This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Dr Andrew Wakefield

Dr Wakefield is one of the most recognized (and vilified) players in The Autism Drama.  As many of you are aware, he published a consecutive case report back in 1998 of 11 children who had been seen and treated at the Royal Free Hospital in London in which he reported his findings of a new and novel bowel disease in children with autism.  This report may have gone by unnoticed if it were not for one detail- he noted that several of the parents of the affected children had mentioned that the child's bowel disease followed the MMR vaccine.

Here is Dr Wakefield speaking at the 2008 AutismOne.  He explains the circumstances around the GMC hearings.  http://www.autismone.org/content/andrew-wakefield-md
Quotes "vaccination is designed to protect the majority, and it does so at the expense of a minority of individuals who suffer adverse consequences".

Interview with Dr Wakefeild:
http://www.rightsidenews.com/2010053010367/health-and-education/dr-andrew-wakefield-on-the-autism-vaccine-controversy.html

post by Ginger Taylor Andrew Wakefeild is a Happy Guy"
http://adventuresinautism.blogspot.com/2010/06/andrew-wakefield-is-happy.html

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Environmental Toxicity

This is a huge topic and will be the focus of a number of posts, but for now I want to get some of these resources up for people who are asking for them.  So often people allude to "environmental toxicity" as a cause or contributor to disease, but what do they mean by that?  What exactly are these toxins, where are they, what do we know about them?  People sometimes question whether there is science behind these fears, while others become frustrated with how pervasive the problem is and throw up their hands in defeat, saying that there is simply too much for us to avoid so why even try.  For those of us who know we have been harmed by some of these toxins it can be painful to find out just how much was known, how early, and yet we were still allowed to be harmed.  Yes, there has been some "better living through chemistry" (which comes from a marketing slogan from DuPont when it was trying to save it's destroyed public image back in the 1930s), but this progress has been reckless and has ended and destroyed many, many lives, and those lives matter too.

For my post about environmental sources of metals, go here.  This post focuses on other toxins mostly.

GENERAL SOURCES:

TOXNET is part of the NIH National Library of Medicine and is an incredible resource.  It contains links to many databases with various toxicology information, such as the Hazardous Substances Data Bank, which has peer-reviewed toxicology info for over 5,000 toxic chemicals, another one with over 4 million literature references regarding the toxicity and effects of drugs and toxic chemicals, another with interactive maps health data and EPA data such as superfund sites, even databases of info about the effects of drugs on lactating and pregnant women and on reproduction.

HealthyStuff this site provides information about toxic chemicals that can be found in everyday items such as toys, children's car seats, jewelry, and building materials.  It has a searchable database and reports on specific types of products.

The Collaborative on Health and the Environment has a database that allows you to select a disease and see which toxic chemicals are associated with it, ranked by how strong the evidence is to support the link.

This page from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences discusses chemicals that are endocrine disrupters, including what they are and how they work.  Chemicals with endocrine disrupting abilities include BPA, some flame retardants, dioxins, many pesticides, PCBs, and many more.

This page from TACA (Talk About Curing Autism) has information about some specific toxins found in our food supply and environment.

This post from The Autism File called Green Home…Healthy Kids gives more information on a wide variety of hazardous chemicals found in and around our homes, such as personal care products, cleaning products, and electronics.

It turns out that many of these harmful chemicals are ending up in human breastmilk and being passed along to babies at a susceptible age.

PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS:

The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database has information about toxic chemicals in personal care products such as cosmetics, shampoo, and sunscreen.

The Cost of Inaction: A Socioeconomic analysis of costs linked to effects of endocrine disrupting substances on male reproductive health

HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS:

The US Department of Health and Human Services Household Products Database has health and safety information for many types of household products such as cleaning chemicals, fertilizers, auto products, and arts and crafts materials.  The entries have information from the product labels and MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) put out by the manufacturer, as well as contact info for the manufacturer.

Low levels of common flame-retardant chemical damages brain cells
"The study showed that even tiny amounts of the compound damage neural mitochondria, the energy plants that power our cells. The chemical, quite literally, reduces brain power. In addition, the researchers found that the loss of PTEN protein, a condition associated with autism-like behavior in mice, combined with BDE-49 exposure, makes neurons even more susceptible to mitochondrial damage. These findings bolster the argument that genetics and environment can combine to increase the risk of autism and other neurological disorders. The study was published online this month in the journal Toxicological Sciences."

A study reported on in The Economist that looked for reproductive effects of certain flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) " found that each tenfold increase in the blood concentration of PBDEs was linked to a 30% decrease in the probability of becoming pregnant each month."

AIR AND WATER:

Environmental Working Group's National Drinking Water Database allows you to search by zip code to find out what is in local drinking water.

