Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

Posts Tagged ‘heavy metals

Critical thinking

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It has long amazed me how poor people’s critical thinking skills can be. I am an advocate of teaching critical thinking in schools. Children should be taught logic, so adults do not have to be taught logic. Moreover, people so often separate science and logic from morality one would think they were two opposing forces. Far from it – an immoral scientist is the worst kind of scientist.

Critical thinking is about being both willing and able to think. Ideally one develops critical thinking skills and at the same time the disposition to use those skills to solve problems and form good judgments. The dispositional dimension of critical thinking is characterological. Its focus in developing the habitual intention to be truth-seeking, open-minded, systematic, analytical, inquisitive, confident in reasoning, and prudent in making judgments. Those who are ambivalent on one or more of these aspects of the disposition toward critical thinking, or who have the opposite disposition [biased, intolerant, disorganized, heedless of consequences, indifferent toward new information, mistrustful of reasoning, imprudence] are less likely to engage problems using their critical thinking skills. […]

Critical thinking may be distinguished, but not separated, from emotions, desires, and traits of mind. Failure to recognize the relationship between thinking, feeling, wanting, and traits of mind can easily lead to various forms of self-deception, both individually and collectively. When persons possess intellectual skills alone, without the intellectual traits of mind, weak sense critical thinking results. Fair-minded or strong sense critical thinking requires intellectual humility, empathy, integrity, perseverance, courage, autonomy, confidence in reason, and other intellectual traits. Thus, critical thinking without essential intellectual traits often results in clever, but manipulative, often unethical, thought. In short, the sophist, the con artist, the manipulator often uses an intellectually defective but effective forms of thought—serving unethical purposes. However, whereas critical thinking yields itself to analytical considerations readily and may be considered largely “objective”, few humans notice the degree to which they uncritically presuppose the mores and taboos of their society (and hence fail to discern their own “subjectivity.” and one-sidedness). Critical thinking

Intellectual humility is a characteristic that internet diet gurus and resident web forum ‘experts’ rarely possess. I have come across very few individuals indeed who go into situations in a state of true open-mindedness, without having already formed a number of prejudices regarding a subject. People think they ‘just know’ the answers to big questions, without understanding that ‘just knowing’ is a supreme form of intellectual arrogance, the opposite of critical thinking.

People think that ‘just knowing the answer’ is somehow empathic and deeply spiritual – as if they are directly tapped into the fundamental truths of the universe. But unless you are able to accept that you do not ‘just know’ everything, you will almost always confirm your own prejudices instead of finding the truth. If spirituality is the quest for truth, and our only method of uncovering the truth is through the scientific method, then the arrogance of ‘just knowing’ is the exact opposite of spirituality.

The moral of the story: if you go on a quest to find ‘the cause of food chemical intolerance’, or ‘the cause of autism’ (as many individuals I have come across are prone to doing), do not decide two weeks into your quest that THE CAUSE is ‘everyone has vitamin deficiencies’ or ‘everyone has been poisoned by heavy metals and organophosphates’ or ‘everyone has gut dysbiosis’ or even ‘everyone has unusual genetics’.

Have a little less arrogance. Real scientists with access to laboratories and medical studies have been working on this question for over thirty years. What makes a crank like you who hangs around internet forums think you are so much smarter than everyone else?


Written by alienrobotgirl

23 April, 2008 at 5:03 pm

Posted in How to be Scientific

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The Biomed Extremists

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Kevin Leitch is the father of an autistic girl and the author of a blog that I respect. In recent months Leitch has been attacked by the biomed community for speaking out against the vaccination theory of autism, chelation, and vitamin megadosing. One prominent member of the mercury brigade responded by using the name and image of Leitch’s autistic daughter in emotive propaganda against him, at which point Leitch stopped blogging for a while, because much as he could cope with abuse directed at him, bringing his daughter into things was inappropriate. This is always a risk that internet debunkers have to take. When you start threatening people’s intensely held religious beliefs, it really upsets them.

