September 10, 2008
The Hidden Bailout Of $1.4 Trillion In Fannie / Freddie Credit-Default Swaps
by Daniel Amerman
Something extraordinary happened on Monday, September the 8th, 2008. The government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac triggered the pending settlement of $1.4 trillion in credit-default swaps. This single event could have led to a cascading series of failures that might have bankrupted Wall Street – and much of the rest of the financial world – by the end of the week. That isn’t happening, and indeed, the media is treating this as something close to a non-event. However, a very real $1.4 trillion event happened – whose resolution effectively constitutes one of the largest government bailouts in history. Nobody noticed, for even though this is occurring in “plain sight”, the simple fact is that few people outside of the financial industry understand the $600 trillion derivative securities market. In this article, written the day after the event, we will briefly explain why this hidden, massive bailout – not of Fannie and Freddie but of the financial derivatives industry – is hugely significant, with potentially profound – and arbitragable – implications for the dollar, the markets and your personal financial future.
What Did NOT Happen
(These first several paragraphs in italics do not describe what did happen, but rather what could have happened in an alternate universe in which we actually had a free market that functioned without massive government interventions.)
The financial news of the day was that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were both unable to make debt payments and had defaulted on $5 trillion in bonds and mortgage-backed securities. With the US real estate market having fallen $4 trillion in the previous two years (non inflation-adjusted), it should have been no surprise that these two highly leveraged companies were not able to absorb the staggering losses. As this became clear to the markets, Fannie and Freddie lost the ability to borrow – which their survival was based upon – and actual default followed soon after. This default immediately triggered settlements on $1.4 trillion in credit-default swaps (credit derivatives), which had been entered into by major financial firms who had promised – in exchange for lucrative fee income – that if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac were to default, these guarantor firms would make good on the defaulted bonds.
As the value of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt plunged to 30 cents on the dollar, this meant that there was a 70% loss on the bonds (if one could find a buyer at all). This then triggered a call for settlement on the $1.4 trillion in credit-default swaps outstanding. Because the debt of the two former titans of the financial world was trading at a 70% discount compared to par value, this meant that total credit losses were $1 trillion ($1.4 trillion X 70% = $1 trillion). This meant $1 trillion worth of payments was due from the companies that had guaranteed the value of this debt, through their entering into credit-default swaps.
Settlement was triggered, but as the credit-default swap beneficiaries soon found out, collecting their settlements was an entirely different matter. The financial institutions around the world who had guaranteed Fannie and Freddie in exchange for lucrative corporate fee income (and multi-million dollar individual bonuses) were all highly leveraged themselves (indeed, weaker than the companies they were guaranteeing), and absolutely reliant on the day to day availability of large lines of credit and general borrowing capacity. As the creditors of these financial giants realized that a trillion dollar hit was barreling straight at them, they pulled their financing. Having to repay or replace these loans, without being able to sell massive portfolios of illiquid assets in a market suddenly devoid of buyers, left nearly every major investment bank and commercial bank in the United States and Europe unable to meet their obligations – even before settlement of their trillion dollar credit-default swap losses.
The failure of the major financial firms triggered another massive round of credit-default swap events, with amounts well over $10 trillion by Thursday, and over $20 trillion by Friday. By that time, however, no one was naïve enough to expect actual payment on those swaps, as Wall Street and the rest of the world’s financial hubs had all been insolvent since Wednesday. When the markets eventually opened for business again more than two months later, the official drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average was over 10,000 points, meaning the index was trading at a level in the 1,000 – 1,500 range.
What Did Happen
“They say there are no atheists in a foxhole. Well, there are no libertarians in a financial crisis, either.”
Jeffrey Frankel, Harvard economist
The above scenario is what might have happened if we took the naïve perspective that markets actually function on their own without government intervention, and that corporations take the consequences for their own bad decisions, in exchange for the profits that come from their good decisions. That is of course a hypothetical world that has little to do with current global financial markets.
If you want a glimpse of the real world future, and what is happening as the same flawed business model that destroyed the $1.2 trillion subprime mortgage derivative securities market now threatens the over $60 trillion credit derivatives market, then we need to look no further than what actually happened with the $1.4 trillion worth of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac credit default swaps. The companies were taken into conservatorship on September 6th. They have effectively failed even if legally there are some different ways of phrasing it. As reported by Bloomberg on September 8th, that led to a unanimous agreement by 13 Wall Street firms on Monday, September 7, 2008, that settlement of $1.4 trillion in credit default swaps had been triggered.
If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had actually failed to make payments on their debt – the consequences would have quite likely destroyed Wall Street right there. As illustrated in the scenario above, there simply isn’t a big enough capital base on Wall Street to absorb a trillion dollars in losses in a week, particularly once your creditors catch on to what is happening. Much smaller losses from subprime mortgage derivatives incrementally dribbling out over the course of the year, still might have taken down Wall Street, had it not been for the ability to hide losses in Tier Three assets (with the full complicity of the government), as well as the reassurances that the Federal Reserve provided by so swiftly bailing out Bear Stearns via JP Morgan, when a creditor driven bankruptcy (as described above) threatened to take down a major player.
Of course, the hypothetical collapse did not happen. The meltdown was averted because the federal government proactively and aggressively intervened to keep a financial disaster from taking down Wall Street (just as it did with Bear Stearns, and Long Term Capital Management the decade before). When the situation started to get bad, the federal government stepped in and – even if they still are hedging a bit legally – effectively guaranteed the debt of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Which means that they also – and this is crucial – bailed out the firms who had guaranteed the $1.4 trillion in credit derivatives. There may very well be losses, perhaps significant losses, but there would be no catastrophic loss there, that would threaten the viability of the financial system. Because what has really happened is that you have replaced a credit default swap on a quasi-governmental agency, that being Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, with a credit default swap on the full faith and credit of the United States government. If the US guarantee had not been substituted then it would be a catastrophic failure. But because the US guarantee was substituted, it’s seemingly not a big deal, though much remains to be worked out.
In other words, the biggest beneficiaries of the $1.4 trillion Fannie and Freddie bailout were not Fannie or Freddie at all, but the Wall Street firms whose senior officers just happen to be major political contributors to both political parties – with some of those senior officers also running the Treasury Department on a revolving door basis.
How the ending valuation of the credit default swaps for settlement purposes will work out is a fascinating question. Arguably you could say that the value of Fannie and Freddie debt just rose, not only in comparison to prices during the recent financial turmoil, but also compared to par value. After all, we have just gone from quasi-governmental debt to something that is much closer to being explicitly a full faith and credit obligation of the United States Government, which means we should be losing part of the small spread that Fannie and Freddie traded at as quasi-governmental debt over direct governmental debt yields. From this perspective, one could say that the United States stepping in and taking over actually improves credit quality and the value of the bonds, so there is no loss at all – but a gain.
However there still remains a level of uncertainty, as the debt has not explicitly been made full faith and credit of the United States government. There’s a taint involved, and there could be liquidity issues – as investors typically are not too fond of even small uncertainties. So there’s a good chance the ending value will end up somewhere in the 90s – perhaps very close to par or perhaps a little bit further away. Wherever the ultimate settlement prices, however, it will not be a massive loss, because what has really happened is that a swap has indeed taken place, and the United States government bailed Wall Street out of self-inflicted credit swap-driven destruction, through preemptively swapping its guarantee for the guarantees by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The real implication of this then is that there is no danger from credit default swaps directly taking down Wall Street, so long as the federal government is willing to aggressively intervene every time there is a potential failure. I think we can see a clear path to the future here.
Where Did That Trillion Come From?
Before going any further, let’s stop and ask a simple question.
Where did the money for the bailout come from?
How did a strapped federal government come up with the trillions (if need be) to make good on all of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s obligations?
How did a government that is already running over a $400 billion deficit so smoothly and easily come up with an extra trillion dollars or two, if needed? (With the $400 billion being based upon government accounting standards whose usage would get an individual or private firm thrown in prison. The deficit is far, far higher when unfunded retirement obligations are taken into account.)
And, for that matter, now that we’re on the subject – where did the government come up with the money for the $170 billion “tax rebate”?
How about that $59 trillion number for unfunded retirement related government obligations that keeps being bandied around? (The real number is a good bit higher as I cover in my article “The $2 Million Opportunity.”)
Where does the government come up with all that money, anyway?
The answer is simple – there is an unlimited supply of dollars. When you issue your own currency, and you are sufficiently determined, then there is an infinite supply of money available. Which could be a very good thing(?), for the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac credit-default swaps are only one small part of a much larger market – and much larger risk. As we will discuss later in the article, however, while the supply of money is infinite, the value of that money is a different matter.
Taking Full Advantage Of Implicit Government Guarantees
Once you understand that the supplyof money is effectively infinite for a sufficiently grave emergency, then you are ready for the next step in understanding some recent events which might otherwise seem indecipherable. From some perspectives, this near catastrophe which could have so easily taken down all of Wall Street (had the federal government not intervened), was not a catastrophe at all. It was instead a highly successful experiment. For the many firms which purportedly took on the risk in creating $1.4 trillion of credit-default swaps for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did not do so for the fun of it or out of the goodness of their hearts. They did so because they got paid enormous sums of money for purportedly taking on all those risks. With much of that money quite directly passing through to the already wealthy individuals involved.
If Fannie and Freddie had not run into problems then the guarantor financial firms would have just pocketed all of their fees, ultimately as pure profit. Instead of that, a worst case scenario occurred that arguably should have destroyed every one of the firms involved in this business – and would have likely done so if there had genuinely been a free market involved.
What the experiment proved was that as long as the risk that you take is big enough, then the federal government and your former coworkers down at the Treasury Department can be absolutely relied upon to bail you out. Now, Wall Street felt this was likely already the case. It was kind of a shame to lose a firm like Bear Stearns, but the good part about it was it proved that a major derivatives market failure wouldn’t be allowed to occur, as was remarked upon in the article from last month quoted below:
“Government intervention has saved the $62 trillion credit derivatives market from facing the nightmare of counterparty failure during the credit crisis of the past year…
After the government backed rescue of Bear Stearns, the market views other major derivative counterparties as also “too big to fail”, and this implicit support… means the credit derivatives market will likely be spared the ultimate test.”
Reuters (Karen Brettell), August 7, 2008
With the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the markets have been shown to be correct, and the reliability of the government bailout occurring has now been proven on a much larger scale. If the dollar amount is great enough, then no individual firm has to go down. Instead the United States Treasury and/or Federal Reserve will preemptively step in, and effectively make every one whole (or close thereto), perhaps without even affecting Wall Street bonuses.
The principle is very simple. Take huge risks that you know cannot possibly pay out if you lose. In fact – that’s the key to the whole transaction. The risks have to be so large that you cannot afford to lose, and the economy and markets cannot afford for you to lose. Then one of two things happens. Either the risk event does not come about and you make an extraordinary amount of money as an individual and as a firm for having taken on this huge amount of risk. Or the risk happens and you have to pay out. Except you really don’t, because you can’t afford to pay out and you have effectively blackmailed the rest of the population through being too big to fail. Then the government steps in and bails you out. Except it’s not really the government, because the government can’t truly do that, it is the rest of the population which bails you out.
Situations like this are sometimes referred to as “moral hazard” – a weak and theoretical sounding term for an insider’s game of global economic blackmail that is growing at a rate much faster than the overall global economy. The cozy relationship between Wall Street and regulators is crucial, and much of the massive, hidden derivatives bailout that just occurred can be explained by looking at just who the chief “cop” is. US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson built his half billion dollar personal fortune as the former head of Goldman Sachs, meaning he was chief executive of one of the world’s leading derivatives players.
Making Sense Of The Irrational
It is only when you understand the game that is being played, that the actions of Wall Street and much of the rest of the financial world after the subprime mortgage crisis becomes clear.
The subprime mortgage derivates experiment failed spectacularly. The firms that were creating these derivative securities and the rating firms who were rating them were making numerous and obvious mistakes. Yet once the fundamentally flawed business model was disproven – the world did not move away from derivative securities. Oh, they stopped creating new subprime mortgage derivatives, but when we look at the arguably much riskier credit derivatives market (this greater risk is explored in my article “Credit Derivatives Dangers In 2008 & Beyond – A Primer”), the market grew from $35 trillion in outstanding credit derivatives in July 2007 — the same time it was becoming clear that something was going very badly wrong in the subprime mortgage derivatives market — to a current level of about $62 trillion. In other words the market reacted to the real world proof that these things don’t actually work, by almost doubling the amount in existence in one year. Indeed, the amount of credit derivatives outstanding grew at an annual rate that was about twice the size of the entire United States economy.
Now if you are an academic modeling a hypothetical world of free markets and rational behavior by sophisticated investors keeping the markets safe and fairly valued for all involved, this would make no sense whatsoever. Rational investment firms ought to be fleeing markets like credit derivatives – not doubling up on an already failed experiment.
The reason? It’s the best game in town. Take a huge amount of risk, be paid exceedingly well for it and if you screw up — you have absolute proof that the government will come in and bail you out at the expense of the rest of the population (who did not share in your profits in the first place).
