Life’s Little Developments

Keeping it Clean:

So somehow I’ve been busy without being all that busy. Not sure how that works but it does. Mostly I’ve been keeping the house A LOT cleaner and it is amazing how good that makes me feel. I’ve been making myself make the bed every day and that small task does wonders for me. I’m normally not so obsessed with a spick-n-span house but these days I don’t feel complete unless it’s clean. Maybe it’s that whole nesting thing getting started? Who knows.

New Camera:

A few weeks ago I was able to get a new camera!! I can not tell you how excited I was about this. It is such a great camera. I bought a used Canon XT from my friends husband for a great price who wanted to exchange his camera for the same camera but for one that was only black instead of black and silver. Apparently camera snobs find this important. Maybe someday I will be cool enough to be able to be that picky. I was able to afford the camera by selling our Kodak one on Craigslist and selling a few things on eBay. I’m so happy to have a camera that will take non-blurry pictures and has a faster shutter speed so I won’t miss all those great shots. I still need to learn to use this thing though. My friends husband also gave me a photo editing software called Bibble that is on the professional level but I have NO IDEA how to use it. Need to learn that as well. I would post pictures but our computer is not cooperating. See below.

Dumb, Ancient Computer:

The upgrade of our camera has very poignantly highlighted the need for a new computer. Our computer is about 8 years old. This dinosaur bohemeth runs more slowly than I am able to waddle these days. And now EVERY time I try to upload a picture to the blog it FREEZES my computer. Grrr. It makes me so mad. I have been attempting to write this blog post for a few days now but kept getting frustrated and giving up because I hate not posting pictures with the blog. So, um imagine things I guess. Until further notice I don’t think there will be any pictures posted. Must get this fixed before baby arrives. On a funny note my friend Emeth joked with her husband that she was going to give his computer to me since I needed one and he believed her. He gave her a deer in the headlights, shocked look and paced a little but didn’t say anything. Yes, she definitely wears the pants in their family and no, I would never let her actually do that. But very funny.

A Close Call & First Lies:

So I had a midwife appointment on Monday in Hermiston, Oregon which is about a half hour drive from here. During the appointment Camden was playing outside with one of the midwifes sons (it was his 8th Birthday) and they were playing with a new baby goat that they just got. Innocent enough, right? They’re outside so I don’t worry about anything and just relax and chat and enjoy my appointment. As we are leaving and I am buckling Camden into her carseat she asks me an odd question.

“Mommy?”

“Yes?”

“Do cupcakes have nuts in them?”

What a weird question. “Well, sometimes. Sometimes even though the cupcake doesn’t have nuts they are made in a kitchen that has nuts so you can’t eat them…” As I’m saying this my voice trails off because I notice a light yellow crust all around her lips. “Camden, what is on your face? Were you playing with the Dandelions?” It really looked like she’d been rubbing dandelions on her lips. Then before she could answer the “duh” light went off. “Did you eat a cupcake?”

“No.”

“Then what is on your face?”

“I don’t know. Nothing.”

“There is yellow all around your mouth. Is that yellow frosting? Did you eat a cupcake?”

“No.”

“Then what is on your face?”

“I don’t know.”

She’s totally lying. My heart is a little heavy and worried and I’m really ticked at myself. “Camden, it is more important to tell the truth to mommy. You will be in more trouble if you don’t tell me the truth. It’s very important that we’re honest with each other. What did you eat?”

She sighs. “I ate a cupcake.”

I then proceeded to lecture her for about 10 minutes about why it is so important that she NEVER eat food unless her dad or I give it to her or unless we say it is OK. We talked about what would have happened if there were nuts in the cupcake (she is severely allergic to them) and how we’d have to go to the hospital, etc, etc. On an annoying note the cupcake was also bright yellow otherwise known as containing food dye. I am happy to report that I did not notice ANY behavioral side effects afterwards (she has a dye sensitivity) which is promising. She is mostly sensitive to red but I was happy to see that she tolerated the yellow cupcake. Doesn’t mean I want dyed concoctions in our house but it is nice to know she may be able to have them on occasion. Mike was really, really mad at me. I’m only somewhat mad at me. Really, there is only so much you can watch your child. They were outside playing and there was no food outside. The little boy had snuck inside during our appointment and snuck cupcakes for them. I just need to drill it into her head that she can’t eat food from other people since realistically I can not always know what she is doing.

So that was her second “lie” if you want to call it that. Not sure what constitutes an active lie by a child and at what age they are capable of lying. But it used to be that if you asked her a question no matter if she was going to get in trouble, she’d be honest. For example if Camden was standing next to a small crying child looking suspicious I could ask “Camden, what happened?” and she’d say “I pushed her” or “I took her toy.” Looks like those days are gone.

Her first “lie” was last weekend. I was on the computer working on her scrapbook and Mike was showering and she was supposed to be watching a movie. Mike came out into the living room and I hear him getting mad at her. He comes into the office and told me she was out there painting her fingernail. Big no, no. He goes to wipe off her thumb and notices her whole other hand is painted. “Did you paint those?” he asks. “No,” she says. “Then who painted them?” “Mommy did,” she says. They both come into the office and he asks if I painted them. Nope, I didn’t. She is sent to her room. Once she is in her room we both laugh. She did a really, really good job painting her nails but she knew she wasn’t allowed to do paint by herself and she was painting them on the couch. But it was also the first time she lied to us. After she came out of her room we talked about honesty. Sigh, this is only going to get more complicated. I can tell.

30 Weeks:

At my last appointment the hearbeat ranged from 132-146 bpm. I was measuring 33 weeks and the baby was head down in the posterior position. I will be 31 weeks on Friday.

Busier:

So I started this blog post earlier in the week and now I am busier because we are having a garage sale at our house on Friday and Saturday. Some other families are combining their stuff with ours so we’ll have enough stuff. I was going to put this off for a few more weeks but it is only going to get hotter and I am only going to get bigger so I am scrambling to get it done. Originally I was hoping that the money we made could go towards something fun like a new computer but like always it looks like the extra money will go towards bills. We are hoping the garage sale traffic will spur some interest in our house. I am going to have flyers ready. Cross your fingers for us.

I am also taking care of my friends little girl because she has been put on bedrest for the next week. She is not due until July 16th but is having a ton of contractions. They are wanting to try and hold off birth until at least next Wed when she will be 37 weeks that way she can have her baby at home, as planned. Otherwise she’ll need to deliver at a local hospital.

Weird Things I’m Looking Forward To:

So I’m really excited to mother a newborn again. It still hasn’t sunk in that there will be a new little person in our lives but I’m slowly starting to wrap my mind around it. Some of the things I am really looking forward to (yes I’m weird) are:

-Cloth Diapering: I didn’t start cloth diapering Camden until she was 13 months old but I am really looking forward to using cloth with a newborn. I received some very cute fitted’s from Nanipoo Diapers today and they are absolutely adorable. I’d post a pic if I could but they are just too cute. I also received some diaper covers today. We also have an assortment of pockets, prefolds and a few AIO’s. I’ll have to post pictures later. It is a wide variety of boy and girl prints since we don’t know what we’re having. I’ll just have to sell the ones we don’t wind up needing.

