Tag: MTHFR

Is a Crooked Face a Sign of a Vaccine Injury?

Have you heard of the Crooked theory?

Is something really wrong with these Hollywood stars?
Does Zach Braff really have a crooked face?

If you haven’t, when you get done learning about it, the name is going to seem very ironic…

“Why do babies have lopsided smiles? Why are so many people’s eyes misaligned? What started as a simple search to understand this phenomenon turned into a two-year quest that uncovered hidden links between our crooked faces and some of the most puzzling diseases of our time.

From autism to Alzheimer’s and from chronic fatigue syndrome to Crohn’s disease, Crooked methodically goes through the most recent scientific research and connects the dots from the outbreak of metallic medicine in 1800s England to the eruption of neurological and autoimmune disorders so many are suffering from today.

If the theories put forth in this book are true, the convergence of metals, microbes and medicine that started two hundred years ago may have set humanity on a path of suffering that could make the deadliest epidemics in history pale in comparison. Thankfully, for the millions who are afflicted, who may have found nothing to explain the cause of their suffering — these same theories could also illuminate the path to healing and recovery.”

Forrest Maready on Crooked: Man-Made Disease Explained

Spoiler Alert – The “theories” put forth in his book are not true.

Are you crooked?

Forrest Maready might get asked that a lot these days for actually trying to sell a self-published book pushing the idea that he knows what causes everything “from autism to Alzheimer’s and from chronic fatigue syndrome to Crohn’s disease.”

Of course, he thinks that it is vaccines and aluminum.

“And that’s what makes this even worse. Not only is the theory completely false, it’s not even original!.”

Were We Crooked?

It isn’t.

This “theory” of “his” has been well debunked, ironically, by Maready himself!

Doesn't it look like many of these football players from 1899 had crooked faces?
Doesn’t it look like many of these football players from 1899 had crooked faces?

As others have pointed out, Forrest Maready debunked his own book when he posted old photographs of football players, claiming it proved that vaccines caused chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Not only did many of the football players from the late 18th and early 19th century who played without helmets go on to develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy, if they didn’t die on the field, as you can see, many also had crooked faces!

Crooked faces, brain damage because they didn't wear helmets, and death from now vaccine preventable diseases - life was tough in the old days.
Crooked faces, brain damage because they didn’t wear helmets, and death from now vaccine preventable diseases – life was tough in the old days.

As early as the 1920s, after first being noticed in boxers, it was quickly discovered that CTE could also occur in football players. And again, many of the folks in these pics have crooked faces!

“All people have asymmetric faces. When one looks closely, these differences become more apparent.”

AAP on Children with Facial Asymmetry

It is hopefully obvious that the crooked face theory is all about cherry picking and confirmation bias. And that some folks think that everything and anything is a vaccine injury.

That this appears to be a credible theory by anti-vaccine folks says a lot about the modern anti-vaccine movement and why some folks don’t vaccinate their kids.

Don’t believe it.

Vaccines are safe and necessary and won’t make your child’s face look crooked.

More on the Crooked Face Theory

 

What Are the Signs of MTHFR Mutations?

Are you scared to vaccinate and protect your baby because you think she has signs of  MTHFR mutations?

What Are the Signs of MTHFR Mutations?

For some reason, some parents get concerned about MTHFR if their baby has:

  • a stork bite on the back of her neck (nevus simplex or salmon patch) – get it? that’s where the stork carriers the baby to you
  • a stork bite on the eyelids or forehead, although many people call it an angel’s kiss in these locations
  • a sacral dimple
  • a tongue-tie
  • any facial dimples
  • a strawberry hemangioma
  • a prominent blue vein on the bridge of her nose – called a sugar bug, because practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine think that it is linked to a sensitivity to sugar

And they somehow think that this a reason to delay or skip their child’s vaccines.

It isn’t.

Not surprisingly, none of the websites who list so-called signs of MTHFR mutations provide any evidence for why they are considered to be signs.

What Are the Real Signs of MTHFR Mutations?

If you are worried about MTHFR mutations, you have likely been warned that they cause a lot of different problems.

