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Zoloft for anxiety; NAET continuing

I hate meds, especially meds with bad side effects. But Mike has been very anxious lately, even with the biomedical intervention supplements.  So the doctor has prescribed zoloft–which so far as I know has minimal side effects.  Shannon has been on zoloft for years, and I think it does help her anxiety. So we’ll try it for Mike. Despite his Asperger’s diagnosis, he is doing very well in school so far this year. The supplements are helping him considerably.

Shannon is being treated for her Asperger’s with NAET, an allergy elimination technique involving acupressure.  It takes a while to get through the protocol, especially with a monthlong break in the summer, so I don’t have anything to report at this time. I’ll keep you posted.

Chiro visit one year later

It’s been about a year since Mike went to see the chiropractor, Katharine Conable. Our finances have been sagging, to say the least.  But after a year, it’s time to check. So we went for a nutrition check yesterday.

Dr. Conable muscle-tested him to see which supplements  still work for him. Mike’s on a biomedical intervention for autism, giving him a variety of food supplements that improve his behavior. The chiropractor uese applied kinesiology muscle testing instead of much more expensive lab testing to see what works for him.

Mike is on 15 supplements. She’s taking away just two of them. So he’ll be on 13. I suppose he will need them indefinitely; he’s got these genetic mutations, and the supplements address taps in his mitochondrial systems caused by the mutations.

Mike is doing very well this summer. He’s a bit more anxious than I would like, though. I was going to take him off his anxiety medicine and backed down a notch, but it got worse and stayed that way. So I went back up to the original dose. I guess we’ll ask the MD at the end of August whether he needs a higher dose, now that he is adult-sized.

Autism’s False Prophets by Paul A. Offit, MD, a review

Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure, by Paul A. Offit, MD.

Published by Columbia University Press, 2008, 247 pages.

Offit, a doctor who is a proponent and inventor of vaccines, tells a sad tale of desperate parents of autistic children falling for charlatans. He details one death (from botched chelation) and plenty of wasted money, and lots of wasted breath on the subject of thimerosal and the MMR vaccine as causes of autism.

Offit has waded right into this controversy. He does some name-calling in the subtitle of his book, and ridicules those who disagree with him, suggesting they can’t count.

Here’s his summary (p. 247):  “The science is largely complete.  Ten epidemiological studies have shown MMR vaccine doesn’t cause autism; six have shown thimerosal doesn’t cause autism; three have shown thimerosal doesn’t cause subtle neurological problems; a growing body of evidence now points to the genes
that are linked to autism; and despite the removal of thimerosal from vaccines in 2001, the number of children with autism continues to rise.”

Offit says that epidemiological studies have refuted two vaccine-related hypotheses:

* that thimerosal, a mercury additive, causes autism, and
* that the measles virus in the MMR shot causes autism.

He lists a number of epidemiological (population-wide) studies to back these up.  He goes into absolutely no detail though. Bryan Jepson, MD, in his book Changing the Course of Autism, goes into plenty of details questioning these studies.  I would like to challenge Offit to respond to Jepson’s analysis, line by line.

Offit’s tone is most offensive when he quotes anti-vaccine activist and parent  Jenny McCarthy as saying “in 1983, there were 10 vaccines. Now there are 36.”  Offit then counts 7 in 1983 and 14 today and names them–polio, measles, etc.  Then Offit says “Misstatements of fact didn’t seem to matter. Thirty-six vaccines, 14 vaccines, close enough.”(p. 242-3)

Now, I know she is counting shots or sticks, like any mother would, while he is counting the several shots and boosters required for each disease as one vaccination.  He’s comparing apples to oranges and then adding a put-down. Does this make her look bad, or him?

Now, let’s look at his logic. He says that many studies are showing that neither thimerosal nor the measles virus from the MMR shot causes autism. Therefore, Offit says, vaccines don’t cause autism.

Whoa, Nelly. There are many more features of vaccines than just these two that could possibly cause autism. This is precisely Jenny McCarthy’s point: even if thimerosal and the measles virus are not to blame, the sheer number of vaccines being given our tiny children with immature immune systems could be causing autism, in some way not fully understood.  THIS question has not been the subject of a study yet, I believe.  Such a study would use epidemiology to compare a vaccinated population with an unvaccinated one.  There are such vaccinated populations:  Amish, and a home-birth medical practice that has delivered 30,000 children in Chicago. This study needs to be done, if the vaccine controversy is going to go away.

Here’s the reason why we need to do this study–we can all see that the autism rate has been rising with the number of vaccines given, as Jenny McCarthy was pointing out.  Even if we don’t have a theory of exactly HOW the vaccines may cause autism, the vaccines could still be causing it.