– EC: We will be practicing Elimination Communication with this baby. I’ve all ready had a little practice with this on a baby I used to watch and it is really amazing plus all the mothers that I hang out with on a regular basis practice this with their children so I’m totally over the “weirdness” factor. I think it’s awesome when a small baby can tell you when they have to go potty, and then do. I was amazed that it actually worked with he baby I used to watch who was only 2 months old.

-Happy Hangup: When I first became pregnant I found an awesome deal on a used Happy Hangup that I found on craigslist and was able to sell some stuff to get it. It hangs from the ceiling and is an infant hammock bed. I need to get Mike to install the ceiling hook and I just can’t wait to see our little bub sleep in it for the first time.

-Parenting Minus the Nervousness: I don’t consider myself a very nervous type person but I am looking forward to parenting this newborn without the all the second guessing. I loved parenting Camden as a newborn and am really looking forward to doing it again.

-Baby Wearing: I wore Camden when she was a baby too but I only had a Baby Bjorn and that thing was super uncomfortable. I am looking forward to using a wrap with this baby and a sling as well. I am loving knowing that I will be able to carry baby around and get everything else done that needs to be done.

-Birth: Yes, I really am looking forward to birth. Which seems fairly odd since I had quite a long, knock down drag out first experience. For those who don’t know I labored for over 56 hours with Camden. Not ideal, to say the least. There are many factors that contributed to that and I feel that this time things will go much different. We are having this baby at home and my friends are planning on attending the birth which will make this a really different and fun experience. I am really looking forward to it. Mike is thrilled with this idea because it takes the pressure off him. I thought he wouldn’t like the idea but he loves it. And I love the idea of being surrounded by women who have all given birth naturally and who are all funny and upbeat. I think we will all have a lot of fun and what a wonderful atmosphere for a baby to be born into.

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Sunbutter: The Peanut Butter Alternative

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy, Happy, Happy, Joy!

I can not tell you how happy I was to learn about Sunbutter. The topic came up on a pregnancy forum that I frequent in regards to moms that are avoiding peanut butter during pregnancy for fear that it leads to peanut allergies in their offspring. I’m not sure I agree with that theory but I am so happy to have learned about Sunbutter.

Peanut butter and I were best friends before my daughter came down with a peanut allergy. I’m not sure any other food allergy could have come at such a blow to my own personal dietary preferences. Now of course, her health comes before my food cravings so we have not kept it in the house since we first learned of her peanut allergy, which requires the use of an Epi Pen, upon exposure.

Once upon a time we tried Soy Butter which was the nastiest concoction I have ever tasted and I shudder just thinking about trying to pass that off as a peanut butter alternative to my daughter. A few months ago I tried Almond Butter and all though tasty it is not something I am willing to allow Camden to try since we have been counseled to avoid all tree nuts (her only reaction thus far has been to peanuts).

Sunbutter must be a direct inspiration from Heaven, I’m sure. It is soooo good. Even my husband when he went to take a whiff of the can said, “Wow, it smells exactly like peanut butter!” And truly, it does. It tastes a lot like peanut butter too but is delicious in it’s own right. Camden’s verdict? She absolutely loves it and is asking for Sunbutter constantly. We had homemade waffles for dinner and my love for waffles is back because I was able to top them with a bit of Sunbutter and dip them into maple syrup. Mmmm, that is the only way to eat waffles. I am looking forward to making our first batch of “peanut butter” cookies made with Sunbutter and all the other yummy baked goods that we’ve missed at Christmas times because we’ve had to go peanut free.

The best part about Sunbutter is that it is safe. It is produced in a peanut free facility and is safe from any cross-contamination. Even better? It is healthy. It contains double the fiber, more iron and 30% less saturated fat than typical peanut butter. It contains no hydrogenated oils and also has 27% of the adult requirement of vitamin E, per serving. It is also Gluten Free.

We bought our first jar of Sunbutter from a store called Haggen’s for about $3.89 and it is the Sunbutter brand. We later went to Trader Joe’s and realized that they carry Sunbutter as well and it is actually made by Sunbutter but is under the Trader Joe’s label. Next time we will buy the Sunbutter from Trader Joe’s. It is only $3.50 a jar and unlike the product under the Sunbutter label the Trader Joe variety does not contain any preservatives. It has 3 ingredients: roasted sunflower seeds, evaporated cane juice and salt. Whereas the Sunbutter we purchased under it’s own label has the following ingredients: sunflower seeds, sugar, mono-diglycerides to prevent separation, salt and natural mixed tocopherols to preserve freshness. For me, I run under the simpler is better approach. 3 ingredients is better than 5. I also tried the Trader Joe’s version, which I picked up for a friend, and I prefer the taste and texture of the TJ version much more even though they are made by the same company.

I think this product is such great news for everyone. It is not just peanut allergic kids that are affected by peanut allergies. It is their siblings, their parents, their extended families, their daycares and preschools and public schools and even beyond that airlines and public places in general are affected. A product like Sunbutter allows for a very tasty and safe alternative. In some taste tests people have actually preferred the taste of Sunbutter over Peanut Butter. As a peanut butter lover I can say that I love Sunbutter (though I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say that I’d choose Sunbutter over peanut butter). I honestly won’t miss peanut butter with this alternative. I am astounded by how good it is.

Sunbutter can be found at grocery stores and health food stores nationwide. It can be found at stores such as the following: Albertsons LLC, Andronico’s, Bristol Farms, Gelson’s, Giant, Kroger’s, Publix, Super Target, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans, Winn-Dixie, and Whole Foods. I found mine at Haggen’s which is a chain in the Pacific Northwest. I live in Eastern Washington but will be traveling back over to the west side next month and will visit Trader Joe’s again. If anyone would like a jar and can’t find any near them please let me know and I’d be happy to ship you a jar, or two or three. :)

I do want to point out that some parents of peanut allergic children may still avoid and not want to have Sunbutter in their homes or for their children to eat it and it is important for people to try and be understanding with this choice. Their reasoning is that Sunbutter looks and tastes like peanut butter and they don’t want their children to become confused on what is and is not safe for them to eat. Since my daughter’s food environment is very controlled (by myself) and she is never exposed to food unless I okay it, I don’t necessarily have this concern. I did take time to sit down with her and explain why she could eat this and that it wasn’t peanut butter and was made from Sunflower Seeds and that unless mommy or daddy gave it to her she was not allowed to eat Sunbutter.

Is there a Connection Between Vaccines and Food Allergies?

Specifically peanut allergy? I have been wondering this question for the last 2 1/2 years. I found this article today and I find it intriguing. I have bookmarked it to my long list of inquiries into the vaccine and food allergy connection. Is there one for sure? There’s not enough proof yet but yes, I believe there is a connection. I’m not alone either.

Article is from HERE.

My own story is amazingly similar to the authors. My daughter developed multiple allergies to foods eaten (and some she’d never had) within a short period after her 12 month immunizations (which were given at 14 months). I believe she was sensitized to these foods via my breastmilk around the time of vaccination. She had an anaphylactic reaction to peanut upon her first exposure. We have no family history of peanut allergy, food allergy or asthma on either side of the family.

