Ever Been to Autism One?

I LOVE attending biomed autism conferences.  Autism One is one of my favorites.  Have you ever considered going?

Even though I’ve been on this biomed journey for 5 years now, I was exposed to many new ideas and treatment options.  However, I think my favorite thing last year was meeting an 11 year girl who is totally recovered and 4 or 5 teens and adults who are totally recovered.  When I say totally recovered, I’m saying not just typical but higher functioning most people.  It reinforced my conviction that my son is going to go from “recovered” to “totallly recovered.”

If you’re a physician or other medical practitioner, there’s a track for you too.  Dr. Eily and I went together last year.  We both loved the conference.  It was really fun to see how excited Dr. Eily was about the enthusiastic, optimistic atomosphere at A1 that is so different than other medical conferences she attends.

I love the atmosphere there too.  There were 1,400 parents and practitioners from around the world there last year!

Another thing I love about A1 is that they don’t shy from controversy.  At A1, you will hear both your old favorites like Dr. Arthur Krigsman, Dr. James Bradstreet, Dr. Anju Usman, and Dr. Dan Rossignol, AND, you’ll hear from practitioners who are doing cutting-edge work that is too new or controversial for some of the other biomed programs.

The conference is only $99, but of course, there’s the flight to Chicago and hotel.  Sharing a hotel room is a great way to make the conference more affordable.

If you are considering going, here are a few tips:

    • Look at the schedule and decide if the sessions on the first couple of days are worth the money for extra hotel nights.  I went for the full 5 days last year.  It’s a bit slow on Wednesday and Thursday then things really pick up Friday through Sunday.
    • Take a friend and share the cost of a hotel room.
    • Take a cooler so you can keep food in your room.  You’ll eat healthier and you’ll save money on food.  The hotel does offer refrigerators.  However, A1 asks that attendees wait to get a refrigerator so all families whose children have refrigerated meds can get one first.

If you can’t make it, know that they are dedicated to making it work for you too.  They post just about every session to be viewed for free within a week or two.

Let me know if you’re looking for a roommate and I’ll try to hook you up with anyone else who is seeking a roommate too.

Great Health Documentary — Free for Through March 15th

Have you seen the new documentary, BOUGHT?   It’s being offered free between now and March 6th.

You can find it here. If you don’t catch it before March 6th, I encourage you to go for the paid download.  It’s a great documentary.

Here’s an overview:

The food, vaccine, drug, insurance and health industry are a multi-BILLION dollar enterprise… focused more on profits than human lives. The BOUGHT documentary takes viewers deep “inside the guts” of this enterprise…

Featuring exclusive interviews with the world’s most acclaimed experts in research, medicine, holistic care and natural health… Bought exposes the hidden (and deadly) story behind it all.

Are Our Kids as Healthy as Kids Were 45 Years Ago?

I heard Marvin Gaye’s song, Mercy Mercy Me, a couple of weeks ago.  I’d never paid attention to the lyrics of this 1971 song and didn’t see how they relate to children in 2015.  His prophetic lyrics have haunted me ever since.  Here are the lyrics in case you’ve missed them too:

Mercy Mercy Me

By Marvin Gaye

Mercy mercy me
Things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east

Mercy, mercy me, mercy
Things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury

Mercy, mercy me
Things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Radiation under ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying

Mercy, mercy me
Things ain’t what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land
How much more abuse from man can she stand?

Oh, na na na na na na na na na
My sweet Lord
My Lord, my sweet Lord

What’s Mercy Mercy Me Have to Do With Children’s Health?

It’s been almost 45 years since Marvin Gaye released this song, and the EPA has achieved substantial victories since then such as banning DDT, lead and arsenic.  However, new and not well understood chemicals are introduced into our environment every year.  These new toxins are everywhere – not just our air and water.  They are in our food and almost every product we use. And, they are a major contributor to an emerging constellation of chronic conditions in today’s children.

If Marvin Gaye were alive today, I believe he would look back on the health of children in 1971 and say:

Mercy Mercy Me

Kid’s Health Ain’t What It Used to Be

    • 1 in 6 have learning disabilities
    • 1 in 3 children have obesity
    • 1 in 3 have allergies
    • 1 in 8 have asthma
    • 1 in 10 have ADD
    • 1 in 50 have autism

The toxins in our food, medications and environment are making all of us sick – especially our children.  Statistics show that these conditions were rare in 1971.  Most people hadn’t even heard of some of them.

