Friday, December 30, 2011

Atypical Behavior or a Vision Problem?

The small autistic children that I see sometimes have this apparently odd behavior of running with their eyes averted. They either look to the side, look down, or close their eyes. They do not do this while walking. These children are under three years old, and do not have the capacity to say that something is wrong with their eyes.

I have started to wonder whether the behavior is a compensation for the inability to change focus as they run toward things, or whether the constant problem with focus is causing them to have a sensory disturbance of another kind. I think that a focus problem can be assessed by a clever pediatric eye care specialist.

Another important thing to consider, if my hypothesis about the behavior being related to a vision problem is correct, whether other seemingly atypical behaviors might be related to another problem or problems.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ethnocentric Weaning And Problems

There was March 11, 2011 weekly report from the Centers from Disease Control concerning the practice of adult caregivers chewing table food and giving it to their babies/toddlers. The report focused on HIV infected caregivers primarily young mothers from 9 different HIV treatment centers. The survey was inspired by an August 2009 issue of Pediatrics that contained an article about three babies who acquired HIV from infected moms. The survey revealed that 152 out of 192 respondents having babies engaged in the practice. Two-thirds of those were African-American. One quarter were Hispanic. Only 7% were white. The remainder were "miscellaneous."

It is important to consider some things about using pre-chewed food, often referred to as pre-masticated food to wean babies from breast milk or formula. First and foremost is the fact that HIV is not easily/usually transmitted in saliva. However, other disease organisms are known to be transmitted that way, notably Hepatitis B, Group A Streptococcus, Herpes, and the Epstein-Barr virus. Gertrude Petlo and others at Cornell University published a study in a 2010 issue of Maternal and Child Nutrition of pre-mastication in Han China. It was actually two studies. Remarkably, one found that 63% of university students responding had been raised on pre-masticated food. The article noted some important benefits of pre-mastication. One benefit was the reduction iron deficiency because of the iron rich food that is passed through pre-mastication. Another mentioned was the fact that saliva in infants under 9 months old is less efficient at digesting complex starches. The adult saliva in pre-masticated food prevents this.

The behavior of pre-mastication is, as described in the G. Petlo et al. article, the second arm (following breast feeding) of providing nutrition to infants when considered on an international scale. Pureed food (aka, baby food) lacks exclusivity in so many cultures, and socio-economic groups. Many problems have not been consider concerning this practice.

We know that there are pharmaceutical warnings about medications that are passed along in breast milk. We can honestly say that there are no such warnings concerning medications that are passed along in saliva with pre-masticated food. That is a huge problem. It is also less than certain that this is a consideration when ill toddlers present at the offices of pediatricians and at Emergency Departments of hospitals/medical centers.

The next part of this involves tobacco. No one really knows how many mothers pass tobacco by products to children in pre-masticated food. It is known that nicotine and its by-products can make babies sick.

It is probably reasonable to consider whether infants seen for illness have been fed pre-masticated food by caregivers who take medication, are infected with a transmittable disease, or use tobacco products. It is probably not something that is routinely done.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stop Calling

A developmentally delayed man would ask for a staff member's phone number, and call that staff member repeatedly. Admittedly, any staff member that would give a group home consumer their own number needs to re-define their priorities. It would also be helpful to teach such consumers that repeatedly calling a person is not a good idea.

There are some useful phone numbers to give in such instances. Some phone numbers provide the time when you call, some phone numbers provide the weather, others give sports scores. Most of these numbers are easily distinguished from the 911 number that is used for an emergency.

One controversy that might arise when using commercial recording is the possible loss of trust between the consumer and staff. However, the technique provides an important boundary between consumers and personal involvement with staff.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Not Looking At The Obvious

As strange as it might seem, we often miss valuable information by not looking at the obvious. I heard, long ago, that insects have the best chance of surviving a nuclear armageddon. The furthest aspect of considering the survival skills of bugs pertains to disease resistance, and how this might help people.