Investing For The Bailout, Not The Crisis
Once we recognize that what is happening here is not a massive credit default, but a monetization by the US government of those losses on a potentially multi-trillion dollar scale, then our investment strategy changes dramatically. We are no longer investing for the crisis – but for the bailout. The combination of this bailout and the Federal Reserves unprecedented actions in forcing interest rates so far below the rate of inflation creates a “target-rich environment” for the execution of arbitrage strategies by both corporate and individual investors.
The federal government is not going to let the financial system fail. It will create however much money needs to be created to bail out the institutions and attempt to bailout the economy, as it has already shown in real world test after test, from the so-called “tax rebate”, to Bear Stearns, to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Which means that the government is prepared to destroy the dollar, and is not just prepared to, but is currently actively destroying the value of the dollar rather than let those firms fail. So the way you invest for the failure of an out of control derivatives market is to invest for the destruction of the dollar. Which means taking on new tools for a new time.
Four Steps To Creating Wealth From Catastrophe
The first step in creating wealth in an unfair world – is to avoid getting cheated. If you are investing money at short term rates of 1%, 2% or even 5%, while the value of your money is eroding at 9% a year, then you are being deliberately played for a sucker, and cheated out of the value of your money by the Federal Reserve.
Not that secret meetings are being held and an explicit agreement is being made to “get the little guys”. It’s just that sacrifices have to be made for the greater good to try to avert a catastrophic market meltdown, and that means that trusting individual investors get paid a negative interest rate on their money (after adjusting for inflation), while paying taxes on (economically) non-existent income for the privilege. Keep in mind as well that one of the purposes in destroying the value of your money is to keep the prices on financial assets propped above where they would otherwise be, if genuine market forces were setting short term interest rates. Which means that you are systematically overpaying for financial assets compared to actual fundamental values, and are getting played for a sucker there as well, to the extent that you are not being subsidized with below (real) market rates like the banks, investment banks and hedge funds. (See my article “Fed Manipulations Subsidize Wall Street & Cheat Investors” for more on this.)
The second step to turning financial catastrophe into personal wealth requires understanding one simple thing – which most investors do not. Inflation does not destroy real wealth, at least not directly. Inflation redistributes real wealth. Indeed, inflation can be used by individuals to quite directly take real wealth from both financial institutions and other individuals, as I illustrate in my (slightly twisted) morality tale “Inflation Pickpocket”. (To add insult to injury, those doing the pocket picking can often do so tax-free, even while their victims pay real taxes on illusory income.)
The third step is to understand that wealth redistribution on a massive scale creates personal opportunity on a massive scale. John Paulson (no relation to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson) saw the crisis that was coming in subprime mortgages, researched and educated himself on this area (which had not been his field of expertise), and he turned the crisis into a $3-$4 billion personal payday in 2007. If you’re not a hedge fund manager like John Paulson, you may not have the tools that he used to turn a market crisis into personal billions. That’s OK, because Paulson didn’t start with the tools either. He started with educating himself and learning about a new area, until he came up with a novel way to profit from disaster. A method that wasn’t in the financial textbooks, and that he didn’t find by reading a financial columnist in the paper.
Next you need to understand that you personally may have more tools than you may think, some of which may surprise you. Tools which can give you the opportunity to turn financial disaster into personal net worth. There are ways you can use those tools to turn the destruction of the currency into perhaps the greatest real wealth-building opportunity of your life, on a long-term and tax-advantaged basis. But, if you want this to happen –you will need to start with learning. That is the irreplaceable fourth step. You are going to have to educate yourself, and work to not just understand, but to master some of the financial forces and methods in play here. You will have to learn how to turn the destruction of paper wealth into real wealth. With Turning Inflation Into Wealth being the key to this next step. My best wishes to you for turning this challenge into an extraordinary personal opportunity.
The Next Big Autism Bomb: Are 1 in 50 Kids Potentially At Risk?
Posted March 26, 2008 | 09:30 PM (EST)
Read More: Autism, Autism Mitochondria, Autism Thimerosal, Autism Vaccine Mercury, Autism Vaccines, Breaking Living News
stumbleupon :The Next Big Autism Bomb: Are 1 in 50 Kids Potentially At Risk? digg: The Next Big Autism Bomb: Are 1 in 50 Kids Potentially At Risk? reddit: The Next Big Autism Bomb: Are 1 in 50 Kids Potentially At Risk? del.icio.us: The Next Big Autism Bomb: Are 1 in 50 Kids Potentially At Risk? Review it on NewsTrust Yahoo Buzz: The Next Big Autism Bomb: Are 1 in 50 Kids Potentially At Risk?
On Tuesday, March 11, a conference call was held between vaccine safety officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, several leading experts in vaccine safety research, and executives from America’s Health Insurance Plans, (the HMO trade association) to discuss childhood mitochondrial dysfunction and its potential link to autism and vaccines.
It was a sobering event for all concerned, and it could soon become known as the Conference Call heard ’round the world.
The teleconference was scheduled by a little known CDC agency called the Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) Network, a consortium of six research centers working on “immunization-associated health risks,” in conjunction with the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office and the health insurance lobby — whose companies cover some 200 million Americans.
The hot topic of the day was mitochondria – the little powerhouses within each cell that convert food and oxygen into energy for use by the body. Recent news events have implicated mitochondria in at least one case of regressive autism, following normal development.
Some researchers on the call reported that mitochondrial dysfunction is probably much more common than the current estimate of 1-in-4,000 people. The potential implications for autism, then, are staggering.
“We need to find out if there is credible evidence, theoretically, to support the idea that childhood mitochondrial dysfunction might regress into autism,” one of the callers reportedly told participants.
“THE CLOCK IS TICKING”
One person on the call (those interviewed for this article asked to remain anonymous) told me that, “the CDC people were informed, in no uncertain terms, that they need to look into this issue immediately, and do something about it.” The clock is ticking, they were told, and if they don’t respond, the information will be made public.
Still, the doctor said, he was enormously impressed by the “seriousness” with which CDC officials treated the possibility of a link between mitochondria, autism and possibly vaccines as well.
In the recent landmark Hannah Poling case, filed in Federal “Vaccine Court,” officials conceded that Hannah’s underlying mitochondrial dysfunction was aggravated by her vaccines, leading to fever and an “immune stimulation that exceeded metabolic reserves.”
But on March 6, CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding claimed that Hannah’s case was a rare, virtually one-of-a-kind incident with little, if any relevance to the other 4,900 autism claims currently pending in the court — or to any other case of autism for that matter.(There were conflicting accounts about whether Gerberding was on the call or not).
Since then, however, Dr. Gerberding and other CDC officials were made aware of a Portuguese study, published last October, which reported that 7.2% of children with autism had confirmed mitochondrial disorders. The authors also noted that, “a diversity of associated medical conditions was documented in 20%, with an unexpectedly high rate of mitochondrial respiratory chain disorders.”
“Apparently, the Portuguese study really got their attention,” one of the participants said. “It’s a highly significant finding. And it’s worrisome enough to definitely look into. I think the CDC people know that.”
They also know that some reports estimate the rate of mitochondrial dysfunction in autism to be 20% or more. And the rate among children with the regressive sub-type of autism is likely higher still.
Vaccine safety officials on the March 11 call may have been open to discussing mitochondria and autism, but they were probably highly unprepared for what was to come next.
One doctor reported his findings from a five-year study of children with autism, who also showed clinical markers for impaired cellular energy, due to mild dysfunction of their mitochondria.
The biochemistry of 30 children was studied intensively, and in each case, the results showed the same abnormalities as those found in Hannah Poling, participants said. Each child had moderate elevations or imbalances in the exact same amino acids and liver enzymes as Hannah Poling.
All thirty children also displayed normal, healthy development until about 18-24 months of age, when they quickly regressed into clinically diagnosed autism (and not merely “features of autism”), following some type of unusual trigger, or stress, placed on their immune system.
Researchers explained on the call that some data show that mitochondrial dysfunction can convert into autism “in numbers that make it not a rare occurrence,” one participant told me. They explained this as “a distinct syndrome; not a mixed bag at all. Every kid had mild mitochondria dysfunction and autistic regression.”
Another surprise came when one researcher announced an “inheritance pattern” that linked each case through the genetics of the father: In families where two cousins had autism, the genetic link was always through the father.
This unexpected discovery would clearly implicate nuclear DNA inheritance, and not mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited only through the mother.
Gerberding and others had previously insisted that Hannah and her mother, Teri Poling, both had the same single point mutation in their mitochondrial DNA. CDC officials asserted that Hannah had a pre-existing disease, a rare genetic glitch in her mitochondria, that may well have manifested as “features of autism” on its own, perhaps even without an environmental trigger.
“It’s not in the mitochondrial DNA, and it’s not rare,” one participant confirmed. In fact, he said, many people probably carry the nuclear DNA mutation that confers susceptibility to mitochondrial dysfunction, they just don’t know it.
1-in-50 GENETIC RISK?
On the call, speculation on the prevalence of a genetic mutation that could confer mild mitochondrial dysfunction in the general population ranged from about 1-in-400, to a staggering 1-in-50, or 2% of all Americans.
There was talk about the urgent need to do mapping studies, and find the locus of this gene. Some of the researchers said they want to test all 30 children for the actual DNA mutation. There was some expectation that they might discover that the mutation goes back generations, so parents and grandparents might be tested as well.
One belief is that a particular mutated gene may have become prevalent over the centuries, because of selective advantage. Mild mitochondrial dysfunction reportedly has been associated with intelligence, because it can increase activity of the brain’s NMDA receptors. A large number of receptors can produce increased intelligence, but it can also increase risk of brain disease, one doctor explained to me. It’s possible that increased receptor activity acts in same way.
But not everyone agrees that mitochondrial dysfunction is a purely inherited affair. Some researchers believe that, while a susceptibility gene for mitochondrial problems certainly exists, some type of environmental trigger, or “adversity,” as one doctor put it, is needed to turn the mutation into a dysfunction.
The medical literature is replete with studies on mitochondrial health and the adverse impact of mercury, aluminum and other toxins. Even AIDS drugs like AZT and prenatal alcohol consumption can damage mitochondria and impact cellular energy.
The mercury-containing vaccine preservative, thimerosal, for example, “can definitely kill cells in vitro through the mitochondria,” one teleconference participant told me. “And some people are beginning to suspect that the dose of hepatitis B vaccine given at birth might be interfering with proper mitochondrial function in certain children.”
While the cause of mitochondrial dysfunction is up for the debate, so too is its potential effect on regressive autism.
All the researchers I spoke with agreed that, in many cases, there was an underlying, asymptomatic mitochondrial dysfunction, aggravated by some other stressful event imposed on the child’s immune system, resulting in autism.
Such “metabolic decomposition” occurs when a child’s system simply “cannot meet the energy demand needed to fight the stress of illness,” one doctor explained.
But what causes the stress? That is a very big question.
Apparently, in only two of the 30 cases, or 6%, could the regression be traced directly and temporally to immunizations, and one of them was Hannah Poling. In the other cases, there was reportedly some type of documented, fever-inducing viral infection that occurred within seven days of the onset of brain injury symptoms.
All 30 of the regressions occurred between one and two years of age, at a time when the still-developing brain is particularly vulnerable to injury.
But if a significant minority of autism cases was caused by mitochondrial dysfunction aggravated by common childhood illnesses, then shouldn’t we see fewer cases today than, say, at the beginning of the 20th Century? And wouldn’t developing countries likewise show far more prevalence of autism than the United States?
Not necessarily, some experts said. They noted that many viral infections are still quite prevalent in modern-day America, and many children still get these types of viral infections about once a month, on average.
If that is the case, then why doesn’t every child with “mito” dysfunction regress into autism? Surely, they must encounter viral infections during their yearlong window of neurological peril.
Again, not necessarily: Some doctors said it would depend on the severity of the dysfunction, the type of virus encountered, and perhaps other factors that are still not understood.
But at least two of the 30 kids with mito deficiencies were pushed over the edge into autism by their vaccines, and some researchers feel the number is probably much higher than that in the larger population.
“Vaccines, in some cases, can cause an unusually heightened immune reaction, fever, and even mild illness,” one participant said. “A normal vaccine reaction in most kids would be very different in a kid with a metabolic disorder. We know it happened to at least two kids in this study, and I’m certain there are many more Hannahs out there.”
One theory currently in circulation about what happened to Hannah and other children like her, is an apparent “triple domino effect.” According to this hypothesis, it takes three steps and two triggers to get to some types of autism, and it goes like this:
STEP ONE: Child is conceived and born healthy, but with an underlying nuclear DNA genetic susceptibility to mitochondrial dysfunction, inherited from dad.
TRIGGER ONE: An early environmental “adversity” occurs in the womb or during the neonatal period, perhaps caused by prenatal exposure to heavy metals, pollutants, pesticides and medicines. Or, it occurs in early infancy, through environmental toxins, thimerosal exposure, or even the Hepatitis B vaccine “birth dose.” This trigger results in:
STEP TWO: Child develops mild, usually asymptomatic mitochondrial dysfunction (though I wonder if the ear infections and eczema so common in these cases might also be symptoms of mito problems).
