Thursday, August 25, 2016

Baby with Colic Helped with Chiropractic

A baby with colic who was helped by chiropractic was the focus of a study published in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal, & Family Health on Nov. 28, 2012.
Colic in babies has classic symptoms of crying for more than 3 hours a day, usually at the same time each day, and for at least 3 days a week. Infants may have a hard abdomen, burp and pass gas a lot, spit up frequently after eating, and cry while pulling their legs up and making tight fists. The crying sounds as if the baby is in pain.
Colic is distressing not only to the baby, but also to the mother and father who witness the suffering of their baby, and are frustrated by their inability to help the baby.
In this case an 8-week-old baby girl was brought into a chiropractic clinic with the classic signs of colic. The mother said that the baby cried constantly for up to 5 hours, and that the baby's face showed pain when making a bowel movement. The baby also had diarrhea, and would scream and cry during these episodes.
A chiropractic examination of the baby was performed using static, motion, and muscle palpation. Subluxations were found in the atlas and T11, as well as observations of subluxation in other areas of the infant's spine.
Specific chiropractic adjustments were begun with "…light impulse finger adjustments." The adjustments were made to C1 (atlas) and T11. The care plan included two visits weekly for four weeks.
Immediate improvement was observed after the initial adjustment, and the colic symptoms disappeared after eight adjustments over four weeks. The parents of the baby reported, "After her first visit, she slept the entire night. She did not have the crying spells and we reduced the medication to once per day." After two weeks of chiropractic care the parents further noted, "She (the baby) no longer takes her medication daily. She is now a happy baby. She eats, sleeps and has regular bowel movements with no pain. For the first time since she was born, she slept through the night."

Health Issues Caused by Birth Trauma Helped by Chiropractic

On March 21, 2016, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study showing chiropractic helping an infant with multiple health issues resulting from a traumatic birth.
The study begins by noting that about 5% of all births in the U.S. are either by forceps or by vacuum extraction. They report that forceps delivery is associated with an increased death rate during birth, and that vacuum extractions are associated with increased head injuries, facial paralysis, and other head and nerve problems. Chiropractors are interested in this problem from a standpoint of the effect these types of births have on the upper portion of the neck.
In this study, a 6-week-old baby boy was brought to the chiropractor for consultation and possible care with problems of infantile colic, acid reflux, restlessness, inability to relax and/or lay on his back, difficulty sleeping and general irritability. The baby's mother described her son as being fussy, restless, always tense and frustrated. She reported that in the first six weeks of life he was screaming and could not be comforted during all his waking hours. While sleeping, the infant would moan and whimper.
The baby had been given a medical diagnosis of acid reflux and infantile colic and he was given the label of a "high needs baby." With this diagnosis, the infant was prescribed and given a generic form of the medication Zantac for his colic and reflux.
A history of the birth process revealed that infant's mother did not experience any contractions prior to the beginning of labor. After only 17 minutes, it was reported that the baby's heart rate had decreased. Because of this, an episiotomy was performed and the baby was pulled out with the aid of vacuum extraction. This resulted in a large bruise on the infant's skull from the vacuum extraction.
A chiropractic examination of the infant revealed the presence of multiple vertebral subluxations, including several in the upper neck region. Chiropractic adjustments were performed specific to the subluxations, and the age and size of the infant.
After the first adjustment, the mother reported that her son had the longest nap he had experienced since birth. The parents also reported that within the first week, the infant had six large bowel movements within 36 hours of being adjusted, was less fussy, less gassy, sleeping more soundly and peacefully, showed improved postural alignment of the neck and entire body, and appeared to be much happier, more comfortable, and demonstrated an overall improved demeanor. After several more visits, the child no longer had any of the digestive issues or other health concerns seen on the initial evaluation.