The good news is that by viewing these conditions as a product of environmental factors, we know how to reverse them.  There is an amazing crowd-funded documentary being developed by the good people at DocumentingHope.com.  They will show us how to protect and heal our kids. Here’s a description of their project:

“The Documenting Hope Project is supporting 14 chronically ill children through a healing and recovery journey. The children will come from five locations throughout the United States, and their illnesses will include autism, ADHD, asthma, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, mood disorders, obesity/type II diabetes and atopic disease/eczema. Up to seven of these children will be featured in a groundbreaking feature-length documentary film, Canary Kids, which will spread the much-needed message of hope: Recovery is possible.”

If you would like to help fund the DocumentingHope project click here.

Check out DocumentingHope’s benefit concert featuring Michael Franti & Spearhead on February 7th, 2015 here.

The next time you’re talking with a group of parents, notice how frequently they mention chronic health, learning and behavior problems in their children.  You’ll be shocked.

In my next blog, I’ll give you tips for preventing and reversing chronic conditions in children – as well as adults.

Dr. Ravenel on MED-FREE Treatments for ADD, Anxiety, Depression and More

I’m thrilled to introduce Dr. Bose Ravenel to my readers.  For 33 years, Dr. Ravenel treated children with AD(H)D, anxiety, depression, etc. with medications as most physicians do today.  In 2008, he discovered that these and other conditions can often be treated without medication by targeting and eliminating the cause.  Not only are his patients relieved of their symptoms, the underlying health issues causing the symptoms are treated without the short-term and long-term side-effects of medications.

Dr. Ravenel will be speaking at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh on Thursday, November 13that 7:00.  Click here to register.

Following is our recent conversation:

Beth:  Dr. Ravenel, thank you for taking time to share your story of hope and healing for children who have what has become common conditions in today’s world.  You spent the majority of your career working as a traditional pediatrician.  What led you to change to a more holistic, functional type of medicine?

Dr. Ravenel:  I practiced as a traditional pediatrician for 33 years and also for 11 years in academic pediatrics as a clinical associate professor as a faculty member of the UNC School of Medicine Pediatric faculty working at Cone Hospital in Greenboro.  I worked with huge numbers of families of children with behavior problems – especially children with ADD/ADHD — and was used to using medications as a predominant approach.

Then I began to think.  It occurred to me that I had practiced long enough and lived long enough personally to notice the shift – an almost exponential increase — of children who were showing up in the office either being requested to have medicine or the school referring or whatever.  And these kids were being put on medication chronically for what were predominantly behavioral or emotional problems.

The prevailing medical paradigm said that these problems like ADD and depression were supposedly caused by chemical imbalances in the brain that were largely genetic.  In the case of ADD, the literature said that it’s 80% genetic.  It occurred that it was not even logically possible because going from my classroom of 30 kids, (there were many more kids in the classroom back then) there might have been 1 and no more than that.  And now the figures are replete in the literature and incidence of ADD varies, but it’s 1 in 3 or 1 in 5 children all across America.  But genes don’t change that fast.  Brains don’t change that fast.  It had to be something else going on.

Increasingly parents were becoming more and more troubled either because they were being pressured to put their kids on medicine and they didn’t want to do it, or they were looking for an alternative.  Others whose kids had been on medicines were apprehensive about possible negative long term effects.

Once I made the shift to taking a functional or integrative approach and avoiding almost always the use of prescribed drugs, the success was sufficient that it’s became an accelerating cycle of conviction, belief and more success.

Beth:  So now you have completely embraced the idea of functional medicine and that is the type of medicine you now practice?

Dr. Ravenel:  Correct.  In November 2013 after 41 years total including 11 years in academia, I retired from traditional pediatrics in order to start a new career in functional medicine at the ripe young age of 75.  So, that’s what I’m doing full time.   I’m doing pediatric consulting with families whose children have ADD, depression, oppositional defiant disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, ASDs, speech impairments/delays, learning disabilities and more.

Beth:  What is the difference in the traditional medicine approach to these conditions and the functional medicine approach?

Dr Ravenel:  I call these conditions clinical syndromes because it turns out that “clincal syndromes” better describes a functional medicine approach vs. a traditional “disease management” approach.

In my career of 30 something years in practice prior to this functional medicine career, I looked at (as most traditional physicians do) each disease as a categorical diagnosis for which there is a specific recommended treatment.  So, the best practice in traditional health systems is predominantly pharmaceutical-based.  This is the “best practice” for disease management.  But the focus is really predominantly exploring ways to suppress the symptoms or relieve the symptoms by various prescribed medications.  And to give credit where it is due, often that will provide significant improvement.  The challenge is that if you’re not addressing the underlying cause of the problems, you’re not really treating anything.  You’re simply providing in essence a palliative relief from the symptoms which inevitably recur when the medicine is withdrawn.

