Schafer Autism Report

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Tuesday July 26, 2011                                           Vol. 15 No. 37


PUBLIC HEALTH
MMR Shot Fears Gain Support

RESEARCH
Weak Synchronization in Brain May Be a Marker for Autism

Workings of Brain Protein Suggest Therapies for Fragile X Syndrome and Autism

Study Highlights Success of Brain Surgery for Severe Epilepsy

TREATMENT
Licensing Of Behavior Analysts Called Into Question

COMMENTARY
Murdoch's Media Malpractice And The Genetic Altering Of Human Beings Through DNA Vaccines

LETTERS


PUBLIC HEALTH

MMR Shot Fears Gain Support


      By James Chapman, Daily Mail

   Dr Arthur Krigsman

      The safety of the MMR vaccine was again called into question yesterday after American research appeared to back the British doctor who first linked it to autism and bowel disease.
      Dr Andrew Wakefield was vilified after claiming to have identified a combined syndrome of autism and bowel disease in children who had been given the measles, mumps and rubella injection.
      Government scientists and the Department of Health dismissed his findings as flawed and insisted the MMR jab was safe.
      Critics claimed that not a single piece of research by Dr Wakefield and his colleagues had been replicated elsewhere.
      But now experts at New York University School of Medicine have reported the first independent corroboration of the findings that first sparked concern.
      Dr Arthur Krigsman, a consultant paediatric gastroenterologisthas observed serious intestinal inflammation in 43 autistic children.
      At a U.S. Congressional hearing on the safety of MMR last week, he said his patients had inexplicably deteriorated, losing language and other skills at around 12 to 18 months of age.
      All the children had been referred to him because they also had unexplained digestive problems such as pain, constipation and diarrhoea.
      Tests revealed that 90 per cent had the same inflammatory bowel disease reported by Dr Wakefield in patients he examined at the Royal Free Hospital in London four years ago.
      Dr Krigsman said last night: 'Our findings, which are independent of Dr Wakefield's, completely support his explanation and his observations of the abnormalities in the bowels of these children.
      'They mirror exactly what he has described.' The doctor, an assistant professor at New York University, said he did not know whether the illnesses were linked to MMR.
      But he now plans to examine biopsies taken from the children for evidence of infection with the measles virus.
      Pathologists at Trinity College, Dublin, claimed earlier this month they had evidence from similar experiments on 75 children, identifying measles virus from the MMR vaccine in bowel tissue samples.
      Though this is far from proof that the jab actually triggered autism or bowel disease, some experts saw it as significant.
      Dr Krigsman said: 'Our concern was to determine whether there was bowel inflammation in these autistic children.
      'The answer was yes. Now the question is: "What is causing it?î.' His findings will add to the confusion of millions of parents over whether to have their children inoculated with MMR.
      According to the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS), the take-up rate for the triple vaccine has fallen to 'dangerously low levels' in parts of the UK, prompting fears of a potential epidemic of measles, which in extreme cases can be fatal.
      There has been a growing clamour for the Government to make single vaccinations available for those who have doubts over the triple jab.
      Instead, the handful of centres offering imported single-dose vaccinations have been warned they are breaking regulations.
      The Department of Health has repeatedly insisted that the combined MMR, rather than single injections, is the best and most effective way to protect children.
      Earlier this month, what was billed as the most comprehensive analysis yet undertaken found no link between the MMR vaccine and autism or inflammatory-bowel disease. The report was compiled by public health experts Dr Anna Donald and Dr Vivek Muthu of health study analysts Bazian for the British Medical Journal publication Clinical Evidence.
      However, more than 2,000 British families have taken legal action, claiming their children have been damaged by the jab.
      The Department of Health said last night that although Dr Krigsman's evidence had been presented to the U.S. Congress, it had not yet been published in a scientific or medical journal.
      It added: 'We are not aware that it has been reviewed by other independent scientific experts.
      'There is no evidence in any of his reported findings of a causal link between MMR and inflammatory bowel disease or autism.
      'There is a separate discussion on whether there is a link between autism and inflammatory bowel disease, and whether they are as a consequence of MMR,' she added.
      'The most recent review looked at 2,000 pieces of research and confirmed that the current scientific evidence does not find any link between MMR and autism, or MMR and inflammatory bowel disease.
      'We will continue to monitor all new evidence as it becomes available.'





