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August 2007 Feingold Email Newsletter
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Dear Feingold Association Members & Friends,

The Great Plains Lab and New Beginnings Nutritionals, and Autism Today will sponsor a conference September 29 to October 1, focusing on autism, PDD, ADHD, and behavioral disorders. It will be held at the Delta Kitchener-Waterloo in Kitchener, Ontario, for parents, care givers, educators, and practitioners. Saturday and Sunday will be for parents and practitioners, while the Monday sessions will be physician training, for licensed practitioners only. The cost to attend will be $99 for one day, $149 for the 2-day conference, and $189 for the 3-day attendance (for physicians and practitioners).

FAUS will have an exhibit table, and I will be speaking about the Feingold Program at 2:15 p.m., Saturday. I will be flying into Buffalo on Friday and driving from there. Got my passport ready. Anybody from Buffalo want to come along? See more information about the other speakers and what they will talk about.

If you scroll down on the flyer, you will see the phone numbers for hotel reservations, a reservation form for the conference, etc.

Following the conference by a few weeks, there will also be an Outreach Clinic in Canada. You can see the details by scrolling all the way to the bottom of the flyer at the above link.

The FAUS Supplements Guide is published at least three times a year, and it is provided as part of new member materials, as well as when the member's subscription to Pure Facts is renewed (yearly). The most recent printing was in June, 2007, and includes some of the New Beginnings Nutritionals products. New Beginnings is working hard at getting all their products accepted by FAUS. FAUS members: Take a look at the date of your copy of the Supplements Guide — if you decide it is time to get a new one, you may do so here or go to the Home Page and click on Member Services, and then on the top order form link, for only $2.00 plus S/H.

The 2007-2008 Feingold School Year Calendar has just been printed, and will be included FREE in all new membership material packets as long as supplies last. They will also be sent to current "Pure Facts" subscribers. Nonmembers or those who need more than one may get them on the website for a $10 donation, of which $5 is tax deductible.

The School Year Calendar, which runs from September through August, is a lot more than just a calendar!

It contains ads from companies that provide many of the hard-to-find foods our families enjoy. Want to locate natural strawberry marshmallow creme? How about all natural red and white striped candy canes, or jelly beans, or ready-to-eat meals? Chewing gum, lollypops and popsicles are available. Did you know that there are numerous homeopathic (non-drug) remedies for your family? Want to find a purer version of health and beauty products? Do you need special allergy foods or gluten-free products? There's even a listing of the advertiser's email addresses so you can access more information.

The Calendar is also a handy resource for information about our program - for yourself, or to help you explain the diet to others. The first page describes the Feingold Association, what we do, and the materials we provide. Then near the back you will find a simple one-page description of the program. Do you want a simple guide to the Stage One and Stage Two foods? Here's where you will find it.

Our favorite part is the stories and photos of our kids. Your children will enjoy seeing pictures of kids like themselves, who know how important good food can be.

And don't overlook the seasonal hints and ADHD information that can make a Feingolder's life easier. This year's calendar even includes some folk remedy favorites for dealing with cuts, insect stings and cold sores.

Your child's teacher might benefit from understanding more about our program. Your neighbors and relatives might be more cooperative if they understood why you don't want them feeding your kids petrochemicals.

It is commonly recognized that children with ADHD often have other problems, such as asthma, bed wetting, skin problems, or chronic ear infections. More recently, it has also been discovered that people with Celiac Disease (CD) have a much higher rate of ADHD symptoms than people without it. You may see the study, including the full text.

Celiac Disease is a disorder of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. Common symptoms of CD include gas and diarrhea. However, it is now recognized that there are many other symptoms that can be caused by this disorder, including such apparently unrelated symptoms as joint or muscle pain, behavioral problems, or seizures. Because they are often not recognized as suffering from CD, they are often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. More information and a comprehensive list of likely symptoms and methods of diagnosis can be found at the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse web site.