In a blog post today, Leitch questions the behaviour of parents and DAN! doctors who experiment on autistic children. It is worth a read. I’ve seen stories like the ones that Leitch mentions over and over again on yahoo groups.

It’s very painful to visit those biomed forums and start reading the things that these parents are doing. When I read about the huge doses of vitamins and the chelation chemicals they are using, I get very angry. The parents even know that their children almost always respond negatively to these supplements, but they still give them because they are so desperate for their children to be ‘normal’. People seem think it’s okay, because these parents are trying to cure their ‘monstrous’, children of a ‘devastating disorder’ that will ‘ruin their lives’. I hate this attitude. If those children were neurotypical, their parents behaviour would be considered child abuse.

You see, I have been there as an adult with unofficially diagnosed asperger’s syndrome. I have willingly spent thousands of pounds experimenting on myself with supplements. I know what it feels like when you give an autistic child these supplements. People think that vitamins are harmless, but they are not. Especially not when you have a balance of neurotransmitters as sensitive and delicate as an autistic. During the last few months alone I’ve given myself a limp in my DVT leg with vitamin K, I’ve given myself serotonin syndrome with riboflavin, I’ve amined myself with folate and given myself a resurgence of eczema that took two months to clear, I’ve glutamated myself with B12, and I’ve given myself brain fog with B6. Sulphites – which cause the same reactions in autistic children as sulphur based chelators do – make me feel like death. You may as well bring back smacking, at least that’s a short-lived pain.

One might assert that most of these parents must be autistic themselves due to their complete failure to empathise with their children. Talk about pygmalion syndrome. Is it only ever neurotypicals who want autistic people to be normal? Or are some parents so afraid that they might be autistic themselves that they have to hate autism and find reasons that it isn’t genetic? Is this like the myth of the closet homosexual who is the most publicly homophobic person? I think thee protest too much?

An example of the paranoia and lack of medical knowledge in these groups is demonstrated in one of the messageboard quotes Leitch came across:

The past few days he’s had white chunks in his stool. Loser than normal stools, very light in color, almost like mustard with dark specs. DAN doc says yeast does NOT come out in poop … then what is it?

What is it with this dirty fascination with stool that the yeast/parasite/bacteria/SCD/GAPS people have? My dog does craps like this when he eats nothing but fat meat. Does that make him autistic?! Is he dumping yeast?! No! The white lumps people spot in poo are not ‘balls of candida’ or anything else alive. They are undigested fats that have saponified (turned to soap) due to the normal presence of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. The colour of poo is determined by how much chlorophyll and haem (heme) you consume, as well as whether you are breaking down your own haem into bilirubin. It’s no big deal. I’ve known people freak out and stop doing failsafe because their poo went yellow when they stopped eating so many greens and so much aged red meat.

Leitch links to an old post of his where he describes a mother who is chelating her autistic son. This post contains a video which people should watch. I don’t think many people actually know what an autistic child looks or sounds like. You will be struck by how normal this little boy is. He sits quietly for two hours and writes down bus timetables on a board to keep himself amused. Is that something that needs ‘curing’?

This post demonstrates such a great example of a typical mercury-mom approach. Check out the boy’s lab report at the bottom of the page. Virtually every heavy metal is in the low-normal range, except for aluminium and lead, both of which are only marginally over the normal range. This is clearly not a case of heavy metal poisoning, but people are so fixated on heavy metals being the cause of autism that they ignore the evidence before their very eyes.

Written by alienrobotgirl

15 February, 2008 at 8:57 pm

Autism: a moral panic

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When the Centers for Disease Control announced last year that an average of one out of 150 children had autism, it convinced many people that America was seeing an explosion of autism cases.

Before the 1990’s, the official estimates were one autistic child out of every 2,000 to 5,000 children. Several autism advocacy groups took that as proof that some environmental toxin, such as mercury preservative in vaccines, had caused a huge spike in the autism numbers.

