Vasculitis and Vaccines: A Parent’s Primer

By NORMA ERICKSON | SANEVAX | OCTOBER 15, 2012

What is vasculitis?

Vasculitis is considered a rare group of disorders caused by inflammation of blood vessels. It is a condition which is easy to miss, or misdiagnose, because inflammation of blood vessels is capable of causing a wide range of symptoms which can be vague, generalized and/or non-specific depending upon whether veins or arteries are affected, where these blood vessels are located, how wide-spread the inflammation is, and the degree to which the blood flow is restricted in the affected area.[1] [2]

How vasculitis presents itself depends upon which tissues, organs or systems are affected, and to which degree they are affected by the impaired blood flow resulting from inflammation.

For example:

  • CNS (central nervous system) vasculitis[3] may cause headaches, confusion, changes in personality, seizures, vision problems, tingling, loss of feeling, weakness, paralysis or other neurological problems including permanent disability.
  • Churg-Strauss vasculitis[4] can have symptoms similar to asthma because of lung involvement. Can include shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, and coughing up blood.
  • Henoch-Schönlein purpura[5] can present as small raised purple areas under the skin (purpura) due to hemorrhage, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, or blood in the urine (hematuria) because of its systemic involvement.
  • Temporal arteritis[6] can cause headache and tender thick blood vessels on the side of the forehead. Can also cause fatigue, loss of appetite (then weight), fever, heavy sweating, fever, joint and muscle pain.
  • Cutaneous vasculitis[7] may cause petechiae (small red dots), purpura, urticaria (hives), bruising, or ulcers of the skin.

The symptoms listed above are by no means an exhaustive list, but it does give you some idea of the various possible manifestations and how easily vasculitis can be mistaken for a multitude of other disorders.

What does vasculitis have to do with vaccines?

If you do a simple Google search for ‘vasculitis and vaccines,’ you will see over 500,000 results. Consider the following quotes from a few of the scientific articles referenced:

  • “A      14-year-old boy who had no relevant previous history and who was not      taking any drugs presented with a livedo reticularis (mottling of the      skin), fever, loss of weight, testicular pain, and paresthesias two months      after receiving the third dose of a hepatitis B vaccination. Inflammatory      parameters (ESR and CRP) were high. The patient met the ACR diagnostic      criteria for polyarteritis nodosa.”[8]      [9]
  • “Here      we describe 4 cases of new onset or relapsing antineutrophil cytoplasmic      antibodies associated vasculitis occurring in timely association with      influenza vaccination. In the literature different subtypes of vasculitis      have been repeatedly reported after influenza vaccination.”[10]
  • “…anecdotal      cases continue to be reported of autoimmune phenomena following influenza      vaccination, including SLE, RA, pericarditis and various forms of      vasculitis.”[11]
  • “Giant      cell arteritis (GCA) and polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) are inflammatory      rheumatic diseases common in people over the age of 50 years. Herein, we      report 10 cases of previously healthy subjects who developed GCA/PMR      within 3 months of influenza vaccination (Inf-V). A Medline search      uncovered additional 11 isolated cases of GCA/PMR occurring after Inf-V.”[12]
  • “We      describe here a case of Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP) that occurred 10      days after administration of the meningococcal      polysaccharide vaccine and came to the attention of      a Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) investigator (but did not occur      in the VSD cohort). Periodic case reports have      linked vaccines to HSP.”[13]
  • “The      aim of this study was to characterize the adverse events of attenuated      measles vaccine in mainland China. …28 cases of Henoch-Schonlein      purpura (HSP) were reported.”[14]
  • “We      report the original case of cutaneous periarteritis nodosa that occurred      one month following vaccination against hepatitis B.”[15]
  • “We      report a case of biopsy proven vasculitis, presenting as mononeuritis      multiplex, following influenza vaccination. The clinical picture evolved      rapidly into a syndrome indistinguishable from axonal Guillain-Barré      syndrome. This suggests a differential diagnosis for post-vaccination      neuropathy, with implications for management. We believe this is the first      report in which there was an associated peripheral neuropathy at      presentation. It raises issues about the aetiology and pathogenesis of      vaccination associated neuropathy.”[16]

It is important to note that none of these studies have identified a direct causal relationship between the vaccine administered and the outcomes observed. Each one, however, exhibits a strong temporal association between the vaccine and the outcome. This means that the observed adverse events occurred within a time-frame where it is reasonable to consider the event was potentially caused by the vaccine.