In reality, it is only known that MTHFR mutations can cause homocystinuria, a rare disorder of methionine metabolism. So you might expect those who have this mutation to have signs and symptoms of homecystinuria, including long limbs, chest deformities, and scoliosis, similar to Marfan syndrome.

Fortunately, many states now include testing for homecystinuria on their newborn screen.

Where Did the Other MTHFR Indicators Come From?

Some people also think that some common MHTFR polymorphisms, or gene variants, may be weakly associated with cardiovascular disease, migraines, anacephaly, spina bifida, and cleft lip and palate.

But this doesn’t mean that MHTFR mutations caused the child to have spina bifida or cleft lip and palate.

“In general, the following genotypes currently appear unlikely to be of clinical significance: “thermolabile” variant c.665C→T heterozygote, c.1286A→C homozygote, or (c.665C→T); (c.1286A→C) compound heterozygote.”

Hickey et al. on ACMG Practice Guideline: lack of evidence for MTHFR polymorphism testing

These polymorphisms are very common and you are going to find them when you look for them.

More and more studies are now finding that they are not associated with any diseases or extra risk of disease. And any risk for neural tube defects in pregnancy can be eliminated by taking folate supplements, which is now recommended for all pregnant women anyway.

But you now should be able to see where their list of bogus signs of MTHFR mutations came from. If spina bifida is supposed to be associated with MTHFR polymorphisms, then why not sacral dimples? And if cleft lip and palate is supposed to be associated with MTHFR polymorphisms, then why not tongue-tie?

Neither a stork bite nor tongue-tie is a sign of a MTHFR mutation. Photo by Vincent Iannelli, MD
Neither a stork bite nor tongue-tie is a sign of MTHFR mutations. Photo by Vincent Iannelli, MD

What about stork bites, hemangiomas, facial dimples, and the blue vein?

These are some of the most common things that pediatricians point out to parents during their first few appointments. New parents especially what to be reassured that all of these things, which can be very obvious, are eventually going to go away. And fortunately, they typically do – without treatment, although some hemangiomas do require treatment.

In fact, it is estimated that 30 to 50% of newborns have a stork bite. These dilated blood vessels typically go away without treatment. How many people have MHTFR polymorhisms? Yup, 30 to 50%. And no, that doesn’t mean that MHTFR polymorhisms cause stork bites.

Again, since MHTFR polymorhisms are common variants (not mutations that cause disease), you are going to find them associated with many other common conditions.

“Midline lumbosacral skin lesions (e.g., lipomas, dimples, dermal sinuses, tails, hemangiomas, hypertrichosis) are cutaneous markers of spinal dysraphism. A comprehensive review of 200 patients with spinal dysraphism found that 102 had a cutaneous sign. However, many children without spinal dysraphism also have these skin findings.”

McLaughlin et al. on Newborn Skin: Part II. Birthmarks

It is also very possible that folks are misunderstanding a recommendation about warnings for risks of occult spinal dysraphism. This occurs when there is incomplete fusion of the midline elements of the spine, but they are covered by skin, so unlike spina bifida, they are hard to detect. So we look for things like hemangiomas, hypertrichosis (hairy patches), nevus simplex (stork bite), and dimples, etc., as a sign that something might be wrong underneath the skin.

In general, if you have two or more of these skin lesions, a child’s risk for occult spinal dysraphism would be considered high, but, and this is important, the location of the skin lesions is what we look for. They would be over the midline lumbosacral area (the lower back). So an hemangioma on your child’s arm or chest wouldn’t be a risk. Neither would a stork bite on the nape of a baby’s neck or an angel kiss on their forehead.

But now you see the assumed link to MTHFR!

‘They’ think  that MTHFR mutations cause spina bifida, so they made the jump to all of these possible signs of occult spinal dysraphism being associated with MTHFR polymorpisms too, even when they aren’t actually signs of occult spinal dysraphism unless they are located on your baby’s lower back.

