WMP Note: In this 4-part series, World Mercury Project partner, Focus For Health, examines the special needs epidemic and its effects on schools, the US economy, life after age 21 and the many theories that point to potential causes of the explosion of chronic disease and disability in our children.
Pick up a paper anywhere in the world and you are more than likely to see a story about the special needs epidemic affecting public schools.
Recent headlines read “Wolf Creek Public Schools hires additional staff to work with severely disabled students” and “York school system nearly $1M over budget in special education spending,” and “7 EV teen suicides in 6 weeks alarm schools,” and, “How Vermont schools manage food allergies.”
If you take the time to read some of these disturbing articles, you will see quotes from school directors making comments like “What’s different from past years is the students we’ve received really do have severe, very particular learning needs that are well beyond what we would typically see. It caught us by surprise, for sure,” admits Jayson Lovell, Superintendent for Wolf Creek Public Schools. This school district is one example of districts needing to hire additional staff in order to accommodate a sharp rise in the number of students requiring services through IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act) due to their severely complex special education needs.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports disabilities affect 1 in 7 children. From the increased number of children requiring special education and related services to the increased number of health care professionals needed to care for children with chronic physical and mental health issues in the schools, school budgets are depleting rapidly. Fast-forward, when these children are adults, the workforce is affected, as is the housing industry. Every child with or without special needs is affected, just as every tax payer, with or without a child with special needs, will bear the burden.
According to The National Center for Educational Statistics, the percentage of youth ages 3-21 served by IDEA, a federal mandate which provides a free and appropriate education has risen significantly since 1990. Data from school years 1990/91 through 2004/05 showed 4.7 million, or 11 percent, of the total public school enrollment required special education services. By 2014/15, children and youth served under IDEA had risen to 6.6 million, or 13 percent, of the total public school enrollment. And it isn’t only a rise in special education demands; sadly, there is great demand for nurses and even health clinics on school property to manage the dramatic increase in children with chronic health conditions and mental health disorders as well.
Over the past 2 decades, the number of children with chronic health conditions doubled from 12.8 percent in 1994 to 26.6 percent in 2006.
With limited resources, public schools are dealing with an epidemic of children with various special needs including behavioral, learning, physical, and mental health disorders, as well as chronic health issues like severe food allergies, asthma, diabetes, autism, ADHD, seizures, and more. We read about it in our headlines, so why aren’t we asking, “What is happening to our children?”
As referenced in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the CDC in 2013, mental health disorders among children are described as “serious deviations from expected cognitive, social, and emotional development.”
According to this report, a total of 13–20% of children (<18 yrs. of age) living in the United States experiences a mental disorder in a given year. Among children aged 3-17 years, these disorders include:
Attention-deficit disorder = 6.8%
Behavior and Conduct Disorder = 3.5%
Anxiety = 3.0%
Depression = 2.1%
Autism Spectrum Disorder = 1.1%
Tourette ’s syndrome = 0.2% (amongst children 6-17 yrs. of age)
- As many as 1 in every 33 children may be depressed. Depression in adolescents may be as high as 1 in 8.
- In 2010, suicide was the second leading cause of death for individuals aged 12-17 yrs. The suicide rate for this age group was 4.5 suicides per 100,000.
- It is estimated that 4.7% of adolescents aged 12–17 years reported an illicit drug use disorder in the past year and 4.2% had an alcohol abuse disorder in the past year.
- Of the 100,000 teenagers in juvenile detention, an estimated 60% have behavioral, cognitive, or emotional problems.
- Less than 1/3 of the children under age 18 who have a serious mental health problemreceive any mental health services.
- Mental health disorders are said to be the most costly disorders to treat in children because of the impact on the child, family, and community, costing the US an estimated $247 billion dollars annually for health care, special education, juvenile justice and decreased productivity.
Mental health disorders in children can result in difficulties in school, at home, and with peer relationships. Studies show 40% children with mental health disorders also have a second mental health diagnosis and are also more likely to develop chronic health disorders including asthma, diabetes and epilepsy. They also have a greater risk for mental health disorders as adults which negatively affects productivity, increases substance abuse, and ultimately becomes a financial burden to the individual and society.
