New Study Connecting Flu in Pregnancy with Autism…is a Flu Shot the Answer?

November 13, 2012

A new Danish study published in the medical journal Pediatrics found that women who had the flu or ran a fever for more than a week during their pregnancy face a greater risk of having a child with an autism spectrum disorder.  There were nearly 97,000 children aged eight to 14 and born between 1997 and 2003 in Denmark whose mothers were surveyed, and one percent (976) of the children were diagnosed with autism.

Those mothers who had the flu during pregnancy were twice as likely to birth a child with autism, and those who had a fever that lasted more then seven days before 32 weeks gestation were three times as likely to birth a child with autism.

There was also an association found between antibiotic use during pregnancy and an increased risk of autism.

Articles are being written advocating that pregnant women receive a flu shot, as this was recommended by the researchers. We do not know the consequences of pregnant women taking a flu shot, that may contain chemicals like thimerosal…a mercury-rich preservative. The vaccine also is designed to illicit an immune/inflammatory response and inflammation from the flu is one very real consideration as to why the children of mothers with the Flu during pregnancy were more likely to be autistic. The flu causes inflammation in the body.  There are also questions as to the efficacy of the vaccine itself. There are naturopathic ways to boost immune function and lower inflammation in pregnancy. With the help of a licensed naturopathic medical doctor or qualified holistic medical doctor women can take active steps to safely nourish their immune system before and during pregnancy.

In health,

Dr. Gina


New Study Questions the Rationale Behind Vaccinations

March 28, 2012

A new groundbreaking study published this month in the journal Immunity contradicts the basis for the use of vaccinations. The current theory is that your body must produce antibodies to a virus in order to fight a viral infection. Hence the need for vaccinations that trigger a portion of your immune system,  the adaptive response, to produce necessary antibodies that will fight the virus if you are exposed.

Now we are learning that the innate immune response, that does not require antibodies to a particular virus to fight, is effective in fighting viral infections. This portion of the immune system uses macrophages and interferons to effectively prevent fatal viral infections.

Just prior to coming across this new research, I had listened to a continuing medical education seminar on Autism treatments where a pharmacist outright stated that we should simply stop conducting any research into the link between Autism and vaccines because there is none.  In light of this new information, that questions the very basis of vaccines, and begins the exploration into other means of preventing fatal viral infections, we should certainly be investigating the effects of vaccinations on our children and newborns, and whether the risks actually outweigh the benefit.

This is the most hope I have seen regarding the vaccine controversy.  We have other options for viral protection, involving stimulation and strengthening of the body’s innate immune response, rather then its adaptive response.  Breastfeeding, homeopathic preparations, and nutritional interventions all play a role in the innate response, that will likely gain more attention in the years to come.  That is good news for those physicians and parents concerned about the damaging effects of vaccines on our children.

In health,

-Dr. Gina


Assist Homeless Individuals with Autism

August 2, 2010

Please help the Autism Research Institute attain their goal of establishing a new program for homeless individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Below is their announcement.

Aloha from Kauai,

-Dr. Gina (Nick) Cushman

Help ARI Win $50k to Help Homeless Individuals with ASD

ARI was chosen to participate in the Pepsi Refresh Everything project and needs your support to win $50,000.  Only the projects with the highest number of votes are funded. Voting is free and it started this morning – can you help?

Vote now and take a moment to return each day this month.

We hope to establish a model program to provide information and support for homeless people who are on the autism spectrum. First, we will establish a small office in downtown San Diego for one year, and the office would be run by two part-time people.  They would meet with staff at shelters and missions to inform them about autism and suggest best ways to help those on the autism spectrum – for example, eat/relax/rest/sleep in a quiet, dimly lit or dark place. We’ll offer support and information on where to find vital resources including:

  • shelters and transitional housing
  • food and clothing
  • medical care
  • mental health services
  • referrals to agencies for case management & life training skills
  • referrals to agencies for government or other financial assistance
  • referrals for outpatient consultation, evaluation and treatment intervention
  • referrals to agencies providing skills assessment, job training & job coaches

We would also create a tri-fold brochure with relevant information and work to disseminate crucial information about the various support services available directly to those on the spectrum.

Click here to vote!


