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RSD Article August - PDF Document

RSD Article October - PDF Document

The Age of Autism:
Showdown in Santa Fe

A pediatrician had an appointment Monday with the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy to deliver a blunt message: Its members need to warn state residents that the mercury in flu shots could be harmful to children -- or risk being remembered for failing to do their job.

The request by Dr. Kenneth Stroller, an assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, opens a new front in an escalating war over the use of a mercury-based preservative in medical products. He is medical director of the Hyperbaric Medical Center of New Mexico and uses Hyperbaric oxygen to treat autism.

Six states -- including heavyweights New York, California and Illinois -- have banned the preservative, called thimerosal, from vaccines intended for children and pregnant women. It has been voluntarily phased out of most childhood immunizations but remains in most flu shots.

The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes an outright ban, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declined to express a preference for the thimerosal-free version of the flu vaccine. The dynamics are complicated, but the basic issue is whether itís reasonable to fear that thimerosal might cause autism. Stroller says it is; the AAP and the CDC say it is not.

"There is an acute public health issue that very few understand even though several states have banned or limited the use of vaccines containing thimerosal," says a copy of Strollerís speech he provided Age of Autism. "In the months and years to come this iatrogenic (doctor-induced) poisoning of Americans and New Mexicans will be fully understood and what you decide to do here today will be noted in the not too distant future.

"We have a responsibility to perform here and the Board of Pharmacy has the regulatory power to perform it," he said. "I am requesting that you issue an immediate advisory so that all New Mexicans who desire to receive the current flu vaccine receive information about what is being injected as there has been a labeling omission (violation). And lastly, I request that you prohibit the use of this flu vaccine that contains thimerosal to all pregnant woman and children under 50 pounds."

Strollerís concern is emphatically not shared by the physicians group, which has opposed such a ban in other states. Before New York Gov. George Pataki signed a thimerosal ban in August, a state chapter of the AAP urged its rejection.

"This bill, designed to protect individuals from alleged adverse effects of thimerosal which contains ethyl mercury, is completely unnecessary," said the AAP statement. "To legislate based on fear and misinformation is an anathema to those of us who work tirelessly for the health and welfare of our communities.

"To enact this legislation implies that the vaccines that have virtually eradicated many diseases, constituting one of the greatest public health accomplishments of the past century, are dangerous. This bill denigrates our informed scientific and medical communities while supporting all of the anti-vaccine factions in our society. This legislation potentially jeopardizes our most vulnerable communities."

The CDC says concerns about thimerosal have been allayed by numerous studies. "As the Institute of Medicine concluded in a recent report, the vast majority of studies, which have involved hundreds of thousands of children in a number of countries, have failed to find any association between exposure to thimerosal in vaccines and autism," according to the CDC's Web site.

Stroller said medical groups and the federal government is misguidedly trying to protect the childhood immunization program by defending mercury as a vaccine ingredient. He also said they are afraid of massive liability if a link is shown -- some quarter-million Americans have been diagnosed with autism, 80 percent of them under 18.

Careers and credibility are at stake, he added.

"Their throwing sand in everyone's face -- to protect their jobs and their reputations and status -- is interfering with getting these kids the help they need," he charged. And thimerosal-containing flu shots will create more cases, he said.

Autism diagnoses increased dramatically over the past two decades at the same time that more vaccines containing thimerosal were added to the schedule. In 1999 the U.S. Public Health Service, the AAP and family physicians recommended that manufacturers phase out thimerosal in childhood vaccines as soon as possible. Most flu shots, however, continue to contain a full dose of thimerosal. The CDC -- which now recommends flu shots for pregnant women and infants 6 to 23 months old -- has declined to express a preference for non-thimerosal flu shots out of what it says is concern that parents might be reluctant to vaccinate their children unless they can find it.

"Most New Mexicans haven't received their flu vaccines yet," Stroller told Age of Autism. "I'm asking them to issue an urgent advisory letting them know the danger and the risk of the thimerosal flu vaccine which accounts for about 90 percent of the flu vaccine in New Mexico and the United States."

He said that while New Mexico has ordered some thimerosal-free vaccines for infants and pregnant women, private-practice physicians are likely to order the thimerosal containing multiple-dose vials.