But there are now intriguing indications that most if not all of the autism increase is the result of broadening the criteria for the diagnosis and identifying children with autism who would have been labeled with a different diagnosis in the past.

A 2006 study in the journal Pediatrics found, for instance, that the national increase in identified autism cases in elementary schoolchildren between 1984 and 2003 had been paralleled by a similar decrease in the number of children labeled as retarded or learning disabled.

Paul Shattuck of Washington University in St. Louis, the lead author of the study, wrote last year that “in 44 of 50 states, the increase in autism was completely offset by a decrease in the prevalence of children considered ‘cognitively disabled’ or ‘learning disabled.’ “

Some very outlandish claims have made about the supposed ‘rise’ in autism from many quarters – some have even sneaked their way into Wise Traditions, a publication from the Weston A. Price foundation that I used to respect.

As someone who is a fourth generation asperger (that’s a family history of roughly a century, long before anyone had invented the term), and a sociologist, I would define the media rhetoric surrounding the supposed ‘rise’ in autism as a moral panic – a form of mass hysteria. Examples of other moral panics include, gay sexuality, the millenium bug, foot and mouth disease, single mothers, immigrants ‘taking over’, youths (‘hoodies’) who hang out on the streets, and bird flu.

Some of the features of a moral panic include the demonisation of a subgroup within society and the emotive language used to describe the phenomena. The media usually lead and fuel moral panics with the use of unrepresentative and extreme portraits of the phenomenon in question, and the misuse of statistics. If you are autistic and reading this, you are probably as sick as I am to read offensive and bigoted descriptions of autism as ‘devastating’, ‘monstrous’, ‘robotic’, ‘destroying children’s and parent’s lives’ and ‘stealing children’s soul’s’.

In an interview this week, Dr. Shattuck said that because of changes in the definition of autism and how it is measured, it is impossible to know how much it may have increased from past years.

But his study certainly suggests that “diagnostic substitution” — labeling someone as autistic today who would have been labeled as retarded 30 years ago — is a substantial part of the picture.

Dr. Shattuck’s study isn’t the only one showing this trend.

In a 2004 study, Lisa Croen of the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute in California and her team found that the increase in children diagnosed with autism in that state between 1987 and 1994 was almost exactly paralleled by a decrease in those diagnosed with retardation.

In case you didn’t know, the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute is THE most trustworthy, independent, and thoughtful scientific institutions in existence. Kaiser operates independently of financial influences and makes highly critical scientific reviews and examinations of data based on extremely rigorous critera rarely employed by other scientists.

Nancy Minshew, the director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Excellence in Autism Research, said last week, “I used to think there were more cases [than in past years], but I don’t think so any more.” She is now convinced that the higher numbers are “not an increase in the number of cases, but are an improvement in recognition.”

In past decades, she said, it was often hard to get doctors or schools to diagnose higher-functioning children as having autism. They were often labeled as having “behavior difficulties.”

Dr. Shattuck said other epidemiological studies have shown that the rate of severe autism has stayed steady at about one to two children per 1,000, so that the main part of the increase to an estimated six to seven children per 1,000 has come in the milder, higher-functioning forms of the disorder.

That points partly to the broader definition being used for what are called Autism Spectrum Disorders today, he said.

“When we talk about autism spectrum disorders,” he said, “we’re talking about kids who have very different symptoms. Some are severely retarded; some have high IQs; some have pathological shyness; others want to have contact but are socially awkward.”

In other words, the definition of autism has expanded to include asperger’s syndrome. Asperger’s syndrome was only added to the DSM-IV in 1994. At that point it became an official syndrome and millions of people who had previously been classified as normal were suddenly considered autistic. So when people talk about the ‘massive rise’ in autism since the early 1990’s, they are in fact talking about the ‘massive rise’ in asperger’s syndrome. With awareness comes diagnosis. A bit of a no-brainer really. Left Brain Right Brain has numerous good articles on bad statistics.

And when people say they don’t remember seeing so many autistic children when they were growing up, or ask where all the adults with autism are, there are two possible explanations, Dr. Minshew said.

