Vaccine Risks- A True Balancing Act

risk3Vaccines do carry risks.

The diseases that are preventable by vaccines have risks.

The challenge for a parent is this: who do you listen to?  There seems to be the constant drum beat of mainstream medicine, the CDC, the NIH, the AAP, the local Health Department, and even the local media, saying “vaccines have been proven to be safe”.  I had a reporter recently decline to interview me on the very important study just published in JAMA February 13, 2013 showing autism rates in Norway of 1 in 1000 for mom’s who take folate. I was pointing out the interesting fact that they do not routinely give newborns the Hepatitis B vaccine with it’s 250 micrograms of aluminum, and that autism rates here in the USA where we routinely give the Hepatitis B vaccine was 1 in 100 during the same time period. Her response was that her producer would not allow her to run a program that would upset the health department.

I was about to give a presentation to a group of parents here in the Portland area for autism awareness, and due to some complaints by a few vocal parents I was canceled when they determined that I might not be speaking the party line and be in 100% support of the CDC vaccine guidelines. 

You will hear and read what the establishment wants you to hear and read.  Thankfully, we live in a new world where information cannot be kept from those of us who care to look for it.  You will hear that there are no peer review studies that show vaccines cause any harm or you will hear that vaccines have been “proven” to be safe.

In my practice, I have hundreds of autistic children. In virtually all but one of these families, the story is the same if they have multiple kids; first child is autistic, the family decides not to vaccinate or to be more careful in how they vaccinate the subsequent children, and the subsequent child or children are either normal or less severe.  This past year, I have a new family that joined my practice where the first two children are neuro-typical and the third child is autistic. I asked what they did for vaccines for the first two children.  “Oh, we didn’t vaccinate them,” they replied. “But our pediatrician convinced us that vaccines had been proven not to be linked to autism, so we vaccinated our third child”.  

Now, these stories don’t prove the link and I’m sharing them only to give an honest disclosure of my experience.  Given that in my city of Portland, I am perhaps the one Pediatrician to whom a large number of autistic families come seeking guidance; I have a much greater number of families than your typical Pediatrician. I have several new autism patients joining my practice weekly.  Most pediatricians see about 2-4  newborns a month having, 50-100 new babies a year in their practice, so they may see one new case of autism a year.  This keeps the experience rare enough that they don’t have a real sense of cause and effect.  I am starting to survey my patients to see if they have any risk factors or if there was any relationship between vaccines and the development of autism in their child.  The second response to my survey was one where a 15 month old developed seizures within hours of getting the MMR and regressed into severe autism. I hear stories like this more often than I care to admit. When the survey is completed I will share the details.

I encourage parents to read Dr Sear’s “The Vaccine Book” for a good review of the importance of vaccines.  It is also a good reference for exactly what is in each vaccine.  Dr Sears makes a brave attempt to give parents some options for a safer way to vaccinate. 

The difficult challenge is to balance real risks of not vaccinating (example- pertussis/whooping-cough kills infants) but the vaccine contains a large dose of aluminum.

Do you inject 330 micrograms of aluminum into a pregnant mom when this dose of aluminum has never been tested in pregnancy and almost certainly is a toxic dose? Premature infants should not get more than 4-5 micrograms per kilo of bodyweight each day.  My personal preference, if it was my wife and unborn child, would be to vaccinate all the family and care givers including mom after the baby is born and then if my family doesn’t have risk factors for autism or severe auto-immune disorders, I would give my baby the DTaP on the usual schedule to get added protection to at 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months of age.  I would have a really hard time living with myself if my baby died of pertussis as an infant when I could have prevented that with a vaccine. At the same time however, last year the published risk of having a subsequent child with autism if you already had one, was 23% (almost 1 in 4).  If I had one autistic child, would I vaccinate the next one?  I think not ….  THERE is NO EASY ANSWER.

I give credit to the National Vaccine Information Center for compiling some studies that show vaccine risks.  This is part of the story that must be told. http://www.nvic.org/vaccines-and-diseases/Vaccinations–Know-the-risks-and-failures-.aspx

The truth shall set us free.  Fear not information.  
If you meet the person who says they have it all figured out:  RUN!

