Schafer Autism Report

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Monday, August 17, 2009                                               Vol. 13 No. 86





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August 25 !

 For  September 2009

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TREATMENT
Hyperbaric Chamber: Healthy Or Hype?
Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit After Hyperbaric Chamber Explosion
Battling Inflammation, Disease Through Food

PUBLIC HEALTH
Unplugged: H1N1 Vaccine Dangers

RESEARCH
More Evidence That Fish Is Brain Food

EDUCATION
An Oasis Where All Fit In

ADVOCACY
Autism Speaks Softens Stance On Vaccines

PEOPLE
Police Seek Help Finding Missing Texas Woman

COMMENTARY
Swine Flu Vaccine Should Not Be Given to Children in Schools
The Rise of Diseases 'Caused' by Sub-acute Mercury Poisoning via Medicine



TREATMENT

Hyperbaric Chamber: Healthy Or Hype?


      By Chris Woolston, Tribune Newspapers. bit.ly/suluZ

      Over the years, Michael Jackson has graced more tabloid covers than any other celebrity. One memorable photo from the mid-1980s showed Jackson lying in a hyperbaric chamber, presumably part of his plan to stay young forever.
      Perhaps inspired by that image, many health seekers have climbed into hyperbaric chambers of their own. The prospect of slowing or reversing aging is one draw.
      Others hope the extra air pressure and oxygen a chamber provides can cure their cancer or some other chronic disease. A growing number of parents seek hyperbaric therapy to treat their children's autism or cerebral palsy.
      Portable hyperbaric chambers are showing up in spas and alternative health clinics across the country. You can even rent or buy one for home use and climb into your pressurized haven as often as you like.
      Summit to Sea manufactures three home-use chambers. The Shallow Dive—28 inches wide and 7 feet long—sells for almost $7,000. (The company's tag line is "Affordable hyperbaric chambers.") It comes with a compressor that fills the chamber with filtered room air to a pressure of 1.2 ATA (short for atmospheres absolute).
      The Dive, which sells for nearly $8,000, is the same size as the Shallow Dive but can reach a pressure of 1.3 ATA. The Grand Dive—40 inches wide, more than 9 feet long—sells for almost $14,000. Like the Dive, it can be pressurized to 1.3 ATA.
      The Flexi-Lite portable chamber sold by HyperbaricsRx is 34 inches wide and almost 9 feet long. It costs a bit more than $17,000. Like the Dive and Grand Dive, it provides an air pressure of 1.3 ATA. Users can breathe filtered room air or 100 percent oxygen delivered through a mask attached to a tank.
      Portable hyperbaric chambers are different from the rigid, high-pressure devices found in some hospitals. Hospital chambers can provide 100 percent oxygen at pressures of more than 6 ATA.
      The claims The Web site for American Medical Aesthetics Corp., which offers hyperbaric treatment, claims it is "a potent anti-aging therapy," energizing the body while clearing toxins. The site says that "children with severe autism, ADD and even cerebral palsy ... see remarkable progress in muscle control and brain function." The Summit to Sea Web site says that "many people all over the world have used hyperbaric chambers ... to treat a variety of conditions from autism to strokes to wound healing." The company doesn't claim to treat anything other than altitude sickness.
      HyperbaricsRx claims that hyperbaric therapy "increases the body's ability to fight infections ... and improves the rate of healing." Laura Betts, a trainer and technician with the company, says the therapy fights aging by stimulating skin collagen and eliminating toxins.
      The bottom line Oxygen is vital for life, but as an anti-aging remedy, it's a bust, says Dr. Neil Hampson, a hyperbaric medicine specialist at Seattle's Virginia Mason Hospital and past president of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. "If anything, oxygen accelerates aging."
+ Read more: bit.ly/suluZ
     



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• • •

Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit After Hyperbaric Chamber Explosion