In general, disorders caused by vasculitis are serious and need to be evaluated promptly. The problem is they may be difficult (even for doctors) to recognize because of the significant overlap of signs and symptoms with other more common conditions.

According to Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld:[17] [18]

“Vaccination can have adverse autoimmune effects and may even trigger full-blown autoimmune disorders. At the moment, it is not possible to identify who is most prone to develop these side effects or disorders after immunization. Further research is needed to identify these individuals.”

The SaneVax Team could not agree more. More research does need to be done in the area of vaccine injuries – who is susceptible and why?

What do parents do while waiting for the research? 

Every time someone in your family receives a vaccination, have the person administering the vaccine record the name of the vaccine, the lot number and the expiration date. Keep a copy for your records.

Keep a journal of every new medical condition experienced after vaccination. Do not worry about whether or not you think it may be related to the vaccination – that is up to the experts to try and determine. The point is your written record may prove invaluable should you or your child actually be the victim of an adverse reaction to a vaccine.

Talk to your doctor if you suspect vasculitis or any other adverse reaction. Keep in mind that since adverse reactions to vaccines are considered rare, most physicians are not trained to recognize them. You may have to back up any concerns with your own research. Should you need to do this, stick to published scientific articles and studies. Medical professionals will not consider other sources credible.

If you and your doctor disagree, consider obtaining a second opinion. You have every right to do so.

Learn how vasculitis is typically diagnosed:

In general, disorders caused by vasculitis are serious and need to be evaluated promptly. The problem is they may be difficult for even doctors to recognize because of the significant overlap of signs and symptoms with other more commonly encountered disorders.

The diagnosis of any type of vasculitis involves tests to demonstrate the presence of a strong inflammatory process. Tests which reveal inflammation throughout the body include erythrocyte sedimentation rate, blood tests to reveal anemia/increased white blood cells, or tests to demonstrate the presence of immune complexes and/or antibodies circulating in the blood. An x-ray procedure called angiography can sometimes be used or biopsies taken from affected organs to demonstrate inflammation.[19]


“Science” explains new “Facebook Depression”

KGW
May 26, 2011

Doctors say what may seem fun and innocent may actually be leading teens into what’s being termed “Facebook Depression.”

If you’re a teenager you’re most likely on a social networking site like “Facebook.” For most it’s a fun, easy way to keep in touch and find out what’s going on with friends. But new research shows a growing number of youngsters who obsess over the on-line sites may be headed down a troubled path.

The American Academy of Pediatrics warns of a new problem called “Facebook Depression.” It results from being bombarded with friends tallies, status updates, and photos of people happy, having the time of their lives, when you are not.

“If I’m just like sad or something and just kind of chillin’ at home and I see pictures of people having a party I’m like oh that’s awesome… like I’m not there… that’s kind of depressing,” explained high school student Elizabeth Kisch.  But Kisch also says she doesn’t take Facebook too seriously.

“It’s very easy to compare yourself to others when you just see what they show in their Facebook page which may or may not match reality,” explained Dr. Ken Ensroth, a child and adolescent psychiatrist.

Ensroth doesn’t believe that social networking sites alone cause depression but says if a child already has a fragile self-esteem they can further damage it. That’s because, for some, the sites can be perceived as a popularity contest.

“There’s a real emphasis in some aspects of it… status… there’s even a category… your status,” said Ensroth.

But he also points out much of what is posted on the sites isn’t reality.  The problem, he says, for some the social networking world becomes their reality.

So how do parents know if their child is slipping into a “Facebook Depression.” Dr. Ensroth says parents need to talk to their children, ask questions, and look for signs they’re not happy.

“Stomach aches, lot of headaches… I’m sick I don’t want to go to school… low energy… fatigue… trouble sleeping,” he explained.

Because while for most teens social networking is a positive experience, for others it can become a tangled troubled web.

Dr. Ensroth points out there are a lot of positive aspects of Facebook and other social networking sites. For one the sites can bring kids together and give them a place to share and make connections. They can also helps kids feel included when they may not otherwise feel that way.

Read the AAP report here.

