Monthly Archives: November 2011

Why is Autism observed in America and not in underdeveloped countries?


Dr Andrew Wakefield wants to study the immigrant Somali families in Minnesota who have observed an unpleasant phenomenon: many of their children are Autistic, to an extent that this is being called ‘The American Disease”. Immigrants realize that this is not due to a lack of vigilance on the part of Somali doctors. They have the opportunity to visit their colleagues in their home country, and in comparing their own children and the children of their contemporaries, the result is glaring. A handful of countries, such as USA, UK, Australia, Vietnam and Sweden, have significantly higher numbers of autistic children, of which the Somali children are a small percentage.  Can we find a cure? How do we prevent more Autistic babies?

Autism amomg the immigrants from Somalia:
The controversial Dr Andrew Wakefield is of the opinion that the answer may lie within the Somali community in Minnesota. He is trying to recruit Somali families for his self-financed study. You can see a video here of Fox news interviewing Dr Wakefield on January 6, 2011. You can see a videohere of CNN channel interviewing Dr Wakefield on January 5, 2011 and a photo of a severely autistic boy.

A Healthy Boy in Famine Stricken Somalia

An Autistic Boy born in USA

UNICEF photo of families in Famine Stricken Somalia

The Somali Autistic children in Minnesota:
Anne Harrington, the special education district coordinator of Minneapolis district noted that the Somali families sometimes have more than one autistic child and it is a more severe form of autism. The kindergarten classes are about 12% Somali but autism cases in the early childhood special education classes are about 17% Somali. Read more and get involved.

It has been observed that there is a cluster of Somali families who have autistic children in Minneapolis. Other immigrant Somali communities have not experienced increased autism rates. A search for a set of triggers should be sought asking two questions:
First, why a cluster of Somali families in Minneapolis has autism, while the other Somali families do not and also, why these families have no autism in Somalia?
The next question is why are Autism rates higher among Somali families than in non Somali families in Minneapolis?

The Somali Autistic children in Sweden
It was observed that many Somali families in Sweden had children with autism. All these families had never heard of autism or observed any symptoms defined as autism in their homeland of Somalia. Dr Barnevick-Olssen and colleagues, psychiatrists in Sweden, published a report of their observations in 2008. They noted that children from Somali backgrounds are over-represented in the total group of children with autism and suggest a search for triggering factors is warranted. Read more. The Somalis living in Sweden have named it the “Swedish disease”.

Researchers in Sweden have requested access to a confidential database for information on Somali and Swedish children to search for clues. Some researchers ask if Somalis need more Vitamin D, coming from sunny Somalia to dark, long, Swedish winters. Is it the lack of sunlight and excessive use of sun protection? However, there is autism being observed in sunny Australia. Read more.

Video: “True wisdom about Autism” – An Autistic Child’s wish by Matthew ward who is Autistic and the forum that made it possible for him to present his wish, his mother, Nancy Alar. If there is one video you must see, it is this one, November 6, 2011. It made me cry. You will see for yourself in this video that an autistic child is intelligent. We must find a cure to help Autistic children speak again.

So what causes Autism?  What cures Autism?                                                                                                                               Scientists still cannot answer these questions. However, they fear that Dr Wakefield’s controversial published paper (see below) may have diverted the study of autism, with too much emphasis on an incorrect hypothesis. The search for both the set of triggers and therapy continues.

What is Autism?                                                                                                                                          When you see a severely Autistic child, you will ask, “What is wrong with this child?” I am not discussing the autism spectrum here, but only severe Autism. To truly understand the Autistic child see video number 4 below, as narrated by an Autistic child, whose simple wish is that he could speak better and that the world was educated to be tolerant of Autistic kids.

Why should all of us be more aware of Autism? Because Autistic kids are here to stay unless we find a prevention or a cure. The CDC says that 1 in 100 kids born today in America will be autistic. They will grow to become adults with Autism who will need to be employed. One in every hundred adults seeking employment in 2030 will be Autistic. You may be the employer or the colleague who will have to adjust because the Autistic adult may be effective at the job skill. What should be society’s role? Knowledge, tolerance and acceptance. Tomorrow it could be someone in your family.