One is that many autistic children in the past were never sent to school. In what she called the “Forrest Gump era, you didn’t even go to school, or you went to a totally separate school.”

Indeed they do. My aunt worked at a special school for many years until it was closed down. At the time it was closed under the misguided community integration policy, it was one of the few surviving special schools in Nottinghamshire. The children there received special therapies and had chill out rooms. I’ve no idea what happened to those children. You can’t put a child who rocks and headbangs, cannot speak, and yes, smears poo, into a mainstream classroom. At least, not unless you want them to be abused by their fellow students.

The other phenomenon was that some autistic children were labeled as schizophrenic, and many may have ended up in state hospitals or other institutions, she said.

There is even a kind of logic to that, Dr. Minshew said, because some of the hallmarks of schizophrenia — behaving oddly, a lack of facial expressions, poor eye contact, speaking in a monotone and using fewer gestures than normal — are “essentially the same” in both autism and schizophrenia.

David Mandell, an epidemiologist at the University of Pennsylvania medical school, recently surveyed the adult patients in Norristown State Hospital in Eastern Pennsylvania, nearly all of whom are labeled schizophrenic, and found that about 20 percent of them meet the behavioral criteria for being autistic.

Donna Williams was one of them. She was diagnosed autistic in adulthood, after a childhood where she was believed to be deaf, and labelled psychotic and disturbed. Neurologically and genetically speaking, autism and schizophrenia are not that far removed. One of the genes in common is a variant of Catechol-O-Methyltransferase, disproportionately found in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism.

While he believes misdiagnosis in the past explains a part of the increase in autism numbers, Dr. Mandell also believes the growth has been too great to be accounted for just by continuing genetic abnormalities.

“The increase is probably too fast to be genetics,” he said, “so there probably is something that is environmental, but there is nothing to suggest it’s the vaccines.” Studies raise questions about increase in autism cases

Let me see… what has changed about our diet since the early nineties? Well, schoolchildren have been eating an increasingly additive-heavy diet. During the same period the government has increasingly promoted the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, and these fruits and vegetables have increasingly been picked before they are ripe, and the varieties used have increasingly been bred for resistance to pests. All of these factors increase salicylate consumption. At the same time, calcium propionate started to be added to bread products and is now ubiquitous. Simultaneously big supermarkets took over the meat supply and began the mass vacuum-packing of meat. It is quite normal for meat to be three months old before it is eaten now – something that taxes even the average person’s resistance to amines. So amines and glutamates have increased too.

From my own perspective, I was raised on a very bland diet of cereal, bread, milk, fresh meat from the butcher’s, and potatoes. I refused to eat fruit except for the rare banana, or in the form of Ribena blackcurrant juice, and I wouldn’t eat most vegetables with the exception of cauliflower. I didn’t taste broccoli until I was perhaps eleven or twelve years old. This was around the time that mum and dad decided we should all eat more interesting and experimental foods. Like pizza and spaghetti bolognaise. Yes, you did read that right. Those were exotic foods to us. When I was thirteen years old we were all diagnosed with fibromyalgia. During the same period my ability to socialise declined to almost zero. I spent most of my teenage years as a voluntary mute.

Written by alienrobotgirl

6 February, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Posted in Autism

Tagged with ,

The problem with chelation therapy

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Something that often happens when people realise they are food chemical sensitive and/or especially if they are on the autism spectrum, is they automatically think the problem must be connected to mercury poisoning, or another heavy metal poisoning. But rule #1 any scientist should abide by, is that correlation does not denote causality.

People don’t like to think that autism is genetic: there is a moral panic in our society regarding the health of and how we raise our children, and a second moral panic in our society regarding industrial chemicals and toxins and the harm they can do to our health. The persistent assertion in our shared popular culture is that both of these things are getting worse in our society. These two moral panics neatly bisect on the subject of autism, and the natural conclusion of anyone introduced to the subject is that, somehow, heavy metal poisoning must be causing both autism and food chemical sensitivities, because neither of these health problems could be ‘natural’, could they?