And here is some irony to ponder. Let’s just say that vaccines really are triggering the large rise in peanut and other food allergies. Now stop to consider that the same industry producing these vaccines is working hard to develop a vaccine that “cures” peanut allergies. What kind of conflict of interest would it be to first create a disease and then sell the “cure” for it. Unintentional or not, that is disturbing. I can only imagine the following being the stance by the CDC in a number of years, “Yes, in some cases we have discovered that vaccines lead to the development of life threatening allergies to peanuts. However, we believe it is important that parents continue to vaccinate their children as the protection that these vaccines offer far outweigh any potential side effects, which are usually mild. We have now formulated a vaccine that cures anaphylaxis in children who become allergic to peanuts. If in the rare situation your child does become allergic to peanuts following their vaccinations a subsequent anaphylaxis vaccine will be able to alleviate the problem. Carry on, carry on.”

This is a very, very long article but is full of valuable information and a lot of research. It is worth your time to read. There are pages and pages of sources for the article so if you want to see the authors sources please see the site where the original article was posted, HERE, and scroll to the botom.

Anaphylactic children—canaries in the public health mine shaft?

Are vaccines responsible for the epidemic of anaphylaxis in young children today?

by Rita Hoffman

In the presentation speech as winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work with anaphylaxis, Charles Robert Richet said, “We are so constituted that we can never receive other proteins into the blood than those that have been modified by digestive juices. Every time alien protein penetrates by effraction, the organism suffers and becomes resistant. This resistance lies in increased sensitivity, a sort of revolt against the second parenteral injection which would be fatal. At the first injection, the organism was taken by surprise and did not resist. At the second injection, the organism mans its defences and answers by the anaphylactic shock.” In naming “anaphylaxis”, Richet described, “Phylaxis, a word seldom used, stands in the Greek for protection. Anaphylaxis will thus stand for the opposite. Anaphylaxis, from its Greek etymological source, therefore means that state of an organism in which it is rendered hypersensitive, instead of being protected.” Richet concluded his lecture by saying, “Seen in these terms, anaphylaxis is a universal defense mechanism against the penetration of heterogenous substances in the blood, whence they can not be eliminated.” (1)

Vaccine antigens injected subcutaneously or intramuscularly prompt the immune system to create antibodies in the blood against those antigens. Has medicine, which has used vaccinations containing “alien proteins” as its cornerstone to control infectious diseases, been on the wrong track by injecting heterogenous substances [originating in an outside source; especially: derived from another species] (2) into human beings to “control” disease? What would be the general state of health today if 200 years ago medicine had taken the path of discovering the keys to promoting a strong, unadulterated immune system in conjunction with increased nutrition, vitamin and mineral supplementation along with better sanitation? Has medicine produced false protection by injecting alien proteins via vaccination which, as Richet pointed out in his lecture, can render us hypersensitive instead of being protected?

This hypersensitive state called anaphylaxis is now epidemic in young children who live every day of their life under threat of death from everyday, normally harmless substances. The numbers are staggering. According to Health Canada’s web site, “It is estimated that 600,000 Canadians (two percent of the population) may be affected by life-threatening allergies, and the numbers are increasing, especially among children.” (3) In 2005 Ontario passed a law to protect anaphylactic students at school while The Toronto Star reported an estimated 40,000 children in Ontario with anaphylaxis. (4)

The recent deaths of three Canadian teenagers exposed to minute quantities of allergen have caused a world wide media explosion of anaphylaxis stories. Everyone is asking—why do we have so many kids with peanut allergies? Why have schools banned peanut butter sandwiches? Why are kids dying? Charles Robert Richet knew that foreign proteins penetrating the body could cause anaphylaxis back in 1913. Some doctors, allergists and anaphylaxis organizations blame skin creams containing peanut oil and North America’s roasting of peanuts for the epidemic of anaphylaxis. And perhaps weary of saying that increased consumption of peanuts is the cause of the increase in peanut allergy some are mentioning the “hygiene hypothesis” as a cause. A few are even mentioning the “v” word. Dr. Bruce Edwards was quoted in a February 21, 2006 Newsday article regarding the hygiene hypothesis. “The theory is that because U.S. children ‘use antibacterial soap, get antibiotics at the first sign of a runny nose and are vaccinated for every potential thing out there,’ their immune systems do not spend time producing anti-infectious responses to all the diseases they will never get. Instead, their immune systems may be ‘shunting their responses to produce things [anti-infectious responses] which are more allergic in nature.'”

In a May 18, 2005 CNN article, in an attempt to explain the peanut allergy epidemic, Dr. Robert Woods of Johns Hopkins University stated, “The more your immune system is kept busy by exposure to germs and infections early in life, the less time it can devote to things like allergy.” Anne Munoz-Furlong, CEO and founder of U.S. based The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) in the same article says “Perhaps our homes are too clean—we’ve done too much to take away the job of the immune system. We don’t have parasites, a lot of the childhood diseases you vaccinate and don’t have, so maybe for some people, the immune system is looking for something to do and decides, ‘Aha, I don’t like milk’ or ‘I don’t like peanuts,’ and the body then attacks the food protein as if it were an enemy invader.” Somehow I think our God given immune systems are smarter than that—that is, if left to do the job without any interference!

Anaphylaxis is not the only allergic disease on the rise. On March 31, 2006 Reuters reported that “Allergies such as hay fever are reaching epidemic proportions in Europe and a failure to treat them properly is creating a mounting bill for society and the healthcare system…Around one third of the European population has some kind of allergy, while one in two children in Britain will have allergies by 2015, costing millions of euros in medical bills, lost work days and even impaired concentration in school pupils.” The article goes on to describe, “Allergies were most prevalent in Britain and Ireland, as well as other English speaking countries like Canada, Australia and the United States, Burney said, adding they were also becoming more widespread in new European Union member states.” On May 5, 2005 The Toronto Star devoted an entire section to allergies and asthma. An article about eczema states, “In Canada, this incurable skin condition that causes dryness, crusting and thickening afflicts between 2 million and 5 million people. Experts report its incidence has tripled since 1970.”

In 2002, prominent Canadian allergist Dr. Peter Vadas went as far to say, in a television show on severe allergies, “There are factors to do with how we vaccinate our kids very early on in life, how much drugs, antibiotics we give the kids early on in life all of which tend to predispose more towards allergy.” But when asked, “Do you think early vaccination is not a good thing?” he replied, “No, I think it’s a wonderful thing. It’s an absolutely crucial thing from the standpoint of public health to minimize the likelihood of severe infections, but on the other hand one of the spin offs is that there are a certain proportion of the population that are going to be more prone to developing allergies as a consequence of that.” (5)

In a February 20, 2006 Globe and Mail article entitled “Is clean living making us sick? Hygiene hypothesis on food allergies”, Dr. Vadas followed a “party line”, eliminating the “v” word. The “party line” to explain this, he said “holds that consumption of peanuts and the peanut protein has increased in Western societies. As a result, the more exposure to peanuts, the more people will be found to be allergic to them.” It sounds like a “party line” to protect the vaccine status quo. This does nothing to explain the explosion of other unusual anaphylactic allergies in children to foods like kiwi, sesame, soybean and tree nuts. Parents should be receiving information regarding all of the potential risks and benefits of vaccines to make an informed decision about vaccinating their children. I was never told that one of the potential “spin offs” of my child being vaccinated would be that he would live every day of his life under threat of death!

