Sorry I do not have a link for this so I am putting the whole document here.
Lyme-Induced Autism Conference Focuses on Biofilm and Toxicity
by Mary Budinger
Dr. Fry suspects that inside biofilms are pink elongated microorganisms that may be the causative agent of much chronic disease. He is mapping the genetic components of these microorganisms.
Peeking into the secret world of biofilm and shifting through common environmental toxins may hold the keys to understanding the current epidemic of chronic disease.
That was the theme at the third annual Lyme-Induced Autism (LIA) Conference held last month in Scottsdale, AZ. The event serves as a think tank for practitioners and parents on the forefront of the epidemic.
Biofilm - The Hot Topic
The quest to understand biofilm is changing the paradigm of blood pathology. The conventional wisdom is that blood is sterile because nothing can be cultured from it, but clearly, we have pathogens floating around in blood. "Blood is not sterile. We have to drop that idea," said Dr. Jeff Wulfman of Vermont. "Forty percent of blood samples contain cell wall deficient bacteria. What are the other factors in blood? We are only beginning to understand."
Biofilm is also in the blood, as well as the gut and on the teeth. Biofilm is a self-made protective environment in which microbial populations hide from the body's immune system and anti-microbial therapies. Biofilm allows the bugs to evade surveillance of the immune system and our best attempt to throw antibiotics at them. Biofilm communities can be 1000 times more resistant to antibiotics than free-floating bacteria. Ever tried and failed to knock out candida with the anti-candida diet? Well, candida too hides in the biofilm where it helps the bad guys by stimulating inflammation. The National Institutes of Health estimates that nearly 80 percent of chronic microbial infections are due to biofilm colonies.
Teasing out elements hidden in blood is what Dr. Stephen Fry and his colleagues do at Fry Labs in Scottsdale, Arizona. "I don't think Borrelia is the main problem in Lyme disease," Dr. Fry explained. "We only have one picture of it in the thousands of slides that have gone through our lab. There is something else that stains like bacteria, and looks like bacteria, in people who are sick. Many of the people we see have evidence of biofilm. There is more than one pathogen in biofilm communities, but the microorganism we are mapping now may be the main concern."
Dr. Fry finds that the sicker a person is, the more there will be biofilm communities in the blood sample. "Six years ago, I established Fry Laboratories to begin to identify the DNA of a particular pathogen we see in the biofilm. We looked at the blood from various patients under the microscope and found signs of this particular microorganism in many samples from patients ill with chronic Lyme disease. So far, we have found some unique genes that make up this microorganism; no other entity on earth is known to possess them."
Dr. Fry thinks the day is not far off when we may recognize a single microorganism which hides itself in biofilm, and is responsible for symptoms of Lyme disease, its co-infections, and many other expressions of chronic disease. "As our work progresses, we will be able to further identify the genetic makeup of this pathogen and then develop a reliable test for it," he said. "It may be that we can develop a simple protocol to knock it out."
But if one bug is the cause of Lyme disease, autism, and so much other chronic disease, why do patients get so many different diagnoses and symptoms? "In the biofilm community, there is a soup where many pathogens hide," Dr. Fry said. "For example, just about
everybody over the age of 35 will test positive for Epstein-Barr virus, but people usually are not sick from it. Not every bug in the biofilm soup is causing symptoms. We think we've found that one is. And the symptoms may vary based upon a person's genetics, environment, and pathogen genotype."
Dr. Fry's take on biofilms is novel. "I could be barking up the wrong tree, but maybe not. Remember that we used to think stomach ulcers were caused by too much acid production. Then Barry Marshall and Dr. Robin Warren turned medical dogma on its head by proving that a bacterium was the cause. The pair identified the bacterium H. pylori and proved how it causes inflammation, then ulcers. Maybe in 10 years we will be smart enough to know that the 'auto' in 'autoimmune' actually means pathogen and the whole concept of autoimmunity will change. Chronic inflammation is chronic infection. In autoimmune disease, my model is that there is a chronic infection that cannot be eliminated, thus the immune system is always switched on. The self antibodies are due to apoptosis and death of host cells with host immune response."
