Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chlorine in Your Baby Carrots

carrots, chlorineThe small cocktail or "baby" carrots you buy are made using the larger crooked or deformed carrots which are put through a machine which cuts and shapes them into cocktail carrots. You might have known that already. But what you might not know is that once the carrots are cut and shaped into cocktail carrots, they are dipped in a solution of water and chlorine in order to preserve them.
When a baby carrot turns white ("white blushing"), this causes the bags of carrots to be pulled from the shelf and thrown away. To prevent this consumer waste, the carrots are dipped in chlorine to prevent the white blushing from happening.
Chlorine is a very well-known carcinogen. Organic growers instead use a citrus based, nontoxic solution called Citrox.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

iPods May Help Asperger's Kids Navigate Life
A Minneapolis center is experimenting with the devices, and parents are hopeful.

By Maura Lerner for the Star Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX

Sue Pederson knows that the teenage boys in her treatment program have trouble making conversation. They may not know what to talk about; or once they get started, when to shut up.
That's one of the striking features of people with Asperger's syndrome: they struggle with the social skills that come so naturally to others.
But about a year ago, Pederson, a psychologist, and her colleagues at the Fraser Child & Family Center in Minneapolis found a new way to reach these students -- right through their headphones.
They're using iPods, which play music and videos, to teach them how to fit in.
It may have started out as a form of entertainment, but Pederson says this kind of technology is turning into an unexpected boon for children and teenagers with special needs. The devices, it turns out, can be crammed with the kind of information they need to get through the day. While it's still experimental, she said, "I think it's going to spread like wildfire."
With Asperger's, a form of autism, people lack the inner voice that tells them what is, or is not, appropriate behavior. At Fraser, Pederson's staff came up with the idea of programming iPods to act as an electronic substitute for that missing voice.
In this case, the staff helped students create a series of short videos and slide shows on how to behave in different social settings. Some are barely 30 seconds long: How to carry on a conversation ("Let the other person talk AND change the topic..."); how to respect other people's boundaries, and think before they speak ("Use your filter!")
In the world of special education, these scripts are known as "social stories," used to teach basic social skills. "It's a mental checklist for things to think about when you're interacting with other people," explained Mandy Henderson, who works with Fraser's Asperger's program.
As part of the Fraser project, the students can transfer the videos onto their iPods, and replay them over and over, to drive the lessons home.
Little videos replace signs
Jack O'Riley, of Eagan, said it's just what his 15-year-old son P.J. needed. "This really hit the mark," he said. Like many kids with Asperger's, P.J. is baffled by the normal rhythms of social interaction: in conversation, he may blurt out too much information, or say nothing at all, his father says.
At the same time, P.J. is easily distracted and has a hard time staying on task, another common trait of Asperger's. For years, O'Riley posted laminated signs around the house to remind his son how to get through the day -- take a shower, brush his teeth, get ready for school.
Now, with the videos developed at Fraser, "we can plug this stuff into his little 'extended memory,'" O'Riley said. P.J. is building a library of videos on his iPhone, so they'll be at his fingertips. "He can pull up a topic on his 'to do list' and find everything he needs to know," his father said.
Sixteen-year-old Myles Lund of Lakeville, another student in the Fraser program, said he's learned to use the iPod to help control his emotions by playing his favorite music. "It helps take my mind off of it," he said. At the same time, Myles, who says he rarely initiates a conversation, agrees the videos can help in social situations. "I just pull out my iPod and go through a list of things to talk about."
+ Read More:

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Join the CSU & ASLC

2nd Annual

Student Family Community Connections

Join the CSU & ASLC for the 2nd annual Student Family Community Connections Series. The Autism Society of Larimer County and the CSU occupational therapy department have partnered together to develop a fun learning experience for all involved. Each family involved will provide an opportunity for the CSU student to get a better understanding and appreciation for the lives of individuals and families experiencing life on the spectrum. Each family will enjoy building a relationship with the student through a variety of activities and personal interviews.

The overall goals of the ASLC -CSU partnership are to...

1. Support ASLC families and your child with autism during ASLC programs as well as your regular

social, recreational and family activities;

2. Build the CSU OT student's awareness and understanding of the interests, talents, and lives of

children and families involved with ASLC;

3. Teach occupational therapy students about the larger community where people and families affected

by autism spectrum disorder live meaningful lives.

How will this work?

