March 28, 2012
By Aurora Geib
“Isn’t is mind boggling that people are still consuming aspartame, especially after all we know about the dangerous side effects?” –KTRN
For a great majority of Americans who consume processed food, food additives are an ever-present component of the menu and one with serious health effects. In the United States as well as in Canada, aspartame – an artificial low-calorie sweetener – has been used as a food additive as early as 1981 after it was approved for use in dry goods. It was approved again in the US in 1983 for carbonated drinks. This approval came in the face of much opposition which has not seen any respite over the ensuing years despite the claims of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the World Health Organization that aspartame is safe for use.
Why aspartame is dangerous
75 percent of reported adverse reaction to food additives is attributed to aspartame. Of these reactions, many are serious and include seizures and death. A number of the 90 documented symptoms as reportedly caused by aspartame are headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, rashes, depression, irritability, insomnia, hearing loss, vision problems, loss of taste vertigo and memory los.
Those who study the adverse effects of aspartame report that the following medical conditions are triggered or worsened by aspartame: brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, mental retardation, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, lymphoma, birth defects, diabetes and fibromyalgia.
And that’s not all — according to Victoria Iness-Brown in her book “My Aspartame Experiment,” aspartame is also addictive.
What is aspartame composed of?
To understand the effects of aspartame one must look at its genetic composition. This substance – which is 200 times sweeter than sugar – is made of 50 percent phenylalanine, 40 percent aspartic acid and ten percent methanol.
January 30, 2012
By S.D. Wells
Aluminum Lake food coloring, used to heavily coat liquid medicines for children, contains dangerous amounts of aluminum and harmful synthetic petrochemicals. These “petrochemicals” are carcinogens containing petroleum, antifreeze and ammonia, which cause a long list of adverse reactions. Aluminum poisoning can lead to short and long term central nervous system (CNS) damage, such as memory impairments, autism, epilepsy, mental retardation, and dementia.
Research shows that just 4ppm of aluminum can cause the blood to coagulate. This is what causes Alzheimer’s Disease and has been documented to inhibit learning. Aluminum consumption can also be associated with the development of bone disorders, including stress fractures.
Also known as tartrazine, FD&C Yellow Aluminum Lake is a chemical concoction derived from coal tar. It is known to be a reproductive toxin. All artificial colors contain Aluminum Lake, so when your child gets to pick between red, blue or green medicine, they’re really choosing which poison they get to consume. Several chemically enhanced food colorings contain ammonia and therefore produce compounds proven to cause various cancers in animal studies, according to CSPI, the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
April 23, 2010
by Evelyn Pringle
The United States has become the psychiatric drugging capital of the world for kids with children being medicated at a younger and younger age. Medicaid records in some states show infants less than a year old on drugs for mental disorders.
The use of powerful antipsychotics with privately insured children, aged 2 through 5 in the US, doubled between 1999 and 2007, according to a study of data on more than one million children with private health insurance in the January, 2010, “Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.”
The number of children in this age group diagnosed with bipolar disorder also doubled over the last decade, Reuters reported.
Of antipsychotic-treated children in the 2007 study sample, the most common diagnoses were pervasive developmental disorder or mental retardation (28.2%), ADHD (23.7%), and disruptive behavior disorder (12.9%).
The study reported that fewer than half of drug treated children received a mental health assessment (40.8%), a psychotherapy visit (41.4%), or a visit with a psychiatrist (42.6%) during the year of antipsychotic use.
“Antipsychotics, which are being widely and irresponsibly prescribed for American children–mostly as chemical restraints–are shown to be causing irreparable harm,” warned Vera Hassner Sharav, president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, in a February 26, 2010 InfoMail.
“These drugs have measurable severe hazardous effects on vital biological systems, including: cardiovascular adverse effects that result in shortening lives; metabolic adverse effects that induce diabetes and the metabolic syndrome,” she wrote. “Long-term use of antipsychotics has been shown to result in metabolic syndrome in 40% to 50% of patients.”
The lead researcher on the study above, Columbia University psychiatry professor Mark Olfson, told Reuters that about 1.5% of all privately insured children between the ages of 2 and 5, or one in 70, received some type of psychiatric drug in 2007, be it an antipsychotic, a mood stabilizer, a stimulant or an antidepressant.
Psychiatric drugs bathe the brains of growing children with agents that threaten the normal development of the brain, according to Dr Peter Breggin, founder of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology (ICSPP), and author of about 20 books, including “Medication Madness.”
The drugs themselves are causing severe disorders in millions of children in the US, he warns. “Substances like antidepressants, stimulants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotic drugs cause severe, and potentially permanent, biochemical imbalances.”
