29 September, 2008

Effect of Caffeine on Stress Levels and Teamwork

“Taking a coffee break at work may actually sabotage employees’ ability to do their jobs and undermine teamwork instead of boosting it, suggests new research.” So begins an article in New Scientist. We thought coffee breaks reduce stress. Have you noticed however, that after drinking coffee, stressful personal interactions do actually become more tense? Men tend to speak much louder, escalating into yelling or shouting.

A pair of scientists from Bristol University were inspired by a report of an attendee at one of their stress workshops.

The man traveled to the U.S. with his workmates. They found coffee more available in the U.S. than it is in the U.K. The men in his entourage took advantage of the readily available source of their favorite drug. He related that “within days their stress levels had escalated and they believe the extra caffeine had disrupted their working relationships, and impaired their working ability.”

Back in the ‘lab,’ these two scientists set up a scenario to test the effects of java on people’s stress levels and working relationships. They gave subjects a beverage containing 200 milligrams of caffeine (about 2 cups of espresso) or a caffeine-free cup.

The most pronounced effects seemed to be on the men in the study. Men had higher heart rates and used less adaptive coping strategies under the influence of caffeine. They had more difficulty during a public speaking task after drinking coffee. However, their performance in mathematics was not affected by the beverage. Surprisingly, levels of alertness were similar whether or not participants drank caffeinated beverages.

Given a group ‘desert survival task,’ taking a coffee break reduced indicators of stress, but reduced men’s ability to perform as a team. The effect was more pronounced in men than their female counterparts. Jim Lane of Duke University, theorizes that men may be more threatened by stressful situations. Stress is amplified by caffeine.

A separate report from BBC News explains that it is indeed possible to get too much coffee: “Indulging in a few mugs too many could result in symptoms such as restlessness, nervousness, excitement, insomnia, nausea, vomiting and a flushed face. The symptoms of a serious overdose include delirium and seizures.”

Caffeine overdose can be fatal, in the short term, if not in the long run. “Death from an extreme overdose would tend to be due to ventricular fibrillation -- an uncoordinated contraction of heart muscles, which could stop blood pumping.” the BBC article reports. Toxicity reactions may occur with consumption of as few as seven cups of coffee per day, the article explains. Individual sensitivity may vary, however. Some people may exhibit symptoms from less java, while others may be able tolerate a bit more.

Caffeine is an addictive drug. Those who consume at least 600 to 750 milligrams of caffeine per day will find it difficult to go without their daily fix.

How much caffeine is in that cup? The BBC reports: “The highest natural caffeine content is found in filter coffee, a mug of which contains about 120 mg of caffeine. Instant coffee contains roughly 75 mg and espresso 107 mg.”

They do not explore the effect of long term use of excessive amounts of caffeine consumption. Some studies suggest a link between habitually large consumption of coffee and fibromyalgia.

Caffeine is by far the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance. Perhaps, when it is time to take a break, it would be better to take a walk, drink ordinary H2O, and take several deep breaths than to hit Starbucks.



26 September, 2008

Natural Relief for Laryngitis

Laryngitis leaves a person speechless. At best, the person speaks in a raspy tone or in a whisper. Severe cases lead to a complete loss of the voice. It is inconvenient, especially if your occupation involves a great deal of vocal communication. Acute laryngitis lasts just a few days, but chronic cases can last weeks or even longer. Sometimes it is painful.

The larynx is located in the throat. It is commonly known as vocal chords or vocal folds. It becomes inflamed (the ‘itis’ part of laryngitis) for a number of reasons. A virus, as in a cold, is the most common cause. Bacteria and fungal infections can also cause hoarseness. The coughing which comes with respiratory illness may lead to laryngitis. Over use or abuse of the vocal chords through excessive shouting or incorrect singing habits stress the voice, causing inflammation. Smokers may find themselves with a case of laryngitis. A heavy bout of alcohol intake irritates the throat as well. The throat may erode due to acid reflux. Occasionally, the vocal chords may be disturbed by the presence of a tumor, leading to loss of vocal power.

We cannot claim to cure or treat laryngitis. Natural healing does not necessarily offer specialized recommendations. Instead, illness or disease is seen as an indication that the body is over loaded with issues which cause stress. Issues range from improper care for your body to toxic pollutants.

In our hectic lives, we often neglect the proper care and feeding of our bodies. Insufficient rest, junk food (and drinks), and exposure to environmental toxins take their toll.

At the first sign of a sickness, one needs to realize that the body has been under more stress than it can handle. Too often, we want to take a cup of tea or some pills and continue doing what we have been doing all along. Think again.

Many natural healers recommend beginning intervention for particular ailments with the simplest remedies.

So, let us begin with a common recommendation: get rest and drink plenty of fluids.

Sleep is underrated as a healing modality. True, many ills need a bit more than extra sleep for their resolution, but resting in bed (or on the sofa during the daytime) allows the body to pour its energy more effectively into the immune system.

In addition, while you sleep, in the dark of night, melatonin is produced. Melatonin is important in regulating the body’s daily (circadian) rhythm. It is a powerful antioxidant, which can cross cell membranes and the blood brain barrier. Even the products of melatonin’s attack on free radicals have antioxidant activity. Longevity is one of the side effects of melatonin’s action in the body as it seems to generate a powerful response from the immune system. It may assist in fighting viral and bacterial infections, including those which may be implicated in laryngitis.

