Lessons From College…
In my opinion, there could be no doubt that there were some pretty significant smoke signals burning everywhere.
The pieces to my son’s autism certainly did seem to be falling into place. There were now many factors that had to be considered as I attempted to determine what had contributed to my son’s autism in order to do what I could to help reverse it. Clearly, in looking back, I now knew that my son was susceptible to autism from the day he was born – that, he was among that ten percent or so believed to be “born” with autism. But, I also knew that Zachary had made some progress and then regressed. As such, I knew there was much more to this puzzle – both in terms of brain function and matters relating to vaccinations, mercury, aluminum, and iron.
I had spent countless hours doing research and knew in my heart there would be countless more ahead. Yet, only in understanding autism did I feel I could really address my son’s issues. I could not depend on or wait on science to provide those answers for me – and so, I kept searching, looking for answers to my son’s problems.
Fragmented thoughts… neural degeneration… weakened glial cells… mercury… aluminum… viruses… fragmented thoughts… autism… Alzheimer’s… schizophrenia… enzymes not working… a common history... bilirubin… lactoferrin… iron overload… heme deficiency… the immature liver… Zachary’s “little glucose bottle”… insulin… fetal hemoglobin… beta… gestational diabetes… twenty-eight weeks… so many issues and so many parallels. Yet, still, there were differences in these disorders. I had to understand more in terms of “the parallels and the differences”.
A paper entitled “Clonally Expanded T Cells Are Present In The CSF of Patients With Major Depression” by EL Oleszak, WL Lin, JR Chang, X Zhang, S Herzog, M Bhattacharjee, G Rudner, CD Platsoucas, and K. Bechter, available on the Internet at the following website, http://www.stanleylab.org/Document/oleszak%20abstract%202001.htm, seemed to indicate that schizophrenia may be caused by a virus in genetically susceptible individuals.
This would have been very much in line with the work of Hans Moises who also suspected viruses played a role in schizophrenia. Likewise, this also was in line with the work of Dr. Wakefield, the man who had started the MMR controversy in Europe and the fact that so many parents had stated there children had developed autism, almost overnight, after having received the MMR. The MMR was a vaccine with three “live” viruses in it – measles, mumps and rubella. Although this vaccine did not have any mercury, the work of Dr. Wakefield seemed to indicate he had concerns with the interaction of these viruses within the human body.
Scientists were now showing that in autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s there was indeed an “over-responsive immune system”, with the body apparently producing an immune system response even after the virus could be long gone. An "ongoing" immune system response, it seemed to me, would obviously put an additional stress or burden on the immune system and as such, would most likely lead to early cell death of immune system cells. Would that not only further weaken the immune system? In addition, the work of Hans Moises and Dr. Wakefield seemed to indicate that they thought viruses would “reproduce” in the body.
Given viruses thrived on iron and persons with autism and Alzheimer’s were known to suffer from iron overload, that, in my opinion, made for a very nasty situation and perhaps helped explain why so many young children seemed to develop autism – overnight! If viruses were lodging and multiplying in the brain, would that not result in even more problems?
Viruses weakening glial cells and thus impacting proper neural connectivity - certainly, this could lead to “fragmented thoughts” if connections within the brain had been weakened – could it not?
But, what about Alzheimer’s - and the generation most associated with “flu shots”? Flu shots did not contain a “live” virus today. The fact that so many “shots” had gone from “live” to “inactive” viruses made me truly wonder as to the “motivation” in the pharmaceutical industry for having done so! Did they know something regarding the safety of “live viruses”? Obviously, they had perceived the “need” to switch to “inactive” viruses in so many shots. Hum…
Could inactive viruses lead to the same type of problem in terms of possibly weakening glial cells in the brain? Inactive viruses also generated an immune system response. But, did that result in damage to neural connections? Or, was it the mercury? All flu shots contained mercury!