      Article provided by Valenzuela & Stern, P.A.
bit.ly/CRgNg

      The family of a boy who was fatally burned in his grandmother's arms in a hyperbaric chamber explosion has filed two wrongful death lawsuits.
      The lawsuits claim the Ocean Hyperbaric Oxygen Neurologic Center in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea was negligent in the treatment of 4-year-old Francesco Pio Martinisi, an Italian child being treated for cerebral palsy at the facility.
      Martinisi and his grandmother flew from Italy to South Florida for the treatment. Their family had raised money for the trip and treatment in the southern Italy town where they live.
      The boy's grandmother was killed in the May explosion; he suffered burns to more than 90 percent of his body and died more than a month later.
      News reports said the Ocean Hyperbaric Oxygen Center is a state-licensed health care facility. According to the center's building signage, the facility treats patients with brain injuries, cerebral palsy and those who have nearly drowned.
+ Read more: bit.ly/CRgNg

• • •

Battling Inflammation, Disease Through Food
Though it's an emerging field, proponents of anti-inflammatory diets point to growing evidence that foods like vegetables and fish can ease an overactive immune system.

      By Shara Yurkiewicz, LA Times. bit.ly/1IgUmt

      If you want to live longer -- avoid heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and cancer -- then pick and choose your foods with care to quiet down parts of your immune system.
      That's the principle promoted by the founders and followers of anti-inflammatory diets, designed to reduce chronic inflammation in the body.
      Dozens of books filled with diets and recipes have flooded the market in the last few years, including popular ones by dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone and Zone Diet creator Barry Sears.
      Those who frequent message boards that discuss arthritis or acne trade tips on which pro- or anti-inflammatory foods may help or trigger their symptoms -- urging co-sufferers to try cherries for their rheumatoid arthritis or avoid gluten for their psoriasis.
      But proponents claim the benefits go far beyond that, fighting not just pain from inflamed joints or skin flare-ups but also life-threatening diseases.
      "If your future currently looks bleak because of high levels of silent inflammation, don't worry, because you can change it within thirty days," Barry Sears promises in his book, "The Anti-Inflammation Zone."
      There's still a lot of science to be done. And should you try such a diet, you probably shouldn't expect any 30-day miracles. But there may be something to eating in an anti-inflammatory way.
      "[Chronic inflammation] is an emerging field," says Dr. David Heber, a UCLA professor of medicine and director of the university's Center for Human Nutrition. "It's a new concept for medicine."
      The point of an anti-inflammation diet is not to lose weight, although it is not uncommon for its followers to shed pounds. The goal: to combat what proponents call "chronic silent inflammation" in the body, the result of an immune system that doesn't know when to shut off.
      The theory goes that long after the invading bacteria or viruses from some infection are gone, the body's defenses remain active. The activated immune cells and hormones then turn on the body itself, damaging tissues. The process continues indefinitely, occurring at low enough levels that a person doesn't feel pain or realize anything is wrong. Years later, proponents say, the damage contributes to illnesses such as heart disease, neurological disorders like Alzheimer's disease or cancer.
      In general terms, following an anti-inflammatory diet means increasing intake of foods that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. (Antioxidants reduce the activity of tissue-damaging free radicals at sites of inflammation.) The diet includes vegetables, whole grains, nuts, oily fish, protein sources, spices such as ginger and turmeric and brightly colored fruits such as blueberries, cherries and pomegranates.
      Foods that promote inflammation -- saturated fats, trans fats, corn and soybean oil, refined carbohydrates, sugars, red meat and dairy -- are reduced or eliminated.
+ Read more: bit.ly/1IgUmt

• • •

PUBLIC HEALTH

Unplugged: H1N1 Vaccine Dangers


bit.ly/pO5wM

      Sharyl Attkisson, CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton and NVIC's Barbara Loe Fisher discuss the possible dangers with the H1N1 vaccine. Plus, 'Unplugged Under 40' profiles chef and restaurateur Spike Mendelsohn.
      
