Author Archives: Tracy S

Using Bacteria to Recover My Child from Autism

autism
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.- Albert Einstein
Last weekend, my 3-year-old daughter and I were grocery shopping. She busied herself narrating a vegetable monologue, while I bagged up some bananas. Another shopper stepped between us, and my daughter lost sight of me. I silently watched to see how she would react. Her eyes darted around to find me, and then she hurried over to stand nearby.

A giant smile spread across my face.

Less than 18 short months ago, my daughter would have happily gone home with any stranger in that store. She did not know who I was. She did not know who her father was. And we cared for her 24/7.

If you look closely at my daughter’s bed, you will notice adhesive residue all over the frame. At 8 months of age, I found her in bed with a black eye. That same day, my husband taped foam pipe insulation around each bar of her crib. We were trying to protect her – from herself.

She was fearless, and seemed almost immune to physical pain. Her hyperactivity was extreme. She had a constant and relentless nervous energy that bordered on seizure-like behaviors. An MD specialist told us that her fixation on tiny objects, and repetitive physical movements, were early signs of Autism.

Then there were the developmental delays. Sitting up, rolling over, standing, walking, talking – she was significantly delayed on every milestone.

Along for the ride were the medical issues. Food sensitivities to EVERYTHING, GERD, a primary immune deficiency, epic insomnia, bacterial imbalances, appetite loss, failure to thrive, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. That’s just what I can remember.

TODAY- she is unequivocally one of the happiest, healthiest, most loving and charismatic 3-year old’s you will ever meet. The journey between then and now has been epic, and life changing. I would not wish what we have been through on my worst enemy.

It was years spent poring over research studies, and learning from other parents on a similar path. I sought out doctors who understood the source of my daughter’s issues. We used lab work to identify vitamin/mineral deficiencies, and supplements to fill those gaps. We rotated nutrient dense foods, to prevent her immune system from reacting to them. We identified and eliminated any foods and food chemicals that provoked acute reactions in her. As much as possible, we reduced exposure to toxins from food, water, household cleaners, detergents, soaps, lotions, fragrances, cookware, vaccines, medications, and electrical devices.

And I prayed, pleaded, screamed, swore, cried, and begged. Some days were better than others.

But everything helped, and she recovered. Slowly. But as the months went by, we hit a wall. She was better – much less violent and self-injurious. I fought to convince myself that this might be as good as it would get. And I continually reminded myself how much worse it used to be. But, I could not shake the feeling that we were still missing something.

I heard a gentle, yet constant message: “This is not your daughter.”

So, I continued my infinite quest for answers. Soon after, a book showed up in my recommended feed. It was titled “Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain-for Life”, and it was ranked #1 in the category of Autism.

From the very first page, I could not put it down. It was like reading my own personal medical history. Heavy childhood antibiotic use – check, poor nutrition – check, frequent illness – check, food/chemical sensitivities – check, frequent GI distress, anxiety, insomnia – check, check, check.

And more importantly, were the parallels between the author’s patients and my daughter. The stool analysis of a young Autistic patient revealed he was missing an important strain of beneficial bacteria. Chills immediately shot up and down my spine. My daughter’s stool analysis lab results were identical to this child’s. The author suggested the patient’s mother try introducing probiotics with the missing strain(s) directly to his colon. Long story short, that child is no longer Autistic.

I was intrigued. Our integrative MD had suggested a probiotic suppository in the past, but it had been lost in the sea of our treatment trials. Now armed with the knowledge of how it might help my daughter, I was compelled to try. I contacted my colonic hydro-therapist for advice on how to administer a liquid suppository to my toddler, and probiotic dosage recommendations.

The results were nothing short of miraculous. Of all the treatments we have used, none have had the dramatic effect this did. Almost exactly 48 hours after the first treatment, she slept 14 hours through the night. And she woke lethargic. I thought something was wrong, that she must be sick. She was not sick. Her physical body was simply exhausted. This poor child’s nervous system had been operating on hyper-drive for nearly 2 years of her life. And now, it had finally downshifted.