Biofilms are also of great interest to Dr. Anju Usman of Illinois. "All of our tough cases, the non responders - they show biofilms when we run their blood at Fry's lab," she explained. "Scientists are finding biofilms in polluted areas of our body - the teeth, mouth, adenoids, sinuses, and intestinal tract. The immune system recognizes a bug by proteins on its outer membrane. What happens when the bugs don't produce outer membrane proteins? Well, these bugs don't." Biofilms act as a unique cloaking device.
Dr. Usman is focused on dismantling the biofilm. "Let's look at what happened when experts tackled the superbug, MRSA. One of the most effective drugs against MRSA is vancomycin. But they couldn't knock it out because there was a biofilm. However, when they combined the drug with EDTA, then the chelating agent pulled out the calcium, magnesium, and iron - all elements of biofilm - and dismantled the film."
That raises the question of what supplements and nutrients may inadvertently feed the biofilm. "When trying to kill bugs, if you take calcium, you may not be making headway," Usman said. "Calcium, iron, and magnesium block our efforts to dismantle the biofilm."
Dr. Usman uses EDTA to
open up the biofilm. EDTA, ethylenediaminetetr aacetic acid, is a chelating agent used to lower one's body burden of heavy metals. Another important resource is iron chelating compounds. "Outer membrane proteins" are easy for drugs to see, but they are not expressed when iron is present. "Our bodies make proteins, transferrin and lactoferrin, which mop up iron and block the ability of biofilm to form," she said. "But pathogenic bacteria secrete iron chelators to snatch up iron and thus compete with the transferrin and lactoferrin for what they need to survive."
To break down biofilm, Dr. Usman also uses enzymes such as serrapeptase, derived from silk worms, and nattokinase which penetrates the GI tract and gets into the blood where it breaks down fibrin. Biofilm requires formation of fibrin. Probiotics and synbiotics - a combination of pre- and pro-biotics - crowd out bad bacteria, and also help disrupt biofilm along the mucus membrane.
"When the film
opens up, we do not know what is under there, and the immune system may not know what is under there, so you might get sick," Usman said. "And it is not always about
killing the bugs. It is more important to change the gastrointestinal environment so the bugs don't grow."
Secrets of the Inner Gut Terrain
Unquestionably, changes are taking place in the invisible interior of our bodies.
"In the international community, scientists talk about
the impact of the chemicals as global warming, yet we do not admit that there is a sea of change also taking place in the human bodies," said Donna Jackson Nakazawa, author of the Autoimmune Epidemic. "We have removed our kids from naturally dirty environments and we are undereducating their immune system. Then we fill their environment with all kinds of chemical agents. Our immune system diseases are going up because our immune system competency is going down."
We know the fetus becomes a dumping ground for the mother's toxins. If mom has mercury fillings, for example, much of the mercury stored in her body will be downloaded to the fetus. Plastics, pesticides, and other toxins are also downloaded. So today's children are polluted at birth and exposed to a daily chemical onslaught from their environment and their food. The amount of metals in our bodies today is thought to be about
20,000 times higher than ancient man. Heavy metals play a role in all manner of disease behavior from chronic inflammation to infections to biofilm. "We know everyone born today has 1000 times more lead in their bones," said Dr. Garry Gordon of Arizona. "As the mother creates a fetus, the calcium from the mom is used to make bones in the fetus but the lead is in the bones and it is downloaded too."
Organic farmers can teach us a lot about
human health, as Dr. Wulfman discovered. "What shows up when there is poor soil, inadequate water, etc., is infection. The weaker the organism, the more vulnerable it is to a virus, bacteria, parasite - whatever. Whether we are sick or well depends upon how strong we are in relation to the pathogenic load within us. So we need to reconsider our original thoughts about
'infections. ' Children on the autistic spectrum are 16 times more likely to have bacterial/viral infections than non-autistic children. I believe 100 percent of the kids on the spectrum have fungal involvement. about
80% show it on the blood smear."
