Vaccines, Autism, and Pthalates

February 28, 2010 on 8:29 pm | In General Posts | Comments Off

Tommy B., a cute young boy a little over one year old, recently received another set of immunizations from his pediatrician. According to his parents, Wanda and Tony, and Tommy’s pediatrician, he was a normal healthy infant prior to his recent immunization. Developmentally he was in line with what would be expected for his age.

Shortly after his immunization, Tommy’s parents noticed something was not right with him. Several months later, he was diagnosed with autism. When asked if his immunizations could have anything to do with this common developmental problem, his pediatrician answered with a firm “No.”

Unfortunately, stories like Tommy’s are quite common. Seemingly normal children receive yet another set of (in many cases unnecessary) immunizations, only to develop severe medical problems including autism shortly following their immunizations.

For years the conventional medical community has refused to acknowledge even the slimmest possibility that the temporal relationship between immunization and autism is at all meaningful.

The autism community, along with naturopathic and integrative medical doctors, feels otherwise.

New information released in the major news media this week suggests other possible causes of autism, including exposure to household phthalate chemicals (common in vinyl floors,) and asthma or autoimmune diseases in the pregnant mother.

Most doctors do agree that autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder that has increased dramatically in children over the past 20 years, is likely related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Unfortunately, those in the mainstream still refuse to acknowledge that childhood vaccines could be one of these environmental causes.

After reviewing the literature, and applying common sense along with scientific knowledge, my own belief is that autism is likely a combination of some sort of genetic predisposition that renders the child less capable of or incapable of detoxifying toxins introduced into the body. Many doctors consider these children “poor methylators,” which simply means they may lack the enzyme systems necessary to turn toxic compounds into non-toxic ones, allowing these toxic compounds to be safely and quickly removed from the body before they can harm the developing nervous system.

There is certainly no question that most children who receive vaccines do not develop autism (whether or not they are predisposed to other disorders later in life such as asthma, allergies, autoimmune diseases (which have been linked to vaccines) or cancers is another story.)

There is also no question that infants and young children receive way too many vaccines, as pediatricians adopt a “one approach fits all” model for immunization, rather than formulating specific vaccine protocols for each individual patient.

The best advice I can give parents to find a pediatrician who will design a logical vaccine protocol for your children if you decide to immunize your children. Since antibodies against diseases can be passed from the mother to the infant, it may be more prudent for women desiring to become pregnant to consider limited immunizations so that their newborns will have a level of protective immunity and not require immunizations so early in life. Once again this is something for the woman to discuss with her holistic obstetrician and pediatrician.

Killer Whale Kills Trainer at Sea World

February 25, 2010 on 12:35 pm | In General Posts | Comments Off

As I’m sure all of you have heard, veteran Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed when a 12,000-lb. male orca “killer whale” grabbed her in front of an audience at the Orlando theme park.

The so-called pet experts and pet psychologist are now sharing their opinions with the media. We may never know exactly why this tragedy occurred.

Was the whale, a carnivorous killer by nature, trying to harm his beloved trainer?

Or was the whale simply trying to play with the trainer?

While facts are sketchy, the information I have heard does not indicate play behavior but rather indicates the typical behavior a killer whale would exhibit when seeking out prey to kill.

The surprising thing about this tragedy is that it hasn’t happened with any frequency before.

Despite their advanced training and “bonding” with their trainers, killer whales are wild animals. Trainers, wearing their wet suits, resemble the favorite prey of killer whales, seals.

It’s easy for audience members, and sometimes trainers, to forget that we’re dealing with wild animals that by their nature don’t typically associate with humans.

As a result, tragedies like this should not come as a surprise but rather as a reminder of the danger trainers face every day when working with the animals in their care. It’s also another reminder why most people should never own wild animals of any sort as pets.

Please Give Me Some Global Warming!

February 23, 2010 on 7:27 am | In General Posts | Comments Off

Today, it is likely that North Texas will break the record for snowfall this season.

Please give me some global warming!

It has snowed six times in less than three months here in North Texas.

Please give me some global warming!

It’s freezing outside and I have only been able to play golf twice in the last three months.

Please give me some global warming!

North Texas experienced a blizzard snowfall on Christmas Eve. All of the local churches canceled Christmas Eve services because the roads were impassable.