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• • •

RESEARCH

Weak Synchronization in Brain May Be a Marker for Autism



          As compared to the control brain (top), the autistic brain (bottom) shows weaker inter-hemispheric synchronization in several areas, particularly the superior temporal gyrus (light blue) and the inferior frontal gyrus (red). (Credit: Image courtesy of Weizmann Institute of Science)
      Source: Weizmann Institute of Science

      Newswise — The biological causes of autism are still not understood. A diagnosis of autism is only possible after ages three or four and the tests are subjective, based on behavioral symptoms. Now, in research that appeared in Neuron, scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of California, San Diego have found, for the first time, a method that can accurately identify a biological sign of autism in very young toddlers. By scanning the brain activity of sleeping children, the scientists discovered that the autistic brains exhibited significantly weaker synchronization between brain areas tied to language and communication, compared to that of non-autistic children.

      “Identifying biological signs of autism has been a major goal for many scientists around the world, both because they may allow early diagnosis, and because they can provide researchers with important clues about the causes and development of the disorder,” says postdoctoral fellow Dr. Ilan Dinstein, a member of the group of Prof. Rafael Malach, who headed this study in the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Neurobiology. While many scientists believe that faulty lines of communication between different parts of the brain are involved in the spectrum of autism disorders, there was no way to observe this in very young children, who are unable to lie still inside a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner while they are awake.
      But work by Prof. Malach’s team and other research groups pointed to a solution. Their studies had shown that even during sleep, the brain does not actually switch off. Rather, the electrical activity of the brain cells switches over to spontaneous fluctuation. These fluctuations are coordinated across the two hemispheres of the brain such that each point on the left is synchronized with its corresponding point in the right hemisphere.
      In sleeping autistic toddlers, the fMRI scans showed lowered levels of synchronization between the left and right brain areas known to be involved in language and communication. This pattern was not seen either in children with normal development or in those with delayed language development who were not autistic. In fact, the researchers found that this synchronization was strongly tied to the autistic child’s ability to communicate: The weaker the synchronization, the more severe the symptoms of autism. On the basis of the scans, the scientists were able to identify 70 percent of the autistic children between the ages of one and three.
      Dr. Dinstein says, “This biological measurement could help diagnose autism at a very early stage. The goal for the near future is to find additional markers that can improve the accuracy and the reliability of the diagnosis."
      Prof. Rafael Malach’s research is supported by the Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for Neurosciences, which he heads; the Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for Neurological Diseases; the Carl and Micaela Einhorn-Dominic Brain Research Institute; the Friends of Dr. Lou Siminovitch; and the S. & J. Lurje Memorial Foundation. Prof. Malach is the recipient of the Helen and Martin Kimmel Award for Innovative Investigation. Prof. Malach is the incumbent of the Barbara and Morris L. Levinson Professorial Chair in Brain Research.
      The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world's top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions. Noted for its wide-ranging exploration of the natural and exact sciences, the Institute is home to 2,700 scientists, students, technicians, and supporting staff. Institute research efforts include the search for new ways of fighting disease and hunger, examining leading questions in mathematics and computer science, probing the physics of matter and the universe, creating novel materials, and developing new strategies for protecting the environment.

• • •

Workings of Brain Protein Suggest Therapies for Fragile X Syndrome and Autism

      ScienceDaily — Researchers now have a much clearer understanding of how mutations in a single gene can produce the complex cognitive deficits characteristic of Fragile X Syndrome, the most common inherited form of intellectual disability. As the majority of patients with Fragile X Syndrome also display autism-like symptoms, the findings offer hope for treating both conditions.
      A report in the July 22nd issue of the journal Cell, published by Cell Press, defines a set of messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules that the Fragile-X mental retardation protein (FMRP) binds in the brains of mice. Many of these mRNAs encode proteins that function at neurons' connection points. When properly bound, FMRP prevents the translation of these mRNAs into proteins until the time is right.
      "By understanding for the first time the direct targets of FMRP and its actions, we open up a whole world of potential avenues for therapies designed to make kids with Fragile X or autism better," said Robert Darnell, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at The Rockefeller University.
      "The power comes from taking two diseases with similar symptoms and looking at what is in common," added Jennifer Darnell, also at The Rockefeller University. Of the almost 850 identified targets of FMRP, she explained, it is likely only a much smaller subset has a real impact on health or disease.
      The Darnell team's breakthrough uses a technique they developed a few years ago based on a "biochemical trick." They use ultraviolet light to solidify the bonds between a protein, in this case FMRP, and the mRNAs it binds. Those protein-mRNA complexes could then be isolated and sequenced to reveal a "beautiful map" of the mRNA transcripts and precisely where they are bound to FMRP.
      The experiments reveal that FMRP specifically binds to the protein-coding portions of those brain mRNAs. Jennifer Darnell said that distribution is unlike what they've seen before and looked much like the distribution of ribosomes, the cellular components that assemble proteins.
      Further experiments suggest that FMRP acts as a "brake," reversibly stalling ribosomes after they bind mRNA. Robert Darnell likened FMRP to the nozzle at the end of a hose. It allows the mRNA transcripts to be loaded with ribosomes in the locations where they will be needed, and when the time is right, bursts of translation (protein synthesis) can occur. That sort of tight control is likely to be critical for the formation and plasticity of neural connections, the cellular foundation for learning and memory.
      Their basic scientific discoveries suggest two different overall strategies for treating Fragile X Syndrome: by lowering the activity of particular proteins normally kept under wraps by FMRP or by replacing FMRP's ability to stall ribosomes. Notably, the Darnells say the latter is exactly what antibiotics do to slow the growth of bacteria.
      "We may be able to take the edge off of the extra protein synthesis," Jennifer Darnell said.
      Ultimately, there will be more to the story, Robert Darnell added. "FMRP is one of many regulatory proteins in the neuron. It doesn't work all by itself."