An American Phenomenon
A number of presentations at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in May 2009, addressed the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, including one titled, “Pediatric Bipolar Disorder: A Critical Look at an American Phenomenon,” at which Dr Peter Parry, a consultant child & adolescent psychiatrist, and senior lecturer at Flinders University in Australia, presented a survey on, “Australian and New Zealand’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists’ Views on Bipolar Disorder Prevalence and on Rates of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder in the USA.”
Dr Parry and his colleagues conducted a survey of child and adolescent psychiatrists in Australia and New Zealand. Of the 199 psychiatrists who responded to the survey, 90.5% thought pediatric bipolar disorder was overdiagnosed in the US.
In an October 1, 2009 article titled, “Medicating Our Children,” Dr Parry reports that since “the mid-1990s in the USA, some researchers have claimed that Paediatric Bipolar Disorder (PBD) frequently starts prior to puberty.”
One of PBD’s main proponents, Harvard University’s Professor Joseph Biederman, stating onset “is squarely in the preschooler age group,” he notes.
Parry explains that “PBD has been created by moving the diagnostic goalposts away from traditional concepts of bipolar disorder.”
“In children,” he says, “episodes were redefined to last hours instead of days or weeks and, instead of manic elation, severe anger in children sufficed as mania.”
“Unlike diagnoses like ADHD or depression, or simply accepting a child has serious emotional and behavioural problems in reaction to various stressors, PBD implies a lifelong severe mental illness requiring of strong psychiatric medication,” Parry warns.
“In the USA,” he says, “the public is furthermore exposed to direct pharmaceutical advertising that can feed the natural desire parents of distressed and aggressive children have for a quick solution by suggesting a simple medication fix.”
“The medicating of America’s children has become intensely controversial, highlighted by the tragic case of Rebecca Riley, a four-year-old Boston girl diagnosed at 28 months old with ADHD and PBD,” he points out.
On April 7, 2009, the author of the book, “Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness,” Christopher Lane, featured an interview on his Psychology Today blog, “Side Effects,” with journalist, Philip Dawdy, the creator of the popular website, Furious Seasons, and discussed the rising number of children being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
“As for bipolar disorder in kids (meaning pre-teens and younger), it’s simply not an issue in the rest of the world,” Dawdy told Lane. “The bipolar child is a purely American phenomenon.”
“The pharma companies and the Harvard crew worked hand-in-hand to bring America a generation of ADHD kids and bipolar children, and their profound influence can be seen in the millions of children and teens who now carry lifetime diagnoses and take gobs of psychotropic drugs each day, often to their detriment,” he advised.
Lane asked for Dawdy’s opinion on a recent report in the St Petersburg Times that found 23 infants less than one-year-old had been prescribed antipsychotics in Florida in 2007, as well as the drug overdose death of 4-year-old Rebecca Riley in Massachusetts. “How is it possible for psychiatrists to continue prescribing to infants in such numbers without more oversight?” Lane asked.
“What’s gone on with antipsychotics prescribed to infants and toddlers is simply inexplicable to me,” Dawdy said. “The drugs are known to cause huge problems in adults, so why the heck would a doctor give them to little kids, especially infants? It boggles my small mind.”
“I’m no fan of bans or restrictions,” he told Lane, “but this does strike me as a situation where there needs to be a serious rethinking of what we are doing — and maybe there should be a ban on the use of these drugs in kids under, say, 6 years of age.”
An October 2007 report by the University of South Florida found the most common diagnosis for antipsychotic use with children in Florida’s Medicaid program, between July and December 2005, was ADHD. Roughly 54%, or 1,372 cases, involved prescriptions for children five and under and the total number of antipsychotic users in this young age group was 2,549, with all disorders combined, according to the report.
Increased Prescribing to Poor Children
Federally funded research published online in December, 2009, revealed that children covered by Medicaid were prescribed antipsychotics at a rate four time higher than children with private insurance. The data showed that more than 4% of children in Medicaid fee-for-service programs received antipsychotics, compared to less than 1% of privately insured youth. The study found Medicaid kids were more likely to receive antipsychotics for unapproved uses such as ADHD and conduct disorders than privately insured children.
The researchers examined records for children in seven states for the years 2001 and 2004, chosen as representative of the US Medicaid population. But more recent data through 2007 indicates that the disparity has remained, said Stephen Crystal, a Rutgers professor who led the study, according to the December 11, 2009, New York Times.
Antipsychotics were the top selling class of drugs in both 2008 and 2009. With sales of $14.6 billion in 2009, they brought in more than the $13.6 billion earned by both heart burn and cholesterol medications. Antidepressants ranked fourth with sales of $9.9 billion, according to data by IMS Health. In 2008, the drug makers took in $11.3 billion from antiseizure drugs and $4.8 billion from ADHD drugs.
