AUTISM AND THE FEVER EFFECT (Why Fever Surprisingly Improves Autism Symptoms)

fever still wpHave you ever noticed that when your autistic child is running a fever, they start to act less autistic? They may engage more with you, have improved language and communication, and decreased oppositional or obsessive behaviours.

If you have, you are not alone.

The ‘Fever Effect’, is a well-known phenomenon, whereby behavioural changes occur in autistic children while they are running a temperature. I have witnessed this in my own son, and it is quite dramatic. The heat from the fever modulates a part of the brain, called the locus coeruleus-noradrenergic complex, and this temporarily normalizes brain function. Through observing this phenomenon, scientists are realizing that the autistic brain is more structurally normal (albeit dysregularted) that previously believed. Understanding this may pave the way for new treatment approaches for autism.

It turns out that vigorous exercise, which also heats the body, can have similar effects on improving behavior, although it is not known whether it modulates this same region of the brain in particular.

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scientology thumb ytA scientologist-owned rehab in Tenessee, which was closed after police found disabled people padlocked in shacks, was part of a nationwide underground industry of kidnapping kids to rehab. All the details and back-story here!
Also, I spent three and a half years in one of these sham ‘therapeutic’ institutions myself as a teenager. This is not therapy, it is abuse.

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video thumbnailMy autistic son just got kicked out of school. Again. Wherever he goes, I always warn them that he has serious behavioural challenges, but they never believe me until they have dealt with him themselves. And then they usually give up pretty quickly.

If there is one thing I have learned about my son, it is that what needs more than anything is a trusting relationship with the adults around him. A lot of problematic behaviours in autistic children are driven by anxiety. Having a buddy relationship with someone takes the edge off. The schools always take the approach that my son needs stern discipline, but what he needs first is a relationship. If they would take the time to invest in that instead of making compliance their priority, things would go a lot better. The way the schools have handled him has always led to problems escalating, until they end up putting him in restraints. All this accomplishes is that he decides he hates school and everyone who works there. He loses all motivation for school.  Their approach backfires: his behaviour only worsens.

My son is a child who requires extreme patience on the part of the adults around him, but it’s worth it to exercise that patience or you end up with an unmanageable situation.

Second, it would serve the schools well to accept his autism and to stop perceiving him as a wilful, disobedient child. The sooner you get it through your head that he is autistic, the better. Let go of your stereotypes and preconceptions. Autism comes in many forms.

Third, don’t assume that severe behavioural problems are the domain of children who have ‘lower functioning’ autism with more verbal impairment or who have co-existing intellectual disability. And don’t assume that because someone is outgoing or has a sense of humour that they aren’t really ‘that autistic’ or that their problematic behaviours are something they can turn on or off at will. Just don’t assume anything.


paracas baby

DNA tests have finally been carried out on the mysterious elongated skulls of the ancient red-haired in habitants of Peru knows as the Paracas. The photo at left is from the Paracas Museum in Peru and shows a baby Paraca skull next to a normal baby skull.

Because the Paracas differ in many ways from typical South American people, and even from humans in general, many have speculated that they may be either a lost race of humanoids, or that they may be hybrids between humans and aliens. To find out more on the DNA results, check out the video below.

To learn more about the Paracas, visit the Hidden Inca Tours website.


Hey Harper, Stop Banning Our Medicines!

Mitragynine2DACS.svgThanks to our Harper-run Nanny State, I may some time in the near future no longer have access to the medicine I have been using for RLS, the mysterious neurological disorder that has plagued me for nearly a decade. Why would the government ban my medicine? Because it’s a plant. And no, it’s not cannabis.

Today, I went to one particular local headshop ,which is more like an herbalist supply store, to get some kratom, which is what I use for RLS.  Kratom is ground leaf from the mitragyna speciosa plant, an Asian tree in the coffee family which acts as a partial opiate, binding to the MU receptors.  It’s something like the herbal equivalent to buprenorphine. A few years ago, they had every herb you could want and pages of cannabis seed types in a catalogue. Things have changed. No more seeds, that is not so surprising. But several plants have been newly banned and the manager said he was even arrested for importing illicit drugs when he tried to bring a couple of them over the border.

What was he bringing in? For one, he had mimosa- the tickle plant! Accused of importing DMT for having a tickle plant! And he was also accused of importing mescaline for having some cacti, and of course cannabis for having some seeds.  A few years ago, the Australian government set out to ban every one of the thousands of  types of plant that contains DMT or any component that could be used to make it. Turns out, it’s not just Australia doing this. Here in Canada, Banisteriopsis Caapi is now banned, even though it doesn’t contain DMT, but because it can be used in the making of the ayahuasca brew, which does contains the molecule.