The University of Calgary experiment showing neural degeneration due to low-level mercury exposure had clearly, without question, showed that mercury led to neural degeneration by completely destroying the neurons and their axons. Within a half hour of exposure, the neurons affected had been reduced to approximately half their original size! This experiment had shown that neurons were not only destroyed, but that future growth in impacted neurons was also hampered and that affected neurons went on to develop “neurofibrillary tangles”. There was no denying that, in the case of mercury, neural degeneration definitely did occur and, like the elderly population, young children, via their vaccinations, had been exposed to mercury – many of them up to one hundred times more than what was considered “safe” according to standards set by the EPA.
In spite of the many parallels I had found between autism and Alzheimer’s, there had been one area that seemed to indicate a “complete opposite” between the two. That research had to do with what was known as lactoferrin, an iron-binding protein found in milk, tears, and bile (produced by the liver).
Lactoferrin was believed to have anti-cancer, immunomodulation, anti- microbial, anti-viral, and toxin binding properties. In other words, lactoferrin played a role in the functions of the immune system and was believed to have properties that made it attack bacteria and viruses as well as toxins. Lactoferrin was believed to inhibit the replication of some viruses. Lactoferrin was produced in breastmilk, tears and bile. Yet, in a child who had not been breastfed or only breastfed for a short time, as had been the case for Zachary, what happened when there was too little lactoferrin, possibly elevated iron levels and an assault to the immature liver in the form of hepatitis vaccines – a disorder known to result in liver dysfunction. How was it that we were injecting children with immature livers with viruses that were specifically known to damage the liver? This, again, made absolutely no sense to me!
One certainly did not need to be a rocket scientist to see “faulty logic” in that. Of course, even rocket scientists appeared to have “missed some pretty critical basics” in terms of “o-rings” and “loose or falling thermal shields” on shuttles – basics that appeared to have contributed to two shuttle disasters. But, there again, we had been quick to “look elsewhere” in determining “the blame”. Could so many scientists have overlooked “the basics” when it came to vaccinations – the basics in terms of mercury and aluminum levels, potential virus interactions, iron overload, matters relating to the immature immune system and liver and immature blood brain barrier?
Could so many have missed so much in terms of the basics? The fact that mercury levels in vaccines alone had been over one hundred times safe levels as determined by EPA standards seemed to indicate that, certainly, this was a huge possibility. It seemed everyone had simply “assumed” someone else had done the basic calculations and that someone else had done the basic studies.
The reality of man’s limitations in so many of these issues came rushing back to me as I recalled a college experience. There had actually been a time when I had considered going into medicine. In 1980, I had taken a class in neurology via the department of psychology. It had been my favorite class – ever! So much did I enjoy neurology that on trips back home, I spoke to my mother about “the fascinating brain” on many an occasion.
There had been no doubt that my mother had perceived my enthusiasm for neurology. Indeed, on many exams, I had placed in the very top of the class, surpassing even students who had already been accepted to medical school. I was only seventeen or eighteen at the time. I had entered and graduated from this college while most students my age were still in high school. It was not necessarily that I was any smarter than the average person – I had simply worked hard and taken summer school throughout high school and college in order to get ahead. I was truly the “type A” personality. I had always carried a heavy course load – both in high school and college. I had a fantastic memory for facts and that had helped me tremendously in my studies. But, of all the classes I had ever taken, neurology – to this day – had remained my all time favorite – so much so that my mother, in perceiving my enthusiasm for neurology had suggested I go to medical school and become a neurologist.
Well, loving neurology was one thing… loving biochemistry was quite another. I absolutely hated that subject. I had enrolled in biochemistry… and it was the recall of that particular experience that now haunted me so. Biochemistry could be a rather difficult subject yet, this subject was a pre-requisite for anyone wanting to enter medicine, nursing and a whole host of other “scientific fields”. The classroom in which I had “biochemistry class” was huge. There could easily be four hundred to five hundred students in the class. The first day of class, my instructor did something I had never seen done in a class before. She asked the following question: “How many of you are taking this class for the first time?” What? Why in the world was she asking this? I put my hand up as I looked around the room. To my utter amazement, there were a lot fewer hands up than I would have expected to see. Then, the instructor asked the second question: “How many of you are taking this class for the second time?” It seemed almost half the class raised its hand. I simply could not believe it. But then, came question number three: “How many of you are taking this class for the third time?” As I sat there, I thought to myself: “There is no way! Surely, there could not be that many students repeating a class – at university level – for the third time – students that were supposed to go on to become – future scientists, nurses and doctors!” Well, sure enough, there were plenty of students repeating the class for a third time!
