc.). The reason is because they are not seeking food for nourishment, they are drug-seeking. Just like any other drug addict, they are not interested in eating, they are only interested in obtaining their fix - and they get it from foods that supply gluten and casein. BUT, the important thing to remember, in this conversation, is that mercury inactivates the enzyme that breaks down those two proteins, so if it weren't for the mercury, would these kids be addicted in the first place? Probably not.
The explosion of autism cases coincided with the doubling and then tripling of the number of childhood vaccines during the 1990s. Mercury was finally removed from the "childhood" vaccine schedule in 2002-2004, although there were still stockpiles of vaccines in doctors' offices after that time. The only way to know if your child was given vaccines containing mercury is to review the vaccine insert information. But, remember, if you are giving the "recommended" annual flu vaccine, your child is still getting 25 mcg. of mercury each year, unless you specifically request a mercury-free vaccine. And there is still mercury in a number of other vaccines, but you have to really look to find it. The language has been changed. Sometimes it is referred to as "a trace" amount that is used in the manufacturing process, but NOT as a preservative. What does that mean? It's still there - it's just not labeled as a preservative. So, get the vaccine insert and read it BEFORE you allow anyone to inject anything into your child.
Back to aluminum:
Remember Dr. Offit said that delaying or altering the vaccine schedule would expose more infants to disease...Of particular concern is the Hepatitis B vaccine given at birth. This has whopping amounts of aluminum, which hyperstimulates the immune system and shifts the balance from TH1 to TH2 - towards hyper-responsiveness (allergies, asthma, RSV, ear infections, and autoimmunity). One primary way to avoid this is by not giving the Hepatitis B vaccines unless Mom is positive for Hep B.
But you just heard on "The Doctors" that delaying vaccinations during the first year will expose millions of babies to diseases that are preventable by vaccines. What to do????!!!!
What to do is research for yourself and not buy into the hysteria promoted by those who have so much to gain, monetarily, from vaccinating your children.
Remember, mercury and other metals (including aluminum) damage the immune system and impair the body's ability to detoxify, making it more vulnerable to damage from environmental toxins and viral and bacterial infections.
The Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for ALL children on the FIRST day of life. Does your child REALLY NEED to be vaccinated against Hepatitis B as an infant? If you (mother or father) are positive for Hepatitis B, then the answer is "Yes." If someone in your immediate family, or someone who will be caring for your child on a consistent basis and from whom your child might be exposed to infected blood, then the answer is "possibly - your child is at increased risk." Otherwise, the answer is "No."
INFANTS ARE NOT AT RISK FOR HEPATITIS B! In 1991, there were 18,003 cases of hepatitis B reported in the U.S. out of a total U.S. population of 248 million. According to the October 31, 1997 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published by the CDC, in 1996 there were 10,637 cases of hepatitis B reported in the U.S. with 279 cases reported in children under the age of 14 and the CDC stated that "Hepatitis B continues to decline in most states, primarily because of a decrease in the number of cases among injecting drug users and, to a lesser extent, among both homosexuals and heterosexuals of both sexes."
But Dr. Offit wants ALL babies vaccinated for Hepatitis B, not once but three times. I wonder if that's because if they are going in for their Hep. B shots, they are also more likely to receive the Rotavirus Vaccine, for which HE developed the patent, which sold for 182 MILLION dollars. Hmmmnnn....
If you think babies should be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease at birth, with a vaccine that contains up to 125 times the "safe" limit of aluminum (according to the EPA regulations), watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNy5VmeaGNw
Wow! That's some scary stuff. It must be the media exaggerating things, right? Yes. And No.
Remember when Dr. Kartzinel talked about how there is nothing in medicine that can be utilized universally without some percent of the population having problems? This is an example of what he was talking about. Aluminum is a neurotoxin and it damages the immune system.
So just how much aluminum is in vaccines that are "recommended" for ALL infants living in the United States? And what is the "safe level" of aluminum?
According to the FDA, the "safe level" of aluminum for full-term babies with healthy kidneys is 5 micrograms per kilogram per day. As Dr. Robert Sears points out, using this "safe level" determined by the FDA, a 12 pound, 2 month-old infant should be able to handle "at least" 30 mcg. of aluminum in one day. A 22 pound one year-old infant should be able to handle "at least" 50 mcg. of aluminum in one day. As Dr. Robert Sears states, the FDA "safe level" was determined from studies of premature infants with immature kidneys, so full-term infants with healthy kidneys should theoretically be able to handle more than the "safe level." However, we don't know because there haven't been any studies done - at least none Dr. Sears (or I) could find.
Okay, so how much aluminum is really in the childhood vaccines?
- DTaP (for Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis): 170-625 mcg, depending on manufacturer
- Hepatitis A: 250 mcg
- Hepatitis B: 250 mcg
- HIB (for meningitis; PedVaxHib brand only): 225 mcg
- HPV: 225 mcg
- Pediarix (DTaP/Hepatitis B/Polio combination): 850 mcg
- Pentacel (DTaP/HIB/Polio combination): 1500 mcg
- Pneumococcus: 125 mcg
The above information is from Dr. Robert Sears' article, "Is Aluminum the New Thimerosal?"