Two weeks after the first treatment, she hugged me for the first time ever and soon began calling me ‘Mama’. A week later, she saw something that startled her on the television and came running to us for comfort. She took a minor fall on the kitchen tile, hit her head and began to cry. These might sound like normal childhood behaviors, but they were all new to her.

Within a month of starting the treatment, her hyperactivity reduced dramatically. She could sit with me long enough to read a short book, or watch a television program. And she continued to sleep a solid, uninterrupted 10-13 hours. Every. Single. Night.

Her energy, pain, and fear thresholds all normalized. She began to exhibit empathy and caution. Her epic tantrums subsided, and her extreme mood swings were replaced with a calm complacency that I didn’t even know was possible. There were countless subtle changes in her, too many to remember and list.

In short, I met my daughter for the first time when she was about 19 months of age.

I cry tears of happiness every time I share our experience with someone, and as I’m writing about it now. It still feels completely unreal that a teaspoon of probiotic-rich water – gave me back my daughter. I don’t know that this treatment will work the wonders for anyone else that it did for us. But I want to tell our story, if it means it may help even one more child.

With Peace & Love,
-Tracy

The Autism Intensive – Expert Interview Series

38 functional medicine experts expose the latest science about the gut microbiome, immunity, and methylation.
The Autism Intensive

And be sure to check out Dr. Thomas’ newly released book for additional tips on keeping your family healthy and protected.
The Vaccine-Friendly Plan: Dr. Paul’s Safe and Effective Approach to Immunity and Health-from Pregnancy Through Your Child’s Teen Years

A Reflux Revelation

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

  • Sixty percent of the adult population will experience some type of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) within a 12 month period and 20 to 30 percent will have weekly symptoms. 1
  • Approximately seven million people in the United States have some symptoms of GERD. 2
  • In 2004, approximately 20 percent of the United States population reported reflux symptoms that occurred at least weekly. 3
  • Primary or secondary GERD diagnosis increased by an unprecedented 216 percent or from a total of 995,402 individuals diagnosed in 1998 to 3,141,965 in 2005. 4
  • Children with GERD symptoms who were hospitalized with a primary GERD diagnosis increased by 42 percent in infants and 84 percent in children between the ages of two and 17. 5
  • There are approximately 64.6 million prescriptions written for GERD medications in the United States on an annual basis. 6
  • It is estimated that worldwide, approximately 5 to 7 percent of the total population has symptoms of GERD, which is most commonly reported as heartburn that occurs on a daily or frequent basis. 7

gutinflammation
Ask the average person what they think causes heartburn, and they will probably tell you it’s stomach acid. While largely unproven, this conclusion has been widely accepted and likely derived from the ‘burning’ sensation, and success with treatment using proton pump inhibiting (PPI) medications like Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec. PPI medications reduce gastric acid by blocking the gastric pump of stomach parietal cells, so one would naturally assume the reduction in acid is to credit for the relief in our associated ‘burning’ GERD symptoms.

However, what most people don’t realize, is that PPI medications can also serve as powerful anti-inflammatories. 8 In fact, a published study review concluded that PPI medications potentially have beneficial effects in any number of inflammatory diseases, gastrointestinal or extra-intestinal, in which acid has no role, and a positive clinical response to PPIs should not be interpreted as proof of an underlying acid-peptic disorder. 9 The review goes on to suggest that patients may be mistaking their symptom improvement on PPI medications as acid reduction, when in fact it is a reduction of inflammation within their gastrointestinal tract. 10

And there is further compelling evidence bringing into question the presumed etiology of GERD, from a recent study done on 12 patients being treated with PPI’s for their reflux esophagitis. 11The study concludes that the damage done to each patient’s esophagus was not caused by stomach acid, but by an inflammatory immune response. 12

So, let’s review: For some of us, the pain we know as ‘heartburn’ potentially has nothing to do with the gastric acids produced by the stomach, and instead is the result of immune inflammation and aggravation within the upper gastrointestinal tract/esophagus. PPI medications are anti-inflammatories so they are potentially reducing the inflammation, thereby eliminating the associated pain. Sounds like the perfect treatment solution, right?

