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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

FRONTLINE: The Vaccine War- Survey questions

Take a moment to read and answer the questions in the survey- there are only 5. 

What Are Your Attitudes on Vaccinations for Infants and Children? 

Answer these five questions, which have been adapted from a national survey conducted in February 2010. Then scroll down and see displayed in RED how your answers match with respondents to the national survey.

Question 1: How do you balance the overall risks and benefits of vaccinations that most infants and children receive in the U.S.?

Question 2: How do you feel about this statement: So long as a disease is rare where I live, my family and I should avoid getting vaccinated because of the risk of adverse reactions.

Question 3: How do you feel about this statement: Even though there's some risk of adverse reactions to vaccines, my family and I should be vaccinated, because if we aren't we put the health of others at risk.

Question 4: Currently, all 50 states have school immunization laws requiring that children receive vaccinations, although different states may have somewhat different requirements and potential religious or philosophical exemptions.
How do you feel about schools requiring vaccines?

Question 5: Parents should have sole decision-making power about immunizing their children, in contrast to external regulations or requirements.

HERE to go directly to the Survey

Dr. Jay Gordon- Frontline: "The Vaccine War"

From Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
Shame on PBS Frontline Show "The Vaccine War"                                                            
                                                        April 28, 2010 

Last night, PBS aired a show called "The Vaccine War." I was interviewed at great length and in great depth about vaccines and my point of view and expressed my ambivalence about the polarization of this issue and the need for more calm reasoned discussion about the number one question that new parents have. I told Kate McMahon, the co-producer of the show, that there was a large group of doctors and others who cannot be dismissed with the facile label "anti-vaccine" because we still give vaccines and see a place for them in the practice of medicine, but we do not agree with the current vaccine schedule nor the number of vaccines children receive all at one time.
A few days ago, Ms.McMahon emailed me to tell me that the decision had been made to omit my interview from the show. There would not be one word from me. She didn't tell me that she had also omitted 100% of Dr. Robert Sears' interview. And that any other comments from physicians supporting the parents on the show in their ambivalence about vaccines or their decision to refuse all vaccines would also be omitted.
She left this as a show with many doctors commenting very negatively, very frighteningly and often disdainfully and dismissively about vaccine "hesitation" as they called it.
Below is my email response to Kate McMahon.
Dear Kate,
The "Frontline" show was disgraceful. You didn't even have the courtesy to put my interview or any part of the two hours we spent taping on your web site.
You created a pseudo-documentary with a preconceived set of conclusions: "Irresponsible moms against science" was an easy takeaway from the show.
Did you happen to notice that Vanessa, the child critically ill with pertussis, was not intubated nor on a respirator in the ER? She had nasal "prongs" delivering oxygen. I'm sorry for her parents' anxiety and very happy that she was cured of pertussis. But to use anecdotal reports like this as science is irresponsible and merely served the needs of the doctor you wanted to feature.
No one pursued Dr. Offit's response about becoming rich from the vaccine he invented. He was allowed to slide right by that question without any follow up. Dr. Paul Offit did not go into vaccine research to get rich. He is a scientist motivated by his desire to help children. But his profiting tens of millions of dollars from the creation of this vaccine and the pursuit of sales of this and other vaccines is definitely not what he says it is. His many millions "don't matter" he says. And you let it go.
Jenny McCarthy resumed being a "former Playboy" person and was not acknowledged as a successful author, actress and mother exploring every possible avenue to treating her own son and the children of tens of thousands of other families.
I trusted you by giving you two or three hours of my time for an interview and multiple background discussions. I expressed my heartfelt reservations about both vaccines and the polarizing of this issue into "pro-vaccine" and "anti-vaccine" camps. I told you that there was at least a third "camp." There are many doctors and even more parents who would like a more judicious approach to immunization. Give vaccines later, slower and with an individualized approach as we do in every other area of medicine.
What did you create instead?
"The Vaccine War."
A war. Not a discussion or a disagreement over facts and opinions, but a war. This show was unintelligent, dangerous and completely lacking in the balance that you promised me--and your viewers--when you produced and advertised this piece of biased unscientific journalism. "Tabloid journalism" I believe is the epithet often used. Even a good tabloid journalist could see through the screed you've presented.
You interviewed me, you spent hours with Dr. Robert Sears of the deservedly-illustrious Sears family and you spoke to other doctors who support parents in their desire to find out what went wrong and why it's going wrong and what we might do to prevent this true epidemic.
Not a measles epidemic, not whooping cough. Autism. An epidemic caused by environmental triggers acting on genetic predisposition. The science is there and the evidence of harm is there. Proof will come over the next decade. The National Children's Study will, perhaps by accident, become a prospective look at many children with and without vaccines. But we don't have time to wait for the results of this twenty-one year research study: We know that certain pesticides cause cancer and we know that flame retardants in children's pajamas are dangerous. We are cleaning up our air and water slowly and parents know which paint to buy and which to leave on the shelves when they paint their babies' bedrooms.
The information parents and doctors don't have is contained in the huge question mark about the number of vaccines, the way we vaccinate and the dramatic increase in autism, ADD/ADHD, childhood depression and more. We pretend to have proof of harm or proof of no harm when what we really have is a large series of very important unanswered questions.
In case you were wondering, as I practice pediatrics every day of my career, I base nothing I do on Dr. Wakefield's research or on Jenny McCarthy's opinions. I respect what they both have done and respectfully disagree with them at times. I don't think that Dr. Wakefield's study proved anything except that we need to look harder at his hypothesis. I don't think that Jenny McCarthy has all the answers to treating or preventing autism, but there are tens of thousands of parents who have long needed her strong high-profile voice to draw attention to their families' needs: Most families with autism get inadequate reimbursement for their huge annual expenses and very little respect from the insurance industry, the government or the medical community. Jenny has demanded that a brighter light be shone on their circumstances, their frustration and their needs.
I base everything I do on my reading of CDC and World Health Organization statistics about disease incidence in the United States and elsewhere. I base everything I do on having spent the past thirty years in pediatric practice watching tens of thousands of children get vaccines, not get vaccines and the differences I see.
Vaccines change children.
Most experts would argue that the changes are unequivocally good. My experience and three decades of observation and study tell me otherwise. Vaccines are neither all good--as this biased, miserable PBS treacle would have you believe--nor all bad as the strident anti-vaccine camp argues.
You say the decisions to edit 100% of my interview from your show (and omit my comments from your website) "were purely based on what's best for the show, not personal or political, and the others who didn't make it came from both sides of the vaccine debate." You are not telling the truth. You had a point to prove and removed material from your show which made the narrative balanced. "Distraught, confused moms against important, well-spoken calm doctors" was your narrative with a deep sure voice to, literally, narrate the entire artifice.
You should be ashamed of yourself, Kate. You knew what you put on the air was slanted and you cheated the viewers out of an opportunity for education and information. You cheated me out of hours of time, betrayed my trust and then you wasted an hour of PBS airtime. Shame on you.
The way vaccines are manufactured and administered right now in 2010 makes vaccines and their ingredients part of the group of toxins which have led to a huge increase in childhood diseases including autism. Your show made parents' decisions harder and did nothing except regurgitate old news.
Parents and children deserve far better from PBS.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Breastfeeding in the News" April 13th to 20th, 2010