PBS Frontline Delivers Biased Report on “The Vaccine War”

May 4, 2010

Below is a reprint of a critical announcement by the Alliance for Natural Health USA on May 4, 2010 regarding a major bias by PBS’s Frontline producers against physicians and parents questioning the current vaccine schedule.  Dr. Jay Gordon offers a balanced perspective on the growing vaccine issue, based on 30 years of actual clinical experience, without financial backing that can present a potential bias. Thank you to Alliance for Natural Health for raising awareness of this issue.  Read below on how to take action now on this issue.

In health,

-Dr. G

Accomplished pediatrician, author, and teacher Dr. Jay Gordon has a commonsense approach to vaccinations– and an unwillingness to be coerced into either the “pro” or “anti” vaccine camps. PBS Frontline recently interviewed the noted pediatrician at length for a show called “The Vaccine War.” Although Dr. Gordon spent hours interviewing with Frontline, PBS producers omitted not only 100% of his interview but the entire “third camp” approach to vaccinations. It is obvious that PBS wanted to create a simple tabloid news piece with the all-knowing doctors on one side vs. crazed parents on the other.

This is disturbing. It is even more disturbing given the level of financial support provided to public television by drug and related companies. You won’t easily find information about drug company support for public television on the internet. But you can find some of it on a fundraising website run by WGBH, the public station that produces Frontline: http://www.SGPTV.org.

ANH-USA reprints Dr. Gordon’s letter to PBS Frontline in its entirety for your review, because it provides excellent information on whether to vaccinate your children, and it serves as a reminder that the media cannot be trusted to report accurately on this issue. PBS’ actions are inexcusable. Please join us in telling PBS Frontline that the show’s biased presentation on vaccines is totally unacceptable and that the show has an obligation at least to put Dr Gordon’s information on the website. Take action now [1].

Shame on PBS Frontline, ” The Vaccine War”, by Dr. Jay Gordon [2]

“Last night, PBS aired a show called “The Vaccine War.” I was interviewed at great length and in great depth about vaccines and my point of view and expressed my ambivalence about the polarization of this issue and the need for more calm reasoned discussion about the number one question that new parents have. I told Kate McMahon, the co-producer of the show, that there was a large group of doctors and others who cannot be dismissed with the facile label “anti-vaccine” because we still give vaccines and see a place for them in the practice of medicine, but we do not agree with the current vaccine schedule nor the number of vaccines children receive all at one time.

A few days ago, Ms.McMahon emailed me to tell me that the decision had been made to omit my interview from the show. There would not be one word from me. She didn’t tell me that she had also omitted 100% of Dr. Robert Sears’ interview. And that any other comments from physicians supporting the parents on the show in their ambivalence about vaccines or their decision to refuse all vaccines would also be omitted.

She left this as a show with many doctors commenting very negatively, very frighteningly and often disdainfully and dismissively about vaccine “hesitation” as they called it.”

Below is my email response to Kate McMahon.

Dear Kate,

The “Frontline” show was disgraceful. You didn’t even have the courtesy to put my interview or any part of the two hours we spent taping on your web site.

You created a pseudo-documentary with a preconceived set of conclusions: “Irresponsible moms against science” was an easy takeaway from the show.

Did you happen to notice that Vanessa, the child critically ill with pertussis, was not intubated nor on a respirator in the ER? She had nasal “prongs” delivering oxygen. I’m sorry for her parents’ anxiety and very happy that she was cured of pertussis. But to use anecdotal reports like this as science is irresponsible and merely served the needs of the doctor you wanted to feature.

No one pursued Dr. Offit’s response about becoming rich from the vaccine he invented. He was allowed to slide right by that question without any follow up. Dr. Paul Offit did not go into vaccine research to get rich. He is a scientist motivated by his desire to help children. But his profiting tens of millions of dollars from the creation of this vaccine and the pursuit of sales of this and other vaccines is definitely not what he says it is. His many millions “don’t matter” he says. And you let it go.

Jenny McCarthy resumed being a “former Playboy” person and was not acknowledged as a successful author, actress and mother exploring every possible avenue to treating her own son and the children of tens of thousands of other families.

