Vaping: A dangerous Habit?


By: Vaping360

 

What is vaping anyway?

Vaping is a method of inhaling and exhaling an aerosol. This aerosol is often called a vapor that is produced by an e-cigarette or other devices. Vaping devices use liquids containing nicotine and other substances that are heated, turning the liquid into a thick aerosol. Vaping devices contain four different parts: A cartridge that holds the liquid, a mouth piece used to inhale the liquid, a heating element and a power source, usually a battery. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4154203/

Difference between vapor and aerosol: A vapor refers to the gaseous state of a substance like water that contains little or no particles. 
An Aerosol is a suspension of tiny particles of a solid, liquid, or both that are in a gas.

Is Vaping a safe alternative to Cigarettes?

Vaping is a relatively new phenomenon that is increasing in popularity, especially in teens. In the last few decades, healthcare communities have fought to decrease smoking in adults and youth. Vaping devices are now threatening this progress. Healthcare officials initially thought that vaping devices were less dangerous than tobacco cigarettes, and could provide a safer alternative. Vaping may be an alternative to cigarettes; however, a safer alternative is incorrect. The CDC reports that vaping devices offer the same dangers as cigarettes just in smaller doses and over a more extended period. https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1015&context=occ_stuarticles

What’s in the liquid?

E-liquid is the ingredient used in most vaper devices and usually consists of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavorings, nicotine. However, other toxic chemicals were discovered by The U.S Food and Drug Administration, including carcinogens, formaldehyde, and Diethylene glycol an ingredient found in antifreeze. https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1015&context=occ_stuarticles

How is vaping bad for you?

Long-term and harmful effects from vaping are not well researched; however, according to the CDC, the aerosol produced from vaping devices contain unstable organic compounds. These compounds are resistant to protective mechanisms in the respiratory system. When the aerosol is inhaled, dozens of tiny particles travel deep into the lungs and cause issues with breathing. https://www.rdhmag.com/home/article/16409913/e-cigarettes-vaping-and-chairside-education

Facts from the FDA

  • Nicotine addiction in youth is rising due to the popularity of vaping devices.
  • Longe-term effects from vaping are unknown
  • It is unclear if vaping is effective in helping people quit smoking cigarettes
  • It is unclear if vaping is less harmful then smoking traditional cigarettes 
  • It is unclear of the influence it may have as a “gateway” to smoking cigarettes
  • Manufacturers have targeted kids in their marketing of vaping products.
  • Vaping is not safe

https://www.fda.gov/news-events/fda-voices-perspectives-fda-leadership-and-experts/how-fda-regulating-e-cigarettes

 

The harmful effects of vaping are not well-researched. Debates continue whether or not vaping is a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes, and help adults kick the smoking habit. The questions answered show that vaping is risky and can cause serious health problems. Vaping products target youth and have proved to be effective with a dramatic increase in use among teens and adolescents. The truth is that vaping is a dangerous habit. Although changes have been implemented stricter regulations and more research are needed. We need to protect the health of our children and not let vaping become the next tobacco story. 

References

Arnold, C. (2014). Vaping and Health: What Do We Know about E-Cigarettes? Environmental Health Perspectives, 122(9). doi: 10.1289/ehp.122-a244

Prudovsky, D. (2019). Saying No to Vaping: What you should know about the dangers of e-cigarettes. Dental Assistant88(2), 10–11. 

Sherry, J. S., Blackstad, N. M., & Wheatley, K. S. (2017). E Cigarettes, Vaping and Chairside Education. RDH, 37(1), 45–52

Pot For Pain?

 

By: Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker

Pot for Pain?

 Pain comes in all sorts, and each of us has experienced it in some way or another. Whether it’s the pain of a headache, a broken bone from a fall, we all have pain receptors. What happens when it isn’t temporary? When your nerve endings have permanent pain, and it tingles and hurts chronically?  Pain then becomes a long-term issue, chronic, and it can have a significant impact on quality of life. What does a person do when traditional medications don’t cut it, and increasing tolerance to medications, such as opioids, with other side effects as an issue? With the approaching legalization of cannabis becoming more and more it has many wondering if it is a good option for pain relief.