Autistic children are easy to identify even by a layman. They are simply children who are very uniquely different from other children, with a defined set of one or more of the following characteristics:

* Does not communicate or talk – even though they talked as toddlers;
* Smashing head against a wall repeatedly;
* Increasingly violent and aggressive;
* Special bowel, food, intestine issues and acute hearing, olfactory and sense of touch;
* The child may throw unusual tantrums, and needs to be calmed down and not punished; Special aids workers with special training on Autism are superbly able to calm down an Autistic child. They may appear far more anxious than the average child, in a new situation.

Autism – The New Disease: The uninformed and those who are ignorant are naturally unaware of Autism. It is, after all, a “new” disease, a “life style” effect of our modern society’s advanced choices. For those of you who have never witnessed or been in contact with an autistic child, I have selected a few videos here of how Autism in our children exists in our daily life in developed countries. As responsible community members, we have a role in ensuring the safety of all our children. The Autistic child is very healthy, but possesses a special neurologically and intestinally dictated condition. We have not discovered what this phenomenon or set of triggers that produce an autistic child is so far. We owe our Autistic children a decent, safe place in our community.

Videos of Autistic children and how our community responds:
1) An 11 year old Autistic child being beaten by untrained aids in a school bus;
2) A father of an Autistic child in Canada, shoots his 11 year old son and then himself, after learning his child would have to be housed in a facility that does not understand the special needs of an Autistic child;
3) Hopes of Autistic children graduating from a special school;
4) “True wisdom about Autism” – An Autistic Child’s wish by Matthew ward who is Autistic and the forum that made it possible for him to present his wish, his mother, Nancy Alar. If there is one video you must see, it is this one, November 6, 2011. It made me cry.

Who is Dr Andrew Wakefield?                                                                                                                 Dr Wakefield published a paper in The Lancet, saying that the MMR vaccine is linked to the rise of rates of autism in children. Subsequently, his medical license of revoked with concerns raised that his publication was an ‘opinion piece’ and not a scientific paper. Panicked parents avoided and some still continue to avoid the MMR vaccine which prevents measles, mumps and rubella. This avoidance of vaccine has raised concern among the health care community. His co-authors discovered much later that Dr Wakefield had been financed by a law firm, with an intention to sue vaccine manufacturers with the results of his study data. This is a serious conflict of interest which had not been disclosed prior to publication. The fraud allegations arose because of the twelve children in his study, five of the children were autistic before receiving the MMR vaccine and three of the children were not autistic. Dr Wakefield defends himself from the fraud allegations by saying that the claims of the link between the MMR vaccine and autism came from the parents.  Such parents remain Dr Wakefields core group of supporters and continue to believe autism is caused by the MMR vaccine. Dr Wakefield prefers to use the term “linked” rather than “cause” when discussing MMR vaccine and Autism today.

Impact on Health Care Resources:
 However, we are running out of time. Our burden to our future health care community is mind boggling. We have a large population of aging baby boomers presenting with Alzheimers. This is already draining the medical in house facility resources. What will happen when the Autistic children out live their parents? They are very healthy. Originating from different cultural, ethnic and immigrant backgrounds and yet, most presenting with the future task of requiring safe supervision. Civilized society has to begin preparation to face this unique care giver situation of looking after a healthy, aging population, unable to navigate the world on their own.

Lets begin to ask: How are we going to take care of Autistic adults as their baby boomer parents age with Alzheimers, Parkinsons, Multiple Sclerosis or simple frailty? These children will grow up to be adults who will need supervised living. Autism research funding: who is paying and how much?. The time to begin the dialogue in today. George Braddock, President of Creative Housing Solutions LLC is offering solutions for community living for adults with autism.

Related Article
Italian court rules MMR causes Autism: parents sued court for forcing parents to vaccinate child with MMR and win

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Why am I feeling fatigued after getting my flu vaccine?


Are you or someone you know feeling fatigued or feeling unwell after getting the flu vaccine?

The needle method of delivery of Flu Vaccine

The needle method of delivery of Flu Vaccine

Some vaccines are not for all people. The flu vaccine comes in various delivery formats.  The clear choices are between a needle delivery and a nasal spray delivery. However, discuss with your doctor which option may not be suitable for the very young under 8 and the elderly, whose immune systems cannot handle the live virus in some flu vaccines versus the attenuated virus in other flu vaccines. You may also read “Certain flu vaccines are not recommended for all ages“.