If you are interested in having your family participate in this student volunteer program please contact

Phyllis Zimerman at There are currently 10 positions available. Last year participants are welcome to participate again.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wrestling with Pigs at the Bad Astronomy Blog

Wrestling pig By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.
Okay, I had to do it.
When the Bad Astronomy blog at one of my favorite science magazines, Discover, went after Jenny McCarthy I had to respond. I began by pointing out my dismay that the vast majority of articles on the vaccine-autism theory inevitably left the impression that only Jenny McCarthy and we desperate, deluded parents were making these claims.
I thought by pointing out that the former head of the National Institute of Health, Dr. Bernadine Healy, and the former Chief Science Officer for the U. K., Dr. Peter Fletcher shared many of the same concerns and supported an aggressive research program to identify environmental exposures and vulnerable sub-populations the discussion might be moved in a more reasonable direction.
And the attacks began. I'm a bad parent, society at large should be scared I teach science, and of course, that old-favorite, I should be exposed to people with infectious diseases which I would catch and die. There were also, surprisingly, a few attacks against Dr. Bernadine Healy, since she was appointed by the first President Bush, which meant, you know, she was a party hack without adequate medical credentials.
I guess it would surprise that commenter to learn Dr. Healy graduated first in her class at Hunter College, went to Vassar where she graduated summa cum laude, earned her M.D. at Harvard Medical School, and completed her training in internal medicine and cardiology at Johns Hopkins. She hardly qualifies as a "party hack" in anybody's book.
One of the most curious claims was that extensive research had been conducted showing that there was no difference between rates of autism and in vaccinated and non-vaccinated children. When I asked for those rates I got no answer.
I then told them that if they did have an answer, it should roughly resemble the study done by Generation Rescue, the results of which I've reprinted here.
"All vaccinated boys, compared to unvaccinated boys:
- Vaccinated boys were 155% more likely to have a neurological disorder (RR 2.55)
- Vaccinated boys were 224% more likely to have ADHD (RR 3.24)
- Vaccinated boys were 61% more likely to have autism (RR 1.61)
Older vaccinated boys, ages 11-17 (about half the boys surveyed), compared to older unvaccinated boys:
- Vaccinated boys were 158% more likely to have a neurological disorder (RR 2.58)
- Vaccinated boys were 317% more likely to have ADHD (RR 4.17)
- Vaccinated boys were 112% more likely to have autism (RR 2.12)
(Note: older children may be a more reliable indicator because many children are not diagnosed until they are 6-8 years old, and we captured data beginning at age 4.)
All vaccinated boys, removing one county with unusual results (Multnomah, OR), compared to unvaccinated boys:
- Vaccinated boys were 185% more likely to have a neurological disorder (RR 2.85)
- Vaccinated boys were 279% more likely to have ADHD (RR 3.79)
- Vaccinated boys were 146% more likely to have autism (RR 2.46)
All vaccinated boys and girls, compared to unvaccinated boys and girls:
- Vaccinated boys and girls were 120% more likely to have asthma (RR 2.20)
- No correlation established for juvenile diabetes
All vaccinated girls, compared to unvaccinated girls:
- No meaningful differences in prevalence were noted for NDs (which may be due to the smaller sample size of the study because girls represent about 20% of cases.)"
Of course, that didn't win me any friends, either. I gave all the necessary caveats, noting that the Generation Rescue study cost less than two hundred thousand dollars and a full study should cost more and involve a greater number than the 17, 674 children surveyed, but to my knowledge it was still the only study looking at vaccinated and unvaccinated children.
It also didn't help when I pointed out research from U.C. Davis, Harvard University, or Johns Hopkins University supporting many of the planks of the theories of the bio-med community. Even noting a recent article in Forbes magazine about research published in the Journal of Pediatrics (a journal of the American Medical Association) showing a high level of auto-immune disorders and celiac disease in the mothers of autistic children garnered no respect. The comment from one person was something along the lines of, "Oh, if it was in Forbes, then it must be true!"
In recounting this story to a friend he said he had finally lost his desire to "wrestle with pigs" as he knew he wasn't going to change any minds. Maybe that's good advice, but the former lawyer in me still relishes the clash of dissenting viewpoints.
The day after my battle at the Discover blog I got a book I'd long wanted to read. It was Autism – Current Theories and Evidence edited by Dr. Andrew Zimmerman of Johns Hopkins University. (Hefty price tag, too - $107 on Amazon) I'd heard Dr. Jon Poling speak positively of the book, claiming it put together much of the latest research and theories about autism while "avoiding the third-rail" of vaccines. However, after looking through the book I must respectfully disagree with Dr. Poling. It doesn't completely avoid that third-rail.
Part VI of the book is entitled "Environmental Mechanisms and Models" with a great article by Dr. Isaac Pessah of the UC Davis MIND Institute, entitled "What We Need to Know About Gene X Environment Interactions." It reads like a litany of what many DAN doctors have told me about the factors involved in autism. There's a discussion of problems with neuro-transmission, chemicals that interfere with calcium signaling, and GABA transmission.
The concluding chapter was written by the always wonderful Dr. Martha Herbert, a neurologist at Harvard University, and entitled "An Expanding Spectrum of Autism Models – From Fixed Developmental Defects to Reversible Functional Impairments." In her section "Ongoing Environmental Contributors to Chronic Encephalopathy" she writes, "For example, heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, or other neurotoxicants . . . can penetrate the nervous system. Once there, it is possible for them, by various mechanisms . . . to promote an oxidative response in these cells to stimulate a cytokine/chemokine inflammatory response within the brain. . . Various metals and persistent organic pollutants also accumulate in a number of body compartments, such as fatty tissue and liver, where they can have chronic metabolic impact such as inhibition of mitochondrial or hepatic enzymes. Viral infections might also contribute to chronic metabolic alterations."
In the bio-medical community we talk of autism being the result of some combination of "toxins and infections", and if you can decipher the above paragraph, it's essentially saying the same thing.
I think it would surprise the Bad Astronomy blog and many of their commentators to understand how much convergence is taking place between the bio-med community and some of the top people in science.
Kent Heckenlively is Legal Editor of Age of Autism

