Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Plastic chemical may stay in body longer: study

By Will Dunham
Wed Jan 28, 12:21 am ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A controversial chemical used in many plastic products may remain in the body longer than previously thought, and people may be ingesting it from sources other than food, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December said it planned more research into the safety of bisphenol A, or BPA, but the agency indicated no immediate plans to curb the chemical, found in baby bottles and other products.
Dr. Richard Stahlhut of the University of Rochester and colleagues looked at levels of the chemical in the urine of 1,469 U.S. adults who took part in a government health survey.
While the belief had been BPA was quickly and completely eliminated from the body through urine, this study found people who had fasted for even a whole day still had significant levels of the chemical.
Stahlhut said this suggested BPA may hang around in the body longer than previously known or that it may get into the body through sources other than just food, perhaps including tap water or house dust. Stahlhut added that BPA may get into fat tissue, from where it might be released more slowly.
"If it leaves the body quickly, then it reduces the amount of time when it can cause problems. If it does cause problems, obviously if it stays around much longer, then that changes the game," Stahlhut, whose study appears in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal, said in a telephone interview.
BPA is used in many food and beverage containers, the coating of food cans and some medical devices. It mimics the hormone estrogen in the body. People consume it when it leaches from plastic into baby formula, water or food in a container.
The researchers tracked how urine levels of BPA declined based on the length of time a person had fasted. But they found that people who fasted for 8.5 hours, for example, had about the same BPA levels as those who fasted 24 hours.
Steven Hentges of the American Chemistry Council industry group said the conclusions of the new study "are speculative at best," and reiterated the industry view that BPA is safe at current levels of exposure.
U.S. government toxicologists at the National Institutes of Health last year expressed concern that BPA may have harmful effects on the development of the prostate and brain and induce behavioral changes in fetuses, infants and children.
A 2008 study by British researchers showed that high levels of BPA in the body were linked to heart disease, diabetes and liver-enzyme abnormalities.
(Editing by Maggie Fox and Todd Eastham)
Copyright © 2009 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters

DUH. Oh right, most doctors believe all people are alike. We all respond to the environment the same way. We all have the same genetic components. Oh, and we all live the same lifestyles and detox the same, very efficiently. Will there ever come a day when they see we are all unique??

Chickenpox vaccine not tied to strokes in kids

Tue Jan 27, 5:47 pm ET
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Unlike chickenpox itself, the vaccine against chickenpox does not increase the risk of stroke or brain inflammation in children, according to a large US study reported in the journal Pediatrics.
Stroke is a known complication of chickenpox, a viral disease also called varicella, the study team points out. Although there have been case reports of stroke after varicella vaccination, "the existence and magnitude of any vaccine-associated risk has not been determined."
To shed light on this subject, Dr. James G. Donahue of the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Wisconsin and colleagues analyzed data for the period 1991 through 2004 from the Vaccine Safety DataLink on 3.2 million children, 35.3 percent of whom received the varicella vaccine.
They identified a total of 203 new stroke cases, including 8 that occurred within 12 months of varicella vaccination. However, the timing of each case did not suggest that vaccination caused the strokes.
Stroke was strongly associated with known risk factors such as sickle cell disease and heart disease, they found.
Donahue and colleagues also identified 243 cases of brain inflammation or encephalitis. None of these cases occurred during the first 30 days after vaccination and there was no association between encephalitis and varicella vaccination at any time in the 12 months after vaccination.
"Complementing two recent reviews that found serious adverse events to be rare after varicella vaccination, this study offers reassurance that the rare complication of stroke seen after varicella infection" is simply a coincidence, not a cause and effect relationship, the team concludes.
SOURCE: Pediatrics, February 2009.
Copyright © 2009 Reuters Limited.
I don't believe it. If there is a known correlation between stroke and chicken pox, then it has to be the same with a vaccine. The body often can't tell the difference and doesn't care about the delivery method of the virus. Wild strain or vaccine strain, if that's how the body can respond then there IS a relationship. I wonder how much money went into this study compared to the potential law suit money people may have gotten.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Serious infections rising in U.S. children: study

Mon Jan 19, 4:52 pm ET
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Children in the United States increasingly are developing serious head and neck infections with a drug-resistant type of "superbug" bacteria called MRSA, U.S. researchers said on Monday. They said rates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, are rising in children, and called on doctors to be more judicious in prescribing antibiotics.
"There is a nationwide increase in the prevalence of MRSA in children with head and neck infections that is alarming," said Dr. Steven Sobol of Emory University, whose study appears in the Archives of Otalaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

MRSA previously had been a major concern only in hospitals, attacking patients who are already weakened by disease. But recent outbreaks in the community in otherwise healthy children have raised new concerns. Sobol noted that other studies have shown increases in community-acquired infections of the skin and soft tissue, but some institutions have observed MRSA infections among children with head and neck infections, such as those involving the ear, nose, throat or sinuses. To get a sense of the scope of the outbreak, the researchers studied 21,009 children ages 1 to 18 with head and neck infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus from 300 hospitals across the nation between 2001 and 2006.