Offit thinks the cause of autism must be genetic.  Researchers are finding a collection of mutations that appear to be linked to autism. Actually my family has participated in this research. In our case, there clearly is a genetic component, with autism occuring in two generations.

But an epidemic CANNOT have a sole genetic cause. This is more logic. Mutations don’t just  start happening like crazy all by themselves. There has to be something in the environment that has changed, and that started changing significantly around 1990.

I think that many or most of the kids affected by the epidemic have only a minimal genetic tendency, and that a toxin of some kind is to blame.  For these kids, “recovery” is possible. I say this because I know moms of kids through the Internet whose kids are recovered. Jenny McCarthy’s son is recovered. In fact you
can see before and after videos  of recovered kids.  Treatments varied, but the result is the same.

Now, Offit plays the video card the other way. He cites a study where researchers looked at baby videos of older kids who are autistic. In their baby videos the researchers found autistic traits even before the age of 1. Therefore, Offit says, the MMR shot, given after the age of 1, isn’t to blame.  Well, I guess he can have that point. But he needs to look at the before and after videos of these other kids, the ones who are recovered. Offit actually denies that recovery is possible and praises parent activists who take this position as well.

And while he thinks autism must be genetic, he completely ignores the work of Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) doctors and Amy Yasko on providing supplements to fill in the gaps in mitochondrial cycles such as the methylation cycle, gaps caused by genetic mutations.  The DAN!/Yasko approach is purely pragmatic — sketch the possible cycle problem, and try a supplement to fix it. If it works, keep it.  Offit is a theorist, and isn’t into pragmatics. He also doesn’t have an autistic child who is rapidly growing up, like many of the DAN! doctors do.

It’s been a long and vicious controversy. Offit carefully details it –how English doctor Andrew Wakefield, the first to link autism to the MMR vaccine, falsified data and was ultimately stripped of his medical license in the UK. How the possible thimerosal link was sensationalized, with the only supporting lab data available based on non-human studies. How both hypotheses are apparently proved wrong by a number of epidemiological studies (but he gives no details, as I said).

Then he describes various situations where charlatans have hoodwinked the public, and says that that is what is going on here.  Apparently he wants us parents to sit and wait while our kids are growing up, until the medical community comes up with a cause and then a cure. Never mind that the research being funded is aimed at genetic causes, not environmental.  Never mind that autism research is amazingly poorly funded, given the size of the epidemic. Never mind that our kids will be grown up in the meantime.

I am sad that the kids are losing out, as result of all this crossfire.  I hope that researchers will move their focus to a variety of environmental factors that could be causes, including the greatly increased use of plastics since 1990.

Especially I would like to see the epidemiological study I mentioned before, comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.  The reason is the preponderance of anecdotal evidence that children become autistic soon after vaccination. And that’s not just for the MMR vaccine.

And what’s a parent to do? Since some kids are recovering, I believe it’s my responsibility as a parent to find out what I can and try what I can afford.  We do need to be cautious, especially not doing anything that could possibly hurt our children.  We need to be wise.  We need to share what works with each other. We do need to heed Offit’s warning that there are people out there ready and willing to prey on us.

Offit’s allies are parents whose primary motivation seems to be concern about hurting a child’s feelings by telling the child he’s in need of a cure.  That must be a bit hard on the self-esteem, I agree. These parents prefer to emphasize the special abilities that come with autism, including unusual memory.

So, here’s the question:  Does your child know he is different? If your child had the opportunity to choose, what would he or she choose? To seek a cure or not?

Well, I have a 21-year-old daughter with Asperger’s who has made this choice herself, after turning 21. She has chosen to go to the DAN! doctor and take the supplements. She is proud of her special abilities in memory and oddball sense of humor. But she has a sense of adventure, too.

That’s what we all need to do, we parents of kids with autism:  figure out what the kids would want, if they were old enough to choose. –Phyllis Wheeler

All Those Supplements Forever?

Mike is taking 17 different supplements and one prescription medication.  That’s a lot of pills, and it’s not cheap.

So, he’s been on this regimen for a year now. Will he be able to drop some of them?

I asked myself this question. Over the Christmas break I dropped his prescription med dosage for a few days. He’s on clonazepam for anxiety.  Well, he definitely got more anxious, and it didn’t go away. So I put him back on the regular dosage.

Then a few weeks ago we accidentally ran out of one of his supplements. I have a system that works pretty well, which is namely always have a spare bottle of the supplement on hand, and when the spare is opened, order a new one.  Well, I messed up and didn’t have any of his “Ora Adren 80” supplement.  I thought I’d let him do without it for a week to see what happened.

