Sunday, October 28, 2018

Protecting Babies from Autism

While the birth of a baby is certainly cause for celebration, as an autism mom, I find myself unsure of how much information I should share with new parents, hoping that their child will not struggle with autism, as mine has. Do I simply pray that their child will be blessed with health and spared from autism, or do I offer wisdom gained from our experience? Will they see my suggestions as helpful hints or nosy intrusions? If I remain silent about what I would have done differently, had I known when Alex was a baby, will I regret not being more assertive later? Can I spare another child from the difficulties my child has needlessly had to face? While autism still remains a mystery in many regards, research in recent years offers parents ways that may prevent their children from acquiring this condition.

In the article “Editorial: What Can Be Done to Prevent Autism Now?” published on the Autism Research Institute website, registered nurse Maureen McDonnell offers numerous suggestions to enhance the health of babies. [To read this article, please click here.] In addition to detailing ways mothers can improve their own health before and during pregnancy, she provides specific ways to help keep newborns and infants healthy. As she notes, “We don’t have all the answers. No one does. But let us consider the research that has already been done, the stories of improvement and recovery from parents who have traveled this difficult path, and let’s apply common-sense precautionary principles as we prepare for and enter motherhood. None of them can harm you or your baby.”

On the topic of vaccines, she advises parents to ask doctors to give only one vaccine at a time from single-dose vials instead of the more common practice of administering multiple vaccines from multiple-dose vials. In addition, she recommends that children who are ill—whether coming down with something, currently sick, or getting over an illness—should not receive vaccines. Moreover, children who are currently on antibiotics or have recently finished antibiotics should not be immunized. Essentially, vaccines should never be given to children who are sick or recovering from illness.

Furthermore, some children have ongoing health conditions or have inherited genetic predispositions that put them at risk for not responding well to vaccines, especially when multiple vaccines are given at once. Children whose parents have autoimmune conditions or allergies may have inherited these traits, putting them at risk for vaccine injury. Also, children who were born prematurely or who have ear infections repeatedly may have immune issues that make them vulnerable to vaccine damage. Consequently, if parents decide to have their babies immunized, they must determine potential risk factors, such as family health history as well as the child’s health history, before allowing their children to receive vaccines.

Another way to protect children is to avoid giving the commonly used pain reliever and fever reducer acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol), especially in conjunction with vaccines. While pediatricians often recommend giving acetaminophen to reduce pain and fever associated with vaccines, ibuprofen (brand name Motrin) is less likely to cause potentially harmful side effects.

In the article “Evidence That Increased Acetaminophen Use in Genetically Vulnerable Children Appears to be a Major Cause of the Epidemics of Autism, Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity, and Asthma” published on The Great Plains Laboratory, Inc. website, Dr. William Shaw explains in great detail how acetaminophen can damage the lungs, liver, and nervous systems of some children. [To read this article, please click here.] For his research, he notes that prior to the 1980’s, children were typically given aspirin for pain and fever. However, the appearance of Reye’s syndrome and Kawasaki disease in children and the potential link with aspirin made the use of acetaminophen rise dramatically. At the same time, rates of autism, asthma, and ADHD also increased significantly. However, countries, such as Cuba, where acetaminophen is rarely given, did not see epidemic growth in the number of children with these three conditions.

Through his research, Dr. Shaw discovered that acetaminophen produces toxins that can lead to “cellular damage and death,” “causes severe immune abnormalities,” and “depresses the immune response to vaccination.” Although he notes that more research needs to be done, he advises avoiding potential risks of toxicity by not giving children acetaminophen, especially in conjunction with vaccinations.

In addition to considering the risks of vaccines and acetaminophen, parents need to realize that they are their children’s primary advocates. In dealing with medical issues, parents may need to do their own research, which has been made much easier, thanks to the abundance of credible online resources. Additionally, parents must find doctors for their children who will listen to their concerns and not dismiss them as nervous parents. Parents should not allow themselves to be bullied by doctors, especially those who threaten to kick patients out of their medical practice for not following stringent vaccination schedules and policies. Trust in a doctor is good; blind faith is not.

A few days ago, my niece gave birth to her first child, my first great nephew. As we were chatting back and forth early one morning online, I debated whether I should warn her about potential dangers of autism. However, I would rather give advice now about potentially preventing autism than advice later about dealing with autism. Moreover, I knew she would understand my motives were only to protect her and her son. I typed, “One bit of advice: give him Motrin (ibuprofen) instead of Tylenol if he ever needs it for fever, especially after shots. Doctors won’t tell you, but there is a link between autism and Tylenol. I know why.” Her immediate response was a thank you along with a heart emoji. She understood. Now I will pray that God will watch over and keep her precious son healthy as He restores health to my precious son.

“We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about His power and His mighty wonders.” Psalm 78:4

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