Posts Tagged ‘autism’

Birthing & Vaccines: Are We *REALLY* Independent?

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

Birthing & Vaccines: Are We *REALLY* Independent? | Marcy Axness, PhD

Anyone with a pulse and a Facebook feed knows that America is a country painfully divided — about our leadership, our economy, our values and place in the world. We’re also deeply divided over our beliefs about how to birth, raise, and educate our children… and keep them healthy in the process. Believe me, aside from the current political situation, few topics generate more polarization at a friendly backyard barbecue than epidural risks or mandated vaccines.

I don’t mean to be a buzz-kill, truly I don’t. It’s just that I made this pact with myself, on behalf of the wellbeing of mothers and babies: I decided several years ago to run a not-so-celebratory, sobering article every year on America’s birthday, as long as our country continues to show up so poorly in world rankings on maternal health.

(Settle in, grab a cuppa, this is not a breezy, 3-minute listicle. It’s important, historic, and deserves all the words it takes.)

Vaccination Nation?

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The Childbirth – Autism – Erection Connection

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

LaborPool

Today has been World Autism Awareness Day, and Kim Stagliano despises it. The mother of three autistic daughters, she finds the “feel-good frippery” and air of festivity around the globe — with the rallies, events, balloons, and everything in blue (even the Eiffel Tower) — suggests a party rather than a crisis.

Good intentions aren’t in question: Autism Speaks talks about World Autism Awareness Day as an event that “celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with autism.” Yet Stagliano bristles at the jovial tone of April (Autism Awareness Month), and the suggestion that “the circumstances of my daughters’ existences are to be celebrated. For me, this should be a month of solemn acknowledgement and education about a global crisis.”

Stagliano points out the sharp rise in autism over the past decade, and notes MIT scientist Stephanie Seneff’s prediction that by 2025, half of all children will be born with autism.

{Finish reading this post at mothering.com}

 

Image:
theogeo through a Creative Commons license

Mental Health Begins in the Womb

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Gone are the days when we could consider pregnancy a 9-month “grace period” before the job of parenting begins. Mounting research tells us that lifelong wellbeing, including mental health, begins in the womb, and everything parents do – beginning even before conception — shapes their children in critical, life-altering ways.

I began 2013 by writing about the power of beginnings. In 2014 I invite us to recognize that this applies to virtually everything, from baking a pie to building a company to developing a human: the beginning contains within it the seeds of the project’s ultimate success…or less-than-success. {Read more at naturalbabypros.com}

The Childbirth – Autism – Erection Connection

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

OdentLast fall I sat riveted in a Honolulu conference room, listening as obstetrician and primal health researcher Michel Odent declared that women are losing the capacity to give birth. Odent makes the compelling case that this is happening thanks to the systematic (yet unconscious) disuse — and thus, atrophy — of our human oxytocin system over the past few decades. He draws stunning parallels between the decline in physiologically normal births, the increase in autism and (forgive the pun) the rise in male erectile dysfunction. Those all rely on the same system: without oxytocin there is no physiologically normal birth, no human empathy, and no intercourse!

Over many years Dr. Odent has applied a revealing lens on a range of mental health issues: zeroing in on a central feature of conditions such as autism, criminality, suicide, he has cast it rather lyrically as “an impaired capacity to love.” When he used this novel perspective from which to survey a broad spectrum of supposedly unrelated research–on juvenile violent criminality, teen suicide, autism, anorexia, obesity and more–he found something striking: “[W]hen researchers explored the background of people who have expressed some sort of impaired capacity to love–either love of oneself or love of others–they always detected risk factors in the period surrounding birth.”

I spotlighted a few of Odent’s perspectives in my report on the new findings on the connection between induced labor and autism risk. This week it so happens that I’m working on a textbook chapter on “Pre- and Perinatal Influences on Female Mental Health,” and here again, Dr. Odent’s prescient insights emerge as key points. Here’s one example (and sorry — please excuse the textbook-y language!):

Given the gender gap of depression and the fact that twice as many women as men suffer from major clinical depression–one woman in eight experiences at least episode in her lifetime–it is relevant to include Odent’s observation that the rate of college students reporting they’ve been diagnosed with depression has risen from 10% to 21% in just eleven years! Acknowledging the complex causal tapestry involved in depression, he urges us to consider that in that same decade, 2000-2011, “it was a time when the number of women who were able to give birth to their baby and to the placenta thanks only to the release of their natural hormones dramatically decreased.” He reminds us that depression is related to how stress-axis “set points” are established in the pre- and perinatal period, pointing out the myriad brain areas showing altered activity in depressed subjects that have an important phase of development and “set point” adjustment during the period surrounding birth.