In a new book titled, “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America,” Robert Whitaker reports that the number of children on government disability rolls due to severe mental illness has increased more than 35-fold since 1987.
The book explores the question of whether the epidemic rise in people disabled by mental illness, among all age groups in the US over the past 20 years, could have been fueled by a drug-based paradigm of care.
It also explores what is happening to children over the long-term who are placed on psychiatric drugs. “Once again, science tells a very clear story, and, as you might imagine, it is one that — when you think of the millions of children so affected — makes you want to weep,” Whitaker stated in a March 26, 2010, notice for the book’s release on the Beyond Meds Website.
February 15, 2010
By Daniel Nasaw
Childhood temper tantrums, teenage irritability and binge eating may soon rate as psychiatric disorders in the US, according to proposed changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the bible of the psychiatric profession.
The proposals are the product of a 10-year effort to update the handbook, which influences the vast network of American healthcare providers, insurance companies, courts, prisons and universities. At stake are billions of dollars in insurance payments, pharmaceutical sales and medical fees. The proposed revisions, published online today , will be subject to public comment until late April.
“It not only determines how mental disorders are diagnosed, it can impact how people see themselves and how we see each other,” Alan Schatzberg, president of the American Psychiatric Association, which publishes the guide, told reporters. “It influences how research is conducted as well as what is researched. It affects legal matters, industry and government programmes.”
The DSM is in its fourth edition. It has been criticised for formalising character traits and emotions into mental conditions and for encouraging their medical treatment, often with drugs that have powerful side effects.
Christopher Lane, a professor at Northwestern University and author of 2007 DSM critique Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness, said: “The organisation is clearly opening another Pandora’s box here, as well as paving the way for the medication of even-greater numbers of children and teenagers cycling through emotional stages as part of normal development.”
In an email, Lane said that categorising binge eating as a psychiatric disorder risks classifying millions of Americans as mentally ill at a time when the country is trying to rein in health care costs.
Among the proposals is a new condition, “temper dysregulation with dysphoria”, characterised by “severe, recurrent outbursts of temper” several times a week, that are “grossly out of proportion to the situation or provocation and that interfere significantly with functioning”. To be considered, the “symptoms” must have been “diagnosed” before age 10.
The proposed revisions would also recognise binge eating as a disorder. The condition is “characterised by recurring episodes of the consumption of unusually large amounts of food, accompanied by a sense of loss of control and strong feelings of embarrassment and guilt”. These episodes would need to occur at least once a week over the last three months, and the writers were keen to distinguish it from mere overeating.
“While overeating is a challenge for many Americans, recurrent binge eating is much less common and far more severe and is associated with significant physical and psychological problems,” wrote Dr B Timothy Walsh.
The panels proposed a new category of condition called “risk syndromes”, in which a patient is at risk for a mental disorder that is not yet present.
For example, a moody teenager who displays “excessive suspicion, delusions and disorganised speech or behaviour” may be labelled as having psychosis risk syndrome. The panel estimated that a quarter to a third of people who suffer from those “symptoms” go on to develop a psychotic disorder, and the writers acknowledged the new category could lead to inaccurate diagnosis of some who are not at risk.
“Given the severity of psychotic disorders, and evidence that early treatment may mitigate its long-term consequences, we believed that it was important to begin to recognise these conditions as early as possible,” wrote Dr William Carpenter of the American Psychiatric Association’s psychotic disorders work group.
The panels who proposed the revisions also took into account how race, ethnicity and gender affect the incidence of psychiatric disorders, and studied how those categories affect the expression of symptoms. For example, researchers noted differing ways of experiencing and describing symptoms of panic among some Asian and Hispanic patients.
The panel also recommended discarding the term “mental retardation” in diagnoses, replacing it with “intellectual disability”.
September 22, 2009
By Dr. Mercola
So far, Swine flu, H1N1, has killed thirty-six children in U.S. and analysis of CDC data indicates Vitamin D deficient children at higher risk of death.
The CDC did not realize they discovered this. However, anyone familiar with the Vitamin D literature will recognize it.
Almost two-thirds of the dead children had epilepsy, cerebral palsy, or other neurodevelopmental conditions like mental retardation.
All of these neurological conditions are associated with childhood Vitamin D deficiency. Exacerbating the problem further, many of these kids take anticonvulsant drugs, which lower Vitamin D levels.
58 million American children are Vitamin D deficient; 7.6 million are severely deficient.
When researchers looked at more than 6,000 American kids (age one to 21) who were carefully selected to be representative of the average American child. 9 percent of the kids had 25(OH)D levels less than 15 ng/mL and 70 percent had levels less than 30 ng/mL.