Archive for July, 2008
Mercury is a heavy metal poison occurring in three different groups. These groups vary in effects due to differences in their absorption and metabolism, among other factors. Mercury poisoning is an illness caused by exposure to mercury or its harmful compounds.
All mercury-based toxic compounds damage the central nervous system and other organs and organ systems. Standard mercury poisoning symptoms include sensory impairment, disturbed sensation, and decreased motor skills. The type and degree of the symptoms exhibited by mercury poisoning depend on the individual toxin, the size and method of the dose, and the duration of the exposure.
At least 12 infants who were part of a clinical study to test a pneumonia vaccine have died in Argentina over the course of the past year. The study was sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, and uses children from poor families. According to the Argentine Federation of Health Professionals, the families are “pressured and forced into signing consent forms”.
The vaccine trial is still ongoing despite the denunciations.
Rett syndrome symptoms include cognitive impairment and difficulty with socialization, which generally improves by the time the child enters school. The rate of head growth is slower in those who have Rett’s and may include microcephaly (a very small head) as well as small hands and feet with repetitive hand movements such as wringing. Girls with Rett syndrome are prone to stomach problems and up to 80% also have seizures. About half of females are not ambulatory. Scoliosis, failure to grow, constipation, and lack of verbal skills are also very common manifestations of Rett’s syndrome, which occurs much more commonly in girls.
Rett syndrome is one of the disorders commonly identified as being under the umbrella of autism, along with Asperger’s syndrome, sensory integration disorder, and several others.
Autism treatments are always changing as autism awareness becomes more prevalent.
Autism information begins with the first published academic paper identifying autistic children. The paper was published in 1943 by Leo Kanner and was titled “Autistic Disturbance of Affective Contact”. Before Kanner’s observations were recorded, such children were being classified as emotionally disturbed or mentally retarded. Kanner’s work pointed out that these children often demonstrated potential that did not allow them to fit comfortably into either prior diagnosis. His response was to invent a new diagnostic category called Early Infantile Autism, sometimes called Kanner’s Syndrome. Hans Asperger essentially made the same discoveries at the same time independently of Kanner in his academic paper “Autistic Psychopathy in Childhood”. The difference in the subjects being studied by these two pioneers was that Asperger’s subjects had speech, so Asperger’s Syndrome is often still used today to classify autistic people who have speech.
The word “autism” already had a meaning before Kanner coined it as a diagnosis: “escape from reality”. It is speculated that Kanner appropriated this word because he believed that the classified children were either actually trying to escape from reality or gave that impression. Other terms have applied to what we now call autism: childhood schizophrenia, infantile autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Kanner’s Syndrome, and other autism spectrum disorders have also been identified, such as Sensory Integration Disorder.
The link between vaccination and autism continues to become a hot issue as doctors vehemently deny it, while both parents and others in the medical community claim that the link is valid.
In a letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, physician, Dr. David Ayoub, claims that pediatricians rely on information provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is funded by the companies that manufacture vaccines.
“With the recent concession by government health officials that childhood vaccines worsened a rare, underlying disorder that ultimately led to autism-like symptoms in a Georgia girl, and that she should be paid from a federal vaccine-injury fund, the facade of lies is beginning to crumble. I urge parents and pediatricians to do their own research with a thorough review of available literature and stop trusting reassuring claims from the very agencies that are responsible for this horrible debacle,” wrote Dr. Ayoub.
A joint study by two U.S. universities found further evidence of a genetic contribution to autism, researchers said Tuesday.
The autism research found that some parents of autistic children evaluate facial expressions similar to their children, researchers from California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said in a news release.
The researchers and autism experts from the two universities studied 42 parents – 15 of whom were classified as socially aloof – of autistic children with autism.
Researchers said parents participated in an experiment that measured how they make use parts of the face to judge emotions. They were shown expressions filtered so only certain parts of the face were visible and asked to decide quickly if the emotion were happy or fear.
Aloof parents relied more heavily on the mouth to recognize emotion than the eyes, research showed.
We found that some parents who have a child with autism process face information in a subtly, but clearly different way from other parents, said Cal-Tech neuroscientist Ralph Adolphs.
It may lead us to finding genes that are responsible for the face-processing component in autism, added UNC psychiatrist Joe Piven.
The findings will be published Thursday in the online edition of Current Biology.
Middle Eastern families, sophisticated genetic analysis and groundbreaking neuroscience have implicated a half-dozen new genes in autism research. More importantly, it strongly supports the emerging idea that autism stems from disruptions in the brain’s ability to form new connections in response to experience consistent with autism’s onset during the first year of life, when many of these connections are normally made.
Autism genes have been difficult to identify because the disorder is complex, with a variety of causes stemming from many possible genes or combinations of genes. In addition, since people with autism tend not to have children, most of the genes identified thus far aren’t inherited from a parent, but instead are mutated during embryonic development, making them hard to track through traditional linkage studies in families.
Just over 6 percent of the 88 families showed rare, inherited deletions within DNA regions linked to autism. These affected DNA regions varied among families, further indication of autism’s large variety of genetic causes. In all, the technique identified five chromosome deletions affecting at least six identifiable genes.
Government researchers are pushing to have an official federal study on chelation therapy. Chelation removes heavy metals from the body which may have been caused by vaccines.
The push for finding the positive effects of chelation is brought on by parents of autistic children who feel that the government isn’t doing enough. This is also coming as several legislative sessions have ended with some states allowing insurance companies to deny coverage for autistic childre
A mother who believes the MMR shot caused her son’s autism has contributed to a book all about the issue.
Deborah Nash saw the first symptoms of autism in her son David on July 9, 1994 – just four days after he received the vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
She said: “I honestly believe the MMR jab caused it because he wasn’t born autistic. He was happy and bright and doing all the usual things. He slept well and was walking at 11 months. We had absolutely no concerns about him.”
Mrs Nash believes parents of children who developed the condition after getting the vaccination are not being listened to by the Government.
Frustrated by this, she and other parents have united to write a book voicing their opinions. Mrs. Nash wrote chapter seven of Silenced Witnesses, which was published in March.
In it, she describes her experiences of caring for David and her frustration at the Government’s refusal to begin research into the repercussions of the jab.
She wrote: “There is little hope of finding a cure’ for regressive autism unless and until there is properly funded clinical research into the victims.”
If research found the MMR vaccination had caused autism, the Government and pharmaceutical companies responsible may have to pay compensation to its victims. Mrs. Nash believes this may be the reason why they are reluctant to research the link between the vaccination and autism.
PENNSYLVANIA – Parents of autistic children would be able to pay for autism therapy and related services with private health insurance starting next year, under legislation that strikes a compromise between the insurance industry and advocates for the disabled.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously passed the measure, which also would give the state Insurance Department power to approve the proposed merger of Pennsylvania’s two largest insurance companies. The Senate’s Republican leader said Wednesday he expects that chamber to send the bill to Gov. Ed Rendell, who said he would sign it, before the Legislature’s two-month summer break.