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Credited to Chiropractic Care

The February 18, 2016, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a documented case study of a pregnant woman who was suffering from migraines, neck pain and back pain being helped with chiropractic.
The study begins by reporting that, "The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for women and particularly for women of childbearing years and during pregnancy is substantial." Chiropractic is one of the most widely utilized forms of CAM. The authors note that about a third of all pregnant woman use some form of CAM, but only half of them disclose this information to their medical practitioner.
In this case, a 28-year-old woman presented herself for chiropractic evaluation and possible care. At that time, she was 29 weeks pregnant with her second pregnancy. She was suffering from chronic migraines associated with neck and back pain.
She reported that her first pregnancy resulted in an emergency C-section and she was hoping to be able to have a vaginal birth for this current pregnancy. However, complicating this pregnancy was that a recent ultrasound showed that the baby's placenta was partially blocking the mother's cervix. This condition is known placenta previa.
A chiropractic examination was performed which included postural analysis, spinal palpation, spinal motion, surface electromyogram, and paraspinal thermography. With consent, chiropractic care began for correction of subluxations that were determined from the examination.
By the third visit, the patient reported that her migraines were gone. By the fourth visit her placenta previa was resolved as confirmed on imaging. The patient was successfully able to have a vaginal birth even after her first pregnancy resulted in a c-section. She reported no complications to her birth, and her labor was fast and without the need for any medications.
In their conclusions the authors wrote, "We described the successful care of a pregnant patient presenting with a chief complaint of chronic migraines and pregnancy-related neck and back pain. This case report highlights benefits of chiropractic care beyond symptom care with resolution of placenta previa and successful VBAC, (vaginal birth after cesarean)."

Pregnancy-Related Lumbopelvic Pain Improved with Chiropractic

The June 2016 issue of the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine published a case study involving a pregnant woman suffering from pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain (PR LPP) being helped by chiropractic care.
The study authors note that women suffering with lumbopelvic pain only see care in about 25% of the cases because many believe that the pain is normal during pregnancy. Those who do not gain relief are more likely to continue to have pain after their pregnancy. A previous randomized chiropractic clinical trial showed that chiropractic care given in conjunction with the normal obstetric care was more effective in eliminating pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain than just obstetric care by itself.
In this case, a 35-year-old pregnant woman presented herself for chiropractic care. She was suffering with moderate pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain and leg pain. The pain was over both pelvic bones across her lower back. She also reported having an "uncomfortable" tension in her neck and shoulders.
She rated her back and leg pain as a 7 out of 10, with 10 being the worst. The pain started at about the 20th week of her pregnancy and was now radiating down her leg. She reported that standing or sitting for more than 30 minutes, or walking for more than 10 minutes, made her condition worse.
Her history noted that this pregnancy was the result of her fourth in vitro fertilization in a time period of less than 5 years. A previous attempt resulted in the birth of her son. However, two additional attempts to become pregnant resulted in complications and terminated pregnancies.
After an examination, chiropractic care was initiated. The woman was also given some stretching exercises and advised to slowly increase the amount of walking she was doing. Within one week of starting chiropractic care, the woman reported a reduction in the severity and duration of her low back and leg pain. She noted that she was able to sit and walk for longer periods of time.
After 13 visits, she was able to walk or stand for longer than 30 minutes, and sit and travel for more than one hour in the car. This made her daily activities much easier and she reported a decrease in her stress and anxiety. Her overall pain rating dropped from a 7 to a 2 out of 10.

Breech Pregnancy Corrected with Chiropractic - A Case Study & Literature Review

On January 13, 2015, a study was published documenting the case of a pregnant woman with a transverse breech pregnancy being corrected under chiropractic care. The study also reviewed a number of other such cases documented in research adding to the body of evidence showing chiropractic helping with this issue.
A Transverse Breech Pregnancy is when a fetus is lying across the womb with the spine perpendicular to the mother's spine. Later in pregnancy, the baby should be head downward in preparation for birth. The authors report that by the 28th week of pregnancy, about 4% of women have a breech pregnancy. Of these, it is expected that 86% will deliver via cesarean section. Nationally, the rate of cesarean birth continues to rise, being at 31.6% in the year 2010.
In this case study a 31-year-old pregnant women went to a chiropractor for help. She had been diagnosed by her obstetrician with transverse breech malposition, confirmed by ultrasound, at 30 weeks gestation. She was also suffering from lower back pain.
A chiropractic examination was performed involving a postural analysis which showed imbalances in her posture. Additionally, palpation showed tight lumbar musculature and spinal malpositioning. Static electromyography, or sEMG, along with thermographic scans were performed that revealed areas positive for the presence of subluxations. Based on the examination, it was determined that the woman had subluxations at the top and bottom of her spine.
Chiropractic adjustments were begun to correct the subluxations along with a specialized technique called the Webster technique. This technique addresses the subluxations in the base of the spine as well as easing tender nodules in the round ligament of the pelvis, thus addressing in-uterine constraint. This care was given to the woman twice per week for the remainder of her pregnancy.
On her eighth visit, the woman reported that her baby was no longer in the breech position and had turned into the normal vertex presentation. As a result the study noted, "The patient continued care and was able to have a natural, assisted homebirth and healthy vaginal delivery of a baby boy, in the presence of her midwife and family."
The author summed up this study in their conclusion by saying, "This report of a 31 year old multiparous [having borne more than one child] female patient presenting with transverse breech presentation utilizing Webster technique during her pregnancy proved to be effective. Receiving chiropractic care during pregnancy, specifically utilizing the Webster technique, helped to reestablish normal sacral alignment and biomechanics of the female pelvis."