Reprinted with Permission

12 February 2003

In Memory of
Astronaut Laurel B. Clark, M.D.
Diving Medical Officer
Mission Specialist

Astronaut Laurel B. Clark, mission specialist. Born in Iowa, but considers Racine, Wisconsin, to be her hometown. Married with one child. She enjoys scuba diving, hiking, camping, biking, parachuting, flying, traveling. Her parents reside in New Mexico.

Graduated from William Horlick High School, Racine Wisconsin in 1979; received bachelor of science degree in zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1983 and doctorate in medicine from the same school in 1987.

Aerospace Medical Association, Society of U.S. Naval Flight Surgeons.

Navy Commendation Medals (3); National Defense Medal, and Overseas Service Ribbon

During medical school she did active duty training with the Diving Medicine Department at the Naval Experimental Diving Unit in March 1987. After completing medical school, Dr. Clark underwent postgraduate Medical education in Pediatrics from 1987-1988 at Naval Hospital Bethesda, Maryland. The following year she completed Navy undersea medical officer training at the Naval Undersea Medical Institute in Groton Connecticut and diving medical officer training at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, Florida, and was designated a Radiation Health Officer and Undersea Medical Officer.

She was then assigned as the Submarine Squadron Fourteen Medical Department Head in Holy Loch Scotland. During that assignment she dove with US Navy divers and Naval Special Warfare Unit Two Seals and performed numerous medical evacuations from US submarines. After two years of operational experience she was designated as a Naval Submarine Medical Officer and Diving Medical Officer. She underwent 6 months of aeromedical training at the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute in Pensacola, Florida and was designated as a Naval Flight Surgeon. She was stationed at MCAS Yuma, Arizona and assigned as Flight Surgeon for a Marine Corps AV-8B Night Attack Harrier Squadron (VMA 211). She made numerous deployments, including one overseas to the Western Pacific, practiced medicine in austere environments, and flew on multiple aircraft. Her squadron won the Marine Attack Squadron of the year for its successful deployment. She was then assigned as the Group Flight Surgeon for the Marine Aircraft Group (MAG 13). Prior to her selection as an astronaut candidate she served as a Flight Surgeon for the Naval Flight Officer advanced training squadron (VT-86) in Pensacola, Florida. LCDR Clark is Board Certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners and holds a Wisconsin Medical License. Her military qualifications include Radiation Health Officer, Undersea Medical Officer, Diving Medical Officer, Submarine Medical Officer, and Naval Flight Surgeon. She is a Basic Life Support Instructor, Advanced Cardiac Life Support Provider, Advanced Trauma Life Support Provider, and Hyperbaric Chamber Advisor.

Selected by NASA in April 1996, Dr. Clark reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. After completing two years of training and evaluation, she was qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. From July 1997 to August 2000 Dr. Clark worked in the Astronaut Office Payloads/Habitability Branch. She is currently assigned to the crew of STS-107 scheduled for launch in 2003.

14 January 2003

California Judge Approves Landmark

Warning on Mercury Use in Dentistry.

(San Francisco, CA) - For the first time anywhere, dentists will be required to post a warning about the dangers of mercury in their dental fillings. A California Superior court judge finalized the language for the warning to be posted in dentists' offices here today.

The warning will read as follows:

Notice to Patients, Proposition 65:

Warning on dental amalgams, used in many dental fillings, causes exposure to mercury, a chemical known to the state of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Root canal treatments and restorations including fillings, crowns and bridges, use chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has studied the situation and approved for use all dental restorative materials.

Consult your dentist to determine which materials are appropriate for your treatment.

The exact language of the warning was argued and then finalized before Superior Court Judge James A. Robertson II between the California DentalAssociation, the largest constituent organization of the American Dental Association and Attorney Shawn Khorrami (Cor-ahm-mee). The agreement requires its member dentists to warn patients about the toxic dangers of mercury dental fillings and root canals. The agreement also allows non-CDA dentists to opt in to the agreement and post the warning.

The warning is the result of a lawsuit filed by The Law Offices of Shawn Khorrami on behalf of As You Sow, a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to advocacy and activism in the public interest.