- The CDC reports autism rates of 1 in 68 American children, up 30% from the 1 in 88rate reported in 2008, and more than double the 1 in 150 rate in 2000.
- Autism affects 4-5 times as many boys than girls.
- Compared to the general pediatric population, children with autism have higher rates of co-occurring psychiatric and medical illnesses including GI disorders, epilepsy, dyslipidemia, vision and hearing impairments, hypertension, autoimmune conditions, asthma, allergies, and others, extending across all age groups.
- Economic costs for 2015 were at an estimated $268 billion in the United States.
- A study published in 2015 in The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders projects economic costs rising to $461 billion in 2025 if autism’s prevalence continues at today’s rates. Projected costs could exceed $1 trillion by 2025 if prevalence continues to rise at the same rate it has this past decade.
- Direct costs include medical care, hospitalizations, special education, special therapies (occupational, speech and physical therapy), and paid caregivers. Indirect costs include lost productivity for family caregivers due to the inability to maintain employment while caring for affected individuals as well as lost wages and benefits.
- The National health Interview Survey (NHIS) 2011-2013 reported 9.5% of children ages 4-17 had been diagnosed with ADHD.
- This study also reported the rate of ADHD in children aged 5–17 years increased significantly from 7.0% to 10.2% between 1997–1999 to 2012–2014.
- Boys (13.3%) continue to be more than twice as likely as girls (5.6%) to have current ADHD.
- According to a more recent population-based study using DSM-IV criteria, 15.5% of school children enrolled in Grades 1 to 5 have ADHD.
- The economic cost of ADHD is reported to range between $143 billion to $266 billion in the US (adjusted to 2010 U.S. dollars) every year.
- Of the total annual cost of ADHD, 26–27% was incurred by children ($38 billion–$72 billion).
- Direct costs are inclusive of special education, special therapies (occupational, speech and physical therapy), school counseling, and disciplinary incidents. Other costs related to health care include primary care and specialty care visits, medications, emergency room visits, behavioral and emotional health care.
- Food allergies have been skyrocketing in the United States in the last fifteen years. According to the CDC, food allergies increased 50% between 1997 and 2011.
- Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.9 million children under age 18. That’s 1 in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom.
- The CDC reported a 265% increase in the rates of hospitalizations related to food allergic reactions in a ten year period.
- Between 1997 and 2008, the prevalence of peanut or tree nut allergy appears to have more than tripled in U.S. children.
- The New York Times reports record sales growth for EpiPens, a life-saving medical device for those with food allergies.
- Nearly 40% of children with food allergies have experienced a severe allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis.
- Private insurance claims for anaphylactic food reactions rose 377% from 2007 to 2016.
- Researchers reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association state that the costs of food allergies, from medical care to food to pharmaceuticals, is $4,184 per child per year, costing our economy $25 billion, including lost productivity.
The economic burden to care for children with developmental and medical needs affects not only families, but school districts, federal and local government budgets, social security, health insurers, and the insured, as well as every tax-payer in our nation.
This concludes Part One of “The Special Ed Epidemic: What is Happening to our Children?” Part Two, “Burying our Heads and Crippling our Economy,” will explore these financial burdens, especially the responsibility on school districts to accommodate the ever-growing and expanding nature of the special needs population.
Written by By Sheri A. Marino, MA, CCC-SLP, from WMP Partner: Focus for Health
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“I Tried Every Diet & Nothing Worked” How Mucus Free Living Saved This Woman’s Life
- The Facts:
After a year on a high-fat/high-protein lifestyle, Livia Macdonald nearly died. After adopting a 'mucus-free' lifestyle, a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, she cured her depression, anxiety, and health issues.
- Reflect On:
True healing takes time and commitment, and a willingness to face the emotions and trauma buried beneath our eating habits.