Kathy, The Curious Lactivist, brings us the latest updates about Breastfeeding on the news front.

(Including the news that Enfamil is now trying to pour chocolate flavoured formula down our toddlers throats...?!?)

NEW Enfagrow™ PREMIUM™ Chocolate
A delicious new flavor for toddlers 12 months and older – with prebiotics for digestive health!
As your child grows from an infant to a toddler, he’s probably becoming pickier about what he eats. Now more than ever, ensuring that he gets complete nutrition can be a challenge

April 21, 2010...2:34 pm

Breastfeeding in the News: April 13th – 20th, 2010

Breastfeeding could save the US $13 billion dollars, US employers must now provide women with time and space to express their milk, even the new Adam Sandler flick features a four 48 month old child breastfeeding; it all sounds good, and then we find out that Enfamil now has a new flavored formula – chocolate, created especially for toddlers, and suddenly I want to crawl back into bed again.
Melissa Bartick (chair of the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition) had an impressive study published in Pediatrics recently.  Her figures show that in addition to saving the US $13 billion dollars in health care costs over 900 lives could be saved as well if breastfeeding rates were to meet US recommendations.  Her follow up article (“Peaceful Revolution”) calls for women to feel anger (rather than guilt) for the lack of support they receive.  Amie Newman however believes that it will take more than public policy and knowing about health care cost to get women on board.  Using herself as an example, she nursed her first child for a few days and her second for three years.  The only thing that had changed was her frame of mind.  While visiting Vermont’s only “Baby Friendly” hospital recently I had a conversation with their Lactation Consultant Terry Donofrio voiced similar concerns.  “It used to be that women chose breastfeeding as a lifestyle.  Today they choose it for health reasons but they don’t have the lifestyle to accommodate it,” says Terry.  I have to agree.   Having to go back to work before your baby has even started solids is not conducive to breastfeeding.  Nor is the new IPhone app that lets you keep track of every feed, and don’t even get me started on the number of mothers who are scared silly at the thought of taking their baby to bed with them.  We need a cultural change as well.
Thanks to Obama’s new health care package (“Thank you, page 1239!”) we now have a law guaranteeing mothers who work in a company with over 50 employees time and space to express their milk.  (Notice I didn’t say pump?  I’ve met mothers who work full time and hand express.  They were able to meet their baby’s need without any help from Medela, thank you very much!)  What we don’t know yet is how the law will be enforced, what a “reasonable” amount of space looks like, and whether or not women will get paid for their “lactation time”.  It’s a step in the right direction if the direction we want to go in is separating moms and babies.  I would have preferred a six month paid maternity leave, but beggars can’t be choosers.
In the medical news, there was an interesting Canadian study that showed that the negative effects of giving your children fast food can erase some of the positive benefits of breastfeeding (Higher asthma rates linked to fast food.)  The rise of celiac disease in Sweden in the 1980’s has been tied to the recommendation at the time to wait before weaning to introduce gluten.  Weaning was early in those days and the amounts of gluten recommended were high.  And how it was wonderful to see an article about reducing pain during vaccinations recommending that the baby breastfeed during the inoculation!  I will always remember the story Diane Bagley once told me about her daughter Leah.  Leah was a still a young nursing toddler when she fell and cut her finger.  After no one could her to hold her hand still at the ER Diane insisted that they let her nurse her while they stitched her up.  The staff watched in amazement as Leah held out her tiny hand and nursed until the stitches were complete. (Diane by the way is the graphic designer for the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition – she did the wonderful “For All Walks of Life” campaign!)   ...
 HERE to go directly to The Curious Lactivist to read the entire article

"Substance in Breastmilk kills Cancer"

WOW!!!  And you thought it was just good to feed to your baby?!

Substance in Breast Milk Kills Cancer Cells, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Apr. 23, 2010) — A substance found in breast milk can kill cancer cells, reveal studies carried out by researchers at Lund University and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Although the special substance, known as HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made LEthal to Tumour cells), was discovered in breast milk several years ago, it is only now that it has been possible to test it on humans. Patients with cancer of the bladder who were treated with the substance excreted dead cancer cells in their urine after each treatment, which has given rise to hopes that it can be developed into medication for cancer care in the future.

Discovered by chance

HAMLET was discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. Further studies showed that HAMLET comprises a protein and a fatty acid that are both found naturally in breast milk. So far, however, it has not been proven that the HAMLET complex is spontaneously formed in the milk. It is speculated, however, that HAMLET can form in the acidic environment of the babies´ stomachs. Laboratory experiments have shown that HAMLET kills 40 different types of cancer, and the researchers are now going on to study its effect on skin cancer, tumours in the mucous membranes and brain tumours. Importantly, HAMLET kills only cancer cells and does not affect healthy cells.