The next reaction is to go through all of the alternative health theories of autism: that autism is caused by ‘gut dysbiosis’, by ‘parasites’, by ‘the wrong type of carbohydrate’, by ‘gluten and casein’, by ‘heavy metal poisoning’, by ‘vaccinations’, or by ‘vitamin deficiencies’. A number of these problems do correlate with autism – but that doesn’t necessarily make them the cause, rather they are a feature of the same underlying condition.

People with autism thought to be low on glutathione, sulphate, and methyl donors. Sometimes they are and sometimes they aren’t. This means that they don’t detox a variety of chemicals and heavy metals from their body as well as other people. When autistic people are found to have high levels of heavy metals in their bodies (and not all are and non-autistics can have high levels of metals too), it is usually because they are not detoxing them as well as other people, not necessarily because they have been exposed to an abnormal level of a poison – be that thimerosal, MMR, amalgam fillings or any other chemicals or metals in the environment.

Heavy metal toxicity has a range of medically recognisable symptoms. If you have heavy metal toxicity and you are experiencing these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are also causing your autism, or your food chemical sensitivities, or your fibromyalgia. It is more likely that you are experiencing all of these things due to the same underlying pathway in the body being compromised. Unfortunately these symptoms heavily overlap the symptoms food chemical sensitivity, so it is possible to become very confused and convinced that you have a problem with heavy metals when in fact you do not, or that heavy metals have caused your salicylate issue, when in fact they have not, they just coexist.

Sometimes when people suspect that they are heavy metal poisoned, they will panic and have their amalgam fillings removed. This is a very dangerous thing to do. Unless you have your amalgam fillings removed by a specialist who uses a dental dam and piped oxygen, you are liable to actually give yourself acute mercury poisoning by having the fillings removed! Amalgams release much more mercury when they are disturbed than they do when they are sat in your mouth. If, three months later, you then have a metal toxicity hair test done, you are liable to confirm your worst fears!

Next, if someone finds they have an unusually high level of heavy metals in their body, the first thing they usually do is arrange chelation therapy. Sometimes people are so convinced that heavy metals are the cause of their problems that they will do this even if their heavy metal levels are in the normal range or only very slightly raised. Any very slightly raised level is seen as confirmation of a problem that in reality may or may not actually exist.

The problem with this is that the chelation chemicals in themselves are reactive and cause unpleasant side effects:

DMSO therapy: DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide), a sulphur based compound, and the liquid version of MSM. Any individual who reacts to sulphur will usually react to DMSO. It’s known side effects include nasal congestion, shortness of breath or troubled breathing (asthma), skin rash, erythema, itchiness, scaly skin, skin thickening, hives, swelling of the face, blistering, skin pain, nausea, diarrhea, headache, garlic-like taste in mouth, garlic-like breath, garlic-like body odor, transient hemolysis, dizziness, sedation, kidney injury, light sensitivity, color vision disturbance, corneal opacities in animals and birth defects in animals.

DMSA therapy: DMSA (dimercaptosuccinic acid), is also sulphur based, containing two carboxylic acid groups and two thiols. Any individual who reacts to sulphur will usually react to DMSA. It’s side effects include diarrhea, loose stools, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, skin rashes, chills, fever, immune system impairment in developing foetuses, and unpleasant odour of urine, sweat and faeces.

DMPS therapy: DMPS (dimercaptopropane sulfonate) is also sulphur based. Any individual who reacts to sulphur will usually react to DMPS. It’s side effects include ‘allergic’ reactions, agitation, burning sensation of mouth, throat and eyes, chest constriction or feeling of tightness in the chest, cardiovascular reactions – dizziness, weakness, lowering of blood pressure, heart palpitations or tachycardia, nausea, vomiting, and tingling of the extremities.

