Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chronic Illness on the Rise in Children.....Why?

Did you see the article in the LA Times today on how chronic illnesses are on the rise in children?  If not, it's at,0,456579.story. 
When I taught childbirth classes and worked in labor and delivery back in the 80's, my coworkers thought I was a little nuts because my ongoing slogan to all the parents was "don't abdicate responsibility for the health of your kids to your pediatrician". They have their place ...broken legs, appendicitis....but when did they become the sole authorities on childrens' health? Of course there are some wonderful pediatricians: Liz Mumper, Sid Baker, Larry Rosen, Nancy O'Hara etc, but they've broken from the pack. What distinguishes them from the average doc is the fact that they actually listen, respect and honor what parents tell them. We are the authorities on our children and through doing our own homework, feeding out kids optimal diets, learning about herbs and natural healing for colds, ear infections, stomach viruses, we can minimize the use of antibiotics, drugs used for the ever growing psychiatric illnesses being diagnosed in children and invasive procedures that have damaged this generation of children. I feel it from many parents, they are taking back their power. We just have to wake the rest of the world up!
Maureen H. McDonnell, RN
Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet

Friday, February 26, 2010

Why the Push to Make Jenny McCarthy and Dr. Wakefield the Bad Guys?

I think the advertisement for the drug Concerta placed directly below the summary of the article about Jenny McCarthy says quite a bit about this question.  See, if we are made to think that the only tool available to us is a hammer (vaccines and drugs), they just have to convince us that all our illnesses are nails.  It's brilliant and  this is exactly what the propaganda created by the profit driven pharmaceutical industry wants us to believe. Your child has ADD: don't look at their chemically laden, sugar rich diet, just use the Concerta hammer. If your child has the possibility of developing an illness, don't worry about making their immune systems strong through good nutrition, fresh air and exercise (and God forbid don't use vitamins or herbs), just think Hammer.....more vaccines! Come on folks,  it's time to take our critical thinking beyond the sound bytes and look at the real motives at play here. If we buy into the distorted messages sent through the media regarding this complex issue without doing our own homework, the campaign to dumb us down will  have worked.. Although it would be nice for this to be a simple matter, for Jenny's voice to be ridiculed and silenced and  Dr. Wakefield (a brilliant pediatric surgeon) to be discredited, it's not that black and white.  The vaccine autism connection has not been put to rest just because the media attempts to convince us erroneously that "all" the studies have proven this or that Jenny and Wakefield are lunatics. There's so much more to this story:  The world is polluted with 87,000 chemicals, most of our food is void of nutrients needed to support health and  create strong immune systems, and vaccines although they might have their place, are not completely safe and should not be the main solution offered for keeping our kids healthy.   They also carry a risk for genetically susceptible kids period!  Making Jenny and Wakefield the bad guys is part of the strategy to convince us that vaccines have nothing to do with autism.  However besides these two sacrificial lambs, there are thousands of parents who know their children regressed after vaccines.   Try telling the public Toyota cars are totally won't work because the injured passengers are not going away and in defense of our injured children and future generations of children, neither are we.
Maureen H. McDonnell, RN
Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet

Read articles on Safer Ways to Vaccinate and What Can Be Done To Prevent Autism Now! at
Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet

Friday, February 19, 2010

Please sign a petition in defense of Dr. Wakefield:

From Dr. David Berger, MD  Wholistic Pediatrics

About Dr Andrew Wakefield
As most of you know, the British General Medical Council placed a serious reprimand on Andy Wakefield, and as a result journals have started to withdraw his research on vaccines from the medical literature.  Research that has nothing to do with his original 1998 journal article is being redacted. Now there is growing concern that scientists will be hesitant to do more research on vaccine safety.
I have known Andy for almost 10 years, and have seen the serious research that he has produced (over 30 publications) . His research can be viewed here:

A petition of support for Dr. Wakefield has been authored by leading Biomedical Autism physician Dr. Jaquelyn McCandless. She is hoping to obtain as many signatures as possible, which will be presented as part of Andy's appeal.  The petition can be viewed at I would encourage everyone to read the petition and sign it if they agree. Also, please forward this link to anyone who you feel would be interested in reading it.

Thank you Dr. Berger for writing this request and Dr. Jaquelyn McCandless for authoring the petition
Please send this to anyone interested in protecting our children and preventing the personal and professional persecution of a researcher simply because he challenges the safety of certain vaccines.  
Maureen H. McDonnell, RN 
Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why Use the Herb Echinacea? ........and when not to use it......

Two facts to consider: 1) I've been using and recommending the herb Echinacea with great results for my family and patients for over 30 years and 2. I don't sell it!

In this post I'll give a little background on this popular herb and I'll also explain when and why to use it, how we think it works, and when not to use it. references at the end

Background: The real name is Echinacea purpurea and it is derived from the decorative purple coneflower. Although there are contradictory scientific studies and therefore confusion over how it supports or stimulates the immune system we do know that unlike antibiotics that only fight bacterial infections, Echinacea seems to help the body fight off viral and or bacterial infections and it does this by promoting T-cell activity. Originally used by Native Americans for respiratory illnesses, by 1920, Lloyd Brothers of Cincinnati, Ohio, a respected pharmaceutical company counted echinacea as its largest-selling product. Of course once sulfa based antibiotics were developed, Echinacea lost it's popularity in the US. It remained popular in Europe however and today 1.3 million prescriptions are given for it each year in Germany alone.

