On my 30 something birthday last night Leah and I spent 3 hours watching a very interesting webinar given by Dr. William Shaw (Great Plains Labs). We signed up for this webinar months ago and have been anxiously counting down the days ever since. What got us so excited was the teaser that said, “Why is the autism rate in Cuba so much lower than in the US and is there a single environmental factor that is causing the rise in autism?” We couldn’t wait to find out! The following is a summary of what we learned.
Disclaimer: This is a summary off the top of our heads. It is how we would explain it one mom to another. If you are really interested in this, we suggest you get the facts straight from “the horse’s mouth” by attending Dr. Shaw’s next free webinar, “Unraveling the Cause of the Autism Epidemic: Identifying the Single Most Important Factor” on Friday, January 20th. Register at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/357651425.
First, Dr. Shaw discussed the difference in the autism rates between Cuba and the USA. In Cuba, the autism rate is .00168% where as, in the USA it is .50%. Putting this into perspective, the autism incidence rate in the USA is 298 times higher than the rate in Cuba! So, the first question to be answered was, do vaccinations have anything to do with this difference? The answer was no!
Cuba has a similarly aggressive vaccine schedule to the USA. Children by the age of 6 typically receive 34 vaccine agents and about 99% of the population complies with the vaccine requirements (which is significantly higher than the compliance in the USA). Vaccinations were clearly not the reason for the difference in the autism rates between the USA and Cuba.
Then, Dr. Shaw began to investigate if there was a link between acetaminophen (Tylenol) and autism. He presented a graph showing the autism rate prior to the 1980s where the rate held steady for years and years at about 1 in 10,000. Then, in the 1980s there was the Reye’s Syndrome scare about Aspirin. Aspirin sales went into the toilet. At that time, Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol sales began to significantly increase. What’s interesting is that as Tylenol sales increased, so did the rate of autism. And even more interesting was that, when there were two separate scares about Tylenol (when Tylenol was tampered with and there were several deaths as a result) and Tylenol sales dipped, so did the rate of autism! And guess what, in Cuba there are no over the counter sales of acetaminophen. It is prescription only and you are only allowed 20 tablets maximum. In addition, Cuba does not use acetaminophen prophylactically (i.e., they do not give it before and after vaccines to prevent pain, fever, and swelling). As a side note, Cuba uses a product called Metamizole for fevers. So, Dr. Shaw began to suspect that there is a strong correlation between autism and acetaminophen use.
Next, Dr. Shaw went over the four pathways used by the body to get rid of acetaminophen. If for some reason your body can’t use three of the four healthy pathways (like is often the case in autism), your body ends up using a pathway called “NAPQI” which causes liver damage and depletes your glutathione. In a nut shell, acetaminophen lowers glutathione which then inhibits key enzymes and binds and deactivates proteins (essentially it messes up everything in the body).
The adverse effects of acetaminophen use associated with autism were discussed next. Acetaminophen can cause immune system disorders, allergies, asthma, cholesterol problems, difficulty getting rid of clostridia, elevated dopamine, defective sulfation, and mitochondrial disorders.
As a side note, acetaminophen is even more dangerous when taken on an empty stomach (when sick) or after you’ve been drinking which is often exactly when we use it! Acetaminophen is the number one cause of acute liver failure in the USA.
Bottom line: Question your acetaminophen use.
Something else we found interesting. There have been several fairly recent violations pertaining to acetaminophen. Plants were shut down because the true amount of the drug per dose was more than what was on the label (leading to overdose), another plant was shut down for grime, and there have been several product recalls for Tylenol having a “mold like odor.”
Dr. Shaw dropped a bomb at the end of the presentation. We highly suggest you stay on the call until the bitter end in order to hear it for yourself. It was a jaw dropping moment for us! We really want you to take the time to listen to Dr. Shaw so we are just going to give you a teaser here… Johnson & Johnson, Autism Research Institute (ARI), Thoughtful House, Dr. Wakefield, and Defeat Autism Now (DAN!).
Enjoy connecting the dots and let us know your thoughts.
For an update on this topic please read https://ventography.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/update-from-dr-shaw-acetaminophen-and-autism-connection/.
If you want to stay updated about news on this topic and future studies, please visit Dr. Shaw’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/acetaminophenandautism.
Warning from the FDA March 2014.
UPDATE February 25, 2014: TYLENOL IS LINKED TO MORE THAN ADHD… WHAT THE MEDIA ISN’T TELLING YOU!