"This is the first admission by organized dentistry that amalgams pose a potential health risk," says Shawn Khorrami, lead attorney. "The only problem is that it's about 100 years too late."

This California consent judgment follows on the heels of recent lawsuits filed in Georgia, Texas, Ohio and Los Angeles, California charging that mercury fillings placed in a woman's mouth contributed to the autism of her child, as well as lawsuits in Maryland, California, and New York charging the American Dental Association with misrepresenting amalgam dental fillings as "silver." The lawsuits basically allege that such fillings actually contain approximately 50% mercury by weight. They cause continuous, daily exposure to mercury and, thereby pose substantial health risks to certain users. Mercury, a highly toxic substance, is the most widely used substance in dental fillings today.

The use of mercury-based thimerosal in vaccines also has been the source of the recent controversy in the Homeland Security legislation.

Khorrami filed the lawsuit against Roger Fieldman D.D.S., Inc., the Citadel Dental Group, Inc. dental offices, dental laboratories and private dental schools and training programs with more than nine employees. The suit won the enforcement of Proposition 65, Safe Drinking Water and Toxics Enforcement Act [Health & Safety Code ß 25249.6].

Proposition 65 requires that a clear and reasonable warning be provided to persons prior to their exposure to a chemical known to cause cancer or reproductive harm. This statute lists mercury, contained in dental amalgam, as a substance that can cause reproductive toxicity. The lawsuit was based on the absence of warnings to patients treated with amalgam restorative materials in dental offices.

The judgment on Proposition 65 mandates that all dental offices with more than nine employees provide warnings on the dangers of Mercury dental fillings to patients. Those in non-compliance could incur a fine of up to $2,500 per day.

Posted on Mon, Jun. 03, 2002

Oxygen treatment ordered for boy, 2, in coma

Bob Eighmie / Herald Staff : Jeffrey and Judy Weiss speak to reporters Monday at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.

Jeffrey and Judy Weiss wanted one more chance to save their son's life.

They won that chance -- a slim one -- Monday as 2-year-old Justin lay in a coma after almost drowning in Parkland over Memorial Day weekend.

Broward Circuit Judge John A. Miller ordered the North Broward Hospital District to allow an outside doctor to give Justin an alternative, costly treatment using a portable oxygen chamber.

''This means that our son has a chance at life,'' said Jeffrey Weiss, 49, an eye doctor who performs retina surgery at two of the district's hospitals. ``Their choice was to give our son death.''

Attorneys for the district argued against the motion, saying Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale was not licensed to administer hyperbaric oxygen treatments and that the portable chamber posed a fire hazard.

''They asked the hospital to perform unlicensed procedures that could jeopardize the hospital,'' said hospital district attorney Reid A. Cocalis, of Conrad & Scherer. Cocalis said he did not know whether the district would appeal the ruling.

The couple began crying and said, ''Thank you, thank you,'' when Miller issued the ruling.

''He's my only boy,'' said Weiss, who also has twin girls.

Miller ordered the family's attorney, Kenneth J. Sobel, to submit an installation plan for the portable chamber to the fire marshal before treatments begin. That could happen by Wednesday.

Each hour that passes could make a difference in the treatment's effectiveness, Dr. Richard Neubauer, who runs a hyperbaric center in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, told the judge.

Neubauer's patients are placed in an eight-by-three-foot tank and administered pure, pressurized oxygen, which can hasten the recovery of injured tissues, he said.

He offers no promises but said amazing recoveries have occurred, including that of a child who was in a state similar to Justin's but who eventually made a full recovery.

The family said Justin must receive the treatments at the hospital because his condition makes transporting him elsewhere too dangerous.

The Weisses agreed to assume the full cost and any liability for the treatments.

The Weisses were entertaining guests May 26 when Justin disappeared for five minutes. His father found him in the swimming pool, Sobel said.

''We had screens and alarms and everything . . .'' Weiss' voice trailed off as his eyes filled with tears.

He said doctors at Broward General Medical Center told the Weisses on Thursday that they should discontinue the machinery keeping Justin alive because his vegetative condition had not improved.

''I feel very good that at least my son is given a chance,'' said Judy Weiss after Monday's ruling. ``They're not going to take my hope away.''