Studying the integration of the substance

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg are focusing on how HAMLET can be taken up into tumour cells. The researchers, Roger Karlsson, Maja Puchades and Ingela Lanekoff, are attempting to gain an in-depth understanding of how the substance interacts with cell membranes, and their findings were recently published in the journal PLoS One.
 HERE to read the original article

Saturday, April 24, 2010

9 Questions to ask every Vaccine advocate

9 Questions That Stump Every Pro-Vaccine Advocate and Their Claims

David Mihalovic, ND [naturopathic medical doctor]
October 28, 2009

Since the flu pandemic was declared, there have been several so-called "vaccine experts" coming out of the wood work attempting to justify the effectiveness of vaccines. All of them parrot the same ridiculous historical and pseudoscientific perspectives of vaccinations which are easily squelched with the following 9 questions.

Claim: The study of vaccines, their historical record of achievements, effectiveness, safety and mechanism in humans are well understood and proven in scientific and medical circles.

Fact: The claim is completely false.
1. What to ask: Could you please provide one double-blind, placebo-controlled study that can prove the safety and effectiveness of vaccines?
2. What to ask: Could you please provide scientific evidence on ANY study which can confirm the long-term safety and effectiveness of vaccines?
3. What to ask: Could you please provide scientific evidence which can prove that disease reduction in any part of the world, at any point in history was attributable to inoculation of populations?
4. What to ask: Could you please explain how the safety and mechanism of vaccines in the human body are scientifically proven if their pharmacokinetics (the study of bodily absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of ingredients) are never examined or analyzed in any vaccine study?
One of the most critical elements which defines the toxicity potential of any vaccine are its pharmacokinetic properties. Drug companies and health agencies refuse to consider the study, analysis or evaluation of the pharmacokinetic properties of any vaccine.
There is not one double-blind, placebo-controlled study in the history of vaccine development that has ever proven their safety, effectiveness or achievements (unless those achievements have underlined their damage to human health).
There are also no controlled studies completed in any country which have objectively proven that vaccines have had any direct or consequential effect on the reduction of any type of disease in any part of the world.
Every single study that has ever attempted to validate the safety and effectiveness of vaccines has conclusively established carcinogenic, mutagenic, neurotoxic or fertility impairments, but they won't address those.

Claim: Preservatives and chemical additives used in the manufacture of vaccines are safe and no studies have been linked or proven them unsafe for use in humans.

Fact: The claim is completely false.
5. What to ask: Could you please provide scientific justification as to how injecting a human being with a confirmed neurotoxin is beneficial to human health and prevents disease?
6. What to ask: Can you provide a risk/benefit profile on how the benefits of injecting a known neurotoxin exceeds its risks to human health for the intended goal of preventing disease?
This issue is no longer even open to debate. It is a scientifically established fact in literally hundreds of studies that the preservatives and chemical additives in vaccines damage cells. Neurotoxicity, immune suppression, immune-mediated chronic inflammation and carcinogenic proliferation are just a few of several effects that have been observed on the human body. See a list of chemicals in vaccines
Fortunately, the drug companies still tell us the damage vaccines have on the human body. People just don't read them. All you have to do is look at the insert for any vaccine, and it will detail the exact ingredients, alerts and potentially lethal effects.
See my latest analysis of the Arepanrix H1N1 vaccine for an example.
Any medical professional who believes that it is justified to inject any type of neurotoxin into any person to prevent any disease is completely misguided, misinformed, deluded and ignorant of any logic regarding human health.

Claim: Once an individual is injected with the foreign antigen in the vaccine, that individual becomes immune to future infections.

Fact: The claim is completely false.

HERE To Read the Entire Article

Friday, April 23, 2010

"Pieces of Adam: How your circumcised son may feel in a few years"

I love Woman Uncensored's blogs,  and this one is no exception.  
She writes:

"I want to share with all the parents out there, the true story and feelings of a real  man that was circumcised as an infant.  Adam has been able to be honest and brave in a way that touches my heart deeply.  His story makes me weep for all the other men that are in his position, and for all the boys that someday will be.  To all the parents out there who have left their son intact, I'm sure you will be grateful that your own son will never have to struggle in the way that Adam has."
*                 *                   *                      *                        *                       *
I have 3 sons. My youngest two sons are both intact. But my heart eternally aches for the pain that I caused my eldest son, whom I blithely allowed to be circumcised at 3 days old.

I was young and ignorant... and stupid. During my pregnancy with my eldest  son, I read "What to expect when you're expecting".... well, I read most of it anyway. But that was the extent of my preparation into the world of parenthood. I knew that I would breastfeed (as my mom breastfed me), and at that time I'm sure many would of been shocked to learn that I planned on nursing for longer than 2 months. I had pretty baby things, a cute stroller, a lovely playpen, adorable clothes.... but gave no thought what so ever to any of the other stuff that had to do with babies.

So when my doctor walked into my hospital room 3 days after my sons birth and said to me "Ok, I'm going to take him for his circumcision now", and then he scooped him up out of my arms and walked out of the room with my beautiful perfect intact baby boy..... I just let him go.  I had no idea what was really happening.  I didn't even ask a single question.

My heart breaks to think that I allowed this to happen to my own son.  

But I learned.  I researched and I read and I talked to people.... I learned what it was:  Genital Mutilation
....and when I became pregnant again 10 years later, I knew that there was no way in hell that I would ever allow another child of mine to be tortured that way. 

So if you have a son that IS circumcised, don't think that you can't change that decision for your future sons.  You can.  Educate your selves and others so that NO child has to grow up feeling like Adam does.

 "Pieces of Adam: How your Circumcised son may feel in a few years"
Adam's words:

" Circumcision for me has been a whirl of mixed emotions, over all of them I can assure that none of them are good. When I have to think about my circumcision I have to face a hard fact, I have been altered, and in a very personal way at that. I am reminded that as a baby boy being born as was, was just not good enough. Most people I have encountered don't tend to think circumcision can cut so deep, but it is a cut with much depth to it. I find people left and right, circumcising their children with no qualms, and who just think they're doing the best for their child, and that the foreskin is just a flap of skin, to justify themselves they'll say `it's just a piece of skin.' And thus with such reasoning they circumcise their children, they cut away a piece. However, from my experience, the effects of circumcision come to create much more, ultimately the results of being circumcised come to create in amount the equivalent of a mosaic, therefore it is not one piece, but thousands of pieces building up. This mosaic created out of me and many other men, is in all essence I think something ugly something which should not have been made, simply and graphically put it has come to make a mosaic created solely of blood and flesh, of torture and screams, of pain and psychosis.