Neurotoxicity of traffic-related air pollution
"The central nervous system is emerging as an important target for adverse health effects of air pollution, where it may contribute to neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. Air pollution comprises several components, including particulate matter (PM) and ultrafine particulate matter (UFPM), gases, organic compounds, and metals. An important source of ambient PM and UFPM is represented by traffic-related air pollution, primarily diesel exhaust (DE). Human epidemiological studies and controlled animal studies have shown that exposure to air pollution, and to traffic-related air pollution or DE in particular, may lead to neurotoxicity. In particular, air pollution is emerging as a possible etiological factor in neurodevelopmental (e.g. autism spectrum disorders) and neurodegenerative (e.g. Alzheimer's disease) disorders. The most prominent effects caused by air pollution in both humans and animals are oxidative stress and neuro-inflammation. Studies in mice acutely exposed to DE (250–300 μg/m3 for 6 h) have shown microglia activation, increased lipid peroxidation, and neuro-inflammation in various brain regions, particularly the hippocampus and the olfactory bulb. An impairment of adult neurogenesis was also found. In most cases, the effects of DE were more pronounced in male mice, possibly because of lower antioxidant abilities due to lower expression of paraoxonase 2."

MEDICAL SOURCES:

Babies may receive excessive radiation from x-rays.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Infections Alter Our Genetic Expression

Research published in the Dec 15th issue of the journal Immunity has found that infections alter the expression of host genes.  The changes that result from infection are different for viruses and bacteria and may be used in the future as a way to distinguish viral infections from bacterial ones.  Additionally, they found that the expression of a group of 11 genes were altered by the influenza virus and this could serve as a useful way to distinguish influenza from other viral infections.  They found that the influenza vaccine led to the same changes in gene behavior.  There is hope that this could be a way reduce the overuse of antibiotics by identifying more accurately which infections are viral and therefore not appropriate for antibiotic treatment.  

From this article in Science News about this research and what it means:

"To find the viral fingerprints, computational immunologist Purvesh Khatri of Stanford University and colleagues combed through a wide variety of publicly available datasets that included information about how human genes behaved after an infection of influenza, human rhinovirus and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. The researchers churned these diverse datasets through a series of sophisticated mathematical analyses, a process that ultimately pinpointed a consistent viral calling card — a list of nearly 400 genes, each of which grew either more or less active during a viral attack. Many of those genes make proteins known to be involved in virus responses and inflammation."

This is the abstract for the journal article itself:


 While this research looked at the effects on human genes for three viruses, it seems likely that at least some other viruses have this effect as well.  This is particularly interesting since ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia often begin with a viral infection that seems to act as a trigger, maybe this is how?  Maybe some people have some problem with the mechanism that corrects these changes after infection, if that happens, or maybe the way the gene expression is altered is not the same in some people, or maybe there are mutations in these genes that do not become apparent until their expression is changed in this way?  I also can't help but wonder if the flu vaccine alters DNA expression, maybe other vaccines do as well, and again maybe this plays a role in the onset of some adverse reactions and disorders that can follow vaccination?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Products for Special Diets and Clean Eating and Where to Get Them

PLACES TO ORDER SAFE FOODS

Groceries and General Foods:

VitaCost
They carry a huge variety of foods including many gluten-free and other special diet friendly options, have generally low prices, very fast shipping, and have sales going pretty much all the time.  They also have a good selection of supplements.

Thrive Market
They have a smaller selection than VitaCost does but are more special-diet focused and have some products at really low prices.

Azure Standard
This is a company that offers a variety of health-oriented groceries, which are ordered online and then delivered to a local drop site by semi truck according to a route schedule.

Natural Candy Store
You can search their offerings by type of diet (such as Feingold, vegan, gluten-free) or by allergen(s) to avoid.

Meat and Seafood:

US Wellness Meats

Vital Choice Seafood

Iliamna Fish Company
This is a CSF (Community Supported Fishery, a model similar to the CSAs that many people are aware of.  They have four locations where shares are available.  We've bought shares of their fish and it is very good!

Starter and Supplies for fermentation and cultured foods:

Cultures for Health

Herbs and medicinal ingredients:

Mountain Rose Herbs

Organic alcohol


The Risks of Gluten for Everyone



In this TED talk, Dr Rodney Ford of New Zealand argues that eating gluten is not good for anyone, that eating it is taking a risk.   In the 1950s, a dutch physician named Dr Dicke was the first person to figure out that celiac disease was caused by eating wheat, specifically the gluten part.  Half of the protein in wheat is gluten. In the 1960s they began doing biopsies and found that in Celiac Disease, gluten was causing damage to the intestines, and the biopsy became the gold standard of diagnosis.  When we eat gluten, it doesn't get fully digested.  If it gets into the bloodstream the body makes antibodies to it and these can be tested for (via Anti Gliadin Antibody Test).  His patients whose biopsies are negative for celiac disease, but positive for anti gliadin antibodies, respond to the gluten-free diet the same way that people with celiac do.  He presented research he did showing that of 1000 kids who came through his clinic, who did not test positive for celiac, recovered on a gluten-free diet.  When his research was met with skepticism and insistence that only children with celiac warranted a gluten free diet, he decided to call what he found "The Gluten Syndrome".  He and others were finding that much of the damage from gluten is to the nerves.