Please give me some global warming!

Recently one of the “scientific expert” proponents of global warming refused to answer this question-“ Isn’t it true that global temperatures have actually fallen over the last 15 years?”
She avoided answering this question by stating the following, “Certainly there are temperature fluctuations over a short period of time, but it’s more important to focus on longer periods of times…global temperatures have actually risen over the last century.”

Her point is that temperatures have risen over the last century, and because this is a longer period of time than simply looking at the last 15 years, the “trend” in global warming is statistically more reliable.

Fine. Let’s look at the trend of global warming over the last 20,000 or so years (Pleistocene Epoch, or ice age.) During this time, which actually extended for several million years ago up until about 10,000 years ago, large land masses were covered with glacial ice. Obviously this is no longer the case, which indicates that major global warming occurred PRIOR to the last century, and PRIOR to the development of the industrial age and man-made pollution.

A little bit of common sense, which seems to be lacking in many scientific discussions these days, shows that major warming, much greater than the tiny bit of warming that may have occurred over the last century and which certainly has not occurred over the last 15 years, actually occurred without any human intervention.

Please give me some global warming!

Speaking Events

February 19, 2010 on 5:46 am | In General Posts | Comments Off

February is a busy month for me. I recently spoke about natural medicine at a local health care, and Monday night I had the privilege of speaking to the local Golden retriever club about preventing and treating allergies in dogs using natural therapies. This week I will be speaking for our local toy dog club a well as being the keynote speaker at a banquet for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog show.

Thanks to all of you for inviting me. It’s so refreshing to see how many people want to learn about and use natural therapies to keep their pets healthy!

AKC List of Popular Dog Breeds for 2009

February 12, 2010 on 1:23 pm | In General Posts | Comments Off

The AKC has released their annual list of the most popular dogs in the US. They are:

1.Labrador Retriever
2.German Shepherd dog
3.Yorkshire Terrier
4.Golden retriever
5.Beagle
6.Boxer
7.Bulldog
8.Dachshund
9.Poodle
10.Shih Tzu

Is your breed on this list? My dog Rita, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, didn’t make the list either, but she still pretty special to me!

Antidepressants-No Better Than Placebo!

February 10, 2010 on 1:58 pm | In General Posts | Comments Off

Several studies show what many of us in the holistic community have known for years-many people with mild or even severe depression have the same response to placebo as to antidepressant medications. This week’s edition of Newsweek has a great article showing the research to back up this conclusion.

Antidepressants are one of the most overprescribed drugs for people (and becoming so for pets too.) Even though not approved for children and adolescents, they are also overprescribed for patients in these age groups as well.

While a rare number of people actually need these psychotropic medications, studies have shown that with proper counseling and life style changes, most people respond as well to placebo (which is cheaper and without side effects) as they do when prescribed antidepressants.

Skeptical doctors and veterinarians have long complained, without proof, that “alternative” therapies only work via the placebo effect (while ignoring that conventional medications can also work by placebo effect.)

However, integrative healers like myself appreciate the positive side of the placebo effect. What the placebo effect tells us is that all of us have the God-given, inborn ability to heal without medications. While medications have their proper place in fighting disease, ultimately people and pets heal when we encourage natural healing ability. The placebo effect proves that in many cases, (and according to the studies reported in Newsweek in many cases of depression,) healing can occur without expensive drugs that may have serious side effects (such as suicide, worsening depression, and murder that have been reported in people treated with antidepressants.)

The conclusion is simple but will be ignored by many skeptical doctors-healing can occur without drugs. When drugs are needed, they should be used with the goal of eventually weaning the patient off of the drugs.

Pro-Choice? I Think Not!

February 8, 2010 on 1:54 pm | In General Posts | 1 Comment

While veterinarians and doctors who are skeptical of an integrative, more natural approach to healthcare, like to erroneously say that there is no proof that any of these natural therapies work, I’m actually more disturbed about something else the skeptics never address.

As an integrative, naturopathic doctor, my practice is all about choice. While I hope I can convince my pet owning clients that using natural therapies whenever possible is the better, safer, usually less expensive, and healthier way to go, ultimately the choice of therapy chosen is up to the client.

If the client chooses a more conventional drug therapy, that’s her choice and I will never interfere with that choice.