If increased consumption of peanut is the cause of peanut anaphylaxis, then why don’t the Chinese and Indonesians, who consume large quantities of peanut, have the peanut anaphylaxis problems of the western industrialized nations? (6, 7) China and Indonesia do not routinely vaccinate for Hib (Haemophilus influenza type B), (8, 9, 10, 11) Sweden is a country where 99% of the target population was vaccinated for Hib in 2001. (12) Sweden also has low peanut consumption, yet this low consumption has not prevented peanut allergy in that country. Van Odijk et al concluded that “the reaction pattern to peanuts in Sweden is similar to that in many other countries despite a reported steady and low consumption.” (13) It appears that countries that introduced Hib vaccination in their infant schedules have high rates of peanut allergy regardless of consumption.

Children can react to peanut allergens on their first exposure. (14) Sensitization to peanut can occur during breastfeeding. (15) Yet sensitization through breast milk cannot possibly explain the increase in peanut anaphylaxis as mothers worldwide have been eating peanuts while breastfeeding for decades. Zimmerman et al (1989) found in their study that “these results suggest that highly atopic infants are at special risk for sensitization to peanut, even when they have never received peanut….” (16) K.L. Capozza, Health Scout News, in an article entitled “Study Acquits Peanuts in Allergic Reaction” described a recent study by Turncanu et al who took three types of children, those with peanut allergies, those that “outgrew” their allergy and those who have no peanut allergy. Capozza describes how “after magnifying these immune cells, or T-cells, the researchers observed that the T-cells of allergic patients became excited after exposure to peanut. Once the T-cells react to the peanut extract, a cascade of allergic responses ensue, from a skin rash to labored breathing.” He describes how “the research shows, the condition stems from a person’s abnormal immune response.” (17, 18)

What has happened to peanut allergic children to cause their T-cells, as Capozza described to become ‘excited’ to the extent that with some children just being in the same room with peanuts can cause a reaction? Could vaccines be the cause?

Dr. Philip Incao aptly describes how vaccines affect the immune response in his article “How Vaccines Work.” “So the trick of a vaccination is to stimulate the immune system just enough so that it makes antibodies and ‘remembers’ the disease antigen but not so much that it provokes an acute inflammatory response by the cellular immune system and makes us sick with the disease we’re trying to prevent! Thus a vaccination works by stimulating very much the antibody production (Th2) and by stimulating very little or not at all the digesting and discharging function of the cellular immune system (Th1). Vaccine antigens are designed to be ‘unprovocative’ or ‘indigestible’ for the cellular immune system (Th1) and highly stimulating for the antibody-mediated humoral immune system (Th2). Perhaps it is not difficult to see then why the repeated use of vaccinations would tend to shift the functional balance of the immune system toward the antibody-producing side (Th2) and away from the acute inflammatory discharging side (the cell-mediated side or Th1).” (19)

Atopic disorders are the cluster of 3 related disorders, allergies, asthma, and eczema with anaphylaxis being the most severe form of allergic reaction. Atopic disorders are pervasive and raise the alert that the immune system has been sensitized and has shifted away from its normal functioning TH1 mode into a chronically reactive TH2 mode.

Anaphylaxis to foods in young children seemed to be rare prior to the introduction of the first Hib polysaccharide vaccine in 1987 (Canada) to a schedule already containing vaccines for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and polio, measles, mumps and rubella. Beginning in 1992, many infants were given various Hib vaccines concurrently with DPT-P, and beginning in 1994 in a combined 5 in 1 vaccine called Penta. In 1997 the acellular pertussis 5 in 1 vaccine Pentacel was introduced. The cover story in the September 2000 issue of Professionally Speaking, the magazine of the Ontario College of Teachers was “An Abnormal Response to Normal Things.” The article begins with “Teachers have to be aware that allergies can kill. A growing number of children are at risk—and a well prepared teacher can make all the difference.” The article explains that “About a decade ago, the sudden surge in highly allergic children entering school systems across the province caught many educators off guard.” Doesn’t this “surge” correspond to the introduction of the Hib vaccine?

In Ontario, the Hepatitis B vaccination series is given in Grade 7, not at birth, so the Hepatitis B vaccine would not have an impact on the numbers of young children with peanut and nut anaphylaxis, yet it remains to be seen if this vaccine may be implicated in increased numbers of teenagers becoming anaphylactic.

Children in Ontario aged 18 and younger could have received up to five different types of Hib vaccines. The first Hib vaccine, introduced in 1987, was a one dose polysaccharide Hib vaccine for children age 2 and up. Infant immune systems did not mount an immune response to the polysaccharide vaccine, so vaccine researchers developed conjugate vaccines to “trick” the infant immune system into recognizing the Hib antibody.

Conjugate vaccines, according to a U.S. National Institute of Health website, link “a ‘weak’ polysaccharide to a protein easily recognized by the immature immune system.” (20) The Hib conjugate vaccines results in “greatly enhanced antibody responses and establishment of immunological memory”, and the four conjugate Hib vaccines given to children “differ in a number of ways, including the protein carrier, polysaccharide size and types of diluent and preservative. (21) Who’s to say that this ‘protein easily recognized by the immature immune system’ won’t “trick” the infants body into thinking that food eaten at the same time as the vaccine is an invader worthy of a ‘greatly enhanced antibody response’?

Although Hib vaccines have been credited as being a public health miracle, the road to the development and implementation of these vaccines seems to have been anything but smooth. The lack of knowledge about this vaccine’s interactions with the immune system is frightening. Here are just a few examples:

One of the most shocking studies I came across was Nicol et al concluding in 2002, a decade after infants were given this vaccine, that 1/10th of the dose of Haemophilus influenzae type B conjugate vaccine (PRP-T) was as immunogenic and safe as the full dose. (22) Considering that the Hib vaccine results in “greatly enhanced antibody responses”, does this mean that children have been receiving 10 times the amount of Hib vaccine that would be necessary to provide that antibody response, thus creating a hypersensitivity to proteins encountered during and after vaccination in children, especially children with a tendency toward allergy?

Also shocking was Pichichero (2000) in his paper on new combination vaccines, describes….”the protective threshold for conjugated PRP [Hib] vaccines is not known….” (23)

Pabst and Spady (1990) studied infants immunized at 2, 4, and 6 months with conjugate Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine. They found that “antibody levels were significantly higher in the breast-fed (57 infants) than in the formula-fed group (24 infants) at 7 months and at 12 months” and that breastfeeding “enhances the active immune response in the first year of life, and therefore the feeding method must be taken into account in the evaluation of vaccine studies in infants.” (24) Many anaphylactic children were breastfed as infants, which would have boosted this immune response even more! Breast fed and bottle fed babies receive the same doses of vaccines, even though sixteen years ago the above authors found that feeding methods should be evaluated in vaccine studies! This study was later challenged in Scheifele et al’s letter to The Lancet in 1992 in which they conclude that “It seems that the earlier conclusions were incorrect and that breastfeeding does not enhance responses to haemophilus b conjugate vaccines, at least when assessed on completion of the primary series.” (25). The Hib vaccine that Pabst and Spady studied was the CRM 197 mutant diphtheria toxin conjugate vaccine. Scheifele’s study used the PRP-T (tetanus conjugate) vaccine. If Dr. Scheifele was going to discount Pabst and Spady’s results why didn’t he use the same vaccine? Oh, well, full speed ahead! One shot must fit all, breastfed or not! We must maintain the status quo!