Saturday, July 9, 2016

30 solid scientific studies that prove vaccines cause autism

We have compiled a list of 30 scientific studies that show a link between vaccines and autism, disproving the myth that no official research papers exist to support what alternative doctors have been saying for years.

These papers can be shown to medical doctors and public health officials who wish to see peer reviewed scientific studies to back up the claims that autism is a direct result from receiving a vaccination.

The first research paper presented was the first one ever written on the subject, from 1943. Child Psychiatrist Leo Kanner discovered 11 children over the course of several years who displayed a novel set of neurological symptoms that had never been described in the medical literature, where children were withdrawn, uncommunicative and displayed similar odd behaviors. This disorder would become known as “autism.” In the paper, Dr. Kanner noted that onset of the disorder began following the administration of a small pox vaccine. This paper, was published in 1943, and evidence that vaccination causes an ever increasing rate of neurological and immunological regressions, including autism, has been mounting from that time until now.



Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact
Leo Kanner, Johns Hopkins University, 1943

“Since 1938, there have come to our attention a number of children whose condition differs so markedly and uniquely from anything reported so far, that each case merits – and, I hope, will eventually receive – at detailed consideration of its fascinating peculiarities.”

All of Kanners cases were born after, and began to appear following, the introduction of Eli Lilly’s new form of water soluble mercury in the late 1920s used as an anti-fungal in forestry, a wood treatment product in the lumber industry and as a disinfectant and anti-bacterial in the medical industry under the name of “Thimerosal” that was included in vaccines.

As I testified to at the hearing, there is abundant research supporting the vaccine autism link. I have included 49 research papers for your review, and only included research published in the last ten years or so. This is by no means a complete list, but it one that I have been compiling for the last few years as relevant research came to my attention. I have ONLY included autism related information, not research on other vaccine injuries of which there are many.
As you can see, the medical professionals testifying that there is no scientific support for the vaccine/autism causation theory are uninformed about the current state of the science. When vaccination decisions are made based on an uninformed opinion, it means serious potential damage to the patient, and because of the law preventing lawsuits for vaccine injury, it also means that the uninformed medical professionals making bad recommendations CANNOT be held accountable in any way for giving the patient bad information.

Parents want to know if their child can develop autism from their vaccines. If they believe that the answer is yes, and the risk of brain injury from vaccination is higher than their risk from a disease, it is their right to decline vaccination for themselves and their children with out coercion.

Patients MUST be able to make their own informed vaccine decisions, because often, they know more about potential vaccine risks that even top public health officials do.

1. Hepatitis B Vaccination of Male Neonates and Autism
Annals of Epidemiology, September 2009
CM Gallagher, MS Goodman, Stony Brook University Medical Center

Boys vaccinated as neonates had threefold greater odds for autism diagnosis compared to boys never vaccinated or vaccinated after the first month of life.

2. Porphyrinuria in childhood autistic disorder: Implications for environmental toxicity
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2006
Robert Natafa, et al, Laboratoire Philippe Auguste, Paris, France

These data implicate environmental toxicity in childhood autistic disorder.

3. Theoretical aspects of autism: Causes—A review
Journal of Immunotoxicology, January-March 2011
Helen V. Ratajczak, PhD

Autism could result from more than one cause, with different manifestations in different individuals that share common symptoms. Documented causes of autism include genetic mutations and/or deletions, viral infections, and encephalitis following vaccination.

