Homeopathy for vaccine damage
This is a very interesting piece on extreme adverse vaccine reactions and homeopathy. What role can Nutrition, BioAcoustics and Bioenergetics also play in responding to this problem?
HOMEOPATHY FOR VACCINE DAMAGE
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 07:45:03 -0800
From: karin schumacher <email@example.com>
Organization: vaccine information and awareness
To: via <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A classic from a vaccinator:
In his view, the danger lies not in the vaccines themselves but in their power to draw on an individual child’s inherent susceptibilities — susceptibilities that may not be evident at the time of vaccination. ‘The vaccines are pulling the trigger that fires the gun that is already loaded: he says
WHEN JABS GO WRONG
Vaccination is seen as a universal good, but some infants react extremely badly to it, regressing, suffering fits, or being diagnosed as autistic. Melanie McFadyean talks to the parents of children orthodox medicine has been unable to help but who have found some hope in homeopathy [Sunday Telegraph 12 March 2000]
The Queen, famously, is an adherent of homeopathy. So, too, are an increasing number of her subjects, many of whom subscribe (at least occasionally) to a system of medicine, established on the premise, ‘That which makes you sick shall heal’ — the principle laid down by Samuel Hahnemann, the late 18th-century physician and founder of homeopathy. Where once only a few doctors and pharmacists practiced homeopathy, the number of medically qualified practitioners has tripled in the past ten years. And, as the British Homeopathy Association (BHA) declares, the ‘phone never stops ringing with members of the public looking for information on homeopathic doctors and pharmacies’. (The BHA is one of homeopathy’s leading bodies and acts, as its literature puts it, as ‘the Citizen’s Advice Bureau of Homeopathy’.)
It’s a boom that is in tune with the times, and with the growing interest in holistic medicine and alternative treatments. Still, most people in this country would be surprised — perhaps even shocked — by the suggestion that homeopathy could not only help to ease the sufferings of children who have brain damage, but could also open up pathways to improvement that conventional medicine fails to find. Even some of those parents whose children appear to benefit from homeopathy remain cautious and skeptical for fear of raising false hopes.
Emma Wickham is seven years old but is almost as helpless as a baby. Her mother Joan, a former schoolteacher, sits beside her on the floor as Emma rocks, her thin legs folded beneath her in a rigid lotus position. Occasionally, Emma grunts. Her hand taps obsessively against her leg.
>From time to time she tries to crawl, gazing lopsidedly at her mother out of the corner of her eye. For someone who has never met Emma before, it’s heartbreaking to watch but, in fact, these are signs of progress. Until relatively recently, Emma was often motionless and mute, locked away within herself for hours — days — on end. She hasn’t always been like this. Joan goes through a handful of family snapshots, showing me pictures of a seemingly normal, healthy child. And then she stops at a picture of Emma, aged two and a half, at a friend’s birthday party.‘Look at her eyes,’ says Joan sadly. ‘Look at her eyes. Something has
gone — she had stopped smiling by then.’
Emma’s is a tragic history: when she was four and a half months old, and an apparently healthy baby, she had a massive febrile convulsion. She recovered, ‘but a month later began having seizures and was diagnosed as having epilepsy. After that, she had constant epileptic fits, and although physically Emma grew at a normal rate, emotionally and intellectually she gradually withdrew until Joan felt she had lost her child. Joan tells Emma’s story in a rhythmic, sing-song voice — as if her manner of speech soothes her. ‘Emma stopped responding,’ she says.‘She gave up playing with toys and fixated on things. She would grow agitated and walk around in circles saying her name. She lost the words she had, and ceased to understand what was being said to her. The fits were continuous. Then she stopped walking, and the last thing to go was purposeful hand use.’ (Joan, like other parents whose children have suffered long illnesses, has taken to using medical terminology) .