That is, until you consider the risk of side effects – especially with long term use of PPI medications. Adequate stomach acid is a necessary and relevant part of the metabolic process, and there are adverse consequences to habitually reducing/eliminating it. PPI use has been linked to the predisposal of certain infectious diseases, dementia, kidney disease, heart attacks, stroke, vitamin deficiencies, bone fractures, and gut dysbiosis – just to name a few. 13 14

But there is an alternative option: Determine what is triggering the immune inflammation in your GI tract and eliminate it. It will cost you nothing, except some time and effort, there is no risk of any adverse side effects, and you may end up eliminating other cryptic inflammatory symptoms you did not even realize were associated to the exposure.

My advice? Start by removing some of the top allergen offenders from your diet one at a time, and see if you notice a difference in your GERD symptoms. And start paying attention to what you’ve been exposed to recently when your symptoms are at their worst. Did you suffer with heartburn all night after eating a bowl of ice cream? That should raise dairy up to the top of your suspect list. With time and practice, your allergen detective skills will improve, but try to keep it simple initially. And bear in mind that there may be multiple allergens contributing to your symptoms, and the sources may potentially include environmental triggers (lotions, detergents, soaps, pollen, cat dander, etc.), in addition to food or medication.

InfantGERDThere is another chapter to this story we have not yet explored: Infant gastrointestinal reflux disease, and this is where things become slightly more complicated. There is no question that the use of PPI medications in infants and young children is skyrocketing. One large study of about 1 million infants revealed prescriptions for one of the PPIs, made in a child-friendly liquid, rose 16-fold between 1999 and 2004. In addition, there was an overall 7-fold increase in prescriptions for PPIs for infants, and of the prescriptions written for children under 1, about half of those were for infants younger than 4 months of age. 15

But – what exactly are we treating our infants for, with PPI medications? The clinical symptoms associated with infant GERD (depending on who you ask), can range from excessive/inconsolable crying, frequent vomiting/spit up, trouble latching and swallowing, loss of appetite, failure to thrive, diarrhea, blood/mucous in stool, gas, constipation, etc. Those hardly seem like a list of symptoms that can all be attributed to acid ‘burns’ resulting from regurgitation, and not all babies with GERD symptoms regurgitate (a condition known as ‘silent reflux’).

Not surprisingly, there is mounting evidence demonstrating that a wide range of gastrointestinal pain, motility and oral motor dysfunction symptoms, including those listed above, can all be attributed to various stages of gastrointestinal immune aggravation and inflammation. 16 17 18 19 20 21

In addition, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that identifying and eliminating food and environmental sensitivities is as effective as medications for treating gastrointestinal immune inflammation symptoms in children (with one particular study indicating cow’s dairy, soy, and wheat at the top of the list of offenders). 22 23 24

A few pointers regarding identifying and eliminating allergens in infants and young children.

  • You may find that most pediatricians will focus on cow dairy as the sole problematic component, and recommend a partially hydrolyzed (hypoallergenic) or fully hydrolyzed (super hypoallergenic/elemental) infant formula. However, nearly all powder infant formulas use corn as a sweetener so you may inadvertently end up replacing one potential allergen with another.
  • Given the extensive list of ingredients on the average can of infant formula these days, you will probably find a trial and error elimination of allergens from a breastfeeding mother’s diet to be easier and more accurate. (Not to mention, you get the added benefit of the immune modulating properties inherently found in breastmilk to potentially help battle the underlying hyper-immune conditions). 25 26 27
  • Research has demonstrated that gastrointestinal immune inflammation and activation can contribute to dysphagia (trouble swallowing), neuro-muscular dysfunction, intestinal motor abnormalities, and GI dysmotility. 28 29 Consequently, you may find that seemingly unrelated issues with latching, nursing, and the bowels may magically improve and/or resolve once the underlying immune inflammation is addressed.
  • Infant and young children’s metabolism is much faster than an adult’s, so you will typically see clinical improvement quickly once you identify and removing the offending allergen(s).