This all comes back to the psychology of thinking and problem solving. We often miss the things that could enhance our own survival and biological well-being by not considering things that we consider to be gross or disgusting. Not many of us would dream of how the common cockroach could save the lives of many people.

Cockroaches live in detritus that would cause people to develop very serious illnesses. Until recently no one thought of how their ability to live and even thrive in adverse environments could be of value. I would advise reading this:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Smell and Behavior Management

The digestive administration of chemical intervention in behavior problems can be fraught with unexpected consequences and results. Many of the side effects that occur can be the result of parenteral (digestive) changes in the chemical structure of pharmaceutical and natural substances that are administered orally (pills, powders, liquids). Knowledgeable people are aware that these changes occur through different systems, including the intestines and microsomal liver processes. To put it directly, the mouth may not be the best way to take medicine.

There are other ways to administer drugs. Intravenous injection is very direct. It has the short coming of being difficult to administer by the general public. Many non-medical people are aware of nose sprays, the recent innovation of administering flu vaccine nasally, and the use of asthma inhalers. The drugs enter the blood stream through the blood vessels in the nose or those that are in the lungs. Transdermal drug administration functions, for the most part, by capillary induction.

This brings us to the issue of what some people might regard as intervention on the edge, or even strange. Aromatherapy is old news to people who like the so-called hippies of yesteryear. Law enforcement officers are aware of the self administration of THC (marijuana for one), and cocaine. Some of the more modern uses are quite dangerous, as in teenagers "huffing" glue, gasoline, aerosol propellants, etc. Those things cause brain damage in the same way that some substances can cause benefits for behavioral and emotional functioning.

The smell of vanillin has been found to prevent apnea in premature infants who did not respond to more traditional treatment (Marlier, L., Gaugler, C., and Messer, 2005). The researchers monitored the respiration rates of 14 infants in the NICU at a University Hospital in Strasbourg, France, and noted that the frequency of apneic episodes occurred significantly less often when the smell of vanillin was introduced in their incubators. One of the major hypotheses about the mode of action of the vanillin was that the substance passed into the bloodstream through the nasal mucosa and was carried into the brain by nerves in the olfactory system.

A more recent finding is based on animal research (the foundation for the discovery of virtually all psychopharmacological products). The smell of jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides) has the potential to soothe, relieve anxiety and induce sleep. Researchers (Sergeeva, O, Klerke, A, Poppek, W. Fleischer, S. R. Schubring, G, Goerg, H. L. , Hass, X., Zhu, H. Luebbert, H., Gisselmann, G., and Hatt, G, 2010) cited in that the aromatic jasmine derivative Vertacetal-coeur (VC) and its chemical variant have the same neurological mechanism of action as barbiturates or propofol (which is suspected of being the cause of Michael Jackson's death), but with none of the known side-effects, including addiction. Scientists tested many fragrances when making their discovery. The substances had direct effects on the GABA receptors in the brain. Those effects were repeated five times, and cross checked on mice who had genetically modified GABA receptors. Finally, the scientists injected the substances using air with high concentrations of the substance into plexiglass cages of mice. The mice stopped all activity, and sat quietly.

Prospective applications of the use a jasmine aroma spray are only limited by the imagination. To be sure, there is a potential for abuse. However, the potential benefits also abound. One can imagine pumping jasmine laced air into setting where various criminals or terrorists are holding hostages. It might facilitate resolution of a dangerous situation. What if Michael Jackson used jasmine instead of propofol? He might still be alive today.


Marlier, L., Gaugler, C., and Messer, J. 2005. Olfactory stimulation prevents apnea in premature newborns, Pediatrics, 115, 83-88

Sergeeva, O. A., Kletke, O., Kragler, A, Poppek, A., Fleischer, W., Schubring, S. R., Goerg, B., Hass, H. L., Zhu, W.-R., Luebbert, H., Gisselmann, G., and Hatt, H. Fragrant dioxane derivatives identify 1 subunit-containing GABAA receptors. Journal of Biological Chemistry DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M110.103309

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Is Depression and Anxiety an Expected Consequence of taking Statins?