4. Uncoupling of ATP-mediated Calcium Signaling and Dysregulated IL-6 Secretion in Dendritic Cells by Nanomolar Thimerosal
Environmental Health Perspectives, July 2006.
Samuel R. Goth, Ruth A. Chu Jeffrey P. Gregg

This study demonstrates that very low-levels of Thimerosal can contribute to immune system disregulation.

5. Gender-selective toxicity of thimerosal
Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2009 Mar;61(2):133-6. Epub 2008 Sep 3. 
Branch DR, Departments of Medicine and Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto

A recent report shows a correlation of the historical use of thimerosal in therapeutic immunizations with the subsequent development of autism; however, this association remains controversial. Autism occurs approximately four times more frequently in males compared to females; thus, studies of thimerosal toxicity should take into consideration gender-selective effects. The present study was originally undertaken to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of thimersosal in male and female CD1 mice. However, during the limited MTD studies, it became apparent that thimerosal has a differential MTD that depends on whether the mouse is male or female.

6. Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant monkeys exposed to Vaccines Containing Thimerosal
Environmental Health Perspectives, Aug 2005. 
Thomas Burbacher, PhD, University of Washington

This study demonstrates clearly and unequivocally that ethyl mercury, the kind of mercury found in vaccines, not only ends up in the brain, but leaves double the amount of inorganic mercury as methyl mercury, the kind of mercury found in fish. This work is groundbreaking because little is known about ethyl mercury, and many health authorities have asserted that the mercury found in vaccines is the “safe kind.” This study also delivers a strong rebuke of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation in 2004 to no longer pursue the mercury-autism connection.

7. Increases in the number of reactive glia in the visual cortex of Macaca fascicularis following subclinical long-term methyl mercury exposure
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 1994 
Charleston JS et al, Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Washington

The identities of the reactive glial cells and the implications for the long-term function and survivability of the neurons due to changes in the glial population following subclinical long-term exposure to mercury are discussed.

8. Neuroglial Activation and Neuroinflammation in the Brain of Patients with Autism 
Annals of Neurology, Feb 2005.
Diana L. Vargas, MD [Johns Hopkins University]

This study, performed independently and using a different methodology than Dr. Herbert (see above) reached the same conclusion: the brains of autistic children are suffering from inflammation.

9. Autism: A Brain Disorder, or a Disorder That Affects the Brain? 
Clinical Neuropsychiatry, 2005 
Martha R. Herbert M.D., Ph.D., Harvard University

Autism is defined behaviorally, as a syndrome of abnormalities involving language, social reciprocity and hyperfocus or reduced behavioral flexibility. It is clearly heterogeneous, and it can be accompanied by unusual talents as well as by impairments, but its underlying biological and genetic basis in unknown. Autism has been modeled as a brain-based, strongly genetic disorder, but emerging findings and hypotheses support a broader model of the condition as a genetically influenced and systemic.

10. FDA-admits-in-court-case-that-vaccines-still-contain-mercury1Activation of Methionine Synthase by Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 and Dopamine: a Target for Neurodevelopmental Toxins and Thimerosal
Molecular Psychiatry, July 2004. 
Richard C. Deth, PhD [Northeastern University]

This study demonstrates how Thimerosal inhibits methylation, a central driver of cellular communication and development.

11. Validation of the Phenomenon of Autistic Regression Using Home Videotapes
Archives of General Psychiatry, 2005 
Emily Werner, PhD; Geraldine Dawson, PhD, University of Washington

Conclusion This study validates the existence of early autistic regression.

12. Blood Levels of Mercury Are Related to Diagnosis of Autism: A Reanalysis of an Important Data Set
Journal of Child Neurology, 2007 
M. Catherine DeSoto, PhD, Robert T. Hitlan, PhD -Department of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa

Excerpt: “We have reanalyzed the data set originally reported by Ip et al. in 2004 and have found that the original p value was in error and that a significant relation does exist between the blood levels of mercury and diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. Moreover, the hair sample analysis results offer some support for the idea that persons with autism may be less efficient and more variable at eliminating mercury from the blood.”

13. Developmental Regression and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in a Child With Autism
Journal of Child Neurology, February 2006 
Jon S. Poling, MD, PhD, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital

Excerpt: “Children who have (mitochondrial-related) dysfunctional cellular energy metabolism might be more prone to undergo autistic regression between 18 and 30 months of age if they also have infections or immunizations at the same time.”