While only 12 percent of the staph infections in 2001 showed signs of antibiotic resistance, that number more than doubled to 28 percent in just five years. Nearly 60 percent of all MRSA infections of the head and neck among children in the study were acquired outside hospitals. Most were in children's ears. The researchers suggest that doctors conduct careful testing of head and neck infections, and prescribe antibiotics only when they will do some good. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 94,000 Americans get serious, invasive MRSA infections each year and 19,000 die.

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen, editing by Will Dunham and David Wiessler)
Copyright © 2009 Reuters Limited.

Japan Says Cloned Animals are Safe For Food

Tue Jan 20, 3:20 am ET
TOKYO (Reuters) – A study group for Japan's top safety watchdog said cloned animals are safe for food, the first step in a series of decisions needed before the watchdog makes recommendations to the government.

With several meetings pending by a higher-level committee of experts, it will take months before the Food Safety Commission reports its assessment on the safety of food in production using the controversial reproductive technology. The United States in January last year opened the door to bringing meat and milk from cloned cattle, hogs and goats and their offspring into the food supply. "The working group focused on the assessment of the health of cloned cattle and hogs. The assumption of their discussion was that if such animals are healthy, food made from them would be safe," said Kazuo Funasaka, a spokesman at the commission, said on Tuesday. "Their conclusion is that based on the scientific knowledge and information available at present, such food is as safe as cattle and hogs bred conventionally," he said.

Cloning animals is considered a key technology to improve efficiency in livestock production. Japan's health ministry asked the commission in April 2008 for its assessment on safety of such food. Japan's government has had to face fierce criticism from consumers over its handling of tainted imported rice, and a series of food scandals last year have made consumers even more cautious about food from cloned animals.

But Japan was among the first countries to produce cloned animals. It bred cloned cattle in 1998 and the cumulative total of such cattle now totals more than 550. It also breeds cloned hogs and goats, all for research purposes.

(Reporting by Risa Maeda; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
Copyright © 2009 Reuters Limited.

"The assumption of their discussion was that if such animals are healthy, food made from them would be safe." My favorite quote from this article. So empirical isn't it? I am "totally" convinced that these animals are safe. Way to go Japan. ,"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What Sucks More, Lyme or Autism?

An uber mom asked me that question recently. Not that it really matters because both problems are things I can't change unless we go back in time and fix the medical community much like Sarah Connor tries to do in my coveted show "The Sarah Connor Chronicles". Wow that was a nice run-on.

The answer is different depending on the day. I am more equipped as a seasoned advocate. I understand the medical community and how things like ASD and Lyme are recognized biomedically by a minority of brave, open, and bright physicians. My learning curve is much better. But today Lyme wins because my daughter is feeling worse and there's nothing I can do to take that pain away.

There is so much physical PAIN with Lyme. A second doesn't go by where Sydney isn't in chronic all over body pain. On average, 20 pain areas: Headache, stomach ache, rib pain, back pain, arms and leg pain, heels, ankles, wrists, fingers. Everything. Then she must endure flares, a time where a symptom gets much worse, a sudden attack of acute pain.

I look back and Leo wasn't really in PAIN. Leo had emotional pain perhaps? Fear, anxiety, stress just existing. But, there were things that could help those things. Yes, the obstacles were ASSHOLE doctors, then ASSHOLE school district people, but all-in-all I knew there was an answer, a solution. Sometimes attainable, and sometimes not. And mostly, a lot of waiting.

Doctors Don't Understand It
The medical community is divided over Lyme, what it is, how to treat it, and yes, it comes down to economics, egos, self interest like these things always do. My obstacles were the same, ASSHOLE doctors that would rather be *right* and dutifully follow dated guidelines when deep inside they know the truth. Good little soldiers not fulfilling their Hippocratic oath of healing. With Autism, it's DAN doctors and parents versus the rest of the medical community as obstacles toward healing and saving money. With Lyme, the same thing, no one believing people that have been in chronic pain, pain that can be life-threatening and unbearable for most. The "quacks" in the Autism world and the Lyme world share the same enemy.

They are Invisible
Both Autism and Lyme can be an invisible. Syd runs around at recess with her friends, laughing. To an observer, she doesn't appear sick. They don't see her pain that she now thinks is "normal". She doesn't remember life without this pain. With Autism, same thing, the amount of brain power, concentration, dedication, and effort it takes for some kids to just get through a day of school. Processing the world differently requires so much for an ASD child. The pain for a Lyme patient goes on unnoticed throughout the day as well. Just keeping her head up all day on top of a burning throbbing neck is a feat in itself. Using scissors and glue is an olympic event on some days, as is staying awake and present while battling fatigue. Ignoring the pain sensation of "knives coming out of my stomach" while eating a PB&J in the cafeteria.