     A lot of circumcised men are aware of their very personal unchosen alterations, but as men we are taught to not express our emotions, therefore it is rare you will hear a man express how he feels and especially if he is bothered by his circumcision. As men one of our utmost inner values is to build up security and confidence in ourselves, yet where can one have confidence if he knows he wasn't good enough from birth, that he had to be altered? It is no secret that as men we constantly fawn over our sexual prowess, and try our best to maintain our sexual securities, we worry if our penises are big enough to do the job right, if they'll bring our partners the best pleasure they can have, if they'll bring ourselves the best pleasure we can have, if they'll impress another, amongst many more manhood worries. Certainly, we shouldn't be so focused on our penises, but society has made us so, starting from birth when society was intently focused on our penises with the contemplation of circumcision, thus from the beginning we were spawned to constantly question ourselves in the penis department, for those men who were left intact they question their cleanliness and acceptance as society tells them they are dirty people and many have been shied away from for it, and for those of us who were circumcised we question our acceptance as well and our quality as men, part of our penis wasn't good enough, the foreskin, thus it holds strong possibilities that many other aspects of our penis might also not be good enough, and the whole folly of penile preoccupation is born.
HERE to read the Entire wonderful article by Woman Uncensored

"Circumcision causes life long harm".... Lawsuits to follow?

"Svoboda of Attorneys for the Rights of the Child, an organization that has
brought lawsuits against doctors who have circumcised babies, said: "This is
going to affect the kind of damages that adult men get for being circumcised
against their will as babies. Lawyers are going to be in court holding up
this article and judges are going to have to pay attention. To win a legal
case you have to show harm, and what the harm cost you, and this article
does that.""

That was on June 24, 2002.  Unfortunately the huge fallout  of lawsuits hasn't hit yet..... but there is still hope that they will sometime in the near future.  It's not that I'm a huge fan of lawsuits in general, but if there is one thing that I've learned it's that just about everyone will think twice about doing something again if you hit them in their pocketbook hard enough!!  Right now doctors continue to mutilate the genitals of infant boys solely because the parents pay them to do it.  I guess they feel that money is money, whether its for removing an ingrown toenail or removing part of a babies penis. I truly feel that if the lawsuits begin to fly, less and less doctors are going to feel the urge to do surgery on a tiny patient, just to make him look like his dad.

Circumcision Causes Lifelong Harm, Concludes New Research
U.S. attorney warns doctors, "The foundation is well laid for lawsuits."
BOSTON (Monday, June 24, 2002) - A new study on circumcision in the latest
edition of Journal of Health Psychology concludes that the surgery causes a
host of psychological problems-including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
(PTSD)-in adults who have suffered the surgery as babies. The study is due
on doctor's desks this week.
"Half of all men who were circumcised as babies have some degree of PTSD.
PTSD is what happened to men who went to Vietnam, and parents are doing it
to their babies," said J. Steven Svoboda, Executive Director of Attorneys
for the Rights of the Child, a lawyer and co-author of the study.
The study concludes that the trauma of circumcision affects the developing
brains of babies, and as a result, they may later suffer a host of
psychological problems as adults, including "depression and a sense of
personal vulnerability," in extreme cases causing the men to react in
"aggressive, violent, and/or suicidal behavior."
"We're hearing from a lot more men about emotional difficulties, sexual
difficulties, and psychological problems that they are attributing to their
circumcision," said Ron Goldman, Ph.D., Executive Director of the
Circumcision Resource Center in Boston, a psychologist, and another
co-author of the study with two other academics, "and it brings the
attention to mental health professionals that circumcision may be the cause
of some of the problems that they are diagnosing in men."
Up to now, many mental health professionals have been unaware of the
psychological harms of circumcision. "Now, men who have problems that they
cannot explain, and which may be mystifying their therapists, may look at
circumcision as the possible root of their problems," added Goldman.
The study's authors write, "PTSD may result from childhood circumcision,
just as it does from childhood sexual abuse and rape," and that "some men
circumcised in infancy or childhood without their consent have described
their present feelings in the language of violation, torture, mutilation,
and sexual assault."
The study found that "as compared with genitally intact men, circumcised men
were often unhappy about being circumcised, experienced significant anger,
sadness, feeling incomplete, cheated, hurt, concerned, frustrated, abnormal,
and violated." The authors also found that circumcised men reported lower
self-esteem than did genitally intact respondents.
Svoboda of Attorneys for the Rights of the Child, an organization that has
brought lawsuits against doctors who have circumcised babies, said: "This is
going to affect the kind of damages that adult men get for being circumcised
against their will as babies. Lawyers are going to be in court holding up
this article and judges are going to have to pay attention. To win a legal
case you have to show harm, and what the harm cost you, and this article
does that."