• • •

RESEARCH

More Evidence That Fish Is Brain Food


bit.ly/whFQ6

      Reuters Health - Older adults in developing countries who regularly eat fish seem to have a lower risk of dementia, a new study suggests.
      Researchers found that among nearly 15,000 older adults living in China, India or one of five Latin American countries, the odds of having dementia generally declined as fish consumption rose.
      For each increase in participants' reported fish intake -- from never, to some days of the week, to most or all days of the week -- the prevalence of dementia dipped by 19 percent.
      The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, mirror evidence from some studies in developed nations.
      The findings also suggest that the fish-dementia link does not simply reflect the benefits of a generally higher-quality diet. The study found that adults who got the most meat in their diets tended to have a somewhat higher prevalence of dementia than those who never ate meat.
      The findings are based on a one-time survey and do not prove cause-and- effect, note the researchers, led by Dr. Emiliano Albanese of King's College London in the UK.
      "More substantive evidence," they write, will come from the next phase of the research, which is following these older adults over time to see whether fish intake is related to the risk of developing dementia in the future.
      If fish does protect the aging brain, researchers believe that the benefits probably come from the omega-3 fatty acids found most abundantly in oily fish like salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna.
      Lab studies show that omega-3 fats have a number of properties that could help stave off dementia -- including actions that protect nerve cells, limit inflammation and help prevent the build-up of the amyloid proteins seen in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.
      These latest findings are based on surveys of 14,960 adults age 65 or older living in China, India, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru or Venezuela. The relationship between higher fish intake and lower dementia prevalence was consistent across all countries, with the exception of India.
      The link also held when the researchers factored in participants' incomes, education and lifestyle habits like smoking and fruit and vegetable intake -- suggesting that differences in socioeconomics do not fully account for the finding.
      SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2009.

• • •

EDUCATION

An Oasis Where All Fit In

Summer camp for autistic helps out parents and keeps kids busy

      By Jennifer Price • The News Journal. bit.ly/3FDHcj

      Most parents look forward to their children's summer break.
      Mornings aren't quite as hectic. Homework doesn't exist. And there's time for vacation.
      But for parents of children with autism, even a three-week break can seem like a burden.
      "All parents scramble to find child care," said Robin Delaney, whose 10-year-old son, Joshua, was diagnosed with autism when he was 2. "You can't just call grandma and ask her to watch him for three weeks or just call someone in the neighborhood. Not everyone can handle all the little quirks of autism."
      That's why Delaney is thankful for the Variety Delaware Day Camp for Children With Autism.
      Variety -- The Children's Charity, a national nonprofit serving children with disabilities, opened its Delaware chapter in 2005. After seeing that parents of children with autism need more services during summer, the Delaware chapter opened a two-week summer camp this year.
      "Many parents of children diagnosed with autism are forced to skip work to make sure their children are cared for properly when school is not in session, but when every penny counts in tough economic times like these, some parents just can't afford to miss work," said Meghan Evans, Delaware's Variety director.
      While the Delaware Autism Program, which is the only statewide public school program for autistic children in the country, has a longer school year than traditional public schools, it takes two small breaks in the summer to prepare for the next year. These breaks create stress for parents because children with autism function best on a strict routine.
      "These children need the same pattern," Delaney said. "Getting off a routine for an autistic child will make their life miserable."
      Kim Herbert, of Pike Creek, whose 6-year-old twin boys were diagnosed with autism when they were 18 months old, said it's important to keep them busy and keep their minds challenged.
      "I was so worried about what I was going to do with my twins for three weeks," Herbert said. "This camp has been a godsend to us."
      Autism affects each person differently, so while one child doesn't speak and makes repetitive hand-flapping gestures, another simply misses social cues, such as eye contact or answering a question. But the hallmark of autism is social dysfunction.
      That's why instead of playing popular pool games such as "Marco Polo" and "Sharks and Minnows," the 15 children at the Variety camp earlier this week avoided most social interaction and played independently.
      Nine-year-old Connor Knox splashed his hands up and down in the water. Distressed with all the noise in the pool area, 11-year-old Richie Chinski cupped his ears. And 12-year-old Harrison McMahon zoned out everything around him.
      "They're in their own world," said Melissa Colokathis, a teacher in the Delaware Autism Program and a counselor at the Variety camp.
+ Read more: bit.ly/3FDHcj






AUTISM CALENDAR DEADLINE
August 25 !