“MTHFR gene mutations can cause absolutely no symptoms at all. They can also cause severe irreversible health conditions such as Down’s syndrome. Research is still pending on which medical conditions are caused by, or at least partially attributed to, the MTHFR gene mutations. From the partial list I recently went through on Medline, these are the current symptoms, syndromes and medical conditions relating to the MTHFR gene mutations:”

Ben Lynch on MTHFR Mutations and the Conditions They Cause

A lot of what folks think they know about MTHFR mutations comes from Ben Lynch, who has a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine (ND), recommends that folks get genetic testing, and then tells them all of the things that are wrong with them when the tests come back.

“Many of your health issues spring from a combination of overworked and underworked genes. These issues can often be resolved by supporting your genes—but you don’t know that.”

Ben Lynch on My Mission: Reach Your Genetic Potential

And even smarter mission would be to skip the genetic testing, especially if it includes MTHFR testing, and get your family vaccinated and protected.

What to Know About Signs of MTHFR Mutations

There are no signs of MTHFR mutations that you should be looking for that would indicate you should skip or delay any of your child’s vaccines.

More on Signs of MTHFR Mutations

Who Is Dr. Taz?

Dr. Taz is on a mission “to transform the way we do medicine and empower and equip you with the best tools so you can live your healthiest life.”

While that sounds very nice, it doesn’t take too long to figure out that she seems like every other anti-vaccine quack we run across these days.

Who Is Dr. Taz?

Dr. Tasneem Bhatia MD (Dr. Taz) describes herself as a nationally recognized “wellness expert” who became a “pioneer and trailblazer” after overcoming her own personal health problems.

With multiple office locations and membership packages, Dr. Taz is pleased to offer many non-evidenced based services for you and your child, and she will even file your claim forms from your insurance company, although, as expected, she doesn’t actually participate in any insurance plans.

What about vaccines?

“My journey in medicine began with pediatrics, so I am well aware of the importance of vaccines and the incredible history and success of vaccination programs in reducing infant and child mortality.

Yet as my journey continues, I have had to listen to patient after patient describe a change or a shifting in their children once vaccines were administered. I experienced this as a parent. I will never forget the day that my son received a combination vaccine. Within 24 hrs., his mild reflux became severe, his weight gain over the next few months slowed and we continue to play catch up, trying to analyze our next steps. My son, however, is not autistic. He is brilliant, hilarious, and an absolute charmer.

My patients and my own children have forced me to rethink this vaccine controversy.”

Dr. Taz on Back to School Survival Series Part Two, The Vaccine Debate Continues

Of course, there is no vaccine controversy, except the one that folks like Dr. Taz have created. Like many other vaccine-friendly pediatricians, anecdotes became evidence and quickly overcame years of learning.

And shame on Dr. Taz for implying that autistic kids are not brilliant, hilarious and charmers!

That’s the vaccine controversy. Continuing to push the idea that autistic kids are vaccine damaged and not understanding the simple concept that correlation doesn’t imply causation.

“Red flags for parents that may justify an alternative schedule include”

Dr. Taz on Back to School Survival Series Part Two, The Vaccine Debate Continues

While there are true contraindications to getting vaccinated, she doesn’t list any of them, instead pushing anti-vaccine talking points about skipping or delaying vaccines if your child has reflux, colic, or delayed milestones, etc.

But there’s more.

During a visit with Dr. Taz, you can also get your child:

  • a Zyto scan
  • Meridian testing
  • a brain boost evaluation
  • sports optimization testing

And parents can get a detox screen “which will directly correlate with your child’s early ability to detox and process chemicals.”  That’s probably just MTHFR testing, which you don’t need and which doesn’t correlate with much of anything, besides homocystinuria.

Selling supplements is big business for integrative, holistic, and anti-vaccine folks.
Your diagnostic tests and evaluation, whether it is the Zyto scan or detox screen, likely helps them scare convince you into buying more supplements.

Dr. Taz also offers:

  • acupuncture and Chinese medicine
  • aromatherapy
  • Ayurveda (Indian medicine)
  • energy healing
  • essential oils
  • craniosacral therapy (osteopathy)
  • homeopathy
  • IV therapy

Now, I understand that these types of holistic docs push the idea of “pulling from conventional, integrative, holistic, functional and Chinese medicine to create the best customized treatment plans possible,” but if any of these alternative therapies worked, whether it was acupuncture or Ayurveda, or homeopathy, then why do they need to integrate them all?