Numerous studies have sounded warnings regarding combination or concurrently administered vaccines including Hib. Here are just three examples:

Even as late as May 2000, Rennels et al concluded that “In this trial concurrent IPV [inactivated polio vaccine] appeared to interfere with the anti-PRP [Hib] response to DTaP/Hib vaccine suggesting that introduction of new vaccines may require evaluation of immune responses to all concurrently administered vaccines.” (26)

The 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics Annual Meeting report on New Combination Vaccines for Childhood Diseases raised red flags about combination vaccines, saying “However, the reactogenicity and potential side effects of the combined antigens have not yet been determined. Since there is the potential for physical and chemical interaction among the vaccine components and the buffers and preservatives, the immunogenicity of each component needs to be addressed to determine whether these are similar to and as effective as the components given individually.” (27)

Redhead K et al (1994) in a very frightening study, state: “However, combination with the Hib vaccine comprising polysaccharide conjugated to tetanus toxoid had dramatic effects on tetanus potency and immunogenicity when assayed in mice. This combination resulted in a five-fold potentiation of the tetanus potency and a similarly large increase in the antibody responses to tetanus toxin and toxoid. The level of the antibody response to the Hib polysaccharide in this vaccine was also elevated, more than 20-fold, as a result of the combination.” (28)

Shouldn’t these studies be raising red flags? Antibody responses to Hib elevated more than 20 fold? Reactogenicity and potential side effects of combined antigens not yet determined? I haven’t seen any studies that look at the IgE (allergy) levels post vaccination. Surely it’s not much of a stretch to think that infant’s immune systems might be hypersensitive after receiving these vaccines!

Now let’s look at what vaccines could be cross reacting with peanut. When researchers study allergies and cross reactive proteins they determine the various molecular weights of the allergen. Foods with the same molecular weight can cause cross reactions in allergic persons. And it’s not just foods cross reacting. In a January 22, 2002 news release, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology provided a list of the most common foods that are cross reactive to latex including banana, avocado, chestnut, kiwi and celery. They describe, “The immune system recognizes the ‘cross-reactive’ protein, symptoms manifest and an adverse reaction occurs. An active immune system may not distinguish the difference between the similar looking proteins, so an allergy to one member of the food family may result in the person being allergic to all the members of the same group.”

I have often wondered why vaccines with latex stoppers have not been considered as a potential cause of the tremendous rise in latex allergy among highly vaccinated health care workers. Primeau et al (2001) found that “Natural rubber vial closures released allergenic latex proteins into the tested solutions in direct contact during storage in sufficient quantities to elicit positive intradermal skin reactions in some individuals with LA. These data support a recommendation to eliminate natural rubber from closures of pharmaceutical vials.” (29) There are many vaccines that have latex stoppers that may be sensitizing people. Health Canada does not have a list, but the state of Massachusetts provides information regarding which vaccines contain latex or thimerosal. (30)

If people with latex allergy can have cross reactions with foods, then one must ask if vaccine ingredients can cause cross reaction with foods having the same molecular weight?

Using PubMed I looked for molecular weights of ingredients in infant vaccines and some of the most common allergenic foods in small children. Measured in kilodaltons (kDa), the most striking molecular weight that could cross react is 50 kDa contained in the following: Hib, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Neisseria Meningitidis, peanut, almond, soybean and cashew. The molecular weight 43 kDa is present in both Hib and peanut. 20 kDa is present in both Hib and peanut. 37 kDa is present in both Hib and Almond. 49 kDa is present in Hib and Mango.

Comparison Table

Molecular weight of proteins in vaccines

Molecular weights of food proteins triggering reactions

Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)
50, 49, 43, 37, 20, 16, kDa

Peanut
50, 43, 20, 16 kDa

Diphtheria
50, 27 kDa
(also used as carrier protein in some Hib vaccines)

Almond
50, 37 kDa

Soybean
50,16.5 kDa

Tetanus
50 kDa
(also used as carrier protein in some Hib vaccines)

Cashew
50 kDa

Neisseria meningitidis
50 kDa
(also used as carrier protein in some Hib vaccines)

Mango
49 kDa

References:

Hib (31 – 39)
Diphtheria (40 – 41)
Tetanus (42 – 45)
Neisseria meningitides (46)
Peanut (47 – 50)
Almond (51 – 53)
Soybean (47)
Cashew (54)
Mango (55)

So the first vaccines my child received, DPT-P + Hib contained Diphtheria (50 kDa), Tetanus (50 kDa), Pertussis, Polio, Mutant Diphtheria carrier protein in the Hibtitre vaccine (50 kDa) plus Hib (50 kDa). Is there any wonder, when my son encountered peanut (50 kDa), Almond (50 kda) and Cashew (50 kDa) via breastmilk while his body’s immune system was processing the vaccines, that his body went on extreme high alert for anything with a 50 kDa molecular weight? Granoff and Munson (1986) describe when conjugate vaccines are prepared, “new antigenic determinants are formed…but their presence raises the possibility that these neoantigens may elicit antibodies cross-reactive with human antigens.” (31)

Cross reactive proteins can be very dangerous for people with allergies. I know a young girl who had vomited after eating cashews as a toddler and was never given nuts after that time. Not long after her school age boosters of DTaP-Polio and MMR she was given a piece of mango and had to be rushed to the hospital. It was only after some investigating that the parents realized that mango and cashew can cross react. This girl’s mother happens to love mango, and while she would not bring the fruit into her home she decided it was safe to eat some at her workplace for lunch, afterward carefully washing her hands. Upon arriving home several hours later, the mother kissed the little girl on the cheek. Swelling and hives ensued, and even with anti-histamines it was days before the child’s reaction subsided. From a kiss on the cheek! Another child with a nut allergy had an anaphylactic reaction to a fruit juice containing mango, again the parents being unaware of the cashew/mango cross reaction. These bizarre immune responses put children at risk of dying every day.