Allergen Sensitivity

  • According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, sensitization rates to one or more common allergens among school aged children are currently approaching 40%-50% worldwide.
  • One in five people in the U.S. currently have allergy or asthma symptoms.
  • 55% of Americans test positive to one or more allergens.

But for all our efforts to subdue the villainous stomach acid, the statistics are not getting any better. But perhaps that’s because we have been chasing the wrong villain. We know that This study, published just last month, strongly suggests that acid is not the underlying cause for the ‘burn’ in heartburn. Instead, an inflammatory immune response is. That’s right – your undiscovered dairy, gluten, corn, egg, or soy sensitivity may be entirely to blame for those pesky GERD symptoms you have been popping Nexium to treat. 30

But that does bring up an interesting point, if acid is not causing the burn then why are PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor) medications like Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec so effective at treating the symptoms? We know that PPI’s reduce gastric acid by blocking the gastric pump of stomach parietal cells, so we would naturally assume the reduction in acid is to credit for the relief in our associated ‘burning’ GERD symptoms. However, it turns out that PPI medications have another, more relevant function in this scenario.

Recent research has demonstrated that PPIs also serve as powerful anti-inflammatories, independent from their function of blocking acid production. A published study review concluded PPI medications potentially have beneficial effects in any number of inflammatory diseases, gastrointestinal or extra-intestinal, in which acid has no role, and a positive clinical response to PPIs should not be interpreted as proof of an underlying acid-peptic disorder. 31

Notes:

  1. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Hospitalizations in 1998 and 2005 – HCUP-US Home Page. Retrieved March 5, 2012, from: http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb44.jsp
  2. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). (n.d.). Office of Medical Informatics – College of Medicine – University of Florida. Retrieved March 5, 2012, from: http://medinfo.ufl.edu/~gec/coa1/gerdfaq.html
  3. Digestive Diseases Statistics for the United States – National Digestive Diseases Information Clearninghouse. (n.d.). Home – National Digestive Diseases Information Clearninghouse. Retrieved March 5, 2012, from: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/statistics.aspx#specific
  4. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Hospitalizations in 1998 and 2005 – HCUP-US Home Page. Retrieved March 5, 2012, from: http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb44.jsp
  5. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Hospitalizations in 1998 and 2005 – HCUP-US Home Page. Retrieved March 5, 2012, from: http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb44.jsp
  6. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Hospitalizations in 1998 and 2005 – HCUP-US Home Page. Retrieved March 5, 2012, from: http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb44.jsp
  7. GERD Costs America Nearly $2 Billion Each Week in Lost Productivity – International Foundation for Functional Gastrointenstinal Disorders. Retrieved March 5, 2012, from: http://www.iffgd.org/site/news-events/press-releases/2005-1125-gerd-costs
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3035917
  9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3035917
  10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3035917
  11. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2521970
  12. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2521970
  13. http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/news/20160608/proton-pump-inhibitor-health-risks
  14. http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/news/20141125/could-popular-heartburn-drugs-upset-your-good-gut-bugs
  15. http://www.livescience.com/16636-acid-reflux-drugs-overused-babies.html
  16. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26022877
  17. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17053446
  18. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18713339
  19. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25808260
  20. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25845555
  21. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26194403
  22. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26022877
  23. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25808260
  24. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25845555
  25. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27183772
  26. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20485331
  27. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21444329
  28. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18713339
  29. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26194403
  30. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26022877
  31. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3035917