So what does this mean for your child, living in the United States and complying with the "recommended" childhood vaccine schedule?
Dr. Robert Sears does the math:
- Newborn gets Hepatitis B injection on day one of life would get 250 micrograms of aluminum.
- Repeated at one month of age with the next Hep B shot.
- When a baby gets the first big round of shots at 2 months, the total dose of aluminum can vary from 295 micrograms (if a non-aluminum HIB and the lowest aluminum brand of DTaP is used) to a whopping 1225 micrograms if the highest aluminum brands are used and Hep B vaccine is also given.
- These doses are repeated at 4 and 6 months.
- A child would continue to get some aluminum throughout the first 2 years with most rounds of shots.
Okay, so going back to the issue of metals depleting metallothionein, and basically shutting down the body's ability to detoxify other environmental toxins, you may want to ask yourself, is the Hepatitis B vaccine really something my child needs, if I do not have Hepatitis B?
Is your child really at risk for Hepatitis B? And is the risk worth the consequences of injecting aluminum (a neurotoxin and immunotoxin) into your child at levels that are exponentially higher than the "safe level" determined by the FDA?
Question: Is your child really at risk for Hepatitis B?
- Is not common in childhood and is not highly contagious.
- Is primarily an adult disease transmitted through infected body fluids, most frequently infected blood
- Is prevalent in high risk populations such as: needle using drug addicts; sexually promiscuous heterosexual and homosexual adults; residents and staff of custodial institutions such as prisons; health care workers exposed to blood; persons who require repeated blood transfusions; babies born to infected mothers.
According to the CDC Guide to Action publication on Hepatitis B (1997):
"the sources of [hepatitis B] infection for most cases include intravenous drug use (28%), heterosexual contact with infected persons or multiple partners (22%) and homosexual activity (9%).”
Although CDC officials have made statements that hepatitis B is easy to catch through sharing toothbrushes or razors, Eric Mast, M.D., Chief of the Surveillance Section, Hepatitis Branch of the CDC, stated in a 1997 public hearing that: " although [the hepatitis B virus] is present in moderate concentrations in saliva, it's not transmitted commonly by casual contact." (National Vaccine Information Center)
Once again, you as a parent are faced with a difficult question: "Who am I supposed to believe?"
Another question you need to ask yourself is "Just how serious is Hepatitis B?" You need to ask this question in order to make an informed decision about whether the risks associated with vaccination outweigh the risks of actually contracting the disease. The following information comes from the National Vaccine Information Center.
Hepatitis B is not a killer disease for most people.
Symptoms of Hepatitis B infection include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, low grade fever, pain and swelling in joints, headache and cough that may occur one to two weeks before the onset of jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and enlargement and tenderness of the liver, which can last for three to four weeks. (YUCK)
Fatigue can last up to a year. (Again, YUCK)
Translation: You will feel REALLY YUCKY for 6-8 weeks, and it may take you a year to recover your energy level to pre-illness status.
According to Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine (1994): in cases of acute hepatitis B most patients do not require hospital care; 95 percent of patients have a favorable course and recover completely; case-fatality ratio is “very low (approximately 0.1 percent).” (1/10th of 1% or 1 out of 1,000); and Those (95%) who recover completely from hepatitis B infection acquire life-long immunity (this is a good thing).
According to Robbins Pathological Basis of Disease (a medical textbook published in 1994), of those who do not recover completely, fewer than 5 percent become chronic carriers of the virus with just one quarter of these in danger of developing life threatening liver disease later in life.
Translation: Of the 5% of people who do not recover completely from hepatitis B infection, 5% will become chronic carriers and ¼ of them will eventually die from Hep B related liver disease.
What does this mean? It depends on which statistics you look at. Let's take the worst-case scenario and go with the "200,000 new cases yearly" cited in the 1999 video from ABC's 20/20 show.
- 200,000 x .95 = 190,000 will recover completely (95% will recover completely)
Of the 5% of people who do not recover completely from hepatitis B infection, 5% will become chronic carriers and ¼ of them will eventually die from Hep B related liver disease.
- 10,000 will not recover completely
- 10,000 x .05 = 500 will become chronic carriers
- 500 x .25 = 125 will die in later life due to liver disease
Are we over-reacting and over-vaccinating as a result? Remember, it's not just the Hepatitis B we have to worry about, it's the aluminum. We, as parents, have to weigh the actual threat of disease against the cost of "protection." Given the amount of Aluminum contained in Hepatitis B vaccinations, AND the very low risk of young children becoming infected (if Mom is not infected), this particular vaccine does not seem worth the risk.
If Hepatitis B is not worth the risks associated with injecting aluminum directly into the bloodstream, AND if those who adamantly state that by delaying the Hepatitis B vaccines we, as parents are putting our children's health at risk, maybe we should start questioning further the advise we are getting from those who rigidly follow the party-line put out by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Despite the declarations of the AAP and the CDC that the huge amount of money they recieve from the vaccine manufacturers does not influence the advice they give to parents, delving further into the facts about Hepatitis B (one vaccine out of MANY the AAP and CDC have declared as "safe") leads me to believe that these sources may not be completely vested in the best interest of my child - or yours.