By: Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker

A Quick look at Neuropathic Pain:

  • Neuropathy is the damage to the sensory, motor or automatic nerves that occurs from an underlying cause such as diabetes, accident, spinal cord or nerve damage.
  • It’s a complex and chronic condition that affects nearly 20 million people in the United States. That’s 20 million people seeking relief.
  • Neuropathic pain accounts for about one in five cases of chronic pain.
  • Neuropathic pain is notoriously difficult to treat. Medications that are normally prescribed for other types of pain (e.g., non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or opioids) are most often times ineffective.

So, studies suggest that cannabis may be a good treatment option to relieve chronic neuropathic pain but does the evidence stand up to the hype, or are the pain-relieving properties smoke and mirrors?

What does the research say?

THC and CBD are the two chemicals found in marijuana that are thought to contribute have the ability to relieve pain. THC alters pain perception by reducing anxiety and stress, while CBD has anti-inflammatory benefits that lessen pain. Cannabis-based medications come in several forms, so for the naysayers on smoking being risky, it can also be ingested in foods, taken as a supplement, and also available in tincture options.

By: Thomas Haynie

A recent systematic review found that compared to a placebo, cannabis-based medications have the ability to provide moderate to substantial pain relief, reduce pain intensity, help with sleep problems, and also mental and psychological distress such as anxiety and PTSD. Unfortunately, these benefits also come associated with side effects including sedation, confusion, and psychosis.

The catch here is for some people, these side effects may be severe enough to outweigh cannabis’s pain-relieving benefits, yet how the drug is used also effects its side effects.

Where does this leave us?

Overall the fact is…the quality of the research around cannabis for neuropathic pain relief is low. That is not to say that neuropathic pain sufferers should disregard cannabis as a treatment option – but as with any treatment, it may work for some, but not for others.

The bottom line ___________  

  • More high-quality research is needed to confirm its benefits.
  • Many people experience neuropathic pain, which becomes more common as we age.
  • Cannabis-based medications may relieve pain in some people, but side effects such as sedation, confusion, and psychosis can cause the risk to outweigh the benefit.
  • Current evidence is of low quality, so while promising, more high-quality research is needed to completely determine the effectiveness of cannabis-based medications for the treatment of neuropathic pain.
    By: Marketeering Group

References

Hill, K. P., Palastro, M. D., Johnson, B., & Ditre, J. W. (2017). Cannabis and Pain: A Clinical Review. Cannabis and cannabinoid research2(1), 96–104. doi:10.1089/can.2017.0017

Modesto-Lowe, V., Bojka, R., & Alvarado, C. (2018). Cannabis for peripheral neuropathy: The good, the bad, and the unknown. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine85(12), 943–949. doi: 10.3949/ccjm.85a.17115

Wallace, M. S., Marcotte, T. D., Umlauf, A., Gouaux, B., & Atkinson, J. H. (2015). Efficacy of Inhaled Cannabis on Painful Diabetic Neuropathy. The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society16(7), 616–627. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2015.03.008

Learn more About Diabetes and a healthy Diet for Prevention and Maintenance.

Diabetes is a rapidly growing threat in U.S. society. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), from 1980 to 2012, the rate of diabetes among adults quadrupled, and it is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States (2014). Around 200,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to diabetes (CDC, 2014).It is calculated that the prevalence of diabetes cases in U.S. (both type 1 and type 2) will increase by 54% from 2015 to 2030 (Rowley, et al., 2017). Because of the soaring rates of diabetes, it is important to take measures to prevent diabetes, and also to help individuals manage diabetes effectively.

So what is diabetes?

It is a chronic condition in which the body does not correctly process food for the body’s energy needs. Food is typically converted into glucose and stored in the body to be used for energy. However, with diabetes, the hormone, called insulin, does not do its job correctly in spreading the glucose throughout the body as energy. With diabetes, there is either too little insulin, or the insulin is not used correctly.

One of the most helpful websites is by the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org. On this website, you can learn more about diabetes whether you are managing it personally, or helping to support a family member or friend with managing diabetes. This website has a lot of information on recipes, family activities, medications, available resources, and emerging research findings, that can help improve diabetes management. There are diabetes cookbooks that can help a variety of people, whether looking for simple meals, or more challenging meals or deserts that can feed the entire family and guests. For example, did you know that whole grain use decreases the risks of diabetes? According to Chanson-Rolie, et al. (2015), for every 45g of whole-grains in the everyday diet, there is a 20% reduction in relative risk of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, even if one family member has diabetes, then these dietary adjustments can help reduce the risks to other family members.