He definitely got more anxious and was less easy-going. After a week or so of that, not lessening, I ordered some more. But it took a while for the “more” to show up.  Now he’s been back on it for six days.  I can tell the difference in him. He’s more easy going.  In fact, he had previously wanted me to arrange a mediated meeting with his aide at school to discuss some concerns with her. Now he says he doesn’t want the meeting–his concerns weren’t important. He can see her motives more clearly somehow, and knows she wants what is best for him.

I think that because of his genetics, he will probably always need this big collection of supplements to keep equilibrium.  I am guessing that if you took them all away, he would be way off center and could hardly function.  So I have to plan how to make sure someone is available who can keep track of them and order more, as he grows older.  Also that there is money available for that.

This contrasts to the situation of the majority of kids affected by the autism epidemic. They aren’t particularly genetically prone to autism–it’s just that their systems are more susceptible to toxins or other challenges than the average person’s.  These kids may not be sentenced to supplements for life.

Mike’s World History Final Exam

I am so proud of Mike. He got an A+ on his world history final exam.  This is not a special ed class, but a regular class at Webster Groves High School, a respected high school.  His handwriting is so much better than before we started the biomedical protocol.

Here’s a sample from three years before, showing his consistently messy writing:

MMR vaccine: never adequately tested

I am still digesting the book written by Bryan Jepson, MD.  Today I am going to look at the studies done that approved the MMR vaccine for use by the public, as reported by Jepson.

Full-blown measles is a bad virus, no doubt about that. It can cause diseases of the gastrointestinal system and the central nervous system (encephalitis). It can suppress the immune system profoundly.

But what about the milder version of the disease that’s in the MMR vaccine? (MMR for measles, mumps, and rubella)  It’s still bad. The vaccine has been shown to cause complications including acute gastrointestinal problems such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis; arthritis, seizures, meningitis, and encephalitis.  These possibilities have been well known for a while. But not particularly common, we assume, seeing as how the vaccine is approved for use.

But that approval was flawed, Jepson argues.  “The pre-licensure safety studies on the various forms of MMR were grossly inadequate in terms of methodology, presence of a good control group, and duration of active follow-up (all follow-ups were less than 28 days; the latent period of the virus is known to last up to 21 days),” wrote Jepson (p. 80).  After this short period, doctors were asked to self-report adverse reactions, a system known to severely under-estimate incidence of reactions.  “All of the adverse reactions were either dismisssed by authorities as coincidental or accepted as an unavoidable element of an overall risk/benefit analysis, a ratio that has never been adequately established through appropriate research studies.”

I don’t know about you but I find this alarming.  MY KIDS all got these shots.  I trusted the doctors. Who were they trusting?

The next problem with the vaccine is the fact that there are three live viruses in it, each indendently associated with autism. Measles,  which strongly suppresses the Th1 anti-viral immune response, will leave the body open to attack by a second virus.

Now, remind me again, why are we doing this to our children?  Jepson says the importance of giving such vaccines to small children is debatable.  Mumps is relatively benign for children, says Jepson.  In fact the mumps vaccine will confer immunity for only a few years, so it doesn’t actually protect when it’s more needed–for males after puberty, when it can cause sterility.  Rubella can cause developmental disability if a woman is infected during pregnancy. But there were only about 20 such cases in the US per year before the vaccine policy went into effect, says Jepson.

“It would make more sense to target susceptible risk groups, such as immediately pre-pubertal males for mumps and pubertal females for rubella, rather than requirng all toddlers to receive a vaccine with viral-viral interactions that are not yet clearly established, and that provide them with time-limited protection at the time in their lives when they least need it,” says Jepson. (p. 81)

Jepson, Bryan, MD, and Jane Johnson, Changing the Course of Autism, Sentient Publications, 2007, 354 pages

Generation Rescue on Larry King Live tomorrow, Saturday

I just got an email from Generation Rescue, the organization trying to bring the autism epidemic to the public’s attention.  GR spokesperson Jenny McCarthy (an actress who has just written a book about her son’s recovery from autism, married to Jim Carrey) will be on Larry King Live with some other people.  We can tune in on CNN and even join the conversation. The broadcast will be at 6 p.m. PST/9 p.m. EST.

They are expected to discuss vaccine dangers, and how to treat and prevent autism.  Your newborn boy has a one in 96 chance of being autistic.  That’s far too big!!

Personally I think our doctors need to decide whether they are part of the solution, or part of the problem. If they are doing what they are trained to do, that is give many, many vaccines to tiny children in an untested protocol, then they are part of the problem.