Plants are an important source of medicine, and having access to them is an important source of health freedom and power. I use kratom for RLS. It works, I don’t need a prescription, I control when and how much I take, and the side-effects are minimal. Now and then, it has me wake up with a bit of a headache. The alternative is pharma’s RLS drugs, which are really Parkinsons’ drugs that are only a little more effective than a placebo for RLS. But the side effects are a lot more serious than a placebo. It can cause sudden impulse and compulsive behavior. I’m talking binge eating, hitting the casino to blowing your life savings, and jumping into bed with every random guy you fancy. How does it make sense that a drug that can do that to you is considered ‘safe and effective’, but an herb that does none of that and works a lot better is threatened with being given an illegal status as contraband? I use kratom safely and responsibly. I don’t need some government or professional looming over me to make sure I don’t turn into an herbal junkie. In fact, if it wasn’t for the availability of herbs like kratom, I might end up in bad enough shape from lack of sleep to develop some serious problems. I’m keeping myself healthy by enabling myself to get some sleep. And as a healthier person, I cost Canadian tax payers a lot less money.

Banning medicinal plants just because they have psychoactive properties only limits people’s access to good health, both physical and psychological. Those who use them are in a minority, and it doesn’t benefit anyone to clamp down on them and their herbal medicine cabinet. All it does is empower the enormous pharmaceutical multinational corporations to hold an iron grip monopoly on our health and the decisions we can make regarding it.

Poorly Designed Meta-Analysis on Homeopathy Fails to Prove Anything

IMG_0337I recently found my friends posting the following article about a meta-analysis ‘proving’ that homeopathy doesn’t work. This was followed by comments like ‘I love science’ and ‘surprise, surprise’, and equating a degree in homeopathy with a degree in baloney. But what has this meta-analysis really proven and where is the real baloney?

The conclusions of the meta-analysis were that:

“No good-quality, well-designed studies with enough participants for a meaningful result reported either that homeopathy caused greater health improvements than a substance with no effect on the health condition (placebo), or that homeopathy caused health improvements equal to those of another treatment,” the report’s summary states.

HP versus Pharma: Two Very Different Approaches to Medicine

One key issue here may be what the allopathic scientific community considers to be ‘good quality, well designed studies’. The standard one-size-fits-all methodology used for testing pharmaceutical drugs would inherently be inadequate for a study on any homeopathic drug except for commercial preparations sold for specific ailments, which are known to be the least effective homeopathic treatments.

This is because homeopathy is an entirely different system of medicine, with an approach that is opposite to that of chemical pharmaceutical treatments. Confused? I will try to explain.

In standard clinical trials with pharmaceutical agents, a specific chemical drug is tested in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. This is necessary to determine the specific effectiveness of that product for any given ailment, while eliminating bias in the recipients and those administering the drug. It must be tested against a placebo because the simple act of believing you are taking a remedy can have an effect on your physical condition, so that aspect has to be factored in for consideration. The person administering the drug and studying its effects must not know who has taken it and who has taken a placebo, or they may be subject to biased reporting. It is understood that each drug is being studied for a specific desired effect which, if it is effective, it should have on a substantial proportion of recipients. Everyone gets the same drug for the same illness. It’s a one-size-fits-all approach.

Homeopathy is fundamentally different in that treatment takes into consideration not only a specific, targeted ailment, but also the person as a whole: their constitution, their  life and medical history, physical traits, personality, temperament, habits and tendencies and anything else that can be used to build as complete a picture of the individual as possible. There are thousands of remedies to choose from, made from everything in nature from minerals, to plant materials, to animal sources. Many remedies can be used to address a specific ailment such as a skin problem or anxiety, but the homeopath chooses the one that is best matched to the person as a whole. For example, a person whose anxiety comes on with dizziness would receive a different remedy than a person whose attacks come on with sweating. A person with a social, sanguine disposition would receive a different remedy than a shy, withdrawn individual.

Homeopathic Specifics

There are homeopathic remedies known as ‘specifics’, which are used to treat specific ailments such as cocculus for nausea or aconite for fever, but even in the cases where these are used, dosing strength (potency) and frequency are tailored to the individual based on their constitution. A person with a frail constitution would receive a lower potency than a person with a robust one. Some pharmaceutical medications interfere with the effectiveness of HP remedies, and some people do not respond to HP or take longer to respond. Once you understand how this system works, it is easy to see how it would be impossible to judge the value of homeopathy as a whole with a standard one-size-fits all approach for any given homeopathic remedy or administration procedure.