Reactions usually vary in character based on dosage. At a low dosage, you might experience histamine degranulation causing rashes, or asthma, and at a high dose
you might experience vomiting and diarrhoea. All of the sulphur-based substances need to be detoxified in themselves through the sulfite oxidase (SUOX) enzyme. People who have an upregulated cystathionine beta synthase (CBS) enzyme are already putting an extra load on this pathway. These are two of the enzymes that has been flagged up by Yasko and others as having an association with autism, and of course an intolerance and reactivity towards sulphur and sulphites.

EDTA therapy: EDTA (ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid) is a chemical compound containing two amine groups and four carboxylate groups. It ‘looks’ suspiciously reactive. EDTA in itself needs detoxifying from the body. It is known to cause ‘allergic’ reactions, and reported side effects of EDTA include low blood sugar, skin irritation, diminished calcium levels, cramps and tics, headache, nausea and upset stomach, dangerously low blood pressure, kidney failure, organ damage, irregular heartbeat, seizures, and even death.

EDTA is the only chelation therapy that Dr Amy Yasko approves of, because all sulphur based chelators are known to be so problematic to the chemically sensitive. However Yasko does not seem totally clear on the importance of avoiding food chemicals. The side effects of EDTA seem just as ‘reactive’ as sulphur-based chelators, and EDTA superficially resembles gallates and amines in structure.

Sometimes so-called alternative therapists will diagnose mercury poisoning purely based on a DMPS or other challenge test, consisting of injecting a quantity of the chemical into the blood stream and watching for reactions. If the patient reacts to the drug, they are diagnosed as having been mercury poisoned.

The problem with this as you can see is that chelation drugs have some very powerful side effects. They are in and of themselves reactive and tend to affect those with food chemical problems. However, the lay person and any badly educated therapist or quack will attribute these reactions to “mercury being freed up and circulating around the body.” The ‘mercury’ whether it exists or not is blamed for the reaction caused by the chelation drugs, and the hypothesis of heavy metal poisoning is reinforced.

What I find disturbing about this situation is that people can become trapped in a spider’s web of the mind: they blame heavy metals for autism or food chemical sensitivities, they undergo chelation therapy and react to the chelators, and then blame the reactions on the removal of mercury, when in fact they are side effects and are inevitable in those who have food chemical sensitivities. Every time they undergo chelation therapy, they keep reacting, which reinforces in their mind the need to continue with the chelation therapy to ‘cure’ their problems with food chemicals. This can continue ad infinitum for year upon year, long after the heavy metals are actually gone – if they were even there in the first place.

This is why it is extremely important to test and retest your urine, blood and hair levels of heavy metals regularly, and to think about using alternative methods of detoxification.

There are less painful ways to detoxify your body of heavy metals. Most people can detoxify normal amounts of heavy metals naturally – the food chemical sensitive and those with liver/kidney problems are more of an exception. When someone who is food chemical sensitive goes on the failsafe diet, it helps to restore their normal detox systems. They often find that a wide range of chemicals and metals start to come out of their body naturally when they stop eating them on a continual basis. This process may take several weeks or months. Genetically appropriate methylation/sulphation supplements will also help to restore detox systems, as will alpha lipoic acid and selenium, sweating more, getting enough sunlight, and using a far infrared sauna.

Written by alienrobotgirl

28 August, 2007 at 3:14 pm

Posted in Quacktitioners

Tagged with ,

I'm not back yet (part two)

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I guess part of the reason I disappeared over the last few months is that I was feeling fairly worn down with the whole thing. I wanted to find some sort of a solution to this problem, though ever since I started I’ve had the sinking feeling that it’s a part of my biology and hell, high water and wild horses aren’t going to do the slightest thing to change it. I’m not going to change the world or its eating habits either. The best I can do is try and spread the word as far and wide as possible so at least some of the most inquisitive, resourceful, and open minded people are able to figure out the causes of their ill health. Instead I got tied up in the minutiae of trying to help every individual try to figure out the cause of every little reaction they had so they could avoid doing the elimination diet and testing things properly.