For anyone who wants to reduce their own risks, switching to whole-grans and cutting out refined grains can make a major difference. Whole grans includes the following: Dark bread, cooked oatmeal, popcorn, whole-grain breakfast cereal brand and types, bran, brown rice, wheat germ, bulgur, couscous, and more. In contrast, here is the list of refined grains that are known to increase diabetes risks: English muffins, biscuits, muffins, white bread, pasta, cakes, sweet rolls, refined-grain cereals, pancakes, waffles, pizza, and white rice (Liu, et al., 2000).  Learning more about food and everyday exercise and lifestyle factors can significantly help with management and prevention.

References:

CDC. (2014). Diabetes Report Card. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Liu, S., Manson, J. E., Stampfer, M. J., Hu, F. B., Giovannucci, E., Colditz, G. A., … & Willett, W. C. (2000). A prospective study of whole-grain intake and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in US women. American journal of public health90(9), 1409.

Rowley, W. R., Bezold, C., Arikan, Y., Byrne, E., & Krohe, S. (2017). Diabetes 2030: Insights from yesterday, today, and future trends. Population health management20(1), 6-12.

Diabetes- the difference.

“So I’ll wait ’til kingdom come, All the highs and lows are gone, a little bit longer and I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine”
– A Little Bit Longer, Jonas Brothers- 

This song was written by Nick Jonas. He was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2005. This was actually the same year I was diagnosed as well. I myself have come to terms with being a diabetic and having to take insulin almost every time I eat. The one thing about it that gets really old really quick is the statement ” You don’t look like a Diabetic!” So in this blog I am going to do a little background on Type 1 diabetes and the difference between type 1 and type 2.

 

To start I am going to talk about the differences. Type 1 is when your pancreas produces little to no insulin. This makes all type 1 diabetics insulin dependent.  Type 2 is when your pancreas still produces normal levels of insulin, your body is just not able to absorb it. Type 2 diabetics can start on pill forms to help control their diabetes but then may needed insulin to help down the road.

As you can see there is a major difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Another major difference is that Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease whereas type 2 is a multifactorial one. This means that for type one the immune system has attacked the cells in the pancreas that make the insulin. So basically, there is a war going on in the body and the immune system thinks that it is doing the right thing but made it so the body can no longer produce the right amount of insulin. With type 2., there is still the production of insulin the body just decides that it no long knows what to do with it and becomes very resistant to it, like a child who doesn’t want to wear a coat even though their parent said they would need it.

Type 2 has many causes like obesity and the disease runs in the family. Type 2 is usually diagnosed after the age of 40. Type 1 however the cause if it is unknown and is usually diagnosed in childhood, which to me makes sense seeing as I am 1 of 5 kids and there is no family history of it that I know of. I know type 2 runs on my papas’ side of the family but he is in no blood relation to me and as you can tell type 1 and type 2 are a very different thing.

There are reasons on why everyone automatically assumes that all diabetics have type 2. That is because it is more widely talked about. This could also be that 95% of diabetics are type 2 and that means that only 5% of diabetics have type 1. Knowing this information makes me understand more where the statement “you don’t look like a diabetic” comes from and it also makes me want to educate more people about the difference more.

Iliades, C., Salomon, S. H., Upham, B., & Roan, S. (n.d.). What’s the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes? Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/diabetes/difference-between-type-1-type-2-diabetes/.

Medical Providers. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.jchdonline.org/index.php/all-topics/49-programs-and-services/health-education/295-what-are-the-main-differences-between-type-i-and-type-ii-diabetes.

T1D Basics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.jdrf.org/t1d-resources/about/.

Sensory processing disorder

                                        Sensory processing disorder

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) has been a hot topic amongst many medical professionals. Is SPD a real thing! How is SPD treated?  The purpose of this blog is to provide information through a variety of various media regarding the disorder. This blog will also provide a forum for others to share their opinions and personal experiences regarding SPD!


 SO…what is sensory Processing disorder?

The brains of persons with SPD have trouble processing various inputs or information such as; (sounds, sites, smells, and touch). This input then causes an abnormal response or “symptoms”.  Some symptoms may include; yelling, hyper activity, poor posture,  poor attention, tiredness, and over sensitivity to the environment. The video below accurately describes SPD in short. 


How is sensory processing disorder treated? 

Sensory processing disorder is typically treated by occupational therapist. Occupational therapist use a variety of techniques. The most widely talked about is sensory integration therapy.  This video paints a good picture of Sensory integration and how it is applied.