Now let’s look at the new meta-analysis, which you can see here:

The above meta-analysis reviewed a number of meta-analyses and a number of individual conditions for which these had reviewed the effectiveness of HP.

Evidence Shows Homeopathy for Ottitis Media  As Effective as Standard Treatment and Better than Placebo- But That’s Still Not Proof Enough

If you look at the data on HP treatment of otitis media (ear infections), you will find that the results were that:
In all studies with comparison to standard treatment with antibiotics, there was found to be no difference in treatment outcomes for pain, duration of illness, and improvement in hearing loss. In other words, HP was as effective as standard treatment. In studies against placebo, evidence was found in favor of homeopathic treatment. Evidence was also found in favor of HP versus standard treatment when it came to a couple of specific outcome measures.
Still, it was concluded that there is not enough evidence to recommend HP treatment. This is not the same as having proven that homeopathy does not work.

Let’s look at one of the contibuting meta-analyses that did not find evidence in favor of HP. Altunc et al (2007) which examined HP treatment of ‘childhood and adolescent ailments’ including ADHD (section 4.2.4 in the document), and concluded that “the evidence from rigorous clinical trials of any type of therapeutic or preventive intervention testing homeopathy for childhood and adolescence ailments is not convincing enough for recommendations in any condition”. (Altunc et al (2007)

What did they actually analyze? They looked at data from 16 studies on nine different ailments and noted that ‘with the exception of ADHD and diarrhoea (three primary studies each), no condition was assessed in more than two double-blind Level II studies.’ In other words, they took together data from studies on nine different conditions, on the majority of which no more than one or two studies had been done, lumped them all together, and concluded that there was not enough convincing evidence that homeopathic practice was effective. It seems to me that, from the outset, the design of this study was bound to fail to produce conclusive results of any kind.

There was one study included each on warts, conjunctivitis, otitis media, post-operative pain-agitation syndrome, two each on asthma, recurrent URTI (upper respiratory tract infections) and adenoid vegetation, and three on asthma and ADHD.

Can you imagine if a meta-analysis examined this number of studies on this number of various conditions, treated with different pharmaceutical agents, and concluded that there is not enough evidence to convince them that pharmaceutical drugs have any effect? It would be laughable.

Let’s look at the data they included on studies with ADHD, which was one of the two condition for which three studies were considered (although I would hardly call an examination of three studies a meta-analysis). These include Frei et al, 2005, Freitas et al, 1995, and Jacobs et al, 2005.  Two out of three of these studies showed intergroup differences in favor of the effectiveness of HP over placebo.

Jacobs et al, 2005: This study found no intergroup differences and included ‘43 children with confirmed ADHD diagnosis (computerised Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children) with mean age of 9 years. 9 participants were already taking
stimulant medication but still displaying symptoms (n=5 active, n=4 placebo)’. Description is from Cochrane Review.

Stimulants are well-known to interfere with the action of homeopathic treatment for ADHD. Even if the child is not presently on stimulants, having previously been treated with them can affect how well they will respond and how long it will take to get a response. Including some kids who were on Ritalin during the trial would be a bit like including subjects who are on Suboxone in a trial on opiate painkillers, the effects of which this medication is known to nullify.

Strauss et all, 2000, involved: ’20 children with previously diagnosed ADHD (no confirmation) aged between 7-10 years. Half of the participants (n=10) were already taking Ritalin.18 boys, 2 girls.’ Again, half the children were taking a drug known to interfere with the effect of homeopathic ADHD treatment. Moreover, the HP remedy tested was a non-individualized, low-potency formula preparation sold OTC in pharmacies to ‘improve concentration, memory, and alertness’ and, which was given for only 18 weeks. Nonetheless, this study found intergroup difference in favor of the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment for ADHD.

While we’re on the subject of studies being set-up to fail to show accurate treatment results, Frei et al, 2005, the third ADHD study in the Altunc et al review, was discussed in this related study, published in 2007. This was a retrospective analysis of the effect of screening for responsiveness to HP ADHD treatment before randomization. After screening,

‘They then entered the parallel group, radomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over trial. The double-blind part of the study consisted of two groups of children who received either verum for 6 weeks followed by placebo for 6 weeks, or placebo for 6 weeks followed by verum for 6 weeks.’ (Frei et al, 2007)

The study showed that responders had a 38.5% drop in Connor’s Global Index scores for ADHD, while non-responders had only an 11% drop, and concluded that:

‘Because of the necessity of identifying an optimal medication before response to treatment can be expected, randomisation at the start of treatment in an RCT of homeopathy in ADHD children has a high risk of failure to demonstrate a specific treatment effect, if the observation time is shorter than 12 months.’ (Frei et al, 2007)

This study is very interesting and shows how standard study design may be a set-up for failure to show accurate results in a RCT. They also noted that subjects who had been pre-treated with stimulants took longer to respond.

