Epidemic Answers http://www.epidemicanswers.org Thu, 23 Jul 2015 21:55:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Copyright © Epidemic Answers 2013 info@epidemicanswers.org (Epidemic Answers) info@epidemicanswers.org (Epidemic Answers) http://www.epidemicanswers.org/wp-content/plugins/podpress/images/powered_by_podpress.jpg Epidemic Answers http://www.epidemicanswers.org 144 144 Epidemic Answers Epidemic Answers info@epidemicanswers.org no no EMF Dangers http://www.epidemicanswers.org/emf-dangers/ http://www.epidemicanswers.org/emf-dangers/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 18:12:30 +0000 http://www.epidemicanswers.org/?p=8196 EMF Dangersby Maria Rickert Hong, CHHC, AADP

Chronic exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) puts your child’s body in a state of stress, even when resting. If you live in a city, your child’s EMF exposure is much higher.

Chronic stress can wear out your child’s adrenal glands, making them more anxious, prone to temper tantrums and prone to sickness. Chronic stress also leads to chronic inflammation, a hallmark of a chronic illness.

Research shows that EMF can cause changes in both the sympathetic nervous system as well as the parasympathetic nervous system. Researchers described the top 10 symptoms of EMF dangers as:

  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Eye problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Feeling unwell
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Tinnitus
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Heart palpitations

Common sources of EMF exposure are fluorescent lights, cell phones, cordless house phones, baby monitors, Wi-Fi systems, smart meters and large electric devices such as refrigerators. “Dirty electricity” from off-phase electrical systems in houses and buildings is another source of EMF.

EMFs make fungi (mold and yeast) more virulent, and this was known at least as far back as 1980. Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD, is a huge opponent of EMF dangers.

My top two sources for understanding this issue in more detail are Ann Louise Gittleman’s book Zapped:  Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution and the Electric Sense website.

In the meantime, here are some simple things you can do to mitigate EMF dangers:

  • Get rid of wireless phones and use corded phones
  • Remove Wi-Fi at home or at least turn it off at night
  • Get rid of baby monitors
  • Keep electronic tablets and cell phones on airplane mode as much as possible, especially if children are playing on them
  • Use electronic devices as a babysitter as little as possible
  • Use grounding mats while using electronic devices
  • Use grounding sheets and pillowcases while sleeping
  • Installing Stetzer filters to reduce “dirty electricity”
  • Make sure your child’s bed isn’t within a few feet, even on the other side of a wall, of a large electric device like a refrigerator or oven because these appliances generate large electromagnetic fields

In addition, we interviewed Dr. Devra Davis, author of “Disconnected: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation” and the President and Founder of the Environmental Health Trust about the dangers of EMFs. You can sign up for the replay of that interview here.


Maria Rickert Hong is a former Wall Street equity research analyst who is now a Certified Holistic Health Counselor. She is the author of the bestselling book, “Almost Autism: Recovering Children from Sensory Processing Disorder, A Reference for Parents and Practitioners.” As a health coach, she helps parents make diet and lifestyle changes to recover their children from symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder, almost autism, autism, PDD-NOS and ADHD. She has recovered her two boys from SPD, asthma, acid reflux and eczema can be reached at www.MariaRickertHong.com Maria is a board member, Media Director and blogger for Epidemic Answers, a 501(c)3 non-profit that lets parents know that recovery is possible.

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The Importance of Soil Microbes http://www.epidemicanswers.org/importance-of-soil-microbes/ http://www.epidemicanswers.org/importance-of-soil-microbes/#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 16:05:27 +0000 http://www.epidemicanswers.org/?p=8151 by Maria Rickert Hong, CHHC, AADP

The Importance of Soil MicrobesKids who live and work on farms have far less allergies, asthma and autoimmune disorders. Researchers theorize that this is due to exposure to a wider variety of soil microbes, both beneficial and pathogenic bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses.

In today’s too-clean environment, our kids lack access to these microbes that can both train the immune system how to fight and give it the tools it needs to fight.

A healthy gut microbiome is essential for the normal development and function of the immune system. An unhealthy gut is a common cause of autoimmune disorders, of which I include autism and ADHD.

An unhealthy gut typically means that there is some form of gut dysbiosis, which means that the bad (pathogenic) guys outweigh the good (probiotic) guys. Common causes of gut dysbiosis include antibiotics, GMO foods, low stomach acid, steroids, birth control pills, birth via C-section, lack of breastfeeding and passage from mother to newborn as the baby goes through the birth canal.

Most of the immune system lies in the gut, and if there is gut dysbiosis, then immune dysregulation typically develops.

One way to counter gut dysbiosis is to supplement with probiotic bacteria and yeast. Look for a multi-strain blend that includes a high number of CFU (colony forming units), is refrigerated and, if possible, includes soil-based organisms.