                                               So what makes SPD debatable

*Sensory processing disorder has been argued by some medical professionals that SPD is a symptom exclusively of autism.

* Some medical professionals and evidence based research supports that sensory integration therapy is ineffective.

*Until recently, no known anatomical evidence showed any disparities in those with SPD. More research must be conducted

Research


Article:  White matter microstructure is associated with auditory, tactile processing in children with and without sensory processing disorder. (2016) 

Summary: “Researchers at UC San Francisco have found that boys and girls with sensory processing disorder (SPD) have altered pathways for brain connectivity when compared to typically developing children, and the difference predicts challenges with auditory and tactile processing.”( S. Leigh, 2016)  

Link to full study https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnana.2015.00169/full


Article : Sensory processing difficulties, behavioral problems, and parental stress in a clinical population of young children, (2012)

Summary:  The article talks about sensory processing disorder and how it can relate to behavioral problems among young children. This study followed 59 children from an outpatient clinic. Each participant filled out a behavioral checklist as well as a sensory profile. Out of the 59 children 55.9% of them reported sensory processing difficulties. Based on these results the article suggest that some children who obtained difficulties with sensory processing would benefit from therapies that target these concerns. The article also related these results to parent stress. Parents of children with sensory difficulties reported a much higher level of stress than parents with children who did not have sensory difficulties.

link to Full study

http://library.neit.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eoah&AN=28041949&site=ehost-live

 Please post additional Research Blogs here: 

 


Personal thoughts 

I do believe that sensory processing disorder requires additional research regarding diagnostic testing and treatment interventions. Occupational therapist and other practitioners utilizing sensory integration therapies should continue to imply the use of evidence based practice. Research both supports and disproves the use of sensory integration as well as the validity of calling SPD a disease.

Please post personal thoughts or additional videos here: 

 

 

 


References

Gourley, L., Wind, C., Henninger, E. M., & Chinitz, S. (2012). Sensory Processing     Difficulties, Behavioral Problems, and Parental Stress in a Clinical Population of Young Children.Journal of Child and Family Studies, 22(7), 912-921.  doi:10.1007/s10826-012-9650

Howe, F. E., & Stagg, S. D. (2016). Erratum to: How Sensory Experiences Affect Adolescents with an Autistic Spectrum Condition within the Classroom. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(6), 2273-2273. Doi:10.1007/s10803-016-2791-8

Leigh, S. (2016, January 26). Brain’s Wiring Connected to Sensory Processing Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2016/01/401461/brains-wiring-connected-sensory-processing-disorder

Ricon, T., Sorek, R., & Yeger, B. E. (2017). Association between Sensory Processing by Children with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder and their Daily Routines. TheOpen Journal of Occupational Therapy, 5(4). doi:10.15453/2168-6408.1337

Fact or Fiction: Does stigma affect how Schizophrenia is portrayed?

mental-health-awareness-month

Photo By:  http://palmsbh.com/what-can-you-do-for-mental-health-month/

Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year. 1.1% of those adults in the U.S have Schizophrenia. Those who have a mental illness sometimes deal with what is called stigma. 

A stigma is: the disapproval of, or discrimination against, a person based on perceivable social characteristics that serve to distinguish them from other members of a society. When someone has a mental illness, common stigmas are: dangerous, crazy, psycho, frightening, and so on. 

SCHIZOPHRENIA DEFINED:

“A chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves” (nimh, 2016). Symptoms include:

  • hallucinations,
  • delusions 
  • “flat affect,”
  • decreased communication,
  • difficulty managing daily activities/routines, 
  •  decreased functioning,
  • trouble paying attention, and more. 

Image result for Schizophrenia images

Photo By: psycom

SCHIZOPHRENIA IN THE MOVIES

This first clip is of the film Donnie Darko (2001). In the movie, the main character has Schizophrenia and continuously hallucinates about a rabbit named Frank who constantly gets inside of his head and tries to portray the end of the world. 

Watch from 1:00-2:00 and you will get a glimpse of how Schizophrenia is portrayed in this film. 

This film does a great job of exaggerating Schizophrenia and although some may experience a few or all of these intense symptoms, it is more often less severe. In contemporary films, there is an abundance of misinformation about symptoms, causes, and treatment in the media.  In an article called “Portrayals of Schizophrenia by Entertainment Media” by P.R Owen a PhD Psychiatrist goes into how characters portrayed in the media are typically Caucasian males and showed signs of “positive” Schizophrenia which includes delusions and hallucinations.