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

In Memoriam: Dr. Ted Carr

Dr. Ted CarrIt is very difficult for me to write this about my good friend Ted Carr: Dr. Carr and his wife Ilene were killed in a car accident on June 20 by a drunk driver. He was a supporter of Dr. Bernard Rimland's work and the Autism Research Institute.

Dr. Carr was one of the giants in the ABA community. He did his post-doctoral training with Dr. Ivar Lovaas at UCLA, after which he became a professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Dr. Carr was a true pioneer in the fields of severe behavioral problems (e.g., self-injury, aggression), functional analysis, positive behavior supports, and communication. He published many studies on understanding and treating pain in those on the autism spectrum. You can read more about his contributions to the field, as well as post your thoughts and a message, on the Autism Society of America's website.

Dr. Carr realized the importance of biomedical treatment, and was planning to spend the next ten years of his career integrating biomedical and behavioral approaches. Last year, he co-wrote an article on this with Dr. Martha Herbert, and another paper with me, which will appear in the upcoming issue of The Autism File.  In addition, we had a number of research projects planned over the next few years.

Ted was a very warm and kind-hearted person, always full of energy and enthusiasm about finding ways to help children.

And finally, Ted Carr will best be remembered for his thirty-plus years of research, which will continue to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of children worldwide. In these and many other ways his spirit will always be with us.

Steve Edelson, Ph.D.



Thursday, July 9, 2009

Girls used as Guinea Pigs in HPV Trials Admits GSK

Girls used as Guinea Pigs in HPV Trials Admits GSK
July 05, 2009
Christina England
We have always suspected it and now they admit it,GSK are using young girls (as young as 9 in some areas) as human Guinea Pigs in HPV vaccine Cervarix trials. This was only discovered after reading a document that was meant for 'Scientific Background and Informational Purposes only'
Cervarix GlaxoSmithKline´s Cervical Cancer Candicate Vaccine Mandate. Media Backgrounder makes very disturbing reading as it states exactly what trials are to be carried out, with one particular very interesting line

"Phase III Trials Phase III studies are underway in 37 countries with more than 39,000 subjects planned."

So this appears to prove that all our children are part of one big experiment to enable the drug companies to line their pockets whilst they sit back and watch what happens to our children.
Whilst trawling the Internet a fellow member of ICAP also came up with this gem of a document which also appears to prove that our children are part of trials.
This is an official political document. It is called 'Vaccination against Cervical Cancer' and it was accompanied with a letter addressed to the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport in the Netherlands, from the Health Council. Interestingly the report outlines some very alarming points. The report discusses the differences between the two HPV vaccinations Cervarix and Gardasil.
It States:-