Also, avoid taking a pain killer along with your flu vaccine since they dilute the effect of the vaccine.

The Centers of Disease Control lists the following common reasons for feeling unwell after getting the flu vaccine:

1. People may be exposed to one of the influenza viruses in the vaccine shortly before getting vaccinated or during the two-week period that it takes the body to gain protection after getting vaccinated. This exposure may result in a person becoming ill with flu before protection from the vaccine takes effect.
2. People may become ill from non-flu viruses that circulate during the flu season, which can also cause flu-like symptoms (such as rhinovirus). Flu vaccine will not protect people from respiratory illness that is not caused by flu viruses.
3. A person may be exposed to an influenza virus that is very different from the viruses included in the vaccine. The ability of a flu vaccine to protect a person depends largely on the similarity or “match” between the viruses or virus in the vaccine and those in circulation. There are many different influenza viruses. For more information, see Influenza (Flu) Viruses.
4. Unfortunately, some people can remain unprotected from flu despite getting the vaccine. This is more likely to occur among people that have weakened immune systems or the elderly. However, even among these people, a flu vaccine can still help prevent complications.

What about people who get a seasonal flu vaccine and still get sick with flu-like symptoms? How about an allergic reaction to egg or latex?
Have you considered an allergy to egg in which the flu virus is traditionally grown? Discuss with your doctor egg free options available this year. If egg allergy is a concern, then you may also read:
Egg Allergy and Flu vaccine : egg free options are available in Europe but not in USA until 2012. Check with your doctor on latest 2013 egg-free flu vaccine options.
Latex Allergy : some needle tips are coated with latex, eg., intradermal delivery of flu vaccine. Please, confirm about absence of latex coated needle tips on package insert. See video on Intradermal Flu vaccine technology  by Fluzone  microneedle, the first intradermal flu vaccine approved using the microneedle technology and available for 2011-2012 flu season.

A Flu Virus

Seasonal influenza vaccine provides the best protection available from seasonal flu—even when the vaccine does not exactly match circulating seasonal flu strains, and even when the person getting the vaccine has a weakened immune system. Vaccination can lessen illness severity and is particularly important for people at high risk for serious flu-related complications

Dual flu infections:
Australian scientists have discussed a “dual flu infection” phenomenon reported by Japanese scientists in 16 students.
1) They reported that vaccination with the regular flu season vaccine resulted in a higher risk of infection with H1N1 and they give their scientific opinion on why that happened in some areas of the world and not in others.
2) They hypothesize that a strand-transcending short-term immunity results. In other words, it is usually rare that two strains of influenza A attack in the same year and so close to the infection by the other strain. If the second strain attacks quickly after the first strain infects, then there is some transient immunity which protects; however, longer this gap this immunity wanes. So, by their theory, dual infections have a gap.

Super immunity:
This is the “holy grail” of flu scientists – to discover the one vaccine that will prevent all strains of flu. Apparently, natural survivors of the H1N1 infection may have a “super immunity” to all known Influenza A strains of the flu virus. A BBC article. describes Dr Patrick Wilson and his colleagues work on this. In my opinion, lets see what happens in the next few flu seasons.However, scientists caution that a vaccine developed to achieve similar “super immunity” results will have to undergo several years of clinical trials before being eligible to be marketed.

Related Articles:
Flu Vaccine
Now is the time for your 2013 – 2014 flu vaccine
The compostion of the 2013 – 2014 trivalent and quadrivalent flu vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere
Should my baby get the flu vaccine?
Should I get the flu vaccine this year?
Flu vaccination and egg allergy – do check with your doctor on update 2013 there are egg-free flu vaccine options today. This article shows you the procedure of traditional flu vaccine development

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Multiple Sclerosis cured by hook worms?


In 2007, researchers Dr Correale and Dr Farez, in Argentina discovered that their Multiple Sclerosis patients with a hook worm infection appeared to fare better than those without a worm infection.