DEBUNKING STIGMA

This article drives home how the media projects the stigma of mental illness and how the public is more influenced by the portrayal of Schizophrenia in the film. 

SCHIZOPHRENIA SIMULATION

The next clip is from CNN and Anderson Cooper (the primary CNN anchor) undergoes a simulation of Schizophrenia. This clip only shows a select few symptoms of Schizophrenia. 

From the medical source National Institute of Mental Health  “NIMH” a clear definition is given along with “positive,” “negative.” and “cognitive” symptoms of Schizophrenia are explained. In this clip, mostly “positive” symptoms are being observed. This clip does a good job of  accurately representing those particular symptoms. However, the other symptoms are left out leaving the public to believe that these are what every person with this mental illness experience and thus, enhances the stigma yet again.  

REAL ILLNESS, REAL LIFE

This last media clip is from a TED talk that is told by a woman who lives with Schizophrenia. This woman goes into how she did not know when she was younger what was wrong with her and how it is harder to diagnose in younger children. However, as she entered college she was finally able to get a diagnosis.  

Watch 3:00-4:30 to get a general idea of this clip however the entire clip is extremely informative.

 The medical source Mayo Clinic which is a non-profit organization that offers professional and clinical research. Mayo Clinic describes how early onset symptoms of Schizophrenia in children is harder to diagnose even though the symptoms are very similar to those in adults. This information backs up what is discussed in this clip and also viewing someone with the disorder is extremely beneficial. She speaks upon the stigma of her disorder and even captions the title of this clip “I am not a monster” because that is how the public views mental illness sometimes. 

WHAT TO BELIEVE/ PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS

All of these clips have qualities that help portray Schizophrenia. However, as mentioned in the very last clip, with the help of medication or other sources, mental illnesses can be easily managed and people can live in society without ever revealing they have a mental illness. In my professional opinion, stigma is very real and what is seen in the movies should only be looked at by face value. It is Hollywood after all. If we only relied on what we see in the movies then we would of course believe the stigmas. That is not to say that all media does not accurately depict certain disorders but other sources should always be put into consideration for more accurate definitions or symptoms are needed. 

 

Image result for schizophrenia stigma

Photo By: Sasha Kalis

References:

  • Childhood schizophrenia. (2016, September 29). Retrieved October 31, 2018, from

        https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/childhood-

          schizophrenia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354483

  • Owen, P. R., PhD. (2012, July 1). Portrayals of Schizophrenia by Entertainment

Media: Retrieved October 31, 2018, from

https://ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/appi.ps.201100371

  • Schizophrenia. (2016, February). Retrieved October 31, 2018, from

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml

 

Childhood Vaccinations – Helpful, NOT Harmful

Children are given shots (vaccines) at a young age because this is when they are at highest risk of getting sick or dying if they get these diseases. Newborn babies are immune to some diseases because they have antibodies they get from their mothers, usually before they are born. However, this immunity lasts a

Image result for childhood vaccinations safefew months.
Most babies do not get protective antibodies against diphtheria, whooping cough, polio, tetanus, hepatitis B, or Hib from their mothers. This is why it’s important to vacci nate a child before she or he is exposed to a disease.

 

What is a vaccine? Why are they so important?
Vaccines are our best defense against infections that may have serious complications such as pneumonia, meningitis, cancer, and even death.

  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccinations before the age of two years to protect children against 14 infectious diseases: measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), varicella (chickenpox), hepatitis A, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib), polio, influenza (flu), rotavirus, and pneumococcal disease (CDC, 2015).
  • Vaccines contain weakened or killed versions of the germs that cause a disease. These elements of vaccines, and other molecules and micro-organisms that stimulate the immune system, are called “antigens.”
  • Babies are exposed to thousands of germs and other antigens in the environment from the time they are born. When a baby is born, his or her immune system is ready to respond to the many antigens in the environment and the selected antigens in vaccines.

Image result for 2018 CDC recommended immunization schedule

Vaccine Safety – Debunking the Myth

Vaccines are safe, effective and save lives (Knopf, 2017). Because vaccines are given to millions of healthy people,  including children, to prevent serious diseases, they’re held to very high safety standards.

