Staff St. Robert Bales has been charged in the massacre of 17 innocent Afghan civilians, and questions are surfacing on whether or not he was taking the anti-malaria drug Lariam, which is known to cause psychotic behavior, paranoia and hallucinations. The drug is believed to have been a factor in several homicides and suicides involving military personnel.
Today the Huffington Post reports that days after the killings, the Army ordered an emergency review of the use of the drug, which leaves us wondering if they believe that it was a factor in the Bales case as well.
My name is Tricia Selka, and I am an elementary school
teacher in Norwalk, Ohio. I earned my
Bachelors of Science in Education from Bowling Green State University, and my
Masters Degree in Technology in the Classroom.
I have been teaching for ten years.
As an educator, I feel
it is my responsibility to help to educate others regarding public health
issues, current research, and policy that affects the health and safety of our
children. This film helps to educate
our society regarding the development of vaccines and vaccine policy. It shows personal stories, along with
professional opinions that can help everyone to be well-informed and make
educated decisions regarding vaccines and vaccine safety.
Being an elementary school teacher, I am fully aware of the
broad spectrum of needs that children today have. Parents want to do all they can to help their
children. This film is an educational
tool that can help parents make informed decisions about the health of their
Last week, the president of a local school board, whose daughter had suffered a vaccine injury young in life (from which she recovered) wrote an open letter making the recommendation that parents screen the film, The Greater Good. While school system officials are regularly tasked with recommending vaccination, we do not regularly see school system officials recommending informed vaccine decision making, so The Canary Party was very encouraged at this very responsible stance on the part of Mr. Marvel. What was unexpected, was that other professionals would follow the precedent set by Mr. Marvel, and pen their own open letters, encouraging others to watch the film so it can encourage open discussion on vaccine making decisions. This week both a school nurse and a pediatrician have written their own letters of support for the film.
As the film will be screened nationally on Current TV on Saturday, we think that we have a unique opportunity to get these letters to local school and medical practitioners, so that they can have a better understanding of the issues at play in vaccine decision making for families. So we have put together a kit for families to use to share information about the film with those in their community. We have contacted the producers of The Greater Good to get some of the support materials for the film, and put together a flyer on the Current TV screening this weekend, to accompany the letters. We encourage everyone to write their own recommendation letter as a cover letter, to give to their pediatricians, doctors, school board members, school nursing staff, special education professionals, social workers, local government officials, lovers of film... anyone in your community with an interest in children's health, vaccination, disability, or governance. You can then present this package to them tomorrow, in time for them to watch the screening of The Greater Good on Saturday.
We know this is short notice, but when things like this happen, you have to seize the moment.
As discussions have spread about the film The Greater Good, more professionals, encouraged by the open discussion the film is promoting, are recommending the film. Today we recieved a letter from pediatrician Janet Levatin doing just that:
Re: The film “The Greater Good”
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Janet Levatin, MD, and I have been a board-certified pediatrician since 1989. I attended the George Washington University School of Medicine, graduating in 1982, and completed a pediatric residency at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. I have been practicing pediatrics as an attending-level physician since 1986, and have been following the issues of vaccinations and parental consent for many years.
I had the opportunity to see the film “The Greater Good” several months ago. I found the film very informative and thought-provoking in its discussion of the development of vaccines and vaccine policy. The information is well presented, and offers a balanced discussion of the issues. The opinions of neuroscientists and physicians who raise pertinent questions about current vaccine policy are presented; additionally, time is given to medical professionals who strongly advocate for vaccine policy as it exists.
Parents are constantly making decisions that influence the health and safety of their children. As a pediatrician I encourage all parents to inform themselves fully and to discuss many issues with their children’s health care providers, especially elective procedures such as vaccination. “The greater Good” is an excellent educational resource that parents can use as they prepare to discuss immunization plans with their pediatricians.
Janet Levatin, MD
A reminder to watch The Greater Good on Current TV this Saturday at 1pm eastern.
STATEMENT FROM DR BOB SEARS RE: CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY BILL
California Bill AB2109 Threatens Vaccine Freedom of Choice
The California Legislature is currently considering a bill that
would require parents to obtain their doctor’s signature on a government
form prior to enrollment in public school if they wish to skip one or
more vaccines for their child. Current law allows
parents to decline vaccines by signing an exemption form at the school –
no doctor’s signature needed. The new law would require “a written
statement signed by a health care practitioner that indicates that the
practitioner provided the parent with information
regarding the benefits and risks of the immunization and the health
risks of specified communicable diseases.”
On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a bad idea. It will require
parents to prove that they’ve had an informed discussion with their
physician. Most parents already have such discussions anyway. However,
what gravely concerns me is that some doctors
will refuse to sign this form. I know how doctors think. Many doctors
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control have promised to release their most recent autism prevalence numbers sometime “in the spring,” which officially begins today. Most likely the release will give rates from the 2008 report of the Autism Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network on eight-year-old children born in 2000.
Over two years ago the CDC reported autism rates of 1 in 110 in children born in 1998. Early reports indicate that rates for children born in 2000 have risen above 1 in 100. According to sources, the new rates could be announced as early as next week.
Chairman of the Canary Party Mark Blaxill said, “We’ve been waiting for years to get these numbers from the CDC, but most of all we’ve been waiting for health authorities to face the reality of the American autism epidemic. Something terrible has happened to a generation of American children and the CDC refuses to declare autism a public health emergency.”
In order to assess the new report, the Canary Party urges the public to consider the following:
• These statistics are many years behind the current situation. Since the onset of autism begins in infancy, before three years of age, these statistics are effectively a decade old.
• Utah, one of the ADDM reporting sites, has already published their results for the 2000 birth year. The risk for autism in eight-year-olds born in Utah in 2000 was 1 in 77. This is a 73% increase from Utah’s 2002 ADDM statistics, which showed a rate of 1 in 133 for children born in 1994.
• Autism was reported as a new condition in American children born in the 1930s. For many years reported U.S. autism rates were low, not much higher than 1 in 10,000. Starting with children born around 1990, autism rates began exploding. Some authorities attribute this increase to the inclusion of Asperger’s syndrome in official diagnostic criteria, but Asperger’s syndrome only makes up a modest portion of total autism cases and cannot explain such sudden and large increases.
• The ADDM Network has never reported breakdowns within the autism spectrum, making comparisons to past prevalence reports difficult. Without the ability to separate rates of Asperger’s syndrome from other autism categories, the CDC has failed to address the impact of Asperger’s syndrome on autism time trends.
• The ADDM Network reporting sites have also changed frequently, making comparisons even with the CDC’s own autism reports difficult. High prevalence sites like New Jersey were removed from the ADDM Network and lower prevalence states like Florida were added. These shifts make the increases appear less alarming than they truly are. Nevertheless the last CDC report showed an increase of 57% in just four years.
• The ADDM Network reports begin with children born in 1992, so they miss the crucial inflection point in autism rates around 1990. Yet the CDC’s own statistics from New Jersey, an early ADDM site, show rates for autistic disorder rising from ZERO in the 1988-89 birth years to 1 in 128 by 1993.
The only plausible explanation for these rapid increases is a change in the environment affecting millions of American children. A recent study on California twins — the largest autism twin study ever conducted — reported that the environment explained over 60% of autism causation, and by some estimates over 90%.
The Canary Party calls for all Americans to watch for the new autism rates and demand action from public health authorities.
The Canary Party is a movement created to stand up for the victims of medical injury, environmental toxins and industrial foods by restoring balance to our free and civil society and empowering consumers to make health and nutrition decisions that promote wellness.
“If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” -Thomas Jefferson