Svoboda has a warning for doctors who continue to circumcise babies against
the recommendations of medical bodies: "We know the physical damage being
done by circumcision, and that it is not medically recommended at all. The
foundation is well laid for lawsuits. Doctors who are still doing
circumcisions are already investing in a lot of trouble, and this study
makes their trouble worse. They just have to wait 18 years until that baby
grows up and they're in for a lawsuit. And an army of lawyers will be there,
with this study and many more in their arsenal."
Marilyn Milos, Director of NOCIRC, an organization that seeks to end routine
neonatal circumcision in North America, says, "This is the first time an
article addresses the long-term psychological trauma. The trauma is
significant for babies, resulting in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Any
time that we can determine that there is such severe harm to an unnecessary
procedure it should be outlawed. Female genital mutilation has been
outlawed, and we need the law to set the standard, here, too, followed by
aggressive educational programs. Parents and doctors need to know that this
is a harm that lasts a lifetime."
Svoboda is convinced that this study will have a major impact on
circumcision in the U.S. "Doctors ignore a lot of medical literature," he
said, "and they ignore the screams of the babies, but they listen when they
hear the word 'malpractice.' As a lawyer willing to sue, I've never had a
doctor not listen to me."
The Journal of Health Psychology is an interdisciplinary, international
journal that acknowledges the social context of health, illness, health
policy, and publishes theoretical, methodological, and empirical studies.
The circulation of the Journal is worldwide and papers are invited from
authors throughout the world.
The U.S. circumcises over 1.2 million male infants per year. The rate has
gradually declined to just under 60% in recent years. Circumcision is
generally considered an American cultural practice, but the pertinent legal
questions have not been decided and are only recently being asked. The
debate about circumcision has been more vocal lately due to increased
awareness and questions about harm and lack of proven benefits. Proponents
continue to claim potential decreased risk of certain diseases, but these
claims are not accepted by any national medical organizations.
HERE to read the original article

"Dump the Jerk"

"Dump the Jerk"..... I have said these very same words so many times to so many women.  And I'm not talking about their husbands, boyfriends or significant others.  I'm talking about their doctors.

This article rings so true for so many women in so many situations in so many places, but rings clearest for pregnant women and their choice (or lack thereof) care givers for their births. Sarah writes about one woman's experience with her Obstetrician:

"I recently heard through the grapevine about a woman whose doctor had scheduled a c-section because of suspected big baby.  (She is of course weeks from her due date.)  But, when the doctors vacation plans changed he no longer needed to schedule the c-section, and told her as much..."

I have heard several versions of this type of story myself, and each time my response was the same: 
"Get the Hell out of there!!"

Women feel especially trapped once they get to 30 odd weeks and the true colours of their doctor start to show.  They feel like it's impossible to change now.  Where will they go?  Who will take them on?  What if they don't find someone else?  They have a right to be concerned, even frightened, about changing everything at the last minute, but nothing is as scary as a doctor who's punching a time clock and pushing every woman through the same mold.

I have encourage several women to change their care provided in the last few weeks of their pregnancies, and worked with them to help them find another Doctor- or even better, a midwife!!  It is possible.  Many of the midwives I know will take on a client in this kind of situation no matter how close to their due date, regardless of how busy or "booked" they are.

But you'll never know if you don't ask! ;>P

Read this article- and pass it on to every woman you know that's stuck in this situation.  Let them know that change is GOOD!!!

Dump The Jerk: Changing Care Providers Before it's too Late!!

The Jerk 

So- your friends have introduced you to this "great"guy.  He makes great money, has a nice car, big new house, good looking, all that seems important.  You get a little closer a little faster than you would have liked and now you feel stuck in the relationship.  As you get to know him better there are some things that really bother you about him.

You don't feel like he respects you at all.  Whenever you mention something that is important to you he just blows it off.  You have been wanting to go see a ballet for months and he just won't go- even though you go with him to countless monster truck shows.  All of your opinions he would just rather not hear, and if you voice them anyways he makes a rude comment about how you don't really know anything.   Sometimes he even scares you a little bit. 

But- he is a great guy on paper, and all your friends love him.  You have been going together for a few months now and it just feels like it would be too hard at this point to get out of the relationship.  You hate being rude and hurting somebody's feelings anyway.

Of course you have a crazy, opinionated friend.  She thinks a man should be respectful of you and what is important to you.  Her husband treats her well, but doesn't have all that fancy stuff.  She is actually happy in her relationship, unlike your friends.  She keeps telling you to dump the jerk before it is too late, and you are stuck with him forever.


When we think about the above situation, it seems obvious right?  Get out- find somebody good that you actually like and who likes you and respects you.

How many times do we hear this same stupid excuse though about somebody's doctor?  "Oh, I am already 35 weeks, it is just too late to change."  Or maybe this one, "Well, my sister went to this doctor too and I didn't know who else to go with.  He is all right, and he tells me not to worry about anything."

It is not too late to change doctors until the cord has been cut.  Am I being clear enough?  We are talking about the birth of your baby.  This is one of life's BIG events.  It will change you.  I am going to say that again, because it is so important.  Birth will change you.  How do you want your birth to change you?  Do you want it to be full of regrets?  Do you want to feel like a passive participant on a crazy ride where somebody else is behind the steering wheel?  Or do you want your birth to be beautiful and empowering, like you hear it can be?
HERE to read the entire article

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Attention midwives, doctors, nurses, doulas: Breastfeeding survey for NBCI

I have been asked by Edith Kernerman from the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic & Institute to pass this along to all Health Care Providers- Doctors, Nurses, Midwives, Doulas, LC's, IBCLC's, LLL leaders etc- who work with new mothers and babies:

We are conducting a quick survey on what health care practitioners do to help get a not-yet latching baby to the breast.  There are only 10 questions in the survey, it is very quick, and it is anonymous.    Please click the link (below) to Survey Monkey and fill in the questionnaire.  The deadline is Friday April; 23rd.   We would appreciate your immediate help with this.  Thank you!!!

Please forward this to any and all who you think might interested or able to help.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Soy is EVIL!!!!!!

I've been saying it for a long time, but finally the studies are really bringing a spot light on the dangers of Genetically Modified Soy.

Yes, the article below outlines a study that has yet to be published, and yes further testing obviously needs to be done to substantiate these findings....

.... But after reading this article, would you really want to take a chance in the hopes that they are wrong?