Many parents have common misconceptions about childhood vaccinations and believe they may cause serious side effects – like autism- and choose not to vaccinate their child. Others believe there are too many recommended vaccinations compared to 20, 30 years ago. Claims that vaccines are linked to autism, or are unsafe when administered according to the recommended schedule, have been disproven by a robust body of medical literature (Knopf, 2017).

Vaccinations save thousands of lives every year and have eradicated many diseases such as the measles, mumps, and rubella. However, because parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children, these diseases are making a comeback and claiming the lives of innocent children.

Image result for childhood vaccinations safe

How are vaccines tested for safety?

Every licensed and recommended vaccine goes through years of safety testing including:

  • Testing and evaluation of the vaccine before it’s licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended for use by the CDC.
  • Monitoring the vaccine’s safety after it is recommended for infants, children, or adults

Vaccines are tested before they’re given to the public

Before a vaccine is ever available for use, it’s tested in labs and this process can take several years.  The FDA uses the information from these tests to decide whether to test the vaccine with people (Gould, 2017).

During a clinical trial, a vaccine is tested on people who volunteer to get vaccinated. Clinical trials start with 20 to 100 volunteers, but eventually include thousands of volunteers. These tests take several years and answer important questions like:

  • Is the vaccine safe?
  • What dose (amount) works best?
  • How does the immune system react to it?

Throughout the process, FDA works closely with the company producing the vaccine to evaluate the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. All safety concerns must be addressed before FDA licenses a vaccine.

Every batch of vaccines is tested for quality and safety

Once a vaccine is approved, it continues to be tested. The company that makes the vaccine tests batches to make sure the vaccine is:

  • Potent (It works like it’s supposed to)
  • Pure (Certain ingredients used during production have been removed)
  • Sterile (It doesn’t have any outside germs)

FDA reviews the results of these tests and inspects the factories where the vaccine is made. This helps make sure the vaccines meet standards for both quality and safety.

Vaccines in the Media

In 1998, an article was published by Andrew Wakefield in the Lancet paper that stated that the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine contained toxic substances that went into the bloodstream, traveled to the brain, and caused children to develop autism (Gould, 2017). However, Wakefield had been paid by a company with a patent pending on a rival measles vaccine as well as acted unethically and participated in slander and fear mongering for to gain profit. This discovery was too late to reverse the public’s belief that vaccinations were unsafe.

Public figures like Jenny McCarthy and the President of the United States (POTUS) Donald Trump have vocalized their opinions regarding the correlation between childhood vaccinations and autism. Political figures and celebrities have created confusion and fueled inaccurate discussion on this topic for years (Gould, 2017).

In this video clip from CNN during the Republican Presidential candidate debate, Donald Trump, states he is in favor of vaccinations, but believes the doses are too big for children. He then tells a story about a two-year-old child who was perfectly healthy prior to receiving vaccinations, but then developed autism a week after receiving vaccinations.

  • Even though evidence-based guidelines and professional recommendations have been published, the public still believes public figures and celebrities over proven data (Gould, 2017).

This video clip posted by CNN debates Jenny McCarthy’s beliefs that vaccinations cause autism. The narrator discusses how in this celebrity suffused culture, McCarthy’s claims could have a deadly impact on scaring parents away from vaccines. Jenny McCarthy is one of the first celebrities to publicly claim vaccinations cause autism after her son was diagnosed with developmental delays. In this video, she states vaccinations “triggered” her son’s autism.

Why is there an uprise in Autism today?

Prevalence of autism has changed because of advanced diagnostic fashions, changing diagnostic criteria, and more trained diagnosticians, a willingness to accept a particular diagnosis, earlier age diagnosis, and better recording systems (Taylor, 2009).  Basically, it’s a big coincidence that there are more vaccinations recommended by the CDC and the uprise in autism diagnoses. The CDC supports the Institution of Medicine’s (IOM) conclusion that there is no relationship between vaccinations and autism (Taylor, 2009).

This video clip by CNN interviews two mothers and why they chose not to vaccinate their children. One mother claims there are too many vaccinations recommended by the CDC. Another claims she does not trust the MMR vaccination because she believes her children are healthy.

Anti-vaccination believers argue that autism has been increasingly more prevalent today compared to 20 years ago, and there are more required vaccinations children need today than there were back then (Knopf, 2017). Vaccinations against infectious diseases has been advancing with the increase of available technology, which explains why there are more vaccinations required for children to receive compared to 20 years ago.