The Perfume Industry’s stinky reality

GreenBiz

Britney Spears lends her name to a perfume called Britney Spears Curious Eau de Parfum. But if you are curious about what goes intonot so sexy Britney’s eau, don’t ask Elizabeth Arden, the cosmetics giant that makes the fragrance.

Sure, some ingredients are identified on the label. They include Alpha Iso Methyl Ionone, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Cital, Citronellol, Diethyl Phthalate, Eugenol, Farnesol, Galazolide, Hydroxycitonelle, Limonene and Linalool.

But another 17 chemicals are not listed, and they could be bad for your health, according to two advocacy groups, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group.

It’s no wonder the marketing for the perfume asks: Do you dare?

This week, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics published a report called “Not So Sexy: The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrances.” The report included the results of laboratory tests performed on 17 name-brand fragrance products revealing that, as a group, they contained 38 so-called secret chemicals. The average product contained 14 chemicals not listed on the label.

Products tested include Hannah Montana Secret Celebrity Cologne Spray (yes, it’s really called that), Jennifer Lopez J. Lo Glow Eau de Toilette Natural Spray, Halle by Halle Berry Eau de Parfum Spray, Coco Mademoiselle Chanel, Calvin Klein Eternity, Abercrombie & Fitch Fierce, American Eagle Seventy Seven, Clinique Happy Perfume Spray, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue and Old Spice After Hours Body Spray.

The report says of the chemicals:

Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products.  Also in the ranks of undisclosed ingredients are chemicals with troubling hazardous properties or with a propensity to accumulate in human tissues.

Consumers can’t count on the government to protect them from potential hazards, according to the report:

A review of government records shows that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not assessed the vast majority of these secret fragrance chemicals for safety when used in spray-on personal care products such as fragrances. Nor have most been evaluated by the safety review panel of the International Fragrance Association or any other publicly accountable institution.

Now, as the headline on this blog post not-so-subtly indicates, the fact that perfume companies won’t disclose their ingredients is an unfortunate thing. But is it a reason for alarm? I’m not qualified to judge. Keep in mind that advocacy groups, like the industries they target, have an agenda, which is about getting attention and raising money.

And while the 44-page report is laced with references to scientific studies, the science of measuring the effect of tiny amounts of chemicals on human health is both uncertain and controversial. See, as an example, the recent report by the President’s Cancer Panel which warned of the threats from chemicals in the air, water and food, and the reaction it provoked from, among others, the American Cancer Society. Teasing out cause and effect is just incredibly hard to do.

Having said that, why anyone would choose to smear these chemicals on their face or body is a mystery to me.

Why, as a consumer, would you take any risk, when the allergic effects associated with fragrance products, according to the report, include “headaches, chest tightness and wheezing, infant diarrhea and vomiting, mucosal irritation, reduced pulmonary function, asthma and asthmatic exacerbation, rhinitis and airway irritation, sense organ irritation and contact dermatitis?”

And why as a company would you subject your customers to risk? Here’s how crazy the confusion over chemicals has become: Several perfumes tested including a chemical called diethyl phthalate (DEP), which S.C. Johnson, the forward-thinking maker of Windex, Shout and Glade, agreed last year to phase out because of consumer concerns, while saying the chemical is safe.

More…

Compact Fluorescent Threats

Few People Know the Dirty Secret Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Keep

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
May 5, 2010

For many people, fluorescent light bulbs -those swirly compact wonders that everyone keeps pushing on you- are instruments foCFLr saving energy and money on the light bill every month. But for many users of those bulbs the results after exposing themselves to the bright light, has gone beyond what they expected. Instead of providing light to read a book or take on a chore at home, fluorescent light bulbs are the perpetrators of massive burns, irritation and skin rashes. These skin conditions have appeared after just 10 to 20-minute exposures to the bulbs’ radiation.

Besides the rashes and irritation, victims of the bulbs also blame them for headaches, lack of concentration, dizziness, and a general state of discomfort. The irritation varies in severity from person to person and it can appear in different places on the skin; from the arms to the legs, ears, neck and hands. Those who have experienced the consequences of the emissions from the bulbs concur that after they removed them from their homes, all the afflictions went away in a matter of days, or even hours.