In 2011, Livia Macdonald was looking for answers to her health. At nearly 300 lbs and stuck in the despairs of chronic illness, she was ready to make a big change. The first step—divorcing allopathic medicine all together. Like many others stepping away from conventional medicine, Livia found herself enveloped by the siren of holistic healthcare, adopting the protocols laid out by natural-health celebrity and functional medicine doctor, Mark Hyman.
Following Hyman’s vitality guidelines, Livia cut out grains, starches, and processed sugars, while incorporating more vegetables, ‘healthy’ fats and animal products into her diet.
“I was told that high protein and high fats is the way to go because our brain needs fat. I even made my own ghee and ate loads of coconut oil and eggs every day,” she told Collective Evolution.
At first the high-fat diet did wonders for Livia’s health. She felt more energized, had more mental clarity, and even began to drop weight. “I lost almost 80 lbs the first year on the [high-fat] diet,” she said.
But after twelve months of a high-fat lifestyle, Livia said her body began to shut down.
“I started to feel awful. Like everything turned on me. I got severe depression, anxiety, shaking, internal tremors, my organs started to really hurt, I had them checked and my pancreas had so many fat deposits all over it and my cholesterol was through the roof after being optimal. My entire body started to shut down and I became bed ridden for an entire year.”
During this difficult time Livia came across the work of Dr. Robert Morse, a regenerative detoxification specialist well known in the natural health world. One of the foundations of Dr. Morse’s teachings is that man is a part of the primate family, and therefore we are primarily a frugivore species whose bodies thrive off of fruit, some vegetables and herbs. Livia says that a lightbulb went off in her head immediately upon reading Dr. Morse’s work.
“My intuition was screaming that this was the missing piece of my puzzle, and that he speaks the absolute truth.”
Next, Livia discovered the work of a 19th century natural health educator named Arnold Ehret. Ehret’s rise to fame came through his in depth knowledge about the body, specifically in healing chronic disease through systematic fasting and a diet similar to what Morse prescribes—raw fruit and vegetables.
His magnum opus, The Mucusless Diet Healing System, detailed his many years working in a clinic for the chronically ill while implementing his detox protocols to cure their diseases. Ehret’s work garnered a cult-following throughout the early 20th century and inspired the works of well-known detox specialists like Robert Morse himself, Paul Braggs, and Alfredo Bowman.
Adopting A Mucus-Free Lifestyle
But Livia said her biggest aha moment did not come until she discovered the work of South-African detox specialist Alexandra Cousins. Inspired by the teachings of Robert Morse and Arnold Ehret, Cousins takes their healing principles and merges them with the shamanic and emotional work which she feels is the missing piece for those seeking full-bodied healing.
“What I am witnessing is that trauma, PTSD, OCD, addictions are running everyone’s lives,” she writes in her Facebook group, Living Mucus Free. “The degree will vary but we all have it unless we have specifically addressed it. It is safe to say that all my clients, especially the chronically ill suffer from some form of unresolved trauma. If you have adrenal, hormonal, thyroid, or CFS issues, you are dealing with trauma residue. Living mucus free tends to bring up all our unresolved trauma. As we no longer consume foods that numb us or stimulate us, trauma rises to the surface so that it can be felt and dealt with.”
Having endured years of ill-health herself and having tried almost every diet trend out there, Cousins eventually found solace through a lifestyle termed Living Mucus Free (LMF). Mucus, for those wondering, is the residue which builds in the body from eating non-species-specific food, i.e., animal products, grains, or most cooked food. This mucus putrefies and plaques to the intestinal walls, eventually causing acids to build up in the body and damage our organs and glands.
LMF does away with mucus-causing foods while utilizing fruit, vegetables, herbs, systematic fasting, lymphatic movement, and various trauma-release therapies. Today, Cousins teaches what she’s learned at detox retreats around the globe and inspires thousands through her fierce social media presence.
Livia says she has dedicated herself to the Living Mucus Free principles with great results, incorporating daily intermittent fasting, herbal tinctures, movement and breathing practices targeted at draining the lymphatic system, as well as raw food diet.
“I have been vegan one year and living mucus free for 10 months now. My anxiety and depression cleared up within two months, never to return. I have so much more clarity and mental focus now and that is getting better with time, not worse. I am slowly healing my endocrine system and gaining more energy back, I am no longer bed ridden since the first couple of months on this lifestyle.. all my spiritual and emotional stuff has surfaced to be healed and it’s truly a fascinating and incredible journey to learn the truth and realize just how wrongly we have been conditioned in such a deep way.”
The emphasis in Living Mucus Free is elimination—getting out of the body’s way and allowing it to do its job of eliminating acids, toxins, undigested food material and mucoid plaque. This is primarily achieved through daily dry fasting and eating watery, astringent fruit, which pulls out toxins as it transits the digestive tract.
Another principle to the Living Mucus Free lifestyle is eating little to no fat while detoxing, a principle that goes against many of the high-fat diet trends of today. But as Alexandra Cousins explains, in the case of those who are cellularly degenerate, fats only serve to cover up their issues. Fats are anti-inflammatory, buffering the acidity in the body but never pulling the acids out. A temporary bandaid for true healing.
Livia feels this is what happened in her case, and it is why she thinks so many initially feel great adopting a high-fat diet.
“I feel the high fat diet works for some because it suppresses and clogs their lymphatic system so naturally they will feel instant relief. But now that I understand how the body actually works, of course you are going to show improvement at the beginning if you remove junk food, sugars/grains, dairy etc.”
Cousins also speaks much to the notion that fats, salts, animal products, and processed foods are stimulating to our nervous system which cover up our emotional wounds, so when we begin to remove these foods and focus on detoxifying the body, we are suddenly faced with old emotions or traumatic memories, and this, Alex says, is mostly what Living Mucus Free is about.
“When we detox on a cellular level, we are consistently clearing old information, old cellular memory in the form of emotion which is held in physical waste stored in the body, replacing it with new cellular information,” Alex Cousins, Living Mucus Free.
For those looking for a quick fix, Living Mucus Free probably isn’t the right fit. Those living the Mucus Free lifestyle don’t make false promises that you will be healed after a 30 day detox. The journey is slow and steady, one with bumps along the way known as healing crises. During a healing crisis any number of uncomfortable symptoms can arise as the body expels old debris and toxins. But as Livia says, walking through the discomfort is the only way towards true healing.
“I believe that our society has everything so backwards,” says Livia. “We are taught to chase feeling good, and run away from feeling bad, and Living Mucus Free isn’t going to feel good in the beginning as it brings up our weaknesses for healing.”
The reward, as promised by Cousins, Morse, Ehret, and thousands of others who have healed through regenerative detox principles, is beyond anything we can imagine:
“Unimaginable health and vitality, weight loss and reversed ageing, improved energy levels, mental clarity and confidence, liberation from anxiety, mood swings and self-doubt, resolution of stored trauma and a deeper connection to source, vastly improved sex life and orgasms.”
Is Living Mucus Free really the key to such incredible feats? The answer, it seems, is to be discovered only by those willing to walk through the fire to find out.
For more information about Living Mucus Free, visit Alexandra Cousins’ website, Living Mucus Free.
Two Doctors Explain Autophagy, How To Induce It (Fasting) & What It Does To The Human Body (Video)
- The Facts:
Dr. Guido Kroemer and Rhonda Patrick sit down and discuss autophagy, how to induce it and it's health benefits.
- Reflect On:
Why do we never hear about fasting interventions as an 'official' treatment for certain from our federal health regulatory agencies when there is so much scientific proof?
Fasting and caloric restriction, if done correctly in a healthy and appropriate manner, combined with a healthy diet can have tremendous benefits for the human body. Interventions like fasting are gaining tremendous amounts of popularity, and that is in large part due to the fact that this information is being spread across the world via alternative media outlets and independent websites, youtube channels, etc. It’s not really a health topic that we’re hearing from mainstream media sources or our federal health regulatory agencies. Why? Because you can’t make money off of fasting. Perhaps when drugs are developed that mimic the effects of fasting, that’s when its popularity will skyrocket; but unfortunately, modern day health authorities don’t really seem to be as concerned with our health and wellbeing as they are about profiting and making money, and nobody is going to make any money if people starting eating less. That being said, the information revolution cannot be stopped, and fasting is now on the minds of many, and for good reason.
On October 3rd, 2016, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy, a term that translates to “self-eat.” In short, autophagy is the body’s self-cleaning system, a mechanism in which cells get rid of all the broken down, old cell machinery (organelles, proteins and cell membranes). It is a regulated, orderly process to degrade and recycle cellular components.
The process of autophagy is like replacing parts in a car—sometimes we need a new engine or battery for the car to function better. The same thing happens within each of our cells. During autophagy, old cellular debris is sent to specialized compartments within the cell called “lysosomes.” Lysosomes contain enzymes that degrade the old debris, breaking it down into smaller components to be reused again by the cell.
Scientists have found that fasting for 12 to 24+ hours triggers autophagy, which is thought to be one of the reasons that fasting is associated with longevity. There is a large body of research that connects fasting to improved blood sugar control, reduced inflammation, weight loss, and improved brain function, and Oshumi’s findings provide greater insight into this research.
“Sporadic short-term fasting, driven by religious and spiritual beliefs, is common to many cultures and has been practiced for millennia, but scientific analyses of the consequences of caloric restriction are more recent… short-term food restriction induces a dramatic upregulation of autophagy in cortical and Purkinje neurons. As noted above, disruption of autophagy can cause neurodegenerative disease, and the converse also may hold true: upregulation of autophagy may have a neuroprotective effect.
Food restriction is a simple, reliable, inexpensive and harmless alternative to drug ingestion and, therefore, we propose that short-term food restriction may represent an attractive alternative to the prophylaxis and treatment of diseases in which candidate drugs are currently being sought.”
If you look at the plethora of studies that’ve been published regarding caloric restriction and fasting, the benefits are overwhelming. These benefits are seen across the board, not just in humans, but in animals as well. Some of these benefits are talked about below in a fascinating interview and discussion between Dr. Rhonda Patrick and Dr. Guido Kroemer. Dr. Patrick, as her website states, “is dedicated to the pursuit of longevity and optimal health and shares the latest research on nutrition, aging, and disease prevention with her audience. She has a gift for translating scientific topics into understandable takeaways for all levels of education and interest.” She has a lot of great content on her Youtube channel with some very interesting people who are leaders in their respective field.
Dr. Guido Kroemer is currently a Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Paris Descartes, Director of the research team “Apoptosis, Cancer and Immunity” of the French Medical Research Council (INSERM), Director of the Metabolomics and Cell Biology platforms of the Gustave Roussy Comprehensive Cancer Center, Deputy Director of the Cordeliers Research Center, and Hospital Practitioner at the Hôpital Européen George Pompidou, Paris, France. He is also a Foreign Adjunct Professor at the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
The takeaway here is to recognize the potential of dietary interventions for certain ailments. It’s also to recognize the importance of seeking out knowledge and wisdom, and not just relying on your doctor for advice or prescription medications.
Related CE Articles on Fasting
Ladies, Ditch the Bra
- The Facts:
There is evidence of a relationship between bras and breast cancer may rethink the societal convention of wearing bras.
- Reflect On:
Have you looked into the research about how bras can be contributing to poor health?
I realize it may feel some combination of uncomfortable, unprofessional, or unnecessarily provocative. Societal convention has most of us trussing up before going out.
If you are reading this at home, do me a favor and unhook. Then keep reading.
There’s Some Evidence of a Relationship Between Bras and Breast Cancer Yes, seriously.
Dressed To Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras
Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer authored a book called Dressed To Kill. They interviewed 4,000+ women in five major U.S. cities over two years. Half the women had been diagnosed with breast cancer. They found:
- 75% of women who slept in their bras developed breast cancer
- 1 in 7 who wore their bras 12+ hours per day developed breast cancer
- 1 in 168 who did not wear a bra developed breast cancer
- Within one month of ditching their bras, women with cysts, breast pain, or tenderness found their symptoms disappeared.
Breast Size, Handedness, and Breast Cancer Risk
A 1991 article in the European Journal of Cancer found that premenopausal women who do not wear bras had half the risk of breast cancer compared with bra users. The data also suggest that bra cup size (and breast size) may be a risk factor for breast cancer.
Cancer Is Not a Disease
Andreas Moritz revealed that Japanese, Fijians, and women from other cultures were found to have a significantly higher likelihood of developing breast cancer when they began wearing bras. His book explains how cancer is an adaptive healing mechanism, arguing that people would die more quickly if the body did not form cancer cells.
Bras and Girdles Can Reduce Melatonin Levels
Japanese researchers found they can lower melatonin by 60%. Melatonin has anti-cancer properties. And Spanish researchers wrote about the use of melanonin in breast cancer prevention and treatment.
There’s No Downside to Being Cautious.
Am I suggesting this scanty fact base offers definitive proof of a causal relationship? No.
Am I suggesting you should be comforted that the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the New York Times all believe it to be bunk? No.
That’s a longer discussion, but it’s sufficient to say that politics and economics create active bedfellows and the absence of a commercial imperative might have something to do with the dearth of research.
Many of us don’t need to wait in order to do something that intuitively seems to make a lot of sense. Frankly, in view of the alarming rate of breast cancer prevalence in this country (12.3% of women) and the growing trend to remove body parts in an attempt to improve our odds, it seems we might be receptive to a bit of behavior modification.
Things to Consider Doing:
Go braless as much as possible.
It actually gets easier. When these muscles and ligaments are forced to bear the weight of our breasts, muscle tone returns. The more you wear a bra, the more you need to wear a bra. Chest muscles and breast ligaments atrophy, which then makes it feel uncomfortable to go braless.
A 15 year French study conducted by Besancon CHU professor Jean-Denis Rouillon found that “medically, phyisiologically, and anatomically, breasts gained no benefit from their weight being supported in a bra.” There was some evidence that eliminating bra use helped ease back pain. He described bra wearing as a “false need.”
Remove your bra when you get home. Don’t wear a bra to bed. And if you’re self-conscious when going out, try wearing camisoles, thicker material, or nipple pads. It does make sense to wear a support bra while exercising.
Wear Loose Bras in Softer Materials and Avoid Underwires
Tight bras and underwires restrict lymphatic drainage, promoting congestion and stagnation of toxic waste materials that are supposed to be flowing out for excretion. Further, the closing of lymphatic vessels reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the cells.
Michael Schachter, MD, FACAM wrote that bras and tight clothing can impede lymph flow and contribute to the development of breast cancer.
John MacDougall, MD wrote in The Lancet that repeated inflammation from constricting bras are implicated in painful breast cysts and lumps, scar tissue develops, and milk ducts become plugged, all of which is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.
The metal in underwire bras can create an “Antenna Effect” according to the father of Applied Kinesiology, George Goodheart, DC. Repeated pressing of metal over an acupuncture point can cause longer-term stimulation of neuro-lymphatic reflex points corresponding to the liver, gallbladder, and stomach. “It will likely make her sick; slowly and quietly,” said John Andre, ND, DC.
Here’s a list of no-underwire bras recommended by Donna Eden, Vicki Mathews, and Titanya Dahlin. Donna adds that plastic underwires have the same negative impact as metal underwires.
Slide the Wires Out!
There’s no need to toss your expensive underwire bras. If you cut a small opening at one end of the wire, you can manually remove it from each cup. You’ll probably find that your bra supports you nearly as well without them. Oh, and don’t be fooled. They make look like plastic, but they’re actually plastic-coated metal. If you find you still need the support, you can buy and insert plastic wires. Andre explains how.
For additional research on the harms of bras read our article Breast Cancer Cover-Up Continues or get the book “Dressed To Kill: The Link between Breast Cancer and Bras.”
Originally published: 2014-07-14 13:06:54 -0500
Article updated: 2019-03-10
Louise Kuo Habakus is the co-author of Vaccine Epidemic, the Executive Director and co-founder of the Center for Personal Rights, the founder of Fearless Parent, and the Executive Director of Health Freedom Action.
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