Several years ago, when statins were all the rage, and there were television adds every ten minutes stating that the best thing to do to prevent heart attacks was take statins, I was waiting to check out at a major department store chain. I noticed that the person in front of me was purchasing many heart healthy items and foods. I complimented her on her choices, and we began to talk of the flood of statin advertisements and that these poisons were being touted as the cure for nearly everything. The woman said that she worked for a local neurologist who told people that statins were poisons to the human nervous system.

This was something that I already knew. Lines of investigation are often too narrow. People who are told to take statins, were looking up statins. That has been the biggest mistake. I have often said that investigation is not planar or unidimensional. Doing a thorough search of cholesterol reveals its critical role in the proper functioning of the nervous system. Consideration of basic training in medical science forces one to consider the homeostatic functioning of the complex human body.

Years later, a pediatrician asked me, a non-physician, whether I thought that the statins that she was taking could be causing her "brain fog." We discussed the neurological role of cholesterol. She modified her diet, and took very careful control of her intake of statins (as in stopping them). Her "brain fogs" stopped and she never had them again.

Page forward to a recent publication (Shrivastaba, Pucadyil, Paila, Ganguly, and Chattopadhyay, 2010) cited by Science Daily. The summary revealed the finding that chronic cholesterol depletion using mevastatin impaired the functioning of serotonin receptors. Consider viewing this link and discuss any changes in medication with your cardiologist, and any possible consideration of treatment for depression with your psychiatrist, mentioning this article before allowing him/her to reach for his prescription pad.

In terms of practice, it would be especially wise to consider the importance of interprofessional consultation when practicing medicine. All too often, we tend to forget the homeostatic nature of the human body.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Critique of Mainstream Psychiatry and Things Down on the Psychopharm

This article says a bunch:

My article is not intended to disparage the field of Psychiatry in general. There are many Psychiatrists who are highly ethical and judicious with service provision. The intent of the article is to point out that people have alternatives, and can seek out service providers who will not be quick on the trigger of the prescription pad. It is also intended to clarify some apparently missing aspects of treatment information.

Too many Psychiatrists practice as if there is no alternative to manufactured chemical treatments. It would be nice if there were some practice standard that would concentrate on titrating treatment whenever possible. This would mean, of course, a start with interventions that do not involve prescriptions. It means a consideration of alternative medical causes of behavior problems as discussed in the book, A Dose of Sanity by Sydney Walker, III, MD. It is very easy reading, and can be readily obtained through book sellers such as Dr. Walker has also written a book, The Hyperactivity Hoax that traces, in plain language, his ability to find and treat medical disorders that would reduce or eliminate the symptoms of the purported diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

It is high time that the pharmaceutical industry revise their television advertisements to conform with reality. Those nice pictures of a synapse with neurotransmitters in the gaps create the impression that nerve impulse transmission is linear. Neurons, in nature, are three dimensional. Synaptic transmission in each neuron is not narrowly confined to one set or even two sets of gap transmitters. Neurons are interconnected in so many ways. I wonder how many people have thought of why drugs, er meds, intended to treat purported psychiatric disorders have side effects elsewhere in the body, especially the digestive system? I wonder how many psychiatrists bother to explain, succinctly and clearly, why the meds that they prescribe for "mental problems" can also cause gut problems. It would, perhaps, be helpful if the industry paid for some primetime on commercial television to provide a true picture. I doubt that they would. Do all mental health problems originate at the synapse? I think not, and believe that many psychiatrists know this.

Researchers know that some, if not many, mental health problems (those that are not associated with medical rule-outs) have to do with cell membrane ("skin") of the neuron. This is how some of the best natural and manufactured drug treatments work for Bi-polar Disorder. They regulate the passage of mineral particles throught that "skin."

Texts have been written about the role of hormones and supplements in human mental health. Why have these been ignored or neglected when people visit a psychiatrist?

I have a challenge. My challenge is for Psychiatry and Psychopharmacology to work on revising focus. Changing direction might reduce health care costs in the long run.