Sunday, January 04, 2009

Barn Owls, Thimerisol and Autism

I love of my favorite coffee mugs that I found in a favorite, "off-the-beaten-path" store in Virginia, named "Gathers", last Christmas is this Barn Owl mug by Emma Bridgewater. My new favorite on-line store that I love mulling through is
out of Vermont and carries the Emma Bridgewater line. She has other bird mugs that I'm going to collect. Why? I love this mug. I love how it feels in my hand; how my coffee tastes in it; how it looks back at me in the morning. Do you have a mug like that? I think every coffee or tea drinker should. There's just something about opening the cabinet and pulling out that favorite mug. So, lately, I've been looking for more barn owl pottery to add to the mug. That got me thinking about the sleuthing that I love to do and this year, my need for information about our minds, bodies, nutrition, exercise...becoming a wise "old" owl, I am! Yes, I feel old and thus, my New Years resolution...

I haven't posted much about Autism since Eliza's diagnosis, but 2009 being a New Year and my resolution to live "healthier", I've been doing more reading about the affects of what goes into our bodies. I stumbled across an Autism Health Report with claims of being able to "heal" our children. Typically, I just pass those over as the next person trying to sell the magic coolaide and get rich off of others' hardships, but there was a link to an article that caught my attention. It was a stunning article written by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., with some quite disturbing information. Whether Autism touches your life or not, we've all heard about the debate over the connection between Autism and Vaccines. It was all over the news during 2008. Read this and tell me if just this paragraph alone doesn't make you shutter:

"The fact that Iowa's 700 percent increase in autism began in the 1990s, right after more and more vaccines were added to the children's vaccine schedules, is solid evidence alone." Last year, Iowa became the first state to ban mercury in vaccines, followed by California. Similar bans are now under consideration in 32 other states. But instead of following suit, the FDA continues to allow manufacturers to include thimerosal in scores of over-the-counter medications as well as steroids and injected collagen. Even more alarming, the government continues to ship vaccines preserved with thimerosal to developing countries -- some of which are now experiencing a sudden explosion in autism rates. In China, where the disease was virtually unknown prior to the introduction of thimerosal by U.S. drug manufacturers in 1999, news reports indicate that there are now more than 1.8 million autistics. Although reliable numbers are hard to come by, autistic disorders also appear to be soaring in India, Argentina, Nicaragua and other developing countries that are now using thimerosal-laced vaccines. The World Health Organization continues to insist thimerosal is safe, but it promises to keep the possibility that it is linked to neurological disorders "under review."

If that paragraph grabbed you, go read the article in it's entirety here:

If the connection between Thimerisol Vaccines and Autism is real, I still don't understand why some children are affected and other's not. Before 1991, one child in every 2500 was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. After 1991, and the introduction of 3 add'l vaccines required for babies under the age of 2 months; and the increase to 22 vaccines administered before a child becomes school age, the rate of Autism diagnosis increased to one in 166. At any rate, I wonder sometimes if it depends on the child's immune system at the time of vaccination, genetics, the vial (these vaccines contain the preservative, Thimerisol, because the vials contain multiple doses, as a cost savings, and therefore, are exposed to multiple needle sticks; thus needing the preservative, Thimerisol).

One study that I'm sure will come out one day as well, is the rise in dementia/alzheimers in the elderly and the link to something similar to Thimerisol; this being very personal to me and my father's sad, last few years of life. They'll argue that there's no connect, but rather that we are living longer. But c'mon, we live longer in part due to the development of medication, our dependence on those meds and the increase in medications as we age. Of course, I also feel that environmentally, we are exposing ourselves to more today than ever.

I don't claim to be an expert on Autism; I'm still educating myself. Neurologically, Autism can affect a person's language skills, sleep patterns, mental development, motor skills, social skills, ADD/ADHD, injurious behavior, many areas to list...that's why it's referred to as a Spectrum. In this blog, I don't speak about the many challenges that Eliza lives with daily on the Autism Spectrum, but I can tell you that she lives with all of those that I listed w/ the exception of seizures; some greater than others. The Spectrum is also dynamic; so some seem to go away and we're thankful for that; while other new challenges develop. I'm an optimist at heart and tend to not dwell, but after reading that report and really trying to understand all that WE are putting into our bodies, I can't help but think, could her challenges have been avoided? Would she be singing and talking? Would she... See, I don't even want to go there. It's painful as her mother if I allow myself to go there and not accept her completely as she is. But continue to educate myself and make us healthier, I can do! So, if I buy the magic cool-aide that someone touts will heal her, understand. I still pray and hope that Eliza's complete self will one day include singing and talking and being completely in the present with us.


Rachel said...

Oh Sarah - I have been through this all so many times. Here's my opinion for what its worth - I think its a combination of some kind of genetic predisposition combined with environmental toxins. I think that vaccines do provide some of the toxins, but its not just thimerosal. With so many vaccines we just overload our babies immune systems by putting so much foreign stuff into their little bodies. There are other toxins coming from what we eat, breathe, store things in, our homes, etc. All this COMBINED with genetics causes some kids to develop autism. My thoughts. I would love to discuss with you offline sometime.

The Montieth Family said...

Dear Sarah,

You know that my heart is with you and it aches for you and Eliza. I think that what you posted is very eye opening and I think that Eliza is lucky to have such a great Mommy. :) The best! It is hard sometimes to not get stuck in the "what if's", the wonderful thing about you is that you can clearly see ALL of Eliza. She is SUCH a special little girl and a delight to be around. Her smiles are infectious and she sure does love you. :)
*Hugs*! Megan

Amy said...

Hi, Have you tried the Hyperbaric (HBOT) Chamber / Hyperbaric oxygen therapy? I have been looking into HBOT for Jessica. Jess is 17 so I don't expect much...but every little bit helps. We know Jess has a blood flow problem to her brain. We found this out by doing a PET. HBOT helps increase blood flow to the brain and brings down swelling that seems to be comon in Autism. It seems to be doing wonders for the younger kids. I would look into it. Here is one link...

Some people use home Cambers but I've read they are not as good as the therapy you get at centers.

Christina Langley said...

Hey girl :) Just found your blogspot and have abandoned all housework in order to catch up with you on here! Here are a couple of my thoughts here... Throughout the last decade, autism has been more clearly defined - allowing for a better (and often earlier) diagnosis. There has been some discussion that the increase in numbers of children diagnoses is due (in some part) to a clearer definition of the disorder. And...have you read Jenny McCarthy's book? While I haven't, I have heard that she has had some great luck with the new diet she put her son on.

Sending hugs! Miss ya'll :)