If she chooses a more natural approach for healing, it is also her choice and one with which I will not interfere.

It seems to me however that skeptics who rally against natural therapies don’t want their patients or clients to have this choice.
For many of these skeptical doctors, it’s “their way or the highway!”

They consistently try to talk patients out of a more natural approach to healthcare, all the while demeaning and insulting this choice, as if this choice is invalid or irrational.

Personally I would not want to go to a doctor who forces his opinion on me, and belittles me for choosing something else that I think might be more beneficial for myself or a family member.

And why is it that doctors and veterinarians who are opposed to natural care want to take away that choice from you?

The only answer I can come to after researching this question is this: economics.

If a doctor only offers one choice, in this case conventional drug or surgical therapy, and you choose a more natural approach, that means you will have to find another doctor. Your current doctor loses your business, and your choice punishes his pocket book. He won’t like that and will do anything to keep you as a patient.

If you visit an integrative practitioner however, you have many choices. It doesn’t matter which choice you make: that doctor will not lose your business but may actually gain more business when you refer others to this practice once you experience a new approach to healing.

Ultimately I believe the choice is the up to the individual patient. If I can’t help you, I will gladly refer you to someone who can. My ultimate goal is that your pet get better regardless of the choice made to treat that pet.

Low Intensity Laser Therapy May Be Just What You’re Pet’s Looking For

February 7, 2010 on 9:23 am | In General Posts | Comments Off

There are many natural therapies that can help pets with a variety of medical problems. One such therapy to consider is low intensity laser therapy.

Laser therapy can be helpful for a variety of medical problems, including arthritis and other musculoskeletal problems, allergies, epilepsy, disk disease, and many other disorders.

It’s simple to perform, painless for your pet, only takes a few minutes, it is much less expensive than chronic treatment with conventional medications.

Most doctors who use laser therapy perform two treatment sessions per week for four weeks and then as needed to keep your pet healthy. Similar to acupuncture, there are recommended protocols for most medical problems. If the chosen protocol or laser intensity setting does not seem to help your pet, it’s always worth considering another protocol or intensity setting.

In my practice, we combine low intensity laser therapy with other natural therapies such as acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal therapy, and nutritional supplementation.

Using this integrative approach works best to keep your pet healthy in between laser therapy treatments.

Crystals in the Urine

February 5, 2010 on 5:55 am | In General Posts | Comments Off

I get many calls from listeners of my radio show who are worried when their veterinarians find crystals in their pets’ urine. Their veterinarians often recommend further expensive testing, antibiotics, and medicated diet. However, the presence of crystals in a pet’s urine can actually be normal, and antibiotics and special diets are usually not necessary for most pets who simply have crystals in their urine. If the crystals are a sign of a problem, many natural therapies can be used to help these pets.

Dr. Shawn’s Organic Pet Products-Safe for Cats?

February 4, 2010 on 1:43 pm | In General Posts | Comments Off

I recently received an e-mail from someone who is concerned about the safety of my certified organic products in cats. According to the e-mail, her main concern regards the inclusion of tea tree oil in my shampoos and ear wash. According to the writer, “Tea tree is, like all essential oils, toxic to felines as their livers can’t metabolize it. It has
proved detrimental to dogs too even in small doses but for different reasons. If you have reason to doubt what I am saying just check out www.thelavendercat.com or indeed any other reliable veterinary info regarding felines and essential oils.”

So I went to this site to check it out as suggested. While I found the safety concerns regarding essential oils comforting, the conclusion that “all essential oils are toxic to cats” is totally incorrect.

An important rule of toxicology is this- EVERYTHING is potentially toxic-the dosage determines whether something is safe or toxic.

When you read the literature, tea tree oil is often listed as toxic to cats and small dogs. However, in the proper concentration, as in my products, it is very safe and also effective.

I have used the Dr. Shawn’s Organic shampoos and ear wash on thousands of pets including small dogs, cats, and small kittens, without any adverse effects.

While the theory of tea tree oil toxicity is correct, my products have been clinically proven to be safe.

I do agree however that unless a consumer knows the reputation of the person formulating and making the products, it would be wise not to use any products containing essential oils on cats or small dogs without approval from a veterinarian. And pet owners should never attempt to prepare their own products at home as these can often prove fatal for any pet.

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