A recent investigation carried out by a television news program called 16:9, brought out an unknown fact. The compact fluorescent bulbs emit ultraviolet radiation. That’s right, the same radiation found in solar rays. Scientists and consumer product protection agencies like Health Canada, studied the bulbs and discovered they are not sold with prismatic diffusers to filter the UV radiation that comes out of them. This is thought to be the cause of the rashes and other affections that the bulbs cause, especially on people with skin diseases.

The questions raised after realizing the bulbs give out UV radiation are how much of it do they emit, and could it be harmful enough to cause cancer? These two questions have not been answered by the agencies that are supposed to oversee consumer safety in North America, therefore there isn’t an official position. What there is, is a growing number of consumers who were mildly and severely ‘burned’ by the radiation that comes out of the bulbs. How did people come to this conclusion? Most of them had blood tests performed on them to rule out any kind of blood disease or skin condition, and in all cases the tests came out negative.

After months without any answers from the consumer protection agencies, the program 16:9 traveled to London, England, where government scientists studied the bulbs and reached the results everyone who uses the fluorescent bulbs is afraid to hear. Scientists found that from a random sample of bulbs, one of every five emitted high levels of UV radiation. The conclusion is that the mercury contained in the bulbs, which is needed for them to operate, is what creates the ultraviolet radiation blamed for the headaches, rashes and stains of people’s skin.

While fluorescent light bulbs are more and more common in every household, countries like Canada will ban the traditional incandescent ones by 2012, which will limit the options consumers have to illuminate their homes and offices. Andrew Lankfort, the head of a non-governmental consumer oriented agency in the United Kingdom, affirms that most studies have agreed that the bulbs’ radiation are the origin of blisters and irritation that people have experienced. Whether this radiation causes skin cancer or not, he says, “only time will tell”.

Despite the multiple complaints from consumers, no country has approved legislation that mandates the bulbs have a warning on their labels about the possibility of radiation originated skin conditions as well as headaches and dizziness. In the meantime, countries like Canada and the United Kingdom have made available compact fluorescent bulbs which are covered with a diffuser to limit the exposure to the UV radiation. Dermatologist Cheryl Rosen says that she recommends to her patients to reduce the distance and time of exposure to the bulbs and traditional fluorescent tubes that are used in office buildings. After being questioned by the production of the program 16:9, the three major producers of compact fluorescent bulbs -Phillips, Silvannia and General Electric- only commented that their bulbs meet industry standards and only Phillips admitted to be performing tests on the bulbs in order to determine their safety. A major concern for consumers is that there aren’t guidelines established by the governments when it comes to UV radiation safety, so even if the bulbs were harmful, the companies would not be braking any law.

But the findings reported by the program 16:9 did not end there. How about electromagnetic pollution? Yes, that is what makes the compact fluorescent bulbs even worse that previously thought. Studies by Dr. Magda Habbis a professional in electromagnetic energy, find that these bulbs emit almost ten times more electromagnetic waves than what is considered safe and normal. While and incandescent bulb shows 27 on the radio frequency meter, the compact one reaches 580. Electromagnetic pollution is that which comes from cellular phones, high tension electric wires, wireless Internet signals and other technology shown to cause electric imbalances in the human body. The high levels of electromagnetic energy emitted by the compact bulbs has earned a new name: ‘dirty energy’. One case is that of Larry Newman; Dr. Larry Newman, a neurologist at the Headache Institute of New York, who has suffered the consequences of ‘dirty energy’. Dr. Newman has seen the number of patients complaints over compact fluorescents increase alarmingly. “There is something about those bulbs that trigger my headaches,” Newman says. More and more of his patients are going back to the good old incandescent light bulbs.

Dr. Christine Lay, also a neurologist, has patients who changed all their compact fluorescent bulbs for the incandescent ones and experienced relief almost immediately. She says it will take action from consumers to obligate the makers of the bulbs investigate the consequences of continuous exposure to the bulbs and the possible links to skin conditions and even skin cancer. Kevin Burn, a former victim of the bulbs left his job and began testing his neighbors’ bulbs for electrical pollution. Mr. Burn says before changing the bulbs in his house, the pain was as bad as having arthritis. Some of his tests revealed that some bulbs emit up to 1000 volts and that energy, he says, goes right through people’s bodies. The closer one is to the bulb, the greater the exposure. Since the bulbs contain mercury, a well known neuro-toxine, those who intend to change their compact fluorescent bulbs must be careful not to break them and inhale the vapors contained in the bulb. Once taken from the sockets, they need to be taken to especial recycling facilities where proper disposal is done.

So what is a person to do if the industry bans the incandescent bulbs? There is another option in the market: LED, or Light Emitting Diods. These bulbs record safe energy emission levels and so far no complaints from users. Furthermore, they are even more efficient than the compact fluorescent bulbs.

Just as the compact bulbs, the LED ones are making a slow but sure appearance into the market, and although there are not available everywhere, it is expected consumers will bring them into the main stream just as they did with CFL’s.

Sources:

http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=26990
http://www.residentiallighting.com/Can-sitting-too-close-to-a-CFL-cause-a-rash-article10833
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/advisories-avis/_2004/2004_68-eng.php
http://www.popularmechanics.com/blogs/home_journal_news/4217864.html
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/cheryl-rosen/5/894/a2
http://www.healthzone.ca/health/article/575275
http://www.consumerhealth.org/articles/display.cfm?ID=19990303163909
http://www.wehealny.org/headache/staff.html
http://www.wehealny.org/headache/about.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-emitting_diode

Nine Ingredients You Don’t Want to Ingest

A hot dog is just a hot dog, Doritos are just snacks, a Pepsi is just a drink.  Think again.

There are dozens or perhaps hundreds of ingredients in the food we buy and prepare which after many years of consumption can deliver us to the worst time of our life.  Although the human body is very resistant to infection, viruses and disease, the acquisition and accumulation of certain artificially produced ingredients through say 10 or 2o years is sure to make us sick.

In his book, “GET REAL” and STOP Dieting! author Brett Blumenthal warns about those hidden ingredients that may or may not be included in food labels.  Here are 9 of the most dangerous ingredients, why they are used and what health consequences you may expect from consuming them.


Ingredient Why it is Used Why it is Bad
Artificial Colors
  • Chemical compounds made from coal-tar derivatives to enhance color.
  • Linked to allergic reactions, fatigue, asthma, skin rashes, hyperactivity and headaches.
Artificial Flavorings
  • Cheap chemical mixtures that mimic natural flavors.
  • Linked to allergic reactions, dermatitis, eczema, hyperactivity and asthma
  • Can affect enzymes, RNA and thyroid.
Artificial Sweeteners
(Acesulfame-K, Aspartame, Equal®, NutraSweet®,  Saccharin, Sweet’n Low®, Sucralose, Splenda® & Sorbitol)
  • Highly-processed, chemically-derived, zero-calorie sweeteners found in diet foods and diet products to reduce calories per serving.
  • Can negatively impact metabolism
  • Some have been linked to cancer, dizziness hallucinations and headaches.
Benzoate Preservatives(BHT, BHA, TBHQ)
  • Compounds that preserve fats and prevent them from becoming rancid.
  • May result in hyperactivity, angiodema,  asthma, rhinitis, dermatitis, tumors and  urticaria
  • Can affect estrogen balance and levels.
Brominated Vegetable Oil(BVO)
  • Chemical that boosts flavor in many citric-based fruit and soft drinks.
  • Increases triglycerides and cholesterol
  • Can damage liver, testicles, thyroid, heart and kidneys.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
(HFCS)
  • Cheap alternative to cane and beet sugar
  • Sustains freshness in baked goods
  • Blends easily in beverages to maintain sweetness.
  • May predispose the body to turn fructose into fat
  • Increases risk for Type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer
  • Isn’t easily metabolized by the liver.
MSG(Monosodium Glutamate)
  • Flavor enhancer in restaurant food, salad dressing, chips, frozen entrees, soups and other foods.
  • May stimulate appetite and cause headaches, nausea, weakness, wheezing, edema, change in heart rate, burning sensations and difficulty in breathing.
Olestra
  • An indigestible fat substitute used primarily in foods that are fried and baked.
  • Inhibits absorption of some nutrients
  • Linked to gastrointestinal disease, diarrhea, gas, cramps, bleeding and incontinence.
Shortening, Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils
(Palm, Soybean and others)
  • Industrially created fats used in more than 40,000 food products in the U.S.
  • Cheaper than most other oils.
  • Contain high levels of trans fats, which raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol, contributing to risk of heart disease.