So what services does Dr. Bhatia offer to bring her patients to “whole health”? It’s a veritable cornucopia of quackery. Homeopathy? Check. Acupuncture? Check. (Obviously.) IV vitamin therapy? Check. Oh, and of course Dr. Bhatia offers thermograms. She even offers mobile thermograms. Never mind that thermography remains an unvalidated test for the early detection of breast cancer, much less for all the other conditions for which Dr. Bhatia recommends it, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, back injuries, digestive disorders, “and more…”

A commercial for acupuncture masquerading as news

And how does someone go from teaching medical students and residents at Emory University to being one of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop experts, along with Kelly Brogan?

Dr. Taz was a pediatrician who said that vaccines were safe and necessary.
It wasn’t so long ago that Dr. Taz was a pediatrician who said that vaccines were safe and necessary.

Or from saying vaccines are safe and necessary and that parents shouldn’t expose their kids at chicken pox parties to a few years later saying that we shouldn’t judge Kristin Cavallari because we need more vaccine research.

What motivates these folks?

What to Know About Dr. Taz Bhatia

Dr. Taz promotes herself as an integrative medicine expert who pushes many unproven treatments and has alternative and dangerous views about vaccines and autistic kids.

More on Dr. Taz Bhatia

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Immunizations

Have questions about your child’s immunizations?

We probably have the answers.

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Immunizations

Not surprisingly, many parents have the same questions about immunizations and they want answers to reassure themselves that they are doing the right thing for their kids by getting them vaccinated and protected.

Still have questions?

Rotavirus vaccines are associated with a very small risk of intussusception, but that is not a good reason to miss the benefits of this vaccine.
Like most pediatricians, my kids are vaccinated and protected. Photo by Vincent Iannelli, MD

With so much misinformation out there scaring folks about vaccines, that’s not surprising.

Just keep in mind that every anti-vaccine talking point and myth they push has an easy answer, even as folks continue to move the goalposts in search of new arguments against vaccines.

Yesterday it was mercury. Today it’s aluminum. Tomorrow it will be something else, while they continue to use vaccine scare videos to make you think that vaccines aren’t safe.

Parents who do their research understand that the real threat to their kids isn’t vaccines, it is the anti-vaccine experts that continue to push propaganda about vaccines.

What to Know About Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Immunizations

The most basic answers to your questions about vaccines are that while vaccines aren’t perfect, they are safe and necessary and they do work well to protect us from vaccine-preventable disease.

More on Frequently Asked Questions About Immunizations

Vaccines and Autism Redux

Is it true that only one ingredient (thimerosal) and one vaccine (MMR) has ever been looked at for its relationship to autism?

No, as you can probably guess, it is not.

“This meta-analysis of five case-control and five cohort studies has found no evidence for the link between vaccination and the subsequent risk of developing autism or autistic spectrum disorder. Subgroup analyses looking specifically at MMR vaccinations, cumulative mercury dosage, and thimerosal exposure individually were similarly negative, as were subgroup analyses looking specifically at development of autistic disorder versus other autistic spectrum disorder.”

Taylor et al on Vaccines are not associated with autism: An evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies

Since much of the original focus about vaccines and autism was on the MMR vaccine and thimerosal, that’s where a lot of the research to reassure parents went first.

Other research has been done though too, so it really is safe to say that vaccines are not associated with autism, even though some may continue to see a correlation.

“To try to isolate the effects of thimerosal from other vaccine constituents, we performed a subanalysis comparing risks associated with diphtheria-tetanus-whole cell pertussis vaccine or diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis vaccine and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine given separately or combined.”

Verstraeten et al on Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintenance Organization Databases

The great majority of parents know that:

  • it is not the MMR vaccine
  • it is not thimerosal or thimerosal containing vaccines
  • it is not the overall number of vaccines that are given to a child
  • it is not the timing of when the vaccines are given to children

And it hasn’t been just one or two studies that have shown that there is no association between vaccines and autism. There are dozens. There is also a comprehensive review by the Institute of Medicine and a very large meta-analysis that have come to the same conclusion.

Vaccines are not associated with autism.

Vaccines and Autism Redux

Could it be aluminum though?