So, get plenty of rest, especially in a dark room at night. If you need to get up, do not turn on a light. And when you wake up, be sure to drink plenty of water.

Water is essential to life. The body is at least seventy percent water. The body counts on blood and lymph fluids as transportation systems. They carry nutrients and immune system components to where they are needed and cart off waste products. Too many people stumble through their day to day lives depriving their bodies of necessary fluids or consuming substances which decrease the available fluids. So, it is essential that one increase fluid intake during times of stress.

Certainly, the first choice of fluids is good quality water. Much has been written about pure water so we need not cover that topic here. Suffice to say that if you drink contaminated water, it will be more difficult for the body to focus on cleaning up the vocal chords.

Eliminate dairy products. While that dish of ice cream may sound appealing when your throat is hot and sore, its effect will be extremely short lived. Milk products tend to increase mucus production in the body, which tends to muck things up. In the end, mucus accumulation makes it more difficult for the immune system to send in the troops.

Other helpful liquids are available which can assist in clearing the mess which has led to the laryngitis.

Honey has been shown to be as effective as patent cough syrup. It is astringent, clearing away inflammation and some of its causes. Raw honey has enough sugar in it to give that little boost of energy, but many of the enzymes to help the body effectively use that sugar. The little bit of nutrition in honey also helps in healing.

Add freshly squeezed lemon juice (or raw apple cider vinegar) in equal parts with the honey. This can provide vitamin C and some of the electrolytes which help to bring the acid/alkaline balance back to unhealthy tissues.

Squeeze the juice from half a lemon, mix it with a tablespoon or two of honey. Add this mixture to a cup of water. It does not matter if the water is warm or cool. Now, stir in one tenth teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Yes, you read that right – cayenne pepper. The cayenne helps to break up mucus accumulation in and around the inflamed tissue.

A similar recipe, substituting grade B maple syrup for the honey constitutes the Master Cleanse. During the cleanse, drink ten to twelve cups of this lemonade throughout the day. Generally the Master Cleanse is presented as a form of fasting. You probably don’t feel much like eating when your throat is so sore and swollen.

If the concept of hot pepper intimidates you, try mixing honey and lemon in sage tea. Steep a tablespoon of dried sage leaves in three cups of boiling water. Do not boil the sage leaves, just pour the boiling water over the leaves and cover for fifteen minutes. Strain and add lemon and honey as above.

Another remedy recommended by the old herbalists is garlic syrup. Peel and chop the cloves of several garlic heads and place them in a jar. Cover with equal parts apple cider vinegar and distilled water. Shake well and allow to sit for four hours. Strain and add an equal amount of honey. Shake together. Cap. Store in the refrigerator. Take a teaspoon to a tablespoon every six to eight hours.

We cannot leave this subject without mentioning Grandma’s favorite remedy for what ails you: Chicken soup. Any soup, for that matter, which is made with lots of herbs and vegetables provides easily digestible nutrition. Our fore-mothers knew, perhaps intuitively, that herbs are for much more that taste. Many of them have antibiotic properties and can be a strong ally in repairing the damage we do to our bodies from day to day.

When you have laryngitis, realize that your body is telling you that you have not given it the care it deserves. Slow down, and get extra rest. You will find that you don’t have much appetite, so don’t be afraid to cut back on your food intake (especially those junk foods that we are all so fond of). Drink plenty of fluids. Honey, lemon, sage, and garlic are primary tools for getting back in communication with your world.

17 September, 2008

Vaccine Refusal

A friend posted this on her blog. The data is a couple years old, but it is the most comprehensive treatment of the subject I have seen in one place.

Please note: This is NOT an exemption form. This document is designed to facilitate the discussion between you and those you choose to discuss your decision to refuse vaccines. Many states have prescribed forms which they use for exemption purposed. Check the exemption page on this web site for a link to individual state laws. [Note: I found a more current site for vaccine exemption forms, so the link above has been updated.

Also, here is a link to a current, detailed, general exemption letter.


Patient Name_______________________________ Birthdate_______________

As the parent/guardian of __________________________, I have investigated the risks and benefits of the following vaccines and diseases. I am aware that there are documented cases of people contracting diseases for which they are clinically fully immunized and that the manufacturers of the vaccines do not guarantee 100% efficacy. I am also aware that VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System) documented cases of over 54,000 adverse reactions from vaccines in a 20-month period. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (The Vaccine Court) received 366 new petitions for compensation between 1/5/04 and 3/30/04. The National Vaccine Injury Fund, created in 1986 to compensate families of vaccine-damaged children, had paid out over 1.4 billion dollars in compensation 1986 to 10/21/04.

POLIO: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing paralytic disease and meningitis associated with poliomyelitis. I understand that even under epidemic conditions, natural polio produces no symptoms in over 90% of those exposed to it.(1) I understand that there have been no cases of wild polio in the US in the last 20 years and that those cases which have been documented have been caused by the vaccine.(2)
I understand the following side effects for the vaccine are possible:
Killed virus polio: temperature of *102° in up to 38%, sleepiness, fussiness, crying, decreased appetite, vomiting, Guillain-Barré Syndrome and allergic reaction in those allergic to neomycin, polymyxin B and streptomycin. Precautions include those who have had a previous negative reaction, pregnant women, and possibly those with HIV/AIDS or otherwise compromised immune systems.