14. Oxidative Stress in Autism: Elevated Cerebellar 3-nitrotyrosine Levels
American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 2008 
Elizabeth M. Sajdel-Sulkowska, – Dept of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Excerpt: The preliminary data suggest a need for more extensive studies of oxidative stress, its relationship to the environmental factors and its possible attenuation by antioxidants in autism.”

15. Large Brains in Autism: The Challenge of Pervasive Abnormality
The Neuroscientist, 2005. 
Martha Herbert, MD, PhD, Harvard University

This study helps refute the notion that the brains of autistic children are simply wired differently and notes, “neuroinflammation appears to be present in autistic brain tissue from childhood through adulthood.” Dr. Herbert suggests that chronic disease or an external environmental source (like heavy metals) may be causing the inflammation.

16. Evidence of Toxicity, Oxidative Stress, and Neuronal Insult in Autism
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Nov-Dec 2006. 
Janet Kern, Anne Jones, Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

“This article discusses the evidence for the case that some children with autism may become autistic from neuronal cell death or brain damage sometime after birth as result of insult; and addresses the hypotheses that toxicity and oxidative stress may be a cause of neuronal insult in autism… the article discusses what may be happening over the course of development and the multiple factors that may interplay and make these children more vulnerable to toxicity, oxidative stress, and neuronal insult.”

17. Oxidative Stress in Autism
Pathophysiology, 2006. 
Abha Chauhan, Ved Chauhan

This study provides a helpful overview of the growing evidence supporting the link between oxidative stress and autism.

18. Thimerosal Neurotoxicity is Associated with Glutathione Depletion: Protection with Glutathione Precursors
Neurotoxicology, Jan 2005. 
S. Jill James, PhD, University of Arkansas

This recent study demonstrates that Thimerosal lowers or inhibits the body’s ability to produce Glutathione, an antioxidant and the body’s primary cellular-level defense against mercury.

c1c85c18_medium_aluminum_thimerosol19. Aluminum adjuvant linked to gulf war illness induces motor neuron death in mice
Neuromolecular Medicine, 2007 
Christopher Shaw, Ph.D., Department of Ophthalmology and Program in Neuroscience, University of British Columbia

This study demonstrates the extreme toxicity of the aluminum adjuvant used as a preservative in vaccines.

20. Environmental mercury release, special education rates, and autism disorder: an ecological study of Texas
Health & Place, 2006 
Raymond F. Palmer, University of Texas Health Science Center

This study demonstrated the correlation between environmental mercury and autism rates in Texas.

21. Autism Spectrum Disorders in Relation to Distribution of Hazardous Air Pollutants in the SF Bay Area
Environmental Health Perspectives, September, 2006 
Gayle Windham, Div. of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control, California Department of Health Services

Excerpt: “Our results suggest a potential association between autism and estimated metal concentrations, and possibly solvents, in ambient air around the birth residence.”

22. A Case Series of Children with Apparent Mercury Toxic Encephalopathies Manifesting with Clinical Symptoms of Regressive Autistic Disorder
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, 2007 
David A. Geier, Mark R. Geier

This study reviewed the case histories and medical profiles of nine autistic children and concluded that eight of the nine children were mercury toxic and this toxicity manifested itself in a manner consistent with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

23. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and blood mercury level: a case-control study in chinese children
Neuropediatrics, August 2006 – P.R. Kong

Excerpt: “There was significant difference in blood mercury levels between cases and controls, which persists after adjustment for age, gender and parental occupational status. The geometric mean blood mercury level was also significantly higher in children with inattentive and combined subtypes of ADHD. High blood mercury level was associated with ADHD. Whether the relationship is causal requires further studies.”

24. The Changing Prevalence of Autism In California
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, April 2003 
Mark F. Blaxill, David S. Baskin, and Walter O. Spitzer

This study helps to refute the supposition made by some researchers that autism’s epidemic may only be due to “diagnostic substitution”.

25. Mitochondrial Energy-Deficient Endophenotype in Autism
American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology 2008 
J. Jay Gargus and Faiqa Imtiaz, School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine,

While evidence points to a multigenic etiology of most autism, the pathophysiology of the disorder has yet to be defined and the underlying genes and biochemical pathways they subserve remain unknown.