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• • •

Study Highlights Success of Brain Surgery for Severe Epilepsy


      ScienceDaily — Two-thirds of people with severe and otherwise untreatable epilepsy were completely cured of their frequent seizures after undergoing neurosurgery at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, according to a new study that examined 143 of these patients two years after their operations.
      The new study not only shows the promise of this type of neurosurgery at treating severe epilepsy, it also highlights how research into brain imaging may help to further improve results for people who have such operations.
      "Surgery can be a powerful way to stop this disorder in its tracks," said UCSF Neurosurgeon Edward Chang, who led study, which is published this week in the journal Annals of Neurology. "Many of these people were living 10, 15 or 20 years with very severe and dangerous seizures."
      The success of the surgery, added Chang, was directly related to the accuracy with which the medical team could map the brain, identify the exact pieces of tissue responsible for an individual's seizures and ultimately remove them.
      "We need to continue to focus on developing new methods to figure out and pinpoint where the seizures are coming from," said Chang.
      Surgery for the Worst Cases
      Epilepsy has been known as a disease since ancient times. Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, described it in detail in his writings some 2,500 years ago, and it is believed to have afflicted many famous people throughout history, including Julius Caesar. About two million people in the United States suffer from the disease today, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization estimates that some 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, a name that means "seizures" in Greek.
      While seizures are common to a number of other conditions, including head injuries, infections, exposure to toxins, sleep deprivation and stroke, people with epilepsy suffer recurrent seizures. Those seizures basically result from spontaneous instabilities in the brain's neurons that can lead to symptoms ranging from slight muscle twitches to severe convulsions and loss of consciousness, depending on which parts of the brain are involved.
      For many people with epilepsy, seizures are triggered by physical malformations in their brains that formed during early development. Powerful anticonvulsant drugs help many of them overcome their seizures, but a subset of people with epilepsy do not respond to the drugs. Some suffer only the occasional seizure, but others with more severe cases of epilepsy may suffer from dozens of seizures daily.
      For those with such severe, untreatable epilepsy, brain surgery can be the last and best hope, aiming to remove the problematic pieces of brain tissue -- which may be as small as an acorn or as large as half the brain.
      As the new study has highlighted, when the surgery works it can completely cure the seizures overnight. But a challenge remains because many malformations that cause the seizures are invisible to most forms of imaging.
      UCSF Medical Center is one of just a few facilities in the country that is a world leader in brain imaging, epilepsy neurology and neurosurgery, and as a result, is one of the biggest epilepsy surgery programs in the United States. The latest study was part of a larger project at UCSF that is seeking to understand the different classes of malformations in the brain that lead to seizures and why certain people respond to treatment while others do not.
      While those larger questions remain unanswered, according to Chang, the latest study proves a simple concept he hopes will drive further research in the field.
      The better doctors can map the brain and identify the source of the seizures, Chang said, the greater will be the impact of the surgery.

• • •

TREATMENT

Licensing Of Behavior Analysts Called Into Question


      By Shaun Heasley disabilityscoop.com

      As autism advocates press for laws requiring that private health insurers cover behavior therapy, the question of who should license therapy providers is emerging as key.
      The issue is coming to the forefront in Virginia where lawmakers recently approved legislation requiring insurance coverage for applied behavior analysis, or ABA, therapy starting in 2012.
      But excited parents were soon dismayed to learn that a last-minute addition to the bill requires providers of the therapy to be licensed by the state. It could take as long as two years for such a licensing system to be established and families say they are concerned that they won’t be able to benefit from the new law in the meantime.
      The licensure requirement brings a twist to efforts to enhance insurance coverage of autism treatments. Traditionally, advocates say most states have relied on the national certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board to ensure that therapists are qualified, reports The Virginian-Pilot. To read more click here .
      Nonetheless, Virginia is not the only state grappling with who should license ABA therapists. California regulators recently reached agreements  with two private insurance companies to expand ABA therapy. But the deals hinge on therapy being provided by state licensed providers even though the state administers no such licenses.