Please tune in to this program, and ask your doctor to tune in too.

A letter from Jim Witte, a reader

I just ran across your CuringAutismBlog while looking for information about yeast
treatment and handwriting.  It’s amazing how you can wander around in the ‘autism biomed web’ seemingly forever and still find something new.  Maria Janik, who co-runs the Indiana biomed list and is the Northwest Indiana chapter co-ordinator for NAA, said that one of the big sites actually has samples of kids handwriting before and after GI yeast treatment which show improvement handwriting quality improvement of years after only a few days on yeast treatment.  I can’t find anything – do you know where to look?  🙂

You mentioned your kids have Asperger’s.  Did you read the Age of Autism story on the “experimental” work being done at the Harvard Center for Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation that apparently (at least in the few people tested) will “cure” Asperger’s (to some degree at least – I’m not sure we know how much) at least for a while using transcranial magnetic therapy (TMS)?  I put “experimental” in quotes because I don’t really consider it to be experimental except in terms of whether it works in large numbers of patients.
It’s been shown to work – it’s already known to be safe as Canada approved it for
depression and it seems to be “quasi-approved” here for “treatment-resistant
depression”..  (Meanwhile, the FDA has either “quasi-approved” or “completely approved”) deep brain stimulation for treatment-resistant depression as well..  So.. They’d rather you get your head cut open and an electrode stuck in the bottom of your brain rather than have a coil innocuously waves around your head?  (And if you say, “Oh that hurts!” they can immediately turn it off?)  But they’d much rather you just take the “convenient once a day” (and expensive) antidepressant pills instead..  Don’t you just love our FDA? <sigh?>

Anyway, have you tried nasal oxytocin supplementation?  Oxytocin is a natural
9-amino-acid peptide that seems to have social bonding effects in humans as well as other species studies, as well as being involved in the milk let-down reflex and childbirth.  There is not a very big literature base on it’s use, but there is some evidence that it improves the ability of autistic people to correctly detect emotion in otherwise neutral spoken sentences, as well as improving encoding of “positive social memories” (haven’t read the paper yet).  I’ve used it (I have some kind of “mild Asperger’s” with strange endocrine/adrenal/stress-response problems), and have NOT seen the kinds of social effects I expected, but then – I’m 30 and my parents are not exactly social butterflies either (my Dad probably has Asperger’s of some degree as well). Strangely, it does appear to have increased my binocular fusion ability.  I think it also had very subtle social effects – mainly feeling a bit more at ease in crowds of people – and decreased the amount of antidepressant I take to zero, and reducing my anti-anxiety usage by half.

I know of it’s effect in one neurotypical woman – Susan Owen’s daughter who takes it because there’s a study showing it is low in patients with fibromyalgia (which her daughter appears to have).  In her, it seems to have had really positive and noticeable social effects – but the difference might be to and interaction with her social environment (high school).  So it appears to be a mixed bag, so to speak.

I have a protocol to test combining oxytocin supplementation and the TMS treatment, on the hypothesis that whatever change the TMS induces in the brain (the CNBS people are hypothesizing that it “rebalances” the brain activity of people with Asperger’s) and the oxytocin production/usage system in the brain are dependent on each other.  Combining the two may create what might essentially a long-term conditional “cure” of sorts.

Do your children have problems with oxalic acid, and have you looked into the “Vitamin K Protocol”?  It’s started as a way to use supplemental vitamin K (K2 actually – which is normally created by a gut bacterium from the K1 form in eaten plants) to regulate calcium in the body (vitamin K is needed to “activate” a number of proteins, including several of the blood-clotting proteins, and two important calcium-handling proteins).  This reduces the amount of ionized calcium in the blood, which can apparently cause all sort of havoc in the brain.

There are a number of other parts to the protocol, mainly bicarbonate, which helps to counter acidosis which appears to be occurring, and iodine to treat a form of
hypothyroidism.  The hypothyroidism and the acidosis both cause the liver to overproduce oxalic acid, which leads to oxalate problems (the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase produces oxalate instead of pyruvate in an acidic environment, if I recall right).  There also appear to be problems with all sorts of ‘anion exchangers’ in the boy (including the gut oxalate exchangers, which inappropriately let oxalate out of the gut), and with phosphorus handling.  For this reason, liquid phosphorus is the newest addition to the protocol.  The archives of the group (Vitamin K) have a number of testimonials from parents who’s children essentially turned around on vitamin K (some who didn’t really respond to anything else).  The K protocol also supplements vitamins D and A, which are extraordinarily intertwined, and actually need each other to signal their respective receptors in the body.
Jim Witte
“Warrior Aspie”