PLEASE - do not follow blindly everything you are told by your pediatrician or family physician. Ask first if he or she has actually looked at the science, or if your trusted health advisor is simply following the party-line. And remember - ultimately you, as the parents, are the ones who are responsible (and who will live with the consequences) for the decisions you make about your child's health. The pediatrician may order the shots, but he or she is not the one who will be raising your child for the rest of his or her life.
Educate before you vaccinate.
Friday, June 19, 2009
I met Isaac and his parents only once; it was a few months ago when they came to Cady Wellness Institute to meet with a colleague. Because Isaac was a child who had received an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis, I was asked if I had time to talk with the parents about what might be done to help improve their son's overall state of wellness by implementing biomedical interventions. As best I can recall, I spent about an hour with Isaac and his parents. This was not an official appointment and they were not charged anything, since they were not patients and we were simply having a "chat." While I talked with his mom and dad, Isaac played on the rug in my office. Like many of the children I see, he liked the cars best and like many of the children I see, he especially liked lining them up in rows. Isaac was similar in other ways to the children I see professionally, in that he was a beautiful little boy. He was small for his age, with very blonde hair and extraordinary eyes that were the bluest of blue.
I talked with Isaac's parents about biomedical interventions for autism, and made several recommendations regarding steps they could take on their own, to improve his body's ability to fight off the multiple environmental and immune system assaults that are common in children on the spectrum. Unfortunately this family, like so many others, did not have the funds to pay out-of-pocket for biomedical treatment in the tri-state, and they were also unable to travel to one of the larger clinics around the country.
Because Isacc's parents were not able to have their son seen on an official basis due to the financial strain of doing so, much of what I am writing in this post is speculation. However, it is speculation based on experience. I have seen and spoken with MANY parents and families in the last four years whose children clearly needed biomedical help, but who simply could not afford it. (I have also seen families whose children clearly needed biomedical help, and they COULD afford it but believed it was too expensive and not worth dedicating the resources.)
There are many children - no, there are MANY children on the spectrum (including kids diagnosed with autism, Asperger's, ADHD, PDD, Bipolar disorder, OCD, and ODD) that have underlying medical problems that are never diagnosed and treated. One of the MOST frequent of those problems is Strep infection. When a child has a strep infection that is untreated, it can damage the heart. I don't KNOW that this is what happened with Isaac. All I know is he died because his heart gave out while waiting for his third heart surgery, AND he had Strep and Staph infections in his blood. I cannot recall the exact conversation I had with Isaac's parents, but based on the conversations I have had with EVERY parent of a child with ASD who has sought my help, I would bet the farm that I brought up the importance of checking his Strep titer. This is something I routinely recommend for ALL kids I see, and for ALL kids on the spectrum, especially those with anger outbursts and OCD tendencies. The reason is because PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus) can be treated! And it is often EASY to treat with antibiotics. That is, if you can get your pediatrician or family practice doctor to run the test and give the monthly shots of bicillin. There have been many cases when I have talked with families who could not afford to have their child seen at my former place of employment, and for whom I have recommended they ask their primary care physician about running a strep titer, and for whom the response has been, "That's experimental. There's no proof. I'm not going to do it." For those physicians who think obtaining a blood test to check for strep is "experimental," I take this opportunity to say, "Shame on you." I wonder how many other children with autism have died from heart problems, simply because their physicians refused to check their strep titers - or because they never thought to do so.
Children with autism are not hopeless and they do not deserve to be ignored by the medical professionals simply because they have received an autism diagnosis. These children are medically sick and if we do not care enough about them to do the tests that are necessary and to treat the infections that are wracking their bodies, then WE are responsible when something like this happens.
To Isaac...and to all the other children who currently cannot afford to get the treatment you so desperately need and deserve: I am so sorry. I pray you will have an eternal life in heaven that is completely joyous and free from pain. God knows you deserve it, especially after the way we have failed you on earth. Eternal blessings to you, Isaac.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
A Tale of Autistic Blood
By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.
This may be the most important article about autism I’ve ever written. But first I need you to do a little work. I need you to go to this site (HERE) and watch the approximately five minute long video comparing the blood of six autistic children put together by Mark Squibb.
IMO, I believe this is another physiological marker of the multiple factors involved in autism and pretty much all of the comments posted are on track.
Stress will cause aggregation in preparation for clotting in case of injury. Think "fight or flight" - when you are preparing for battle or to run away, there is a significant chance you may get hurt. When the the balance of stress hormones is disrupted (shifted) due to high anxiety or panic, the body doesn't differentiate between real or perceived danger and prepares to clot. So thats ONE factor at work.
Heavy metals like lead and mercury (and aluminum which is not technically a "heavy" metal) also damage the circulatory system and lead to problems like Raynaud's Syndrome, atherosclerosis, hypertension, stroke, and aneurysm.