TRIGGER TWO: Child, now with an underlying mitochondrial dysfunction, suffers over-stimulation of the immune system beyond the capacity of his or her metabolic reserves. This stress is either via a viral febrile infection, or from multiple vaccinations, as in the Poling case. This trigger results in:
STEP THREE: Acute illness, seizures, encephalopathy, developmental regression, autism.
Such a scenario might help explain why autism has increased right along with the addition of more vaccines to the national schedule.
And it might help explain why autism rates are not plummeting now that thimerosal levels have been significantly reduced in most childhood vaccines.
It’s possible that exposures from the flu shot, and residual mercury left over in other vaccines — perhaps in synergistic effect with aluminum used as an “adjuvant” to boost the immune response – might “contribute to the toxic mix that causes childhood mitochondrial dysfunction in the first place,” one of the doctors said.
But like many hypotheses, this one has competition. Some researchers believe that the modern American diet is largely to blame for an increase in the number of children whose underlying mitochondrial dysfunction is “triggered” into autism by febrile infections.
The answer, they hypothesize, is corn.
The American diet has become extraordinarily dependent on corn oil and corn syrup used in processing, these experts contend. They say that corn oil and syrup are inflammatory, whereas fish oil is anti-inflammatory. Could our diet be a factor in making this mutated gene become more pathogenic? It’s a biochemical defect that leads to biochemical disease, supporters of this theory say: The gene itself becomes more of a problem.
This information raises so many questions it makes your head swim.
First and foremost among them: What to do about vaccinating children with known mitochondrial dysfunction?
In many respects, these kids should be first in line for vaccination, to prevent some illnesses that might trigger an autistic regression during the window of vulnerability. On the other hand, with multiple vaccinations, such as the case with Hannah, there is also a risk of overtaxing the immune system, and likewise triggering regression into autism.
What’s needed most urgently, if possible, is a quick, affordable and efficient method of testing children for low cellular energy, perhaps before vaccination even begins.
There was some discussion on the conference call about altering the vaccine schedule in some way, to lower the risk of immune over-stimulation in susceptible children. Certainly, pressure will grow for a change in the schedule – the question is how, when, and if such changes will be made.
Some of the suggestions may not be popular among public health officials. They include:
1) Establishing a maximum number of vaccine antigens to which any child could be exposed on any given day.
2) Permitting the option of separating out the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) live virus combination vaccines into three distinct “monovalent” shots.
3) Not giving the varicella vaccine (chicken pox) on the same day as the MMR injection – the CDC recently withdrew is recommendation for the Pro-Quad MMR+Varicella vaccine because it doubled the risk of seizures.
Another option is to create new “recommendations for administering multiple vaccines to children who have fallen behind in the recommended childhood immunization schedule,” according to the website of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Hannah had missed some shots and her doctor decided to “catch up” with the schedule by administering five shots, containing nine vaccine antigens, at once. But some autism activists have pointed out that giving five shots in one day is not that uncommon.
Moreover, they claim, many children regressed into autism following normal vaccination, when the parents religiously adhered to the official schedule.
According to the Johns Hopkins site, “Additional research is needed to determine if other children with autism, especially those with ‘the regressive form’ of autism, have the same or similar underlying mitochondrial dysfunction disorders.”
It adds that, “the advisory groups who make recommendations regarding vaccines will undoubtedly examine this case carefully and make decisions regarding the potential need for changes.”
That day may come sooner than you think. It was just announced that, on April 11 in Washington, DC, the National Vaccine Program Office at HHS will convene a meeting of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee’s Vaccine Safety Working Group. The Working Group was established to go over the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office draft research agenda, and to, “review the current vaccine safety system.”
The meeting is open to the public, and I have my seat reserved. But I honestly don’t envy the Working Group’s very tricky task at hand.
It remains to be seen how all this plays out. And many important questions still lie ahead.
For example, if mitochondrial dysfunction turns out to be as common as 200-per-10,000, and autism is now at 66 per 10,000, did anything bad happen to any of the other 134-per-10,000 children, apart from autism (i.e., ADD, ADHD, speech delay, etc.)?
Moreover, if 10-20% of autism cases can actually be traced to an underlying mitochondrial dysfunction, then what about the majority of autism cases where this did not come into play?
And, if 20% of autism cases are mito related, and 6% of those cases regressed because of vaccines, that would mean that at least 1% of all autism cases were vaccine related. Some estimates of autism go as high as a million Americans – that would mean 10,000 people with vaccine-triggered autism, and billions of dollars in the cost of lifetime care.
(While we are on the subject, isn’t it time to fund a study of vaccinated and unvaccinated children, to settle this debate once and for all?)
Finally, the goals of the CISA Network, (which convened the teleconference) are rather progressive and far reaching. It remains to be seen how well the Network fulfills its stated mission, which includes:
Conduct research into “the role of individual variation” on vaccine injury;
“Empower individuals to make informed immunization decisions;”
Help policy makers “in the recommendation of exclusion criteria for at-risk individuals,” and;
“Enhance public confidence in sustaining immunization benefits for all populations”
Let’s see how long it takes before Network members hang out the proverbial banner: “Mission Accomplished.”
Why Vaccines aren’t safe
This two and a half hour presentation, is well researched and presented. Are vacccines safe? Find out how they made it & the LIES about all MERCURY Free vacines. At the end a medical doctor discusses how he gave his child a vaccine and it caused him to have severe autism. He vowed never to vaccinate himself or his family ever again after FINDING out the TRUTH!
AUTISM AND THE CHICAGO POLIO EPIDEMIC
September 13, 1952.
That’s the day Polio was declared an epidemic in Chicago. According to the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times at www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org the city declared it so after it surpassed the “critical level classification” of 720 cases by 9 cases, “at which the disease is classified as having assumed epidemic proportions on the basis of 20 infections for each 100,000 of the city’s 3,600,000 population.”
I was prompted to dig this up after a comment made by Dr. Tom Insel of the NIH. He claimed in response to the question as to why Autism has not yet been declared epidemic, that quite simply no one has bothered to look at the incidence rates to figure it out. That stunned me. Logic dictates determining if Autism is epidemic or not will best direct research funds, as genetic disorders and diseases cannot be so. Figuring this out sooner than later is not only fiscally responsible, it is morally responsible.
Before I made that call, however, I needed to get some information straight. Admittedly, I was unclear about the difference between incidence and prevalence rates, as well as what the formal definition of an epidemic is.
I now know that prevalence rates reference how much of the disease is occurring among the population as a whole, versus the incidence rate which looks specifically at birth cohorts to track increases or decreases. In essence, we know that 1 in 150 people now have Autism, but not how many 3 year olds per se across the country do. (This emphasizes the importance of the California data which does tracks incidence of Autism in that state.)
I found out through a quick Wikipedia search, “an epidemic is a classificaion of a disease that appears as new cases in a given human population, during a given period, at a rate that substantially exceeds what is expected based on recent experience (the number of new cases in the population during a specified period of time is called the incidence rate).”
Moreover, “Defining an epidemic can be subjective, depending in part on what is expected. An epidemic may be restricted to one locale (an outbreak), more general (an epidemic), or even global (pandemic). Because it is based on what is expected or thought normal, a few cases of a very rare disease like rabies may be classified as an epidemic, while many cases of a common disease (like the common cold) would not.”
And finally, “Common diseases that occur at a constant but relatively high rate in the population are said to be endemic. An example of an endemic disease is malaria in some parts of Africa in which a large portion of the population is expected to get malaria at some point in their lifetimes.”
Okay, back up.
First, epidemics are declared for diseases only. Is Autism even considered that yet? I know Dr. Jepson’s book Changing the Course of Autism attempts to change the paradigm, but has it? And if not, how can we expect to qualify for epidemic status without first establishing ourselves within that classification?
Second, defining an epidemic is “subjective”? Declaring one is essentially a matter of opinion? Whose, the CDC’s? That’s funny. And that’s not what the information on Polio stated. They had an exact number to reach within a very specific parameter.
Third, according to Dr. Insel, we don’t have the incidence rates across the country to decide if Autism is indeed epidemic. But according to what I’m reading, that’s only part of the problem.
We don’t have the expectancy rate either.
The incidence rate means nothing without first establishing the expectancy rate to compare it. And to my knowledge, correct me if I’m wrong, I have never heard anyone clearly establish what the expected rate of Autism is in the U.S.
Can we logically assume then that our medical authorities believe the current rates of Autism are expected?
I would argue the continued mantra of better diagnosis makes it safe to do so. In fact, even in England where someone actually did study incidence rates over time, that was exactly what they concluded: No epidemic. Better diagnosis.
But if that is true, then that means that as the prevalence rate of Autism continues to rise, we submit to the idea that year after year after year the amount of people with Autism has remained constant throughout the world, regardless of time, geography, or ethnicity…and that year after year after year, we continue to misdiagnosis it or flat out manage to ignore it. Essentially, no matter what the prevalence rate becomes, it always was that way, we just didn’t realize it. (And yet, in 1943, it was so bizarre, so rare, and so unheard of, that one of the leading psychiatrists in the world didn’t know what it was, had never seen it in his lifetime prior, and had to make up a name for it.)
I’m preaching to the choir here, I know. My point is this:
In 2007, our medical authorities still don’t know if Autism is a disease.
They still don’t know how much Autism is expected in our society at any given time.
They still don’t know if we actually have a real increase in incidence or not, and they have no idea what it’s due to if there is. And worse, they apparently have no plans to find out any of these answers any time soon.
And yet, 55 years ago, they knew to the EXACT number on an EXACT day in one city of the country that it took to qualify a life-altering disease as an epidemic. A disease, mind-you, that was affecting at best every 1 in 5000 people.
In the time it took me to write this, 3 more children have been diagnosed with Autism.
I beg our collective Autism communities to prioritize our efforts and hold our medical authorities responsible for this atrocious display of ignorance.
Autism in now not only a national shame, it is truly a medical disgrace.
Julie Obradovic is a High School Spanish teacher in the suburbs of Chicago where she lives with her husband and 3 beautiful children, one of whom is recovered from Autism. She is a member of the NAA, a Rescue Angel, and founder of the Southwest Suburban Biomedical Support Group. Last year she threw the First Annual Evening for ACE, a benefit that raised several thousand dollars for the Autism Center for Enlightenment, Dr. Anju Usman’s not-for-profit organization.
Testing for Optimal Wellness
Four Tests Lay the Foundation for An Effective Supplement Regimen
Individuals who want to make a stronger commitment to enhancing their health in 2008 as well as newcomers to the healthy aging supplement field, can dramatically improve the success of their regimen by first taking a series of tests. Beginning a supplement regimen without taking the tests mentioned below is a little like trying to navigate the streets of an unfamiliar city without a road map. I always tell my patients “Tests Don’t Guess.”
In this article, I will explain the different testing options available and how individuals can use the results to either build a new supplement program or refine an existing supplement regimen to enhance overall health.
Organic Acid Testing
One of the most underutilized tests, organic acid testing is a crucial step in determining exactly which vitamins and minerals a person’s body needs. Perhaps the reason why this test has been underutilized is simply because its relevance to personal health is not understood. Yet, it is one of the easiest ways to determine which supplements are right for each individual. It truly takes the guesswork out of creating the foundation for a personal customized supplement program. I tell my patients it provides a glimpse of their “own biochemical thumbprint.” Anyone who asks the questions “Where do I begin?” or “Now that I’m taking the basic supplements, what other nutrients do I need to improve my overall health?” will find the answers they’re looking for in the results of the organic acid testing.
We are all unique biochemical creatures. Therefore, each of us has different supplement needs. Some individuals may be deficient in vitamin E while others need extra coenzyme Q10, regardless of apparent cardiac issues or concerns. Everyone has inherent strengths and weaknesses within their personal biochemistry that determines how much of a particular nutrient—or even if that particular nutrient—will be of benefit to their bodies. Organic acid testing can help pinpoint the vitamin, mineral, and amino acid deficiencies present in each patient. The lack of proper nutritional sufficiency relative to your own “biochemical individuality” will play a pivotal role when it comes to expressing genetic strengths or weaknesses.
Organic acid tests are important for both those seeking to fine tune or increase a supplement program’s effectiveness and anyone beginning a supplement regimen. The clinical benefits seen when the body’s unique needs are addressed can be the difference between modest clinical results versus a significant metamorphosis.
Organic acids are key compounds of many biochemical pathways. Organic acid testing provides critical insights into the functioning of the Krebs cycle in the mitochondria. The Krebs cycle is comprised of nine organic acids and eight enzymes and is the main way that all dietary fuel sources—including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats—are metabolized (Figure 1). Because the Krebs cycle provides the energy required for the body to function, any disruption in its flow can be disastrous to health.
Abnormal organic acid metabolism, therefore, can indicate that an individual is deficient in a number of nutrients or is simply not using those nutrients effectively.
Supplementation of specific vitamins and nutrients can help balance altered and imbalanced metabolic pathways, but it’s impossible to know which nutrients to give which patients unless an organic acid test is completed
Organic acid tests can now be done in the convenience of your home. Easily collected urine samples are sent to an internationally recognized and nationally certified laboratory. By taking this test, you can have a better understanding of your own unique health needs.1-5
Salivary Hormone Testing
Another important way to get serious about building a supplement regimen tailored to an individual’s own needs is salivary hormone testing.