Healing My Kiddo – Lessons from the Field

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  1. You are not alone. While traveling for work a few months ago, I sat next to a mom and her 11 year old daughter. They were headed to a children’s hospital for some experimental surgery, hopeful that it would help her daughter walk as she was losing more and more movement with each passing week. Over the course of the hour and a half flight, we discussed her daughter’s history, medical mysteries, the challenges, the heartaches, the successes. I shared some of my own with my daughter, and what had worked for us. We exchanged numbers and she texted me shortly after parting ways that there had been a mix-up and they were going to have to wait for the next hotel shuttle. I immediately offered come back to the airport and give them a ride to the hotel in my rental. She insisted they would be fine, but thanked me profusely for my unexpected kindness.
    I have met a lot of parents via social media and some in real life that are on a similar journey of healing their children, and I have found that there is almost always an instant, unspoken bond between us. We are rarely at the same places in our journeys and may have strong differing opinions on certain topics, but I will still vigilantly assist and defend this virtual stranger simply because I know how much it means to them. It is strange and amazing, like 2 veterans who have witnessed the same horrors that others simply cannot relate to or understand. Many of us have little to offer in the way of assistance except to share our collective wisdom and support in the form of our words, so that’s what we do. I would not wish our experiences on my worst enemy but I have found an unexpected comfort in the knowledge that at any given moment, thousands of other parents and caretakers are out there fighting alongside me in this epic battle.
  2. Take care of yourself. The truth is that I’m not a person who handles adversity well, I’m more of a ‘fixer’. If there is a problem, I don’t tolerate it – I ‘fix’ it. Perhaps that’s why software engineering is such a good vocational fit for me. I remember at one point early on my husband said to me, “Tracy, you cannot debug an infant the way you debug a computer program.” (He was partially correct.)
    At any rate, I must have had at least a dozen or so different people say these exact words to me, “Remember to take care of yourself”. I always nodded enthusiastically, but internally I thought to myself, “Oh, I will – just as soon as I get my kid’s health problems worked out!” But that’s not how this process works, it’s a journey. You will cross the finish line a thousand times and never at all. In the words of Amy Yasko – it’s a marathon, not a sprint and you will make it farther if you recognize and honor your needs along the way.
    Don’t get me wrong, there have been periods during my daughter’s life that did not afford any ‘me time’, when we were simply doing everything we could to survive until the next day. But it does get easier, you will find a rhythm amid the chaos and those are the times when you need to fill up your own bucket. I used to think I was being selfish when I did so; how can I possibly go work out or sit and meditate when my child is physically hurting herself?! But that’s just it, I have more patience and tolerance for the terrorizing realities if I take some time to care for me, and I find it easier to recognize and appreciate those precious, happy moments. (Not to mention, I have had some of my greatest ‘AHA!’ moments regarding my daughter’s conditions while meditating or praying.)
  3. Every child is unique. As a parent, when you have those breakthrough moments with a treatment, I think it’s natural to want to scream from the mountaintops that you’ve ‘finally found the answer!’ What I have learned, is that the answers for my child are not necessarily the answers for other children. There are countless variables that effect how and why a child (or person) arrived at this exact point in their health. (I believe ‘Bio-Individuality’ is the current buzz word of choice.) It is a perfect storm that you could not possibly duplicate, even if you tried. I’m not even certain that our own ‘breakthrough’ treatments would have been as profound, had they not occurred after the other treatments we had already implemented and at the time we tried them.
    I think it is our instinct to want to help every single parent and heal every child we encounter, but it’s important to remember that everyone is at a different place in their journey and we are all dealing with our own unique struggles at any given time. I try to remind myself that even a gentle and subtle suggestion might plant a seed that will blossom when the time is right.
  4. Keep a log. If there was one single piece of clinical advice I could give parents, it would be to keep a log for their child (and even themselves). Our environmental and food allergy testing has come a long way, but my guess is that it’s still only in the 70-80% range of accuracy – at best. And there are no labs to account for chemical sensitivies, occurring in individuals with metabolic or detoxification shortcomings. The single best way to determine one’s tolerance to anything is through trial and error. (Dave Asprey calls it ‘Bio Hacking’ oneself in his book “The Bulletproof Diet”.) Our daughter’s log consists of a spreadsheet that I’ve modified as she’s grown and currently accounts for her daily food, supplements, and any behavioral or physical anomalies (extreme hyperactivity, rashes, extreme defiance, fussiness, sleep troubles, diarrhea/constipation, etc.)
    I don’t know how we could possibly have unraveled some of the medical mysteries about my daughter without that log. For example, we discovered she cannot tolerate purines. Purines are a natural food chemical found in large amounts in certain foods such as liver and cauliflower. Her symptoms of purine intolerance are largely behavioral in nature, which makes it particularly difficult to identify vs a consistent physical symptom such as a rash or stomach upset.
    I would wager to guess that virtually everyone is battling with at least one unknown environmental, food, or chemical sensitivity – contributing any number of symptoms.
  5. Ask for help. Some of us are excellent at recognizing and communicating when we are in need of assistance, I am not one of those individuals. To be honest, I never really needed much help before – not like this anyway.
    I inadvertently stumbled onto a mother’s blog early on in this journey (one of many). She had a young, teenage daughter who suffered with severe ASD, and the child often became physically violent with her. Her husband worked long hours, and she was responsible for caring for her daughter along with their other children. Aside from sharing her own story via her blog, she participated heavily in a grass-roots community effort to help other parents in similar situations navigate the state and health insurance paperwork and get the medical and financial assistance they so desperately needed. The last post on her blog was written by a dear friend, asking readers for support to help the family in their time of greatest need. She went onto explain that the mother was in prison after trying to take her own life and that of her daughter’s by lighting a charcoal grill in an enclosed vehicle with the 2 of them. Both were found, survived, and treated for smoke inhalation.
    I remember sobbing for weeks, every time I thought of that poor woman and her daughter. Even now, I cannot help but tear up. Caring for a seriously ill child will take EVERYTHING out of you. The stress, the sleep deprivation, and the trauma are enough to turn even the most hardened individuals inside out. Know your limits, and honor them. When it gets to be too much, screw your pride and ask anyone and everyone for relief. I found that the help was rarely where I expected it to be, but it was there nonetheless.