Eating fermented foods and implementing a gut-healing diet such as the GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) / SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet), Paleo or Body Ecology Diet are other ways to heal the gut.

In addition, getting your child out in nature and exposed to a wide variety of microbes found in dirt and on plants can help train and reinforce his immune system.


Maria Rickert Hong is a former Wall Street equity research analyst who is now a Certified Holistic Health Counselor. She is the author of the bestselling book, “Almost Autism: Recovering Children from Sensory Processing Disorder, A Reference for Parents and Practitioners.” As a health coach, she helps parents make diet and lifestyle changes to recover their children from symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder, almost autism, autism, PDD-NOS and ADHD. She has recovered her two boys from SPD, asthma, acid reflux and eczema can be reached at www.MariaRickertHong.com Maria is a board member, Media Director and blogger for Epidemic Answers, a 501(c)3 non-profit that lets parents know that recovery is possible.

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Health Benefits of Going Outside http://www.epidemicanswers.org/health-benefits-of-going-outside/ http://www.epidemicanswers.org/health-benefits-of-going-outside/#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 15:11:04 +0000 http://www.epidemicanswers.org/?p=8136 Health Benefits of Going Outsideby Maria Rickert Hong, CHHC, AADP

Kids (and adults) these days have what Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods” calls “nature deficit disorder”. We spend far too much time indoors playing games on smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices and far too little time outside. I’m guilty of it, too, and I have to both schedule time for my family to go outside and remind myself of the health benefits of going outside.

Louv believes that “the health of children and the health of the Earth are inseparable”. He writes that, “In the most nature-deprived corners of our world, we can see the rise of what might be called cultural autism. The symptoms? Tunneled senses and feelings of isolation and containment.”

One of my goals for my family is to reduce my boys’ “cultural autism”. By reminding myself of these health benefits of going outside and scheduling time for it, I hope to get my kids more in touch with nature, both for their health and that of the Earth.


Clint Ober, author of “Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever!“, says that having direct access to the Earth improves our health by filling our electron deficiency, which leads to inflammation. Inflammation is a key component of any chronic disease or disorder, such as autism, ADHD, asthma, allergies, autoimmune disorders, heart disease and cancer.

Because we wear rubber-soled shoes and drive in cars with rubber tires, we are disconnected from the Earth’s energy supply. The simple act of walking barefoot on the beach or grass can help, which is one of the reasons people relax so much more when they go to the beach or spend time working in the garden.

Soil Microbes

Did you know that kids who live and work on farms have far less allergies, asthma and autoimmune disorders? Researchers theorize that this is due to exposure to a wider variety of both beneficial and pathogenic bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. In today’s too-clean environment, our kids lack access to these microbes that can both train the immune system how to fight and give it the tools it needs to fight.

Vitamin D

Numerous studies have documented the link between a vitamin D deficiency and autism and other autoimmune disorders. Vitamin D is manufactured in the body when sunlight hits the cholesterol in the skin, so less time outside has a direct correlation with vitamin D production. I encourage you to let your kids play outside without sunscreen for at least 10 minutes before applying a nontoxic sunscreen. In fact, the more your child plays outside in the sun, the less likely he or she may need sunscreen.


There is a therapeutic mental, emotional and even spiritual benefit to going outside in being in nature. By doing so, we become more in sync with natural rhythms such as sunrise/sunset, ocean tides and seasonal changes. I would argue that being outside can also be a form of meditation, which is relaxing in and of itself.

Increased Gross Motor Skills

Kids can learn balance, coordination and agility by playing outside. Riding a bike, climbing a tree and playing ball are kid-friendly activities that many kids naturally do outside that also improve their gross motor skills and proprioceptive skills.

Sensory Stimulation

Kids who spend more time indoors are deprived of a large variety of sensory stimulation. Think of how relaxing it is to listen to birds chirping, crickets humming or waves lapping. Notice how soothing it is to look at the greens of summers, vivid spring colors, golden fall colors or even a white and blue winter landscape. Remember how getting wet, cold or hot can color your experience of a situation. Think of the smell of newly mowed grass or pungent, rich earth. Kids who aren’t getting outside enough won’t have these kinds of experiences and will miss out on much that the Earth has to offer.

Increased IQ

This study shows that kids’ brains develop faster if they have more exposure to the outside world. The researchers wrote that “contact with nature is thought to play a crucial and irreplaceable role in brain development” in areas “such as inciting engagement, risk-taking, discovery, creativity, mastery and control, strengthening sense of self, inspiring basic emotional states including sense of wonder, and enhancing psychological restoration.” Those are some pretty powerful reasons!