There are several ways to test hormones (saliva, serum and urine), but the state-of-the-art testing is through saliva. This is because it measures only the active portions of hormones and it is these portions that determine how a patient feels.
The five hormones monitored through saliva testing are testosterone, progesterone, estrogen (estradiol), cortisol and DHEA. As we age, levels of these hormones often become imbalanced. Using a saliva test as a blueprint for proper supplementation with these hormones can make a dramatic difference in patients’ health.
Testosterone is important for both men and women. In males, the decline in testosterone commonly referred to as andropause often begins in the early 30s and eventually hits a crescendo when symptoms are unmistakable in the 50s and 60s. A progressive decline in testosterone in men starting at age 30 is well documented with a free testosterone decline of 1 percent per year. After age 60, 25 percent of men are clinically overtly hypogonadal (low in testosterone). Overt testosterone deficiency occurs in about 24 percent of men aged 50-60 years and 40 percent in men aged 60-80.6 Yet, subclinically, low testosterone levels are likely prevalent in nearly double these very conservative estimates. Furthermore, SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) increases with age, binding up more free testosterone.
Low testosterone levels in men are linked to low energy, decreased libido, decreased concentration, insomnia, night sweats, depression, infertility and, surprisingly, even hot flashes.
Balanced testosterone levels are important in females as well, with lower than normal levels associated with a reduced sex drive.7 Testosterone is considered the “desire hormone” due to its ability to enhance libido. Women, however, often tend to have an excess of prolactin, the “anti-desire” hormone.8 In addition, with age, and especially after menopause, testosterone levels in women decline.7
Salivary hormone tests also are used to measure levels of estradiol, one of the main forms of estrogen found in the female body. Levels of this hormone drop dramatically during perimenopause and menopause and its deficiency is associated with vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and the many other symptoms of menopause. It is also thought that when estrogen levels plummet during menopause, it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol. Excessively high estrogen levels, on the other hand, have been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
In males, estrogen levels are important to monitor since testosterone often can be converted into excess amounts of estrogen. Estrogen also tends to decrease testosterone production, creating a vicious circle.
Progesterone is another important hormone to have tested. During premenopause and menopause, the drop in progesterone levels is associated with estrogen dominance. Even before premenopause a progesterone deficiency can cause PMS, breast tenderness, and a host of other symptoms. Furthermore, groundbreaking work by Dr. John Lee noted that prostate problems in men can be associated with low progesterone levels.9
Cortisol and DHEA are important because of their role in adrenal health. Cortisol levels that are too low or too high can be a sign that a patient is suffering from adrenal exhaustion, a common cause of fatigue, weight gain and many other health problems. Imbalanced DHEA levels also can be a sign of exhausted adrenals. Like many other hormones, DHEA, which is associated with skin elasticity, well being, and cardiovascular health, drops dramatically with age. In some cases, however, individuals with impaired adrenals can produce excessive amounts.
Salivary testing can help a patient determine which hormonal supplements are needed to counteract any detected imbalances. Progesterone cream can be used in both females and males who test low for this important hormone. BioDIM® and Extension Resveratrol can be used in males who are converting testosterone into excess estrogen. Adaptogens and special cortisol-lowering herbs known as Relora® and Sensoril™ can be used in individuals with adrenal dysfunction while DHEA supplementation can be used to replenish the body’s low supplies of this hormone. Women who have lower than normal testosterone levels can use DHEA to raise testosterone levels, since women very efficiently convert DHEA to testosterone. Many males with low testosterone find it helpful to either increase their levels pharmaceutically or use a combination of the botanicals Eurycoma longifolia jack extract, stinging nettle, and Luteolin. Finally, women with low estrogen levels can seek out bio-identical hormone replacement (BHRT).
Retesting after initiating a hormonal support regimen ensures that individuals have achieved the proper hormonal balance and that excess estrogen levels are not created as a result of therapy.
Food Allergy Testing
Clinically, one of the most important tools I use to unearth hidden factors affecting patients’ health is Food Allergy Testing. This approach ensures that individuals can understand how their daily diet may be harming their health.
Food allergens can be broken down into two categories: immediate and delayed. It is the delayed or hidden food allergens that silently erode away ones health, frequently going undetected since the response is not immediate but rather delayed up to 72 hours, long after the offending food(s) were ingested. Thus, identifying and controlling food sensitivities is essential.
Hippocrates “The Father of Western Medicine” stated in 400 BC, “May Food be your Medicine and Medicine be your Food.” The problem that I discover with my patients is that even supposedly healthy foods such as garlic, broccoli, grapes, and fish can be sources of extremely detrimental health signs and symptoms.
ELISA immunoassay testing for delayed food allergies helps identify delayed IgG immunoglobulin allergens. This technology is used worldwide and has now been applied to home test kits that can identify 96 different food reactions ranging from dairy, wheat, corn, fish, vegetables, fruits, sugar cane, numerous nuts, eggs and other commonly consumed foods. A simple fingerstick done at home, much like that done by diabetics, makes gaining insight into ones own personal delayed food allergies both affordable and convenient. Once collected, the sample is sent from the home to a CLIA (nationally licensed) laboratory. Within a couple of weeks, results are sent back directly to the patient’s home. These results indicate low, moderate or high reactions to different foods.
The food allergy test will help individuals avoid the foods they are allergic to and will produce dramatic results in improving overall health. After understanding ones food sensitivities, Digestive Enzymes, a good probiotic supplement that includes Lactobacillus GG and Lectin Lock™ can be added to a supplement regimen to compensate for those times when people are exposed to their most common food allergens.
Anyone who is on immunosuppressant drugs, such as corticosteroids, should be aware that these drugs can alter the results of food allergy testing.
Iodine Sufficiency Test
Thyroid disorders are becoming almost epidemic in this country. Hypothyroidism is one of the most common disorders I see in my patients, who often don’t realize that their weight gain, moodiness, thinning hair and other symptoms are caused by hypothyroidism.
Noted iodine expert Dr. Guy Abraham has established a link between iodine deficiency and both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Because so many dietary components—such as the bromide found in bread and baked goods and fluoride in drinking water—compete with iodine absorption, iodine deficiency has become all too common.10
A user-friendly, oral loading test can detect iodine deficiencies. Testing involves collecting urine immediately upon arising in the morning to use in what’s called a spot test. Then, 50 mg. of potassium iodide and iodine (included in the test kit) is ingested. Urine is collected throughout the day until the first urine of the next morning. The samples, including the baseline spot test, are shipped to the lab.
If the body has sufficient iodine, at least 90 percent will be excreted in the urine. In iodine deficiency, however, the body will hold on to some of the iodine to compensate for the deficiency. The more iodine that remains in the body, the more a person is iodine deficient and needs to begin supplementation.
If the tests indicate an iodine deficiency, patients often begin supplementing with iodine, such as found in Iodoral®, a combination of iodide and iodine. Testing should be repeated every three to four months to monitor proper iodine doses. Working closely with your personal healthcare provider is always an important part of refining your health program.
Organic acid, salivary hormone, food allergy, and iodine sufficiency testing are the best way to build a supplement program that is specific for an individual’s needs. In my practice, I have noted dramatic improvement in the overall quality of my patients’ health after they have begun a supplement regimen based on these tests. Not using this important tool is like stumbling around in the dark when all one needs to do is turn on the flashlight that’s already in his or her hand. For individuals who want to get serious about overall wellness in 2008, taking each of these tests is a crucial step toward good health.
1. Fu X, Iga M, Kimura M, Yamaguchi S. Simplified screening for organic academia using GC/MS and dried urine filter paper: a study on neonatal mass screening. Early Human Development. 2000;58:41-55.
2. Fu X, Kimura A, Iga M, Yamaguchi S. Gas chromatographicmass spectrometric screening for organic acidemias using dried filter paper: determination of alpha-ketoacids. J Chromatography B Biomed Science Applications. 2001;758:87-94.
3. Greter J, Jacobson C. Urinary organic acids: isolation and quantification for routine metabolic screening. Clin. Chem. 1987;33:473-480.
4. Sweetman L. Organic acid analysis. Techniques in diagnostic human biochemical genetics. A laboratory manual. Wiley- Liss, New York, 1991.
5. Tanaka K, et al. Gas chromatographic method of analysis for urinary organic acids. I. retention indices of 155 metabolically important compounds. Clin. Chem. 1980;26:1839-1846.
6. Morgentaler A, Bruning CO 3rd, DeWolf WC. Occult prostate cancer in men with low serum testosterone levels. JAMA. 1996 Dec 18;276(23):1904-1906.
7. Kingsberg S, Shifren J, Wekselman K, Rodenberg C, Koochaki P, Derogatis L. Evaluation of the clinical relevance of benefits associated with transdermal testosterone treatment in postmenopausal women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder. J Sex Med. 2007 Jul;4(4 Pt 1):1001-8.
8. Hirch E. [Libido disorders] [Article in French]. Rev Med Brux. 2007 Sep;28(4):368-73.
9. Lee, J. Prostate disease and hormones. The John R. Lee, M.D. Medical Letter Feb. 2002.
10. Abraham G. Iodine: The Universal Nutrient. Vitamin Research News. October 2005.
Selective immunodeficiency, exposure to broad-spectrum antibiotics, and consumption of sugars, individually or in combination, can stimulate an overgrowth of intestinal yeast or bacteria, normally present in much lower quantities. Once any abnormalities are detected there are a variety of treatment options. Improvements that have been reported to us during and after treatment include better eye contact, improved language, less self-abusive behavior, less hyperactivity, better sleeping habits and less stimming. These organisms and their metabolites can produce or exacerbate symptoms in many conditions.
The organic acid test evaluates all of the well-defined inborn errors of metabolism that can be detected with this technology (called GC/MS) such as PKU, maple-syrup urine disease, and many others. In addition, we check for many other abnormalities such as vitamin deficiencies and abnormal metabolism of catecholamines, dopamine, and serotonin. We currently quantitate 65 substances, but also evaluate other substances that are not quantitated. Some of the other biochemical abnormalities common in autism include elevated uracil and elevated glutaric acid.
- Yeast metabolites
- Bacteria metabolites
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Antioxidant deficiencies
- Inborn errors of metabolism
- Amino acid abnormalities
- Fatty acid abnormalities
- Exposure to solvent toxins
- Deficiencies of B vitamins or vitamin C
- Indications of diabetic conditions
- Krebs cycle metabolites
- Clostridia overgrowth
- 65 important compounds
In which conditions is the test useful?
|AD(H)D||Chronic Fatigue Syndrome||Endometriosis|
The test kit is free; please see our price list for current processing charges including courier charges (for US residents) and a full report, along with professional consultation concerning test results.
Depending on test results, suggestions can include:
- Diet modification
- Diet supplementation, primarily with nutrients which increase the quantity of beneficial bacteria (e.g. lactobaccilli) in the GI tract
- Oral antifungal or antibacterial (anaerobic) medications
- Vitamins and Antioxidants
- Reduction of exposure to toxic chemicals
- Measures 65 important compounds for overall health
- Focuses on detecting yeast and bacteria byproducts that have been implicated in many disorders
- Requires a first morning urine sample only
- Consultation on results is included with each test from The Great Plains Laboratory
- Test with the experts – The Great Plains Laboratory holds one patent (*) on this test and two others pending.
* Certain uses of the compounds arabinose, citramalic, tartaric, 3-oxoglutaric, carboxycitric, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylpropionic acid, and 3-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-3-hydroxypropionic acid in their application to autism in the organic acid test and microbial organic acid test are protected by USA patent 5,686,311 granted November 11, 1997.
What is the organic acid test for, and how can it help?
In Dr. Shaw’s work, he noticed that people with autism and other conditions (such as attention deficit disorder and fibromyalgia) frequently had overgrowths of yeast and bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, due to a high-sugar diet and antibiotic overuse. This led Dr. Shaw, now Director of The Great Plains laboratory, to devise a urine test to detect such disorders–an organic acid test which measures nearly 70 different biochemical compounds.
Both children and adults who have taken the test and sought appropriate treatments have enjoyed marked improvements in condition as a result.
Do I have to obtain a physician’s approval to get the urine sample tested?
Yes. A medical practitioner who is licensed to order urine testing in your state must approve the test order. Regulations vary from state to state so an approved medical practitioner could be a medical doctor (MD), osteopath (DO), nurse practitioner, chiropractor (DC) or naturopath (ND).
Why should I get the organic acid test? Why don’t I just start the antifungal treatment?
Some children with autism don’t have the yeast problem, but have an overgrowth of the Clostridia. Treating these children with an antifungal could make the bacteria problem even worse. Also, if your child has the yeast problem, it will likely require major changes in diet (for the child and the family) along with drug therapy for six months or longer. It will be very difficult to make this type of commitment if you are nor even sure if your child has the yeast problem.
Also, your child could have a yeast overgrowth with a drug-resistant yeast and if you don’t do the testing beforehand, it would be difficult to know what was happening. If the problem is severe, the yeast die-off reaction may be more severe and you may want to take additional steps to control the yeast before using antifungals. Additionally, it may be very difficult to get your doctor’s cooperation for the prescriptions and insurance reimbursement if there is no evidence that the yeast problem even exists.