Toxins and infections drastically alter genes, and those alterations, we have now found, are passed down several generations. The chemical bisphenol A (BPA) that is in plastic drinking bottles and the lining of cans has been found to cause an epigenic change in mice from lean to obese. A 2003 study out of China on tuberculosis (TB) found cells infected with TB organisms changed 463 new expressions of genes. The emerging field of epigenetics tells us that the level of expression by each gene is influenced by external factors. Also, genetic expression affects the individual now alive and the next several generations to come. Dr. Wulfman asks a telling question: "So, in a genetically susceptible individual, are the gene changes a cause of dysfunction - or a marker of the underlying factors that caused the genetic changes?" Good question. And what is so much chronic disease doing to the gene pool?
Our Toxic Diet
Jeffery Smith, author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette, warns that to eat genetically modified (GM) foods is to play genetic roulette with your health and the generations who follow you. "Dr. Arpad Pusztai looked at the first GM food, potatoes, and found all kinds of abnormalities, " Smith reported. "He was fired from his job and his 20-person research team was disbanded, but his data was subsequently published in Lancet and it clearly shows the process of genetic modification is unstable. The process of insertion and cloning produces unexpected changes in the DNA. The RNA, proteins, phytochemicals and other natural compounds in plants are affected."
A primary concern is that many GM crops have an insecticide spliced into their genetic makeup. That insecticide subsequently sets up housekeeping in our intestines. "GM corn and soy puts a pesticide in the gut and it replicates," Dr. Gordon clarified. "GM foods modify your intestinal flora and that sets the stage for tumors and other problems, we've seen that evidence. No probiotic will overcome it."
The primary source of calories consumed in America today is GM corn syrup. White flour is a strong second. Our bodies see them both as sugar, and people with Lyme, autism, and other chronic diseases absolutely crave it.
"You crave starch and sugar because you don't need much to digest them," said Dr. Toby Watkinson of California. "There is so much mucus in the intestinal tract, you can't get much absorption. Ever pour water on an egg white? It runs right off. Same principal."
For busy parents, it can be a real challenge to break the habit of convenience foods. Too often, parents make the switch to gluten free (GF) foods, but still don't make the switch to the more important nutrient dense foods.
Dr. Wulfman asks parents to keep a weekly diet history. He presented one diary: GF pancakes 2 times that week, GF cereal 5 times, GF
cookies 3 times, GF chicken nuggets 4 times, GF granola/rice bars 8 times, and 2 bananas. "Except for the bananas, there is still no real food in it!" Wulfman advocates complex, living food. "We have a mineral famine going on. There is a nutritional famine. Vitamin D levels are so low that rickets is back."
Dr. Wulfman advocates learning how to simply grow food in our backyards. Mineralize the soil, use heirloom seed varieties. Square Food Gardening by Mel Bartholomew is a good how-to book. See www.westonaprice. org for more on nutrient-dense food.
Dysfunctional Inner Computer
The computer runs our automobiles today. So too the human body. Except the human computer - the mind - often is not working right and the bugs are expert at even commandeering even our thoughts. Parasites love sugar and Dr. Wulfman says the parasites have mind control over us to make us deliver it. "Mice run away from cats; that is instinctive. But if infected with toxoplasmosis, the mouse will come right up to the cat. It is amazing what parasites can do."
While the bugs direct our thoughts from the inside, outside forces play havoc with the brain's ability to function properly.
Dr. Watkinson starts new patient relationships by asking if their environment has been checked for electromagnetic fields (EMF). "I have Wi-Fi blocking paint and film in my office," he said. "Our brains are electric. Some people can't compute because of the electrical interference in the environment and we see there is always within their immune system a Th1, Th2, Th3 disruption. EMF makes for a lack of connectivity between different portions of the brain, more so in some people than in others." See www.buildingbiology .net for materials that block EMF.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has long taught that the body is electricity. "If you do not have energy, the heart cannot pump," said Dr. Y.M. Chen of Arizona. "It is important that every organ in the body is balanced."
The issue of chaotic energy in our environment - electrosmog - is gaining greater importance and understanding. Bau biologist Vicki Warren of Tennessee detailed that the greatest danger to all of us from the man-made energy in our daily environment comes at night, when the body does most of its detoxifying.