Variety of Hookworms

The Intestinal Hookworm

Early clinical trials in MS patients are showing reduction in size of brain lesions. This may not be a cure, but even a low rate of lesion reduction is a promising therapy. What is more important is that this is a natural therapy which shows why people in developing countries may be developing Multiple Sclerosis. There are some clinical trialsunderway, which are trying to see how best to deliver a ‘doze’ of worms or their eggs to get the best results. Brain lesions are being tracked before, during and after a treatment with worms. The initial patterns shown on MRIs is encouraging and studies are in progress.

How does the hook worm act on MS patients? Researchers believe that in MS the immune system has an excessive response to it’s own brain tissue; the presence of the worm’s anti-inflammatory system lessons this response. In doing so, the brain lesions lessen. In other words, the worms suppress the patient’s overactive immune system. The worms need to do this to settle inside the human gut. It is possible that as humans evolved along with nature, our gut system and our immune system evolved to adjust to a constant presence of other gut worms and germs. The developed world’s decision to clean our gut of worms and germs may have been too harsh. Definitely, in MS the presence of worms in the gut makes it far more pleasant for the brain.

Follow your gut: Earlier, it was believed that MS was a caucasian disease when Asian countries reported no MS. Then, in the recent decades, Asians settling in developing countries were developing MS, leading researchers to conclude that MS is a disease of a developed country lifestyle. This, is further proof that the Argentina researchers discovered how the underdeveloped life style may be protective for our human brain.

Respect the hookworm. ‘Follow your gut’ has new meaning.

How to thank the scientists? Dr Correale and Dr Ferez’s original article showing the immune connection between hookworms and MS in 2007 has been cited 91 times. Now, if you want to encourage science of this caliber and in this field, shower these two scientists with your letters and emails. Let them know how much you appreciate them. Read their original article published in 2007. You may encourage them further by emailing them

E-mail: jcorreale@fleni.org.ar

The same scientists have published a 2011 paper showing that patients infected with worms showed significantly less relapses and include updated information. You may want to read their original article published in 2011.

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Why should you choose a traditional pecan pie, free of corn syrup, this Thanksgiving?


Princeton researchers have found that a high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) diet can make all considerably more fat, 48% more fat than those on an ordinary sugar diet; in addition, not all on the natural sugar diet got fat, unlike all on HFCS. These Princeton University researchers and several others all over the nation are now, naturally, quite motivated to prove HFCS can cause an obesity epidemic and obesity related diseases, like diabetes and high blood pressure. See ABC video discussed below on the controversy raised by a Harvard professor on sweetened beverages and snacks. There are 16 million Latino kids in USA and one in two of them will develop diabetes connected to obesity, writes Cindy Rodriguez of Huffington post. A lack of will power is not to blame for this rise in obesity of Hispanic children, says a Professor of Pediatrics, at Baylor Medical Center of Texas. An interesting note, while there has been an alarming rise in Autistic children in the recent decades, the number of Hispanic children presenting severe autism is rare. Is it possible that the factor responsible for obesity is protective from Autism?

A Hispanic Children's Obesity Participant

Many consumers want to boycott products with HFCS. Others, simply buy products which do not include HFCS – hence, encouraging use of natural sugar in products we commonly use, like cereal. This Thanksgiving, 2011, many are giving thanks by eating an old – fashioned pecan pie, made with no corn syrup and HFCS; a recipe follows, if you scroll all the way down.

The Old Fashioned Pecan Pie - with no corn syrup

 

Food with no corn syrup?

Have you tried to buy bread recently? Firstly, there is none with no sugar. “Sugar-free” does not count because it is sweetened artificially. The “sweetened” bread uses high fructose corn syrup to be sweetened. It will be difficult to find a brand without HFCS. Of course, you will put on weight by eating bread sweetened with HFCS, even if you may not have put on weight eating the same brand when it did not use HFCS. Hurley and Liebmanin 2008, reviewed thoroughly the “healthy” claims of many commercially sliced breads on the store shelves. They said since HFSC or sugar is added in such small amounts it is an unimportant fact in sliced bread. I disagree. Bread is a staple and every little bit of HFSC adds up. They raised the alarm on the use of artificial sweetener in bread, and I would agree. How about sweetened cereal? That too is a staple?