People who have CD cannot tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat and other grains. The gluten damages or flattens the tiny finger-like projections called villi, that line the walls of the small intestine. Without healthy villi, the person cannot absorb nutrients from the food. Because gluten is used in so many products, people with CD must avoid not only bread but many processed foods as well as nonfood items we may lick without thinking about it, such as envelope glue, and even certain medicines and vitamins. Luckily, there are many manufacturers today making products - even pretzels and cookies - without gluten, and there is a recognition of the need to inform customers. You will now be noticing "No Gluten" or "Gluten Free" signs on the labels of many products; that information helps those with CD find acceptable foods. If you need to avoid gluten for your family, check out the various resources on our site, and at the GFCF Diet web site, which is another good web site for more information about products.

The topic of school food is important to every person who cares about nutrition and health, whether or not they have school age children. This is the place where the value of healthy food can be demonstrated — quickly and dramatically. Schools replace junk with better food in order to improve health, but once they make these changes they notice improved behavior and learning — often to the surprise of the teachers, staff and parents.

The movement to better school food is exciting, but while there is plenty of enthusiasm, there is generally a lack of direction, and too little common sense. (Did you see the TV special about Shaquille O'Neal's work with obese kids, where chef Tyler Florence attempted to make dramatic changes in a school cafeteria's food in one day?) But complicated problems sometimes have simple solutions, and the Feingold Association specializes in finding these kinds of answers. This is why I am so excited about the lead article in the September issue of Pure Facts.

While celebrities, policy makers and communities stumble over all the issues they have created, one Feingold mom has quietly resolved these things in her community's schools. She provides healthy food that tastes great, that the children enjoy, and at a lower cost than the awful food previously served.

Plan to make photo copies of this information and share it with anyone in your community who cares!

As long ago as 1994, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman, Senator Patrick J. Leahy, said:

"It may be true, as the advertising slogan says, that things go better with Coke. But school lunch is not one of them" ...

"I have stood on the Senate floor and defended child-nutrition programs hundreds of times. I have fended off attacks from drug companies, petty crooks, price fixers, budget cutters and critics of all kinds. I never thought I would see the day that I would have to defend our child-nutrition programs under heavy attack from the Coca-Cola Company, one of America's corporate giants, with worldwide profits of $2.1 billion last year."

At that time, Senator Leahy was trying to restrict or ban the sale of soft drinks and other items he considered of "minimal nutritional value."

It is illuminating to see how the Big Guys Who Might Lose Money responded:

The Coca-Cola Company organized a letter-writing campaign by school principals, superintendents and coaches, who feared they would lose the money they get from vending machines.

Coca-Cola said:

"We want to put soft drinks within arm's reach of desire. We strive to make soft drinks widely available, and schools are one channel we want to make them available in."

In 2001, however, Coke realized that this attitude no longer looked so good, so they changed it. They announced a new policy to "aggressively discourage bottlers from making exclusive arrangements with schools to promote the sale of soda."

Acknowledging the growing criticism, Jeffrey Dunn, president of Coca-Cola's North American group, publicly admitted that soft drink companies have become too aggressive in marketing soda to secondary school students.

"As we looked at this situation, we could see the pendulum had swung too far in one way," Dunn said. "We have to bring it back and get more balance and respond to the issues from parents and educators out there. We plan to change the flow of this river."

Coca-Cola bottlers were instructed to begin scaling back the large and bright advertising on their vending machines, and to encourage distributors to offer more bottled water, juice, milk and less-sugary drinks.

Senator Leahy countered with:

"There's probably a little more fizz than substance in this announcement. I certainly hope that school districts agree to get out of the exclusive contract business, but the larger issue here is that schoolchildren are drinking so much soda in schools. Taxpayers are paying hundreds of millions of dollars for a federal school lunch program, but many kids are filling up on empty calories before lunch. That's what has to change."

Pressure to limit secondary school soda contracts increased significantly after the release of the following two critical reports:

  • A study in the Lancet, a medical journal, directly linked obesity to soft drink consumption for the first time (Lancet. 2001 Feb 17;357(9255), pp.505-8.)

  • A report from the Agriculture Department raised concerns that soda was replacing school lunches for many children.

Although Dunn said he expected Coca-Cola bottlers to follow the company's recommendations, a spokesman for the Mid-Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company said that it would continue to listen to the "needs of local school officials."