The integrative prospective looks for underlying causes.  For example, identifying genetic variances which are known to impact your ability to handle toxins in the environment.  We live in a toxic world.  Nutritional and dietary habits can impact genetic expression too.  It turns out that many of these things (depression, ADD, bi-polar, and others) can actually be healed if people are willing to make lifestyle changes.  Those changes can effectively help people recover – either substantially or in some case completely.  In many cases, people recover completely over a period of time.  This contrasts with the traditional approach of prescribing medicines and continuing them as long as the individual feels like they need to depend on them.

Beth:  What are the pros and cons of the medications for these conditions, particularly in the long-term?

Dr. Ravenel:  The pros are of course pretty obvious: simplicity and quickness.  A patient who comes in and does a check sheet for depression or ADD can get a prescription that day – which is the usual way it happens in many practices.  They get relief within 24 to 48 hours.  Every day, as long as the medicine is being taken, there is improvement.  So, the pros are pretty much practical.  The quickness and sometimes a pretty dramatic improvement in the symptoms.

The flip side is:  what are the long term effects on the brain of drugs prescribed with the intention of altering the brains circuits of neurochemistry?  The answer to that is that nobody knows.  It’s not been looked at long-term.  There are no studies published in the literature on the long term (meaning years, not to mention decades) of the use any psychotropic drugs including ADD medications.

There is research that gives real concern that there are a lot of short-term side effects.  Those side effects are well known by any parent whose child has been taking the medicine.  Those include cognitive constriction or narrowing of focus which is obviously the intention of the drug.  Sometimes kids can lose their spontaneity, and lose their creativity.

The other long term problem—there’s research, for example, there are 2 researchers named Hyman and Nester who published an article in a psychiatric mainstream journal several years ago.  The title of the article is Initiation and Adaption.  It refers to using psychotropic drugs including stimulants that target the brain.  They change the brain’s chemistry which is why they’re prescribed.  The brain is a living organ so the body will biologically respond to any change externally with what’s called homeostasis.  The body responds to an external change agent with its own response and change.  So, you induce changes in the brain with a drug and if you take the drug sufficiently long which in the case of anti-depressants and ADD medicines often for years if not decades, the brain changes and then when you withdraw the drug, the individual experiences a profound experience of disorientation.  That tends to be interpreted by those that believe in the medical model as proof that the person needs to stay on the medicine.  The truth is that it probably reveals that the person’s brain has changed and the drug has in essence created a state of dependency.  The longer you take the medication the longer it reinforces the dependency.

Another thing that alerted me to the growing concern about the long term use of these drugs is a book written by a psychiatrist I know personally who has a psychiatric approach which is also pretty much non-pharmaceutical named Dr. Grace Jackson.  She wrote a book entitled, Drug Induced Dementia.  It’s a very scholarly manual that is very deep and complex.  She argues strongly that she believes that research supports the idea, the hypothesis, that one contributing, major factor in the growing dementia in western society is, in fact, the long term administration of psychotropic drugs.

Beth:  Wow.  So, these medications not only have short-term side effects, they may even put our children at higher risk for dementias such as Alzheimer’s when they are older?

Dr. Ravenel:  Yes.  We don’t know what kind of impact these medications will have on this generation of children.

Beth:  This is very interesting.  Thank you for spending time with me today and allowing me to share our conversation with my readers.  You will be speaking at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh on November 13th at 7:00 pm.  Tell us about what you’ll be talking about.

Dr. Ravenel:  I will give a brief overview of some of the common natural treatments for ADD, anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, and more .  Most importantly, when I speak with parents, I find they enjoy being able to ask questions, so I will leave lots of time for questions and answers.

Beth:  Thank you Dr. Ravenel!  We look forward to seeing you on the 13th.

>>>Click here to register for Dr. Ravenel’s presentation on Thursday the 13th at 7:00 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Raleigh.

Pediatricians Who are Respectful of Biomedical Treatments

Are you looking for a pediatrician who will respect your choice to treat your child with biomedical treatments?

Many of us who are treating our children with diet, nutritional supplements, detoxification, immune support and avoidance of toxins have been frustrated with our pediatricians.  Recently, I sent a note to our community asking for your recommendations of pediatricians who are supportive and respectful of our health choices for our children.

If you have a pediatrician you’d like to recommend for this post, please e-mail me.

Here are the doctors that parents from our community have recommended:

Dr. Vandana Natal in Cary


Dr. Kimberly Ramsdell in Apex


Dr. Beth Murnane in Raleigh


Also, developmental pediatrician:

Dr. Daniel Moran in Apex