 

Dr. Paul

 

POP’s

toxic2Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP’s) are a major toxin to be avoided as much as possible. These are organic compounds that are resistant to degradation and are lipid-soluble, which means that they will persist in our bodies for decades and even generations.  These are the pesticides, solvents, plastics, and industrial chemicals we have been exposed to during our lives.  In 1995, the WHO identified the dirty dozen as: Aldrin, Chlordane, DDT, Dieldrin , Endrin, Heptachlor, Hexachlorbenzene, Mirex, Polychlorinated Biphenyls,  Polychlorinated-Dibenzyl-P-Dioxins,  Polychlorinated Dibenzylfurans, and Toxafene.  Since then, they have added Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH’s), Brominated Flame Retardants (PCBE’s), Trybutyltin, and others.

A Canadian study found 46 of 69 POP’s measured in virtually everyone. The negative effects are persistent and significant including: oxidative stress-depleting glutathione, endocrine disruption -especially thyroid and sex hormones, mitochondrial damage, and methylation disruption affecting cell energy, neurotransmitters, protein synthesis, as well as the very reading of our genetic code. These effects range from decreased IQ to increased rates of ADHD and other more-severe forms of brain disorders. Increased diabetes and cardiovascular disorders are also known effects.

Avoidance is the key. Start by eating lower on the food chain (primarily vegetarian). BPA can best be avoided by steering clear of food containers (cans and plastics).  Eating organic minimizes pesticide exposure and optimal nutritional supplements can assist in detoxification. Supporting glutathione with NAC or cysteine may be helpful, though some who suffer from intestinal yeast overgrowth cannot tolerate this as it also feeds yeast.

Methylation support is critical for many and can be obtained by taking folate, B12, and betaine.  This is known to reduce autism.  A recent study in JAMA, Feb 2013, showed a reduction of autism from 1 in 500 to 1 in 1000 just by mom’s taking folate while pregnant. 

A great review article can be found by Joseph Pizzorno in the journal Integrative Medicine, Vol 12 No. 2 April 2013.

 

Dr. Paul

 

Autism and ADHD Rates

autismIt was just 5 years ago when some of us were horrified to learn that autism rates in one study had reached 1 in 88. It had just been a few years before that when rates were 1 in 100 or 1 in 150.  Well it’s official now according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) that 1 in 50 children between 6 and 17 have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  This is a 72% increase since 2007. These are children with challenges in communication, behavior, and social interaction, who may or may not have the classic stereotypical flapping called stimming that can be a part of autism. 

While there is no question that there were some of us who were perhaps a little “different” a generation or two ago and some of us who were certainly high energy and “hyper”, what we have today is just greater numbers of our children suffering to a greater degree.  Something is happening and don’t be satisfied with the explanation that we are just better at detecting these kids or that we are changing the way we make these diagnoses. 

Ask adults in their 60’s and older how many children they remember in their classrooms who were struggling with communication and social issues or flapping and non-verbal. This is a very real poisoning of our children. We all have genetic vulnerability. What is changing is the sheer amount of toxins our children are exposed to.  The changes that happen as a result are called epigenetic, and so you’ll read that autism is genetic.  Well, yes, it is to the extent that we are talking about how toxins interact with our genetics. What we can change is our exposures to toxins, not the genetic blue print we are born with. Get the right nutrients and avoid toxins and then we will (almost all of us) be healthy!

There is little doubt that we are living in times that are unprecedented in terms of the speed with which toxins are being added to our environment. The first exposure happens in the womb. Sorry moms, but you simply must do everything in your power to eat organic, avoid GMO, avoid aspartame, alcohol, drugs, and take your prenatal vitamins, extra vitamin D, and fish oil to maximize nutrition. While pregnant, I would not get the Tdap with its 330 micrograms of aluminum.  Take that vaccine after the baby is born and vaccinate everyone else who will be around your baby to provide a cocoon of protection. 

The cost of treatment and therapy for a family living with autism can reach as much as $60,000 a year. This puts the total cost of lifetime care at around $1.4 million!   With 4,000,000 births a year in the USA and a rate of 1 in 50, that is 80,000 new cases a year. The annual cost being added each year = $80 billion (8 zero’s).  

There is one new case every 6.5 to 13 minutes! (using the rate of 1 in 50 to 1 in 100).http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr065.pdf

As if having to help a child with autism navigate this world were not hard enough, imagine now the fact that rates of ADHD are also sky rocketing.  For the  high school age group of 14 to 17 year olds, a recent study finds 10% of girls and 19% of boys had ADHD, with one in 10 boys taking ADHD medication. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/01/health/more-diagnoses-of-hyperactivity-causing-concern.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

While all this sounds depressing, it should actually be a call to action.  We can dramatically change these statistics. Stay tuned.  Read my blogs.  Do your research on toxins and vaccines and nutritional supplements that will enhance your ability to get rid of toxins and heal. Even those of us who are already suffering from the conditions I am talking about can make changes that can start the process of healing and getting our brains back. 