Metals and other toxins have something else in common - a single valence electron in their outermost ring. This makes them very attractive to each other - they don't like to be alone but like to travel in pairs so they will "hook up" with other toxins. This is one reason (along with impaired detoxification due to depletion of metallothionein) why our kids, once shot up (pun intended) with aluminum or thimerosal (flu vaccine, rhogam, etc.) become like magnets for other toxins. It's also why when chelating, mercury does not come out until after aluminum, antimony, and lead. The magnets (our children) hold onto the metals because their electrical charges have been altered. This was for me, probably the most fascinating thing about the video by Mark Squibb - he actually points out the alteration in electrical fields in the blood patterns of autistic children.
The comment about babesia (a bacteria associated with Lyme disease) is also correct, which is why adults with chronic Lyme exhibit many of the same behavioral and neurological issues as do children with "autism."
Infections in the blood (from systemic yeast, viruses, strep, staph, etc) will also cause clumping, as what is left of the immune system tries to kick in and fight off the infection. Remember that one of the first things the immune system does is to send extra blood (and oxygen) to the sight of injury or infection. This is part of the healing process and is why we get the swelling, heat, and itching when we get a minor cut or scrape. That's the body's attempt to heal.
The problem is, in our children there are so many different things to fight that their bodies become confused and shift over into autoimmunity. The analogy I use is like the old Space Invaders game where you start of shooting at one bad guy and it's relatively easy, but as things speed up, there are too many bad guys to shoot at accurately and you end up crashing and burning.
Finally, the genetic link is (again, IMO) often associated with metals (especially lead) that is passed from mother to child. In the family histories of my patients I frequently see higher than expected occurrance of things like stroke, blood clots, hypertension, bipolar disorder, heart-valve problems, and heavy bleeding/clotting with menses. All of these things, (and autoimmune thyroiditis) are associated with lead poisoning. When I check further, these parents and grandparents grew up with coal-burning stoves, lived near or worked in coal mines, or in some cases owned gas stations (before gasoline was unleaded.)
Very interesting article and video - thanks so much to the folks at Age of Autism for your wonderful work, and to my friend Lori for bringing this article to my attention!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
(Thanks Lori for posting this on C.A.R.E. Keep 'em coming!)
My response to the article, which follows:
This is not surprising at all. Look at the money involved - between 2 & 3 billion per year for drugs that have not been tested on children with autism, and whose side effects are 2-3x worse in kids with ASD. Interesting that the pharmaceutical companies who make the drugs to "treat" the symptoms are also the ones who make the vaccines that contribute to autism in the first place - the perfect storm. Before you pay big bucks for a pyschiatrist to "treat" your child with drugs that don't work, please consider looking deeper to heal the underlying problems.
SSRIs don't work because 95% of serotonin is in the gastrointestinal tract. If the gut is injured then serotonin will not be produced in the first place, so it cannot be utilized in the brain.
SSRI stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor - meaning that what it does is keep Serotonin in the synapse (the gap between two neurons) longer so it can work longer before being taken back up by the neuron that released it. If there is no serotonin for an SSRI to work on (because the gut is injured and it's not being produced) all you are going to get is side-effects from the fillers and dyes used in the capsules.
DUH. I wonder how much money was wasted on this study?
(Click the title to read the article in its entirety)
Study Finds Antidepressant Doesn't Help Autistic Children
Nationwide research finds that citalopram is no more effective than a placebo and that its side effects are twice as bad. About a third of autistic kids take the drug, known as Celexa in the U.S.
By Karen Kaplan June 2, 2009
An antidepressant commonly prescribed to help autistic children control their repetitive behaviors is actually no better than a placebo, according to a report published today.Roughly a third of all children diagnosed with autism in the U.S. now take citalopram, the antidepressant examined in the study, or others that are closely related. The results of the nationwide trial, published in Archives of General Psychiatry, have some experts reconsidering the appropriateness of antidepressants and other mind-altering drugs used to treat children with autism spectrum disorders.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
It is fitting that Kalab's face adorns the front page of the C&P today, the Sunday before Memorial Day. We most often think about soldiers at this time, especially those who lose their lives while fighting to protect our freedoms. However, there is a large portion of our society whose lives are also impacted by war, and whose traumas most often go unrecognized: The children of veterans serving in Iraq and Afganistan. With the numbers of veterans returning after sometimes multiple tours of duty, and many of them not receiving assistance for their own traumas, the numbers of children who are abused by their military parents continues to grow.
A while back I wrote an article about the effect of PTSD on military families, and given the timing, I believe it is worth reposting. This is the bulk of today's post. Resources for more information about PTSD and military families are posted at the end of this artcle.
The Effect of PTSD on the Family:
One of the scariest things for someone suffering from PTSD is when something in the present happens that "triggers" memories of the past. This is the same thing that happens when a Viet-Nam veteran suddenly drops to the ground, covering his head or assuming the fetal position when a car backfires (or when the "pop" and "flash" of exploding fireworks catches him off- guard). While we are probably all aware of the difficulties suffered by combat veterans, I have come to realize that as a society we are very unaware of the impact trauma has on adult survivors of child abuse. This needs to change. To illustrate my point, I will use an analogy, as I often do when working with clients in therapy. For the purpose of this example, I will refer to Viet-Nam veterans, as it was only after that war that PTSD was officially recognized. (Before Viet Nam soldiers suffered the same devastating symptoms, but it was referred to as "Shell Shock.")
