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The Disastrous State Of Prenatal Care In America & Its Link To Autoimmune Disorders (Including Autism)

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The prenatal care regularly suggested to and followed by pregnant women has become both outdated and overrun with decisions made by Big Pharma. Thankfully alternatives do exist!

  • Reflect On:

    Are there any pregnant women in your life that would benefit from reading this information?

We all know that a healthy pregnancy leads to a healthier baby, but are we doing enough? We are following the advice of our physicians, so why are we facing an epidemic of sick children? As advanced as our society is, I believe allopathic doctors miss the mark when it comes to prenatal care. There are many things our doctors are not telling us. Here are some tips to help improve the health and well-being of your future children.

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“We need to do a better job of preparing our bodies before conception and beyond.” – Healing Without Hurting, 2018

Resolve Infections and Get Brewing Autoimmune Issues Under Control

Get yourself checked to see if you have any chronic inflammation, a yeast infection, a urinary tract infection, Lyme Disease, or any other low-grade chronic infections. If you do have any infections, consider avoiding prescription medications, and try to have the issues treated naturally. Remember two things: we pass our poor immunity to our children in utero (newer research suggests that if a mother’s immune system is activated, it can affect her child’s health and brain development), and inflammation can lead to malabsorption and malnutrition, which can cause many health issues.

Address Your Microbiome

I had no idea that being on birth control pills for 13 years would completely wipe out my microbiome, or that my years of vaccines, antibiotics and pesticide-laden foods I was eating would wipe it out as well. 

Rebuild your gut with fermented foods, human strain probiotics, and feed the probiotics with plenty of dietary fiber. A healthy gut is essential to your health and your child’s health.

The University of Virginia School of Medicine revealed in a 2018 study that autism risk was determined by the health of the mother’s gut. “We determined that the microbiome is a key contributor in determining susceptibility [to autism-like disorders], so it suggests that you could target either the maternal microbiome or this inflammatory molecule, IL-17a,” said lead researcher John Lukens of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience.

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Cut Environmental Toxins Out Of Your Life

Cut out any lifestyle habits that put toxins into your body. Avoid:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Harmful Drugs
  • Environmental toxins you may be exposed to regularly at work or home—including second-hand smoke and industrial chemicals. Avoid contaminated air such as industrial fumes as much as possible. Use air filters in your home and office to trap toxic airborne chemicals.
  • Skincare and beauty products that contain toxic ingredients can seep in through your skin and scalp. Don’t put anything on your skin that you don’t want absorbing into your system.
  • Toxic cleaning products and air fresheners. Use natural products instead.
  • Over-the-counter medications, such as antacids that contain high levels of aluminum and other harmful ingredients.
  • Unnecessary prescription medications. Educate yourself so that you can weigh the costs versus benefits of medications and vaccinations for you and your baby.

Drink Mineralized Water

Drink lots and lots of mineralized water. Try to only store water in glass or stainless-steel bottles and avoid plastic. Have your tap water tested for heavy metals, essential mineral levels, pH, and bacteria. Minerals are essential for many functions of the body, including proper detoxification.

Cleanse Your System – We Pass Toxins To Our Baby Through The Placenta

Detoxify your organs, glands, and tissues of heavy metals, estrogen-mimicking chemicals, and other toxins. Virtually all of us have toxins built up in our systems, and eliminating them is very important. These toxins can lead to birth defects, miscarriages, or illnesses in our children. Some experts advise starting a detox regime two years before conception. Drink lemon water and take milk thistle and dandelion root.

Flush Toxic Metals

You can help remove toxic metals from your body by consuming foods and supplements that contain sulfur such as cabbage, beans, and garlic. You can also take hot clay and sea salt baths, which I elaborate on  in Chapter 19 of my book, Healing Without Hurting. Make the water as hot as you can stand, and then add essential oils such as lavender (10 drops) or a tiny bit of tea tree oil (2 drops). Then, soak for forty-five minutes.

Warning: Do not perform any detoxification regimes once you become pregnant because toxins that you release from your body could transfer to your baby. Detoxifying before you become pregnant is highly recommended, but not after. Seek help from a qualified practitioner if a vigorous detox is required.