Live virus polio: Reactions include contraction of polio by those who have received the virus and by those who have come into contact with body fluids and wastes of the immunized person. Paralytic symptoms may follow contraction of polio. Live virus is reportedly shed for up to 8 weeks after the inoculation. Guillain-Barré Syndrome has also been noted. Not recommended for use in households where someone has a compromised immune system, for pregnant women, or where a previous reaction has been reported.(3)

Killed virus Ipol® is grown on monkey kidney cells, contains formaldehyde, and triple antibiotics. Poliovax® is grown on cells from an aborted baby, contains formaldehyde, cow serum and triple antibiotic solution.(4) The monkey kidney cells used in the original killed polio vaccine contains SIV-40 and has been found in tumor cells of children whose parent’s were vaccinated against polio using the contaminated virus.(5) The live vaccine is grown on monkey kidney cells, antibiotics and calf serum.

HEMOPHILUS INFLUENZAE B: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing meningitis (although this vaccine will not protect the child from meningitis from all other forms such as pneumococcus, and meningococcus, viruses, and fungi), pneumonia, and infections of the blood, joints, bone, and soft tissue associated with Hemophilus Influenzae B. I understand that this disease is most likely in children up to 15 months of age and is fatal in 3-6% of children who contract it. Incidence of this disease today is low and the vaccine has not proven to be highly effective in 41% of cases, according to some studies.(6) Treatment is available.

The vaccine is often combined with the DPT which has the highest reaction rate of any vaccine available today. Reactions include: contracting HIB, localized pain, erythema and induration, fever >100.6°, irritability, lethargy, anorexia, rhinorrhea, diarrhea, vomiting, cough, when administered alone. Reactions occurred in up to 30% of patients. When administered in conjunction with the DPT, reactions include local tenderness erythema and induration, fever >100.8°, irritability, drowsiness, anorexia, diarrhea, vomiting, persistent crying, seizures, urticaria, hives, renal failure, Guillain-Barré Syndrome and death. Reactions occurred in up to 77.9% of patients.(7)
The vaccine contains yeast, thimerosal (mercury derivative), and diphtheria toxoid when given alone.(8)

PERTUSSIS: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing whooping cough, pneumonia, convulsions, inflammation of the brain, and death associated with pertussis. I understand the disease is rarely fatal, with a 99.8% recovery rate. It is most serious and life-threatening in children under 6 months old, but there are adequate methods of treatment available.(9)

The vaccine is most often given in conjunction with diphtheria and tetanus as the DPT or as the DaPT.

Pertussis vaccine may cause: fevers >106, pain swelling, diarrhea, projectile vomiting, excessive sleepiness, high–pitched screaming, inconsolable crying bouts, seizures, convulsions, collapse, shock, breathing problems, brain damage and SIDS. One in 600 suffer a severe reaction in one study (10) and 1 in 875 suffered shock-collapse and convulsions.(11) Those in the 2nd study were only tracked for the first 48 hours following immunization. A more recent study indicates that 1 in 100 react with convulsions, collapse, or high-pitched screaming and 1 in 3 of those cases sustained permanent brain damage.(12) In a study of 103 children who died of SIDS, 70% died within 3 weeks of the DPT vaccine and 37% of those died within the first week.(13)

The DaPT is recommended as a safer option for vaccination. Side effects of the DaPT were only tracked for 72 hours and included: tenderness, erythema, induration, fever >102.2°, drowsiness, fretfulness, vomiting, upper respiratory infection, diarrhea, rash, febrile seizures, persistent or unusual crying, lethargy, hypronic-hyporesponsive episode, urticaria, anaphylactic shock, convulsions, encephalopathy, mono- and polyneuropathies and death.(14) Not recommended for children under 15 months or for those who have not had 3 injections of the DPT.

Either form of the vaccine contains thimerosal (mercury derivative), formaldehyde, and aluminum phosphate.(15)

DIPHTHERIA: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing paralysis, heart failure, or respiratory failure associated with diphtheria. I have also been informed that there have only been 5 cases reported annually since 1980.(16) I am also aware that diphtheria is rarely fatal and treated with antibiotics and bed rest. (17)

The Diphtheria component is most often given within the DPT or DaPT and includes the same side effects and reactions as those listed for pertussis.

TETANUS: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing fatal neuromuscular disease related to tetanus. I understand that the incidence of tetanus is low, and there is an antitoxin, should we decline the immunization. I understand that contracting tetanus does not provide life-long immunity, and neither does the vaccine. I understand that to prevent more severe reactions from the vaccine, the tetanus component has been so significantly “diluted” that it is clinically ineffective.(18) I understand that the death rate for properly treated cases of tetanus may be as high as 20%.(19)

Side effects of the tetanus vaccine alone include: high fever, pain, recurrent abscess formation, inner ear nerve damage, demyelinating neuropathy, anaphylactic shock and loss of consciousness.(20)

Tetanus given in the DPT or DaPT shot include the same side effects and reactions as those listed for pertussis.