I trusted you by giving you two or three hours of my time for an interview and multiple background discussions. I expressed my heartfelt reservations about both vaccines and the polarizing of this issue into “pro-vaccine” and “anti-vaccine” camps. I told you that there was at least a third “camp.” There are many doctors and even more parents who would like a more judicious approach to immunization. Give vaccines later, slower and with an individualized approach as we do in every other area of medicine.

What did you create instead?

“The Vaccine War.”

A war. Not a discussion or a disagreement over facts and opinions, but a war. This show was unintelligent, dangerous and completely lacking in the balance that you promised me–and your viewers–when you produced and advertised this piece of biased unscientific journalism. “Tabloid journalism” I believe is the epithet often used. Even a good tabloid journalist could see through the screed you’ve presented.

You interviewed me, you spent hours with Dr. Robert Sears of the deservedly-illustrious Sears family and you spoke to other doctors who support parents in their desire to find out what went wrong and why it’s going wrong and what we might do to prevent this true epidemic.

Not a measles epidemic, not whooping cough. Autism. An epidemic caused by environmental triggers acting on genetic predisposition. The science is there and the evidence of harm is there. Proof will come over the next decade. The National Children’s Study will, perhaps by accident, become a prospective look at many children with and without vaccines. But we don’t have time to wait for the results of this twenty-one year research study: We know that certain pesticides cause cancer and we know that flame retardants in children’s pajamas are dangerous. We are cleaning up our air and water slowly and parents know which paint to buy and which to leave on the shelves when they paint their babies’ bedrooms.

The information parents and doctors don’t have is contained in the huge question mark about the number of vaccines, the way we vaccinate and the dramatic increase in autism, ADD/ADHD, childhood depression and more. We pretend to have proof of harm or proof of no harm when what we really have is a large series of very important unanswered questions.

In case you were wondering, as I practice pediatrics every day of my career, I base nothing I do on Dr. Wakefield’s research or on Jenny McCarthy’s opinions. I respect what they both have done and respectfully disagree with them at times. I don’t think that Dr. Wakefield’s study proved anything except that we need to look harder at his hypothesis. I don’t think that Jenny McCarthy has all the answers to treating or preventing autism, but there are tens of thousands of parents who have long needed her strong high-profile voice to draw attention to their families’ needs: Most families with autism get inadequate reimbursement for their huge annual expenses and very little respect from the insurance industry, the government or the medical community. Jenny has demanded that a brighter light be shone on their circumstances, their frustration and their needs.

I base everything I do on my reading of CDC and World Health Organization statistics about disease incidence in the United States and elsewhere. I base everything I do on having spent the past thirty years in pediatric practice watching tens of thousands of children get vaccines, not get vaccines and the differences I see.

Vaccines change children [emphasis added].

Most experts would argue that the changes are unequivocally good. My experience and three decades of observation and study tell me otherwise. Vaccines are neither all good–as this biased, miserable PBS treacle would have you believe–nor all bad as the strident anti-vaccine camp argues.

You say the decisions to edit 100% of my interview from your show (and omit my comments from your website) “were purely based on what’s best for the show, not personal or political, and the others who didn’t make it came from both sides of the vaccine debate.” You are not telling the truth. You had a point to prove and removed material from your show which made the narrative balanced. “Distraught, confused moms against important, well-spoken calm doctors” was your narrative with a deep sure voice to, literally, narrate the entire artifice.

You should be ashamed of yourself, Kate. You knew what you put on the air was slanted and you cheated the viewers out of an opportunity for education and information. You cheated me out of hours of time, betrayed my trust and then you wasted an hour of PBS airtime. Shame on you.

The way vaccines are manufactured and administered right now in 2010 makes vaccines and their ingredients part of the group of toxins which have led to a huge increase in childhood diseases including autism. Your show made parents’ decisions harder and did nothing except regurgitate old news.

Parents and children deserve far better from PBS.

Thank you, Dr. Gordon, for stepping in where PBS failed, to share important information with all of us about the options that exist for new parents who are concerned about vaccinating their children.

PBS’ actions are inexcusable.

Please join us in demanding that Frontline present Dr. Gordon’s interview accurately and honestly on their website. Take Action [1].