Learn the Risks of Vaccinations and Make an Informed Choice

Learn the risks. All medication comes with potential side effects and vaccinations are no exception. Adjuvants are necessary for vaccines to alert the immune response to react, but who knows what all these ingredients do to an immature brain that may not be able to handle these elements. Despite what the CDC reports, many published reports and scientific research point to an increased risk of miscarriages and elevated risks of birth defects and autism in the offspring of mothers who received DTaP & influenza vaccines during pregnancy.

Increase Levels of Glutathione

Eat Sulfur-rich foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Eat foods high in selenium such as Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, onions, and herbs such as cinnamon and cardamom, which have compounds that can restore healthy levels of glutathione. Talk to your physician about N-acetyl cysteine (N-AC) injections or supplements. Liposome capsule supplements are best because they protect the glutathione from the digestive process and allow it to absorb into the body.

Eat a Nutritionally Dense Diet, Avoid Extreme Diets and Avoid Toxic Foods​

Eat carefully, and increase your intake of healthy protein and mineral-rich foods such as kelp and organic root vegetables. The following strategies can help ensure a healthy diet.

An unbalanced diet has the potential to cause health problems. For example, don’t live on protein drinks, as they lack many vital minerals. If you’re committed to a vegetarian diet, you must take extra care to ensure you’re getting all of the nutrients your baby needs through vitamin supplements and/or nutrient-dense foods. Also, you can take digestive enzymes and chew your food slower to ensure you’re digesting and absorbing nutrients properly.

Avoid processed and chemical-laced foods. Our mainstream food supply is so processed and refined that many vitamins and minerals essential to our health are stripped away, while chemicals and preservatives that are bad for you are added.

Avoid tuna, marlin, swordfish, tilefish, grouper, bluefish, Chilean sea bass, shark, king mackerel, and other large fish known to contain high levels of mercury, which is poisonous. 

Go Organic

Whenever possible, buy organic foods. In a comparative study between organic and conventional tomatoes, “A farming experiment at the University of California, Davis, has found that organically grown tomatoes are 70-97% richer in certain kinds of flavonoids than conventionally grown tomatoes. The increased flavonoid levels could stem from the difference in how organic and conventional tomatoes are fertilized.” Plants grown without fertilizers and pesticides react to the environment by building their defences. The result means higher levels of antioxidants, benefiting the tomato and the consumer. These powerful antioxidants increase detoxifying enzymes in the body.

The Soil & Farming Association reviewed the evidence and concluded that organic produce is far superior than its conventional counterparts in nutrient levels, overall quality and food safety. That makes sense because we often use monocrops in mainstream farming and GM crops, which is when one crop is grown over and over on the same piece of land, negatively affecting the environment and depleting the soil of its nutrients. Also, toxic sprays damage microorganisms that help the plants absorb minerals from the soil.

Don’t forget that primitive man consumed five to eleven times the amount of the essential minerals most of us get from mainstream food. When food is low in essential minerals, the body absorbs and makes use of more toxic metals.

Another reason to eat organic is that conventional foods contain a lot of synthetic pesticides that are considered neurotoxins. Our primary exposure to these chemicals comes through our diets. According to Rodale News, pesticides in food are linked to ADHD in kids and Phil Landrigan, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Community and Preventative Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine agreed, “People who switch to an organic diet knock down the levels of pesticide by-products in their urine by 85-90 percent.”

Warning: Steer clear of organic foods, herbs, and supplements from China, which is one of the most polluted nations on Earth with high levels of toxins including lead, cadmium, and arsenic, which routinely appear in food. Look for the USDA “certified organic” logo to ensure you’re buying authentic organic food.

Make Sure Nutrient Levels Are Optimized & Take Whole-Food Vitamin/Mineral Supplements

Vitamins and minerals are essential for boosting your energy and keeping you feeling your best. In contrast, chemicals add toxins to your system that may remain in your body for decades and lead to a variety of illnesses. Bio-available, whole-food prenatal vitamins with adequate amounts of minerals will help both you and your baby. Avoid prescription prenatal vitamins and ones bought at big-box stores like CVS.

Eat Organic Foods High in B Vitamins​

B is for the brain. Eating foods high in vitamin B such as legumes, seeds, nuts, fruits, and dark leafy veggies are essential for a healthy mind and body. If you are looking to supplement, use a B complex vitamin with methylated B’s for higher bioavailability. B vitamins work synergistically, so taking a complex is better than taking B vitamins individually.

