This issue: The anti-vaccination movement creates a whooping cough epidemic in Los Angeles; new study finds genetic markers for manic depression, while another finds a “genetic pathway underlying bipolar disorder”; a chemical found in broccoli helps relieve symptoms of autism, while an alternative hypothesis is offered into the cause and treatment of autism by professors at MIT; a tenured professor accuses American and Canadian pharmaceutical and defence companies of creating Ebola, and using it as a weapon against Africans, and; a Canadian judge decides modern science is secondary to naturopathic medicine.
“Blood markers have been found with the potential to diagnose major depressive episodes, according to a paper in Translational Psychiatry. In the words of lead author Professor Eva Redei, a test using these would “bring mental health diagnosis into the 21st century.” If the test proves reliable, it could also transform treatment and social responses to mental illness.
“…[lead author of the study, Professor] Redei, of Northwestern University, compared 32 patients diagnosed with [major depressive disorder] MDD based on clinical interviews to 32 controls of a similar age. In the process, she identified nine RNA markers distinctive to people suffering from depression. The differences in readings were dramatic, reducing the chances of false diagnoses.
“Some of the patients in Redei’s sample were on antidepressant medication, but were still showing symptoms severe enough to be classified as depressed. There was no difference in the blood markers between those on medication and those who were not.”
‘New Blood Test Diagnoses Depression’ — IFLScience and Translational Psychiatry.
“A team of scientists led by researchers at the UMass Medical School and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (UMMSM) have identified what is likely a key genetic pathway underlying bipolar disorder….
“The new findings, published online this week in Nature Molecular Psychiatry, show that a rare genetic dwarfism called Ellis van-Creveld (EvC) syndrome protects against bipolar affective disorder. The discovery was made thanks to decades of translational research in a few Old Order Amish families of Pennsylvania with a high incidence of both diseases.
“In her research among the Old Order Amish, which extends back more than 40 years, Janice A. Egeland, PhD, professor emerita of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at UMMSM and co-author of the current study, found that both EvC and bipolar were prevalent in an extended family descended from the same progenitor. Both conditions clearly travelled together over the generations in a few families extending from this same pioneer. Yet no person with EvC was ever reported with bipolar disorder despite decades of research across multiple generations.”
‘Rare genetic disease protects against bipolar disorder’ — University of Massachusetts Medical School Communications, with a tip of the hat to ‘bi[polar] curious‘
“California had an outbreak of whooping cough [in 2014] that reached epidemic proportions, resulting in the death of three infants. Measles rates in the area are higher than they have been in over 20 years.”
‘Vaccination Rates In Elite Los Angeles Schools Now Worse Than In Southern Sudan’ — IFLScience
“Across California, thousands of children and babies are coughing so violently that their bodies convulse, uncontrollably wheezing and fighting to breathe for weeks. Nearly 8,000 pertussis cases have been reported in 2014 to the state’s Department of Public Health as of Sept. 2, and 267 of those patients have been hospitalized, including 58 requiring intensive care.”
‘Hollywood’s Vaccine Wars: L.A.’s “Entitled” Westsiders Behind City’s Epidemic’ — Hollywood Reporter
“Vaccinations are one of the of most incredible aspects of modern medicine. They can make previously lethal diseases disappear from society and save countless lives. There is, however, a chance that the vaccines work a little too well and our collective memory is too short to remember the devastating effects some of these diseases caused just a few short decades ago. Recently, for reasons that are not based on science or logic, many parents have outspokenly rejected vaccinating their children. Unfortunately, this has caused a reemergence of easily managed diseases. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFO) has released an interactive map detailing the catastrophic outcome of these poor choices.”
‘One Map Sums Up The Damage Caused By The Anti-Vaccination Movement’ — IFLScience
“Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) neuroscientists have posed a new hypothesis for autism, suggesting that the disorder may be rooted in an impaired ability to predict events and other people’s actions.