Maria Rickert Hong is a former Wall Street equity research analyst who is now a Certified Holistic Health Counselor. She is the author of the bestselling book, “Almost Autism: Recovering Children from Sensory Processing Disorder, A Reference for Parents and Practitioners.” As a health coach, she helps parents make diet and lifestyle changes to recover their children from symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder, almost autism, autism, PDD-NOS and ADHD. She has recovered her two boys from SPD, asthma, acid reflux and eczema can be reached at www.MariaRickertHong.com Maria is a board member, Media Director and blogger for Epidemic Answers, a 501(c)3 non-profit that lets parents know that recovery is possible.


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Detoxify or Die http://www.epidemicanswers.org/detoxify-or-die/ http://www.epidemicanswers.org/detoxify-or-die/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 13:57:46 +0000 http://www.epidemicanswers.org/?p=7851 by Patricia S. Lemer, M. Ed., NCC

Detoxify or DieA fantastic book, Detoxify or Die by Sherry Rogers MD, certainly got my attention. A leading environmental medicine authority for over 30 years, Dr. Rogers shares her insights on the irrefutable relationship between toxins from the environment and personal health. After scaring you to death, she puts you on the track to recovery.

Everyone’s Toxic

Even though I had read, and was impressed by, the Environmental Working Group’s “Body Burden” report on widespread human contamination by industrial chemicals, I assumed I was fine. Yes, I have a few dental amalgams, grew up in a filthy, industrial city and bike ride behind putrid cars.

What a surprise to learn that my body was a “toxic waste dump,” full of mercury and PCBs. My only symptom: extra weight, despite an excellent diet, ample exercise and “clean living.” According to Rogers, I had grown larger every year to store the toxins, rather than put them out into my blood stream, where they could damage my vital organs.

The Phases of Detoxification

So off I went, on a detox odyssey. Bennett and Barrie in their book, 7-Day Detox Miracle, Revised 2nd Edition: Revitalize Your Mind and Body with This Safe and Effective Life-Enhancing Program, compare the detoxification process to a two-phase wash cycle. In Phase One, the cells must be cajoled into breaking down stored toxins into intermediate forms. Some toxins are ready for removal at this stage, but others need a second wash cycle. Phase Two requires that toxins be excreted safely, usually in partnership with an “escort” nutrient. If the process stops after Phase One, sickness, and even death can occur.

What’s a Family to Do?

I have learned about some extremely easy, powerful detoxification techniques that are both reasonably priced and generally available. While all would agree that heavy metal detox must be done under the strict supervision of a qualified health care practitioner, everyone should consider adding these activities to your already full “To Do” list.

Use foods as natural detoxifiers

Specific foods can have beneficial effects on detoxification. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) from cold water fish and flaxseed oil can heighten detox. Broccoli sprouts stimulate the glutathione pathways, thus supporting Phase 2 activity. Less familiar vegetables, such as artichokes, beets, Jerusalem artichokes and burdock root are also powerful immune system boosters, intensifying the body’s efforts to clear out poisons.

Consider having your “silver” amalgams removed

Yes, while you are not sick. I am now convinced that even a couple of them can undermine health by contributing to the “total load.” Make sure you work with a holistic dentist who is well-trained in removal and uses all precautions.

Sweat out the toxins

The skin of the average adult is 11,000 square feet of surface area. When we sweat, poisons from blood and lymph are excreted. One of the safest and oldest methods of detoxification is a sauna, the treatment of choice for firemen exposed to toxins at the World Trade Center. Both aforementioned books have detailed descriptions of how to use dry and wet heat alternately with cold to release toxins and stimulate the blood.

The Thermal Life far infrared sauna from High Tech Health (800-794-5355) and at www.hightechhealth.com is recommended by many health care practitioners. Although the price tag is high, doctors can recoup their investment quickly as their patients enjoy its benefits. It is the best “health insurance” a family can buy.

Try a footbath

The electro-magnetic footbath, available at many chiropractors’ offices, claims to help the body excrete toxins through the bottoms of the feet. Although little research has been done on this novel technique, it is difficult to refute that something is happening when after an hour of soaking, the water looks like a polluted river. It would certainly be interesting to analyze the sludge chemically to determine its composition.

Detoxification Is Key to Health

Detoxification appears to be the key to restoring health and reversing everything from hearing loss to autism to cancer, according to Sherry Rogers. Take your daily Detox Cocktail of anti-oxidants and fatty acids. If we all dextoxify, we can look forward to a natural, not a chemical death. For more ideas on what you can do, subscribe to the Green Guide blog.

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Digestive Enzymes http://www.epidemicanswers.org/digestive-enzymes/ http://www.epidemicanswers.org/digestive-enzymes/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 02:22:28 +0000 http://www.epidemicanswers.org/?p=7642 by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND

Digestive EnzymesChildren diagnosed with developmental delays have a high rate of digestive pathology. Studies suggest between 58% and 93% of children with gastro-intestinal (GI) symptoms, and slightly less than half of those without noticeable symptoms, have low digestive enzymes.