With Peace & Love,
~Tracy

Dear National Institute of Health,

baby
Not long before I conceived my now 2 year old daughter, a dear friend of mine told me a story about her 16 year old, non-verbal, ASD goddaughter. She said that prior to receiving her 2 year round of vaccinations, she was a healthy, happy little girl who could sing nursery rhymes in both English and Czech (her parents are both Czechoslovakian). In fact, she said they had videos of the little girl singing that had long since been discarded because they were a sad reminder of what used to be. Within a few weeks of her 2 year vaccines, all that changed as she slowly became socially despondent, developmentally delayed and lost all speech.

I vividly remember my corresponding internal monologue, “Oh, that’s so sad – those poor parents and that poor little girl. Maybe it was the vaccines, but more likely it was an inevitable event that they mistakenly associated with the vaccines”. As the new parent of a vaccine injured child, my perspective on the issue has changed somewhat.

According to the CDC, overall national vaccine rates are high but misleadingly conceal pockets of ‘non-vaccinating communities’. In addition, recent statistics show that 40% of U.S. parents of young children have delayed or denied at least one vaccine on the CDC recommended schedule. Who are these parents? They are individuals who largely believe in the notion of herd immunity and support vaccinations as a mechanism for infectious disease prevention. However, they may find themselves questioning the necessity of each one of our ever-growing number of vaccines and boosters, and wondering, “Is more always better?” I don’t anticipate that the vaccine debate will subside, or that the vaccination rates will improve anytime soon. On the contrary, I suspect that things will become much more heated as the CDC’s mandatory schedule grows, more parents like myself share their experience and concern, and more U.S. parents continue to opt out of vaccinations.