26. Bridging from Cells to Cognition in Autism Pathophysiology: Biological Pathways to Defective Brain Function and Plasticity
American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology 2008 
Matthew P. Anderson, Brian S. Hooker and Martha R. Herbert, Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School/Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

We review evidence to support a model where the disease process underlying autism may begin when an in utero or early postnatal environmental, infectious, seizure, or autoimmune insult triggers an immune response that increases reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in the brain that leads to DNA damage (nuclear and mitochondrial) and metabolic enzyme blockade and that these inflammatory and oxidative stressors persist beyond early development (with potential further exacerbations), producing ongoing functional consequences.

27. Heavy-Metal Toxicity—With Emphasis on Mercury6a00d8357f3f2969e201910500b06b970c

John Neustadt, ND, and Steve Pieczenik, MD, PhD

Conclusion: Metals are ubiquitous in our environment, and exposure to them is inevitable. However, not all people accumulate toxic levels of metals or exhibit symptoms of metal toxicity, suggesting that genetics play a role in their potential to damage health.

28. Evidence of Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Autism and Implications for Treatment
American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Daniel A. Rossignol, J. Jeffrey Bradstreet

MtD and oxidative stress may also explain the high male to female ratio found in autism due to increased male vulnerability to these dysfunctions.

29. Proximity to point sources of environmental mercury release as a predictor of autism prevalence
Health & Place, 2008 
Raymond F. Palmer et al, University of Texas Health Science Center

This study should be viewed as hypothesis-generating – a first step in examining the potential role of environmental mercury and childhood developmental disorders. Nothing is known about specific exposure routes, dosage, timing, and individual susceptibility. We suspect that persistent low-dose exposures to various environmental toxicants, including mercury, that occur during critical windows of neural development among genetically susceptible children (with a diminished capacity for metabolizing accumulated toxicants) may increase the risk for developmental disorders such as autism.

30. Epidemiology of autism spectrum disorder in Portugal: prevalence, clinical characterization, and medical conditions
Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 2007 
Guiomar Oliveira MD PhD et al, Centro de Desenvolvimento da Criança, Hospital Pediátrico de Coimbra; Assunção Ataíde BSc, Direcção Regional de Educação do Centro Coimbra;

The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) and identify its clinical characterization, and medical conditions in a paediatric population in Portugal.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Why Did My Child Develop Autism?

“Why Did My Child Develop Autism?” “Why Does His Mother Have Chronic Fatigue?”