People always have to do their own thing. People hate doing the elimination diet. People make exceptions for their favourite foods, or foods they think are nutritious. They take vitamin megadoses, or vitamins they’ve been told to avoid. They take probiotics that half the time make them ill. They try chelation therapy and when they react to the DMSO they think it’s because they’re moving mercury out of their bodies. They try to eliminate one chemical at a time and get locked into an either/or mentality. They make endless mistakes with what they can and cannot eat. They bitch about food not being tasty. They bitch about not having anything to eat. They become obsessed with eating foods that they should be using caution with, and then don’t understand they’re self-medicating their addictions. They become enamoured of the dubious “you need to eat more salicylates not less” theory of salicylate intolerance. They give their good money to bad quacktitioners who sell them NAET, hypnotism, acupuncture, and homeopathic cures. Belief is a very powerful thing. At the first sign of becoming sick, they bottle it and start using non-failsafe medications and herbal remedies. If they get sick, they blame the elimination diet and decide salicylates must be good for them instead of acknowledging the fact that their body is in turmoil and needs at least three months to reset. And they never, ever question the idea that fruits and vegetables are good for you – that the “wonderful antioxidants” they contain are the exact same reactive compounds that are making them ill.

This is pretty much why I needed the mental holiday. Not because I’m upset or having a rant about what is inevitable and a part of human nature and what we all have to go through (I went through it all too), but because I was so tired of going over old ground. When I have to say something more than about three times, I start to feel stupid and embarrassed at having had to say it again. I never know when I’m patronising people or talking over their heads. It’s just the way I’m built. Aspergers. I’d make a bad teacher.

That’s why when I get back on the case I’ll have to try hard to restrain myself from unnecessary posts and interactions with people in order to give myself enough time to get the information website updated and completed. Now I come back to look at it, I can see tons of errors and things I want to change. For example, salicylate, amine, and glutamate intolerance isn’t merely about detox or inactivation of the compounds involved. It’s also about inflammatory processes, about genes that effect neurotransmitters, and a kind of a sensitivity I can’t quite explain but seems to be integral to autism, asperger’s, ADHD, fibromyalgia, and other related conditions. I think it’s something that deserves a “syndrome” title – like “food chemical intolerance syndrome” – or “feingold syndrome”, except it isn’t necessarily ultimately about food, but an integral weakness or difference that is expressed when exposed to certain chemical, atmospheric, environmental, emotional, and food triggers.

I think it’s genetic, or at the very least congenital. I don’t think anymore that in some people might have anything to do with vitamin deficiencies, or with toxins like mercury, or with gut flora, or any other vague possibility that people have theorised. I think it is primarily a modern syndrome. I think it has something to do with our evolutionary diet being low in chemicals, and our evolving in a highly pressured, dangerous environment in which survival of the fittest is survival of the brainiest. I think it has something to do with eating a diet consisting almost entirely of fatty, fresh meat and bland root vegetables, and that’s why we do very well on this diet and very badly on a modern “healthy” diet. I couldn’t care less what various native tribes eat in obscure regions of the world where these genes probably haven’t propagated, as I think it’s fairly irrelevant. Dr Price did not in any case study the health of people beyond their ability to fend off infections and the quality of their bone development. This syndrome is far more subtle than that.

As I have always said, we are all affected by food chemicals beyond a certain point, and that point isn’t particularly high, but some people are particularly badly affected by them and they are different in some fundamental way that cannot be summed up and pinpointed with one gene, or two, or three, but perhaps a small, correlating group of genes. Is autism caused by food chemicals? Or do food chemicals affect autistics particularly badly? Is our inherent hypersensitivity to our environment caused by the food chemicals, or does this inherent hypersensitivity make us sensitive to the food chemicals? Is the hypersensitivity just a different unrelated aspect of the genes involved? Who knows?

Written by alienrobotgirl

27 July, 2007 at 5:18 pm

Fallon leukemia cluster and sulphite oxidase gene

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11 of 15 leukemia patients have genetic variation, researchers say.