Genetically Modified Soy Linked to Sterility, Infant Mortality

Jeffrey Smith

Posted: April 20, 2010 12:32 PM 
Image by Adrisbow Photography
"This study was just routine," said Russian biologist Alexey V. Surov, in what could end up as the understatement of this century. Surov and his colleagues set out to discover if Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) soy, grown on 91% of US soybean fields, leads to problems in growth or reproduction. What he discovered may uproot a multi-billion dollar industry. After feeding hamsters for two years over three generations, those on the GM diet, and especially the group on the maximum GM soy diet, showed devastating results. By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies. They also suffered slower growth, and a high mortality rate among the pups...... .... Preliminary, but Ominous Surov warns against jumping to early conclusions. He said, "It is quite possible that the GMO does not cause these effects by itself." Surov wants to make the analysis of the feed components a priority, to discover just what is causing the effect and how. In addition to the GMOs, it could be contaminants, he said, or higher herbicide residues, such as Roundup. There is in fact much higher levels of Roundup on these beans; they're called "Roundup Ready." Bacterial genes are forced into their DNA so that the plants can tolerate Monsanto's Roundup herbicide. Therefore, GM soy always carries the double threat of higher herbicide content, couple with any side effects of genetic engineering.... ... Years of Reproductive Disorders from GMO-Feed Surov's hamsters are just the latest animals to suffer from reproductive disorders after consuming GMOs. In 2005, Irina Ermakova, also with the Russian National Academy of Sciences, reported that more than half the babies from mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks. This was also five times higher than the 10% death rate of the non-GMO soy group. The babies in the GM group were also smaller (see photo) and could not reproduce. In a telling coincidence, after Ermakova's feeding trials, her laboratory started feeding all the rats in the facility a commercial rat chow using GM soy. Within two months, the infant mortality facility-wide reached 55%. When Ermakova fed male rats GM soy, their testicles changed from the normal pink to dark blue! Italian scientists similarly found changes in mice testes (PDF), including damaged young sperm cells. Furthermore, the DNA of embryos from parent mice fed GM soy functioned differently. An Austrian government study published in November 2008 showed that the more GM corn was fed to mice, the fewer the babies they had (PDF), and the smaller the babies were. Central Iowa Farmer Jerry Rosman also had trouble with pigs and cows becoming sterile. Some of his pigs even had false pregnancies or gave birth to bags of water. After months of investigations and testing, he finally traced the problem to GM corn feed. Every time a newspaper, magazine, or TV show reported Jerry's problems, he would receive calls from more farmers complaining of livestock sterility on their farm, linked to GM corn. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine accidentally discovered that rats raised on corncob bedding "neither breed nor exhibit reproductive behavior." Tests on the corn material revealed two compounds that stopped the sexual cycle in females "at concentrations approximately two-hundredfold lower than classical phytoestrogens." One compound also curtailed male sexual behavior and both substances contributed to the growth of breast and prostate cancer cell cultures. Researchers found that the amount of the substances varied with GM corn varieties. The crushed corncob used at Baylor was likely shipped from central Iowa, near the farm of Jerry Rosman and others complaining of sterile livestock. In Haryana, India, a team of investigating veterinarians report that buffalo consuming GM cottonseed suffer from infertility, as well as frequent abortions, premature deliveries, and prolapsed uteruses. Many adult and young buffalo have also died mysteriously....
HERE to read the entire article  

 Now, I'm sure that there are many people out there that would be offended by conclusions drawn comparing them to animals... But really, considering the fact that human female and male infertility is running rampant, that premature birth rates are higher than ever, and cancer is killing more people now than anyone would of believed possible 30 years ago..... Do you really want to eat that bowl of tofu? 


....Even more scary: Do you really want to feed your baby that bottle of soy formula?

"Baby Co-Sleeping Fact Sheet"

This article contains all the information you need to defend your decision to co-sleep with your new baby, or to help you  make an informed decision about sharing a family bed.

baby co-sleeping fact sheet

by Elizabeth Willmott Harrop
June 2008, updated April 2010

Co-sleeping is surrounded by myth, with all co-sleeping branded as irresponsible, when it is actually unsafe forms of co-sleeping which lead to harm. Rather like wanting to ban all car driving because of the possibility of road deaths, without differentiating between safe and reckless driving. To quote an October 2009 study of SIDS in south west England: "Many of the SIDS infants had coslept in a hazardous environment ... specific advice needs to be given, particularly on use of alcohol or drugs before cosleeping and cosleeping on a sofa."

Co-sleeping1 is beneficial to mothers & babies and the children & adults they become:

  • Protective against SIDS
  • More frequent breastfeeding for a longer term
  • Less crying
  • Calmer and more soothing night time environment
  • Dramatic decrease in sleep startles
  • Increased understanding of baby's cues
  • Longer birth intervals
  • More light and less deep sleep appropriate to infants
  • More independent and secure children
  • Better mental health as adults
Always follow safety guidelines such as sleeping baby on their back, avoiding smoking (in and after pregnancy), being drug and alcohol free, using light bedding and a firm mattress. For full recommendations see Safe Cosleeping from The University of Notre Dame Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab and Attachment Parenting International - Infant Sleep Safety

It is ok

  • to breastfeed your baby to sleep
  • to breastfeed several times in the night
  • if your baby doesn't sleep through the night
  • if your baby wants to be with you all night
  • to bed/room share with your baby
 HERE to read the whole Article

Many times when the topic of bed sharing or co-sleeping enters conversations someone will undoubtedly bring up "The Study".... the Study that has caused several media storms of negative articles about co-sleeping and the irresponsibility of parents who sleep with their babies.  This is a perfect example of how the media is unable to read a study and analyse it correctly, without letting their own personal bias come into play when they publish the report to the public. 

This research study I am talking about came out in 1999 from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that showed 515 cases of accidental infant deaths occurred in an adult bed over an 8-year period between 1990 and 1997.  The media jumped on this (and has jumped on it again and again), using fear mongering  and sensationalism to proclaim loudly that sleep sharing and co-sleeping is unsafe.  But anyone with the ability to read facts and use logic would be able to see through the gigantic holes in this study and be capable of concluding that not only is the study flawed, but that the conclusions drawn from it are highly illogical.