RUBEOLA (MEASLES): I have been informed of the risk of my child developing pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), degenerative disease of the nervous system with convulsions (subacute sclerosing panencephalitis) related to rubeola. I understand the death rate for measles is .03 in 100,000.(21) I understand that since 1984, over 55% of documented, confirmed cases of measles have been in fully immunized persons.(22)

I understand that the greatest risk of the measles vaccine may be to push the incidence of this disease into the late teens and adulthood where it is more likely to be fatal or cause more adverse and long-term effects.(23)

The measles vaccine is a live vaccine, and carries the risk that it will cause the patient to contract measles. Other adverse reactions include: stinging or burning at the injection site, anaphylaxis, fever up to one month following injection, rash, cough, rhinitis, erythema multiforme, lymphadenopathy, urticaria, diarrhea, febrile convulsions, seizures, thrombocytopenia, purpura, vasculitis, optic neuritis, retrobulbar neuritis, papillitis, retinitis, encephalitis and encephalopathy, ocular palsies, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, ataxia, and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.(24)
Measles vaccine is most often given as a part of the MMR which includes the following side effects: burning or stinging at injection site, malaise, sore throat, cough, rhinitis, headache, dizziness, fever, rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, erythema, induration, tenderness, lymphadenopathy, parotitius, orchitis, nerve deafness, thrombocytopenia, purpura, allergic reactions, urticaria, polyneuritis, arthralgia, arthritis, anaphylaxis, vasculitis, otitis media, conjunctivitis, febrile convulsions, seizures, syncope, erythema multiforme, optic neuritis, retrobulbar neuritis, papillitis, retinitis, encephalitis and encephalopathy, ocular palsies, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, ataxia, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis,(25) and a recent study from Europe indicates that there may be a link between the MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine and autism and irritable bowel syndrome.(26)

Measles vaccine contains chick embryo cells, neomycin, sorbitol and hydrolyzed gelatin. MMR contains all live vaccines, chick embryo, cells from aborted babies, neomycin, sorbitol and hydrolyzed gelatin.(27)

MUMPS: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing inflammation of the testicles, joints, kidneys, and/or thyroid, and hearing impairment related to mumps. I understand that mumps is rarely harmful in childhood, and that most of the above risks occur when mumps is contracted in adolescence or adulthood.(28)

I understand that there is a Mumps vaccine which poses the following risks: contraction of mumps from the live vaccine, burning or stinging at the injection site, anaphylaxis, cough, rhinitis, fever, diarrhea, vasculitis, parotitis, orchitis, purpura, urticaria, erythema multiforme, optic neuritis, retrobulbar neuritis, syncope, encephalitis, febrile seizures, and nerve deafness.(29)

Mumps is usually given in the MMR and may cause those side effects and adverse reactions as noted in the measles section above.

Mumps vaccine is live and should not be given to pregnant women. It is cultured in chick embryos and contains sorbitol and hydrolyzed gelatin.(30)

RUBELLA (GERMAN MEASLES): I have been informed of the risk of my child developing inflammation of the brain or joints, and of the risk of birth defects (including eye defects, heart defects, deafness, mental retardation, growth failure, jaundice, and disorders of blood clotting) in infants born to mothers who contract rubella during pregnancy, related to rubella. Therefore, I understand that the greatest risk to my child may be if she never contracts rubella as a child, but when she is pregnant and it damages her unborn child. If she contract rubella in childhood, she is immune for life, and prior to the vaccine 85% of the population was immune.(31) I understand that if she is not immune as an adult, she can choose to take the vaccine prior to becoming pregnant. I understand that many of those who contract rubella have been immunized (up to 80%). (32)

Adverse reactions from the vaccine among teenage girls is 5-10% and 30% in adult women.(33) Adverse reactions include: contracting rubella from the live virus in the vaccine, burning or stinging at the site, lymphadenopathy, urticaria, rash, malaise, sore throat, fever, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, polyneuritis, arthralgia, arthritis, local pain and inflammation, erythema multiforme, cough, rhinitis, vasculitis, anaphylaxis, syncope, optic neuritis, retrobulbar neuritis, papillitis, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, encephalitis, thrombocytopenia, purpura, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. (34)

Rubella is most often administered in the MMR and may cause those side effects and adverse reactions listed under measles.

Rubella is cultured on the tissue of an aborted child. This child was the 27th child aborted and tested by researchers due to exposure to rubella in a pregnant woman. It contains neomycin, sorbitol and hydrolyzed gelatin.(35)

HEPATITIS B: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing Hepatitis B viral infection which can cause chronic inflammation of the liver leading to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and possibly death. I understand that my child’s risk of developing Hepatitis B is low if I am not a carrier or infected, if my child does not engage in promiscuous sex or use drugs. I understand that there is antibiotic treatment for HepB and that most of those who contract it recover.(36) I understand that the HepB vaccine only contains strains of HepB and is not effective against HepA, C, D, E, F, or G.