While special diets, supplemental nutrients, good bacteria replacement and yeast treatment are all needed to heal these children’s guts, adding digestive enzymes may be necessary for the complete restoration of digestive function.

What Are Enzymes?

Enzymes are special proteins that catalyze essential biochemical reactions. There are two main types of enzymes: metabolic and digestive. Metabolic enzymes facilitate activity in the immune, endocrine and other systems. Our focus is on digestive enzymes, which are necessary to break down food.

Where Do Enzymes Come from?

Fresh, raw food is a natural source of enzymes. The gut lining in healthy digestive tracts also produces enzymes. Efficient digestion requires enzymes from both sources. The guts of picky eaters, damaged by the overuse of antibiotics and toxcity, may produce too few digestive enzymes.

Supplemental digestive enzymes are necessary when the diet and gut together supply insufficient amounts. Can your child benefit from supplemental digestive enzymes? Knowing the A, B Cs of enzymes may help you decide.

A is for Appetite (and Weight Gain)

When enzymes are low or absent, partially digested food sits in the GI tract. The result is discomfort or poor absorption of calories/nutrients. For youngsters with poor appetites, the body’s message to the brain is “Eating feels bad,” or “I’m already full.”

If a child’s appetite is good but he is not gaining weight, the food delivery trucks are not getting through. Either way, added enzymes can ease GI discomfort or simply increase uptake of nutrients.

B is for Breaking the Malabsorption Cycle

The gut lining requires vitamin A, zinc, protein, B vitamins and other nutrients to regenerate. A healthy, well nourished lining produces more enzymes. When too few enzymes are made, the resulting poor uptake of nutrients leads to an unhealthy gut lining and further deficiency.

Many youngsters with developmental delays are picky eaters already, so their poor absorption can be devastating for brain development. They need enzymes to help break down food so that vitamins and minerals can be released and utilized.

C is for Cheating

When small cheats on a restrictive diet cause significant symptoms, this may signal the need for digestive enzymes. A very restrictive diet, such as the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, allows the dysfunctional gut to rest and repair itself by removing irritants, thus preventing further damage.

However, taking away foods that initially caused the GI injury may not be enough. Supplemental enzymes can reduce food reactions by breaking the allergens in food into smaller pieces. In addition, if kids “cheat,” the enzymes can help prevent strong reactions to problematic foods such as gluten and casein.

D is for Dysbiosis

Dysbiosis is a term used to describe an imbalance of gut microbes. The symptoms of dysbiosis are gas, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation. Gas forms when bacteria or yeast in the GI tract ferment food particles. Too much fermentation impairs digestion.

While good bacteria (probiotics) can help, if the food sits in the digestive tract in big pieces for too long, yeasts and bad bacteria will increase to deal with it. This results in more gas and increased dysbiosis. Enzymes serve to break this cycle, moving the food into the blood stream more quickly and not allowing it to sit as fodder for gut bugs.

How Do I Choose the Right Enzymes?

There are many brands and types of enzymes on the market. Even with laboratory testing, it is difficult to know which will work best until you try. Enzymes are specific for the substance they break down. For example, lipase is an enzyme that only works on fats (lipids).

Dipeptyl dipeptidase (DPP) IV cleaves proteins that have proline in the second position (such as gluten and casein). If a DPP IV enzyme does not help, a different mixed enzyme product may.

When the gut is inflamed, as in autistic enterocolitis, enzymes can cause more irritation even if the child needs them. Watch for crankiness or worse GI symptoms. When in doubt, take them out and consult a good health care professional.

Enzymes are a safe and critical part of digestion. An elimination diet is often not enough to heal underlying problems. Consider enzymes as the next step in the digestive healing process. For more information on enzymes read Goldberg’s Allergy Free and Cutler’s The Food Allergy Cure or go to www.klaire.com, and www.enzymeuniversity.com

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Oral Sensory Motor Therapy for Autism http://www.epidemicanswers.org/oral-sensory-motor-therapy-for-autism/ http://www.epidemicanswers.org/oral-sensory-motor-therapy-for-autism/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 02:27:06 +0000 http://www.epidemicanswers.org/?p=7572 Oral Sensory Motor Therapy for Autismby Theresha A. Szypulski, MA, CCC-SLP

Families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) list communication impairment as one of their greatest concerns.

Speech production is a complex issue, involving respiration, phonation, articulation, resonation and prosady. All are impacted by sensory-motor dysfunction and dyspraxia.

Oral sensory-motor attractions and aversions impact feeding, oral hygiene, and speech, often promoting socially unacceptable oral behaviors such as mouthing and biting. Everyone turns to the speech-language pathologist for oral sensory motor therapy to “do something”…about everything.

