This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Saturday, January 23, 2021

COVID Vaccines and Treatments


 COVID 19 variants

How British Scientists Found the More Infectious Coronavirus Variant

"One mutation the patient had, labeled 69-70del, changes the shape of the spike protein. Another, N501Y, can help the protein bind more tightly to human cells."

"Eventually, British scientists detected 23 mutations that distinguished these genomes from the earliest known version in Wuhan, China — enough to be a considered a new variant, since labeled B.1.1.7."

"The variant is now estimated to account for more than 80 percent of positive cases in London and at least a quarter of infections elsewhere in England, and has turned up in more than 50 countries." (from Jan 22, 2021)


Vaccine reserve was exhausted when Trump administration vowed to release it, dashing hopes of expanded access

AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine-

When study participants were given both shots at intended dose (it is a two shot series), efficacy was around 62% (62% of people were protected from COVID, need more info about how that is defined).  When the first dose was accidentally given at half intended dose, but second dose was full dose, efficacy was 90%.  More studies being done to see if this difference in efficacy is real, and if so, why.  For now AZ is combing the results and claiming vaccine is about 70% effective overall.  This vaccine is less expensive than other front runners and requires less extreme cold storage (this introduces a lot of logistical challenges for other vaccines that require storage at much colder temperatures).

Pfizer vaccine-

This vaccine was developed via a partnership between BioEntech (a German company) and Pfizer.  Results were recently reported for the phase 3 trial, which was a randomized controlled trial with 44,000 participants.  Half of the subjects were given the vaccine and half were given a placebo (which was not a placebo).  At the end of the trial (how long was the trial?) 94 subjects had confirmed cases of coronavirus (how were cases confirmed?).  Much of the information about this trial has not been released yet (as of early November), but it has been calculated that if the effectiveness that was reported  of around 90% (why is this different than the 95% figure given elsewhere?) than no more than 9 of the 94 subjects who got sick were given the vaccine.  Final approval will be considered once the number of test subjects who get infected reaches 164. With such a brief period of study, and without more details about the trial, it is still to be seen whether the effectiveness rate is consistent in different populations, what long-term consequences and side effects there will be, how long the acquired immunity will last,  whether it will prevent people from being able to transmit the virus to others.  Pfizer says they will be able to make enough vaccine for 650 million people by the end of 2021 which isn't nearly enough for the global need.  It is estimated that around 4 billion people globally will need to be vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity. 

This vaccine was designed to introduce particles of mRNA (messenger RNA), the molecule that carries genetic information from the DNA to the organelle in the cell called a ribosome, which than makes the protein that the mRNA strand codes for.  In this case the mRNA contains instructions for making the spike protein which is on the surface of the virus and allows the virus to enter cells and cause infection.  The idea is that the body will than use these spike proteins to make antibodies against the virus so that the body can fight off the real virus more effectively when it encounters it in the future.  It is claimed that this vaccine could be altered relatively easily to fight additional versions of the virus created when mutations happen (which they already have). 

The Pfizer vaccine needs to be administered as two doses, given 21 days apart. It also needs to be kept at -94 degrees F, which introduces serious logistical problems. It can be stored at that ultra low temperature for as long as 6 months, but also kept at 35 to 46 degrees for up to 5 days. The company reports that if the vaccine warms up too much, the mRNA particles change shape and become ineffective. In much of the world there simply is not enough resources to store the vaccine at this low temperature. Even in the US few hospitals have the kind of freezers that can do this. Dry ice can be used, but that is only a temporary measure until it melts and getting more of it to where it is needed is problematic for the same reason that transporting the vaccine is in the first place. The type of freezer required for storage at such cold temperatures cost around $10 K to $15 each. Here in the US many hospitals have been operating at a loss for much of the pandemic so the high cost is a significant 

COVID Vaccine Explained In 6 Minutes

Why The Covid-19 Vaccines Must Be Kept So Cold

Moderna vaccine-

This vaccine also needs to be kept at a lower temperature than usual for vaccines, although the -4 degrees F it requires makes the logistics of transporting and storing it less problematic.  

