Bel Air, MD Chiropractic Health Tip of The Day

April 30, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it! 410-734-4060. Call Today! Christman Family Chiropractic. Michelle Christman discusses the one critically important aspect of health that Jack LaLanne failed to teach us about in his many years of wellness education.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Life as an adult with disability: results of the Easter Seals study

November 16, 2010 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

Walking, seeing, hearing, speaking. These are things we do every day without even thinking. These are things that we take for granted. But there are people out there for whom taking a short flight of stairs can be equivalent to climbing Mt Everest, for whom seeing a flower or hearing a bird song or reciting a nursery rhyme may be luxuries they’ll never enjoy. But even those whose disabilities allow them to walk, see, talk and hear may still have problems living a “normal” life as we know it. Education, employment, financial independence are just a few of the hurdles these people have to face. These are problems that do not only concern the people with disability themselves but their families as well. Parents are especially concerned what happens to their children when they reach adulthood, when the parents are not around to advocate for them.

This is where Easter Seals come in. Easter Seals is “a leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs.”

Easter Seals has conducted the Living with Disability study which compared the challenges facing adults with developmental disabilities and parents of adult children with disabilities, as compared to parents of adult children without disabilities. The study was conducted in August to September 2010 and surveyed 1,714 adults in 3 categories: 390 adults living with a developmental disability, 318 parents of adult children who have developmental disabilities, and 1,006 parents of adult children without disabilities.

Here are some of the key findings of the study:

The results of the study will be used to raise public awareness but also give insights to parents of children with disability on how to prepare for their offspring’s future.

Adults with autism deserve some help, too!

August 18, 2010 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

When we think about autism, it is always little children that come to mind. This might have something to do with the well-publicized controversial medical article that linked autism to childhood vaccines. The paper has been discredited and retracted but the damage has been done and the association remains. Then there are the well-publicized court cases about children, the high profile advocacy groups campaigning for childhood autism, and the campaigns and activism of celebrities with autistic children.

Currents research on Autism Spectrum Disorders, or ASD focuses mainly on children with this disorder. According to a paper by Anita Neal Harrison of the University of Missouri:

“Scientists and healthcare professionals specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorders, or ASD, the now well-known range of developmental disabilities typically diagnosed in childhood, have logged thousands of hours in their quest to better understand the disorder’s causes, develop effective interventions and offer psychological support for autistic children and their parents.”

The current estimate of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that 1 in 110 American children have ASD. What we seldom think about is the fact that autistic children eventually grow up. And in comparison to children with autism, adults with autism attract less attention and advocacy, resulting in their needs going underserved.

In addition, research on adult autism is scarce and data published are based on a few individuals with exceptional abilities (high-functioning autism), giving an incomplete picture of ASD. The fact that it is considered a spectrum disorder means autism can manifest in a wide range of symptoms and disabilities that cannot be easily generalized.

The University of Missouri paper cites a 34-year old autistic adult who has 2 associated degrees in networking systems technology and in computer science. Yet he is considered not to have “the social capacity to work a regular, full-time job.”

In comparison to other people with disabilities, there is little material available for adults with ASD. According to MU researcher Scott Standifer, clinical associate professor in the MU School of Health Professions:

“The focus has been on children. Whereas when you think about people in wheelchairs, you think about adults, or when you think about folks with blindness or seizure disorders, there’s material out there about adults.”

It is for this reason than Prof Standifer wrote the groundbreaking guide Adult Autism and Employment: A Guide for Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals, an invaluable resource to help disability service providers serve adults with ASD better.

April is US National Autism Awareness Month

April 12, 2010 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

Blue is the color chosen to symbolize autism. That is why prominent buildings all over the world were lighted up blue on the eve of April 1 to mark the observance of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. However, other events are planned for the rest of April. Check out the schedule of events here.

April is also National Autism Awareness Month in the US. According to a statement from US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

During National Autism Awareness Month, we reflect on an urgent public health challenge and rededicate ourselves to addressing the complex needs of people with autism and their families.  Over the last decade, we’ve learned that autism is far more prevalent than we had previously believed, affecting one out of every 110 American children.  While we still have a lot to learn about what causes autism and which treatments can help people with autism thrive, we’re getting closer to finding answers thanks to a historic new investment in autism research.  At the same time, we continue to improve lives by educating health care professionals about how to detect the disorder early, funding networks of providers and parents that spread information about the most promising autism treatments, and helping autistic children get the support they need in school.  We took another step forward last month when President Obama signed a health reform bill that will make it illegal for insurance companies to deny health insurance to people because they have autism.
This month, we recognize the significant challenges that Americans with autism face and rededicate ourselves to these efforts to address them.