Dr. William Sears discusses the glaringly illogical conclusions of this study, and more importantly brings to light a huge conflict of interest on his website.

the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that showed 515 cases of accidental infant deaths occurred in an adult bed over an 8-year period between 1990 and 1997. That's about 65 deaths per year. These deaths were not classified as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), where the cause of death is undetermined. There were actual causes that were verified upon review of the scene and autopsy. Such causes included accidental smothering by an adult, getting trapped between the mattress and headboard or other furniture, and suffocation on a soft waterbed mattress.
The conclusion that the researchers drew from this study was that sleeping with an infant in an adult bed is dangerous and should never be done. This sounds like a reasonable conclusion, until you consider the epidemic of SIDS as a whole. During the 8-year period of this study, about 34,000 total cases of SIDS occurred in the U.S. (around 4250 per year). If 65 cases of non-SIDS accidental death occurred each year in a bed, and about 4250 cases of actual SIDS occurred overall each year, then the number of accidental deaths in an adult bed is only 1.5% of the total cases of SIDS.
There are two pieces of critical data that are missing that would allow us to determine the risk of SIDS or any cause of death in a bed versus a crib.

  • How many cases of actual SIDS occur in an adult bed versus in a crib?
  • How many babies sleep with their parents in the U.S., and how many sleep in cribs?
The data on the first question is available, but has anyone examined it? In fact, one independent researcher examined the CPSC's data and came to the opposite conclusion than did the CPSC - this data supports the conclusion that sleeping with your baby is actually SAFER than not sleeping with your baby (see Mothering Magazine Sept/Oct 2002). As for the second question, many people may think that very few babies sleep with their parents, but we shouldn't be too quick to assume this. The number of parents that bring their babies into their bed at 4 am is probably quite high. Some studies have shown that over half of parents bring their baby into bed with them at least part of the night. And the number that sleep with their infants the whole night is probably considerable as well. In fact, in most countries around the world sleeping with your baby is the norm, not the exception. And what is the incidence of SIDS in these countries? During the 1990s, in Japan the rate was only one tenth of the U.S. rate, and in Hong Kong, it was only 3% of the U.S. rate. These are just two examples. Some countries do have a higher rate of SIDS, depending on how SIDS is defined.
Until a legitimate survey is done to determine how many babies sleep with their parents, and this is factored into the rate of SIDS in a bed versus a crib, it is unwarranted to state that sleeping in a crib is safer than a bed....
...A conflict of interest? Who is behind this new national campaign to warn parents not to sleep with their babies? In addition to the USCPSC, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is co-sponsoring this campaign. The JPMA? An association of crib manufacturers. This is a huge conflict of interest. Actually, this campaign is exactly in the interest of the JPMA.

 So the next time someone tries to tell you that you are endangering the physical and emotional well being of your baby by cuddling up next to him all night, give them the facts!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

VBAC- Finding a Midwife

I have had several people over the past few months asking me about finding a care provider to support their decision to have a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean).

Each pregnancy after the Caesarean birth of my eldest son, was a struggle to search for a midwife.   Why a midwife?  Because I KNEW without a shadow of a doubt that if I had chosen a Doctor in a hospital setting I would fail.  I knew that I wanted to labour and birth at home and that going with  a midwife was my only option.  And of course there is the fact that the model of midwifery care was so much more appealing to me:  Being with the same two care providers for the entire pregnancy, knowing that THEY would be there for the birth and that I wouldn't be subjected to the laws of chance with what doctor I would have when labour started.  Not to mention the fact that midwives have much lower statistics for Caesarean Sections and unnecessary medical interventions.

With each of my pregnancies I had to search for a midwifery group to take me on- and the searches became far more involved and difficult after each C/Section. What finally won out in each case was perseverance!   (That and the fact that many of my emails to Groups said things like "I'm having a home birth regardless of whether or not I can find a midwife!"...)

The following is a copy of the letter that I sent out to just about every Midwifery Group in SW Ontario.  Feel free to use it as a basis to write your own!!

Good morning,

I would like to introduce myself...and then beg for your help.

My name is Danielle Arnold, I am a breastfeeding and natural childbirth activist and co administrator of Natural Mothering. I'm also a mother of 4 and due mid February with baby #5.  My family and I have recently returned from Africa, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Since arriving back in Canada in Sept. I have moved and settle my family in Brantford ON, and I am now trying to find a maternity care provider.

I realize that this is very short notice, but I am desperate to find a midwife or obstetrician to support my need to have a VBAC birth.

Let me give you a brief synopsis of my birthing history.

My eldest son, 1991- born at 38 weeks after my water was "accidentally" broken, failed induction followed by, of course, a caesarean section.

When I became pregnant with my eldest daughter in 2002 I knew I did not want to repeat my experience in a hospital birth. We found a midwife and had a  natural home birth.  10 hours of active labour and 35 minutes of pushing.

When I was pregnant with our youngest daughter (2005) we moved across the country  to Kamloops BC, and I made the shocking discovery that there were no midwives within a 3 hour drive of our city.  Back to the hospital, and another OB and another very negative experience. I ended up with a slow posterior labour. Tsking OB's telling me that I'm endangering my baby..... exhaustion and no support, I gave in and allowed them to do a C/S.  As far as C/S's go it was very easy and the recovery was quick and relatively painless.

Then came my pregnancy with my youngest son in 2007.  We had moved back to the Toronto area and I spent 4 months trying to find a midwife who would take me on for a home birth.  Finally I found a lovely midwife in east Toronto.  We found an OB to consult with at Toronto East General, and he agreed to my TOL.  By 41wk5days I'd been in and out of prodromal labour for over a week, at 3-4 cm and fully effaced.  When I called my midwife, while in early labour  she was uncomfortable with our home birth plan and advised  that we transport. The OB on duty (NOT our consulting OB), was a completely obnoxious man who screamed at me and my husband, told us that we were trying to kill our baby, alluding that we were horrible parents etc.....and yet again I ended up agreeing to another C/S- though this agreement was completely made under duress:  I was left feeling that I had no support and no say in the decision.

This is where the main difference comes from my previous C/S births.