Stories like these aren’t too surprising once you look at the medical literature where the link between vaccination and anaphylaxis seems crystal clear in animal studies dating back as far as 1952. Saul Malkiel, Betty J. Hargis and Leon S. Kind completed numerous studies where vaccinated animals became anaphylactic, many funded in part by the National Institute of Health. Imagine reading, from 1959, “We have repeatedly observed in experiments on mice that a consequence of the administration of Hemophilus pertussis phase I organisms given in conjunction with a protein antigen is the enhancement of anaphylactic sensitization to the foreign protein antigen.” (56) And we have allergists telling us that skin creams cause anaphylaxis? And I was furious when I read Kind and Roesner (1959), “It is now well known that mice inoculated with Hemophilus pertussis vaccine develop enhanced sensitivity to lethal effects of histamine, serotonin, endotoxin, peptone and anaphylactic shock. The ensuing data will demonstrate that pertussis-inoculated mice can also be killed with doses of water soluble extract of pollen rye grass which are not lethal to uninoculated animals.” (57) Kind and Richards (1964) in the Journal Nature, state “It is now well known that mice injected with Bordetella pertussis vaccine plus an antigen will produce more antibodies to that antigen than mice injected with antigen alone.” (58) Couldn’t the same apply to babies?

And how do researchers make anaphylactic animal models? They vaccinate the animals! Countless studies show anaphylaxis being induced in animals by using toxins and adjuvants used in human vaccines. Here is one example from hundreds:

Helm et al in Environmental Health Perspectives article “Nonmurine Animal Models of Food Allergy” discuss ways to create animal models of human food allergy. (59) Animal models are discussed extensively, including “the use of adjuvants (natural or artificial–alum, cholera toxin, Bordetella pertussis, and carrageenan are known IgE-selective adjuvants)” in those animal models. They go on to describe, “In the atopic dog model for food allergy (Ermel et al. 1997), newborn pups (day 1) were subcutaneously injected in the axillas with 1µg of cow’s milk, beef, ragweed, and wheat extracts in alum. Food antigen was again administered on days 22, 29, 50, 78, and 85. At ages 3, 7, and 11 weeks, all pups were vaccinated with attenuated distemper-hepatitis vaccine…Immunized pups responded with allergen-specific IgE by week 3 and peaked at week 26 of age…All clinical manifestations are consistent with infant, adolescent, and adult food allergy in humans.”

It has been shown repeatedly that vaccination can cause sensitization, including anaphylaxis, to vaccine ingredients. Nelson et al (2000) discuss a 4 month old baby’s anaphylactic reaction to the CRM 197 protein in the Hib vaccine. (60) As far back as 1940 Cooke et al noted that “The real object of this presentation is to acquaint the medical profession with proof of the fact that sensitivity can be induced as a result of the present procedures of active immunization to tetanus.” (61) Cooke et al also mentioned Neill et all (1929) noted hypersensitivity to diphtheria bacilli. (62)

Patrizi et al (1999) and Osawa et al (1991) noted allergic sensitization to thimerosal. (63, 64) Martin-Munoz et al described allergic sensitization to tetanus and diphtheria toxoids simultaneously. (65) Kumagai et al (2002) found “gelatin-specific cell-mediated immunity develops in subjects inoculated with gelatin containing DTaP vaccine” and that the specific cellular immune responses persisted for more than 3 years. (66) Sakaguchi et al (1996) concluded that “We reconfirmed a strong relationship between systemic immediate-type allergic reactions including anaphylaxis, to vaccines and the presence of specific IgE to gelatin.” (67) Nakayama et al (1999) found that “DTaP vaccine may have a causal relationship to the development of this gelatin allergy.” (68)

So, if the medical literature shows anaphylactic sensitization to vaccine ingredients, then is it much of a leap to think that protein fragments in those vaccines could be causing cross reactive sensitization with antigens with the same antigenic determinant?

A key piece of the hypersensitivity puzzle is the vaccine adjuvant aluminum according to New Zealand researcher and author Hilary Butler. Butler states that “Aluminium is put into vaccines, because without it, the body will not react to weak strains of antigens. Aluminium is highly reactive, and is a Th2 ‘skewer’. This is the whole reason why aluminum is added to vaccines. And Aluminium will ALWAYS create IGE, and if this happens in the presence of proteins from vaccines or food antigens in the body, then there is a high chance of allergy developing.” She points out the study by Yamanishi et al (2003) who immunized mice against Kunitz-type soybean trypsin inhibitor (KSTI) and concluded that…”we demonstrated that, regardless of the inability to adsorb KSTI, alum exerted its adjuvant activity only when it was co-injected with the antigen. These results showed that some biochemical effect, other than adsorptive activity, to enhance the production of the antigen-specific IgE resides in alum.”(69) According to Butler, “this goes along with evidence I have elsewhere that highlights the observation that aluminum does not have to be absorbed onto the antigen in order for an immune response to be stimulated. Another thing is that aluminum produces mostly IgE antibodies (allergic antibodies).” Numerous studies have also shown that aluminum is linked to allergic responses. (70)

VRAN researcher Susan Fletcher notes the importance of digestion (which can be affected by antibiotic use) in the development of asthma and allergies. Vaccinations are routinely given to infants and children even though they may have been given antibiotics for a recent health issue, certainly affecting their immune response to the vaccine. Untersmayr et al (2006) found “for the first time the important gate-keeping function of gastric digestion, both in the sensitization and the effector phases of food allergy.” (71)

Charles Robert Richet described back in his Nobel Lecture in 1913, “all proteins, without exception produce anaphylaxis: one had seen this with all sera, milks, organic extracts whatsoever, all vegetable extracts, microbial protein toxins, yeast cells, dead microbial bodies. It would be of more interest now to find a protein which does not produce anaphylaxis than to find one that does.”

He then chillingly states in his conclusion, “It does not matter much that the individual becomes more vulnerable in this regard. There is something more important than the salvation of the person and that is integral preservation of the race. In other words, to formulate the hypothesis in somewhat abstract terms but clear ones all the same: the life of the individual is less important than the stability of the species. Anaphylaxis, perhaps a sorry matter for the individual, is necessary to the species, often to the detriment of the individual. The individual may perish, it does not matter. The species must at any time keep its organic integrity intact. Anaphylaxis defends the species against the peril of adulteration.” (1)

How can Richet have won the Nobel Prize in 1913 for this knowledge yet the medical community today seems to have no clue why our children are anaphylactic? Why has medicine, to which parents have entrusted their precious children, continued to vaccinate for more and more diseases, knowing that our “organic integrity” could be at stake? May I suggest that researchers or doctors can’t see the forest for the trees, or there is one huge cover-up?

With hundreds of new vaccines in the pipeline, how much longer can we continue to inject more and more foreign proteins via vaccination into human beings without eventually creating a totally defenseless population? How many more children will become anaphylactic, be rushed to emergency fighting for their lives or die before something is done?

For sources and acknowledgments please see the original article HERE

Developments in the Vaccine-Autism Debate

A picture of Camden having an allergic reaction to
peanut. She became allergic to at least 5 different foods
within a week of her immunizations.

 

Many of you know that we stopped vaccinating Camden at 14 months of age after witnessing a severe deterioration in her health following her 12 month immunizations (which were given at 14 months). After watching my own daughters immune system fight to cope with a massive onset of food allergies within a week of her immunizations, I delved into research. It changed my life forever, to say the least. More importantly it caused me to no longer accept medicine or medicinal practices at face value. I learned that inevitably I am in charge of my child’s health and all though there are many health professionals out there to assist me in the process that it is I who must live with the results of the medical decisions that I make on a daily basis.