Most vaccines developed today include just small components of germs, such as their proteins, rather than the entire virus or bacteria. Consequently, the vaccinations must also include an adjuvant to stimulate the immune system and elicit the necessary response. Adjuvants help activate the immune system to ensure the body produces an immune response strong enough to protect the patient from the germ he or she is being vaccinated against. Currently, aluminum is the adjuvant of choice for nearly all US vaccines. According to the CDC’s current recommended vaccination schedule, children will receive 16 doses of aluminum adjuvant before the age of 2. Incidentally, aluminum is also among the adjuvants used to deliberately evoke an autoimmune/inflammatory response in lab animals when necessary for testing purposes; a concept commonly known as ASIA (Autoimmune/inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants).

Does our current vaccination schedule have the potential to ‘overstimulate’ our immune system, and induce allergies and autoimmune conditions? That is the question you should be closely examining, given the current (growing) statistics.

  • According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, sensitization rates to one or more common allergens among school aged children are currently approaching 40%-50% worldwide. In addition, one in five people in the U.S. currently have allergy or asthma symptoms and 55% of Americans test positive to one or more allergens.
  • As of 2011, over 40% of American men and women are expected to develop cancer within their lifetime. (Many forms of cancer are autoimmune in origin.)
  • The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) estimates that 20% of Americans (63 million people) are affected by autoimmune disease.
  • The percentage of children with an ADHD diagnosis continues to increase each year, from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11.0% in 2011. (ADHD is suspected as an autoimmune condition.)
  • As of 2010, 1 in 10 adults has diabetes and that figure is expected to double or triple in the next 35 years. (Diabetes is considered an autoimmune disease.)
  • The number of children with Autism has more than doubled since 2000, to 1 in every 68 children. (Autism is suspected as an autoimmune condition.)

Why do so many of these emerging epidemic conditions share the origins of a dysfunctional immune system? We are the most heavily vaccinated, developed country in the world and also among the sickest when it comes to non-communicable, chronic illnesses. It would seem ignorant and irresponsible to not at least consider that the single most influential and widespread medical procedure affecting our immune system might be playing a role. But that is the reality of our current situation, there are no significant epidemiological studies examining the potential association between frequency and volume of vaccinations, and immune dysfunction.

Aside from Autism, I am concerned with vaccines contributing to my child’s propensity for developing allergies, Celiac disease (also an autoimmune disorder), ADHD, Diabetes, etc. and I want to know the statistical likelihood for such an event. In fact, as a parent – I have a right to know the risk involved in choosing to vaccinate my child with the current recommended schedule. This is not a tall order. Epidemiological studies to substantiate the safety of a drug or procedure are commonplace, and there are plenty of non-vaccinated children to serve as controls in such a study.

Furthermore, what is the acceptance criteria for additional vaccines and boosters being introduced into the current schedule? Typically, studies to establish safety will test the effects of only the one isolated vaccine in question, but that is not representative of how vaccinations are delivered according to the current schedule. It is imperative that each additional vaccine be studied as part of the total administered, so that any potential cumulative and aggregate effects can be properly evaluated. Researchers have observed the immune-stimulating effect that aluminum has on the immune system, but they do not fully understand the mechanism behind how it produces the response. How then are they able to determine how much adjuvant might be ‘too much’, as we continue to pile more vaccinations onto the schedule, year after year.

If you want parents to adhere to the current recommended vaccination schedule, then do your due diligence so we have peace of mind. Until then, you have only yourselves to blame for the inevitable dissidence.