How often should I get my child retested?
As a general rule, every three months is satisfactory. However, retesting should be done sooner if the child does not respond favorably by the end of one month of antifungal therapy, since the yeast or bacteria might be resistant to the drugs used for treatment.
My child is currently taking antibiotics now. Should I wait until after antibiotics treatment until I get tested?
An assumption is frequently made that if the child has a significant yeast overgrowth of the intestine while on antibiotics, the yeast overgrowth will disappear when the antibiotics are stopped.
However, this is not necessarily the case and the yeast overgrowth may even become worse–especially if the person is on a high-sugar, high carbohydrate diet. There is no evidence that the yeast overgrowth will spontaneously disappear. Furthermore, the yeast overgrowth may be suppressing the immune system, preventing your child from recovering from the infection.
The sooner the yeast problem is controlled, the sooner the vicious cycle of antibiotics and frequent infections will be broken.
Will drugs or nutritional supplements interfere in the organic acid test?
No, there is no interference from any known drug or supplement. However, if antifungal supplements or drugs are taken before the test, you will probably get a lower value for the yeast byproducts. We advise you to get the test first so that you will know what the starting point is.
I already had the urine organic acid test done earlier by another lab. Can’t I get the information from the earlier test?
No. No other laboratory routinely analyzes the same compounds as this laboratory. Most test for the inborn errors of metabolism and nothing more.
I have an HMO and they have to send the test to a certain lab. Is that OK?
No. No other laboratory routinely analyzes the same compounds as this laboratory (including Labcorp, SmithKline, or Mayo Medical laboratories).
If you do not specify our laboratory, your child’s urine will be sent to one of the large reference labs which cannot accurately evaluate your child’s condition. Most test for the inborn errors of metabolism and that’s all.
Are there any other reasons that I should choose the Great Plains Lab to do the organic acid testing?
Dr. William Shaw, Director of the Great Plains Laboratory, is a recognized expert in the identification of practical, biomedical treatments for autism (as well as many other disorders). His work and the testing procedure that he developed have helped many children and adults with autism and other conditions see dramatic improvements and experience an enhanced quality of life–all based on seeking appropriate therapies using the information gained from the test.
Dr. Shaw has also authored many books and provided other materials to help you better understand the medical treatments and how to use this information to help people with autism and other conditions.
Why Doctors are Idiots: 150 Years of Disatrous Advice on Children’s Health (satire)
With mandatory vaccines suddenly being forced onto parents by doctors and so-called “health authorities” in places like Maryland, New Jersey and Texas, you might think that doctors being full of bunk is a new phenomenon. But no, it’s nothing new. Doctors have been full of bunk for more than a hundred years! What follows is a short timeline of the nonsense, junk science, negligence and harmful advice peddled by medical doctors over the last 150 years or so: (see the end of this article for serious follow-up comments describing the intent behind this satire piece)
Ignaz Semmelweis, an Austrian-Hungarian obstetrician working in a clinic that delivers babies, is labeled “insane” by his fellow doctors for having the audacity to suggest that doctors should wash their hands between delivering babies. He’s fired from his job, ostracized by the medical community and later dies in an insane asylum and is only vindicated long after his death when it is realized that, indeed, infections are spread from one patient to another by physicians who are too lazy, stubborn or egoistic to simply wash their hands. (A lack of hand washing continues to be the primary reason why MRSA and other superbugs are spread in hospitals today…)
Don’t breastfeed your babies! Use infant formula instead. It’s more “high-tech.” Cow’s milk is obviously healthier for your babies than mother’s milk, right? That’s what the doc says… Result: Tens of millions of mothers stopped breastfeeding their babies, resulting in widespread nutritional deficiencies that impacted those children for life. The pushing of infant formula onto mothers continues today in hospitals across the country which are paid by infant formula manufacturers to give free samples of infant formula to new mothers, hoping they will stop breastfeeding and start buying formula. (Saving grace: A few courageous pediatricians now speak out forcefully about the importance of breastfeeding…)
Smoking while pregnant? No problem. Doctors recommend Camels more than any other cigarette! Result: Massive chemical toxicity of the bodies of newborns. Increased cancer risk, reduced brain development and a lifetime of immune system disorders. (Cigarette ads routinely appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association for well over a decade.)
Need a new pair of shoes for your kid? Go size ’em up with the fluoroscope X-ray machine at your local shoe store! Never mind the radiation exposure of 20 – 75 rems per minute! See wikipedia article here. Result: Massive increase in cancer among parents and children who visited the shoe stores. Doctors remained silent on this significant health risk for decades while millions were harmed — even after strong evidence pointed to the fact that X-ray radiation caused cancer.
Hey pregnant women, take thalidomide for your cancer! Don’t worry about your unborn children. This chemical is perfectly safe! Result: 10,000 children born with physical deformities. Doctors continued to use infants and pregnant women in pharmaceutical experiments for the next fifty years. See Vaccines and Medical Experiments on Children, Minorities, Woman and Inmates (1845 – 2007).
Feed your children processed foods! White bread is good for them, don’t you know? And monosodium glutamate is perfectly healthy for children, which is why food companies add it to baby food! So is saccharin, hydrogenated oils and sodium nitrite in processed meat. Result: Massive malnutrition, liver damage, and the beginnings of the diabetes and obesity epidemics that would sweep the nation over the next generation.
Place mercury into the mouths of your little children by having their cavities filled with “silver” fillings (made with 40% mercury, a potent neurotoxin). Result: Widespread mercury toxicity in children, resulting in a sharp increase in neurological conditions, including behavioral disorders, infertility and autism. Ignorant, obstinate dentists continue to use mercury fillings today, and the American Dental Association remains in full support of this extremely dangerous heavy metal that results in the mass poisoning of children.
Your kid have a cold? It’s probably because their tonsils need to be removed! Tonsils have no biological function anyway, doctors claimed. Result: Over the last several decades, surgeons have removed tens of millions of tonsils, maiming children with a medically useless procedure that has now been proven virtually worthless. But it sure did raise funds to pay for the luxury German sedans driven by those surgeons!
Microwave all the food you feed children. It’s quick, convenient and perfectly healthy! Result: A massive increase in the consumption of processed, artificially modified and dead foods. The introduction of the microwave correlates nearly perfectly with the explosion of obesity and diabetes in western nations. Most doctors still have nothing negative to say about the use of the microwave.
Does your child have an ear infection? Hammer them with antibiotics. Don’t worry about the fact that antibiotics are useless against ear infections, or that they wipe out your child’s friendly intestinal flora and cause nutritional deficiencies. It’s doctor-recommended, so it must be good, right? Result: Billions of doses of useless antibiotics helped breed a new generation of superbug viruses that have now escaped the hospitals and are infecting the public at large. Antibiotics are useless to stop them, and doctors still have not figured out that you can kill superbugs with colloidal silver or garlic. (A fact that ancient human civilizations knew thousands of years ago…)
Coat your children with sunscreen. The sun is dangerous and has no health benefits whatsoever, didn’t you know? And besides, all those chemicals in sunscreen are perfectly safe. Result: Children are now living with severe vitamin D deficiencies (even rickets!) that greatly increase rates of breast cancer, prostate cancer, osteoporosis, depression, obesity and diabetes. Doctors still don’t recognize the important role of vitamin D in children’s health, and they prescribe drugs to treat the symptoms of disease rather than recommending vitamin D (which would correct the underlying problems and eliminate the need for pharmaceuticals).
Does your baby have a cough? Feed ’em sugared-up, chemically-contaminated cough syrup made by pharmaceutical companies. Don’t worry that it’s never been tested on infants or approved by the FDA. It works, right? It’s doctor-recommended! Result: Over a billion doses of useless, “quack” cough medicine swallowed by infants. The cough syrup hoax was finally blown wide open in 2007 when a few courageous pediatric physicians finally admitted the products have absolutely no medicinal effects and might, in fact, be dangerous for infants and children. The FDA continues to allow their sale, however, since they’re still quite profitable to Big Pharma (even though they don’t work).
Is little Johnny a bit too jazzed up for your comfort level? Don’t worry, psychiatrists have a solution: Street drugs for children! Illegal amphetamines are now legal thanks to the Big Pharma / FDA partnership, and your friendly psych doctor is ready to prescribe Ritalin and antidepressant drugs to your “hyperactive” kids. Result: Widespread school shootings in America. Tens of millions of children suffer stunted physical and mental development — a dangerous side effects that doesn’t emerge until 2007. See http://www.newstarget.com/021944.html
Too posh to push? Don’t worry, your obstetrician will schedule a C-section childbirth appointment and deliver the baby on YOUR schedule instead of Mother Nature’s. It’s more convenient for him, too, because then he can still make his golf game. Don’t worry about the baby: There’s no benefit to vaginal childbirth anyway, right? What better way to welcome your child to the world than with a scalpel! Result: Millions of women subject their children to non-natural child birthing that results in an increased risk of lung disease afflictions as well as psychological birthing trauma lasting a lifetime.
Worried about your child getting an infectious disease? Inject your children with multiple vaccines. It will protect them from infectious disease and may, in fact, protect them from oral sex! (At least that’s what Merck claims.) Besides, there’s nothing wrong with a little mercury, right? Result: Unknown. It’s a great medical experiment now being conducted on the children of America. It’s backed by idiot doctors and gun-toting law enforcement personnel who are ready to arrest parents who resist the vaccination mandates.
Need some food for your baby? Buy Similac (or any other baby formula powder). It’s made with 42.6% corn syrup solids and 10.1% sugar, making it over 50% refined sugars! Marketed with a cuddly teddy bear on the front label and sporting the claim, “Balanced nutrition for older babies,” Similac and other infant formula products are little more than sugar water for babies. Doctors and pediatricians remain silent. There is no outcry. No national scandal. No action by the FDA to protect babies. Some doctors even recommend this stuff! (And stupid parents keep buying it!)
A survey of 1,600 practicing physicians published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reveals that reveals that nearly half of all doctors failed to report an incompetent colleague who posed a risk to the health or safety of a patient. The same survey also revealed that a majority of doctors would send their patients to get expensive imaging work done at an imaging facility in which they held a financial interest, but only 24 percent of doctors said they would reveal that conflict of interest to patients.
Result: Yet more incompetent, dishonest doctors continue to scam customers and harm patients. The scourge of modern medicine continues as corrupt, ignorant and downright incompetent doctors continue to harm millions of expectant mothers, infants, babies and children with their deadly Big Pharma chemicals and disastrous health advice. The reputation of doctors plummets in the minds of the American public, and most patients now turn to the Internet to find answers that their doctors either don’t know or refuse to tell them. The mass exodus of patients away from conventional medicine is now well underway…
Why doctors are still idiots
When it comes to medical idiocy, these examples are just the tip of the iceberg. The same hopelessly outdated medical system that has given us cigarette-promoting doctors, breastfeeding-censoring doctors and superbug-breeding doctors is now claiming your children need yet more chemicals in their bodies in the form of vaccinations!
And, by the way, these doctors are the only people in the world who are right. They’ll tell you so themselves! They are the sole source of all knowledge on anything related to health and medicine, and they’ve now garnered enough political power that they’ve managed to criminalize parents who disagree with their medical dogma.
You know what the difference is between God and doctors?
God doesn’t think he’s a doctor.
These days, instead of doctors simply being full of nonsense, they are suddenly a very real danger to your personal freedom. Before, they were just peddling health nonsense. Now they hold the keys to your freedom and the custody of your children. Refuse to go along with new mandatory vaccination programs in New Jersey, for example, and you can be arrested, imprisoned, charged with a crime and have your children kidnapped by Child Protective Services. How dare you disagree with the High Priests of medical dogma!
Personally, I don’t necessarily mind doctors being full of crap. It’s amusing to watch, and hilarious to document_ But I do mind doctors being full of crap while invoking law enforcement authorities to pull out a Glock, slap a 10-round magazine in the grip, point the barrel to the head of a mother of three children and demand, “Take OUR medicine, or you’ll be arrested.” Which is, of course, essentially what’s happening in New Jersey and Maryland right now. It’s called Gunpoint Medicine, and if you don’t believe me, move to New Jersey, and refuse to have your children vaccinated. It won’t be long before armed men show up at your front door with Child Protective Services standing behind them, ready to grab your kid, toss him into an unmarked van, and have you arrested for “resisting vaccination.” This is not fiction. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. It takes truly evil people to dream up this kind of medical terrorism — the very people who work for Big Pharma and the FDA.
Or maybe I’m wrong about all this. Maybe doctors and health authorities have been full of crap for a hundred years, and now all of a sudden in 2007, they’re instantly right! Maybe they’ve been visited by supernatural, omniscient beings who gave them perfect knowledge (along with a new Merck vaccine) and all they’re doing is running around the country saving little children’s lives for the good of humanity.
Perhaps 2007 is the new Golden Age of children’s health, to be initiated with a mass injection of kiddies with a dozen new toxic mercury injections to “protect” these kids from things that will probably never happen to them. Maybe now, in 2007, organized medicine has reversed all its years of bullsnot and finally found the light! And that light, we’re told, comes in the form of a pill… or a vaccine… or chemotherapy… or whatever they tell you to take next.