Get Enough Zinc, Iodine & Other Minerals

In September 2017, the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research concluded that “low levels of minerals such as magnesium, zinc and iodine in pregnant women can lead to anemia, malnutrition, hypertension, pre-eclampsia, labor complications, maternal death, miscarriage, preterm delivery, fetal growth restriction, and even diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

According to a 2007 article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, zinc deficiency may be a hidden cause of genetic defects: “Genetic birth defects may be caused by faulty DNA or by faulty gene expression. Even if one’s DNA is perfect, the synthesis of proteins from that DNA can be faulty. For example, zinc is required for a key enzyme in gene expression, RNA transferase.”

Get Enough Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids provide numerous health benefits including reducing blood pressure, decreasing inflammation, improving joint and bone health, bettering skin, and enhancing mood and focus. EPA and DHA have also been associated with proper fetal neurological development.

Sources for omega-3 include ground flax seeds and flaxseed oil, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, ground chia seeds, primrose, borage, grape seeds, coconut oil, walnuts, kidney beans, and black beans.

Get Tested for the MTHFR Gene Mutation

Did you know that taking folic acid could be a bad idea? Synthetic folic acid is recommended to pregnant moms by OBGYN doctors for proper brain development of their unborn child. However, this practice may be wreaking havoc on the brain health of our children. Simple blood or saliva tests could prevent a miscarriage and prevent babies from developing birth defects, neurological problems, and other medical issues.

Interestingly, 40%-55% of us carry the mutated gene(s) and the correct dose, and if the proper form of this essential nutrient is not supplemented, many health problems can arise. This mutation(s) inhibits the body’s ability to regenerate folate with the help of vitamin B12. When a person is identified as having this genetic mutation, their physician will often recommend replacing synthetic folic acid with folate and methylated B12 vitamins.

According to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association on February 13, 2013,Women taking folate before pregnancy were 40 percent less likely to have a baby later diagnosed with autism, according to a 2014 study.”

On October 12, 2011, the same journal stated, “The use of folate supplements in early pregnancy was associated with a reduced risk of severe language delay in children at age three years.”

Get Tested for Pyrrole Disorder​

Symptoms of pyrrole disorder include anxiety, mood swings, aggression/bad temper, poor tolerance of stress, and hypersensitivity to light, sounds, tastes, and/or touch. A simple urine test can detect this problem. If zinc and vitamin B6 are dumping into your urine, it means these nutrients aren’t being correctly metabolized in your body. Both are essential for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Exercise Regularly

Exercising and sweating at least thirty minutes a day will help you become physically healthy, balance your emotions, and sweat toxins out of your system.

Get Enough Sleep

When you get eight to nine hours of sleep daily, you’re giving your body the opportunity to detoxify, heal, and rebuild. Getting proper rest is critical to achieving optimal health.

Get A Handle Over Your Stress

Take good care of yourself so that your pregnancy can be as stress-free as possible. Natural therapies such as bodywork, psychotherapy, craniosacral therapy, chiropractic work, and energy work can greatly facilitate digestion and alleviate stress.

Delay Umbilical Cord Clamping​

In 2012, Mark Sloan, M.D. wrote a fascinating article in Science and Sensibility. He explains how immediate cord clamping leaves nearly one-third of stem cells in the placenta, which play a crucial role in the development of the immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, and central nervous systems, among many other functions.

There is also growing evidence that suggests that delaying cord blood clamping by a few minutes may be extremely beneficial for both pre-term and full-term babies. JAMA Pediatrics released a randomized clinical study in 2015 that concluded that delayed cord clamping improved fine-motor functioning and social skills at age four, especially in boys. In addition, this allows for more blood transfer between mother and child increasing the infant’s iron storage and improving immunity – which are both essential for healthy brain functioning.

I didn’t know that when I opted to bank my children’s cord blood, I may have done them a disservice. Attendants that come to bank the cord blood usually cut the umbilical cord within 30 seconds of birth to capture “enough cord blood” for the cord blood bank. I didn’t realize that this was not desirable, nor did I know that I may have been robbing them of their stem cells, blood, and much-needed oxygen during those critical minutes when they were transitioning to breathing on their own.

Seek Out A Functional Medicine M.D. or Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Always seek help from a qualified functional medicine practitioner and/or naturopathic physician. They address the underlying causes of disease using a systems-oriented approach and engage both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners should spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and cause chronic diseases. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.