‘The doctors tried everything,’ she goes on. ‘Steroids — no effect; a special diet at Great Ormond Street — no improvement All we could do was maintain her on huge doses of anti-epilepsy drugs and diazepam [Valium], and still she had seizures every day — on a good day only two, on a bad day 20. At two and a half she was having prolonged seizures without respite and had to be admitted to hospital. She was in and out of hospital repeatedly in the first three years. The doctors have been marvelous — they couldn’t have been more caring. Without them and their medicines she would have died. But despite every effort to diagnose and treat her condition, she remains something of a medical mystery.
Others, of course, may offer theories as to the cause of Emma’s illness: after all, Emma’s first convulsion happened within hours of her third Diptheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTP) and Haemnophilus Influenza B (HIB) jabs. ‘The first convulsion was an adverse reaction to the pertussis,’ says Joan Wickham, ‘nobody has ever been in any doubt about that. But she was well for a long time after that. The convulsion may have triggered a congenital condition — it’s possible she may have an underlying abnormality of the brain. We’ll never know.
In this guarded approach, Joan and her husband Andrew, a primary school headmaster, differ from other parents whose stories are told in this article — and from the parents of 2,000 children who plan to sue some vaccine manufacturers. Joan and Andrew refuse to lay the blame for Emma’s illness on either the DTP vaccination or the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) jab Emma had at 13 months; she also suffered convulsions after this. And while the Wickhams’ two younger children have not had pertussis jabs, they are otherwise filly vaccinated.
Four years ago, Joan goes on to tell me, as Emma rocks and her two siblings tumble, the Wickhams needed an educational statement to obtain a special school place for Emma. In a report produced for that statement their consultant neurologist said that he was unable to do anything further to stop the regression of Emma’s skills or to enable her to relearn. Four long exhausting years followed for the Wickhams. Then, in November 1998, a garden designer called Maria Dallow came to visit Joan Wickham, who wanted her garden transformed into something that would stimulate Emma. Dallow, a New Zeajander in her forties, had known Emma five years before as a bright, seemingly normal child. Now she saw Emma ‘lying on the floor. It was as if she was dead.’ Dallow was profoundly shocked. Originally a biochemist, she is currently studying to be a homeopath at the Centre for Homeopathic Education in London, and she at once asked Joan if she had tried homeopathy. Joan had never even thought of it. Dallow offered to take Emma on under the supervision of her tutor, Ellen Kramer, the centre’s vice-principal. ‘I was anxious at first,’ says Joan, ‘because the doctors had always been wonderful and had saved Emma’s life on a number of occasions.’ But, having first sought Emma’s doctors’ approval, she decided to give homeopathy a try.
Dallow took a detailed history of everything that had happened to Emma, and has since then visited regularly, prescribing what she believes are appropriate remedies and charting the results. She is very excited by the changes she has seen. ‘Emma began to make eye contact, to squeak with excitement, to move. She would have whole days without fits, and the family had its first Christmas without a seizure. She began to immerse her hands in the bath and make flowing movements — before she had seemed terrified of water because she always had fits in the bath?
Joan, by contrast, shows less excitement when describing Emma’s condition. Even so, she has some remarkable advances to relate: ‘Last April a teacher rang from Emma’s school. She was crying, and she said it was the best day of her teaching life. They had been playing a game in the hydrotherapy pool and every time she said, “Ready, steady, go!” Emma had burst out laughing for the first time since her decline. And then, later that month, when Emma saw one of her consultants he said she was making progress — the word they’d always used previously was regress. And one day in the bath she was splashing and she said her name — it was the first time she’d said anything since she was two years old.’ Joan Wickham sums up, carefully and thoughtfully: ‘On her good days Emma bounces around, pats her legs and pats the floor repeatedly and rhythmically. She did all those things before the homeopathy, on a good day, but the amount of activity has increased 100 per cent and she now has more good days. It’s not what she’s doing that’s changed so much as how much she’s doing. As the seizures diminish Emma is slowly regaining skills, which suggests that her abilities may not be so much destroyed as buried. I know it’s a long slow process, but we can wait.’