Why aluminum? Because anti-vaccine experts cite some poorly done studies that try to say it is.

Bob Sears appeared on Fox & Friends in 2010 for the segment "Vaccines: A Bad Combination?"
Bob Sears appeared on Fox & Friends in 2010 for the segment “Vaccines: A Bad Combination?”

Aluminum has become the new formaldehyde, which used to be the new thimerosal. It is apparently where the goalposts have shifted when some folks talk about vaccines and autism now that every knows it is not the MMR vaccine, thimerosal, vaccine overload, or the timing of vaccines.

But if studies have shown that it is neither the number of vaccines nor the timing of vaccines, then how could it be aluminum, an adjuvant in many vaccines?

It isn’t.

Aluminum is not the smoking gun or the missing puzzle piece that anti-vaccine folks will continue to look for.

What other myths about vaccines and autism have been coming up lately?

Have you heard the one about the court ruling confirming a vaccine autism link? It didn’t.

Did you know that the FDA officially announced that vaccines are causing autism? They didn’t, but do you know why some folks are now saying they did? Because of the old package insert for the Tripedia vaccine, which lists autism as a possible adverse event (without evidence of causation). The vaccine was discontinued years ago, but it continues to pop up as ‘new’ evidence for some as an association between vaccines and autism.

Or maybe you have heard these other new theories from the anti-vaccine movement as they desperately try to prove an association between vaccines and autism:

  • vaccines block folate uptake
  • MTHFR gene mutations
  • maternal immune activation
  • cytokine storms
  • glutathione depletion
  • glyphosate
  • DNA fragments
  • microbiota alterations
  • GI barrier defects
  • blood brain barrier permeability problems

You don’t even have to pick just one theory anymore (the fact that the MMR vaccine doesn’t contain thimerosal or aluminum kind of puts these theories into opposition with each other, doesn’t it?). You can choose for any or all of them to be true if you want. Using synergistic toxicity, you pick a few of your favorite theories and make them 100 times more likely to damage your child! Not really, but that’s how some anti-vaccine folks think.

“Autism is not an immune-mediated disease. Unlike autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, there is no evidence of immune activation or inflammatory lesions in the CNS of people with autism. In fact, current data suggest that genetic variation in neuronal circuitry that affects synaptic development might in part account for autistic behavior. Thus, speculation that an exaggerated or inappropriate immune response to vaccination precipitates autism is at variance with current scientific data that address the pathogenesis of autism.”

Gerber et al on Vaccines and Autism: A Tale of Shifting Hypotheses

Of course, none of them are true.

Vaccines are still not associated with autism.

What to Know About Vaccines and Autism

Vaccines are still not associated with autism, even though anti-vaccine folks continue to come up with new ideas for how it might be, from glyphosate and DNA fragments in vaccines to MTHFR mutations and maternal immune activation.

More on Vaccines and Autism

Who Is Kelly Brogan?

Kelly Brogan is a holistic psychiatrist.

Why am I writing about a holistic psychiatrist?

More specifically, Kelly Brogan is a women’s health holistic psychiatrist who doesn’t seem to believe that vaccines are safe, that vaccines work, or that vaccines are necessary.

They are.

“…we have been recently convinced through the promise of technology and corporate prowess that processed food is more reliable, nutritious, and beneficial. We’ve been convinced that Hamburger Helper is better for our families than a homemade Bolognese.”

Kelly Brogan

For some reason, she does not seem to be vegan, as one might expect. Not even vegetarian…

She does seem to believe that people with mental health conditions not should be treated with medication. In fact, she thinks the medications that are routinely used to treat common mental health conditions are behind some of the biggest tragedies happening today.

“The records also listed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as one of his medical conditions” the proverbial smoking gun of every mass shooting in this country.”

Kelly Brogan on the Sutherland Church Shooting

And she was mentored, not by a psychiatrist, but by a doctor who pushed “a largely dietary treatment for cancer including an individualized organic diet, large amounts of supplements, and pancreatic enzymes,” a regimen that was actually studied and found to be harmful and reduced the quality of life for people with a deadly form of cancer.

Who Is Kelly Brogan?