Learn more about my family’s healing journey (including everything that has worked for me and many of my clients) in my book Healing Without Hurting. And to receive more info on how you and your family can overcome ADHD, apraxia, anxiety, and more without medication. SIGN UP HERE.

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Awareness

How To Clear Seriously Blocked Sinuses Naturally In 1 Minute

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Three simple steps you can take to clear blocked sinuses that seem to work for many people.

  • Reflect On:

    Are you healthy? What natural things do you do when "flu season" comes around to give your immune system a boost?

Having clogged sinuses isn’t fun. You can’t breath, you can’t smell, your head hurts, and your voice sounds funny. Finding relief when you have clogged sinuses is usually like finding a million dollars on the ground — it’s amazing!

The causes for nasal congestion can range greatly, and you don’t have to be sick to be congested. Many people will experience congestion from allergies, temperatures, dust, smoking, spicy food, and air particles.

Recently I was at Contact in the Desert in California and I found myself having clogged sinuses from the blowing sand and dry air. Within two days, I couldn’t breathe at all out of one side of my nose and my sinuses got blocked up, causing my face and head to hurt. I needed a solution.

After trying to blow my nose over and over again, I turned to the internet for relief. Sure enough, Google came through.

I found a video by Dr. Adam that quickly and easily explained how to clear sinuses in about one minute using just your fingers — and no, they don’t have to go in your nose. Sure enough, I had relief from the pain the blockage was causing, and I could breathe!

Some might be wondering why I didn’t take sinus or cold medication to get relief. The answer is simple: I don’t like taking medication for anything unless I absolutely have to. I know many of you are on the same page and like to do things naturally. Many cold medications just mask symptoms and come with negative side effects that are worth avoiding if possible.

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How to Clear Your Sinuses Fast!

You simply need to sit down and get your hands ready for the following steps. The video below offers a visual demonstration, so I recommend checking that out too.

1. While sitting with your head and body on about a 45 degree angle, turn your head sideways and rub your sternocleidomastoid muscle downward four or five times. You can find the muscle right beneath your ear running down your neck to your collarbone. See image. Do this on both sides of your neck to help relax your neck.

2. Take your index fingers, locate the hard, bony part of the upper sides of your nose, and move downward toward the soft part on the side of your nose where the bone ends. Begin massaging this area in a circular motion with as much pressure as you can for about 20 seconds. Once completed, rub the muscles from the side of your nose down and toward your cheekbones to relax them.

3. Take your index fingers and run them under the inside orbit bone above your eyes until you find a notch in the bone called the super orbital notch. It is usually just above the centre of the eye. Massage that notch in a circular motion with as much pressure as you can handle for about 20 seconds. Once done, massage your forward with both hands starting in the centre of your forehead and pulling outwards towards your temples.

That’s it! Once you have gone through this process you should notice a lot of relief in your sinuses and should be able to blow your nose quite easily. You may have to repeat this process again, but play with it and see what works for you.

Below is a video from Dr. Adam explaining the entire process. I have also included another helpful method that worked well for me as well.

Alternative Method

This method is simpler but may not be as effective for everyone. As always, do what works best for you.

1. Push your tongue flat into the roof of your mouth, with decent pressure, for one second.

2. Then, take your thumb and press the area right between your eyebrows above your nose for one second.

3. Alternate between steps one and two over and over again for about 20-30 seconds. Note: You are not pressing the points at the same time, simply alternating between them.

Repeat this process as necessary to help clear your sinuses.

Prevention

If you’ve had blocked sinuses, you probably don’t want it to happen often, so prevention is the key! Here are a few ways you can avoid blocked sinuses.

Eat a well-balanced diet – Eating healthy foods promotes good health. What you put into your body to digest is what determines your health. If you want your immune system working well, take care with quality food and keep your gut performing well.

Get regular exercise – Regular exercise also helps improve overall health and the immune system.

Quit smoking – It goes without saying, but cigarettes are not good for us and the smoke can irritate sinuses.

Use a humidifier – If you find your house dry, use a humidifier to help dampen the air. You can also hop in a warm shower and breathe in the steam. It’s best to use a chlorine filter on your shower head so you aren’t breathing in toxic chemicals from chlorine.

Cut out antibiotics – Antibiotics don’t do anything for viral infections, which is usually why people get clogged sinuses when they are sick. Antibiotics wreak havoc on your health. Only take them when they are absolutely necessary!

Keep a clean home – Dust and poor air quality can also cause blocked sinuses. Vacuum and wipe down surfaces of your home regularly. Decrease clutter and areas where dust can collect and stay.

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Alternative News

Cannabis Might Reverse Heart Failure, University of Hawaii Study Finds

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    New research is showing that TRPV1, a cannabinoid receptor found abundantly in the heart may be key in slowing down and potentially even reversing heart failure.

  • Reflect On:

    With so many medical applications and the potential to treat and even cure a wide variety of diseases, why has there been such a lack of research, funding and clinical trials when it comes to medical marijuana?

Cannabis could potentially slow and even reverse heart failure via TRPV1, a cannabinoid receptor. This is according to research led by a team at the University of Hawaiʻi John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM).  Alexander Stokes, a JABSOM assistant professor in cell and molecular biology, said “the potential medical benefits of using cannabis-based therapies for the treatment of heart disease are promising.”

TRPV1 is showing long-term effective reversal of heart failure when the substance is administered orally. The key here is orally, this doesn’t mean that you can smoke cannabis and it will be good for your heart, in fact, it may very well have a negative effect if you do that. “TRPV1 has primarily been studied as a pain receptor,” said Stokes. “The receptors are abundant in the heart, and we are excited to show that if we inhibit its function with oral doses of drugs, we can reverse some effects of heart failure.”

The findings were published in the journal Channels.

A Big Topic Right Now

The topic of medical marijuana is a big one right now, especially in Canada where it was recently legalized. For years, there’s been a negative stigma attached to the substance, and when one dives deep into the subject it’s quite easy to see why. Cannabis, often called marijuana, has potential to treat and possibly even cure a wide range of diseases, but because of prohibition, the studies examining the medicinal aspects of the herb have been very limited. This is very unfortunate, for a number of reasons, and also very suspicious.

If we look at cancer, for example, multiple studies have clearly shown its potential to completely destroy cancer cells, many in vitro studies have clearly demonstrated this potential, without question. They’re not hard to find and have been published in abundance. Here is a video of Dr. Christina Sanchez, a molecular biologist at Compultense University in Madrid, Spain, explaining how THC (the main psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant) can completely kill cancer cells. THC is simply one constituent of cannabis. It has been shown to be effective for multiple diseases as well, while other diseases are better treated with CBD, another constituent within cannabis. This begs the question, why have there been no, or at least so few, clinical trials set up as a result?

This hasn’t stopped people taking matters into their own hands though. There are numerous examples all over the internet of people claiming that cannabis oil, for example, cured their cancer. But from a scientific perspective this isn’t evidence, it’s simply anecdotal and as a result of a lack of research we cannot officially say cannabis kills cancer. We can only say that it has tremendous potential and that a lot more research is needed.

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Pharma vs Cannabis

When a pharmaceutical drug shows even less than half of the potential that marijuana has shown, clinical trials are set up right away. Just imagine if the same resources that are poured into conventional cancer treatments were given to medical marijuana’s potential to treat cancer, among a wide range of other diseases. If that were to happen, we would know much more. But the lack of research continues. Is it because if scientists were to discover what strain, method of delivery and all of the other factors that require more research that are needed to treat disease, cannabis could become an effective treatment for cancer? What would happen to conventional treatments? Would people have to pay for their treatment if it was disclosed how to, for example, make cannabis oil in the right way for a specific cancer? Maybe this has something to do with it?

Big pharma would lose billions. It’s definitely something to think about.

What’s happening right now with the legalization of marijuana is that components of it are allowed to be studied. It seems that drugs will be developed to synthesize certain components of the plant, and the drugs themselves can then be patented. This is how big pharma will ultimately make money off of medical marijuana.

The Challenge With Government Control Of Cannabis

It’s great to see people with Parkinson’s, Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Epilepsy, cancer and more have tremendous success with medical marijuana. What’s unfortunate is that mainstream medical marijuana will be in the hands of big pharma, it already is. We will not know how it’s grown, how it’s been manipulated, and what’s been changed. It’s simply being used for profit, because at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about in our current infrastructure. We have a sick care industry, not a health care industry.

A free, open and caring society, a health care industry that truly cares about health could use multiple natural substances to completely wipe out the need for any pharmaceutical drug. There are massive amounts of foods, herbs and plants that, if studied in full, could completely eliminate our dependence on the corporation.

“The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.”

– Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), Harvard professor of medicine and former Editor-in-Chief of The New England Medical Journal  (source)

Important Thoughts To Consider About Cannabis

The other side of the coin is that heavy cannabis use, although not lethal, can be dangerous and potentially damaging to young brains that are not fully developed, and perhaps to those who use it on a regular basis in ways we do not yet understand.

It’s not as harmful as alcohol abuse or smoking cigarettes, but there is still a lot that we don’t know. Legalization in Canada at least have led to the idea that it’s completely safe and beneficial for everybody. This is also, most likely, not true.  We need to get past the idea that it’s something healthy for everybody, and even healthy to smoke cannabis on a regular basis. But when it comes to the medicinal aspects of cannabis, for several diseases, there is a very serious discussion to be had here as it’s again, already helping many people around the world with their cancer, with their epilepsy, etc.

With many people losing trust in the medical industry, it’s easy to see why they are turning to growing their own cannabis, testing doses, and methods of delivery, etc. For some, it’s a shot in the dark but worth a try.

We are not advocating that it’s healthy to use cannabis recreationally and that it will not have any negative effects, we are simply stating that it’s a head scratcher how such a potent medical plant that clearly has multiple medical applications has been ignored and prohibited from research and professionally treating many diseases with it.

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Awareness

America’s Fifty-Fold Increase in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – What’s Going On?

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), considered a neurobiological condition, is an often “long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions), and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.” Although the specific obsessions and compulsions vary widely from person to person, the common denominator is that they “create stress and interfere with daily life.”

U.S. researchers estimate that OCD affects 1%-2% of children and up to 3% of adolescents and adults. The current lifetime prevalence estimate of around 2.7% is 54 times higher than the estimated pre-1980s prevalence (for the U.S. population as a whole) of around 0.05% (1 in 2000). In a retrospective hospital-based study that looked at OCD prevalence over time, researchers who examined psychiatric discharge diagnoses from 1969 to 1990 reported that something changed in the 1980s, with a marked increase in the frequency of OCD diagnoses over the decade.

Reflecting the disorder’s growing prominence, the American Psychiatric Association’s 2013 diagnostic manual revisions eliminated OCD as a subcategory of “anxiety disorders” and gave the diagnosis its own category of “obsessive-compulsive and related disorders.” OCD experts now urge busy neurologists “to be aware of OCD…and to have a high index of suspicion for this disorder.”

OCD is just one of numerous neurodevelopmental disorders that have gone from relatively rare to common since the late 1980s—over the same time frame in which the childhood vaccine schedule exploded. There are at least three reasons to suspect a potential vaccine-OCD link:

  1. Proper brain function depends on a well-regulated immune system.
  2. Vaccination’s acknowledged aim is to “perturb the immune system.”
  3. Immune dysregulation is a documented contributor to OCD and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

As Duke University researchers have stated, “the immune system, both in the central nervous system (CNS) and in the periphery, is crucial in shaping and influencing normal brain functions, and any disruption of immune function could adversely impact the brain too.”

Not only OCD

Studies show that OCD is more severe when it is early-onset; when diagnosed before puberty, children have “a longer duration of illness [and] higher rates of comorbid tics” as well as more frequent compulsions and greater psychosocial difficulties. In addition to comorbid tics, OCD often presents alongside autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other diagnoses that are not only increasingly common in American children but often persist into adulthood. In a study of adults with OCD, three out of four (75%) had one or more other neuropsychiatric diagnoses. Researchers also believe that some types of OCD may be closely related to PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections).

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Compared to girls, boys tend toward a greater neuroinflammatory response, reflecting sex differences in how the brain’s principal immune cells (the microglia) function. This may be one of the reasons why early-onset OCD is two to three times more common in boys. (In early adulthood, however, OCD symptoms appear more frequently in women.) In this respect, OCD is no different from a number of other neurodevelopmental and health conditions, including ASD, that also disproportionately affect boys.

The Yale study

In 2017, researchers from the Yale Child Study Center published a retrospective case-control study in Frontiers in Psychiatry that considered a possible association between prior vaccination and increased incidence of seven neuropsychiatric disorders, including OCD. Recall that at the start of the 1980s, children received three vaccines for seven illnesses (totaling two dozen doses by age 18), whereas fully vaccinated children now get almost six dozen doses for sixteen conditions.

The Yale researchers looked at a national sample of privately insured children and adolescents (ages 6-15) for the six-year period from January 2002 through December 2007. They found that for four diagnoses—OCD, anorexia nervosa, anxiety disorder and tic disorder—the affected children were more likely than matched controls to have received a flu shot in the preceding 12 months. In addition:

  • For OCD, flu shots just three or six months prior also increased the risk.
  • There was an association between OCD and hepatitis A vaccination.
  • Children with OCD, anorexia or a tic disorder were more heavily vaccinated overall compared to children without these disorders.

All three vaccines marketed in the U.S. for hepatitis A—GlaxoSmithKline’s Havrix and Twinrix and Merck’s Vaqta—list anorexia as adverse reactions reported during clinical trials. The Yale authors considered the “high comorbidity rates” between OCD and anorexia significant and also highlighted that OCD and anorexia have a number of “immune-mediated mechanisms” in common.

OCD is also frequently comorbid with a variety of autoimmune diseases. A recent Swedish study reported that individuals with OCD had a 43% increased risk of any autoimmune disease (compared to those without OCD), and “significantly elevated” risks for autoimmune conditions “across all organ systems”:

  • Moisture-producing glands: Sjögren’s syndrome (94% increased risk)
  • Small intestine: Celiac disease (76%)
  • Peripheral nervous system: Guillain-Barré syndrome (71%)
  • Gastrointestinal tract: Crohn’s disease (66%)
  • Thyroid: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (59%)
  • Pancreas: Type 1 diabetes mellitus (56%)
  • Platelets: Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (51%)
  • Large intestine: Ulcerative colitis (41%)
  • Central nervous system: Multiple sclerosis (41%)
  • Skin: Psoriasis vulgaris (32%)

Beware the adjuvants

Given the extensive overlap between OCD and autoimmunity, the growing body of research that links vaccine adjuvants to autoimmunity is relevant for OCD. In fact, adjuvants—intended to intensify the immune response to a vaccine (immunogenicity)—present vaccine makers with a dilemma: “[I]ncreased vaccine reactogenicity [adverse reactions to vaccination] is the inevitable price for improved immunogenicity.”

Pointing to their influenza vaccination findings, the authors of the Yale study note that six European countries and China linked H1N1 influenza vaccination in 2009 to autoimmune narcolepsy, and some speculated that the H1N1 vaccine’s adjuvant—a squalene-based oil emulsion called AS03—was the culprit. Researchers caution:

A major recurring concern is the potential association between oil emulsion adjuvants and autoimmune disease induction as seen in animal and fish models. A single intradermal injection of a range of oil emulsions, including squalene emulsions, induces adjuvant arthritis in susceptible murine and rat models. […] There is a theoretical risk that any humans who share similar genetic susceptibility features to these models could similarly be prone to develop adjuvant arthritis, lupus, autoimmune hepatitis, uveitis or some other form of autoimmune disease after exposure to oil emulsion adjuvants alone or when combined with other potent innate immune activators [emphasis added].

Aluminum-based vaccine adjuvants—and especially the proprietary AAHS [amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate] adjuvant that Merck includes in its Gardasil 9, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccines—are also a prominent suspect in the autoimmunity epidemic. Researchers who compared AAHS to two other types of aluminum adjuvants found that AAHS was “substantially” different from the other two in revving up the immune system. As Italian researchers have stated, “the specific mechanism of action of each single adjuvant may have different effects on the course of different diseases.”

Hear no evil, see no evil

Pharmacotherapy with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is a “first-line” treatment for OCD; because remission is uncommon, “long-term management is often necessary.” Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline—two of the four companies that lead the U.S. vaccine market—make some of the top-selling SSRIs prescribed for individuals with OCD; the two pharma behemoths completed a joint venture in 2019 to integrate their consumer health care businesses. From their point of view, OCD represents an attractive market.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, the federal government and the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program turned down citizen requests to add asthma, autism, tics and several neuropsychiatric disorders—including PANDAS—to the Program’s Vaccine Injury Table. The feds’ refusal was not terribly surprising: very few new injuries have made it onto the Table since the Program came into being in 1986, despite the large number of vaccines piled onto the childhood schedule after that year. The government’s resolute refusal to conduct needed studies and its denial of even the possibility of vaccine culpability for conditions such as OCD leaves individuals no choice but to ferret out answers on their own.

Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured. Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission.

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