Imagine yourself as a combat soldier in Viet Nam. You and your buddies are hunkered down, rifles at the ready, creeping through thick jungle foliage. Your body is tense. All your senses are on high alert for any sign of danger. Suddenly a bullet whizzes by you so fast you can feel the breeze on your face as it slices through the air. Then another one flies by. And another. You call on your heightened senses, frantically trying to figure out where the bullets are coming from but the jungle is so thick you can't see your attacker. Another bullet zings by and hits your best buddy. He falls, bleeding from his belly and writhing in pain. You go to him, kneeling, trying to help stop the bleeding. Meanwhile, the onslaught of bullets continues and you have to make a decision to stay and help your friend or retreat and try to keep from becoming another war statistic. As you are trying to figure out what to do, your friend dies in your arms. You are still under attack. You do not have time to think about your friend or to experience the painful emotions of losing him. You refocus your attention on the situation at hand and do what you can to avoid being killed.
Now imagine that this scenario repeats itself over and over again for several months or even years on end. It is easy for us to see how the lives of combat veterans would be impacted, with the ongoing traumas they face. Not only are they facing horrendous conditions and repetitive traumas, they can't get away from it. They can't just say, "I've had enough. I'm outta’ here." They are, in effect, trapped.
Imagine you are the child of a combat veteran returning from the war. You have missed your daddy terribly and have spent many hours dreaming of the day he would come home again. You remember how he used to play catch with you in the yard or crawl around on the floor with you on his back squealing with delight, shouting, "Yee-haw! Giddy-up!" As a child, you expect things to return to the way they were and life will continue as it was before Daddy left. But Daddy is not the same. He doesn't laugh. He hardly even talks to you. When he does, he sounds angry or annoyed. You try to figure out why he's mad at you and you work hard to be good so maybe, you can make him happy. Maybe you can make him smile. Time goes by and Daddy doesn't smile. He is even more quiet than before and gets angry over the littlest things. Unlike before, when Daddy gets upset, he yells. Sometimes he throws things. Sometimes he hurts you. Or Mommy. Sometimes he storms out of the house and drives away in his car with the tires squealing, and you cry because you're afraid he won't come back. Or you cry because you're afraid he will. The man who came home looks like Daddy but it isn't Daddy. Like the combat soldier, you are living in a war zone. Like the combat soldier, you don't know when the attack will come, what will set it off, or how bad the damage will be. You just know it will happen and you have to be ready for it when it does. Like the combat soldier your body goes on high-alert, always watching out for signs of danger. You can't sleep and when you do you have nightmares but you can't wake up Mommy and Daddy to tell them because Daddy might get angry. So you keep it to yourself. It's hard for you to concentrate on your schoolwork and your grades start falling. You are afraid of what will happen when Daddy sees your report card. Like the combat soldier, bad things are happening all around you. Like the combat soldier, you are trapped. Because you are a child, you can't just say, "I've had enough. I'm outta’ here."
The human brain is a wonderful thing. It has the ability to go on autopilot when necessary, shielding us from awareness when things get too overwhelming. This is what we call a "defense mechanism" and it is a very important coping skill that allows us to survive even the most terrifying of experiences. As we all know, many veterans of the Viet-Nam War basically accomplished the same thing through self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, which allowed them to "zone-out" and escape the pain, if only for a while. Others did not turn to substance abuse, but became sullen, withdrawn, and unable to interact with others or hold a job. Many families were split and the suicide rate among veterans skyrocketed. If there is anyone who does not see parallels between Viet Nam and Iraq, at least in this regard, he or she has simply not been paying attention.
Many people, even those who have little faith in the necessity or effectiveness of mental health based interventions, can and do accept that the lives of our veterans are often immeasurably changed as a result of their experiences. Tragically, we as a society do not afford the same compassion for adults, who as children experienced their own terrifying battles, in many cases continuing for several years without any end to the conflict. For many adult survivors of child abuse (war-related or not), their "tours of duty" extended far beyond anything this nation would require of even the strongest, most well trained adult soldier. For many survivors of child abuse, the consequences of their experience have never been acknowledged. Not even by themselves. If there is any hope of changing the cycle and helping today’s military children, we must learn from the past.
There are many good sources of information on the web. A few very relevant websites are listed here, in case you wish to read further.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Today, instead of preparing for tomorrow night's talk, I am consumed with the breaking news about the Swine Flu. As of the afternoon there are 40 confirmed cases in the United States. Apparently the largest cluster is among a group of students in New York, who had traveled to Mexico for Spring Break. There has been much commentary on the news about the fact that the cases in the U.S. (thus far) have been mild compared to the spectrum of illness that is currently ravaging Mexico City. This begs the question, "Why is it so bad in Mexico City?" We need to figure out the answer to that question if we are to predict where the pandemic will be most severe in other parts of the world, including here in the U.S.
As I have been pondering (obsessing about) this question today, I keep getting a sinking feeling in my gut. The reason is because I know too much. That's not a compliment to myself, it's a statement that explains why I have so much trouble sleeping some nights. I have an incessant need to know "why" things happen. In this case, you will have to judge if this is a good thing.
The sinking feeling in my stomach is related to something I remember from the second Defeat Autism Now! Conference I attended (April 2007). There was a presentation given by Dr. William Rea, from the Environmental Health Center in Dallas, Texas. The presentation was entitled, "The Environmental Aspects of ASD; The Early Mechanisms of Chronic Degenerative Disease and Hypersensitivity." I know, that's a long title. Much of the presentation was about the impact of toxins (heavy metals, pesticides, organophosphates, etc.) on the immune system and the subsequent link to autism. This will not sound like Greek to anyone who has researched the issue of thimerosal (mercury) or aluminum in vaccines and their effects on viruses.
Anyway, the main thing I remember from Dr. Rea's presentation was a photograph of Mexico City and the smog there. When I got home this afternoon, I pulled out my binder from that Conference and looked up Dr. Rea's presentation. I found the photo of Mexico City, and written above it, in my handwriting, is "Evansville in July."
So, I googled "Mexico City" and "Air Pollution." Here is what I found:
Mexico City ranks at the top of the list of "Most Polluted Megacities" in the world, according to Maricela Yip and Pierre Madl, authors of an interesting paper, completed while they were students at the University of Salzburg in Austria. It appears the paper was published under the direction of Dr. W. Hofmann, and the Department of Biophysics, "in Cooperation with the Afro-Asian Institute (Salzburg, Austria) and International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health at QUT (Australia)."
I honestly don't know how impressed I should be by these authors or whether or not the source is a "valid" one. However, when I read the article (actually skimmed it, due to time constraints), several bells went off. Why is this relevant to Southwestern Indiana?
The article talks about the specific toxins that are ranked "severe" and "heavy" in Mexico City: Sulfur Dioxide, Particulate Matter, Lead, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, and Ozone. These are some of the same toxins that cause Southwestern Indiana to have more PPM and Ozone Alert days in the summer than they have in Los Angeles. If you think I'm joking, check out the EPA website for yourself. And, like Mexico City, we live in a valley, so the toxins get trapped here. If you have ever read this blog before, you have probably read some of my "rantings" about these toxins and the health effects of living in the "Coal Burning Power Plant Capital of the World."
I am not going to reprise my rants here, but if you would like to learn about what's in our environment and how it relates to this discussion and your children's health, please read the previous posts: It's In the Air In Southwestern Indiana and Environmental Toxins and Autism. (click on the title to go to the original post.)
To learn about how the air pollution in Mexico City may be contributing to the high levels of deaths from the Swine Flu, please read the article, Air Pollution in Mexico City by Maricela Yip and Pierre Madl.
If there really is a connection here, we need to take steps now to beef up our immune systems by taking antioxidants and natural anti-virals like grapefruit seed extract and olive leaf extract. This will be especially important for groups whose immune systems are already compromised by persistent viral infections (herpes, HIV, Epstein-Barr, etc.). This includes children with autism, ADHD, asthma, and allergies. It also includes adults with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.
Don't panic, but now is the time to prepare. If there is a connection between the air pollution and the flu virus, places like Southwestern Indiana may have a lot more to deal with in the near future than high rates of autism, cancer, and suicide.
I hope I'm wrong.
Friday, March 6, 2009
What if we could prevent your child from being hit by the bus in the first place?
Let’s think about pregnancy. When a fetus is growing in the womb, it is incubating. We have been told for some time now that pregnant women should not smoke and should not drink alcohol, because these behaviors are known to be damaging to a developing fetus. The peer-reviewed medical literature is bursting at the seams with paper after paper, documenting the research findings about the teratologic effects of tobacco and alcohol.
Teratologic: the scientific study of visible conditions caused by the interruption or alteration of normal development
Marci’s note: Teratological effects may well include effects that are not “visible” and which may not become known for a long time after the exposure that caused the damage. Examples:
- Babies who were fed soy formula. Soy is a source of estrogen. When fed as the sole source of nutrition, the amount of estrogen taken in can disrupt the balance between hormones, and may contribute to the early onset of puberty in girls, and delayed onset of puberty in boys.
- Terbutaline administration. Terbutaline is a medication given to women to stop preterm labor. It has been linked to later onset of learning disabilities and social deficits in children whose mothers took the drug during pregnancy.
By now, everyone has heard that there is an epidemic of autism in this country. There are some people who still want to deny this fact, but the evidence is overwhelming, and it is real. It’s not just because of more inclusive diagnostic criteria. It’s also not purely genetic. There is no such thing as a genetic epidemic. So what’s going on? And why can’t the researchers figure out the cause of autism?
The clue is in the previous question. As long as researchers are looking for “the cause” of autism, they are not going to find it. Why? Because multiple factors working together synergistically is the source of the epidemic. There is no single “smoking gun.” If you are not familiar with the concept of synergism, you need to understand this key concept. Here is the definition:
Synergism: the phenomenon in which the combined action of two things such as drugs or muscles is greater than the sum of their effects individually. In the case of drugs, the result may be dangerous to the patient.