Therapists working with non-verbal children often set speech and language goals far beyond the child’s developmental readiness, overlooking three areas of vital importance: sociocommunicative deficiencies, motor dysfunction and sensory deficits.

Sociocommunicative Deficiencies

Many children with ASD are stuck below a twelve month level in sociocommunicative skills. Their therapists mistakenly bypass the critical need for engagement, affect exchange and reciprocal interactions.

Working on rote speech and language productions prematurely yields meaningless vocalizations and scripted phrases without pragmatic usefulness. The child may label collections of words or recite phrases, but is unable to interact purposefully.

Motor Dysfunction

Praxis, or the ability to plan, execute and sequence unfamiliar purposeful movements is essential to talking. Many children with delays show varying degrees of difficulty with motor planning and sequencing, and are often labeled dyspraxic.

Motor dysfunction in praxis and imitation in children with ASD impairs their ability to coordinate sequential movement for social affective, reciprocal exchange. Movement is the messenger of emotion and is foundational to expression of internal states and environmental responsiveness.

Sensory Deficits

Early sensory motor experiences are essential to oral motor planning and coordination of the refined movements required to create the subtle, quick, light contacts that comprise human speech.

Children with ASD experience difficulty in engagement and social interaction because of poor regulation of arousal, attention, affect and action.

To be effective, a therapist should analyze the oral sensory seeking/avoiding behaviors of the child and select tools and techniques to modulate the sensory experiences and subsequent movements. Where there is sensation, there is movement; where there is movement, there is sensation.

How Does the Interactive Oral Sensory-Motor Approach Work?

I designed interactive oral sensory motor therapy techniques to address motor speech problems while simultaneously developing interaction and affect exchange between the face, eyes and mouth.

Therapy focuses on this area, the “window of communication,” where 90% of social interactive behaviors (facial expression, eye gaze, vocal and postural gestures) are exchanged.

The intimacy of face-to-face engagement inherent to oral sensory-motor techniques serves as a portal for developing affective interaction and engagement using the speech structures.

If the client experiences the sensory modulation techniques in the oral area as pleasurable, willingness to interact increases. The key to success is that the therapist maintains control of the sensory stimulus.

The child must engage with the therapist to obtain the desired sensory input. This creates the portal for development of interaction. Attaching emotion and intent to oral-vocal-facial behaviors permits these behaviors to become established for communicative purposes by selective reinforcement and conditioning.

Anna, a non-verbal 17-year-old with cognitive abilities at a 16-month level, unexpectedly and intermittently screams and grunts, while maintaining a clenched jaw.

An oral sensory analysis revealed that she sought pressure throughout her temporo-mandibular and cricoarytenoid (speech) joints. She used screaming, grunting and clenching to provide for her sensory needs of pressure.

Through the use of interactive oral sensory motor therapy techniques, she learned to produce vocalizations at a socially acceptable pitch and loudness level, self-modulate from “too loud” or “too hard” cues, use acceptable voice and intonation levels.

To Use the Interactive Oral Sensory Motor Therapy Approach:

  1. First determine the client’s oral sensory seeking/avoiding behavioral profile.
  2. Next, assess oral motor capacities and tolerances.
  3. Then, provide the oral sensory input the client is seeking by guiding the stimulation within the comfortable tolerances of the client, while keeping input pleasurable.
  4. Engage the client in the “window” of communication by regulating the desirable sensory input, while enticing, but not commanding attention.
  5. Use the “teachable moment” to shape communicative behaviors, ranging from eye gaze to vocal productions to words and phrases.
  6. Mediate and shape undesirable, socially inappropriate behaviors, with this sensory approach, and replace with more acceptable behaviors.

This approach may not be the “magic bullet” that many hope for with pre- and non-verbal children. However, it certainly is one more weapon in the arsenal to combat one of the primary deficits in autism spectrum disorders.

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Immune System and Nervous System http://www.epidemicanswers.org/immune-system-and-nervous-system/ http://www.epidemicanswers.org/immune-system-and-nervous-system/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 01:58:55 +0000 http://www.epidemicanswers.org/?p=7561 by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND

Immune System and Nervous SystemDuring the summer, life has gotten better for most parents of a child on the autistic spectrum or with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) who live east of the Rockies. Approximately 60% of these children experience improvements in behavior and function. When fall starts, some of these same youngsters will lose ground again, but to a lesser degree.

Parents blame teachers and schools for this downturn when the real culprit may be in their own backyards. Pollen, mold and grass activate the immune system sending signals to the nervous system that alter perception and behavior. Many people are surprised to find the immune system and nervous system are linked.

When Dr. Doris Rapp first documented behavior and learning problems associated with allergy exposure, doctors criticized her observations for lacking scientific basis. Now over 20 years later, researchers have discovered the chemical pathways that explain this phenomenon.