Kelly Brogan is a holistic psychiatrist.

“Eastern wisdom tells us that when we think we know, we don’t. But when we admit ignorance, we achieve enlightenment. The most profound part of my departure from conventional medicine has been the depths of my surrender to all that we do not, cannot, and must not understand about the body and its experience. Humble awe and wonder are truly the only appropriate states for approaching the complexity of the human condition.”

Kelly Brogan

Do holistic psychiatrists use a different definition for the word humble?

“All suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their own happiness or satisfaction.”

Dalai Lama XIV

Kelly Brogan, a holistic psychiatrist, also pushes a lot of anti-vaccine talking points about epigenetics, germ theory denialism, MTHFR, and the need for detoxing from vaccines.

These beliefs can cause suffering if she can get others to believe them too, as can pushing the idea that babies shouldn’t get their hepatitis B vaccine or a vitamin K shot.

I’m actually surprised that she hasn’t written about RhoGAM. Maybe she hasn’t gotten around to it. But she doesn’t disappoint. She has shared an article on her Facebook page that claims that the RhoGham shot is just a “Big Pharma Profit Ploy.”

Kelly Brogan is a holistic psychiatrist that wants you to live a medication free life. I guess that could have made her some kind of psychoanalysist, but that doesn’t seem to be the route she went.

“In fact, ‘treatment’ with chemotherapy and radiation not only disrupts a complex process that needs to actually be supported, but also it induces secondary harm, both psychically and physiologically. When we interfere and war with the body, we keep the fight alive – you can’t win the battle against yourself.”

Kelly Brogan

Is she telling people to stop their cancer treatments?

Do folks get a lot of training in treating cancer in their psychiatry residency these days?

And she advises that you “think long and hard about vaccination.”

“As we discover more about the near infinite sophistication of your interconnected bodily systems, and the hyper-individuality of any cause and effect process resulting from a healthcare decision, the one-size-fits-all, indemnified vaccine program may begin to make less and less sense to you. Educate yourself before you make a choice that could change everything for you and your family. Trust your body. Invest in your immunity. And explore a mindset shift that offers you a fear-free way to understand health and wellness.”

Kelly Brogan

Shortly after talking about informed consent, she lets you know how she really feels about vaccines.

“Don’t buy into the lore, don’t make assumptions, and understand that the philosophical underpinnings of the vaccination program are predicated on an antiquated perspective: warring against and attempting to eradicate bad germs. Science has left that childlike notion in the dust, and so should we.”

Kelly Brogan

I think Dr. Brogan misspelled pseudoscience

Why don’t you need to get your kids vaccinated and protected? Because Kelly Brogan has a “tremendous faith in the potential for the body to heal when naturally supported.”

Do you?

Will you during a measles outbreak?

“One of my favorite medical terms, anosognosia, means lack of awareness of a deficit. I have come to find this useful in description of so many of my colleagues who practice the medicine they were trained to practice without conscious acknowledgement of its gross limitations and even hazards.”

Kelly Brogan

Kelly Brogan didn't make history in getting a case report published in a low impact journal who's editorial board includes a Reiki Master, chiropractors, and naturopaths.
Kelly Brogan didn’t make history in getting a case report published in a low impact journal who’s editorial board includes a Reiki Master, chiropractors, and naturopaths.

Does anyone else think that it is wildly ironic that anosognosia is Kelly Brogan’s favorite medical term?

Psychiatry explains Kelly Brogan well.

Actually, it might be cognitive psychology that explains her actions.

Can a psychiatrist be suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect?

I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that a holistic psychiatrist can.

A history-making case report? Considering that case reports are the weakest type of scientific evidence, just above YouTube videos and articles on her website, that’s not likely.

Kelly Brogan is a holistic psychiatrist who has flirted with HIV denialism.

You can get educated about vaccines if you are on the fence, but it won’t be from Kelly Brogan, a women’s health holistic psychiatrist.

What to Know About Kelly Brogan

Kelly Brogan is a holistic psychiatrist who seems to charge folks a lot of money in private consultations to help them know that she has faith in their potential to heal themselves naturally – with her help.

More About Kelly Brogan

Updated December 2, 2017