"Both vaccines are designed to provide immunity against HPV-16 and 18: the two types of the virus responsible for about 70 per cent of cervical cancer cases. Gardasil also provides protection against HPV-6 and 11, which together cause nearly all genital warts. Broader-spectrum vaccines capable of protecting against hrHPVs other than HPV-16 and 18 may become available in due course. The vaccines differ from one another in terms of the adjuvants (vaccine-aiding agents) they utilise. Gardasil uses the well-established adjuvant aluminium hydroxyphosphate sulphate, while Cervarix uses the equally widely employed aluminium hydroxide, but in combination with monophosphoryl lipid A, a chemically modified lipopolysaccharide, that influences the innate immune system. The latter complex is known as ASO4. Cervarix stimulates higher levels of antibody production, but the significance of this phenomenon for its protective effect is not known."
The report states that there is no real knowledge to how long the vaccine lasts or if a booster will be needed or if in fact it does protect against cervical cancer.
Vaccination protects against persistent infection and the precursors of cervical cancer
The initial effect of vaccination is favourable: vaccination leads to the formation of antibodies against the target hrHPVs and thus to protection against infection by those hrHPVs. This in turn brings about a major short-term reduction in the incidence of the precursors of cervical cancer. It is known that the development of such precursors is a prerequisite for the subsequent development of the cancer. Vaccination against cervical cancer itself. However, whether vaccination does in fact protect against cervical cancer will not be known for many years to come."
Lovely isn't it? Then it states:-
"It is not yet clear whether booster vaccinations will be needed
The duration of the protection afforded by vaccination has yet to be determined.It is known, however, that high antibody levels persist for at least five years and that immunological memory is created. Protection is required, however, for several decades. The possibility that re-vaccination will be needed in order to provide such prolonged protection cannot be excluded at the present time."
It carries on
"Although the available data provide an incomplete picture of the effectiveness of HPV vaccination, they are sufficient to support the expectation of significant health benefit: vaccination leads to fewer infections and thus to a reduced incidence of the precursors of cervical cancer. We may therefore move on to the next criterion. Thus, this chapter of the report considers whether vaccination might have any adverse effects that offset the attainable health benefit.
Although the trials so far conducted have involved the administration of HPV vaccine to thousands of women (nearly 12,000 have been given Gardasil and more than 16,000 Cervarix),the numbers are small compared with those that would be involved in general vaccination.If vaccination were made available to all twelve-year-old girls in the Netherlands,that would mean treating roughly 100,000 young people a year. Certainty regarding the vaccine´s safety and insight into any rare side-effects that it might have are therefore very important."
For me however, the hightlight of whole report and letter is in the Executive Summary at the beginning where it states quite clearly:-

"With regard to safety, the third assessment criterion, there is currently no reason to suppose that the vaccine has any adverse events that might preclude its inclusion in the NIP. Nevertheless, the possibility cannot be excluded that, if it were administered to large numbers of people, relatively uncommon adverse events might come to light in due course. This underlines the importance of careful monitoring following the introduction of this form of vaccination."
I would particularly like to draw your attention to this phrase "relatively uncommon adverse events might come to light in due course" In other words the more they vaccinate the more likely it is that a serious adverse reaction will show up. That is really great news to all parents out there with children about to be vaccinated with Cervarix or Gardasil. Your children are part of a nationwide test but it is OK because if your child gets very bad reaction it will help determine the safety of the vaccine. I am sure that will be a great comfort to mothers of children like Ashleigh Cave who is still in hospital after a Cervarix vaccination. She has now been in hospital for 9 months, is just beginning to be able to put a very small amount of weight on her legs, cannot stand unaided and has recently lost bladder control at 13.
The news gets better for all you parents out there because Suzanne Garland who is the director of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the Royal Woman's Hospital in Melbourne has decided she wants to include babies in the HPV vaccine trials. She is on the advisory boards for both rival companies Merck and Glaxo Smith Kline and has proposed to test cervical cancer vaccines in babies, with a view to adding the vaccine to the infant immunisation program. This is according to The India Times in 2007
Suzanne Garland has a special interest in the management of herpes in the pregnant woman and the neonate. She is an advisor to World Health Organisation in the area of sexually transmitted infection diagnosis and the prophylactic HPV vaccine Obs-Gyne Exhibition & Congress Speakers Tackle Cervical Cancer Vaccine Issues And Encourage Advocacy
So she has no real conflicts of interest there then does she? Not only is she on both boards of advisers for Merck and GSK but she is an advisor to WHO! It appears that no matter who advises Governments on vaccinations whether it is WHO or the JCVI,the members have strong links and alliances to the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture the vaccines, therefore, how can the general public trust the people who tell us the vaccines are safe? As we have seen we are all just human Guinea Pigs to them, of course they are safe!