During an allergic reaction, the immune system reacts aggressively to a substance, like pollen, that is inherently harmless. Until recently, this response has been narrowly defined. Immune cells called T helper cell type 2 (Th2), signaled other immune cells to produce IgE antibodies (IgE). IgE attaches to the surface of still other immune components called mast cells. Mast cells release histamine, an inflammatory substance that causes hives, itching and swelling.

Scientists now know that when Th2 cells communicate using messenger molecules called cytokines. Cytokines produced by Th2 have strange names like IL4, IL5 and IL 9. Cytokine information does not stay in the immune system. The nervous system also contains receptors for cytokines and will get the same messages. The result is a range of pathological nervous system responses from irritability to depression.

Dr. Marvin Boris, a New York based allergist, observed that half of the youngsters who regressed in the spring did not have obvious allergy symptoms. Chewing clothing, lost language skills and aggressive behavior are the reaction to pollen.

What to do?

First, look through your child’s history and see if there is a pattern of behavior or skill deterioration every spring and or fall. While these are the times of year most associated with problems, some children follow unique patterns and may have problems other times. Identify your child’s rhythm, if there is one.

Develop a strategy for prevention and an emergency plan, if that fails.

Prevention First

Adjust Fatty Acids

Fats are the building blocks for many of the regulatory substances in the immune system. How the immune system performs is further influenced by the fat makeup of the cell membrane. Too many hydrogenated fats (found in packaged foods) or omega 6 fats (found in meat and dairy), encourage inflammation or suppress the system. Adding omega 3 fats (found in fish and flax oil) can help rebalance immune responses. (See The Omega 3 Connection by Stoll.)

Add Probiotics

Probiotics is a general term used to describe good bacteria that inhabit the body. New research suggests that probiotics can modulate Th2 function resulting in less severe allergic reactions. Since pesticides kill good bacteria along with the pests, most foods are no longer reliable sources of healthy bugs

There are many excellent probiotic supplements on the market. Most good bacteria strains are heat sensitive and survive best when refrigerated. Look for a powder or pull apart capsule that contains at least 1 billion good bugs.

Each brand promotes its own proprietary blend of bacterium or one “special” type such as Lactobacillus G.G. Other excellent bugs include Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus acidophilus. They may sound like a bunch of bad Roman generals, but they are critical for keeping Th2 in balance.

The particular mixture is not as important as finding what works well for the individual. Switch brands to expose the system to a variety of organisms. Start with ½ the dose (or less) listed on the label and work up slowly watching for gas and other intestinal changes.

Avoid Allergy Foods

The immune system works on a load principal. If you are sensitive to milk and pollen, for example, the reaction to pollen may be worse if you are eating cheese. The body will be less reactive if sensitive foods are discovered and eliminated from the diet.

If prevention does not help and your child is falling apart, contact your doctor. Though the reaction may not look like a typical allergy, anti-histamines or other allergy medicine may provide symptom relief. Some parents have also gotten temporary improvement giving potassium bicarbonate.

For more information on balancing immune function, read The Road to Immunity by Dr. Ken Bock or SuperImmunity for Kids by Leo Galland.

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Holistic Dentistry http://www.epidemicanswers.org/holistic-dentistry/ http://www.epidemicanswers.org/holistic-dentistry/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 19:26:22 +0000 http://www.epidemicanswers.org/?p=7547 Holistic Dentistryby Maria Rickert Hong, CHHC, AADP

I am fortunate to live near the office of Dr. Mark Breiner, a holistic dentist who doesn’t use mercury, fluoride or BPA. He has been campaigning against mercury amalgams since the 1970’s. He’s written a book, “Whole-Body Dentistry:  A Complete Guide to Understanding the Impact of Dentistry on Total Health”.

In it, he explains the dangers of mercury, including the electrical problems caused by them. Because they are metal, mercury fillings affect the electrical energy along that meridian. Each tooth sits on a particular acupuncture meridian, so an unhealthy tooth can affect the systems and organs related to that meridian.

Before he removed my mercury fillings, he measured the voltage, current and power provided by each of them. Voltages ranged from 40-220 MV, currents from 1-4 MA, and MW x seconds from -0.01 to -0.33.  Our bodies are electrochemical in nature, and these mercury fillings throw an electrical monkey wrench into the mix.

Dr. Breiner also practices homeopathy as a means of helping the body detoxify from the mercury, as well as from other toxins lurking in the body.

Holistic dentistry, therefore, is a type of dentistry that looks at the health of a person’s teeth in relation to the health of the overall body.  This kind of dentist understands how chronic and degenerative disease can be caused by toxic fillings, jawbone infection, the bite or airway problems.