“The researchers assert that, to an autistic child, the world appears to be a “magical” and random place, rather than one of order and predictability. Therefore, symptoms such as repetitive behavior and the need for a highly structured environment may be coping strategies in an unpredictable world.”
‘New Hypothesis Posits Autism as Disorder of Prediction’ — PsychCentral
“A new study found that [sulforaphane] a chemical in broccoli sprouts is able to temporarily improve symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
“[...]The study used 40 male patients with severe or moderate ASD, ranging in age from 13 to 27. Weight-dependent dosages between 9-27 milligrams were given to 26 of the participants every day for 18 weeks. The remaining 14 were given placebos.
“[...]Three different assessments were used to rate behavior before the study and after weeks 4, 10, and 18. Additionally, many of the study participants were also assessed again several weeks after the end of the treatment. Ultimately, the researchers found that about half of those receiving the treatment saw improvement.
“Improvements with social interactions had been recorded in 46% of the participants that had taken sulforaphane. Some of these participants had also begun to look people in the eye and shake hands; a first for all of them. A total of 54% of participants exhibited an improvement with aberrant behaviors—including ritualistic movements and hyperactivity. Verbal communication improved among 42% of them. However, weeks after they stopped taking the sulforaphane, the symptoms returned to their pre-study levels.”
‘Chemical Extracted From Broccoli Sprouts May Help Ease Autism Symptoms’ — IFL Science
“Health Canada says anyone who bought a product called Miracle Mineral Solution [MMS] should stop using it immediately.
“The agency says the unauthorized product, sold over the Internet as a treatment for serious diseases such as cancer, poses serious health risks if ingested.
“It says MMS contains sodium chlorite, a chemical used mainly as a textile bleaching agent and disinfectant.
“Health Canada says the product was sold through the website buymms.biz and that an alternate format of MMS, labelled as CDS, is also available for sale on the website and would pose a similar risk.
“Anyone who has used the product is advised to see a doctor and report health problems to Health Canada.
“The agency says it seized the product from the business, which Health Canada says has not complied after being told its product could not be sold under the Food and Drugs Act.”
‘Health Canada warning: Stop using Miracle Mineral Solution immediately — CBC.ca
“Ebola is the result of bio-terrorism experiments gone wrong, according to a tenured professor at Delaware State University [DSU].
“In an article published in a major Liberian newspaper, The Daily Observer, the Liberian-born Cyril Broderick claims the epidemic is the result of work done by the U.S. Department of Defence, among others.
“[Carlos Holmes, a spokesman for DSU said] “Dr. Broderick’s comments have nothing to do with any research that is taking place at Delaware State University… He’s a plant scientist and there’s no research like that relating with pathogens and viruses taking place [here].””
‘Professor accuses U.S. of starting Ebola outbreak with bio-terrorism experiments gone wrong — National Post
“[...] a lawyer for [Ontario, Canada's] McMaster Children’s Hospital argued that child-welfare authorities should have used their power to require [a] young woman to stay in [cancer] treatment. With chemo, childhood leukemia now has a survival rate in the range of 90%, and remains a likely death sentence without it, experts say.
“But Justice Gethin Edward of the Ontario Court of Justice suggested physicians essentially want to “impose our world view on First Nation culture.” The idea of a cancer treatment being judged on the basis of statistics that quantify patients’ five-year survival rate is “completely foreign” to aboriginal ways, he said.
“[...]Daphne Jarvis, lawyer for McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, replied that the girl’s mother had made it clear she wants her child to be cured, and yet no evidence — either empirical or “experiential” — was entered in the court hearing that traditional methods successfully treat childhood leukemia.
“In fact, doctors testified that another 11-year-old First Nations girl with cancer who dropped out of chemo at the same hospital earlier this year has now relapsed, said the lawyer.
“”That is clear and unequivocal,” she said””
‘Judge says forcing aboriginal girl to stay in chemo is to ‘impose our world view on First Nation culture’ — National Post