I consent that there is very little scientific research at this point connecting the large rise in food allergies to vaccines. Some interesting studies and research have been done but not nearly enough to scientifically prove a causation. Then again, the research has hardly been done at all. There is little funding for such research and like any other suspected reactions to vaccines I can only suspect that I will never have a final answer. Among masses of other parents I am left to struggle with what research there is, what my parenting intuition and experience tells me and the left is left up to prayer.

The Vaccine-Autism link has been argued back and forth for over a decade now. All though there has been no definitive connection (and some argue none whatsoever) between autism and vaccines it has nonetheless caused many parents to research, halt or delay the recommended vaccine schedule. Autism, of course, is only one of the many reasons parents have come to question the current vaccine schedule (or vaccines themselves) but it has definitely received the most attention.

In an interesting twist last month the government conceded it’s first case awarding compensation for a family that presented their case in “Vaccine Court.” The settlement has left a lot of unanswered questions however because of the way that the court established the basis of compensation. They have stated that the child had a pre-existing mitochondrial disorder that was aggravated by her vaccinations thus resulting in an ASD diagnosis.

I would also question, which came first? The chicken or the egg? In other words, did the mitochondrial disorder come first or did autism (and the development of a mitochondrial disorder) come first. In addition, is it possible that the mitochondrial disorder is environmentally driven or was this a condition the child was born with. Meaning, is there something else in the environment (vaccine, diet or otherwise) that promoted the development of the mitochondrial disorder in the first place, if it indeed preceded the autism.

I found David Kirby’s article very helpful in addressing this case and it’s possible implications. All though I think this could possibly be a positive step in at least identifying to the general public that vaccines can pose a risk and hopefully become a catalyst for more research and study into the possible ramifications of vaccines, I hardly think it is the step forward that we wish it would be. Personally, I would not be shocked to see this flipped around and used as a tool to justify the validity and safety of vaccines as long as you don’t have an underlying mitochondrial disorder. Thus, possibly providing a false sense of security to parents who are concerned about the possible health risks that vaccines may pose. I hope that it becomes more, I hope that it is the fuel to set off a wildfire of research and acceptance that vaccines can and do pose harm to some children the way they are currently manufactured and the schedule in which they are now recommended.

Here is the article written by David Kirby. It was obtained from HuffingtonPost.com

After years of insisting there is no evidence to link vaccines with the onset of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the US government has quietly conceded a vaccine-autism case in the Court of Federal Claims.The unprecedented concession was filed on November 9, and sealed to protect the plaintiff’s identify. It was obtained through individuals unrelated to the case.The claim, one of 4,900 autism cases currently pending in Federal “Vaccine Court,” was conceded by US Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler and other Justice Department officials, on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, the “defendant” in all Vaccine Court cases.The child’s claim against the government — that mercury-containing vaccines were the cause of her autism — was supposed to be one of three “test cases” for the thimerosal-autism theory currently under consideration by a three-member panel of Special Masters, the presiding justices in Federal Claims Court.Keisler wrote that medical personnel at the HHS Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation (DVIC) had reviewed the case and “concluded that compensation is appropriate.”The doctors conceded that the child was healthy and developing normally until her 18-month well-baby visit, when she received vaccinations against nine different diseases all at once (two contained thimerosal).Days later, the girl began spiraling downward into a cascade of illnesses and setbacks that, within months, presented as symptoms of autism, including: No response to verbal direction; loss of language skills; no eye contact; loss of “relatedness;” insomnia; incessant screaming; arching; and “watching the florescent lights repeatedly during examination.”Seven months after vaccination, the patient was diagnosed by Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a leading neurologist at the Kennedy Krieger Children’s Hospital Neurology Clinic, with “regressive encephalopathy (brain disease) with features consistent with autistic spectrum disorder, following normal development.” The girl also met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) official criteria for autism.In its written concession, the government said the child had a pre-existing mitochondrial disorder that was “aggravated” by her shots, and which ultimately resulted in an ASD diagnosis.

“The vaccinations received on July 19, 2000, significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder,” the concession says, “which predisposed her to deficits in cellular energy metabolism, and manifested as a regressive encephalopathy with features of ASD.”

This statement is good news for the girl and her family, who will now be compensated for the lifetime of care she will require. But its implications for the larger vaccine-autism debate, and for public health policy in general, are not as certain.

In fact, the government’s concession seems to raise more questions than it answers.

1) Is there a connection between vaccines, mitochondrial disorders and a diagnosis of autism, at least in some cases?

Mitochondria, you may recall from biology class, are the little powerhouses within cells that convert food into electrical energy, partly through a complex process called “oxidative phosphorylation.” If this process is impaired, mitochondrial disorder will ensue.

The child in this case had several markers for Mt disease, which was confirmed by muscle biopsy. Mt disease is often marked by lethargy, poor muscle tone, poor food digestion and bowel problems, something found in many children diagnosed with autism.

But mitochondrial disorders are rare in the general population, affecting some 2-per-10,000 people (or just 0.2%). So with 4,900 cases filed in Vaccine Court, this case should be the one and only, extremely rare instance of Mt disease in all the autism proceedings.

But it is not.

Mitochondrial disorders are now thought to be the most common disease associated with ASD. Some journal articles and other analyses have estimated that 10% to 20% of all autism cases may involve mitochondrial disorders, which would make them one thousand times more common among people with ASD than the general population.

Another article, published in the Journal of Child Neurology and co-authored by Dr. Zimmerman, showed that 38% of Kennedy Krieger Institute autism patients studied had one marker for impaired oxidative phosphorylation, and 47% had a second marker.

The authors — who reported on a case-study of the same autism claim conceded in Vaccine Court — noted that “children who have (mitochondrial-related) dysfunctional cellular energy metabolism might be more prone to undergo autistic regression between 18 and 30 months of age if they also have infections or immunizations at the same time.”

An interesting aspect of Mt disease in autism is that, with ASD, the mitochondrial disease seems to be milder than in “classic” cases of Mt disorder. In fact, classic Mt disease is almost always inherited, either passed down by the mother through mitochondrial DNA, or by both parents through nuclear DNA.

In autism-related Mt disease, however, the disorder is not typically found in other family members, and instead appears to be largely of the sporadic variety, which may now account for 75% of all mitochondrial disorders.

Meanwhile, an informal survey of seven families of children with cases currently pending in Vaccine Court revealed that all seven showed markers for mitochondrial dysfunction, dating back to their earliest medical tests. The facts in all seven claims mirror the case just conceded by the government: Normal development followed by vaccination, immediate illness, and rapid decline culminating in an autism diagnosis.

2) With 4,900 cases pending, and more coming, will the government concede those with underlying Mt disease — and if it not, will the Court award compensation?

The Court will soon begin processing the 4900 cases pending before it. What if 10% to 20% of them can demonstrate the same Mt disease and same set of facts as those in the conceded case? Would the government be obliged to concede 500, or even 1,000 cases? What impact would that have on public opinion? And is there enough money currently in the vaccine injury fund to cover so many settlements?