In Truth,
-Another Anxious Vaxxer

lyme2

4 Common Lyme Disease Myths

1.  Lyme disease is uncommon.                                                                                                            
In 2013, the CDC acknowledged that the number of Americans afflicted with Lyme disease each year is roughly 10-12 times the number of actual reported cases.  “This new preliminary estimate confirms that Lyme disease is a tremendous public health problem in the United States, and clearly highlights the urgent need for prevention.” 1

2. Lyme disease can only be contracted through a bite from an infected tick.
Lyme disease is congenital (mother can pass it to child), and possibly sexually transmitted according to new research. 2

3. Lyme is indicated by a red rash surrounding the offending tick bite, followed by joint pain.
At least 25% of reported cases do not develop a rash, and symptoms of Lyme disease can range from fatigue to muscle pain to insomnia. 3

4.  Conventional Lyme disease testing is accurate.
Multiple studies have demonstrated Borrelia burgdorferi’s propensity to morph into forms potentially immune to various antibiotics, and unrecognizable by our immune system. 4, 5  The CDC’s current testing methods rely on the presence of relevant bacterial antibodies for diagnosis, which may or may not actually exist if the bacteria has transformed into a state no longer recognizable by our immune system.  Other independent lab testing (including IGeneX and Immunosciences) both utilize the presence of the offending bacteria itself, for a more accurate diagnosis.

Consult the following links for help finding a Lyme Literate (LL) practitioner.
http://tbdalliance.org/diagnosing-tbds/find-a-medical-professional
<http://www.lymenet.org/contact.shtml
http://ilads.org/ilads_media/physician-referral

 

Pay the Grocer, or Pay the Doctor.

Crop

Hot off the press of Current Microbiology journal’s March 2015 issue, a study evaluating the effects of glyphosate (trade name Roundup), a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide.  Thanks in large part to crops genetically engineered to be glyphosate-resistant (including corn and soy), glyphosate now makes its way into an estimated 75%-80% of the food lining grocery store shelves today.  But what effect does glyphosate have on us?

“In conclusion, glyphosate causes [gut] dysbiosis which favors the production of [neurotoxin] BoNT in the rumen. The global regulations restrictions for the use of glyphosate should be re-evaluated.” 1

Gut dysbiosis is effectively an imbalance of the microbiota within our gut.  But what are the health implications of this effect?  In a word:  Infinite.  We have an entire ecosystem of microbes outnumbering our cells 10 to 1, with a collective genome at least 150 times larger than our own.  This ecosystem exists primarily in our gut, specifically the large intestine.  Researchers are just beginning to uncover the many implications of the complex and intricate balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ microbes, especially in the context of our immune system. 2, 3  In order to properly frame just how rudimentary our knowledge is within this arena, a recent study has suggested that our appendix is responsible for producing microbes to influence our critical microbiota balance. 4  You may recall the long withstanding hypothesis for the appendix as a useless organ inexplicably left behind by evolution; supporting its frequent surgical removal in the case of inflammation.

GlutenFreeInternational research has identified a particular group of microbes that seem important for gut health and a balanced immune system, dubbed the ‘Clostridial Clusters’.  Of particular interest is the apparent direct relationship between certain members of this cluster and cells that prevent immune overreaction, called regulatory T cells, or Tregs.  Studies have demonstrated that without these Treg cells, mice are unusually prone to inflammatory disease.  Inflammation mediates and is the primary driver of many medical disorders and autoimmune diseases (including cancer 5), as well as many cardiovascular, neuromuscular, and infectious diseases. 6   One of the questions central to microbiome research is why people in modern society, who are relatively free of infectious diseases, a major cause of inflammation, are so prone to inflammatory, autoimmune and allergic diseases.  Many now suspect that society-wide shifts in our microbial communities have contributed to our seemingly hyper-reactive immune systems. 7

Given the recent and dramatic rise in chronic inflammatory conditions and the uncanny statistical correlation with the introduction of glyphosate, I would say it’s time to reconsider our position on the subject.  I know I have.

(Incidentally this is only one of additional published studies currently available on PubMed demonstrating the effects of glyphosate on the microbiota of animal models.)