Emma still has bad days and her parents are more cautious than Maria Dallow. Measuring his words carefully, Andrew Wickham says, ‘We may never know the root cause of Emma’s illness and equally nobody knows why she is improving. We have been told by a specialist that her extremely severe epilepsy could begin to get better spontaneously at her age and I’m skeptical about whether the treatments for the vaccine damage Maria thinks Emma has are having any effect. But I’m perfectly happy to acknowledge that since she has been having homeopathy she’s physically healthier, she’s more robust and the improvement in her general health has a positive impact on her seizure rate and therefore on her ability to learn. Her skin is clearer, she has fewer colds and it could very well be the effects of the homeopathy. I give her the homeopathic remedies every morning quite happily along with her conventional medicines. But I don’t want to suggest that homeopathy is the answer to every parent’s prayer.”
Andrew Wickham’s skepticism is obvious. But it’s tempered by his feeling that homeopathy is the least ‘way-out’ of the complementary medicines; he is also reassured, he says, by the fact ‘that it’s been going on a long while and there are even National Health homeopathic hospitals’.
GLASGOW HOMEOPATHIC HOSPITAL IS ONE of the five NHS homeopathic hospitals in Britain. Dr Bob Leckridge, 45, works there. A modest, humorous and approachable man, he was a GP for 15 years before starting to study homeopathy in the early Eighties, and he has some astonishing success stories to tell. Leckridge also runs a clinic in the Department of Developmental Neurology at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children, where he takes on patients at the invitation of the conventional doctors who can no longer help them: children with all kinds of brain damage —epilepsy, sleep disorders, hyperactivity and conditions not unlike Emma Wickham’s. ‘Their doctors have gone as far as they can with treatment and I’m finding that homeopathy works,’ says Leckridge.
Byway of an example, he tells the story of an 11-year-old child who was paralyzed, mute, wheelchair-bound and fed through a nasogastric tube. Conventional medicine could do nothing more for her. Leckridge established that the condition had set in after three massive shocks —
her grandmother had had a stroke in front of her, her cat had died, and she had fallen from a tree. (The cat’s death and the witnessing of the stroke are taken is seriously in homeopathic treatment as the fall from the tree.) Leckridge had her back on her feet, eating and communicating within a matter of six weeks.
He cites another case, the details of which he has published in the journal A1ternative Therapies: that of a 16-week-old girl who contracted severe meningitis. She became so ill that gangrene set into her right hand and foot and she lost several toes and fingers. She was on a life support machine in intensive care, and when she was discharged four months later she could no longer see. For the next four years she was cared for by the Department of Developmental Neurology. Despite having a large and experienced team of specialists .on her case, the girl was in continual distress; she was always seriously constipated, didn’t eat, shrieked day and night and could be comforted only by her mother. By the time she got to Leckridge, she had stopped speaking. After just a month of Leckridge’s homeopathic treatment, the child no longer had constipation. She was sleeping, and showed signs of happiness for the first time in her parents’ memory. Six months on, was laughing and responding to people. Her over-joyed mother says, ‘She’s a different girl. It’s like night and day — Bob has worked a miracle.’ She has not, however, regained her sight.
Leckridge has the benefit of credibility in both the conventional medical and the homeopathic worlds. But many homeopaths say that while some medical doctors refer patients on to them, others regard homeopaths as at best ineffective, and at worst dangerous. When the notion of using homeopathy to treat alleged vaccine damage is added to the mix, homeopaths encounter even greater scepticism. (Leckridge, too, is more cautious than many homeopaths: ‘Of course,’ he says, ‘any trauma is taken into account when trying to work out what is wrong with someone, and if a child had a severe reaction to immunization that would be included in one’s understanding of what was going on. But it’s a very controversial area. In my opinion, it’s difficult to prove cause and effect in many situations, not just this one — for example, smoking and lung disease, or heart disease and a high fat diet.’) It doesn’t help the homeopaths’ case that there are as yet no studies on homeopathic treatment of alleged vaccine damage; however, the British Society of Homeopaths’ Vaccination Working Group is collecting data on vaccine reactions both here and in Europe and will be presenting a report to the European Parliament in 2004. There is, none the less, already a great deal of anecdotal evidence of homeopathic success in this area, both in this country and elsewhere.