A sampling of commercial cereal

History of sugar and corn syrup & Patents

Use of sugar goes back centuries. It was never meant to be used in such large amounts as modern, affluent societies began to use in candies and other confectionaries. Sugar was dangerous to produce. It required handling of boiling hot liquids. Much of this work was done by slaves. This inspired a son of a former slave to invent a safer process for manufacturing sugar. Norbert Rillieux, of New Orleans, Louisiana, received a patent from the United States Patent Office in 1846, entitled, “Improvement in sugar making“. His invention included vaccuum and evaporation steps. Thus, began the industrial age of sugar in 1846.

The discovery of corn syrup and High Fructose corn syrup (HFCS) allowed for cheaper substitutes for sugar. Then, followed a search for a cheaper process of manufacturing HFCS. A recent patent by East lansing, Michigan, scientists in 2007 claims to have discovered a better process for HFCS manufacture. The patent discusses how production of HFCS using immobilized glucose isomerase (GI) is the largest commercial enzymatic process. So, this patent claims to have found a better enzyme for industrial production of HFCS, and the search continues for a yet better enzyme.

It appears that if you want to make more money for your company, you should support cheaper, large scale manufacture of HFCS. On the other hand, if you are against all people gaining weight, even those who are genetically able to resist weight gain from a little sugar in their diet, then you should be against HFCS. It is clear that there are two schools of thought: one for profits, and denial of obesity and the other, desperate to save humanity from an obesity epidemic. Researchers are collecting data linking the alarming rise of obesity with the discovery and use of HFCS in soda and now, most branded food. The Corn syrup association is quick to refute most research findings.

Video on obesity

See this ABC videon “Should parents lose custody of their extremely obese kids” as advised by a Harvard Professor? Taking a child from a parent is drastic. Perhaps, families need to be counseled on adopting food choices with no corn syrup, HFSC sweetened foods, in my opinion. Removing a child, already facing depression from obesity, having two glasses of soda a day, in school and home and having no vegetables and unsweetened food is not going to reduce the obesity of this child.  In thirty years childhood obesity has tripled. 2 million children are extremely obese, with some kids weighing hundreds of pounds.

Should food with corn syrup and HFSC be labeled dangerous, obesity inducing?

More children are more obese than previously expected. A medical researcher recently published a study in 2010 of 710,000 children and found that 7% of boys and 5% of girls were “extremely” obese, where a 10 year old child who should have weighted about 70 lbs weighs 140 lbs. Have you ever seen such large people ever in your lifetime, any time in USA or in the world? Have you asked your grandparents their opinion and observations on their young days and current obesity? Why do most people in USA want to pay more for food excessively sweetened than for unsweetened food? If the same food item were labeled, “Danger! You will become obese”, would the same consumer buy that food item?

Popular snacks in the USA

Have you been angered when too often in recent years the person sitting next to you on your flight cannot fit into the airplane seat? Do you find that obese children are getting abnormally fat? Have you noticed how the sedentary, obese children of USA are far fatter than the sedentary, obese children anywhere else in the world? China, too is reporting an obesity epidemic.

Choosing a Soda on a Hot day

Ethics

Is it ethically alright to allow an entire generation, and perhaps future generation of HFCS guzzlers to get very obese and very sick? Princeton researchers have shown that HFSC diets are related to higher triglyceride levels which are connected with high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. Have you done the maths to see how this generation’s unrestrained obesity related illnesses will affect every person’s medical insurance payments? Next time you see that obese person, who is spilling into your seat, guzzle a HFCS sweetened drink, will you wonder how much extra your medical insurance payments will go up because of that drink which you are not drinking? Or will you feel sorry for the person, wondering how sick will this obese person become in a few years time?

Pecan Pie Recipe: corn syrup and HFSC free

Recipe of Old Fashioned Pecan Pie from “The Kitchen“: Just as decadent, rich and sugary as ever, but with one small change; they ditched the corn syrup. You must try this HFCS and corn syrup free recipe this Thanksgiving and share with us your reaction. Did you enjoy your pie, knowing that perhaps, you may not have gained weight if you were not programmed genetically to gain weight from a little traditional sugar?

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