The Times August, 2000

Global Hyperbaric Resource Project: The Times


Moorpark child benefits from new therapy CEREBRAL PALSY: 7-year-old ismore alert after controversial oxygen treatment.

By Molly R.Okeon Ventura County Star writer Sunday August 27, 2000

Mari Farrington is beginning to see an awakening in her 7-year-old daughter, Nicole. The change is not an overnight miracle or a medical breakthrough, but a controversial therapy does seem to be making a difference in the life of the young girl with cerebral palsy. Like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, Nicole has moved from being a sleepy-eyed girl with noticeable spasticity in her arms to an alert, playful 7-year-old who darts easily across the room, makes attempts at speech and is developing learning skills. The youngster has been undergoing hyperbaric chamber oxygen therapy treatments twice daily for the past month.

Cerebral palsy is a disability resulting from damage to the brain before, during or shortly after childbirth. It is manifested by lack of coordination and difficulty or inability to develop cognitive skills such as speaking or communication of any kind. The change in Nicole is evident not only in her physical appearance but also in her actions. She now puts tapes in the VCR when she wants to see them and walks up and down the stairs holding onto the handrail rather than crawling -- two things she never did before, Farrington said. "She's reflexive; she's decreased in spasticity. You can tell because her arms stay down by her sides," said Farrington, who lives in Moorpark with Nicole, her husband, Mark, and 5-year-old daughter Rachel. "She actually attends other people's conversations. She's increased in alertness level. When I would say, 'Nikki, come to me,' there was a three-second delay. Her response time now is immediate."

After trying what she says is "every kind of therapy known to man," Farrington decided her daughter would try hyperbaric chamber oxygen therapy treatments at Rapid Recovery Hyperbarics in San Bernardino. The treatment is regularly used for divers who get the "bends," a condition brought on by rapid decompression when coming up too quickly from a deep dive, or therapy for patients with wounds. It places an individual in an apparatus that delivers, under increased atmospheric pressure, additional oxygen into the lungs and blood vessels.

For those with cerebral palsy, the idea is that the enriched oxygen will revive brain cells, allowing the brain to function more efficiently.

Treatment is controversial and considered experimental

Despite testimonies of people such as the Farmingtonís who claim dramatic results from the treatments, the therapy remains controversial. The United Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., states on its Web site there is no "scientifically acceptable evidence" available to demonstrate the usefulness, or lack thereof, of Hyperbarics for CP patients at this time.

There are currently no local hyperbaric facilities working with individuals with cerebral palsy. However, Dr. Michael Lieber, medical director of the Gonda Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, said earlier this month that UCLA might consider the treatments in the future. Hyperbaric chamber oxygen therapy studies are under way in Canada and, although the regimen is not widely known in this country, it is paid for by the government in the United Kingdom.

According to Dr Philip James MD, of the UK. Throughout the month, Mari, Nicole and Rachel Farrington have been staying with Mark's brother, Sam Farrington, and his wife, Robin, in Menifee, about an hour from San Bernardino. Nicole, accompanied by her mother, has gone into the chamber twice daily for an hour each day this month. Each treatment typically costs $150. Children / $100.00.

Farrington went to the clinic hoping that Nicole, who has never spoken, would become more alert and gain the power of speech.

After three weeks, Nicole has made tremendous strides.

Rapid Recovery Susan Rodriguez CHT, whose husband Pat Rodriguez EMT, DMT, CHT owns the clinic, says that more dramatic effects are seen after the treatments end. Dr Donald Underwood DO, MD, JD is medical Director. Although Nicole cannot yet speak, she is trying, Farrington said. "She will stare at your mouth and tongue to see how you form words," she said. "She's always playing with her tongue and she never extended her tongue before. That's a precursor to speech."

Heading for home

Nicole's last scheduled treatment is Tuesday, and then the Farmingtonís will head for home. Encouraged by her daughter's progress, Farrington hopes to have Nicole undergo another round of treatments soon. Susan Rodriguez said she and her husband have seen roughly 100 children with cerebral palsy and other problems benefit from Hyperbarics. The treatment is helpful but does not take away from the work of other therapists, she said.

