Archive for May, 2010
By now we are all aware that there are inherent risks with exposure to mercury and other heavy metals. And while scientific evidence has proven the adverse effects of mercury poisoning and led to its removal from household products, few people know how mercury actually inflicts damage. Here is a brief overview of some of the serious health concerns that can arise as a result of mercury poisoning:
~Psychiatric Disturbances: this includes everything from shyness, depression and anxiety to OCD tendencies.
~Loss of Senses: speech, hearing and poor IQ scores are all common, as are motor disorders, sensitivities and involuntary movements.
~Cognition: signs of mental impediment, including comprehension difficulties and poor concentration and memory, are common.
~In addition to these effects, immune dysfunction, physical disturbances and unusual behavior are also typical.
Several weeks ago we reported on the retracted study of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, which cited vaccination as one of the main causes of the steep increase in the number of autism cases. It appears that the saga of Dr. Wakefield isn’t over yet. The General Medical Council of Britain revoked Dr. Wakefield’s license to practice medicine today due to the falsified study. In addition to the autism study, the board found Wakefield guilty of more than 30 other professional infractions.
In the wake of the study, which was originally published in 1998, numerous parents refrained from giving their child the MMR vaccine. This trend led to a resurgence of measles and, subsequently, several deaths. Despite the retraction of the study by the journal it was originally published in, Dr. Wakefield stands by his findings.
Although there are a myriad of theories, nobody knows for certain what actually causes autism. However, a new autism reach study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Healthy suggests a strong correlation between infertility drugs and the disorder. The study, which was presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research, found that women who used infertility drugs were twice as likely to bear children with autism. The women’s age was controlled for in the study.
There wasn’t just a simple correlation; the link between the drugs and autism was more profound in cases where the woman had used the drugs longer. Researchers included nearly 4,000 women in the study, which was conducted using a questionnaire, not a clinical analysis. Also at the International Meeting, a team of Israeli researchers presented a paper showing a similar connection between autism and in vitro fertilization. While there are certainly some questions and further research to be done, this appears to be a major step in the right direction towards solving the autism quandary.
Since there is no surefire way to diminish the symptoms of autism, many parents turn to alternative treatments in an effort to eradicate the disorder. According to new autism research, roughly 20 percent of parents employ some form of alternative medicine in an effort to treat the condition. Most of the time, this treatment includes some form of a special diet. Typically, these diets included parameters such as gluten-free and the elimination of wheat and dairy products as well. Many parents also remove excess sugar and put their child on a probiotics regimen, such as PCA-Rx.
The study, which was conducted at Ohio State University, offers a unique look at the non-traditional methods that parents employ when conventional medicine fails to present an answer. Other treatments identified in the study include iron lung-type devices and chelation therapy.
In previous posts, we have expounded the various symptoms of mercury poisoning and investigated some of the main sources of the element. Of course, seafood—and large sea predators in particular—are now one of the primary contributors to our mercury intake. A recent test of the residents of Taiji, which was featured in the documentary ‘,’ shows that a diet rich in dolphin can significantly raise mercury levels.
Although the people of Taiji had higher levels of mercury compared to other Japanese people, there were no reported ill effects. The tests were conducted on hair samples from roughly one-third of the areas population. However, mercury poisoning tends to affect children and unborn fetuses, as it disrupts the development of the nervous system. In the coming year, researchers plan to conduct further research and monitor the possible affect of the high level of mercury in the community.
While some people consider vaccination a normal part of a child’s health maintenance schedule, for other’s it is a divisive topic. Opponents cite the instances of vaccine damage and claim that heavy metals in certain vaccines are the main culprit in new cases of autism and other diseases. Those in favor of vaccines are quick to point out how many diseases have been virtually eradicated thanks to their widespread use.
In recent years, the debate over vaccines has become more heated as reports have been published—and then retracted—which claim to prove the adverse consequences of vaccines. As an increasing number of parents have opted not to administer vaccines to their children, several diseases once believed to be stamped out have resurfaced. No one disputes that there are cases where vaccines cause damage; the debate is whether or not the inherent risks of vaccines outweigh their greater good.
Most articles on autism focus on the young children who are diagnosed with the disease, but while the symptoms and the severity of the disease may change overtime, it rarely goes away completely. Autism typically has an impact on social behavior, and as kids grow older, a parents ability to assist in social situations is diminished. This raises the question of how and when to begin giving your child more independence.
A recent article in the Boston Globe highlights a new book by Clair Scovell LaZebnik, which tackles the question of how to address autism with older children. LaZebnik is a parent of four, and her oldest son, who was diagnosed with autism at an early age, contributed to the book. He is now 18, and the book draws on their relationship and the challenges that they faced with the disease as he entered middle and high school.
Unbeknownst to many of us, a litany of bacteria is constantly at work in our bodies. This may prompt some people to run to the doctor, but these are your typical bacteria; they are essential for many of our day-to-day bodily processes. In the digestive tract alone, over 400 types of protective bacteria work to combat harmful ones. These food bacteria are referred to as probiotics.
The most common probiotics in the intestinal tract are lactic acid bacteria, which are also the five cultures found in yogurt. Another form of probiotics that most people are familiar with is yeast. Probiotics are commonly used to maintain normal bowel function, but there ability to combat other diseases and disorders is also being explored.