When to Use It: Echinacea works best when it is used at the first sign of an infection. This is a pretty important piece of information because if you ignore those early signs that indicate you or your child are coming down with something, you'll miss the chance to experience echinacea's primary benefit. So pay attention to that slightly sore throat or the achiness that so often precedes an illness. When those subtle symptoms kick in, reach for the bottle of echinacea and start using it! Continue using it until the symptoms disappear (or if you do get the cold for a few days into the illness.) Do not use for longer than a week or two. If symptoms worsen, fever develops and or there is no signs of improvement, consult a physician. Antibiotics may be necessary -

Why Use It: Because it seems to be quite effective in helping the immune system function more effectively. I have seen it short circuit so many infections by "nipping them in the bud". I've recommended this to many mothers of children with a history of chronic ear infections and subsequent use of multiple courses of antibiotics. Once they cut out dairy, reduced sugar and began using echinacea at the first sign of an infection (often indicated by the child pulling at their ears), the incidence of infections requiring antibiotics greatly diminished.

How to Use It: During all these 30 plus years, I have tried a few different ways of taking it (capsules, tablets, tea and tincture). The best most effective way I have found is to take it in liquid (tincture) form. For an adult, I usually suggest mixing the recommended number of drops in a small amount of water and take every 4-5 hours. Hold your nose because it doesn't taste all that great. For a child (they do make children's versions of the liquid), follow the recommendations on the bottle. I would add a splash of juice in theirs (again to disguise the bitter taste.) As I said previously, I have no financial affiliation with any company who makes these tinctures, but I have found the Gaia Herb brand to work exceptionally well.

For How Long: It is not recommended that you take Echinacea for more than a week or two at a time. Either use it at the first sign of infection and a few days after or if you have been prone to chronic infections, you might want to take it in cycles, 1 week on, 2 weeks off, 1 week on etc. I had one patient who had been to 18 physicians for chronic urinary infections and was given multiple courses of antibiotics. She found that if she did cycles of echinacea she was able to ward off these infections. Of course she changed her diet too. For more on warding off colds and flu, see post on this blog: Winter Colds and Flu, Anything Natural We Can Do?

When Not To Use Echinacea: Definitely do not use it if you are highly allergic and or specifically if you are allergic to ragweed. Also if you have an autoimmune illness or such as HIV, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.or tuberculosis it is not recommended. If you have a history of allergic reactions, consult your physician about using Echinacea.

More free health articles at our website Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet

Yale SY, Liu K. Echinacea purpurea therapy for the treatment of the common cold. Arch Intern Med . 2004;164:1237-1241.

Luettig B, Steinmuller C, Gifford GE, et al. Macrophage activation by the polysaccharide arabinogalactan isolated from plant cell cultures of Echinacea purpurea . J Natl Cancer Inst . 1989;81:669-675.

Brinkeborn R, Shah D, Geissbuhler S, et al. Echinaforce in the treatment of acute colds. Results of a placebo-controlled double-blind study carried out in Sweden. Schweiz Zschr Ganzheits Medizin . 1998;10:26-29.

Melchart D, Walther E, Linde K, et al. Echinacea root extracts for the prevention of upper respiratory tract infections: a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial. Arch Fam Med . 1998;7:541-545.

Mullins RJ, Heddle R. Adverse reactions associated with echinacea: the Australian experience. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2002;88:42-51.

Aldous MB, Wahl R, Worden K, Grant KL. A randomized, controlled trial of cranial osteopathic manipulative treatment and echinacea in children with recurrent otitis media. 2003 Pediatric Academic Societies' Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington, May 3-6, 2003;abstract 1062.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Don't Believe What You're Hearing About the Safety of the MMR and the Recklessness of Dr. Wakefiled

We all know what the media can do to a story and even NPR, a station I usually respect has this one wrong! You see Dr. Andrew Wakefield is a smart, pediatric gastroenterologist surgeon, who while working at the Royal Free Hospital in London over a decade ago encountered several parents who made the observation that after their child received the MMR, they developed severe bowel issues and later were diagnosed with autism. Now Wakefield mind you was a traditionalist. He was not into natural healing of any sort. He did have one or two things going for him however. The guy is brilliant, articulate and oh yes, he actually listens to parents. It was this last trait that got him into trouble and is at the route of his 12 year personal and professional hell. Because not only did he listen to these desperate parents and try to help the affected children, he coauthored a paper with several other researchers that was published (later retracted) in the Lancet suggesting that in a subset of children with autism, there was a distinct inflammation in their bowel which he hypothesized could be related to the measles virus and may be connected to symptoms of autism. (By the way, a version of this theory (the connection between bowel issues and autism was just published on January 4,2010 in the prestigious journal Pediatrics.) But back to Wakefield's villification: So subsequent to his research, at a 1998 press conference, he suggested that it might be wise if parents and pediatricians considered separating out the Measles, Mumps and Rubella components of the vaccine for some children. That's when all hell broke lose! From that day forward he has been hounded and tortured by the UK media and many in his own profession believe he is a medical heretic. I wouldn't be such a defender of Dr. Wakefield if 1. I didn't have the highest regard for him professionally and 2. if as a pediatric registered nurse for 33 years I hadn't witnessed children deteriorating physically and mentally after vaccines (not always the MMR, but often enough) So this recent decision by the UKs General Medical Council's to discredit Wakefield is meant to send a strong message to any other researcher out there who dares to challenge the medical orthodoxy. The message is: If anyone attempts to unravel the mystery as to why we are experiencing an autism epidemic and in the process points a finger at the Holy Grail of the medical system (vaccines), then you too will be persecuted. Parents, researchers, clinicians and others from around the world support Wakefield's theory. So although the media is doing a fine smear campaign, this well funded propaganda driven machine hasn't fully comprehended that many of us are taking the persecution of Andrew Wakefield very personally. And this groundswell of resistance is not going away until the unbiased research that either proves or disproves his theory is allowed to take place.