Yes, indeed! We’ve been saved by Big Pharma and a brigade of doctors! Hail the FDA! Praise the pharmaceutical giants! Give thanks for mandatory injections! Listen to the doctors and we’ll all be saved!
Quick Note: This satire piece does not mean to imply that ALL doctors are complete idiots when it comes to health. There are exceptions. Many of the outstanding people I know in natural health started as conventional medical doctors (M.D.s). The difference between complete idiot doctors and intelligent doctors is that idiots are not willing to abandon their existing dogmatic beliefs when faced with new, contradictory evidence. Intelligent people, on the other hand, adapt and evolve their ideas when faced with new information or evidence.
Conventional medicine, for the most part, does not want to learn anything new that might challenge its existing status quo dominance over the lives of parents and children. “Innovation is the enemy of the status quo,” and genuine health enhancement (and disease prevention) is the enemy of the entrenched medical industrial complex. Most doctors are complete idiots because they follow a dogmatic, religious-like belief in blatantly outdated junk medical science, even when real world observations and evidence demands the embracing of ideas that overthrow previously protected beliefs and career egos.
Until doctors can abandon their egos and admit they don’t know everything, they will continue to be full of crap.
The purpose behind this satire piece is not to engage in silly name-calling exercises, but rather to play an important role in social commentary on the huge failures of modern medicine today. Satire and humor have important functions in any free society: They reveal what’s wrong in a hilarious light, simultaneously entertaining us while encouraging us to challenge our own ideas and, perhaps, come up with new, better solutions for future generations. Political cartoons, stand-up comedians and satire pieces like this one all play a role in getting people to think more carefully about the issues at hand.
Consider this: If modern medicine really worked well, and if doctors were creating wonderful solutions that kept people healthy, then we wouldn’t have much of anything to make fun of! The fact that silly humor and examples of idiotic behavior are so easy to find in conventional medicine today is indicative of the failure of medicine to be effective. Satire “attack” humor carries a sub-text message that says, “We can do better.” We don’t have to suffer under an idiotic system of medicine. We can create a better future based on genuine health freedom, the promotion of disease prevention programs, and the embracing of plant-based medicines that are safe, affordable and highly effective.
Until we get there, poking fun at the hilarious (but sometimes quite harmful and disastrous) failures of conventional medicine is an important way to keep reminding us all how crazy we are to follow this entrenched system of failed medicine. After all, if conventional medicine really worked well, wouldn’t we all be healthy by now?
Finally, I must add that there is idiocy and humor in every industry. Even natural health has its own idiots, too. Every industry has some area that can be improved, and there are always idiots working alongside geniuses and compassionate leaders, no matter where you look (except, perhaps, in politics, where it seems to be almost entirely idiots…). It just seems that conventional medicine has more than its fair share of short-sighted individuals (which I am equating with the term “idiots”). It’s not just the doctors, of course, but the doctors have played a significant role in promoting the dogmatic beliefs that have helped deliver this disastrous failure of a health care system that we all suffer under in America today. Cuba actually has better health care results than America, and that country has virtually none of the technology, pharmaceuticals and insurance programs that we have.
That says a lot right there. To some, it’s downright hilarious. Personally, I can’t help but laugh at the whole system of western medicine. And I plan to keep making fun of it for as long as it continues to produce more health care follies.
by Mike Adams..News Target
BLOOD LEVELS OF MERCURY ARE RELATED TO DIAGNOSIS OF AUTISM –
(House of Representatives – December 11, 2007)
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Burton) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. BURTON of Indiana. Madam Speaker, it’s late at night here in the Capitol, and most of my colleagues are in their offices or have gone home. But I want to talk about an issue that’s very, very important that we’ve been talking about now for the last 8 years.
I was chairman of the Government Reform Committee for 6 years, and during that time, my grandson became autistic; and we checked to find out what was the cause, trying to find out, because my daughter and her husband were just extremely upset about it, as we were as grandparents. And we found that he had received nine shots in one day, seven of which had a product called themarasol, a preservative, in it. And the themarasol was 50 percent ethylmercury. And so I decided to have hearings to try to find out if the ethylmercury in those vaccines had anything to do with the autistic problem my grandson had. And we found, by having many, many hearings over a 4-year period, we found that scientists from all over the world and leading doctors and educators here that work with autistic children, that the mercury in the vaccines did contribute to the autistic epidemic that we had.
We used to have one in 10,000 children that were diagnosed as being autistic. One in 10,000. Today the Centers for Disease Control will tell you it’s one out of 150. It’s an absolute epidemic in this country. And we have been fighting and fighting and fighting to make sure that those families who have been damaged and those children who have been damaged by autism get some kind of compensation. And that’s why, and I think in 1986 we passed what was called the Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund, and it took some of the money from the pharmaceutical companies when they sold their vaccine products to put into this fund to take care of people who are damaged by vaccines. And one of the reasons we did that was because of the issue of autism, although at that time I didn’t know much about it.
In any event, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund has about $3 billion in it, and the people who’s children have been adversely affected by mercury and have autism have not been able to get anything out of that. They have to go through a process and see a special master, and he has to judge whether or not the information that he has and the information they have lead them to believe that the mercury in the vaccines caused autism. And so far the special masters have not been able to ascertain, according to them, that the mercury in the vaccines does cause autism.
Well, last week, 2 years ago, let’s see, 4 years ago there was a report, 2004, that said that there was definitely no connection between the mercury and the vaccinations and the children getting autism. Well, this past November, just last month, two doctors, Dr. Catherine DeSoto and Dr. Robert T. Hitlan, both very renowned doctors across this country, they have Ph.D.s in medicine, they wrote an article in the Journal of Child Neurology. And you can’t discount this. What they’re saying is fact. I want to read to you the summary of what they said. They said: “The question of what is leading to the apparent increase in autism is of great importance. Like the link between aspirin and heart attack, even a small effect can have a major health implication. If there is any link between autism and mercury, it is absolutely crucial that the first reports of the question are not falsely stated and that no link occurs.”
Now, get this: “We have reanalyzed the data set forth originally reported in 2004 and have found that the original P value was in error and that a significant relation does exist between the blood levels of mercury and diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. Moreover, the hair sample analysis results offer some support for the idea that persons with autism may be less efficient and more variable at eliminating mercury from the blood.”
The fact of the matter is the mercury in the vaccines causes autism. It’s not the only cause of autism. But now we have scientific evidence by two leading doctors in the Journal of Child Neurology that says without doubt, the mercury in the vaccines does cause autism, is a major contributing factor.
Well, I’ve written, contacted Congressman Kucinich, who’s chairman of the subcommittee that deals with this in the Capitol, and I’ve also contacted the special masters that decide these cases and have urged them to re-evaluate all of these cases where people who have autistic children have found that the mercury in the vaccines may have been a major cause.
Now we know that it is a cause of autism, and those people who have suffered, and those kids who have suffered need to be compensated out of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund.
So I’d like to say to my colleagues, I hope you will join me in making sure that the information I just read gets out to everybody. These kids are going to live to be 50, 60, 70 years old, and unless there’s some help for them, they’re going to be a real burden on the taxpayers and on society. We have an obligation to make sure they’re taken care of.
I hope all of my colleagues will read this statement tonight and help us to change the attitude of our health agencies and the special masters dealing with this problem.
In November 2007, the well-respected scientific journal, the Journal of Child Neurology, published an article authored by Drs. M. Catherine DeSoto and Robert T. Hiltlan (PhDs), detailing their findings on the relationship between mercury and autism spectrum disorders. The article was entitled “Blood Levels of Mercury are Related to Diagnosis of Autism: A Reanalysis of an Important Data Set.”
To summarize the article, Drs. DeSoto and Hiltlan reanalyzed a data set the subject of a 2004 study that found no relationship between mercury and autism. By reexamining the data set, Drs. DeSoto and Hiltlan determined that the conclusions of the 2004 study were wrong,
and that a relation does exist between the blood levels of mercury and diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder.
As Drs. DeSoto and Hiltlan noted in their article, there has been a marked increase in the diagnosis of autism in this country over the last 20 years. In fact we have gone from an autism rate of 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 150. So, answering the question of what is (and is not) a possible contributing cause of autism is crucial, not only to the millions of American families currently affected by autism but to future generations.
We simply cannot dismiss or downplay scientific research, which has the potential to unlock the mysteries surrounding what is causing our Nation’s autism crisis. We owe it
to the thousands of families living with autism to follow the science wherever it may lead.
That’s why in late November, I wrote to the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy, Representative Dennis Kucinich; and the Special Masters assigned to the Congressionally-created Office of Vaccine Program within the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, alerting them to the findings in Drs. DeSoto and Hiltlan’s latest research.
Specifically, I asked the Special Masters to take Drs. DeSoto and Hiltlan’s latest findings into consideration as they carry out their mandate of managing and adjudicating childhood vaccine claims. I asked Chairman Kucinich to hold a hearing on the environmental risks of mercury in childhood vaccines before the 110th Congress ends.
Given the high stakes involved, scientific reports discussing a connection between blood mercury levels and autism deserve serious consideration and review by the medical and scientific community.
During my tenure as Chairman of the House Committee on Government and Reform, I spent 6 years researching and hearing testimony from the autism advocacy and scientific communities about the autism epidemic sweeping our country. Over and over again, questions of causation, namely the use of thimerosal–the mercury-based vaccine preservative–in childhood vaccines were raised.
Here’s what I learned:
A number of credible national and international scientists testified before the Committee that mercury in vaccines is a contributing factor in developing neurological disorders, including, but not limited to, modest declines in intelligent quotient, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease. And the body of evidence to support that conclusion gets larger everyday.
Experience tells us that, as with any other epidemic, while there may be underlying genetic susceptibilities, there usually is also some type of environmental trigger as well–be it exposure to a virus, fungus, heavy metal, or pollutant. There has never, to the best of my knowledge, been a purely genetic epidemic.
Genetics alone cannot explain how we went from 1 in 10,000 children with autism spectrum disorders 20 years ago to 1 in 150 today. The increase happened far too quickly for a genetic shift.
As mercury is a known bio-accumulative neurotoxin, it is biologically plausible that it is a contributing factor to our Nation’s autism epidemic.
Autism has no cure, and while it is a life-changing condition, it is not a life-threatening disease. This means that the autistic children of today will be the autistic adults and autistic seniors, 20, 30, 50, even 70 years from now. Our Nation is ill prepared to deal with the complex educational, financial, housing, and health care challenges posed by a generation of autistic individuals.
My only grandson is autistic, so this is an issue that is very close to my heart; and for the last several years I have fought hard to raise awareness of this disease, and increase research into the causes of autism, as well as new treatments for those suffering with autism.
As a Nation, I believe, we have a collective responsibility to do everything we can to not only stop the further spread of this disease but to help the millions of children, adults and families afflicted with it.
Flame Retardants: Dangerous chemical now in breast milk
06 December 2007
Flame retardant chemicals, which are in household furniture, textiles and electronic equipment, have found their way into human breast milk. Scientists aren’t sure how this may affect the developing child, but it’s feared it may cause neurological problems and disrupt thyroid function.
One study has found that the level of the retardant PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) has increased 200 times in breast milk in women in North America, while another study in Sweden has discovered the level has increased 60 times in a span of 25 years.
PBDEs have regularly been included in a range of household and office items since the 1970s, but scientists have only recently discovered just how dangerous the chemical can be. Regulators across Europe and the US have banned some elements of the chemical, and the brominated mix will be removed under new legislation that comes into force in 2008.
But items of furniture and furnishings that contain the original compound are still in millions of homes. Unlike other pollutants such as PCBs and DDT, the PBDEs particularly affect infants. Scientists have found a direct link between breast milk and household dust, and they estimate that toddlers’ exposure to PBDEs from household dust is 100 times greater than that for adults because of breast milk and more hand-to-mouth contact.
(Source: The Lancet, 2007; 370: 1813-4)
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog/bulletin may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.
For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease
Detoxification – for Your Health
Stimulating your detoxification systems can be done through a number of nutrients.
phase 1 Stimulation
· Thngeretin (from tangerines)
· Riboflavin and carotenoids (such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and astaxanthin)
Phase 1 stimulation can render some chemicals toxic – the following nutrients protect against this toxicity.
phase 1 Inhibition
· Hesperidin (oranges)
· Naringenin (grapefruit)
· Resveratrol (grape skins)
· Quercetin (onions, teas, apples, and most vegetables)
· Apigenin (celery, parsley, and ginkgo biloba)
· Ferulic acid (fruits)
· Chlorogenic acid (Mackintosh apples, blueberries, eggplant)
phase 2 Stimulation
· Indole-3-carbinol (broccoli, Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables)
· Isothiocyanates and sulforaphane (broccoli and Brussels sprouts)
· Thurine (an amino acid – available as a supplement)
· Glutathione (supplied by N-acetyl L-cysteine, ellagic acid and alpha-lipoic acid – all
available as supplements)
· Glycine (an amino acid supplement – high intakes can cause excitotoxicity)
· MSM (methylsulfonylmethane – a supplement)
· Quercetin (teas, onions, cranberries, and most vegetables)
Stinlulation for Both Phase 1 and phase 2
· Curcumin (from the spice turmeric, also a supplement)
· Astaxanthin and canthaxanthin (from all vegetables and fruits and also available as a supplement called mixed carotenoids
Six Additional Supplements That Improve Liver Health
Your liver plays a crucial role in your overall health. Here are nutrients that focus on protecting the liver.