I understand that the HepB vaccine has the following side effect and adverse reactions: induration, erythema, swelling, fever, headache, dizziness, pain, prutitus, ecchymosis, sweating, malaise, chills, weakness, flushing, tingling, hypotension, flu-like symptoms, upper respiratory illness, nausea, anorexia, abdominal pain and cramping, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, lymphadenopathy, pain or stiffness in muscles and joints, arthralgia, myalgia, back pain, rash, urticaria, petechiae, sleepiness, insomnia, irritability, agitation, anaphylaxis, angioedema, arthritis, tachycardia/palpitations, bronchospasm, abnormal liver function tests, dyspepsia, migraine, syncope, paresis neuropathy, hypothesis, paresthesis, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, Bell’s Palsy, transverse myelitis, optic neuritis, multiple sclerosis, thrombocytopenia, eczema, purpura, herpes zoster, erythema modosum, alopecia, conjunctivitis, keratisis, visual disturbances, vertigo, tinnitus, earache, and dysuria.(37) The studies only followed patients for 4 days post-vaccination.
The most commonly used HepB vaccine contains thimerosal, although a relatively new release does not contain thimerosal. The vaccine also contains: aluminum hydroxide, yeast protein, and phosphate buffers.(38)

VARICELLA (CHICKENPOX): I have been informed of the risk of my child developing chicken pox which could potentially result in pneumonia, secondary skin or generalized infections, or, if caught during pregnancy, birth defects in the baby. I understand chicken pox is generally benign in children, but results in significant lost hours at work for parents. Chicken pox in adults often manifests as shingles, a chronic and painful condition. I also understand that contracting chicken pox later in life may increase my risk for herpes simplex.

Side effects and adverse reactions for the chicken pox vaccine include: contracting chicken pox from the live vaccine (27%), pain and redness at site, swelling, erythema, rash, pruritus, hematoma, induration, stiffness, upper respiratory illness, cough, irritability/nervousness, fatigue, disturbed sleep, diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting, otitis, diaper rash/contact rash, nausea, eye complaints, chills, lymphadenopathy, myalgia, lower respiratory illness, headache, teething, malaise, abdominal pain, other rash, allergic reactions including rash and hives, stiff neck, heat rash/prickly heat, arthralgia, eczema/dry skin/dermatitis, constipation, itching, pneunonitis, febrile seizures, and cold/canker sore.(39)

Varicella vaccine is cultured on cells from aborted babies, and guinea pig cell cultures. It contains live virus, monisodium glutamate (msg), sucrose, phosphate, processed gelatin, neomycin and fetal calf serum. (40)

HEPATITIS A (HAV): I have been informed of the risk of my child developing HAV which could potentially result in prolonged or relapsed hepatitis, but will not result in chronic hepatitis disease. (41) HAV usually causes mild “flu-like” illness, jaundice, severe stomach pains and diarrhea; and, in rare cases may result in death. Infection confers lifelong immunity. (42) I understand that the CDC admits that good personal hygiene (handwashing) and proper santitation can prevent HAV. (43)

HAV infection is spread by contaminated water or food, infected food handlers, unsanitary conditions following natural disasters, ingestion of raw or undercooked shellfish, institutionalized individuals, children not yet toilet trained, blood transfusions or sharing needles with infected people. Transmission is most likely in developing countries where sanitation is poor and infection rate of children under 5 is 90%. Fatality rate is less than .6% overall, and 70% of those in patients over 49 years, many of whom have underlying liver disease. (44) Other at-risk populations include those living on American Indian reservations and in Alaskan Native villages, homosexually active men, IV drug users, people using clotting factor concentrates and international travelers. (45)
Side effects and adverse reactions from the vaccine include: injection-site soreness, headache, fever, malaise, induration, redness, swelling, fatigue, anorexia, nausea, pruritis, rash, utricaria, pharyngitis, upper respiratory tract infections, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dysgeusia, vomiting, arthralgia, elevated cratine phosphokinase, myalgia, lymphadenopathy, hypertonic episodes, insomnia, photophobia, and vertigo. (46)
Aborted fetal tissue is an ingredient in the Havrix® Hep A vaccine, as is formaldehyde, aluminum hydroxide and 2-phenozyethanol.(47)

There is currently a combination Hep A and B vaccine, Twinrix®, being tested in the UK. (48) Twinrix is grown in human cell cultures, contains 2-phenoxyethanol, neomycin sulfate, polysorbate, tromentamol and formaldehyde. (49)

PNEUMOCOCCAL: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing pneumococcal disease which could result in meningitis, blood infection, pneumonia and/or ear infections. Iunderstand studies indicate that this vaccine may only decrease ear infections by 9%, and only result in a 20% reduction in chronic ear infections and ear tube insertion in that group.