When asked for a comment last week about the court settlement, a spokesman for HHS furnished the following written statement:

“DVIC has reviewed the scientific information concerning the allegation that vaccines cause autism and has found no credible evidence to support the claim. Accordingly, in every case under the Vaccine Act, DVIC has maintained the position that vaccines do not cause autism, and has never concluded in any case that autism was caused by vaccination.”

3) If the government is claiming that vaccines did not “cause” autism, but instead aggravated a condition to “manifest” as autism, isn’t that a very fine distinction?

For most affected families, such linguistic gymnastics is not so important. And even if a vaccine injury “manifested” as autism in only one case, isn’t that still a significant development worthy of informing the public?

On the other hand, perhaps what the government is claiming is that vaccination resulted in the symptoms of autism, but not in an actual, factually correct diagnosis of autism itself.

4) If the government is claiming that this child does NOT have autism, then how many other children might also have something else that merely “mimics” autism?

Is it possible that 10%-20% of the cases that we now label as “autism,” are not autism at all, but rather some previously undefined “look-alike” syndrome that merely presents as “features” of autism?

This question gets to the heart of what autism actually is. The disorder is defined solely as a collection of features, nothing more. If you have the features (and the diagnosis), you have the disorder. The underlying biology is the great unknown.

But let’s say the government does determine that these kids don’t have actual “autism” (something I speculated on HuffPost a year ago). Then shouldn’t the Feds go back and test all people with ASD for impaired oxidative phosphorylation, perhaps reclassifying many of them?

If so, will we then see “autism” cases drop by tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people? Will there be a corresponding ascension of a newly described disorder, perhaps something like “Vaccine Aggravated Mitochondrial Disease with Features of ASD?”

And if this child was technically “misdiagnosed” with DSM-IV autism by Dr Zimmerman, how does he feel about HHS doctors issuing a second opinion re-diagnosis of his patient, whom they presumably had neither met nor examined? (Zimmerman declined an interview).

And along those lines, aren’t Bush administration officials somewhat wary of making long-distance, retroactive diagnoses from Washington, given that the Terry Schiavo incident has not yet faded from national memory?

5) Was this child’s Mt disease caused by a genetic mutation, as the government implies, and wouldn’t that have manifested as “ASD features” anyway?

In the concession, the government notes that the patient had a “single nucleotide change” in the mitochondrial DNA gene T2387C, implying that this was the underlying cause of her manifested “features” of autism.

While it’s true that some inherited forms of Mt disease can manifest as developmental delays, (and even ASD in the form of Rhett Syndrome) these forms are linked to identified genetic mutations, of which T2387C is not involved. In fact little, if anything, is known about the function of this particular gene.

What’s more, there is no evidence that this girl, prior to vaccination, suffered from any kind of “disorder” at all- genetic, mitochondrial or otherwise. Some forms of Mt disease are so mild that the person is unaware of being affected. This perfectly developing girl may have had Mt disorder at the time of vaccination, but nobody detected, or even suspected it.

And, there is no evidence to suggest that this girl would have regressed into symptoms consistent with a DSM-IV autism diagnosis without her vaccinations. If there was such evidence, then why on earth would these extremely well-funded government attorneys compensate this alleged injury in Vaccine Court? Why wouldn’t they move to dismiss, or at least fight the case at trial?

6) What are the implications for research?

The concession raises at least two critical research questions: What are the causes of Mt dysfunction; and how could vaccines aggravate that dysfunction to the point of “autistic features?”

While some Mt disorders are clearly inherited, the “sporadic” form is thought to account for 75% of all cases, according to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. So what causes sporadic Mt disease? “Medicines or other toxins,” says the Cleveland Clinic, a leading authority on the subject.

Use of the AIDS drug AZT, for example, can cause Mt disorders by deleting large segments of mitochondrial DNA. If that is the case, might other exposures to drugs or toxins (i.e., thimerosal, mercury in fish, air pollution, pesticides, live viruses) also cause sporadic Mt disease in certain subsets of children, through similar genotoxic mechanisms?

Among the prime cellular targets of mercury are mitochondria, and thimerosal-induced cell death has been associated with the depolarization of mitochondrial membrane, according to the International Journal of Molecular Medicine among several others. (Coincidently, the first case of Mt disease was diagnosed in 1959, just 15 years after the first autism case was named, and two decades after thimerosal’s introduction as a vaccine preservative.)

Regardless of its cause, shouldn’t HHS sponsor research into Mt disease and the biological mechanisms by which vaccines could aggravate the disorder? We still do not know what it was, exactly, about this girl’s vaccines that aggravated her condition. Was it the thimerosal? The three live viruses? The two attenuated viruses? Other ingredients like aluminum? A combination of the above?

And of course, if vaccine injuries can aggravate Mt disease to the point of manifesting as autism features, then what other underlying disorders or conditions (genetic, autoimmune, allergic, etc.) might also be aggravated to the same extent?

7) What are the implications for medicine and public health?

Should the government develop and approve new treatments for “aggravated mitochondrial disease with ASD features?” Interestingly, many of the treatments currently deployed in Mt disease (i.e., coenzyme Q10, vitamin B-12, lipoic acid, biotin, dietary changes, etc.) are part of the alternative treatment regimen that many parents use on their children with ASD.

And, if a significant minority of autism cases can be linked to Mt disease and vaccines, shouldn’t these products one day carry an FDA Black Box warning label, and shouldn’t children with Mt disorders be exempt from mandatory immunization?

8) What are the implications for the vaccine-autism debate?

It’s too early to tell. But this concession could conceivably make it more difficult for some officials to continue insisting there is “absolutely no link” between vaccines and autism.

It also puts the Federal Government’s Vaccine Court defense strategy somewhat into jeopardy. DOJ lawyers and witnesses have argued that autism is genetic, with no evidence to support an environmental component. And, they insist, it’s simply impossible to construct a chain of events linking immunizations to the disorder.

Government officials may need to rethink their legal strategy, as well as their public relations campaigns, given their own slightly contradictory concession in this case.

9) What is the bottom line here?

The public, (including world leaders) will demand to know what is going on inside the US Federal health establishment. Yes, as of now, n=1, a solitary vaccine-autism concession. But what if n=10% or 20%? Who will pay to clean up that mess?

The significance of this concession will unfortunately be fought over in the usual, vitriolic way — and I fully expect to be slammed for even raising these questions. Despite that, the language of this concession cannot be changed, or swept away.

Its key words are “aggravated” and “manifested.” Without the aggravation of the vaccines, it is uncertain that the manifestation would have occurred at all.

When a kid with peanut allergy eats a peanut and dies, we don’t say “his underlying metabolic condition was significantly aggravated to the extent of manifesting as an anaphylactic shock with features of death.”

No, we say the peanut killed the poor boy. Remove the peanut from the equation, and he would still be with us today.

Many people look forward to hearing more from HHS officials about why they are settling this claim. But whatever their explanation, they cannot change the fundamental facts of this extraordinary case:

The United State government is compensating at least one child for vaccine injuries that resulted in a diagnosis of autism.

And that is big news, no matter how you want to say it.

NOTE: Full text of the government’s statement is posted here.

David Kirby is the author of “Evidence of Harm – Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic, A Medical Controversy” (St. Martins Press 2005.