· Lecithin (phosphatidylcholine)
· Curcumin also protects the liver from free radical damage and improves bile flow
· Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to protect the liver from some extremely powerful toxins and from hepatitis C and A damage.
· Silymarin (extracted from the milk thistle plant) protects the liver and brain and stimulates liver regeneration.
· Vitamin C (as magnesium ascorbate) protects the liver from free radical damage
· Magnesium protects the liver from free radicals and inflammation and increases glutathione levels
THE LIVER AND DETOXIFICATION
The liver keeps us clean on the inside and prevents dangerous chemicals from penetrating their way deeper into our bodies. The liver is the gateway to the body and in this day and age has an enormous workload that frequently overloads its detoxification systems. The liver must cope with every toxic chemical in our food chain as well as excessive amounts of unhealthy fats and animal protein that are ubiquitous in fast foods. Let us examine in more detail the mechanisms by which the liver keeps our internal body clean.
THE LIVER FILTER
If we examine the liver under a microscope we see rows of liver cells separated by spaces called sinusoids. Sinusoids are structured like a filter or sieve through which the blood stream is filtered. During this process the filter removes unwanted particulate matter, microorganisms and metabolic waste products. These noxious thing are ingested by specialized cells in the sinusoids called “Kupffer cells” which break down and destroy these things, rendering them harmless. The sinusoids and Kuffer cells are like a “garbage disposal unit” inside the liver. Thus you can see that the liver is the filter and cleanses the blood stream which is of vital importance.
Inside the liver cells (hepatocytes) we find sophisticated enzyme pathways or chemical pathways that have evolved over millions of years, to breakdown toxic substances. Every drug, artificial chemical, pesticide and hormone is broken down or metabolized by these pathways inside the liver cells. Basically there are two major detoxification pathways inside the liver cells which are called the Phase One and Phase Two pathways.
This is called the cytochrome P450 enzyme system where a liver cell takes a toxic chemical and through a process of oxidation, reduction, hydrolysis or hydroxylation turns it into a less harmful substance. During this process oxygen free radicals are generated, so there is a need for antioxidants, especially Vitamin C, to prevent cellular damage. For efficient phase one detoxification to occur the liver requires adequate amounts of the nutrients selenium, folic acid, vitamins B2, B3, B6, phophatidyl choline and bioflavonoids. If these nutrients are lacking, toxic chemicals will become far more dangerous. Fast foods and processed foods are deficient in these vital liver nutrients. Thus although many people are over-eating they are still suffering with malnutrition which exacerbates toxic overload. Dr. Sandra Cabot’s Liver Cleansing Diet reduces the toxic load on the liver and also provides the vital nutrients required by the liver for detoxification.
This is called the conjugation pathway whereby the liver cells add either a glycine or sulphate molecule to a chemical to make it water soluble. It can then be excreted from the body via fluids such as urine or bile. Through conjugation the liver is able to turn drugs (xenobiotics and hormones), neurotransmitters and phenolic compounds into excretable substances. For efficient phase two detoxification the liver requires Vitamin E, carotene, sulphur containing amino acids (taurine, methionine, cysteine), glycine, glutamine, choline and inositol. Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts) are a good source of natural sulphur compounds for the liver. These things can spike up and support the phase two detoxification system. The liver cleansing diet has been designed to support and enhance the phase one and two liver detoxification systems. If the phase one and two detoxification pathways become overloaded, there will be a build up of toxins in the body. Many of these toxins are fat soluble and incorporate their way into the fatty cell membranes where they may stay for years, if not a lifetime. Some of these toxins, such as pesticides, petrochemicals and aspartame are highly toxic to the nervous system and endocrine glands producing chronic neurological and hormonal dysfunction. They are also carcinogenic and have been implicated in the rising incidence of breast, prostrate and brain cancer. If the filtering and/or detoxification system in the liver are inefficient this will cause harmful substances and micro-organisms to build up in the blood stream. This will increase the workload of the immune system, which may then become overloaded and hyperstimulated. This often is so in symptoms of immune dysfunction such as allergies, inflammatory states, recurrent infections, swollen glands, chronic fatigue or auto-immune disease. These disorders are very common today and usually get treated on a symptomatic basis with drugs. Unfortunately thousands of people visit doctors everyday complaining of these symptoms and rarely does anyone think of the liver. The simplest and most effective way to take the load off the immune system, is to improve liver function. Dr. Sandra Cabot has been able to help many people with chronic immune and liver dysfunction through her LIVER CLEANSING DIET BOOK. In this book she fully explains that you cannot have a healthy immune system if your liver is dysfunctional. This is a revelation for millions of people struggling with poor health. Should the reader be interested, Dr. Cabots book may be ordered by calling 1-888-782-7014.
The Liver Doctor
Calcium-D-glucarate is the calcium salt of D-glucaric acid, a substance produced naturally in small amounts by mammals, including humans. Glucaric acid is also found in many fruits and vegetables with the highest concentrations to be found in oranges, apples, grapefruit, and cruciferous vegetables. (1) Oral supplementation of calcium-D-glucarate has been shown to inhibit beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme produced by colonic microflora and involved in Phase II liver detoxification. Elevated beta-glucuronidase activity is associated wire an increased risk for various cancers, particularly hormone-dependent cancers such as breast, prostate, and colon cancers. (2) Other potential clinical applications of oral calcium-D-glucarate include regulation of estrogen metabolism and as a lipid-lowering agent.
Upon ingestion and exposure to the acidic environment of the stomach, calcium-D-glucarate is metabolized to form D-glucaric acid. D-glucaric acid is further metabolized in the gastrointestinal tract into three compounds existing in equilibrium and comprised of approximately 40-percent D-glucaric acid, 30-percent D-glucaro-1,4-lactone, and 30-percent D-glucaro-6,3-lactone. These compounds are then transported to the blood and various internal organs, and are subsequently excreted in the urine and bile. Although D-glucaro-1,4-lactone seems to be the most pharmacologically active of the three, it is not commercially available. Also, calcium-D-glucarate administration results in longer inhibition of beta-glucuronidase (five hours versus one hour) than does D-glucaro-1,4-lactone, so it is the compound used. (3)
Mechanism of Action
Calcium-D-glucarate’s detoxifying and anticarcinogenic properties are attributed to its ability to increase glucuronidation and excretion of potentially toxic compounds. During Phase II detoxification, chemical carcinogens, steroid hormones, and other lipid-soluble toxins are conjugated with glucuronic acid in the liver (glucuronidation), and excreted through the biliary tract. Beta-glucuronidase is capable of deconjugating these potential toxins, making it possible for them to be reabsorbed rather than excreted. D-glucaro-1,4-lactone is the metabolite that has been shown to inhibit beta-glucuronidase activity, increasing excretion of conjugated xenobiotic compounds and decreasing activity of harmful substances that are most active in their deconjugated state. (4,5) Inhibition of beta-glucuronidase ultimately results in potentially decreasing the risk of carcinogenesis. (6) In addition, by reducing the beta-glucuronidase viability and activity of intestinal bacteria, salts of D-glucaric acid have been shown to enhance enterohepatic circulation and reduce steady state levels of cholesterol synthesis, resulting in decreased serum lipid levels. (7)
Calcium-D-glucarate is not an essential nutrient so, technically, no deficiency state exists. However, since it is only produced in small amounts by humans, it is important that dietary intake be adequate. Diets low in fruits (particularly oranges, apples, and grapefruit) and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts) may result in a relative deficiency of calcium-D-glucarate and its metabolites. Research has shown a low level of D-glucaric acid correlates with a higher level of beta-glucuronidase, which in turn is associated with an increased risk for various cancers. (2)
The anticarcinogenic properties of D-glucaric acid and its salts have been studied in various animal tumor models, including colon, (8,9) prostate, (2) lung, (10) liver, (11,12) skin, (13) and breast (14-18) cancer, with the mechanism of action for tumor inhibition being very similar in each. These studies demonstrated decreases in beta-glucuronidase activity, carcinogen levels, and tumorigenesis. The preponderance of research, however, has been conducted on mammary tumors in the rat, the animal model most frequently used for breast cancer research.
A number of studies have shown calcium-D-glucarate alone, and in combination with retinoids, inhibits mammary carcinogenesis in rats by as much as 70 percent. (3) Natural retinoids have been shown to be effective chemopreventive agents at high doses, but unfortunately the cumulative toxic effects of high doses have restricted their prolonged use. Several studies have demonstrated low-dose retinoids in combination with calcium glucarate interact synergistically to inhibit mammary tumor growth in both animal models and human cell lines. (14-18) The mechanisms responsible for the chemopreventive effects of these two agents may be similar. Both retinoids and calcium-D-glucarate inhibit carcinogenesis during the promotion and initiation phases. Calcium-D-glucarate inhibits protein tyrosine kinase-C activity and induces transformation growth factor beta, possibly resulting in an increase in cellular differentiation and slower progression through the cell cycle. (15) Retinoids induce many of these same biochemical effects. (19) Additionally, calcium-D-glucarate enhances glucuronidation and subsequent excretion of carcinogens and other cancer-promoting agents.
Published human studies on calcium-D-glucarate and breast cancer are few but, due to the encouraging results of the animal studies, the National Cancer Institute has initiated a Phase I trial in patients at high risk for breast cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This trial is examining the use of calcium-D-glucarate as an alternative to tamoxifen’s blocking of estrogen receptors. Preliminary results are quite encouraging and due to calcium-D-glucarate’s excellent safety profile, it may be a more effective option than tamoxifen, which has numerous side effects. (3) Other human trials are being conducted at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas and AMC Cancer Research Center in Denver, Colorado.
Studies in rats have shown D-glucarate salts to inhibit colon carcinogenesis alone and in combination with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). In one study, D-glucarate markedly inhibited azoxymethane-induced colon carcinogenesis as evidenced by a 60-percent reduction in both tumor incidence and multiplicity. It was hypothesized that malignant cell proliferation was suppressed by inhibition of beta-glucuronidase. Another possible mechanism may involve alterations in cholesterol synthesis or its conversion to bile acids. (8) The second study demonstrated that salts of D-glucarate, in combination with 5-FU in rat colon tumor explants, resulted in a potentiation of 5-FU’s antitumor activity. D-glucarate alone also showed antitumor activity. (9)
Hepatocarcinogenesis is thought to be preceded by premalignant hepatic foci that are subsequently transformed to malignant cells. Two separate rat studies by a group of researchers at Ohio State University have demonstrated calcium-D-glucarate delays the appearance of altered hepatic foci and significantly inhibits hepatocarcinogenesis, if given during both the initiation and promotion phases. Maximal inhibition was obtained when calcium-D-glucarate was administered by gavage prior to the carcinogenic agent, diethylnitrosamine. (11,12)
A study conducted on mice demonstrated calcium-D-glucarate inhibits benzo[a]pyrene’s ability to bind DNA and induce pulmonary adenomas. (10) Another unpublished phase I clinical trial of 62 patients found D-glucaric acid levels were approximately 29-percent lower in smokers than non-smokers. Regardless of gender, K-ras (an oncogene linked to lung cancer) mutations were found to be present in 38 percent of subjects who smoked, while no K-ras mutations were found in the non-smoking control subjects. It was hypothesized that D-glucaric acid deficiency correlates with K-ras mutations and might be indicative of a higher risk for developing lung cancer. (20)
The efficacy of dietary calcium-D-glucarate as a chemopreventative agent has also been studied in the mouse skin tumorigenesis system. Mice were given 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) to induce skin tumorigenesis and were fed either a regular chow diet or a chow diet fortified with calcium-D-glucarate. When fed the calcium-D-glucarate chow through both the initiation and promotion phases, papilloma formation was inhibited by over 30 percent. The data indicate that supplementation of calcium-D-glucarate results in a marked alteration in the retention, activity, and metabolism of carcinogenic substances. (13)
Calcium-D-glucarate’s inhibition of beta-glucuronidase activity allows the body to excrete hormones such as estrogen before they can become reabsorbed. Oral administration of large doses of calcium-D-glucarate have been shown to lower serum estrogen levels in rats by 23 percent. (21) Because many breast cancers are estrogen-dependent, calcium-D-glucarate’s ability to affect estrogen and other hormone levels has led to Phase I clinical trials at several major cancer centers in the United States. Results of these studies are pending.
Side effects of currently available hypolipidemic agents present a need for safe and effective lipid-lowering agents. D-glucarates have been shown to significantly reduce total serum cholesterol in rats by as much as 12-15 percent and LDL-cholesterol by 30-35 percent. Preliminary results in humans show D-glucarate reduced total serum cholesterol up to 12 percent, LDL-cholesterol up to 28 percent, and triglycerides up to 43 percent. The lipid-lowering effect of calcium-D-glucarate may be attributed to improved enterohepatic circulation, resulting in increased excretion of bile acids and a reduction in steady state levels of cholesterol biosynthesis. (7)
There are no known drug interactions with calcium-D-glucarate, but many drugs and hormones are metabolized in the liver via glucuronidation. Therefore, taking calcium-D-glucarate may increase elimination of these substances, possibly reducing their effectiveness.