URL to article: http://www.anh-usa.org/send-a-message-to-pbs-frontline-what-frontline-covered-up-in-their-biased-report-on-%e2%80%9cthe-vaccine-war%e2%80%9d/

URLs in this post:

[1] Take action now: https://secure3.convio.net/aahf/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=547

[2] Shame on PBS Frontline, ” The Vaccine War”, by Dr. Jay Gordon: http://drjaygordon.com/vaccinations/shame-on-pbs-frontline-the-vaccine-war.html

Copyright © 2010 Alliance for Natural Health – US. All rights reserved.


The Connection Between Autism and the Gut Discussed in Latest Issue of Pediatrics

January 6, 2010

Below is a summary report prepared by Rebecca Estepp for TACA (Talk About Curing Autism), an organization that LTP Natural Medical Center supports.  The report discusses two articles published in Pediatrics that make the association between gastrointestinal imbalances and Autism Spectrum Disorder.  I am pleased to see that mainstream medicine is beginning to acknowledge the connection between the gut and the brain.  100% of our patients with Autism are tested and treated for gastrointestinal imbalances.  There is no question that doing so generates positive results.  For more information on treating brain/biochemical disorders visit www.sicksyndrome.com. This site discusses the link between brain dysfunction and inflammation in the body, and ways to treat the condition using Naturopathic Medicine. One of the most significant ways to reduce inflammation in the brain is by testing for and treating digestive disturbances.

There is an old saying known in the Naturopathic Medical community that the gut is the second brain.  Modern research is now starting to validate this notion.

In health,

Dr. Gina

Pediatrics Looks at Gastrointestinal Disorders and Autism


January 4, 2010

Prepared by Rebecca Estepp

Two reports were released yesterday in the American Academy of Pediatrics medical journal, Pediatrics. Both articles focused on gastrointestinal disorders in individuals with autism. The first report entitled Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders in Individuals With ASDs: A Consensus Report is a review of available medical literature surrounding autism and gastrointestinal symptoms from a panel of experts.  These experts came to the following conclusions:

• Medical disorders, including gastrointestinal problems, occur commonly in individuals with ASDs, but because symptoms may be atypical these medical conditions may be undiagnosed.

• Individuals with ASDs whose families report gastrointestinal symptoms warrant a thorough gastrointestinal evaluation.

• The care of individuals who are non-verbal or have difficulties in communication or who display self-injurious or other problem behaviors present special challenges. Nevertheless, the approach to evaluation and diagnosis of possible underlying medical conditions, in particular gastrointestinal disorders, should be no different from the standards of care for persons without ASDs. (emphasis added)

• The communication impairments characteristic of ASDs may lead to unusual presentations of gastrointestinal disorders, including sleep disorders and problem behaviors.

• Management of co-occurring gastrointestinal problems in individuals with ASDs usually begins with the primary care provider and may eventually warrant multidisciplinary consultation.

• Anecdotal reports that restricted diets may ameliorate symptoms of ASDs in some children have not been supported or refuted in the scientific literature, but these data do not address the possibility that there exists a subgroup of individuals who may respond to such diets.

• Integrating behavioral and biomedical approaches can be advantageous in conceptualizing the role of pain as a setting event for problem behavior, facilitating diagnosis and addressing residual pain symptoms to enhance the quality of life.

The second report, Recommendations for Evaluation and Treatment of Common Gastrointestinal Problems in Children With ASDs. provides health care providers guidelines in treating abdominal pain, chronic constipation, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. This report recognizes that the expression of gastrointestinal disease can be diverse in individuals with ASDs. It also concludes that unusual behaviors can be a result of gastrointestinal disorders.

TACA views these two reports as giant leaps forward for treatment of gastrointestinal symptoms that cause unnecessary pain to many individuals with autism and their families. This landmark paper will pave the way for pediatricians across the country to start treating children suffering through different gastrointestinal maladies.  We sincerely hope this is the first step towards individuals with autism receiving the medical treatments they need and deserve.

About TACA

Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) provides information, resources, and support to families affected by autism. For families who have just received the autism diagnosis, TACA aims to speed up the cycle time from the autism diagnosis to effective treatments. TACA helps to strengthen the autism community by connecting families and the professionals who can help them, allowing them to share stories and information to help people with autism be the best they can be.