Surprisingly, there is a stigma with chronic Lyme. People don't understand it since the acute form (when you catch it early with the accepted symptoms) is treatable with antibiotics. You can be completely well after one month. Because of this, people don't take chronic Lyme seriously. It makes others uncomfortable since they don't understand this disease. Sound familiar? The same thing for Autism.

The same thing with Autism, no one cares about Lyme unless it's in their house, and in the chronic virulent form. I have the same barriers to wellness - insurance companies, the majority of doctors, dated guidelines, misinformation, politics, and special interest groups within government agencies.

I will fight like I always do, and I pray that my daughter will live a pain-free life again. It really sucks.

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Institution Sized Peanut Butter

Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter

By Maggie Fox
Fri Jan 9, 9:52 pm ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Minnesota health officials issued a product alert for peanut butter on Friday after finding a jar that was contaminated with a strain of salmonella linked to an outbreak across the United States.
While the bacteria in the peanut butter match the outbreak strain genetically, the health officials said it was not clear yet that the peanut butter could be linked to any cases.
The outbreak of salmonella food poisoning has sickened at least 399 people and put 70 or more into hospital since September.
Officials from Minnesota's departments of agriculture and health said they were issuing a product advisory for King Nut brand creamy peanut butter after finding the Salmonella typhimurium bacteria in a big institutional-size jar.
"The Minnesota cases have the same genetic fingerprint as the cases in a national outbreak that has sickened almost 400 people in 42 states," the health department said in a statement.
It said the product was distributed in Minnesota to places such as long-term care facilities, hospitals, schools, universities, restaurants, cafeterias and bakeries.
"At this time, the product is not known to be distributed for retail sale in grocery stores," it said. "State officials are urging establishments who may have the product on hand to avoid serving it, pending further instructions as the investigation progresses."
Earlier on Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed the numbers of cases in each of the 42 affected states. California was hardest hit with 55 cases, while Ohio had 53 and Minnesota had 30.
An outbreak of salmonella was linked to Peter Pan brand peanut butter in 2007. ConAgra Foods Inc closed a Georgia plant after more than 300 people became ill in that outbreak.
The CDC is trying to trace the source of the outbreak, which began in September. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, state health officials and the Food and Drug Administration are also involved.
Tracking the source of such an outbreak can be tricky. The CDC said poultry, cheese and eggs are the most common source of Salmonella typhimurium strains.
Every year, about 40,000 people are reported ill with salmonella in the United States, the CDC says, but many more cases are never reported.
There have been several high-profile outbreaks of foodborne illness in the United States, including a strain of salmonella carried by peppers from Mexico that sickened 1,400 people from April to August 2007 and an E. coli epidemic in 2006, traced to California spinach, that killed three people.
(Editing by John O'Callaghan)
Copyright © 2009 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
Copyright © 2009 Yahoo! Inc.

Just nasty. Another example of the risks we are taking with an industrial food supply. And of those 300 plus people got sick? Possibly kids from lunches, our special needs people in day facilities? I have only my imagination.

Monday, January 05, 2009

GMO Shopping Guide

I recently came across this brochure about GMO (genetically modified organisms) food. It contains a list of brands that use these ingredients and brands that don't. Handy. Naturally the big food companies are on the list for most of the food categories - like cereals (General Mills, Kellogg, Post, and Quaker). The big four at-risk ingredients are:


Surprisingly wheat is not on the list. I can't figure that one out as I know they have modified it over time to include 12% more gluten among other thing that make the plant hardier on top of cutting the crop earlier and earlier while it's still green.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Jett Travolta

My heart goes out to the Travolta family. I used to have such disdain over their Scientology beliefs - not recognizing Autism in their son, letting him "just be", not maximizing his potential, giving him as many choices as possible. But hey, I'm not his parent. Every family is different and who knows what his individual deficits were. I had always fantasized that they'd be another powerhouse Autism family, Hollywood style.

But today I feel guilty about that judgement I made and my fantasy. No doubt Jett had a happy full life. I am so sad for their loss. One of our people on top of a child. I find myself always thinking about them now. I can't imagine what they must be going through.

Jett got to be with his family at Christmas, and swim in the ocean in the Bahamas. I'm sure it was a nice life. Not everyone has to be a poster child. Look at me, I'd be a hypocrite for not recognizing our anonimity. Our son has a good life too, who's to say that Jett's life was less full? I hope they can manage living after their loss, and do what they can to stay together as a couple and provide love and a life for the rest of their kids.