"The heart, the brain, and all the cells communicate with electric signals," Warren explained. "When there is a constant pulsing signal as you get from the 'Energy Star' appliances, cell phones, Wi-Fi networks and more, the cells' receptors begin to mimic the frequency of that pulsing signal. Then the DNA within the cell has to interpret that vibration to decide whether it is a communication it understands or it is something foreign. If foreign, then the cell thinks it is under attack and closes its "doors" which means nutrients don't get in, and toxins don't get out. The medical term is oxidative stress. At night when we are sleeping and the organs detoxify, it is essential that the cell membrane be permeable. Live blood cell tests show the biological response. Because the cells are not releasing the toxins, you get a free radical buildup and DNA repair is disrupted. This is the path for the development of tumors associated with cell phone usage. Johnny
Cochran and his doctor were convinced cell phone use was the cause of his cancer. Also, melatonin production is suppressed in a high EMF environment. Melatonin is also neuro-protective and helps to protect from damage otherwise caused by mercury."
The power industry and telecommunication lobbyists make proof hard to nail down. It is impossible to find a control group for a study because you cannot find people who have not been exposed to electromagnetic fields and radio frequencies. "Serious and knowledgeable working scientists no longer buy the industry argument that there is no credible scientific evidence," she said. "Robert Becker, Wertheimer and George Carlo blew the whistle on industry claims of safety. Even the World Health Organization says 'prudent avoidance' is advised where cell phone and Wi-Fi is concerned."
Check out www.antennasearch. org to find out how many cell phone antennas are close to where you live and work. As for cell phone usage, Warren said if you use 500 minutes a month or more, the body probably cannot recover from that. Text messaging, ironically, is safe because all the data is transmitted in a fraction of a second, whereas phone conversations go on for many minutes. Ditch the cordless phones, or at least keep the main base station far away from the bedroom. She advises that parents not use wireless baby monitors because they transmit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Dr. Lee Cowden, a proponent of EMF safety, points out that microwave illness is identical to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and autism and that the incidence of CFS and autism have grown in tandem with the installation of digital cell phone towers. "Is this the smoking gun?" he asks.
Several times at the conference, speakers touched on the more subtle, personal energies as well. The vibration of the emotion that the parents hold about
their children is important for healing. If you bring chaos and frustration to the dinner table, you pass it on. Remember why you love your child and express that joy - it's contagious.
Within Your Reach
Regardless of the diagnosis. and even if we aren't symptomatic for Lyme or autism, we need to do more to strengthen our inner terrain and lessen the body's exposure to outside toxins.
Go green at home. Typical home cleaning products pollute the air. Shop for non-GM foods. Grow your own vegetables. Increase your nutritional intake with organic and grass-fed foods. Stop telling yourself it is okay to buy processed food because you don't have time. Having a baby? Don't put the nursery in the home office next to all the electrical devices and beware of VOC paints and new carpets that off-gas toxic chemicals. Learn about
formaldehyde - it is in books, toilet paper, paper towels, particle board furniture, and more. Switch from toxic pesticides to non-toxic diatomaceous earth. Read up on mold in the home. Make sure gas appliances are vented to the outside. Reduce dust mites - mites require humidity of 50% or greater to grow. If there is sweat or humidity on the bed when it is made, dust mites grow. Let a bed air out at least 15 minutes in the morning before you make it. Put pillows occasionally in sun light and let the solar rays clean them.
Be careful of stuffed animals; they become dust mite havens.
open your windows every day because the inside air is almost always worse than the air outside. To reduce EMF, use a battery clock next to bed instead of one that is plugged in. Unplug the household wireless computer system at night. Keep TVs at least six feet away from the bed. Consider EMF blocking paints and films. Create a "sleeping sanctuary" free of EMF (see www.wehliving. org).
These kinds of things - and more - we can generally control. When we reduce the stresses on the body, the healthy among us have more energy to be caretakers. And those we are taking care of need us to eliminate as many environmental stresses as we can for them so they can heal.
Mary Budinger is an Emmy award-winning journalist and a writer for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The LIA Foundation has copies of the conference syllabus, www.liafoundation. org
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Post Edited (KeepHope) : 9/5/2009 2:02:36 PM (GMT-6)