Adverse Events from Vaccines-
2 Alaska Health Workers Got Emergency Treatment After Receiving Pfizer’s Vaccine

Boston Doctor Reports Serious Allergic Reaction After Getting Moderna’s Covid Vaccine




Regeneron is a monoclonal antibody cocktail.  They took antibodies from recovered patients and made more, and combines two different antibodies.  Helps keep the disease more mild, intended to reduce need for hospitalization and intensive care.  Needs to be used early in disease to help.

Beracitinib is an anti-inflammatory medicine.  Is used in combination with Remdesivir.  This combo helps people who are already on oxygen avoid more serious complications of the disease. 

Survival rates have improved. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Cheez Sauce (Dairy Free)

 Cheez Sauce

3 cups mashed vegetables

(any combo of carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, pumpkin, butternut or other squash, golden beets, cauliflower, parsnip, etc.  I think the flavor is best when several of these vegetables are used together.)

 1/4 c cooked onion, pureed

1/4 c olive oil (or other bland liquid oil)

2 T tapioca starch

1 T gelatin powder

1 T apple cider vinegar

2 tsp nutritional yeast

1-2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp mustard powder (or prepared mustard)

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 c water or broth to thin the mixture if needed

Optional- cayenne, chili powder, green chilies, pimentos, fresh garlic, fresh herbs such as cilantro, dill, chives, or even curry powder.

Boil and steam the vegetables then mash/puree them.  

Add all additional ingredients and puree in the blender. 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

How Do Ayahuasca and Other Psychadelics Affect the Brain?

How Ayahuasca (DMT) Affects the Inner Workings of the Brain Explained

 Ayahuasca hyper activates the Neo-cortex, the brain region where we perceive, reason, and make decisions.  It also activates the amygdala which stores our early emotional memories, in particular the very significant ones such as a death in the family.  It also activates the Insula which forms a bridge between our emotional urges and our ability to make decisions.  The Insula is where "feeling states" are created.  Our brains try to understand new experiences in terms of previous ones that are stored, especially those that are very strong or traumatic.  This creates imprints in the brain which are essentially pathways of repeated responses.  The more often the input is met and the pathway is activated, the stronger the pathway becomes.  They are built up like scar tissue.  Ayahuasca hyper activates the entire part of the brain that stores and processes emotional memories, and it may uncover memories that had been forgotten.  When hyper activated the brain is able to consciously over ride these entrenched pathways and create new responses to stimulii.  This often results in people who have used Ayahuasca gaining new perspectives on past experiences and being freed from earlier entrenched responses that where not serving them.

Mystical experiences occasioned by the hallucinogen psilocybin lead to increases in the personality domain of openness 

 "A large body of evidence, including longitudinal analyses of personality change, suggests that core personality traits are predominantly stable after age 30. To our knowledge, no study has demonstrated changes in personality in healthy adults after an experimentally manipulated discrete event. Intriguingly, double-blind controlled studies have shown that the classic hallucinogen psilocybin occasions personally and spiritually significant mystical experiences that predict long-term changes in behaviors, attitudes and values. In the present report we assessed the effect of psilocybin on changes in the five broad domains of personality – Neuroticism, Extroversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. Consistent with participant claims of hallucinogen-occasioned increases in aesthetic appreciation, imagination, and creativity, we found significant increases in Openness following a high-dose psilocybin session. In participants who had mystical experiences during their psilocybin session, Openness remained significantly higher than baseline more than 1 year after the session. The findings suggest a specific role for psilocybin and mystical-type experiences in adult personality change."

Monday, July 27, 2020

Simple Grain and Starch Sides

Garlic Bread

Make a paste of a combo of oil or melted butter and shortening or softened butter, add garlic that has been grated on a fine microplane, and garlic powder (and/or garlic granules) that has been "bloomed" in a small amount of water.  Onion powder and a small amount of cayenne are optional.  Toast bread in foil in a 450 oven. 

Fall Rice Pilaf

Cook 1 cup of a mix of brown and wild rice in broth (turkey or chicken works well).  Saute 1 sliced large leek, several diced ribs of celery, about 1/3 cup of diced parsnip, about a 1/4 cup of dried cranberries, a generous amount of rubbed sage, and chopped chestnuts if you can eat them.  Let cook for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Greek Lemon Rice

2 cups rice (basmati or jasmine work well)
4 cups stock
Juice of 1 lemon
2 large sprigs fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring ingredients to a boil, then simmer 15 to 20 minutes.