 For  September 2009

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• • •

ADVOCACY

Autism Speaks Softens Stance On Vaccines


       By Mark Roth, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. bit.ly/Qbs0I

      The autism wars aren't over -- but they may have entered a new phase.
      Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism advocacy group, recently made its clearest public statement yet that minimizes the link between vaccines and autism.
      In a prepared interview posted on the Autism Speaks Web site, the group's chief science officer, Dr. Geri Dawson, says that scientific studies have found no link between thimerosal, a mercury preservative used in certain vaccines, and autism. Nor have they found a connection between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and autism.
      "So ... given what the scientific literature tells us today," she says, "there is no evidence that thimerosal or the MMR vaccine cause autism" and "evidence does not support the theory that vaccines are causing an autism epidemic."
      Dr. Dawson's statement still allows for the possibility that reactions to vaccinations might cause autism in a small subset of children, but it seems to go further than ever before in ruling out vaccines as a major trigger for the neurodevelopmental disorder.
      The Autism Speaks pronouncement comes at a time when some parents have stopped inoculating their children or are spreading out their shots, to the consternation of public health officials, who fear the resurgence of such childhood diseases as measles and whooping cough.
      Much of the parents' resistance to immunization has been driven by fear that vaccines can cause autism, a disorder that affects an estimated 1 out of 150 children. Autism is characterized by poor social and communication skills, repetitive behaviors, fixation on certain interests and, in some cases, retardation.
      A spokeswoman for Autism Speaks said Dr. Dawson did not want to be interviewed about her latest statement, and contended it is not a new position for the organization.
      But several scientists and others who have been involved in the autism debate said her views, which were posted July 30, are a clear departure from past statements, and probably reflect the ongoing tug-of-war over the vaccine issue.
      Dr. Neal Halsey, director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, said the new position is "two steps in the right direction. This is a substantial change and improvement in Autism Speaks in acknowledging that vaccines do not cause autism, and that the evidence is overwhelming that neither the MMR vaccine nor thimerosal in vaccines causes autism."
      Still, Dr. Halsey said he wishes Dr. Dawson would have emphasized that thimerosal no longer is used with vaccines given to children under 6 months of age, because "unfortunately, parents still fear they might be causing their children some harm by getting their kids vaccinated."
+ Read more: bit.ly/Qbs0I

• • •

PEOPLE

Police Seek Help Finding
Missing Texas Woman


      By Scott Gonzales galvestondailynews.com bit.ly/4e1gjs

      Dickinson — A 20-year-old woman said to be autistic and schizophrenic has been missing from her Dickinson home since about 4:30 p.m. Friday, Dickinson police said.
      Amber Moinat’s mother said her daughter left her house for a walk Friday afternoon and did not return. Moinat is said to have the mental capacity of a 10-year-old.
      About 7 p.m. Friday, Moinat called her mother, claiming she had been abducted and tied up, police said.
      Police tracked the phone number from which Moinat had called, and the owner said a female had knocked on his door on Woodchase Drive in Houston asking to use his phone for an emergency. The girl then told the man not to answer his phone and left, police said.
      About 3:30 a.m. Saturday, Moinat called her great-grandmother from a payphone in southwest Houston, saying she was in Arizona and that her ex-boyfriend had shot her in the leg, police said.
      Police have contacted Moinat’s ex-boyfriend, and he is cooperating, police said. The police do not believe he is a suspect.
      Dickinson police asks anyone with any information in this case to call 281-337-4700.

• • •

COMMENTARY

Swine Flu Vaccine Should Not Be Given
to Children in Schools


      By Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center. bit.ly/9zKMN

      On April 26, a national public health emergency was declared by officials in the U.S. Departments of Health and Homeland Security. We were told it was necessary to declare a national emergency because people were getting sick from a new swine flu virus that began in Mexico and might cause a deadly influenza pandemic.
      So far, the vast majority of people who get sick with swine flu have symptoms that are no worse than the regular flu and recover completely.