First of all the spinal block  did not take on my upper right quadrant,  no one would listen to me when they started the surgery.... when I started screaming at them "I can feel that", the student anaesthesiologist (yes, it was a student who placed the spinal block....again, against my wishes) pumped me full of Ketamine- Instantly I was out of my mind.  I couldn't see or hear anything... but I could feel everything.  By the end of the surgery I had managed to get control of myself again and was at least verbal and aware.   They took us to the recovery room and left us there.  I managed to nurse my son with a lot of help from my husband, and when the nurse came in I asked for painkillers. (as the spinal block hadn't taken in the upper right abdominal area, neither did the painkillers)  She said that she would find a doctor to get the "OK", and that I would be moved to my room in the next 1/2 hour ........ 3 hours later I was still in the recovery room, hadn't seen a single medical staff member and still had no painkillers.  My husband finally stormed out to the nurses station and demanded that someone come look after me and get me moved to my room (the previous nurse had forgotten to tell anyone that I was there.)  2 days later I went home and 2 days after that I returned because I KNEW that something was wrong- that I wasn't getting better.  It turns out that the surgeon had stitched an abdominal nerve into my internal stitches.  Solution: NONE.  I was told that I just had to wait till the internals 8-10 weeks.  So I spent the next 8wk5 days hunched over , unable to walk straight, unable to carry my new born baby. Because of the huge amount of drugs for pain they had me on (they had to keep changing them because of the reactions I had- such as ulcers...), I have almost no memories of my son's first 9 weeks of life.

Needless to say I do NOT wish to have a repeat Caesarean Section.

As I said at the beginning of this long winded letter, I am a Natural Childbirth advocate.  I have done more research on the topics of VBAC births and C/S's, medical interventions and the statistics involved than most maternity care providers.  I am VERY well aware of the risks of uterine rupture  during a TOL VBA3C, probably more so than most medical professionals.  I am also VERY well aware of the risks of having a 4th C/S, to both my self and my baby. I am not an unreasonable woman, I am not someone looking for that miraculous all empowering feminine experience who wants to have a Home water unassisted lotus birth in the back yard in a teepee... so that I can say that I did.  What I am is a well researched, knowledgeable mother that wants what is best for myself and my baby.  Which is NOT a scheduled caesarean section.

I do not expect any midwives to agree to allowing me a TOL HBA3C... as much as I detest the necessity, I realize that Ontario midwives are bound by the rules of the Ontario Midwives Association and the "guidelines' of the hospitals that they have privileges in.  But I need someone to support me in my wishes to have a vaginal birth in a hospital.  I NEED someone to go to bat for me with the hospital administrators and obstetricians , to say "this woman knows her situation and knows the information and knows the statistics and knows the risks involved and wants to have a Vaginal birth."  Someone who will guide me in my quest to make this a reality.

Because the truth is this:  This is my body, this is my baby, this is my birth.  I am the only one that should have the ability to say how and where I will birth my child.  I should have the right to say "NO" to a scheduled caesarean section.  I am aware of the legalities and I know that a hospital can not force me into a medical procedure that I do not allow.  But I also know enough to know when a C/S is necessary and am willing to work within those parameters.

So please:  I need your help.  I do not care how far I have to travel to have my baby.  I just want to find someone who will support my informed decisions and will stand by me.

I am looking forward to speaking with you further, and hope to have the opportunity to convince you that I DO understand all that is involved in my decisions.

Danielle Arnold

Dr. Jay Gordon on Good Morning America

Dr. Jay is en route to New York to tape a Good Morning America Health segment about the Healthy School Lunch Program 2010.

He was recently in D.C. lobbying and part of a press briefing for the Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine to promote a plant-based option in the new National School Lunch Program.
He will be writing soon more about this important pilot program. In the meantime, in case you want to try to catch it, the show will air Monday, April 19 at 11:05 a.m. PST and 2:05pm EST on ABC's News NOW (AT&T U-verse, channel 243; Verizon FIOS, channel 88 -- Santa Monica area channels). Click here to find the channel in your zip code.

After it airs, it will be posted on on their Hulu page.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Canada's Rising Caesarean Section Rate

 A brilliant article that comes clean about Canada's rising Caesarean Section rates.  It doesn't white wash the statistics, it doesn't hide the TRUTH:  Caesarean sections cause more Caesarean sections!!!  And every medical intervention in labour and delivery causes an increased risk of "having to have" a C/Section. 

While the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canadais finally realizing that the soaring rates of medical interventions- such as inductions, epidurals, and C/Sections- are having a detrimental effect of the health of our women and children, they have yet to address the worst problem:

The Doctors and the Hospitals themselves.

 The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada has made comments that the C/Section rate is too high, that inductions shouldn't be done so often, that Vaginal  breech births are healthier than C/section deliveries, and that VBAC births should be encouraged.... but that's all just whistling in the wind if the doctors and hospitals are adamantly turning their backs with their fingers in their ears singing "Lalalalalalala..."

It's all very wonderful that they are making these recommendations and statements, but that's not helping the mothers who are out there searching for a birthing attendant who will allow them to have a VBAC or to deliver their breech baby naturally/vaginally. 

And don't just blame the doctors- finding a supportive midwife can be equally difficult.  When I was pregnant with my second child back in 2002, I had three different Toronto midwifery groups turn me down point blank because I had had a previous Caesarean section.  The fact that it happened 10 years previously didn't matter even slightly.  When I was pregnant with my 4th child- having had 2 C/S's and one natural  HBAC (homebirth after C/S)- I had to search for MONTHS and had to beg and cajole to find a midwife to support my wishes to have another HBAC birth.  ...and my 5th child? after THREE Caesarean sections?!?  I was SHOCKED to hell and back when one lone midwifery group in a 100 km radius actually accepted me as a client.  But even then, while they took me on, they did so with a lot of trepidation and scepticism.

If I hadn't been so damn stubborn, (and knowledgable), I probably would of given up on trying to have a vaginal birth years ago and would now be sporting 5 uterine scars.

NOT a Healthy situation.

So yet again, as with just about everything worth having in life, we need to fight to achieve and support our Rights.  If women do not demand that hospitals/doctors/midwives accept their wishes to have a VBAC birth, then change will not happen, no matter how many "recommendations" the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada wants to make.

Worries surround Canada's rising C-section rate