Simple Savory Snacks

Crispy Chickpeas

Add 1 T of oil to equivalent of 1 can of chickpeas (that are drained and very dry), then add 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper plus any other spices (curry powder, chipotle, smoked paprika, etc). Bake at 450 on a preheated cookie sheet for 20 to 25 minutes (stirring them around at least once during cooking time).

Olive Tapenade

2 cups pitted green olives
2 cloves of garlic
2 anchovy fillets
1 T capers
Juice of 1 lemon
Fresh Thyme
½ cup olive oil

-Pulse everything in a blender, than slowly add olive oil with blender running.

Friday, July 24, 2020

COVID 19 notes

COVID-19 most contagious in first 5 days of illness, study finds
This article reports on a study published in The Lancet medical journal that found that people with COVID 19 infections were most contagious during the first 5 days after developing symptoms. The study also looked at viral load and viral shedding.

How coronavirus spreads outdoors vs. indoors

What the Coronavirus looks like up close

Doctor Shares The Biggest Lie About COVID-19 | UK Data
Doctor uses data from UK to show that it's not "just" the elderly and infirm who get the more serious forms of coronavirus and who are risk for hospitalization and death. 

Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities — United States, July 2020 
 "Findings from a case-control investigation of symptomatic outpatients from 11 U.S. health care facilities found that close contact with persons with known COVID-19 or going to locations that offer on-site eating and drinking options were associated with COVID-19 positivity. Adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results."

Convalescent plasma and COVID   8/24/20
Today the FDA granted emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma as a treatment for COVID 19.  Plasma is a part of the blood that includes antibodies to diseases that the donor has immunity to or has at least fought off recently.  This treatment has been use for over 100 years, so it is not a new technology.  It has been tried as a treatment in many diseases during that time and has been shown to be only moderately effective, and in many cases completely ineffective.  It is not considered standard of care for any specific inspection.

The problem here is that the FDA granted this authorization on minimal evidence and evidence that does not meet even the lowest requirements for setting medical policy. The FDA based their decision on one open-label study of 35,000 patients which was evaluating the outcomes of the patients based on how soon in the disease process they received the treatment and how high or low the level of antibodies was in the plasma that they received. The study was not blinded or randomized, there was no control group and no placebo, no peer review, many patients who were given the plasma were also enrolled in other similar studies looking at Remdesivir, Hydroxychloraquine, and other treatments that differed from each other and may not have even been known by the studies authors. It has been given to about 100,000 Americans so far.

A Randomized Trial of Convalescent Plasma in Covid-19 Severe Pneumonia
"No significant differences were observed in clinical status or overall mortality between patients treated with convalescent plasma and those who received placebo."

A New COVID 19 Variant is Spreading in Europe
As many European countries are fighting a second wave of COVID cases, a new variant of the SARS Cov 2 virus has been found to be active in some (but not all) of these new rising numbers.  It seems to have originated in Spain and traveled quickly throughout Europe.  It seems to spread very effectively (possibly moreso than the original variant) and is now the dominant variant in some countries.  We are being told that this won't change the effectiveness of a vaccine if/when one is introduced, or that the illness caused by this variant is any different. 

In several cases glutathione has been used to improve respiratory symptoms. Viral infections can cause so much inflammation that the body doesn't have enough glutathione to protect the lungs, which leads to the difficulty breathing. Glutathione is safe and relatively inexpensive and can be tried at home.

Life After COVID-19 | Institute of Human Anatomy Update
This is a thorough explanation of why a negative COVID test is not required to return to work or school for people who have tested positive for COVID 19 in the past and who had symptoms.  This is the official stance of the CDC as well (the exception to this is if a person needs to travel, a negative test may be required in that case).  This seems counterintuitive to many people because people are assuming that a negative test will indicate when a person's infection is over and they are no longer contagious.  The reason is basically because the testing is done as PCR testing, which detects viral RNA particles regardless of whether the infection is current or past, meaning it does not differentiate who is contagious and who is not.  Anyone who has had COVID 19 could test positive regardless of whether they are still sick or over the infection.  Instead of a testing-based strategy to determine who is safe to return to school, work, or daily life, a symptom-based strategy is what is being used.  The guidelines for this are that a person is required to quarantine for at least 10 days after onset of symptoms, have no fever (without fever-reducing meds such as Tylenol or ibuprofen), and have improvement in symptoms.  For patients with severe cases or who are immune-compromised 20 days of quarantine is required instead of 10.  A symptom-based strategy also uses fewer tests so that those tests will be there if needed for a spike in cases, etc.