Three Week Testing of Swine Flu Vaccines
      The declaration of a national public health emergency last spring set a chain of events in motion: some schools were closed, 7 some people were quarantined 8, 9 and drug companies were given billons of tax dollars to create experimental swine flu vaccines. 10 These new vaccines are being fast tracked by the FDA. We are being told they will only be tested for a few weeks on a few hundred children and adults 11 before being given to children in schools in October.

Liability Protection for Vaccine Injuries & Deaths

      Under federal legislation passed by Congress since 2001, an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows drug companies, health officials and anyone who gives experimental vaccines to Americans during a declared public health emergency, to be protected from liability if people get hurt.

Safety and Informed Consent At Risk in Schools
      The National Vaccine Information Center has been a vaccine safety watchdog since 1982. We are questioning the need to turn schools into medical clinics this fall where swine flu vaccines being rushed to market will be given to children first. We are calling on the Obama Administration and state Governors to provide solid evidence to parents that it is necessary to give children experimental swine flu vaccines in schools.
      Are the states prepared to obey vaccine safety provisions in the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act,15 which include:
      1. Giving parents written information about vaccine benefits and risks before children are vaccinated; 16
      2. Keeping a record of which vaccines the children get, including the manufacturer’s name and lot number;
      3. Recording which vaccines were given in the child’s medical record;
      4. Recording serious health problems that develop after vaccination in the child’s medical record and immediately making a report to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) 17

Will States Compensate Vaccine Injured Children?
      And there are more questions that need to be answered: Are the states prepared to provide financial compensation to children harmed by swine flu vaccines given in schools? Are parents going to be given complete, truthful information about swine flu vaccine risks and have the right to say “YES” or “NO” before their children are lined up and vaccinated in the school setting?
+ Read more: bit.ly/9zKMN

• • •

The Rise of Diseases 'Caused' by Sub-acute Mercury Poisoning via Medicine


      By Dr. Paul S. King  www.dr-king.com

      Recently, much has been said about the rise of autoimmune, mitochondrial and other diseases in adults whose children, siblings, nieces and nephews, second cousins and/or grandchildren have one or more related diagnoses and/or have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum or related “neurodevelopmental” disorder. Though part of the reason for these “coincidental” familial occurrences is a genetic component, the reality is that many of the “genetic” patterns of chronic disease that are being noticed in our family trees apparently have their origins in the sub-acute mercury poisoning of us all by “medicinal” mercury compounds.
      Sodium ethylmercury thiosalicylate (with common English trade names of Merthiolate, Thimerosal and Thiomersal [UK]) has been being used to sub-acutely mercury-poison most all of us since the 1930s. Before that, Calomel, mercurous chloride was the sub-acute mercury poison of choice from the late 1800s to the late 1920s. As Thimerosal is today, previously Calomel was called a “special” form of mercury and, without proof of safety and effectiveness, marketed in medicines for children as if it were safe and effective — principally, as teething powders and worming preparations. That we, our parents and/or our grandparents were, if exposed, adversely affected by such mercury exposures is no surprise to anyone who has studied the knowing sub-acute mercury poisoning occurring in several English-speaking nations (the USA, United Kingdom and, the last to ban these medicines, Australia) since the late 1800s.
      In 1890s – 1940, this mercury poisoning of our young by mercury in medicine was principally effected via Calomel-laced teething powders (containing up to 25 % Calomel [85% mercury by weight]) and, to a lesser extent, human worming preparations and other mercury-containing medicines sold without any proof of safety. At its “peak”, sub-acute Calomel-mercury poisoning resulted in about 1-in-500 children having a “pink disease” diagnosis (predominately in the children from the higher socioeconomic strata) in the U.S. and probably “caused” the U.S. epidemic of “stomach cancer” in the 1950s – 1970s that disappeared in the late 1970s.
+ Read more: bit.ly/Vlw9

      Note: The opinions expressed in COMMENTARY are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Schafer Autism Report.


                      
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