CARSON CITY — Federal researchers have found that children who are part of a Northern Nevada cancer cluster have a variation in a gene that helps combat unsafe chemicals.

Eleven of the 15 children diagnosed in the Fallon leukemia cluster between 1997 and 2001 submitted to DNA testing, and the variation in the gene was found in all 11 children tested. The gene, called SUOX, tells the body how to make sulfite oxidase, an enzyme that changes an unsafe chemical into a safer one.

The study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the latest to suggest genetics and toxins play a role in the cancer cluster plaguing the rural agricultural community.

But Dr. Carol Rubin, chief of the CDC’s health studies branch, said the variation in the gene was also found in 40 percent of Fallon children in a comparison, or healthy group.

“The variations may mean something, and they may not mean something,” she said. “The fact that all the case children had the variation, and 40 percent of the comparison children did too, is a striking finding. FALLON CANCER CLUSTER: Gene link found in children

I keep finding links between poor liver detoxification and cancer.

The genetics, heavy metals and drinking water areas of study are related to previous research that indicates some of the Fallon children who got leukemia had the same variation in a gene that helps the body detoxify and are related to air and water tests showing high concentrations of the metals tungsten and cobalt in Fallon’s environment.

Witten and his partner, Paul Sheppard, at the University of Arizona have found high levels of tungsten in tree rings and air samples in Fallon. Sheppard, in a recent peer-reviewed research paper, found high concentrations of the metal in lichens on rocks in the Fallon area.

Tungsten has not been shown to cause leukemia, but research by Witten and others indicates that tungsten in combination with other metals, including cobalt, can damage DNA in cells. Fallon leukemia cluster research to continue

Previously the US government had managed to find “no link” between the suspiciously high tungsten and other mentals in the Fallon environment and the leukemia cluster.

A federal study of a childhood leukemia cluster in this farming and military town found high amounts of tungsten and arsenic in most residents but nothing to indicate that either caused the cancer. Federal study finds no environmental link to Fallon leukemia cluster

According to this article there are several old tungsten mines in the area and a tungesten carbide factory in town.

It is not surprising that there is a link between tungsten, a genetic sulphite oxidase enzyme variation, and leukemia. It has been previously noted several times that tungsten displaces molybdenum, the crucial cofactor for the production of sulphite oxidase – making already vulnerable children with a genetic variation even more vulnerable.

Molybdenum deficiency has already been associated with other types of cancer. Sulphites are another example of an antioxidant that can cause cancer.

Written by alienrobotgirl

10 December, 2006 at 6:49 pm

Posted in The Genetics of FCI?

Tagged with

Food for thought?

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This post is for a couple of friends of mine who are big fish eaters.

Mercury released by coal-fired power plants contaminates waterways and accumulates in fish. Many thousands of the pregnant women in America who eat fish consume enough mercury to potentially harm their children’s neurological development. Some states warn that children should not eat more than a can of tuna per week; based on EPA guidelines, a twenty-pound child may exceed a level considered safe for the most sensitive populations with just 1.3 ounces.

Lakes fish contaminated with PCBs showed lowered IQs and shortened attention spans. And these effects on intelligence and behavior have been shown to persist throughout childhood. A Dutch study confirmed that increased maternal levels of PCBs can impair cognition in infants. Young monkeys exposed to PCBs at low levels show learning disabilities and hyperactivity. ADHD leaflet from

If you are a pescatarian or a regular fish eater (i.e. you eat fish more than once a week), I advise you to visit immediately and calculate your mercury exposure, because you’ll probably never eat tuna or other oily fish again.

I’ve calculated mine. One 6 oz serving of cod (comparatively low in mercury), gives me around 40% of the maximum weekly exposure of mercury. One 6 oz serving of tuna gives me between 140% and 270% of my maximum weekly exposure.

Eat fish every day? You’re in deep trouble.

Written by alienrobotgirl

23 August, 2006 at 3:15 pm