Long-term neurological manifestations are being seen in people who have recovered from COVID 19, including in children.  These can include acute encephalitis but may also appear as more general symptoms such as headache, fatigue, confusion, and more serious problems such as memory problems, problems with speech, psychotic symptoms, even seizures.  In some cases this seems to be part of the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children that can be one presentation of COVID 19.  References and relevant studies:

Neurologic and Radiographic Findings Associated With COVID-19 Infection in Children
" In a case series of 4 children with COVID-19 and neurological symptoms, all 4 patients had signal changes in the splenium of the corpus callosum on neuroimaging and required intensive care admission for the treatment of COVID-19 pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome."

The emerging spectrum of COVID-19 neurology: clinical, radiological and laboratory findings
"SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with a wide spectrum of neurological syndromes affecting the whole neuraxis, including the cerebral vasculature and, in some cases, responding to immunotherapies. The high incidence of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, particularly with haemorrhagic change, is striking. This complication was not related to the severity of the respiratory COVID-19 disease."

SARS-CoV-2 May Have Another Door Into Cells | SciShow News
Evidence suggests that the virus SARS Cov 2 can enter cells through the receptor ACE2, which has been known for awhile, but may also be able to enter through another protein called CD 147 (Cluster of Differentiation 147.  It is also called Emmprin, M6, or Basigin).  Many other viruses, including measles, HIV, and the original SARS COv virus can also use this protein to enter and infect cells.  This receptor is involved in cellular communication and coordination so it is found on many kinds of cells in many body systems.  Production of CD147 increases when blood sugar is high which might explain why people with diabetes have a higher risk from COVID.  Research so far shows that CD147 is also more commonly expressed in people with asthma, obesity, COPD, and hypertension.  This may also explain some skin rashes and blood clotting that seem to be symptoms of some COVID infections.  Antibodies, including those for COVID, can stick to red blood cells and make them "sticky" and prone to clotting.  Red blood cells don't have ACE2 receptors but they do have CD147 receptors (this is the same receptor that malaria parasites use to get into them).  Endothelial cells also express CD147 and this might explain how the virus causes high blood pressure.  A medication called Meplazumab binds to CD147 so that viruses can't use it and preliminary research sows that this drug helps reduce the severity of COVID infection.  The antibiotic Azithromycin also seems to block the CD147 receptor and is also used to treat malaria, so maybe it will be an effective option?

How the Coronavirus Hijacks Your Cells
The SARS Cov 2 virus has been found to enter human cells via the ACE2 receptor, which stands for Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2.  This receptor is found primarily throughout the respiratory tract and the GI tract.  Once inside the cell, the virus releases its RNA which then directs the cell to make proteins for it including ones which keep the immune system at bay and others needed to replicate the virus.  Each cell can produce as many as 600,000 new viral particles.  The SARS Cov2 virus appears to not kill the infected cells as quickly as many other viruses do which could lead to a longer period of being contagious before showing symptoms and realizing that you are sick.  Alcohols and bleach kill the virus by altering the pH or disrupting the cell membrane, making the cell unable to replicate.  Higher temperatures make the virus less stable and not able to survive as long.

Invasive Aspergillosis as an Under-recognized Superinfection in COVID-19 
"Taken together, these early findings suggest that invasive aspergillosis may be an important, yet under-recognized, complication of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The frequency of post-COVID-19 aspergillosis is likely to differ significantly between hospitals and geographic sites, as has been observed with postinfluenza aspergillosis"

"We are living in an unprecedented era of fungal infections, characterized by the emergence of previously unrecognized human pathogens and well-recognized pathogens causing new manifestations of disease. The spectrum of “at-risk” populations for invasive Aspergillus infections is expanding, with increased appreciation of diseases such as chronic pulmonary infection and postinfluenza aspergillosis. Fungal superinfections are difficult to distinguish from severe COVID-19 based on clinical or imaging findings, and a high index of suspicion is necessary to diagnose aspergillosis. If aspergillosis is a complication of COVID-19 in a significant minority of critically ill hospitalized patients, failure to recognize or diagnose the disease will likely lead to excess mortality. For this reason, it is imperative to establish the incidence, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of COVID-19-associated aspergillosis as quickly as possible." 