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 08, 2009

Chronic Seizures and Immune System

Microglia You might want to check David Kirby's Autism One Presentation (HERE) for more about the microglial cells mentioned in this article. Read the full article at SCIENCE DAILY.
ScienceDaily (July 7, 2009) — Chronic seizures caused by traumatic head injuries may result from chemicals released by the brain's immune system attempting to repair the injured site, according to a study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The findings could help prevent one of the most common forms of adult epilepsy, called acquired epilepsy, which is often found in people who have suffered a brain injury or infection, according to CU-Boulder psychology and neuroscience Professor Daniel Barth, the study's chief author.
For decades researchers have focused on neurons as the culprits in seizures, which can be characterized as debilitating "electrical storms" in the brain.
However, recent research has shown that micro-glial cells may play a major role in seizures. Researchers have found that glial cells, which are supportive cells that also constitute a major part of the brain's immune system, cluster within areas in the brain when a severe brain injury has occurred.

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Celiac Disease Presenting as Autism

The Journal of Child Neurology published a special article online June 29, 2009 (published ahead of printing) entitled "Celiac Disease Presenting as Autism." The article is a case study of a 5-year-old boy diagnosed with autism and celiac disease.
The boy was described as "an increasingly picky eater and would reject food on the basis of taste, smell, or appearance." He had severe language problems, as well as gastrointestinal symptoms including bloating, belching, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. He had deficiencies in fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, and E) and fatty acids (omega 3, omega 6, saturated fat), as well as low coenzyme Q10 and folate.
Upon being assessed and diagnosed with celiac, the boy was put on a gluten-free diet and nutritional supplementation based on deficiencies. "Fruits and vegetables were juiced to make nutrients easier to absorb, and fat-soluble vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids (in the form of cod liver oil), omega 6 fatty aids, and folic acid were given as supplements." According to the published article, "The patient's gastrointestinal symptoms rapidly resolved, and signs and symptoms suggestive of autism progressively abated."
"Within 1 month, the boy's gastrointestinal symptoms were relieved and his behavior had changed dramatically. The mother excitedly reported that for the first time, her 5-year-old boy became progressively more communicative and told her that he loved her. Within 3 months, his functioning had improve so much that he no longer required an individualized leaning program and was able to enter a normal classroom with no aide."
The authors of the article postulate that nutrient deficiencies caused by malabsorption from celiac disease caused the symptoms of autism, as they stated, "This case is an example of a common malabsorption syndrome associated with central nervous system dysfunction and suggests that in some contexts, nutritional deficiency may be a determinant of developmental delay. It is recommended that all children with neurodevelopmental problems be assessed for nutritional deficiency and malabsorption syndromes."

Genuis SJ, Bouchard TP. Celiac Disease Presenting as Autism. J Child Neurology Online First. Published on June 29, 2009 as doi:10.1177/0883073809336127

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Television and Your Children
TV for children - especially young children - is a very controversial subject these days. For good reason, many, many children watch Far Too Much TV! We believe our videos and DVDs, used appropriately, are wonderful teaching tools. Here are some guidelines to help you select and use educationally appropriate video & TV programming for your kids:
Use Your Own Judgment - Your own judgment will often tell you what is "Good TV" and what is "Bad TV". If you are not sure what your child is learning from a program the answer is probably nothing! There isn't any independent agency for "educational" content. Producers can label almost any video as educational - regardless of real educational value.
Is The Program Age Appropriate? - Another point to consider is age. What is educational for your infant, may well be mind-numbing for your 4 or 5 year old - and vice versa! The educational content of a video should be achievable - yet challenging.
Spend Some Time Watching TV With Your Kids - Try not to use the TV as a Baby-sitter. Enjoy some programs with your child. See how he or she has progressed with the material contained in the video. Your involvement will help reinforce learning.
Let Your Kids "Graduate" From a Video - Once the educational content of a video has been learned, that video is no longer educational. Many children become addicted to a book, a puzzle or a video. Once a child has mastered the material in a book, puzzle, or video introduce more challenging material. They will come to love the new just as much as the old.
Look for Videos That Teach Specific Skills - Material that is labeled "stimulating" may have little to offer your child. Stimulation is found primarily through active exploration of the world around us. Be selective and choose videos that have a specific learning focus.
Avoid Introducing "Entertainment Only" Videos Too Early - Introducing your child to videos that provide little educational content can make it very hard to get your child interested in educational TV fare. Just as you would not feed your child cookies before a meal - don't introduce "fluff" TV before introducing solid educational programming. Just like a cookie, this can spoil an appetite for better stuff!
We believe TV should be used as a supplement to regular stimulation, love & fun. It is our belief that parents should be very, very selective about what they allow young children to watch, and also very careful about limiting the total quantity of TV viewed. The best way to assure that your child's viewing time is used well, is to spend time with your child while watching TV. Be sensitive to his or her skill level and choose material that is appropriate to his or her developmental stage. TV can be a great teaching tool - or it can be a big problem. How TV is used is up to you, the parent.

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