Side Effects and Toxicity
No adverse effects have been observed after prolonged feeding to rats or mice at concentrations of 70, 140, or even 350 mmol/kg. (6) Preliminary results of clinical trials in humans have shown calcium-D-glucarate is without adverse effects.
The recommended oral dosage of calcium-D-glucarate is generally in the range of 1500-3000 mg daily. Until human trials have been completed the optimal dosage remains elusive.
(1.) Dwivedi C, Heck WJ, Downie AA, et al. Effect of calcium glucarate on beta-glucuronidase activity and glucarate content of certain vegetables and fruits. Biochem Med Metab Biol 1990;43:83-92.
(2.) Walaszek Z, Szemraj J, Narog M, et al. Metabolism, uptake, and excretion of a D-glucaric acid salt and its potential use in cancer prevention. Cancer Detect Prev 1997;21:178-190.
(3.) Heerdt, AS, Young CW, Borgen PI. Calcium glucarate as a chemopreventive agent in breast cancer, Isr J Med Sci 1995;31:101-105.
(4.) Horton D, Walaszek Z. Conformations of the D-glucarolactones and D-glucaric acid in solution. Carbohydr Res 1982;105:95-109.
(5.) Walaszek Z, Hanausek-Walaszek M. D-glucaro-1,4-lactone: its excretion in the bile and urine and effect on biliary excretion of beta-glucuronidase after oral administration in rats. Hepatology 1988;9:552-556.
(6.) Selkirk JK, Cohen GM, MacLeod MC. Glucuronic acid conjugation in the metabolism of chemical carcinogens by rodent cells. Arch Toxicol 1980;139:S171-S178.
(7.) Walaszek Z, Hanausek-Walaszek M, Adams AK, Sherman U. Cholesterol lowering effects of dietary D-glucarate. FASEB 1991;5:A930.
(8.) Yoshimi N, Walaszek Z, Moil H, et al. Inhibition of azoxymethane-induced rat colon carcinogenesis by potassium hydrogen D-glucarate. Int J Oncol 2000;16:43-48.
(9.) Schmittgen TD, Koolemans-Beynen A, Webb TE, et al. Effects of 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and glucarate in rat colon-tumor explants. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 1992;30:25-30.
(10.) Walaszek Z, Hanausek-Walaszek M, Webb TE. Dietary glucarate-mediated reduction of sensitivity of murine strains to chemical carcinogenesis. Cancer Lett 1986;33:25-32.
(11.) Oredipe OA, Barth RF, Hanausek-Walaszek M, et al. Effects of an inhibitor of beta-glucuronidase on hepatocarcinogenesis. Proc Am Assoc Cancer Res 1987;28:156.
(12.) Oredipe OA, Barth RF, Hanausek-Walaszek M, et al Effects of calcium glucarate on the promotion of diethylnitrosamine-initiated altered hepatic loci in rats. Cancer Lett 1987;38:95-99.
(13.) Dwivedi C, Downie AA, Webb TE. Modulation of chemically initiated and promoted skin tumorigenesis in CD-1 mice by dietary glucarate. J Environ Path Toxicol Oncol 1989;9:253-259.
(14.) Abou-Issa H, Koolemans-Beynen A, Meredith TA, Webb TE. Antitumour synergism between non-toxic dietary combinations of isotretinoin and glucarate. Eur J Cancer 1992;28:784-788.
(15.) Webb TE, Abou-Issa H, Stromberg PC, et al. Mechanism of growth inhibition of mammary carcinomas by glucarate and the glucarate:retinoid combination. Anticancer Res 1993; 13:2095-2100.
(16.) Bhatnagar R, Abou-Issa H, Curley RW, et al. Growth suppression of human breast carcinoma cells in culture by N-(4-hydroxyphenyl) retinamide and its glucuronide and through synergism with glucarate. Biochem Pharmacol 1991 ;41:1471-1477.
(17.) Curley RW, Humpries KA, Koolemans -Beynan A, et al. Activity of d-glucarate analogues: synergistic antiproliferative effect in cultured human mammary tumor cells appear to specifically require the d-glucarate structure. Life Sci 1994;54:1299-1303.
(18.) Abou-Issa H, Moeschberger M, Masry EI, et al. Relative efficacy of glucarate on the initiation and promotion phases of rat mammary carcinogenesis. Cancer Res 1995;15:805-810.
(19.) DeLuca LM. Retinoids and their receptors in differentiation, embryogenesis and neoplasia. FASEB J 1991;5:2924-2933.
(20.) Walaszek Z, Raich PC, Hanausek M, et al. Role of D-glucaric acid in lung cancer prevention. Unpublished research. AMC Cancer Research Center, Denver, CO.
(21.) Walaszek Z, Hanausek-Walaszek M, Minto JP, Webb TE. Dietary glucarate as anti-promoter of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene-induced mammary tumorigenesis. Carcinogenesis 1986;7:1463-1466.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Thorne Research Inc.
Although a connection to Autism from Vaccines has been dismissed repeatedly in the current media(no surprise), scientific studies that are based on biological processes show a significant link. CDC epidemiological studies also show a strong link of Thimerosal to ADD, Learning Disabilities, Speech Delay and Autism.
It is apparent that critical medical decisions for an entire
generation of American children are being made by small committees
whose members have incestuous ties with agencies
that stand to gain power, or manufacturers that stand to
gain enormous profits, from the policy that is made.
Jane Orient, M.D.
Posted November 30, 2007 | 03:33 PM (EST)Memo to those who wanted the autism-vaccine contretemps to just go away: You lost.
Exactly five years ago, I began research for my book Evidence of Harm, which looked into the possible link between mercury, vaccines and the tsunami of autism that now overwhelms our education system.
Along the way, I have encountered many people — in the government, in medical circles, in the media, on the Internet – who are furious at my attempts to shed light on this controversy, and utterly contemptuous of parents, doctors and anyone else who supports research into the hypothesized link between autism and vaccines.
Many of these people, incredibly, still insist that autism is purely a genetic disorder with no known “cause” and probably no cure. They blithely claim that autism has always been with us, in the same epidemic numbers we see today, (If you’re the parent of a young boy in New Jersey, by the way, you now face 1-in-60 odds of a diagnosis), we just never noticed, or else counted those kids as “quirky,” or possibly retarded.
Even officials at the CDC, who traced an e-coli outbreak to a single patch of California spinach within months, cannot say if autism is actually on the increase or not.
Some experts, however, are beginning to understand that autism is clearly on the rise and, thus, must have an environmental component, coupled with a genetic underpinning. But they insist that vaccines or their ingredients (ie, mercury, live measles virus, aluminum) have nothing to do with the epidemic.
They really, really want this vexing vaccine chatter to cease. But it won’t.
Buried beneath the usual tumultuous headlines of recent days were three tidbits of news that clearly underscore why this raging, sometimes vitriolic debate is not ending any time soon. In fact, all three reveal significant cracks in the federal government’s hitherto impenetrable fortress of denial of any vaccine-autism link whatsoever:
1) The CDC granted nearly $6 million for investigators at five major research centers to study 2,700 children over the next five years, in what the Contra Costa Times called “the largest-ever U.S. study aimed at solving one of the most perplexing mysteries of modern times: the cause of autism.”
Lisa Croen, the study’s principal investigator in California, told the paper that, “What’s become very clear is that autism results from a combination of having a genetic predisposition or genetic susceptibility, plus the added extra exposures from environmental factors or other kinds of lifestyle factors.”
Among the “factors” to be studied are family history, events during pregnancy, maternal medications, parental occupation, ambient pollution around the house, and “a child’s vaccination history,” the paper reported.
Oddly, the study will not look at the mercury-based preservative thimerosal. According to the FDA and the Institute of Medicine, the last batches of thimerosal containing vaccines for infants and immune-globulin given to pregnant women expired in late 2003 (except for the flu shot, which is still given to infants and pregnant women).
The new study will only study children born from September 2003 to August, 2005.
But the question remains, and I think it’s legitimate: If an association between vaccines and autism has been completely “ruled out,” then why are we spending taxpayer dollars to study autistic children’s vaccination history?
2) The Department of Health and Human Services announced the formation of a new federal panel, the “Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee,” which will help set public and private research priorities into the cause and treatment of autism, as mandated by the recently passed Combating Autism Act.
Among those named to the panel by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt were Lyn Redwood, president of the Coalition for Safe Minds (and chief protagonist in my book), and a leading advocate of the mercury-vaccine-autism connection, and Lee Grossman, president and CEO of the Autism Society of America, another staunch supporter of the hypothesis.
Which again begs the question: If the debate over vaccines and autism is over, then why did the Feds appoint two people to this important new panel who will relentlessly push for more taxpayer dollars going into research of vaccines and autism?
3) Lawyers for the US Justice Department and HHS are conceding an autism case that was to be tried in the so-called federal “Vaccine Court,” (officially known as the Autism Omnibus Proceedings of the US Court of Federal Claims), according to papers filed on the court’s on-line docket.
Nearly 5,000 autism cases are pending in Vaccine Court, though a small number of “test cases” are being tried, in which attorneys for the families attempt to link the symptoms of autism to thimerosal and/or the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (or MMR, which never contained mercury). It was a pending test case that the government conceded.
According to my source, however, the government is NOT conceding that mercury or vaccines cause autism. “In this case, the DOJ conceded that vaccines significantly aggravated a child’s pre-existing autistic symptoms,” my source said, “but the autism itself was caused by a congenital mitochondrial disorder that is entirely genetic.”
And, the source noted, “By conceding ‘significant aggravation,’ I think DOJ is trying to avoid ever having this case go to hearing on the underlying causation issue.”
In other words, this was likely going to be a slam-dunk, and the Feds knew it. Rather than risk having the case become a “test” for thousands of other claims, it looks like the DOJ opted to fold and pay out damages to the family, without actually admitting that vaccines can cause autism.
This entirely unreported event raises several interesting questions, I think. To begin with, if the federal government has conceded that vaccines can cause “significant aggravation” to the (even preexisting) autism symptoms of even just one child, shouldn’t the public be notified?
And if the government has conceded that this child would be better off today had he or she not been vaccinated — in other words, that vaccines made the symptoms of autism go from bad to worse – couldn’t it be possible that vaccines might also, say, make symptoms go from mild to bad?
And if the government concedes that vaccines aggravated the symptoms of autism in at least one child, shouldn’t parents of children with the disorder be informed of this, and shouldn’t they be allowed to opt out of future vaccinations, on medical grounds, if they wish?
And if the government concedes that vaccines can aggravate the symptoms of autism, then shouldn’t that same government also earmark funds to research how and why that occurs?
And of course, why on earth would parents concede that there is “no evidence of an association between vaccines and autism,” when the government has just conceded that there was an (albeit not causal) association?
Finally, to all those who are going to post comments about the autism rates in California not coming down, following the removal of thimerosal from most vaccines: You are right. The most likely explanation is that thimerosal was not responsible for the autism epidemic. But that does not mean that it never harmed a single child.
And keep in mind that, of the record 1000+ additional autism cases recorded in California last quarter, some 75% of them were children who were six years of age or older, and thus born well within the “thimerosal generation.” There is evidence that many factors could conceivably be keeping the California numbers higher than the national average, including aggressive early intervention and outreach to low-income families, increased immigration from countries that still use thimerosal (and immigrant children who are routinely re-immunized upon arrival) and migration of families from less progressive U.S. states eager for California’s relative public largesse.
And remember that the CDC, wisely, does not conduct autism prevalence studies on children until they reach the age of 8, to account for any late stragglers entering the database. If thimerosal did not come out of vaccines entirely until 2003, then it won’t be until 2011 before kids in that birth cohort are studied by the CDC, so vindicating thimerosal entirely might still be a tad premature.
All that said, thimerosal may well not be a factor in a single case of autism. But what if one day, we discovered it had caused, say, one percent of all cases? With estimates of autism as high as 1.5 million in the country, that would mean 15,000 Americans who were ravaged by thimerosal (not to mention everyone overseas).
But if thimerosal is vindicated, or shown to be a very minor player, then what about other vaccine ingredients? And what about the rather crowded vaccine schedule we now impose upon families of young children? And what about reports of unvaccinated children in Illinois, California and Oregon who appear to have significantly lower rates of autism? Shouldn’t we throw some research dollars into studying them?
You can answer that, no, we shouldn’t, because the vaccine-autism debate is over.
But I am willing to wager that it has only just begun.
FAIR USE NOTICE: The above may be copyrighted material, and the use may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available on a non-profit basis for educational and discussion purposes only. I believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 USC § 107. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If your copyrighted material appears on this web site and you disagree with our assessment that it constitutes “fair use”, contact this web page owner and/or the site administrator to have it removed.
For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease
Below is a MSNBC Interview with Robert Kennedy on the Vaccine Autism Coverup