Maria Rickert Hong is a former Wall Street equity research analyst who is now a Certified Holistic Health Counselor. She is the author of the bestselling book, “Almost Autism: Recovering Children from Sensory Processing Disorder, A Reference for Parents and Practitioners.” As a health coach, she helps parents make diet and lifestyle changes to recover their children from symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder, almost autism, autism, PDD-NOS and ADHD. She has recovered her two boys from SPD, asthma, acid reflux and eczema can be reached at www.MariaRickertHong.com Maria is a board member, Media Director and blogger for Epidemic Answers, a 501(c)3 non-profit that lets parents know that recovery is possible, and she’s also the Media Director for Epidemic Answers’ Documenting Hope Project.


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Metallothionein and Autism Update http://www.epidemicanswers.org/metallothionein-and-autism-2/ http://www.epidemicanswers.org/metallothionein-and-autism-2/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 02:09:55 +0000 http://www.epidemicanswers.org/?p=7538 Metallothionein and Autism Updateby William Shaw, Ph.D., Founder, Great Plains Laboratory

Healthcare professionals treating children with autism spectrum disorders have shown considerable interest in metallothionein (MT) in the last few years, because of pioneering research by William Walsh, Ph.D. of the Pfeiffer Institute.

I feel that Dr. Walsh is correct that the copper to zinc ratio is abnormally high in individuals with autism. However, I believe that the reason for this abnormal ratio involves the complex interaction among MT, zinc, copper, as well as ceruloplasmin and glutathione.

Metallothionein (MT)

MT is a family of small proteins containing 61-68 amino acids that play a major role in heavy metal detoxification. MT deficiency could explain why individuals with autism respond unfavorably to vaccines containing heavy metals like mercury.

MTs function as intracellular distributors and mediators of copper and zinc. MT also contains an unusually high (30%) concentration of cysteine, which reacts with a number of metals including zinc, mercury, copper and cadmium. However, he most important factor in the regulation of MT is the amount of zinc intake.


Zinc deficiency is common in children with autism and also associated with growth retardation, poor wound healing, hair loss, night blindness, weak immune function and delayed sexual maturation. As zinc levels fall, skin rash, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite and impaired taste and smell can occur. When the body’s stores of zinc are depleted, it must break down MT and take zinc from plasma proteins.

Many practitioners prescribe heavy loads of zinc for periods of several weeks to several months. I have found that MT increases six fold after only 10 days of zinc supplementation, then plateaus. If you give too much zinc for too long, it can cause depigmentation of hair and skin. Excess zinc can also lead to copper deficiency. A parent I know gave her child high doses of zinc daily for over a year. She reported that the child’s hair turned grey.

Chelation should begin once zinc levels are sufficient. Since zinc regulates MT, the body will release some zinc along with the heavy metals. It is important to continue zinc loading during chelation.

Because zinc is a co-factor in hundreds of biochemical reactions, it is impossible to know which symptoms are associated with which reactions. I believe that some of the benefits of long-term zinc supplementation might be completely unrelated to MT.


Copper produces energy in the cells, assists in neuro-transmitter production, nerve conduction, and in the healthy function of both the immune and cardiovascular systems. Symptoms of excess copper include hyperactivity, irritability, poor concentration and joint pain.


A large protein called ceruloplasmin plays an important role as a “transporter” in copper metabolism. While most copper in the blood is bound to ceruloplamsin, some is bound to albumin, MT or other proteins. If ceruloplasmin is low, free copper can rise to toxic levels. Reduction of free copper may be the reason for improvement seen in autistic symptoms on zinc loading.


The body’s level of glutathione (GSH) determines absorption of toxins from heavy metals. GSH can be low for a number of reasons, including exposure to toxic hydrocarbons such as DDT, PCB’s, or chloroform, because it combines with these toxins and is eliminated with them.

When levels of MT and zinc bound by MT are appropriate, GSH mediates the transfer of zinc to MT. Conversely, GSH oxidizes the sulfhydryl groups of MT and releases zinc to enzymes.  MT, GSH and other regulatory proteins are thus very important in maintaining zinc in the brain at non-toxic levels.

New Lab Test

I have responded to Dr. Walsh’s desire for an MT screening test with the Advanced Metallothionein Profile (AMP). This blood test measures not only MT, but also serum zinc, copper, ceruloplasmin, free copper, and GSH. It is evident that either an excess or deficiency of any of these substances may be harmful.  The print-out also includes a copper/zinc ratio, a GSH/MT ratio, and a zinc/MT ratio.

With the AMP professionals can determine whether a patient has zinc, copper, glutathione, ceruloplasmin and MT deficiencies or excesses, and thus provide the appropriate treatment. Doctors can order test kits, available overnight, from Great Plains Laboratory. My staff and I provide test interpretation training by phone or in person.  I urge all health care professionals to use the AMP to monitor the effectiveness of detoxification treatments, and as a guide for modulating immune deficiencies.