I understand that my child has a 7.5:5,000 chance of deveoping this disease if he or she is under age 2 and a 1:5000 chance of developing it if over age 2. Risk factors for developing this disease are: immunoglobulin deficiency, nephrotic syndrome, Hodgkin’s disease, congenital or acquired immunodeficiency, some upper respiratory infections, splenic dysfunctions, splenectomy or organ transplant. This vaccine (PCV) was originally marketed for immunocompromised children. (50) This vaccine is contraindicated to children with thrombocytopenia, coagualtion disorders, or sensitivity to diphtheria toxoid.(51)

Possible side effects and complications from the vaccine include: erythema, induration, tenderness, interference of limb movement, inflamation, fever, irritability, drowsiness, restless sleep, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, fussiness, rash, hives, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, otitis media (ear infection), sepsis, seizure, anaphylaxis and death.(52) Recipients were followed for 3 days and almost 10% of the subjects made a visit to the emergency room in the follow-up period. There were 8 cases of SIDS in the 17,066 subjects involved in the trial.(53) Note: Children in the studies’ control group received another experimental vaccine, so there have been no trial studies done with children who received no vaccine.(54)

Prevnar contains .125 mg of aluminum sulfate, protein polysaccharides from 7 strains of strep. pneumoniae bacteria, diphtheria toxin, casamino acids, yeast extract. Studies indicate that it may interfere with the safety and efficacy of other vaccines.(55)

FLU: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing influenza, which could result in hospitalization for respiratory complications, pneumonia and death. I understand less than 175 people died from the flu in the US during 2003. I understand that there is no guarantee that the flu strains chosen for this year will be the flu strains that are active this year. I understand that from 1999 - 2003, 70 - 80% of the sniffles, fevers, and body aches did not test positive for influenza regardless of the flu strain used.
The most common reactions to injected flu vaccines, which begin within 12 hours of vaccination and can last several days are: fever, fatigue, painful joints and headache. The most serious reaction that has been associated with flu vaccine is Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), which occurs most often within two to four weeks of vaccination. GBS is an immune mediated nerve disorder characterized by muscle weakness, unsteady gait, numbness, tingling, pain and sometimes paralysis of one or more limbs or the face. Recovery takes several months and can include residual disability. Less than 5 percent of GBS cases end in death. Brain and nerve disorders such as encephalopathy, optic neuritis, partial facial paralysis, and brachial plexus neuropathy as well as vasculitis also have been reported following the flu vaccine, although a definite causal relationship has not been established. (56) A tenfold increase in Alzheimer’s disease exists for those who receive the flu vaccine five years in a row. (57)

FluMist: Reported adverse effects in children include runny nose, nasal congestion, cough, sore throat, headache, irritability, decreased activity, fever, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting. In adults the most common side effects were runny nose, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, fever, chills and tiredness or weakness. Other adverse events that occurred in children were abdominal pain, asthma, bronchitis, conjunctivitis, viral syndrome, otitis media (middle ear infection), and wheezing or shortness of breath.(58)

Fluzone is propagated in chick embryos. It contains formaldehyde, sucrose, polyethylene glycol, sodium phosphate, salt and thimerosal.(59) Fluvirin is prepared in chicken eggs and contains thimerosal, neomycin, polymyxin, and phosphate-buffered saline. (60)
FluMist is a live vaccine propagated in chicken eggs, and contains potassium phosphate, sucrose (table sugar) and monosodium glutamate (MSG). (61)

HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (HPV): I have been informed of the risk of developing HPV. HPV is a sexually-transmitted disease that can cause genital warts, and it’s most severe stage, cervical cancer. I understand that there are more than 100 forms of HPV and that the currently available vaccine only covers four of the strains; current screening for HPV looks for 13 ‘high risk’ strains. The CDC estimated that 20 million people in the US had HPV and many strains cause no harm. (62) I understand current research shows that most women will quickly clear the infection on their own, and very few will develop pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions. Use of the vaccine will not cure HPV infection, and the duration of the longest HPV vaccine studies covered less than 50% of the time it takes to progress from CIN 2 or 3 levels to cervical cancer, so 100% efficacy cannot realistically be proven. (63) HPV vaccination does not take the place of routine Pap screens. (64)

The most common reactions to the HPV vaccines were pain, swelling, redness and itching at the injection site. More than 90% of vaccine test subjects and more than 85% of subjects receiving the aluminum-containing placebo experienced at least one of these reactions. (65) Other reactions from the vaccine included: systemic fever, nausea, nasopharyngitis, dizziness, diarrhea, vomiting, myalgia, cough, upper respiratory tract infection, malaise, arthralgia, insomnia and nasal congestion. More severe reactions included headache, gastroenteritis, appendicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, asthma, pulmonary embolism, sepsis, arrhythmia, juvenile arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, arthritis and reactive arthritis. There were also statistically higher levels of birth defects in women who got pregnant within 30 days of receiving the vaccine and in more than 30 cases of birth defects in women who became pregnant after 30 days from either Gardasil® or the aluminum-containing placebo. (66)

Gardasil® is currently the only HPV vaccine approved for use and contains 225mcg of aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate, sodium chloride, L-histidine, polysorbate 80, sodium borate, water, and proteins from HPV strains 6, 11, 16 and 18 grown in yeast fermentation medium. (67)