• • •

COMMENTARY

Murdoch's Media Malpractice And The Genetic Altering Of Human Beings Through DNA Vaccines


      By Ethan A. Huff, NaturalNews

      Rupert Murdoch's media empire News Corp., which represents the second largest media conglomerate in the world behind the Walt Disney Company, is taking a severe beating as Murdoch himself is having to address various criminal allegations, including that his News of the World tabloid illegally hacked private phone lines and committed various other crimes.
      But Murdoch's media malpractice runs even deeper as his strong connections to the pharmaceutical industry also fueled his media machine's fabrication of lies against Dr. Andrew Wakefield, as well as hid from the public the true dangers of DNA vaccines that permanently corrupt human genes and cause autism.
      Murdoch has built quite a reputation for himself as a scoundrel of sorts, as many Americans who identify with the "left" side of the political spectrum have accused him of pandering to the "right" by skewing the news to appeal to "conservatives" (Murdoch owns FOX News, after all).
      But what Murdoch's organization is actually doing on all fronts with its various media outlets, including FOX, is pushing much bigger agendas that supersede any alleged "right vs. left" paradigm. One such agenda is News Corp.'s routine censorship of the dangerous truth about drugs and vaccines, which include smear campaigns like those levied against Dr. Wakefield who conduct legitimate research that contradicts mainstream medical thought.
      News Corp. systematically destroyed the reputation of Dr. Wakefield, lied about his work.  But as a quick recap, Dr. Wakefield basically discovered through credible research that the combination measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine was linked to mental and physiological health problems, and that the individual measles vaccine should be given to children instead until further research on the safety of MMR could be conducted.
      The findings were credible, responsibly-derived, and honest in their assessment -- but they resulted in a tirade of lies and slander against Dr. Wakefield.
      The statements included false accusations that he is opposed to all vaccinations, that he had manipulated his data, and that he is basically unfit to be a doctor, despite the fact that he is arguably one of the most well-respected and highly-educated gastroenterologists in the world. In the end, though, Dr. Wakefield ended up having his study pulled from the esteemed UK journal Lancet, and his UK medical license was revoked.
      And just who was responsible for the annihilation campaign against Dr. Wakefield? None other than Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which literally fabricated lies about Dr. Wakefield and disseminated them around the world via its multinational media network. News Corp.'s London Times, for instance, falsely accused Dr. Wakefield of being "callous, unethical and dishonest," and published numerous articles saying he was a fraud, and that he "abused his position of trust."
      And why, exactly, did News Corp. feel the need to destroy the life and reputation of a man that had done so much to help children with autism and other neurological disorders?
      Because Dr. Wakefield's findings were incongruent with the multi-billion-dollar profit ring of multinational pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Merck Inc., both of which produce and market MMR vaccines.
      Murdoch media empire, judicial system closely knit with drug companies Did you know that Rupert Murdoch's son James Murdoch, who manages the UK paper Sunday Times, is on the board of GSK? Or how about Sir Nigel Davis, the High Court judge that denied parents of children treated by Dr. Wakefield the right to have their claims against vaccine manufacturers heard in a real court? Davis' brother, who is an executive board member of Elsevier, the group that publishes the Lancet, is also on the board of GSK.
      An article in the COTO Report also explains that the head of the popular Reuters news service serves on the board of Merck, while a prominent writer at the UK's Daily Mirror is married to the former chairman of GSK. And the list goes on and on.
      With all of these strong connections to drug companies, it is no wonder that the media at large wholly participated in the Dr. Wakefield slander campaign -- after all, Dr. Wakefield's work caused millions of people to wake up and begin questioning the safety not only of the MMR vaccine, but also of vaccines in general. And this continued awakening is taking its toll on Big Pharma's profits.
      MMR and dozens of other DNA' vaccines essentially create genetically-modified humans Dr. Wakefield's work uncovered a crucial detail about certain vaccines that ultimately exposes those in this particular category as highly-dangerous, life-altering poisons. Third-generation DNA vaccines like MMR contain genetically-engineered (GE) materials that are injected directly into the body, sort of like how genetically-modified (GM) crop seeds have been injected with altered DNA that changes their genetic makeup -- and these GE traits can permanently alter proper human development.
      As far as DNA vaccines are concerned, the GE material they contain is included as part of an overall effort to induce "DNA uptake," a term that is very vaguely defined, but one that appears to infer a literal adoption of altered DNA into the human genetic structure. If this is the case, then DNA vaccines like MMR are overriding normal DNA with altered DNA, which causes the untold changes in human development and health that have been observed.
      Based on Dr. Wakefield's findings, this is exactly what appears to occur with MMR vaccines in particular, and it is why he urged the public to skip the MMR vaccine and get the individual vaccines instead. His findings showed that the MMR vaccine is linked to mitochondria dysfunction caused by DNA mutations. And since no proper review of MMR has ever taken place to prove its safety, his professional conclusion was that it was best to stop using it for childrens safety.
      Mitochondria, of course, are what power cells and convert energy into forms that are usable by the body. When these do not work properly, the entire human body becomes compromised. Individuals with autism demonstrate mitochondria dysfunction as well as various other problems, which may or may not be possible to cure -- and this, again, is precisely why Dr. Wakefield urged the public to beware of the MMR vaccine.
      According to the same COTO Report article mentioned earlier, DNA vaccines like MMR were actually derived from failed gene therapy experiments. In other words, they appear to be a type of genetic experiment that is permanently altering human gene expression and proper DNA development, which in turn lands its victims with permanent, life-altering developmental disorders like autism.
      But none of this will ever be addressed by the likes of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., or by most other mainstream news outlets for that matter, because of their close alliance with the drug industry. It is in their best interests to hide the truth from the public, and to continue pushing the lie that all vaccines are safe, and have never been implicated in causing any long-term health problems.
      CBS News, however, did recently report on a new review published in the Journal of Immunotoxicology that addresses the issue of third-generation DNA vaccines and autism. That review, entitled Theoretical aspects of autism: Causes -- A review, admits that "[d]ocumented causes of autism include genetic mutations and/or deletions, viral infections, and encephalitis [brain damage] following vaccination."