There were many ways one could interpret that little “survey” my instructor had done. Perhaps this instructor had “prided herself” on “being tough” in teaching this subject matter. But, if that were the case, would students who had previously failed biochemistry take a class with an instructor who was known to be “tough” – that would make no sense! There were only two or three instructors for this particular class during this particular semester. Certainly, students would do everything possible to avoid a “tough” instructor for this class. Students always talked among themselves about “best teachers and teachers to avoid”. My inquisitive mind thus turned to thoughts of “dumb students”. Surely, that could explain a few of the “repeats”. Yet, the most plausible explanation seemed to be that the subject matter itself had to be difficult for the time allotted.
Well, I loved neurology, but I certainly did not love biochemistry – and certainly not enough to repeat a class two or three times. This was not my bag and I knew it! I had no desire to even study this subject in the first place – and – if understanding biochemistry was what would make one a good doctor or scientist, then I had a serious problem. I had absolutely no desire to understand this stuff. I spent the next day or so thinking about this issue and decided to withdraw from biochemistry class. It just was not something I had the heart or motivation to study – and I knew that would be a big problem for me! That was ok. There was plenty I could do with my life to still be considered a “productive member” of society.
In looking back, the more I thought about this little survey of biochemistry class, the more I came to the conclusion that indeed, the explanation for the “repeats” had to be that the subject matter itself was, for most, too difficult to grasp within the allotted timeframe. Like everything, with exposure, things were easier to understand but - repeat exposure to biochemistry - would not be in the cards for me! Absolutely not… no way would I suffer through that! Yet, this short stay in biochemistry had provided quite an eye opener for me – this was “challenging stuff” for the average student!
My sister-in-law, now a doctor, had always been in the top of her medical school classes. Yet, now, I recalled how, she too, had struggled with biochemistry – to the point that one day, I had caught her crying over the issue in the student union while she was still an undergrad. During my first years of college, I had lived with my brother and sister-in-law. That night, I went home and told my brother – a man who simply loved science and thrived in it - that his wife was seriously struggling with biochemistry – to the point of being in tears! My brother had always had a heart of gold – especially for his wife. He would tutor her and help her through the course so that she would not end up as one of those “statistics” – a “repeat biochemistry student”.
My sister-in-law, I knew to be very, very intelligent. I considered her among the most intelligent women I knew. If she had – initially - struggled with biochemistry, I now understood why so many others had, too! It had not been an indication of her “intelligence” but perhaps simply a matter of “too much, too quickly”, or simply that she too, simply did not like biochemistry. Motivation and enthusiasm certainly had a great deal to do with success – perhaps much more than intelligence. My sister-in-law, with just a little extra help from my brother – had been able to easily come to understand her biochemistry. I truly felt that most often, it was just that “little extra” that made all the difference. I had another sister-in-law - on my husband’s side - that was a whiz at math and biochemistry – a biochemistry “one-timer” who truly found the subject easy, yet, even with her schooling, she had decided to remain a housewife and to be at home for her children. The same had been true of one of my sisters – another woman educated in science – another woman who chose to stay home with her children as opposed to working.
There could be no denying that there were many sharp moms at home with their children – moms with a sense for science and moms with common sense – and of these, the latter was more valuable. Likewise, there was no denying that learning the necessary materials in a class was really a function of many factors – the skill of the teacher, the difficulty of the material itself, the amount of time and/or repetition of topics provided for the learning of the materials, the determination, motivation, intelligence, stress levels and alertness levels of the student, the number of students in the class, etc. Truly, there were many, many variables that played into “how well” one learned a particular topic and, how well one retained that information.