Reference List
1. M. Burnet and D. White, The Natural History of Infectious Disease (Cambridge, 1972), p. 16.
2. Strebel, et al, “Epidemology in the U.S. One Decade After the Last Reported Case of Indigenous Wild Virus Associated Disease,” Clinical Infectious Diseases, (Center for Disease Control, February 1992), pp. 568-79.
3. Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR), 50th Edition; Medical Economics, 1996, p. 1388-1390.
4. Ibid, p. 885-886 and 891-892.
5. J. Butel, et al; “Molecular Evidence of Simian Virus 40 Infections in Children”, The Journal of Infectious Diseases ; September 1999;180:884-887.
6. PDR, 50th Edition, p. 872-875.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Richard Moskowitz, M.D., “Immunizations: The Other Side,” Mothering, (Spring1984),p. 34.
10. Immunization: Survey of Recent Research, (United States Department of Health and Human Services, April 1983), p. 76.
11. “Nature and Rates of Adverse Reactions Associated with DPT and DT Immunizations…,” Pediatrics, Volume 68, No. 5 (November 1981).
12. Walene James, Immunization the Reality Behind the Myth, (South Hadley, Massachusetts: Bergin & Garvey, 1988), p. 14.
13. W.C. Torch, “Diptheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) immunization: A potential cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS),” (Amer. Academy of Neurology, 34th Annual Meeting, Apr 25 - May 1, 1982), Neurology 32(4), pt. 2.
14. PDR, p. 875-879 and 892-895.
15. Ibid.
16. Robert Mendelsohn, M.D., How to Raise A Healthy Child…In Spite of your Doctor (Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1984), p.223.
17. Ibid. 244-246
18. Isaac Golden, Ph.D., Vaccination? A Review of Risks and Alternatives, (Geelong, Victoria, Australia: Arum Healing Centre, 1991), p. 31
19. Richard Moskowitz, M.D., “Immunizations: The Other Side,” Mothering, (Spring1984),p. 34.
20. Isaac Golden, Ph.D., Vaccination? A Review of Risks and Alternatives; p. 71
21. R. Mendoholson; How to Raise a Healthy Child; p. 217.
22. John Frank Jr., M.D., et al. “Measles Elimination - Final Impediments,” 20th Immunization Conference Proceedings, May 6-9, 1985, p. 21.
23. Infectious Diseases (January 1982), p. 21.
24. PDR, p. 1610-1611.
25. DR, p. 1687-1689.
26. Sara Solovitch, “Do vaccines spur autism in kids?”, San Jose Mercury News, 5/25/99.
27. PDR, p. 1687-89, 1610-1611.
28. Richard Moskowitz, M.D., “Immunizations: The Other Side,” Mothering, (Spring1984),p. 35.
29. PDR, 1708-1709.
30. Ibid.
31. R. Mendoholson; How to Raise a Healthy Child; p. 218.
32. Dr. Beverley Allan, Australian Nurses Journal, (May 1978).
33. Hannah Allen, Don’t Get Stuck: The Case Against Vaccinations…, (Oldsmar, FL: Natural Hygiene Press, 1985), p. 144.
34. DR, p. 1697-1699.
35. Ibid and Attenuation Of RA 27/3 Rubella Virus in WI-38 Human Diploid Cells; Amer J Dis Child vol 118 Aug 1969 and Studies of Immunization With Living Rubella Virus ; Arch J Dis Child vol 110 Oct 1965.
36. John Hanchette, “Safety of controversial hepatitis B vaccine at center of debate” Gannett News Service, 5/18/99.
37. PDR, p. 1744-1747, 2482-2484.
38. Ibid.
39. PDR, p. 1762-1765.
40. Ibid.
41. CDC Viral Hepatitis A - Fact Sheet, 9/29/00; http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/a/fact.htm
42. CDC Hepatitis A Vaccine Vaccine Information Statement; 8/25/98
43. CDC Hepatitis A Facts, 11/16/00
44. Mosby’s GenRX®, 10th Ed., Hepatitis A Vaccine (003158) as posted on MDConsult website
45. CDC Hepatitis A Vaccine Vaccine Information Statement; 8/25/98 and CDC Hepatitis A Vaccine Vaccine Information Statement; 8/25/98
46. Mosby’s GenRX@, Hepatitis A Vaccine
47. Ibid.
48. “Combined hepatitis A/B vaccine offers fast protection,” Reuters Health, 4/12/00
49. Vaccines and Their Ingredients, 6/24/99; http://www.909shot.com
50. Michael Horwin, MA; “Prevnar: A Critical Review of a New Childhood Vaccine” 9/19/00.
51. Prevnar package insert, Wyeth Lederle, 2/17/00
52. Ibid.
53. Horwin; “Prevnar: A Critical Review”
54. Dr. Erdem Cantekin, Ph.D.; “Pneumocaoccal Vaccine and Otitis Media”, NVIC’s 2nd Intl. Public Conference, 9/8/00.
55. Horwin; “Prevnar: A Critical Review”
56. Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR), 53rd Edition; Medical Economics, 1999, p. 2326, 3464
57. Dr. Russell Blaylock, MD; “The Truth Behind the Vaccine Coverup” 9/22/04; http://www.mercola.com/2004/sep/22/blaylock_vaccine_coverup.htm
57. Fluzone 2003-2004 Formula, Aventis Product information as of July 2003
58. Dr. Sherry Tenpenny, DO, “FluMist Vaccine: Nothing to Sneeze At!” 10/23/2003; http://www.nmaseminars.com .
59. Influenza Virus Vaccine Live, Intranasal FluMist 2003-2004 Formula, Package Insert (Circular) June 16, 2003.
60. “New Preservative Free Flu Vaccine Approved,” http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/psn/transcript.cfm?show=10
61. Dr. Sherry Tenpenny, DO, “FluMist Vaccine: Nothing to Sneeze At!”
62. CDC HPV Fact Sheet, http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm
63. Dr. Clayton Young, MD, FACOG, “OBGYN Against ACIP HPV Vaccine Decision,” 6/27/2006
64. CDC HPV Fact Sheet, http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm
65. Merck Professional Privider Information Sheet: Gardasil® [Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (Types 6, 11, 16, 18) Recominant Vaccine. http://www.Merck.com
66. Daron G Ferris, “Facing the Future: The Impact of HPV Vaccination on Adolescent Health,” and “An Update of Clinical Trial Results With Preventative HPV Vaccines” http://www.medscape.com/viewprogram/5334
67. Merck Professional Privider Information Sheet: Gardasil® [Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (Types 6, 11, 16, 18) Recominant Vaccine. http://www.Merck.com