By: Dr. Daniel Kalb, MD, MPH, FAAFP 

“What is the Cause of Autism? Why did my child develop it?”
These are the most common questions that I am asked by parents, who, like myself, just couldn’t understand what happened and why.
Taking care of children on the Spectrum since my own child was diagnosed 17 years ago, I hear a lot of tragic stories, many of which begin something like this:
“My kid was fine, until… [fill in the blank], then we lost him (her).
Here are the most common events reported to fill in the blank:
They got sick, or got a vaccine, or got a series of ear infections, or were put on rounds of antibiotics, or developed extreme constipation or diarrhea, or eczema, allergies, or asthma. An example is a patient that I saw yesterday, an 11 year old, one of twins, had an MMR at age 12 months, had a seizure the next day, and then developed Autism. His twin is fine.
Regardless of the environmental event, the results are the same, Autism.
So, how does this happen? What explains the epidemic of Autism (one in 60 births), or the epidemic of pediatric neuroimmune disorders in general which includes ADHD, PANS/PANDAS, sensory integration disorders, developmental delays, and others?
“Recent estimates in the United States show that about one in six, or about 15%, of children aged 3 through 17 years have a one or more developmental disabilities.” (From the CDC website).
What about the epidemic of neuroimmune disorders in Adults, with younger and younger patients being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, MS and other disorders?
One avenue that requires more attention is the role that an infection, a virus, might play in the development of neuroimmune disfunction disorders, including Autism and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Plague by Dr. Mikovits, and Kent Heckenlively, suggests the possibility of a role for a retrovirus in these disorders. I would summarize the theory in this way: A Retrovirus (called XMRV) infects the cells of our immune system, interacts with our DNA whose damaged genes become expressed due to environmental toxins.
The link of XMRV (Xenotropic Murine Retrovirus), to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and possibly to Autism as well, is articulated in this exciting book, summarizing the provocative research of Dr. Mikovits. She is a science and humanitarian heroine, who refused to compromise her ethics or the scientific method while she brought into the spotlight, a retrovirus, the understanding of which can change the lives of millions of people that suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and other neuroimmune diseases such as Autism.
It is hard to contemplate the breath of the effect that Dr. Mikovits’ discovery will have on how we think about the role of the environment on the expression of disease. Her core research, even dares to tread on the hot button vaccine issue. She forces us to ask the hard questions of just how safe are our vaccines, how were they developed? Could a virus have been transmitted from one animal species to another during the early development of vaccines? If so, how could that have impacted one our genome, and what role could that have had in the epidemic of Autism, and the epidemic of autoimmune diseases in general?
Dr. Mikovits asked the question and did the hard science to lend evidence to, at least in some cases, a role for the activation of a retrovirus (XMRV) in the development of these disorders, that is, an environmental event, triggering either the replication of a virus that has invaded the immune system, or triggering the genes that have been altered by the virus.
In careful studies, Dr. Mikovits and her colleagues found that about 70% of those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are positive for the presence of the virus, and 50% or higher of children with ASD have evidence of XMRV; that is astounding. Perhaps more alarming is that about 6% of the population at large, without any known disease, harbors this virus.
These viruses live in the lymphocytes, the B and T cells of the immune system. When you receive a vaccine, (or are exposed to a toxin or get an infection) you heighten B and T cell activity. That is how the immune system is supposed to respond to a vaccine to accomplish antibody production and immunity. However, if there is a passenger virus, a retrovirus, such as XMRV, in those B and T cells, the virus will also be replicated aggressively because the cells they occupy are activated and replicating rapidly.
Retroviruses replicate by incorporating themselves into the genetic code of the cell that they occupy, so when the cell replicates, so does the virus. So you now have a poorly functioning immune system because the virus disrupts normal B and T cell function.
This makes a lot of sense, after all, Autism is an immune dysfunction disorder, that’s what it is, I know it isn’t defined that way, but that is what is happening. Many children on the spectrum display unusual reactions to infections, and severe behavior changes that result from common exposures such as to food additives. They develop food sensitivities, particularly to gluten, dairy and soy. They have neuroinflammatory reactions to infections such as Epstein Barr Virus or Strep (PANDAS/PANS). They are even more susceptible to tick borne illnesses like Lyme Disease.
Further evidence that ASD is an immune dysfunction disorder is the fact that autoimmune diseases are more common in families that have autistic children. There are many studies that corroborate that fact, as does my own experience. Other evidence of ASD as an autoimmune disease is the auto-antibodies detected in mothers of ASD children. A large study published in 2013 in Molecular Psychiatry looked at 2,700 mothers with autistic children and found that 10% of them produce anti-brain antibodies that when injected into mice and monkeys, produce autistic characteristics in those animals.
Therefore, there may be several scenarios that lead to the expression of Autism. For example, a fetus incubating in the womb may be exposed to these neuroimmune antibodies from the mother. Or, another scenario is that the fetus may be harboring a retrovirus in the immune cells, poised for a toxic trigger which leads to immune dysfunction and developmental difficulties from birth. The toxins that a fetus and newborn are exposed to, trigger the expression of trouble genes. This is a phenomenon called Epigenetics, i.e., the environment triggering a genetic predisposition. Another path to immune dysfunction is that the child may harbor a remnant or signature of the virus, not the virus itself. That is, the child may have inherited the genetic code that was altered when the virus incorporated itself into the host DNA of their parents or grandparents. This science fiction scenario is called Transgenerational Epigenetics, and it’s a real thing. (Epigenetics: How Environment Shapes Our Genes, by Richard C. Francis).