JULIE BAUCHS CASE IS ONE SUCH SUCCESS STORY. She believes her two sons, Aaron and Nathan, both of whom have been diagnosed as autistic, were damaged by the MMR vaccine. Aaron, now eight, had his MMR vaccine at the age of one and reacted a week later. ‘From being a normal, bright one-year—old, he developed a confused look in his eye and became listless. He didn’t eat or drink amid then got what seemed like encephalitis or meningitis and was repeatedly sick,’ says Julie. By the time Aaron was about 16 months old, Julie knew something was seriously wrong. Aaron would have terrible tantrums; he was agonizingly constipated and would eat very little; he was hyperactive and had drifted away into a world of his own. Her GP could offer no diagnosis or treatment. ‘I didn’t connect what had happened with the vaccination until the same things happened with my second son Nathan [now six] after
he had the jabs,’ says Julie, the strain she has suffered all too evident in her voice.
When the boys were diagnosed as autistic by educational psychiatric services, Julie arranged for a consultation with Dr Andrew Wakefield at the Royal Free Hospital in London. She had read some of the research Wakefield and others at the Royal Free are conducting into the possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism in children. Wakefield was, she told me, the first to make a possible connection between her sons’ autism, the MMR jab and their bowel condition. He treated them with an anti-inflammatory drug which helped both with their constipation and to calm them down. I thought this was great because until then all I’d been offered for them was laxatives. But then I saw a homeopath called Dr Gordon Flint, and I have to say that what he’s achieved is near miraculous?
It is two years since Julie Baugh first visited Dr Flint. ‘Since he’s been treating the boys, Aaron’s tantrums have stopped. He was totally uncontrollable before, and hyperactive — both boys were. While Nathan hasn’t progressed nearly as much as Aaron he no longer has tantrums and
isn’t afraid of people any more. Both boys were agonizingly constipated and that has gone now. They lost all the words they had but Aaron now uses quite long sentences. Nathan is trying to say things but mostly gurgles like a baby. Both of them were in their own worlds, and both have now emerged into fill consciousness. Aaron is learning to read and write at a school for children with moderate learning difficulties. Before I couldn’t comfort Nathan, now I can.’
Dr Flint, the man who treated Julie Baugh’s children, was for 20 years a GP in the NHS; he is now a Psionic Medical Practitioner, using a discipline that tries to build a bridge between orthodox medicine and the teachings of classical homeopathy. In his view, the danger lies not in the vaccines themselves but in their power to draw on an individual child’s inherent susceptibilities — susceptibilities that may not be evident at the time of vaccination. ‘The vaccines are pulling tile trigger that fires the gun that is already loaded: he says. Flint’s theory is shared by Jane Maroney El-Dahr, Head of the Paediatric Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology Section at Tulane Hospital for Children in New Orleans, Louisiana. El-Dahr is not against immunization but has reservations about the age at which vaccinations, particularly the MMR, are administered. (in the UK, children receive their first MMR jab at 12 to 15 months.)
I have been very vocal about MMR,’ El-Dahr says. ‘My perception as an immunologist in the US is that MMR is usually given at 12 months and the problem with giving live viral vaccines is that such young children might have subtle immune problems which have not yet become evident; they have been protected from infections by maternal antibody until this age. It’s too soon to tell if the more subtly immune-disordered children can deal with a three—virus jab at that age?
The question of how many children are, allegedly, adversely affected by vaccination is extremely contentious. Since the’ MMR was introduced in 1988, about 3,000 suspected adverse reactions — out of many millions of vaccinations — have been reported to the Medicine. Control Agency, a government body. JABS, a British support group for parents who believe their children have been damaged by vaccination, has 1,800 children on its database, with new names being added regularly. Since the group was started in 1994, 27 children have died.