Parents of children already affected, you are my hero’s.  It is because of you that I dedicate the majority of my professional efforts to learning more and sharing what I learn.

If you are already in my practice, and your child is not making progress, make another appointment, especially if it’s been over 6 months since we have addressed what is going on. 

 

Dr. Paul

 

Environmental Allergies and Food Sensitivities

sick child wiping his noseIf you have a family history of allergies, you are likely familiar with the three main areas these allergies affect:

1. Asthma (wheezing)

2. Allergic Rhinitis (runny nose) & Allergic Conjunctivitis (itchy eyes)

3. Eczema (dry skin)

A person can have one, two, or all three types of symptoms. The key in my mind is prevention and identifying what you are allergic to so you can avoid those exposures and thus reduce or completely eliminate your symptoms.

Treating your symptoms is always getting the most focus. This is because your symptoms can be dangerous, in the case of severe asthma – Lord knows we all like to breathe, and extremely annoying, in the case of itchy eyes, runny nose, and dry itchy skin that then can get infected.

These three classic allergy symptoms (triad) pertain primarily to the classic IGE mediated allergies.  We are increasingly aware that sensitivities to foods or chemicals can induce a host of other symptoms from brain fog, anxiety, headaches, to GI distress and perhaps play a big role for some in the severity of symptoms that get diagnosed as autism or ADHD, fatigue, etc.

PREVENTION: Taking HMF – natogen (other good probiotics likely will give the same or similar benefit) during the last trimester of your pregnancy and for the first 6 months of life, reduces allergies and eczema by over 50%. Studies are coming in showing that infants with earlier exposure to pets, dust, grasses, etc. results in less allergies. Have you seen the movie “Babies”?  You see the baby in Africa and Mongolia sitting in the dirt, surrounded by what in the west would be considered unsanitary conditions (dirt, animals, and flies).  These babies will have a much reduced chance of developing allergies.  The hygiene hypothesis has been proven and has shown that those who are exposed early in infancy to these allergens develop a tolerance and have fewer allergies. Perhaps our immune system learns to accept these exposures as normal and part of the world we must live in.  It is for this reason we are now recommending solid foods be introduced at 4 months age. Start with organic vegetables then fruits, holding off on highly refined grains and gluten, which seems to be a problem for so many. 

IDENTIFICATION: There are four main ways to determine what you are allergic or sensitive to:

1. Skin prick testing  (considered the gold standard by allergists)

2. IGE immunocap blood tests (these measure the actual level of IGE against the most common allergens)

3. IGG food sensitivity testing (some companies are now also adding IGA tests) – this is most helpful for eczema and those with gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms.

4. Elimination trials (avoid potential offenders – foods like dairy or gluten, exposure to a pet, a local grass, tree pollen, or dust) and see if your symptoms go away.

 

My Naturopath colleagues and those with different training from mine will undoubtedly correct me here in saying that there are other ways to identify allergies. I have had patients with great results from methods that are not as easily explained scientifically.  My MD colleagues will challenge the validity of the IGG food sensitivity testing.  All I can say to them is not to judge this until they have experience using this extremely valuable tool.  I have hundreds, perhaps over 1000 patients who the allergists and specialists could not help, but are now well because we identified the foods to which they were having a large IGG reaction to and eliminated those foods. 

As a board certified Integrative and Holistic Medicine physician, I can assure you the IGG food sensitivity test is a vital tool when it comes to helping those with chronic illness.  If your doctor or physician is not familiar with this tool, then I suggest you find one who is. 

TREATMENT: If you have Asthma and are in an acute wheezing episode, try to remove yourself from the trigger, and please do get medical attention. Albuterol (inhaler or nebulizer) is a bronchodilator and will immediately provide relief. This can typically be taken every 4 hours as needed.  If you are literally struggling to breathe, this is an emergency and you should get to the nearest hospital or your doctors office if they are equipped to deal with such emergencies. If you have been coughing or wheezing for a day or longer, you should add an inhaled steroid (inhaler or nebulizer) twice a day for most, as this will help reduce the inflammation that goes along with asthma or reactive airways. For allergy symptoms of the nose and eyes and skin, there are numerous over the counter treatments that can provide some relief.  In the end, identifying why you are suffering is the key.

 

Dr. Paul

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