"This is to complement their therapy, too. My goal is for no child to leave here who needs the treatment and can benefit from it," she said.

Reprinted with Permission, Times

Leading US Hyperbaric Physician Testifies Before Congress

Dr. Paul Harch, President of the International Hyperbaric Medical Association, is scheduled to testify before the Labor, Health & Human Services and Education Appropriations on Restoring the Brains and Lives of Chronically Brain Injured Americans. This testimony comes at a time when the federal government is looking for ways to both save money and provide more effective treatment for brain injured patients.

Dr. Harch is sponsored by Congressman Istook (R-OK) and his initiatives to strategically lower health care costs by finding ways to deliver more effective treatment at a cost equal or less than current practices. Each brain-injured patient returned to productive employment is, on average, a $26,000 boost to Gross Domestic Product, they also contribute to the tax base instead of being a drain on it, and have a much better quality of life.

Just four years ago, the National Institutes of Health announced that the standard medical wisdom about brain cells was wrong. Brain cells can and do regenerate so the NIH encouraged the medical community to find a way make it happen. Fortunately Hyperbaric Medicine has a history of repairing damaged brains that stretches back 30 years. Not only does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy rejuvenate injured brain tissue years after injury, it may also be the therapy that stimulates the growth of new brain tissue.


Olympic Gold Medallist receives Hyperbaric Oxygen for Frostbite

Olympic Gold Medallist wrestler, Rulon Gardner won a world wrestling title at the Sydney summer Olympics after he upset the Russian Alexander Karelin, who had not lost an international match in 13 years. Gardner will lose a toe because of frostbite suffered when he was stranded in western Wyoming earlier this year.

Gardner's mother, Virginia Gardner, stated that her son's right middle toe would be amputated Thursday at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls using only a local anesthetic. Gardner will be able to leave the hospital later the same day.

Gardner was stranded in the woods when his snowmobile bogged down on Feb. 14th. After wandering around for more than 15 hours in temperatures that dipped to 25 below zero, he was found with a body temperature of 88 and frostbitten feet.

He was released from the hospital Feb. 28th but has returned several times for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to prevent a major amputation.

Hyperbaric Oxygen or HBO, as it is sometimes referred to, is widely accepted for use in limb salvage/reattachment to minimize an amputation sight. The rationale for using HBO in this case is to prevent a foot or leg amputation and help with the reperfusion injury that is brought on after frostbite or other surgical procedures that reintroduce blood back into a hypoxic area of the body.

HBO is used in a variety of indications that are supported by medical literature and reimbursed by health insurers around the world. The following is a partial list of conditions that have been determined to be safe and acceptable indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapy by Medicare, Medicaid, and the International Hyperbaric Medical Association (IHMA). It is very important to note the following list is a combination of indications that are treated with HBO around the world and not an approved list from any one organization. In most cases, medical insurance carriers (including Medicare) provide a coverage policy for hyperbaric oxygen therapy that specifies which diagnosis will be reimbursed:

Acute / Emergent condition requiring immediate treatment:

  • Birth Asphyxiation
  • Brown Recluse spider bite
  • Cyanide / Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Cerebral arterial gas embolism (diving related)
  • Cerebral edema
  • Crush injury; compartment syndrome (reperfusion injuries)
  • Decompression sickness (diving related)
  • Hypoxic non-healing wounds
  • Exceptional blood loss anemia
  • Frostbite (reperfusion injury)
  • Gas gangrene
  • Myocardial Infarction (heart attack)
  • Near Drowning
  • Near Hanging
  • Necrotizing soft tissue infections (necrotizing fasciitis)
  • Peripheral ischemia, including compartment syndrome
  • Reattachment and suturing of severed limbs (surgical reperfusion injuries)
  • Stroke
  • Thermal burns
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Chronic conditions where treatment is adjunctive to the healing process:
  • Actinomycosis (anaerobic skin infection)
  • Compromised skin graft flaps
  • Diabetic wounds/ulcers
  • Enhancement of healing in selected problem wounds
  • Radiation necrosis
  • Refractory osteomyelitis
  • Refractory mycoses
Experimental Uses:

  • M.S.
  • Closed head injury
  • C.P.
  • Headaches
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Near Drowning
  • Autism