In other words, a retrovirus, could have infected the white blood cells of our grandparents which then incorporated itself into their DNA, then got passed on to our parents, then to us and finally to our children. Those hijacked genetic codes, sit there like Pandora ’s Box, waiting for a toxic exposure to release them. The potential triggers that could open the box include chemical exposures, other infections, vaccines, anything that the immune system may take issue with and thereby become activated.
By their very nature, by their very design, vaccines stimulate the immune system in order to impart immunity. However, for some children, giving a vaccine could be like nudging the first domino, setting up a cascade of reactions resulting in the immune dysfunction disorder called Autism, or other childhood epidemic neuroimmune disorders such as ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder, and PANS/PANDAS.
Connecting Past Oversights to Current Epidemics
Here is how we might put the pieces together: Dramatic changes that we made to our environment years ago, perhaps as long ago as the Industrial Revolution (a second ago, when you consider the history of our species), began a cascade of events with the goal of converting natural resources to energy, without an understanding of how toxic byproducts could affect our genes. For heaven’s sake, we didn’t even know what DNA looked like until Crick and Watson’s discovery of the double helix in the 1950’s. In addition to the advances to meet energy demands, we also sought solutions to public health problems, particularly in our growing cities. We experienced epidemics that were frightening, unpredictable and devastating such as Polio, and we dedicated resources and efforts to defeat it, and we did. But, might there have been fallout from this endeavor? We didn’t know at the time that the necessary use of animals such as mice and monkeys, to develop vaccines, inadvertently resulted in viruses jumping species from one to another. Even though the 1930’s was a millisecond ago, we didn’t have a fraction of the microbe sensing technology that we have today. So, here’s the story and I’m sticking with it: the introduction of pollution, toxins, heavy metals and viruses new to our species, created our manmade epidemic of autoimmune diseases from Autism to MS to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
It’s a viable hypothesis, and I didn’t make it up. Thanks to the work of researchers such as Dr. Olmsted, author of The Age of Autism, and Dr. Mikovits, the evidence for this hypothesis is compelling.
Save the Children
How might this theory that implicates toxins, viruses and even vaccines, be useful to help us prevent Autism? What if we could identify which mothers were more likely to give birth to a child with Autism? Which mothers had brain autoantibodies? What if you could tell from a blood test, that there was evidence of the presence of a retrovirus such as XMRV, or evidence of changes in the DNA reflective of a retrovirus, could you intervene to prevent the expression of Autism in the child? Maybe you could. You could provide supplements and a diet that would strengthen their immune system. Maybe you could delay vaccines and spread them out (or forgo them entirely). We could emphasize mitochondrial support and support methylation (detoxification). Can you imagine? Understanding the immunogenic factors (toxins), along with the innate ability of the mother/fetus/child to detoxify naturally, could dramatically decrease the rate of Autism.
There are still so many questions about where this epidemic in neuroimmune disorders is coming from, but thanks to the work and dedication of Dr. Judy Mikovits and other researchers, I feel we are getting closer. As the father of a child on the autism spectrum and another daughter with Multiple Sclerosis, knowing we are closer to an explanation, provides me with hope, hope for them, and hope for my patients with Autism with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, with Lyme Disease and many other immune dysfunction disorders.
Granted, there are many frustrations, mainly that we are not moving fast enough, and that the issues such as the role of the environment, or of vaccines is so polarizing that the passions on both sides become barriers to a healthy discussion. Let’s begin by acknowledging the fact that not all children are going to react the exact same way to an illness, to a toxin, to a vaccine, and that we need to know more about why that is the case. Let’s also acknowledge that neuroimmune diseases are related to each other, are epidemic, are manmade, are preventable and treatable.
It is a daunting task before us, but our children are worth it. We will be at odds with the powerful behemoths of this country such as the food industry, the petrochemical industry, the pharmaceutical industry, but we still have to ask the hard questions. We have created these epidemics, just like we have created global warming, just as tragic, just as devastating, just as indolent, and unfortunately, just as politically charged. We need a dramatic shift in thinking, yet despite the enormity of the tasks ahead I am heartened that there are researchers asking the hard questions, and there are parents and victims of these disorders that are not going to simply accept the status quo. As Thomas Kuhn said in discussing how paradigm shifts occur in scientific thinking:
As in political revolutions, so in paradigm choice—there is no standard higher than the assent of the relevant community…
-Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962)
Scientific development depends…on revolutionary change…The usual prelude to changes of this sort is…the awareness of anomaly, of an occurrence or set of occurrences that does not fit existing ways of ordering phenomena. The changes that result therefore require ‘putting on a different kind of thinking-cap’.
— Thomas S. Kuhn, The Essential Tension (1977)
We need to become aware of the anomaly, i.e. the manmade epidemic of neuroimmune disorders, and we need to put bias aside, preconceptions aside, and change the way we are conceptualizing these illnesses. If we don’t, who is going to care for the legions of Autistic children? Certainly not the millions of mothers with CFS, but I know one thing from practicing medicine for 20 years, they will die trying.