Other events which were already took place or are still scheduled for this month are (source: Autism Speaks, the world’s largest science and advocacy organization for autism):

Presidential Statement
President Barack Obama made a statement on April 2 in support of World Autism Awareness Day. He applauded the many contributions of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Read the full statement.
World Autism Awareness Day Reception
On March 31, Autism Speaks hosted a reception to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. Attendees from 12 countries were on hand to hear an announcement from the World Health Organization, view a message from United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, and see a special tribute to Yoko Ono Lennon.
NYSE Opening Bell
The third annual World Autism Awareness Day was celebrated a bit early on April 1 at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Euronext locations around the world. In New York, Autism Speaks supporters rang the opening bell at the NYSE. Autism Speaks was proud to partner with Autism-Europe and NYSE Euronext in the first-ever global bell ringing with member autism organizations opening or closing the trading day in Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon and Paris.
Empire State Building Lights It Up Blue
Autism Speaks Co-founders Bob and Suzanne Wright joined Bravo’s Top Chef Host and Executive Chef Tom Colicchio at a “flip the switch” lighting ceremony at the Empire State Building as the world famous building participated the inaugural Light It Up Blue campaign.
“Lindt Unsung Heroes of Autism” Awards Reception
Lindt & Sprüngli, the world’s leading producer of premium chocolate, and Autism Speaks kicked off Autism Awareness Month with an event at the New York Palace Hotel, honoring and recognizing three “Lindt Unsung Heroes of Autism.”
World Autism Awareness Day Activities with Autism Speaks Canada
Canada joined the world in honouring the autism community on World Autism Awareness Day with buildings lit up blue, awareness nights with major sports teams, and activities in Parliament.
Areva Martin – The Everday Advocate
Mom, lawyer and advocate Areva Martin discussed her new book The Everyday Advocate: Standing Up for Your Child with Autism at the United Nations and Borders in New York City.

Paper linking vaccination and autism retracted – now what?

February 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, HEALTHCARE

Who would ever have thought that a medical article aimed for a medical professional audience would have such a profound effect on a layman’s attitude towards vaccines? I mean, thousands and thousands of medical and scientific articles are published every year. So what made this paper so influential and yet so controversial?

1998: Twelve years ago, a team of researchers from the Royal Free Hospital and School of Medicine in London led by Dr. Andrew Wakefield wrote a paper entitled “Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children.”

Sounds innocuous enough, if rather a bit too much of doctor speak to interest the general public. The objective of the study was to investigate “a consecutive series of children with chronic enterocolitis and regressive developmental disorder.” A total of 12 children were involved in the study, with ages ranging from 3 to 10 years old, 11 of whom were boys. Nine of the children had autism, one had disintegrative psychosis, and two had possible postviral or vaccinal encephalitis. Based on study results, the study authors concluded that the gastrointestinal and developmental disorders in these children were associated with environmental triggers including the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

To say that the paper attracted public attention was an understatement. Some of its effects are as follows:

  • Major concerns about the safety of childhood vaccinations (not only MMR) among parents and doctors
  • Decrease in vaccination rates in the UK from 92% down to 80%
  • Strengthening of the anti-vaccination movement, which rapidly spread from Europe to North America and the rest of the world
  • Compromising the goals of global vaccination and eradication of childhood diseases, especially MMR
  • More recently, frequent outbreaks of once rare childhood diseases including measles and pertussis; a 70% increase in measles in 2008 was reported in England and Wales, mostly due to unvaccinated children

Over the years, scientists and health experts questioned the credibility of the paper. For one thing, the sample size is very small. How can data from 12 children be representative of the millions who received the MMR vaccine? Other experts think the analysis and interpretation of the data was not appropriate and the research methods were “flawed”.

2004: The majority of the authors (10 out of 14) who wrote the original paper sat together and issued a partial retraction, specifically “retraction of an interpretation.” This did not include Wakefield.

There were also allegations of conflicts of interests and unethical behaviour on the part of the researchers. In the end, UK’s General Medical Council (GMC) decided to investigate.

In the meantime, celebrities which include Jenny McCarthy and Ophra Winfrey joined the debate. McCarthy, who has an autistic son, openly preaches against vaccination.

2010: The investigation of the GMC showed the following to be untrue:

  • that the study participants were “consecutively referred”
  • that the study was “approved” by the local ethics committee

and led to the following conclusions:

Wakefield had presented his research in an “irresponsible and dishonest” way and shown a “callous disregard” for the suffering of the children he studied.

Wakefield, who now works and resides in the US, may lose his medical professional license in the UK.

Thus twelve years later after its publication, the controversial paper was fully retracted by the Lancet “from the published record.”

What are the consequences of the retraction?

  • Will it or will not restore people’s belief in vaccines? It is too soon to tell but the retraction might be already too late.
  • Will it slow down the anti-vaccination movement? It is doubtful but let’s hope that people will try and make informed and wise decisiosn about their kids’ health.

What do Wakefield and his supporters have to say?

He thinks GMC’s findings are “unfounded and unjust.”

“The Lancet retraction of vaccine autism paper condemned as Big Pharma conspiracy to discredit Dr. Wakefield”, according to his supporters.

I guess we haven’t heard the last of that paper of the autism-vaccine issue yet.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.