MMR Vaccine May Confer Non-Specific Immune Protection Against COVID 19

The people with hidden immunity against Covid-19
 It has been noticed that many people who have recovered from COVID do not show antibodies to the virus, and that many of those who do have antibodies that last nor more than 3 months.  This implies that long-term immunity to COVID may not be based on antibody titers but other mech-
anisms may be necessary or significant.

"When researchers tested blood samples taken years before the pandemic started, they found T cells which were specifically tailored to detect proteins on the surface of Covid-19".
"T cells are a kind of immune cell, whose main purpose is to identify and kill invading pathogens or infected cells. It does this using proteins on its surface, which can bind to proteins on the surface of these imposters. Each T cell is highly specific – there are trillions of possible versions of these surface proteins, which can each recognize a different target. Because T cells can hang around in the blood for years after an infection, they also contribute to the immune system’s “long-term memory” and allow it to mount a faster and more effective response when it’s exposed to an old foe. "

Some people test negative to the antibodies but positive for t-cells that recognize COVID virus. This could mean that there is twice as much natural immunity to the virus than previously thought. About 40 to 60% of unexposed people have these t-cells. This is causing some researchers to refocus their attention onto t-cell based immunity as a more promising road to meaningful treatment. To understand the importance of t-cells (also called t-lymphocytes) look at patients in late-stage AIDS- the unusual cancers, the fevers, fatigue, weight-loss. sores, etc. The Oxford vaccine induces both an antibody and a t-cell response. However in severely affected patients many of these cells seem to be disappearing out of the blood stream. It has been suggested that the cells may be moving to affected parts of the body. However there also appears to be a pattern of necrosis happening at areas such as the spleen where many t-cells are found. Necrosis of the spleen is generally a sign of t-cell disease, such as AIDS. If t-cells are being destroyed this could explain why the elderly are so much more effected.

Neutralizing antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in a COVID-19 recovered patient cohort and their implications Longitudinal evaluation and decline of antibody responses in SARS-CoV-2 infection 

Longitudinal evaluation and decline of antibody responses in SARS-CoV-2 infection 

Monday, July 20, 2020

Sound Healing

The Note from Heaven - a film on Githa Ben-David by Lars Muhl

 Githa Ben-David learned to sing in a spiritual way while studying in India and later developed this practice as a healing modality.  Her method of singing involves overtones and elongated sounds.  This video demonstrates how to pronounce the different sounds for those people who are reading her book and/or studying her method. 

Using sound waves to destroy cancer | Christine Gibbons | TEDxDetroit

A new treatment for cancer is presented here, called Histotripsy, which uses sound energy delivered by ultrasound to destroy cancerous tumors.  Using sound to create heat to kill tumors has been tried, but this is a new approach that actually uses the sound to create mechanical forces.  These mechanical forces are more precise than heat and lead to less pain and faster recovery.  This concept is illustrated at 3:38 

Music Medicine: Sound At A Cellular Level | Dr. Lee Bartel | TEDxCollingwood

Some sounds have a rhythmic structure that allow them to impact cells in the body.  This offers a potential new modality for treating brain disorders.  Many functions of our brains, such as controlling movement and memory, are controlled by circuits in the brain comprised of sections of the rbain that work in coordination.  This coordination is maintained with brain waves that have a specific frequency (in the brain this is generally 40 Hz).  This speaker presents evidence that treatment with 40 Hz is able to improve brain function patients with Alzheimer's.  The speaker mentions a consumer product that seems capable of providing this therapy outside of a treatment center called the Sound Oasis Vibro Acoustic Therapy System (VTS1000)...worth checking into?  He refers to a study done at MIT (at 10:14) that found that exposing a person to lights that flicker at 40 hz for 7 hours can reduce the amount of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain by more than 50%.  Additional related publications are listed at 10:40  He discusses a pilot study done with fibromyalgia patients (12:30 includes citation) as well as more rigorous studies, all showing a lot of promise.  Potential new targets for treatment include Major Depression, Parkinson's, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, bone density, and blood flow (may reduce risks from stroke and heart attack).