Frei et al, 2005: CGI scores decreased from a median of 19 before treatment, to 8 post-crossover (a 58% drop!).

‘During crossover trial CGI parent–ratings of a child was significantly lower under verum (average 1.67 points)
than under placebo (p=0.0479). Long-term CGI improvement reached 12 points (63%, p < 0.0001).
Interpretation: The trial suggests scientific evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy in ADHD-treatment, particularly in the areas of behavioural and cognitive functions’  

It’s possible that the relatively slight difference during the cross-over phase was due to the persistence of the action of the remedies taken in previous weeks. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, homeopathic remedies seek to address underlying issues and tend to produce more lasting, even permanent results over time.

These meta-analyses make the mistake of lumping together one, two or three studies each on a wide variety of conditions, or of examining a several studies on one condition but with widely different randomization and study approaches, remedy potencies, and other variables like treatment with contra-indicated pharmaceutical drugs, and they conclude that there is not enough evidence that this system of medicine as a whole works. Is that any surprise?

Meanwhile, several pharmaceutical drugs that have been rigorously tested and shown on meta-analysis to be ineffective and even dangerous are regularly recommended by the medical industry as ‘safe and effective’. These notably include statins, flu shots, and anti-depressants.

As far as I can see, all these meta-analyses have proven that the pharmaceutical industry maintains an iron grip on the medical industry and continues to undermine our health freedom. I think we have found where the real baloney is.


Biomed Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease?


Alzheimer’s is one of those ‘mysteries’ like autism- but we now know that many kids can recover from autism with what is called a biomedical or ‘biomed’ approach that addresses underlying biological dysfuntions that result in physical or behavioral symptoms. Could adults also recover from Alzheimer’s, or at least halt its progression, with a biomed approach? Some of you may be familiar with NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) and its use in ASD- but look at these results on Alzheimer’s mice!
” The results showed that the mice pretreated with NAC had significantly greater retention in the step through test and shorter latencies in the water maze performance.”
Biochemical markers were also reversed or reduced with NAC pre-treatment.

There was another study that looked at a combo of NAC and acetyl-L-carnitine and S-adenosyl methionine on AD mice, too, with good results.
Behavioral abnormalities correlated with a decline in acetylcholine, which was also prevented by this nutriceutical combination, suggesting that neurotransmitter imbalance may contribute to their manifestation.

What brought me down this trail was looking at factors in RLS (which I have) and often it has to do with low iron or low oxygen transport and this is why iron supplements often help. Didn’t help for me, and neither did any of the other usual things like B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, etc. Usually, smoking makes RLS worse but in some cases, it oddly helps (including for me), and it turns out this is true for a subset of RLS patients and also Parkinsons’ patients, and the connection has to do with acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.

On a side note, PD drugs like Requip are also used for RLS. These drugs are not that much more effective than placebos and carry the risk of serious side-effects, but perhaps they do work for a subset of RLS patients whose symptoms have to do with an underlying mechanism of action involving the same neurotransmitters that are involved in Parkinson’s Disease. They target dopamine receptors, which are also known to be defective in some patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, who have PD-type symptoms along with their AD.

RLS itself is also sometimes an early warning sign of AD (hope to God that’s not my situation). So there is this connection with both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and RLS, and a connection with improvement in PD and RLS symptoms with nicotine.There has also been some research showing that nicotine patches slightly improve memory in pre-demetia patients.

So we have scientific evidence that nicotine helps alleviate symptoms in some sufferers of AD, PD, and RLS. We also have evidence that these symptoms are related to acetylcholine levels, and that NAC normalizes acetylcholine levels in AD mice. What is the connection with nicotine and acetylcholine?
Nicotine imitates the action of a natural neurotransmitter called acetylcholine and binds to a particular type of acetylcholine receptor, known as the nicotinic receptor.

I’m not recommending that anyone with RLS, PD, or AD take up smoking. In fact, I’m not recommending anything. But as you see, there is this connection with acetylcholine, RLS, AD and PD. So can it be prevented or reversed? You may have heard of coconut oil for AD but that is another story. Here are the mouse studies on NAC and other natural substances that raise glutathione and affect neurotransmitters and the doses are high but the results look promising and so do studies on NAC for AD in humans. Maybe one day, Alzheimer’s treatment will be focused on using neutraceuticals like NAC. Or maybe not, since there is no big money to be made in that.

For now, preliminary research in mice looks good and I hope we see more human studies on this soon!

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono /

Disclaimer: the content of this article is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice.