Tuesday, October 13, 2009

ADD, ADHD, HFCS, Preservatives, Autism...A Repost or 2

A couple weeks ago there was an article I read that said that something like 1 in 100 adults has some form of autism. I was blown away. That's up from the numbers I saw last spring on a billboard here in town that said 1 in 400 kids had autism.

I keep hearing talk of connections between those wonderful vaccines we got as kids for measles, mumps, & rubella (frikkin' University of Maine made me get a booster shot at age 24 to get into the school. What a scam.) This on top of the vaccines I'd already received courtesy of Uncle Sugar for things like, oh, say...typhoid, typhus, scarlet fever, yellow fever, cholera, dengue fever, and plague series I.

I decided to dust off a couple of old posts of mine from 2007 that ya'll might find interesting.

High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Be The End of Our Species Saturday, May 12, 2007

I recently got back in touch with a friend from high school whom I’ve only seen once in the past 20 years, and that was briefly at our ten-year reunion. She and her husband, another classmate of mine, live a fairly simple, unfettered life in rural Vermont. She was worried that I’d poke fun at her “crunchy” lifestyle of tofu & veggies, but the more I think about it, Anne and Greg & their two kids will probably still be nibbling granola well after the rest of us are nibbling dirt. Why? Preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup, dummy.

The way I look at it, the last generation of healthy Americans was the generation that fought WW2. They grew up on farm-fresh perishable foods and stuff that didn’t have artificial colors and sweeteners. They canned and smoked their own foods. They got meat at the butcher shop and produce at the farmer’s markets. The milk didn’t have artificial growth hormones and came fresh to your door.

Then after WW2 when technologies changed, came the "miracles" of modern science, like TV dinners and sugary snacks and preservatives. The chemicals and shit everywhere were gobbled up by the Baby Boomers, who are the parents of my generation. My generation of kids, who were born in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I'm convinced our DNA was subtly altered by those chemicals, as well as all the drugs our parents took. I know I grew up on sugar-frosted everything, with chemicals and preservatives and unpronounceable words on the ingredient list, and USDA-approved artificial colors that don’t occur in nature. Now take a look at our kids…

As a school-aged student, I’d only vaguely heard the term “ADD” and I was in my early 20’s before I’d ever heard of Ritalin. Our DNA has changed enough to where the children spawned by my generation have so many chemical imbalances that they get diagnosed with an alphabet of syndromes and disorders before they make it past third grade. My generation grew up eating Twinkies, which have a shelf life longer than that of most nuclear waste. You could bury a Twinkie in the ground and dig it up 5 years from now, and it’ll still be edible. You can’t kill a Twinkie. They’re the Rasputin of snack foods. Whereas our parents’ generation smoked pot and dropped acid, and sometimes did heroin, my generation added cocaine, crack, paint huffing, Ecstasy, and crystal meth to the mix. I’m surprised our kids don’t have tentacles and scales. I’m beginning to think that Ritalin is part of the school lunch program these days, since so many kids are on it. But hell, Ritalin is just the Gateway Drug now. We’re building up immunity to it. Throw in Adderal, Clonadine, Tenex, Strattera, and Concerta to the stew. It’s shocking how many kids today need all these chemicals to correct imbalances in the genetic code.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) will be the death of the human race. I defy you to go an entire week without eating or drinking something without HFCS as an ingredient. It’s damn near impossible anymore. When something is “sugar-free”, it usually means that instead of refined & processed white sugar, it’s instead loaded with enough HFCS to embalm a corpse, or some other even more insidious sweetening agent, like Aspartame or Splenda or some other chemically-enhanced concoction. Studies are showing that HFCS has a negative effect on metabolism and is a contributor to the pandemic obesity in the western world. Take a minute and walk over to your fridge. Start reading the labels and I guarantee you’ll find HFCS in more than you thought. I work at a dairy, and in a span of less than 45 seconds I found 3 products with HFCS in them in my storage cooler, and that was before I opened the ice cream cooler. There’s ketchup, BBQ sauce, pretty much every soda on the market, Thomas’ English Muffins, 9 outta 10 breakfast cereals, Miracle Whip, many cough syrups, all those Lunchables we stuff in our kids’ lunchboxes, Ocean Spray Cranberry drinks, even Wonderbread; all have HFCS as ingredients somewhere. The mesquite marinade I used at dinner had it listed as the first ingredient.

When I was a kid in the 70’s they pulled Saccharin off the shelves as a sweetener because it caused cancer, and yanked the drug Thalidomide, which was supposed to help with morning sickness but instead caused massive birth defects like missing limbs. The FDA approved both products and then had to recant, so who’s to say what the latest round of government-sanctioned yummies will do? The chemicals very well may be harmless when alone flying solo, but what happens when they all start to combine? Exposure to multiple layers of chemicals can cause myriad issues.

I read a book a few years ago that was written by Michael Donnelly, a former USAF fighter pilot who was suffering from ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He thought that his ALS, which cripples the nervous system, was brought about by exposure to multiple chemicals while in the first Gulf War. Prior to deployment, he was exposed to pesticides on his base as they sprayed for mosquitoes, then the military had him take pills that were anti-malarials and others that guarded supposedly against chemical-warfare agents, plus he had to fly through clouds of burning oil smoke. That smoke was chock full of burning petroleum residues, and who knows if there were various chemical weapons burning into the air too? If you think Gulf War Syndrome isn’t real, then why is the rate of birth defects, miscarriages, and other unexplainable health maladies so high in Gulf War veterans? In his book, Donnelly stated that the rate of ALS amongst Gulf War vets was 37 times the national average. Major Donnelly died in 2005 from his disease.

Oh yeah, our DNA is changing as a result of preservatives and chemical exposure and shitty lifestyle choices. Won’t it be ironic when intelligent life from some other galaxy lands on Earth and finds that humans went extinct as a result of the wondrous crap they created to prolong their lives? Oh well, at least they’ll have Twinkies to eat.

ADHD and PreservativesMonday, September 7, 2007

I swear I’m a freakin’ clairvoyant sometimes. At least three months ago I told you guys that preservatives and HFCS were messing with the DNA of the world’s kids.

Now there’s all this hullabaloo and hubris over a study that just came out that links preservatives to ADHD.

A carefully designed study released Thursday in The Lancet, a leading British medical journal, shows that a variety of common food dyes and the preservative sodium benzoate, an ingredient in many soft drinks, fruit juices, and other foods, causes some kids to become more hyperactive and distracted than usual. You don’t say?

The research, led by Jim Stevenson, a professor of psychology at England's University of Southampton, involved about 300 children in two age groups. There were 153 3-year-olds and 144 8- and 9-year-olds from the general population. In all, 267 of the 297 children completed the study and were evaluated by teachers and parents for behavior changes. Over three one-week periods, the children were randomly assigned to consume one of three fruit drinks daily: one contained the amount of dye and sodium benzoate typically found in a British child's diet, a second drink had a lower concentration of the additives, and a third was additive-free. All the children spent a week drinking each of the three mixtures, which looked and tasted alike. During each week-long period, teachers and parents (who didn’t know which drink the kids were getting) used a variety of standardized behavior-evaluation tools — some observational and one computer-based — to size up restlessness, lack of concentration, fidgeting, and talking or interrupting too much.

Stevenson found that children in both age groups were significantly more hyperactive when drinking the stuff containing additives. Three-year-olds had a bigger response than the older kids to the lower dose of additives — roughly the same amount of food coloring as in two 2-oz. bags of candy. And, there were big individual differences in sensitivity. While the effects were not nearly so great as to cause full-blown ADHD, Stevenson nonetheless warns that "these adverse effects could affect the child's ability to benefit from the experience of school."

In response to the study, some pediatricians cautioned that a diet without artificial colors and preservatives might cause other problems for children.

“Even if it shows some increase in hyperactivity, is it clinically significant and does it impact the child’s life?” said Dr. Thomas Spencer, a specialist in Pediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Is it powerful enough that you want to ostracize your kid? It is very socially impacting if children can’t eat the things that their friends do.”

True. It’s much better to have an obese hyperactive kid that’s loved by everyone than a healthy kid without a skewed sense of self-worth wrapped up in a Twinkie wrapper. To quote blogger Brett Levy: “What kind of insane society do we live in where we keep toxic chemicals in food all for the benefit of our children’s “socialization?” “

Besides, unless these kids get hooked on Ritalin, Adderal, and all that other yummy stuff, the doctors don’t get any kickbacks from drug manufacturers.


The Right Guy said...

I have 5 kids and 2 of them are high functioning autistic. If I had to guess, I would say its genetic. When I look at myself, my brother, my father and one uncle, I can see some of those traits, but in my father's oldest brother, born in 1914, is probably the most significant, a lot like my son. In 1914, there weren't any vaccines I know that he would have received, and he was born at home.

That being said, I also think that it is possible, that there are a lot of behaviors that are attributed to autism, but may not be autism. Kind of like CFS. 1 out of 100 seems high, as I have heard 1 out of 165 and before than it was higher. I have to wonder too, as someone that works in education, if a lot of diagnosis are fomented because of grants and funding. In other words, the answer is 4, what is the problem? Education is rife with such non-sense, BUT, there are problems out there that need to be addressed.

Have you seen the commercials from the corn industry about HFCS? It's like any other sugar... Even I have my doubts. As a society, we eat way more sugar than we need to and especially when you consider how little exercise we get. The answer of course is meat with a lot of fibre, greens and a little starch, and plenty of work.

Anyway steve, thanks for letting me rant a bit.

blackandgoldfan said...

These were truly awesome!!! My tummy hurts from stifling laughter because everyone's in bed.

With regard to the food dyes...

When we took Noah to Florida for a secretin infusion in 1999, the doctor who did it said to avoid red dye #5 for these kiddos. He was very much into the gluten and casein free diet for autistic kids. While it did seem to help on some level with Noah, it is extremely hard to follow and can be quite expensive if you have to do your grocery shopping at a health food store. Ever try potato milk? No? Good. Don't. Your taste buds will never forgive you.

I'll probably repost these at TRS tomorrow afternoon with a link back as long as I have your permission!

All my best to the family!

Steve: The Lightning Man said...

Bear in mind, these were both written by me 2 years ago and written from the standpoint of a guy with no kids and not a lot of experience with autism. I was throwing out thoeries and musings.

And of course ya'll can link/repost 'em. I'm cool with it.

I've heard recently about the theories regarding gluten-free diets and antifungals, too.

blackandgoldfan said...

RG: Two studies just came out recently putting it at 1 in 100. They say it's better diagnostic criteria. While that may be a factor for the climb, I'm still a believer that it's part genetic (a predisposition) and part environmental.

The vaccine issue is tough to argue in my household. Noah was vaccinated to a certain point; Cheyenne has never been. Her autistic tendencies, however, were never as severe as Noah's. She never lost the ability to talk. God knows on some days I wish she would (not really. but you know the days!).

Steve: Thanks for the permission to repost. It'll be up later this afternoon.


The Right Guy said...

My son didn't ay a word until he was 4 and used sign language before he could talk. Once he did start talking, he progressed very quickly. Caroline talked in her own mumble jumble from 2-2 and half and didn't start saying comprehensible words at all until well after 3. She says some sentences now, but the weird thing is she can sing songs.

As an aside, my wife didn't talk until she was 4 or so, and while I did talk at a normal age, I had some aspergers traits at a young age. To me it's not an accident that 2 of my kids have been evaluated with autism, and to be honest, two others exhibit a few tendencies, but seem to get along ok. One is fine. The one other thing I will say is that it can get quite contentious in a house with so many individualists. :)

As far as diet goes, most have peculiar eating habits, with my son being mostly vegetarian. The only meat he will eat is a DQ double cheeseburger. That is it.

Steve: The Lightning Man said...

Y'know, this is really what I had hoped might come about from my reposting this. I had hopes that my friends here who have kids on the spectrum, or are even on the spectrum themselves, could mutually dialogue and increase the support network. Yay for the Interwebz!

Bungalow Bill said...

I tend to agree with Alex Jones views on the chemicals they are putting in our foods and how they are making us sick.

Do you pay attention to Dr. Joel Wallach, author of Dead Doctors Don't Lie. Many cures can be found simply by increasing our trace mineral intake, but there is such a monopoly on extending live rather than present a cure. Nutrition is the cure, and we aren't receiving proper nutrition in this country anymore, and the government wants to further increase the lack of nutrition with bills like HR875 which gives them more control of the food supply.

Soloman said...

I can't speak from direct personal experience, as I have no youngn'z of my own.

However, my sister and her husband have two boys, and their oldest was - for quite some time- considered "high functioning autistic" as The Right Guy describes his children. Nick, the younger one, seems to be "normal" but Nathan, the elder, had the same speech issues TRG describes, almost to a T. Now he's 5 going on 6 and talking like a madman, and you'd never know he had these issues.

Hard to say exactly where it comes from, although his side of the family reports he was similar as a child. Either way - very interesting stuff.