Recently there has been a lot of attention paid to the many problems associated with wheat and gluten.  He references the books Wheat Belly, Grain Brain, and Toxic Staple as examples.  Dr Alessio Fasano, director of The Center for Celiac Research in Boston MA, argues in his book Gluten Related Disorders that 10% of people in North America are suffering from gluten-related disorders. Nobody can digest gluten, he calls it a waste of chewing.  Dr Fasano showed that everyone who eats gluten gets an inflammatory reaction in the gut due to zonulin.  Zonulin loosens the tight junctions between cells that line your intestines and makes your gut leaky.  A researcher in Spain classified gluten as an anti-nutrient, arguing that is actually has negative effect on nutrient status.  There are other proteins in wheat that are just as harmful.  Gluten, it's antibodies, and it's partially digested pieces all harm the brain more than any other part of the body.  Gluten has also been shown to trigger auto immune disease.  He draws a parallel between the risk of smoking and the risk of eating gluten, and says why take that risk?


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Basic Vaccine Information

The AAP Immunization schedule

State Law & Vaccine Requirements

Where to access the package inserts for all vaccines licensed in the US
(this list is slightly different)

Common Ingredients in U.S. Licensed Vaccines (from the FDA)





"The Vaccine Injury Table makes it easier for some people to get compensation. The Table lists and explains injuries/conditions that are presumed to be caused by vaccines."

How to file a claim with the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

National Vital Statistics System

Contaminants in Vaccines

Investigating Viruses in Cells Used to Make Vaccines; and Evaluating the Potential Threat Posed by Transmission of Viruses to Humans
(FDA website)
"Virus-based vaccines are made in living cells (cell substrates). Some manufacturers are investigating the use of new cell lines to make vaccines...  In some cases the cell lines that are used might be tumorigenic, that is, they form tumors when injected into rodents. Some of these tumor-forming cell lines may contain cancer-causing viruses that are not actively reproducing. Such viruses are hard to detect using standard methods. These latent, or "quiet," viruses pose a potential threat, since they might become active under vaccine manufacturing conditions. Therefore, to ensure the safety of vaccines, our laboratory is investigating ways to activate latent viruses in cell lines and to detect the activated viruses, as well as other unknown viruses, using new technologies. We will then adapt our findings to detect viruses in the same types of cell substrates that are used to produce vaccines."  In other words, they currently cannot detect these viruses!

Screening of Viral Pathogens from Pediatric Ileal Tissue Samples After Vaccination
"In 2010, researchers reported that the two US-licensed rotavirus vaccines contained DNA or DNA fragments from porcine circovirus (PCV). Although PCV, a common virus among pigs, is not thought to cause illness in humans, these findings raised several safety concerns."

Investigations of porcine circovirus type 1 (PCV1) in vaccine-related and other cell lines
 2011 Oct 26;29(46):8429-37
"Porcine circovirus type 1 (PCV1) is highly prevalent in swine and was recently reported in some rotavirus vaccines. Since animal-derived raw materials, such as cells, trypsin, and serum, can be a major source of introducing virus contamination in biological products, we have investigated PCV1 in several cell lines...  MDBK cells, which are used for some animal vaccines, contained PCV1 sequences, although no virus was isolated. Although the results showed that PCV infection may not have occurred under previous culture conditions, the recent cases of vaccine contamination emphasizes the need for continued efforts to reduce the likelihood of introducing viruses from animal-derived materials used in product manufacture."

Evidence of pestivirus RNA in human virus vaccines
J Clin Microbiol. Jun 1994; 32(6): 1604–1605
"We examined live virus vaccines against measles, mumps, and rubella for the presence of pestivirus RNA or of pestiviruses by reverse transcription PCR. Pestivirus RNA was detected in two measles-mumps-rubella combined vaccines and in two monovalent vaccines against mumps and rubella."

Genotypes of pestivirus RNA detected in live virus vaccines for human use
 2001 Jul;63(7):723-33.
"Five (13.1%) out of 38 tested samples were positive for pestivirus RNA... Analyses based on primary nucleotide sequence homology and on secondary structures, characteristic to genotypes, revealed that the cDNA sequences belonged to bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV). A cDNA sequence, detected from one measles sample, belonged to BVDV-1b genotype. Pestiviral cDNA detected from the Japanese mumps and rubella vaccine samples, belonged to the BVDV genotypes 1a and 1c, respectively. Analysis on two cDNA sequences detected from measles and rubella vaccine samples from Europe showed their appurtenance to a new genotype, BVDV-1d. These findings indicate that contamination by animal pestivirus may occur in biological products for human use."

Endotoxins in commercial vaccines
Appl Environ Microbiol. Sep 1978; 36(3): 445–449.
"Twenty samples of commercial vaccines intended for administration to humans were assayed for the presence of bacterial endotoxins by using the Limulus amebocyte lysate test. Sixteen of the vaccines contained more than 0.1 ng of endotoxin per ml (which corresponds to 103 bacterial cell wall equivalents per ml in the undiluted vaccines). These results suggest that at some stage of preparation, the vaccines have contained varying amounts of gram-negative bacteria and may indicate the presence of other bacterial products as well. It might be useful to list the level of endotoxins, phage, and other contaminants on each vaccine lot to facilitate studies on any side effects of these contaminants. Selection of vaccine lots with the least endotoxin might reduce some of the adverse effects of vaccinations."