For more information about the AMP go to www.greatplainslaboratoy.com. For Dr. Walsh’s work go to www.hriptc.org.


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Brain Gym and Sensory Integration http://www.epidemicanswers.org/brain-gym-sensory-integration/ http://www.epidemicanswers.org/brain-gym-sensory-integration/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 02:42:39 +0000 http://www.epidemicanswers.org/?p=7532 Brain Gym Internationalby Mary Rentschler, M. Ed., Brain Gym consultant and instructor

Editing articles about occupational therapy (OT) and sensory integration (SI), I have often thought to myself , “OT, SI and Brain Gym are totally compatible and complimentary.”

I signed up immediately last spring when the Educational Kinesiology Foundation offered a new workshop, “In Sync: Integrating the Senses through Movement”. Taught by Rita Edwards, Dip. OT, D.T.S.E., Brain Gym Consultant, and Edu-K International Faculty member, the course demonstrates how to combine OT, Brain Gym and sensory integration.

Rita acknowledges Paul and Gail Dennison, Carla Hannaford, Jean Ayres, and Carol Kranowitz as providing conceptual and practical support for her work. She has developed balances (a process for putting interventions into the context of a specific goal) for integration of the cranial-sacral, vestibular, proprioceptive, visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory and gustatory systems.

A Balance for Vestibular Integration

Lisa, a seven-year-old with low muscle tone, wants to ride her bike around corners and stop easily. First she does some warm ups to get ready for new learning. We make sure that her goal is appropriate and realistic. Muscle checking leads us to choose vestibular integration as a priority.

Next, we identify aspects of bike riding that cause stress in her system. Simply walking the bike or sitting on it would probably produce a weak muscle check (MC). She would also perform various activities that stimulate the vestibular system, each time noticing or muscle checking to establish awareness of stress and provide a base line for measuring progress.

  • Hold left, then right mastoid, bringing attention to the semi-circular canals – part of the vestibular system – just beneath this bone. (MC)
  • Prone extension posture (how many seconds?)
  • Standing balance, eyes open and closed (seconds?)
  • Spinning with eyes closed, MC or notice loss of balance
  • Leaning forward, MC
  • Resist being pushed

The next step is the intervention. Lisa could choose, or muscle checks could lead to a choice, among activities that would foster integration by providing physical, environmental, emotional and/or energetic support:

  • Physical: Brain Gym Midline Movements and Lengthening Activities or other movement stimulation (bouncing, rolling, spinning, jumping)
  • Environmental: Vestibular stimulation in daily home, playground and classroom routines. Drinking more water.
  • Emotional: Brain Gym (Positive Points and Hook-Ups), Integrating music, free movement, dance, resonation
  • Energetic: Brain Gym (Energy Exercises)

The last step is to revisit the pre-checks, noticing the absence of stress, changes in MCs, and new ease with the goal activity. Lisa could then practice bike riding and choose Brain Gym or other home activities to reinforce her new skills.

A Balance for Auditory Integration

Danny, also age seven, experienced dramatic progress in reading through a similar process. He read haltingly, nearly breathless with effort. Pre-checks showed ease for vision, but significant stress for auditory integration, particularly for the right ear, which feeds primarily into the brain’s language hemisphere.

Danny was able to identify his feelings when he read as “confused” and “frustrated.” To see if this might be an echo of past stress, we explored, through muscle checking, and found age three and four. “Oh,” said his mom, “that’s the year I was sick.” She had, in fact, been critically ill, so ill that a little boy could very well have wanted to block his ears against bad news.

To integrate his hearing, Danny needed “Temporal Tapping,” firm tapping on the skull all around the outline of his ears. Afterwards he picked up his book again and began reading with obvious pleasure, never stopping until it was time to leave. He could now “hear” the story. At home Danny greeted his father saying, “Dad! I used to hate to read! Now I love to read.”


Goals involving vision would require checks for tracking, looking in all directions, and far/near pursuits. Physical interventions could be Brain Gym, Vision Gym, or other eye exercises. Nurturing the eyes with more time outside, less TV, and improved diet could address environmental issues.

For the tactile system pre/post-checks might include wearing a sweater, standing close to someone, hugging, stroking or brushing. Balances for other senses would have different goals, pre/post-checks, interventions, and reinforcement. The approach is infinitely adaptable.

A goal should be the child’s, not the therapist’s or parents’ choice. When a child mobilizes all his/her resources of energy, motivation and intention, then the work has deep relevance and personal meaning. Interventions that address physical, environmental, emotional and energetic issues render the process all the more truly holistic.

Brain Gym® is a registered trademark of the Educational Kinesiology Foundation/Brain Gym® International.

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