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


• • •

LETTERS

Re: NY Post's 'Stealth Tax'


      The NY Post editorial "A Stealth NY Tax" urged Governor Cuomo to veto a bill passed last month that will require insurers to provide coverage for "autism spectrum disorders". According to the editorial, state lawmakers who passed the legislation only did so to "suck up to a host of special-interest groups".
      If it serves no other purpose, this editorial provides a classic example of the "pot calling the kettle black" when it comes to "sucking up to special interests"
      Consider, the editorial shamelessly quoted Leslie Moran of the New York Health Association, a conglomeration of the twelve biggest insurance companies in New York, who stated: "At a time when the state has been looking to rein in the cost of health care, we shouldn't be imposing new costs".
      How about the insurance industry willingly accept these "new costs" .. as just compensation .. for decades of having successfully avoided covering any "medical, psychological and educational services for ASD kids"? It seems only fair for the New York Health Association to finally "pass on" to New York State, the yearly "cost saving profits" they enjoyed by denying deserving coverage to ASD families.
      In any event, this editorial was nothing more than a crude attempt to protect the bottom line profits of the insurance industry, by unleashing a mean-spirited attack seeking to demonize ASD children by holding them responsible for raising taxes. Shame on the Post for publishing it.
      -Bob Moffitt, Sloatsburg, New York
      
• • •

RE: Autism May Be Linked To Antidepressant Use

      Look a little deeper. The mother is taking anti-depressants because she, in fact, is depressed. Heavy metal poisoning symptoms are depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, brain fog, etc. Any woman that even suggests any of these symptoms will be automatically prescribed psychotropic drugs by docs who never question why or even look for heavy metal poisoning. Of course, heavy metals are passed to the child in utero. A healthy child with a healthy means of detoxing will generally be fine unless the child is hit with another dose of metals such as inoculations. Then we know what happens.
      My company has been successfully providing a far infrared sauna to detox children on the Spectrum of heavy metals. We were very surprised when mothers, who used our sauna with their child, told us their depression, anxiety, brain fog, ADD/ADHD and other heavy metal symptoms went away. Most of these mothers reported having mercury amalgams; some even reported having mercury fillings put in during their pregnancy.
      Promote detox before conception. If you do, you will definitely see autism numbers decrease.
      - Bill Johnson, High Tech Health International, Inc

• •

      Surely I am not the only one who sees the irony in this headline. 
It was my child’s autism that linked me to antidepressant use. . .
      - Laura Smith, Sam’s mom





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