Don’t wait, vaccinate!

The CDC website provides an excellent venue for curious citizens inquiring about vaccination safety and how they work. It also has the most up to date schedule recommended for children to receive certain vaccinations. Vaccinations are safe, effective, and they protect the public from deadly diseases.

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/index.html

 

References

Gould, K. (2017). Vaccine safety: evidence-based research must prevail. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 36(3), 145-147.

Knopf, A. (2017). Vaccines do not cause autism: Pediatricians fight back against anti-science. Brown University Child & Adolescent Behavior Letter331-2.

Taylor, B. (2006). Vaccines and the changing epidemiology of autism. Child: Care, Health & Development32(5), 511-519.

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/autism.html

https://www.vaccines.gov/

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that develops before the age of three and involves impaired social interaction as well as communication. Also commonly seen is a small range of interests and activities for a person with ASD. Originally this disorder was discovered in 1943, by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner. The people with this disorder can have various levels of intelligence ranging from low to normal, as well as difference in severity of symptoms. The key component in all of these children is the lack of social and communication skills.

1 in 68 children in the US have ASD. This is a 30% increase from two years ago, in which it was 1 in 88 children were diagnosed. The reason for this dramatic incline is unknown, it is also possibly that awareness has made it easier for children to be diagnosed earlier during there development.According to Autism speaks many symptoms of the disorder consist of but are not limited to…

Possible signs of autism in babies and toddlers:                            By 6 months, no social smiles or other warm, joyful expressions directed at people
By 6 months, limited or no eye contact
By 9 months, no sharing of vocal sounds, smiles or other nonverbal communication
By 12 months, no babbling
By 12 months, no use of gestures to communicate (e.g. pointing, reaching, waving etc.)
By 12 months, no response to name when called
By 16 months, no words
By 24 months, no meaningful, two-word phrases
Any loss of any previously acquired speech, babbling or social skillsPossible signs of autism at any age:
Avoids eye contact and prefers to be alone
Struggles with understanding other people’s feelings
Remains nonverbal or has delayed language development
Repeats words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
Gets upset by minor changes in routine or surroundings
Has highly restricted interests
Performs repetitive behaviors such as flapping,                          rocking or spinning
Has unusual and often intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors

Children may demonstrate some of these behaviors, but not all. Also children who develop some of these behaviors, may not be autistic. If you believe your child may have ASD, contact your pediatrician for testing. Early intervention is extremly important for these children.

Many interventions for ASD are home bases therapies such as

  • Applied Behavioral Analysis
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech Therapy

Causes of ASD… These can be genetic in origin from either parent on chromosome 16 or even a spontaneous gene change during embryonic development. Increase age of either parent also increases the risk, as well as birth complications, premature birth and the birth of multiples such as twins and triplets. ASD is also linked to abnormal brain development at an early age. Women who have been exposed to German Measles or during the course of their pregnancy also put their child at t a higher risk of developing the disorder. Although it is a common myth, vaccines do NOT cause Autism Spectrum Disorder! 

These children are also at risk for many other comorbidities. Such as…Epilepsy, gastrointestinal problems, selective or restricted eating habits , sleep disturbances, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD and ADHD), Anxiety, Depression, and Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Those who have ASD also commonly engage in self injurious behaviors such as but not limited to…head-banging, hand-biting, and excessive self-rubbing and scratching. Which if not monitored can lead to concussions and life-long brain damage. These behaviors tend to be coping mechanisms for too much sensory stimulation, whether it be environmental or internal stressors. With help from early intervention sometimes these self-injuries behavior can be replaced with functional and non-destructive behaviors.

In Conclusion…ASD is a disorder of sensory processing. What may feel normal to a neurotypical brain could be extremly distressing to the ASD brain. These children can lead very happy and healthy lives with early intervention services as well as love and understanding. Remember April is ASD awareness month, more information about advocacy events can be found at www.autismspeaks.org.

Great Informational References  

Causes: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/learn-more-autism/what-causes-autism

Warning signs: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/from-first-concern-to-action/learn-signs

Services: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/from-first-concern-to-action/access-services

Autism Friendly Events: https://www.autismspeaks.org/autism-friendly-events

For those who are more audio or visual learners, I attached two great videos to help explain Autism Spectrum Disorder. The first is an animated explanation of the disorder. The second video is facts about ASD and even covers popular myths about the disorder as well.