An Audience with Michel Odent

I was privileged to have the opportunity to be one of a small number of people at that breakout session of Michel Odent’s Mid-Pacific Conference on Birth & Primal Health Research. Now, thanks to the recent release of his important book Birth and the Future of Homo Sapiens…and the fact that his London book launch event was videoed…you have the opportunity to listen firsthand to this visionary thinker talk about these oh-so-important topics!  Provided you can understand him (the author of this excellent UK Telegraph article writes that Odent’s French accent is “as thick as a ripe Brie”), it is a master class in visionary thinking about the future of humanity.

OdentBookLaunch

Odent cautions us (with respect to our tendency to anguish over studies like the new one linking labor induction to autism risk) that when reading about such studies…or listening him talk about any of the conditions he is researching through a primal health lens…you cannot be thinking of your own family, your friends, or your neighbor’s cousin’s autistic son. These are population-based (epidemiological) studies that reach conclusions in terms of tendencies, risk factors and statistically significant differences amongst huge numbers of people. It is not appropriate or valid (although it is always tempting) to apply these autism risk findings to specific individual cases!

Contrary to one of the many vitriolic comments to the Telegraph article, this is the reason he says his new book is NOT meant to be read by pregnant mothers. Too close, too often-bleak. Michel Odent is the first one to promote chronic JOY in the lives of pregnant women.

The rest of us, though, best get our heads out of the sand and look at the big…the really big…unified picture of birth — and autism — and erections — and the future of us all.

Induced Labor & Autism Risk

Friday, August 16th, 2013

A new study linking labor induction to increased autism risk was this week’s big birth story. This isn’t about blame, or guilt. With new awareness comes an understandable tendency to veer in the direction of feeling angry, ashamed, and similar negatives that keep us stuck. With new awareness also comes power, which is worth us taking a deep breath, steadying ourselves, and taking our heads out of the sand about autism risk and how we do birth in America.

My colleagues like Michel Odent and Sarah Buckley have been writing about this concern for years, and I reported on it in Parenting for Peace (see excerpt below). Dr. Odent cautions us (with respect to our tendency to anguish over these reports) that when reading about such studies, you cannot be thinking of your own family, your friends, or your neighbor’s cousin’s autistic son. In his latest book Childbirth and the Future of Homo Sapiens, Odent emphasizes that these are population-based (epidemiological) studies that reach conclusions in terms of tendencies, risk factors and statistically significant differences amongst huge numbers of people. It is not appropriate or valid (although it is always tempting) to apply these autism risk findings to specific individual cases! {Please read the rest at mothering.com} (more…)

Mental Health Begins in the Womb

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Gone are the days when we could consider pregnancy a 9-month “grace period” before the job of parenting begins. Mounting research tells us that lifelong wellbeing, including mental health, begins in the womb, and everything parents do – beginning even before conception — shapes their children in critical, life-altering ways.

I began 2013 by writing about the power of beginnings. This applies to virtually everything, from baking a pie to building a company to developing a human: the beginning contains within it the seeds of the project’s ultimate success…or less-than-success. (more…)

Does iPhone’s Siri Thwart Social Intelligence?

Monday, February 13th, 2012

A thought occurred to me years ago on one of my maiden strolls through Costco (besides yum, those mini pizzas are good): If I were an evil genius wanting to erode the nutritional wellbeing of a civilization (not to mention the individuality of its citizens), this would be a good first step. Induce mass consumer hypnosis via the big-box store. (Will return to this point in a bit.)

In the half-decade between my son’s junior and my daughter’s freshman years in high school, I witnessed his late-night telephone confabs (on a landline, gasp, when conference calls were a cool innovation) give way to her disembodied “connectivity” with Facebook friends. (more…)

Epigenetics, DNA, and True Intelligence

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

In the seven years since I started writing Parenting for Peace the term epigenetics has graduated from being a practically unheard-of, esoteric branch of biology to an increasingly mainstream concept. (That worked out nicely, since my book’s entire premise turns on the epigenetic notion of just how much influence we have in who we and our children shape up to be.) In a recent post on Eco Child’s Play, author Jennifer Lance does parents a solid by gathering wide-ranging information and insight into why they need to understand and care about epigenetics.

Unlike what we learned in basic biology class, we are not immutably defined nor are our children unalterably determined by DNA. (more…)