Mast Cells, Sickness Syndrome Implicated in Autism

December 22, 2008

stomach-internallyResearchers Theoharis Theoharides and colleagues from Tufts University have identified a link between mast cells (immune cells that cause allergic sneezing) and autism.  The researchers found that among 400 people with mastocytosis (excess mast cells in the body) the incidence of autism was five to seven times higher that the rate in the general population.

Interestingly, mast cells are found in significant quantities in the brain and in the gut, where they play a role in intestinal permeability and the blood brain barrier.

I have found in practice that the majority of patients facing autism, ADHD, depression, anxiety and schizophrenia have intestinal permeability and a hyper-response to foods that are not digested properly.  Sickness Syndrome is a condition that involves the immune system and links disorders in the gut with inflammation in the brain and mental health disorders.

There is an old saying that your gut is your second brain.  This new research paired with the newly identified Sickness Syndrome condition, brings new light to this saying.

When treating patients with autism, it becomes imperative to supply specific digestive enzymes, and an autism-specific nutritional protocol that works to repair the gastrointestinal tract, optimize the integrity of the blood brain barrier and reduce inflammation in the brain.  By doing so you invariably decrease mast cell production, which can lead to a relief of symptoms related to this hyper immune response.

The diagnosis of autism has increased to approximately one in every 180 people.  It is time that physicians treating autism begin to integrate the basic principles of Sickness Syndrome (connection between stress, digestion and inflammation in the brain) into our treatment protocols, to serve the best interests of children, adults and the families affected by this condition.

In health,

Dr. G


Talk About Curing Autism

October 6, 2008

I just returned from the Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) fund raising event hosted by Jenny McCarthy and Lance Armstrong. What a fabulous event. It was wonderful to see so many people bidding on auction items, gambling in the poker tournament, sharing stories with one another about their experiences with autism and seeing the hope they have for the future of children challenged with this condition.

The highlight of the evening was hearing Jenny McCarthy say that regardless of the disagreements about the safety of vaccines and the opinions about treatments for autism that she has been up against in the media lately, the things that Defeat Autism Now (DAN!) practitioners are using to treat these kids (she used more explicit language) works - bottom line!

In our brief conversation I mentioned that LTP Natural Medical Center has signed up to donate DAN! treatments for under-served children selected by her non-profit organization.  Graciously thanking me she commented that she sometimes feels like she’s in a Star Wars movie – fighting off the darkness and ushering in the light. As a doctor treating autism in my practice, I support what she is doing 100%. She is a doer, raising awareness and genuinely offering hope to families and children affected by autism.

Thank you TACA, Jenny McCarthy and Lance Armstrong for giving a voice to the children, families and doctors working hard to bring light to this condition.

In health,

Dr. Gina


Ante Up for Autism with Jenny McCarthy and Lance Armstrong

October 3, 2008

On Friday October 3rd,  I will be representing LTP Natural Medical Center at the Ante Up for Autism fund raising gala with Jenny McCarthy and Lance Armstrong. They are teaming up to raise funds for TACA (Talk About Curing Autism).

Researchers and physicians are making exciting breakthroughs in ways to help children and adults with autism overcome their health challenges.  This celebrity-filled fundraiser is sure to draw a large crowd and many donations that will support the advancement of innovative, individualized and effective care for people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

LTP Natural Medical Center in Laguna Beach, CA, where I treat patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder, is donating $4500 worth of goods and services to this event.

Stay tuned for the post-event blog!

In health,

Dr. Gina


Healthy Meals Equal Better Grades in School

August 28, 2008

One of the most important components to children functioning at their best in school and on the playground is proper nutrition.  The Washington Post just reported on this subject, offering valuable tips and resources  to ensure that your child gets the nutrition he/she needs. Children who eat healthy, satisfying dinners sleep better, and are more alert the following morning. And children who eat a balanced nourishing breakfast and lunch have better neurotransmitter activity and improved concentration during the day.  Supplementation is also an important option to consider in children who are not getting the nutrition their brain and body need, particularly if they are challenged with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Autism Spectrum Disorder.

In health,

-Dr. Gina


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