As I thought about this, I also thought again about that neurology class I had taken. I had done well on absolutely every exam. Often, I missed only a few points out of the total and ranked pretty well at the very top of the class – until my final. As much I loved neurology, I had always taken a very extensive course load while in college. As such, I had completed my first degree by the age of nineteen. I then entered a Masters program. Yet, there had been something about neurology class that I had regretted – not taking the time to study the “muscle spindle”!
I had been studying for my neurology final for days – my instructor had been an excellent one who prided herself on challenging her students – her exams were lengthy and challenging indeed. Although I had spent so much time preparing for this final, I was so completely exhausted the night before that I decided I would take my chances and not go over “the muscle spindle”. This was something I had only rarely done in the past – not studied material that I knew was “fair game” for the exam. In the past, I had been lucky – that would not be the case this time.
All the hours I had spent on neurology… my all time favorite class… the “strong A” I had so cherished… down the tubes over one twenty point question on the muscle spindle on my neurology final. I truly knew nothing about the muscle spindle. I had missed the lesson… and had made the very huge mistake of not studying it on my own either. It had been not a matter of intelligence but one of exhaustion and motivation. The “A” I had so worked to achieve, fell to a B+ as a final grade. My professor knew that there had been something wrong – I had never totally missed a question like this. I just told her the truth – I had been simply too exhausted to study “the muscle spindle”! I knew she felt bad for me – but, it had been a decision I had made and now, I had to live with the consequences of that bad decision.
To this day, “the muscle spindle” had left such a bad feeling within me that I had never gone back to study it. I figured the class was over – my studying the muscle spindle now would not change the facts of life. I could now “move on”.
When I considered this example of “the muscle spindle”, I realized that there certainly existed the equivalent of “my muscle spindle” for others as well. By this I meant that, surely, our scientists, our doctors, etc., had also experienced a “muscle spindle” of their own – a topic or two they had failed to adequately study that could impact their understanding of something later in life. The “muscle spindle” and “biochemistry class repeats” had what I now saw as some major implications in terms of the science and medicine in this nation. No one had graduated from class “knowing everything”. No professor had “taught” everything. And, the simple fact was that much of what we knew today was not known then and thus, had not been taught to the masses that were now our doctors and scientists. Bits and pieces were always missed and those bits and pieces, certainly, could be critical.
If my biochemistry class had been “typical” of the understanding of the “normal” students that sat in biochemistry classes across the nation, there was no doubt in my mind that later, as these students became the doctors and scientists of the world, that they perhaps could miss some of the basics in many, many areas! There was so much to know in science – so much to study – so much to keep abreast of – so many areas that impacted others. How could someone possibly be well verses in so many subjects and still do his or her “daily job” – especially given that while in residency, many resident physicians were expected to work eighty to one hundred and twenty hours per week! I knew scientists also put in very long hours, too! These students had been so overworked and overstressed, that I had a feeling many of them “geared down” significantly in terms of the hours they put in after the completion of residency or school – at least when it came to matter of “extra reading” and such.
I was not saying that doctors were not keeping up at all, but what I was saying was that it was – truly – impossible to keep up to everything in medicine or research. As such, doctors and indeed, the public, had come to put an almost “unquestioning” trust in the pharmaceutical industry – had come to trust that at least the pharmaceutical industry – the industry that specialized in the making of vaccines – had at least done “the basics” in matters relating to vaccine safety.
In school, you learned the basics and trusted that what you had been taught was correct.
Medical students were taught that vaccines worked and most likely did not question their safety. After all, until all these “explosions” in mental disorders, no one else had! In addition, a physician’s training in pharmacology was very limited. Doctors were pretty well completely dependent on the pharmaceuticals to tell them what drug worked for what ailment. There again – there was not the issue of ever “questioning” the pharmaceuticals knew what they were doing. After all, they were somewhat kept in check by the FDA and government agencies involved in vaccination programs – were they not? Medical students and scientists, however, for the most part were probably not aware of the many conflicts of interest that existed between the government agencies involved in vaccination programs, Congress and Senate legislators and the pharmaceutical industry. Medical students were probably also not aware of the fact that there were virtually no studies on the long-term safety of vaccinations. Indeed, I suspect most doctors would probably “have issues” with studies lasting only a few days to a few weeks. Even work done in graduate school was placed under much greater scrutiny than that!