Complied by Kathryn E. Rateliff, CCD, CCM, CCCE, GSM, PE, BFE
October, 1999 and most recently revised August 10, 2006
Questions and comments can be addressed to her at: titus2ed@aol.com.

01 September, 2008

Suicide Risk Increases With Medication

Increased rates suicide and violent behavior have been linked to anti depressant medication. Federal drug regulators are now investigating links with other medications to suicide. Among the drugs being investigated are an asthma medication, drugs for controlling seizures, and even a substance used to assist those who want to quit smoking.

Drug companies insist that a cause and effect relationship has not been proven. During clinical trials, no suicides were reported. Doctors hold a concern that worries over suicide risk may cause their patients to think twice about taking these medications. However, families who have experienced the sudden, unexpected loss of a family member feel that they should have been given the information to make an informed choice.

Recently, the FDA pulled together a panel of scientific advisors to study 210 clinical trials of eleven anti seizure drugs. The panel found a ‘slight’ increase in incidents of suicidal thoughts or behavior. The survey did not indicate which drugs were more or less likely to foster risk. Even a two out of a thousand increase can result in large numbers of people at risk when the drugs are prescribed to millions of people. Certainly, the families directly effective find no solace in how ‘small’ those numbers seem.

The FDA is considering how to communicate the risk to patients without causing alarm. The panel did not advise putting a strong warning on the drugs’ labels.

Compare these numbers to the two out of a thousand whose lives are improved by certain blood pressure medications which are avidly prescribed throughout the world. It would seem the medical companies find those numbers significant on other fronts.

A group at Columbia University developed a method to assess the suicide risks of drugs. They collect and analyze suicidal thoughts and actions of people enrolled in clinical trials. The FDA funded the research, but only requires use of assessments on a case-by-case basis. The oversight is curious to many since its use could possibly help identify risks before a medication goes on the market.

"Whether or not any of these drugs cause suicidal thoughts and behavior is the critical question we need to answer; up to now, we have not answered that," said Kelly Posner, a Columbia researcher who led the effort to develop the screening system. "Debunking false notions of risk is just as important to the public health as knowing about risks that exist."

Behavior can be affected by chemical changes in the brain. This is the basis for prescription of drugs for depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric illnesses. Other drugs can also affect the brain. Little is known about these effects.

The brain is protected by a semi permeable membrane. Most chemicals are prevented from entering the brain in this way. Yet, others are allowed in differing amounts.

Psychiatric drugs, of course, cross the blood-brain barrier. Presumably, the same is true of anti-seizure medication. Other drugs may pass the barrier in limited amounts. However, few studies are done on the interaction of drugs with the blood-brain barrier. Many of those which have been done are limited to animal studies. Such information can be useful, but is limited in its relevance to human brains. Fewer studies, still, have been done on what affects those chemicals have once they come in direct contact with the master control center of the human body.

Regardless of the purpose for which a drug is prescribed, there is potential for psychiatric side effects if it passes the blood-brain barrier. Drugs for asthma, weight control, quitting smoking, and even certain heart medications may have potential for changing a person’s behavior and mood.

A list of some prescription medications for which concerns have been raised involving suicidal thoughts and actions:

• All antidepressants: Drugs such as Prozac, Paxil, Wellbutrin and Zoloft carry required warnings that the medications can increase suicidal thinking and behavior in some children, adolescents and young adults.

• Anticonvulsives: Drugs such as Depakote, Lyrica and Neurontin are used to treat seizures and other conditions. A recent FDA analysis found a small increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior. An advisory panel recommended against applying the agency's strongest warning to the drugs.

• Chantix: The FDA is investigating whether the smoking cessation drug triggers psychiatric symptoms.

• Singulair: The FDA is investigating whether the drug for asthma and allergies can prompt suicidal thoughts.

• Accutane: The acne drug carries a warning that it may cause suicidal thoughts and behavior in rare cases.

Increasing reports of family trauma due to personality changes and otherwise unexplained suicides indicate that many questions have yet to be answered about the full range of effects highly targeted synthetic chemicals have on our overall health. No wonder more and more people are looking to time-tested dietary and herbal prevention and remedies.