Marci’s note: in the case of toxins (heavy metals, toxic chemicals, pesticides, organophosphates, food additives), the combined action of two (or more) things is greater than the sum of their effects individually. The result may be dangerous to the patient. Alternatively, the synergistic effect of a genetic predisposition and an environmental exposure (to metals, pesticides, medications, etc…) will be more damaging than the effects of either situation (genetic or environmental) alone. The result may be dangerous to the patient. (Remember that in this case, the patient is the infant in the incubator.)
Synergy is an extremely important concept when it comes to autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. The concept of synergy is precisely why families who have sought relief through “The Vaccine Court” have not been successful in establishing that their children’s regressive autism was caused by the combination of thimerosal (mercury) and the MMR vaccine. (Note: the basic premise of the argument is that the child’s immune system is compromised by mercury (a heavy metal, which damages multiple systems in the body, including the enzymatic processes, and detoxification pathways), predisposing the child to be more vulnerable to the effects of the MMR vaccine (a vaccination which simultaneously injects three separate viruses into the blood stream, bypassing the body’s primary immune defense mechanisms (gastrointestinal and respiratory), ultimately resulting in a situation which overwhelms the body’s defenses and leads to chronic illness (fever, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, ear infections, respiratory infections, chronic tonsillitis, strep, bronchitis, allergies, asthma, & seizures), which later results in the behavioral and cognitive symptoms that lead to an “autism spectrum disorder” diagnosis.
Please remember that the fever, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, seizures, etc… tend to occur prior to the behaviors that lead, ultimately, to the “autism” diagnosis. This is an important piece of information, especially since most parents I have spoken with report that the “experts” who diagnosed their children with “autism” often state (with considerable authority) that the physical symptoms (diarrhea, constipation, vomiting) the parents are reporting are “just part of autism.” The physical symptoms are therefore ignored. This is PRECISELY why professionals who do not look further than the obvious behavioral and cognitive presentations, can and do state (with considerable authority), that “Autism is a lifelong condition and there is nothing you can do about it.” From where I sit, it looks like the authorities have it backwards. The physical symptoms happen first and the behavioral and cognitive symptoms happen as a result of the physical symptoms. Therefore, the lack of eye-contact, reduced awareness of the environment, inattention, aggression, and poor social skills are “just part of the gastro-intestinal disease” and if we do something to fix the GI problems, the symptoms associated with the child’s “autism” diagnosis will improve. If this sounds like voodoo science to you, let me phrase it differently.
Consider, for a moment, symptoms that you yourself might have had. Have you ever had a migraine? Have you ever had a “stomach virus” with nausea, pain in your gut, diarrhea, constipation, achy joints, headache and ‘brain-fog?’ If you have, please try to recall at this moment what it felt like. Now, imagine you are in a room full of four year-olds – a preschool environment. Do you feel “social?” Can you concentrate? Are you likely to learn and “achieve on par with your potential?”
If you only consider “autism” – which is a behavioral and cognitive-based diagnosis – and do not look further, the professionals who tell you with so much authority, “There is nothing you can do” are probably correct. If you don’t look beyond the behaviors and the label, it is likely that you are facing a lifelong diagnosis, for which you will not see significant improvement. In other words, your child will most likely never get married or have children, will probably not be able to live independently, will most likely not be able to support himself or herself, and will require full-time support from you until the day you die – which will probably happen prematurely due to all the stress you will endure in the interim. And your marriage? Statistics indicate that the divorce rate among couples with autistic children is 85%. Is this a good time to talk about the economy and the difficulties of single parents raising a child with autism?
I realize I am being brutal. I apologize for that, but not for the need to be honest. Grab a tissue, have a good cry, and suck it up because this discussion is relevant to your life. It is especially relevant if you are considering having children in the future.
“Current Events” time!
On February 12, 2009, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (Vaccine Court) Special Masters ruled against three families of autistic children, whose histories were chosen as “test cases” in the plaintiffs’ efforts to legally establish causality between thimerosal, MMR, and the children’s regression into autistic symptoms, which happened to occur shortly after receiving the vaccinations.
It was reported that one factor which helped sway the decision against the families is that they claimed their children were “developing normally” prior to the administration of the MMR vaccine. The Masters, upon review of photographs, videos, and medical records of the children in question, concluded that the parents’ claim that their children were “developing normally” was untrue. As I recall, the opinion of the special masters cited things like videos and photographs showing inconsistent eye-contact prior to the MMR administration. This concept of “normal development” hit me like a ton of bricks when I read it.
What does this statement mean, “Developing Normally?”
When I think about this question, the first thing that comes to mind is how shocked I have been and continue to be, when I ask parents the following question, “Did your child have a lot of ear infections during the first four years of life?”
The answer I frequently receive is, “Not a lot. No more than any other children.”
My response: “How many ear infections does your child typically have in a year?”
Typical response: “Three or four.”
What is important about the conversation, as reported above, is that most parents I interview report that their child is having three or four ear infections per year (which are treated with antibiotics) and the parents are also reporting that their child is no different from other children who are “developing normally.”
This is a problem.