Yet, it indeed seemed, society – doctors, researchers, and parents – had made a very grave error in assuming that “the basics” were being done in terms of “checks” to ensure public health and safety! It now painfully appeared, however, that indeed, this had not been the case – as revealed in the June 2002 hearings on government reform and vaccination safety!
The pieces of the puzzle certainly did appear to be falling into place – both from a scientific and social perspective. Having little confidence in the fact that the all the basics had indeed been done, I returned to “my investigation” into matters relating to a disorder I had once only vaguely known as “autism” – something little more than a label! My search for answers to “autism” continued…
If lactoferrin was low in children with autism, and children with autism were known to suffer from iron overload and iron made viruses thrive, and “free iron” was somehow inactivated lactoferrin, and lactoferrin was known to inhibit the replication of some viruses and viruses were now believed to weaken glial cells – could this not explain why the MMR seemed to be a “trigger” for autism? Dr. Wakefield had raised concerns over the interaction of viruses among themselves as well as with mercury within the brain and the body. Lactoferrin… antiviral…
Lactoferrin was available to the infant for internal functions only via breastmilk or bile. If an infant was not breastfed or was breastfed for only a limited time would apolactoferrin supplementation be helpful to both normal children and children with autism? Apolactoferrin was “lactoferrin-like” supplement in which the iron had been removed. I was not a doctor, nor a scientist, but I wondered!
Lactoferrin – produced in milk, tears and bile (after six months of age) - the ability to inhibit the replication of some viruses – low in children with autism but found in elevated levels in the spinal fluid of persons with Alzheimer’s – iron overload in autism and Alzheimer’s – the inability to properly process casein (dairy protein), casein kinase 1 at levels thirty times higher than normal in the brain of persons with Alzheimer’s - how very interesting!
Viruses, iron, aluminum or mercury? Viruses, aluminum and mercury were present in vaccinations and iron was found in prenatal vitamins and everyday foods and supplements as well as in drinking water (especially if on a well and iron levels were not well monitored as they would be in “city water”). It appeared to me that science was showing any one of these, separately, or in combination, could – potentially - be responsible for the weakening of neural connections (i.e., weakened glial cells) or their total destruction (i.e. mercury exposure experiment) and either could lead to “fragmented thoughts”, what I now, truly, came to believe was the “hallmark” of all three disorders – autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s.
As a parent who now knew the blood brain barrier, the protective envelope around the brain, was not mature until at least six months of age and that the liver, the major detoxifying organ in the human body did not produce bile until the age of six months, I had serious concerns about giving vaccinations to infants before nine months of age or so, given what this research appeared to be saying. Many children were born premature, and for them, I suspected the impacts of exposure to viruses and mercury would be even worse. Thus, in their case, more than six months of age would be necessary in order to allow the blood brain barrier and the liver to be working properly.
Mercury was known to have a half-life of twenty years, meaning that it would take twenty years for half of the molecules to decay. The body also had a difficult time getting rid of mercury. It was also known to lodge in the brain. Given all this, why did we continue to have mercury in vaccinations? Clearly, vaccines could be produced without mercury. Thus, why had it not been eliminated altogether? Was this low cost preservative really worth the risk?
Save a buck… Waste a life!
I knew we had to control deadly diseases, yet, I also knew we could do so without injecting mercury into our bodies and without injecting so many viruses into the body at once or so early in an infant’s life. In my opinion, there simply had to be time allowed for the liver to develop and begin producing bile prior to the introduction of toxins, etc. into the system of an infant.
As I researched more about the human body and the brain, more pieces to the puzzle started to fit into place. Given my son had autism, I would start with “the basics” in terms of what I knew about autism and see where that research would lead me in terms understanding more about schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s as well.
The one thing science had definitely shown about the child with autism, via MRI scans, was a very marked impact on the cerebellum. I thus set out to better understand the fascinating cerebellum.