For the families involved, the results of alleged vaccine damage are, of course, potentially tragic. Nevertheless, mass immunization is generally considered to be a global necessity. The issue is so emotive that lawyers preparing cases on vaccine damage have been accused of being ‘ambulance chasers’ and ‘fanatically anti—vaccine’. What causes the devastating conditions suffered by some children is one thing; whether homeopathy can help them is another. Again, the case is not proven, but there has certainly been hope and healing in some instances. ‘You give a remedy that stimulates the body to heal itself: says Ellen Kramer, a London homeopath. ‘Nobody actually knows how it works, only that it does, like a lot of conventional medicine. Homeopaths are like detectives, finding the root cause and supporting the body as it goes through the process of healing itself.’
JEAN SMITH CERTAINLY HOPES THAT HER SON PETER’S body is beginning to heal itself. And both she and her husband are as convinced that their son was damaged by vaccine as they are of the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment. Peter was bright and talkative until he was 18 months old — the age at which he had an MMR jab. Ten days later he came out in a rash and ran a high fever. ‘I took him to the doctor,’ says Jean, ‘who said a lot of children react to MMR like that and it was nothing to worry about. Sadly he was wrong. The rash and the fever went but we lost the little boy we had before. There was no eye contact, no speech. He had the physical attributes of an 18-month-old but no comprehension. It happened overnight’. Jean’s GP told her that Peter had regressed because of the fever, which he said wasn’t uncommon. ‘But as time went on and Peter didn’t get better they said maybe he was autistic, and that autism often develops at that age. When he was two he was assessed by a paediatrician who said he might never improve. There was nothing they could suggest except psychiatry to help us deal with it.
Jean feared that her child would never emerge from his hyperactive wordless solipsism. ‘Even a year ago: she says, ’I couldn’t have had a conversation with him —he’d have run off and I’d have had to go after him.’ As she talks, Peter chatters and potters like any five-year-old; he is very affectionate and settles on Jean’s knee. Unless you watched carefully, you might not notice that his powers of concentration and comprehension are still askew.
Three years ago, when Jean took Peter to Doy Dalling, a homeopath based in south—west London, he was ‘ricocheting off the walls, totally uncontrollable. She asked me what had made him this way and I said I thought it was the MMR vaccine.’ Dalling promptly started to administer homeopathic remedies and progress was evident almost at once. Jean took Peter to see Dalling every six weeks, and the young boy continued to make progress. We saw small changes almost immediately and within a few months he began to get words back and to make eye contact. Every time his remedy was changed he would get worse briefly before he got better. He used to be aggressive to other children. At one point Day gave him a remedy for aggression and for five days he was unbelievably bad, knocking children over at nursery. And then it suddenly stopped! He started trying to play alongside other children rather than disrupting them. I was overcome.
But not as overcome as she would be a year later. What happened then was what every parent of a child who suffers as Emma, Aaron, Nathan and Peter have suffered, yearns for. ‘To our amazement: says Jean Smith, the wonder still present in her voice, ‘Peter started talking about things that had happened years before: “When I was at nursery:’ he’d say, “I punched X and he fell and hit his head on the train.” It was amazing. Gradually his reasoning returned, and he could learn what was right and wrong. He’s not there yet — he has to relearn everything, and nothing comes naturally. But we feel we have got our little boy back.’
Some of the names in this article have been changed.
For further information, please contact the following organizations:
JABS, 1 Gawsworth Road, Golborne, Warringlon WA3 3RF (01942 713565);
The Informed Parent, P0 Box 870, Harrow, Middlesex I-1A3 7UW (020-8861
The Society of Homeopaths, 2Artizan Road, Northampton NNI 4HU
Faculty of Homeopathy (‘all members are also conventional GPs), 13 Clerkenu’ell Close, Lo,,dou ECIR OAA (020-7566 7800);
British Homeopathic Association, 27a Devonshire Street, London
WiN IRJ (020-7935 2163)