Another area where I see a problem involves constipation. My developmental history form specifically asks about constipation and the majority of children I see have had significant problems with the frequency of bowel movements. Several have had to go to the hospital multiple times because their bowels have become impacted. Many parents have told me that they have expressed concerns to their pediatricians or family doctors, regarding their children’s infrequent bowel movements (often once a week or less), only to be told by their trusted physician, “In some children, that’s normal.”
Bowel movements are the body’s way of clearing toxins. (The body also clears toxins through urination and sweating.) Some toxins will ONLY clear the body through bowel movements. If you have toxins building up in the body and the half-life of that toxin is, let’s say 3 days, and the child in question is only having a bowel movement every 7 days, then if that toxin is taken into the body (perhaps through vaccination) and the child does not have a bowel movement for four or five days after taking the toxin it, where do you suppose the toxin goes? It gets stored in the body. Some of it goes into the soft tissues like kidneys and bone marrow. Some of it goes into the brain. Once it’s stored, it’s hard to get it out.
The gist of this is that our children are NOT developing normally if they are having chronic constipation (or diarrhea), or if they are having chronic bacterial and viral infections, upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, tonsillitis, strep, allergies, and asthma. We have an entire generation of children who are more prone to illness than children who are truly “developing normally.” The problem is, we have become so accustomed to this that we now accept this situation as “normal.” This needs to change. (Note: The generation of children who are so prone to infections and gastrointestinal problems coincides with the administration of the Hepatitis B vaccination at birth. For more on this topic, please read the post Vaccines and Autism - Your Child vs. The Greater Good.)
So, going back to the concept of teratology – things that disrupt normal development … In order to prevent more children from being “hit by the bus,” we need to pay closer attention to the things that may disrupt “normal development,” starting before conception even occurs. We need to prepare the incubator. For those children who are already here, we need to assess the status of their overall health and development BEFORE we inject them with multiple viruses simultaneously, and BEFORE we allow anyone to inject them with substances (thimerosal, aluminum, formaldehyde, etc.) that are KNOWN to have teratologic effects. Remember, the first rule of vaccinations is “do not vaccinate a sick child.” The problem is that when we view children with chronic conditions (viruses, bacterial infections, etc.) as “normal,” our perception of what constitutes “a sick child” has been skewed. Those are the children who are being “thrown in front of the bus.” My point: If we identify (accurately) those children who ARE sick, and get them healthy BEFORE administering vaccinations, we are likely to decrease the numbers of children who subsequently regress and end up receiving an autism diagnosis.
Back to the main question at hand – what do you need to do to increase your chances of having a healthy baby – one who stays healthy and does not become part of the estimated 1 in 67 American children with an autism spectrum disorder?
- Don’t wait until you are pregnant to start preparing your body. Remember, you are the incubator. Imagine for a moment that you have just delivered a baby that was born premature, and had to be placed in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) of the hospital. When your precious infant is taken from your womb and placed in the incubator in the NICU, you expect that the incubator will be a healthy environment for your fragile infant. By healthy, I mean, you expect that the incubator is free from bacteria (strep, staph, clostridia), viruses (Herpes, Measles, Varicella [Chickenpox], Human Papilloma Virus, Epstein-Barr, Cytomegalovirus), yeast (candida albicans and others), and parasites. You also expect that the incubator your infant is placed in will not be contaminated with heavy metals (lead, mercury, antimony, arsenic, cadmium, aluminum [not technically a ‘heavy metal’]), and that the incubator will not be sprayed with pesticides or contaminated with organophosphates. In essence, what you expect, is that your precious baby will be placed in a pristine environment, in which he or she will be able to develop, to his or her full potential.
If you expect strangers to care for your baby this way, shouldn’t you do everything you can to care for your future child with the same concern?
This entire thought process should start at least one to two years before you become pregnant.
If you live in the Tri-state (Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois), you should know that you live in the coal-burning power plant capitol of the world. If you have lived here for any length of time, you have been exposed to heavy metals (from coal-burning power plants), pesticides and organophosphates (from farming). If you get annual flu shots and have not specified that you want thimerosal-free flu shots, you have had a yearly dose of mercury injected directly into your bloodstream.
If you live in an area where you are regularly exposed to heavy metals and other environmental toxins, you owe it to your future children to find out what toxins have built up in your system, before you make it an incubator for your future child. You would not want your child to be placed in a hospital incubator contaminated with bacteria, viruses, and toxins (metals, pesticides, organophosphates), so why would you allow your child to spend the most important growing stage in just such an environment. If you do not pursue primary intervention that assesses your own body stores of these toxins, that is exactly what you are doing. The incubator is contaminated.
Clean it up before you trust it with the future of your precious baby.
2. If you are the parent of a young child and you are concerned about whether or not to vaccinate him or her, you need to become informed about your options as a parent. One of those options I would encourage is to have your child evaluated first to determine if there are physical problems that should be addressed, prior to vaccination. This may be especially important if your child has gastrointestinal problems, or recurrent viral and/or bacterial infections.
To learn more about assessment for genetic vulnerability and toxic exposures before you get pregnant, or before vaccinating your child, contact Marcella Piper-Terry, M.S.; Biomedical Consultant; firstname.lastname@example.org