Note that all the above took place SIX YEARS AGO, so go to your child's school and see how much progress has been made since these changes were proposed. If you are disappointed, by all means let your school know.

Fast forward to 2005: The Big Guys Who Might Lose Money are trying on their new "look."

At the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year, PepsiCo reached 3 million students by sending educational materials on fitness to elementary schools. In March, the company targeted all 15,000 middle schools in the United States with its get-fit message. They also created a web site devoted to showing how much they care about children’s health. The site claims that “kid-friendly” school snacks such as Doritos and Pepsi are “part of a balanced diet.”

Susan Linn, a psychologist at Harvard’s Judge Baker Children’s Center and author of Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood, says:

“If companies like McDonald’s and Pepsi really cared about children’s health, they would stop hawking their wares in schools.”

(Her book can be purchased through Amazon)

Meanwhile, at a conference on childhood obesity at Harvard University, Dr. Maxime Buyckx, Coca-Cola’s director of nutrition and health sciences, denied any scientific connection between soda and obesity, despite the Lancet study mentioned above — which had actually been done at Harvard, and which had concluded that each additional soda a child drinks a day increases their risk of obesity by 60 percent.

Sources of the above information:

The lead article in the August 2007 issue of Worst Pills / Best Pills News, which is published by Public Citizen, describes the warnings that pharmacists will be required to distribute with each new and refill prescription for all ADHD drugs sold in the U.S. Basically, the warnings are of two types: Heart-related and psychiatric. Before starting on any of these drugs, children should be checked for heart problems, and they should continue to have their blood pressure and heart rate checked regularly while taking them, according to the new rulings.

Heart-related warnings include:

  • Sudden death in patients with heart defects
  • Stroke or heart attack in adults (the age at which a child is considered an "adult" is not specified)
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate

Psychiatric warnings include:

  • New or worse behavior and thought problems
  • New or worse bipolar illness
  • New or worse aggressive behavior or hostility
  • New psychotic symptoms such as hearing voices, believing things that are not true, or becoming suspicious
  • New manic symptoms

You are urged to tell your doctor about any mental problems you or your child have, or about a family history of suicide, bipolar illness, or depression. You are also warned to call your doctor right away if you or your child (presumably whichever one of you is actually taking the medication) have any new or worsening mental symptoms or problems while taking the medication, especially seeing or believing things that are not real.

Patients are also warned to seek medical attention as soon as possible if they experience any signs of heart problems such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting.

This warning will apply to all ADHD drugs except Strattera (atomoxetine) which has additional warnings about suicidal thoughts which can be caused by the medication.

We generally consider a stroke to be something that happens only to the very old, but this is unfortunately not true. Moreover, as more people take stimulant medication, we may well see an increase in strokes among young adults, and even children. Although there are now clot-busting drugs and other therapies that can make an almost miraculous difference to the outcome of a stroke, the trick is recognizing it and getting the patient to the hospital in time. 600,000 people will have a stroke this year, and 160,000 of them are expected to die, according to the Snopes article on stroke recognition. In this article, they discuss both the good advice and the nonsense often disseminated through the Internet about dealing with possible stroke.

If you are with someone who takes a tumble, or has some other major or minor symptom, there are three things to ask them, which you can remember by thinking of the first three letters of stroke — S T R:

S SMILE Ask the person to smile. If they can't, or the smile is crooked, they may be having a stroke.
T TALK Ask the person to say or repeat a simple sentence, i.e., "It is sunny out today." If they are not coherent, or they slur their words, they may be having a stroke.
R RAISE Ask the person to raise both arms. If they cannot, or they cannot raise them equally, they may be having a stroke.

Of course, there are other symptoms that a professional health care person would recognize, and stroke symptoms can include any of the following: numbness of the face, leg, or arm, especially on one side; difficulty seeing in one or both eyes; mental confusion or substitution of other words for those that they intend to say; or sudden severe headache of unknown origin. Symptoms sometimes suggestive of stroke include difference in strength between the two hands when asked to squeeze your hands, and a tongue that appears crooked when sticking it out. Unfortunately, these are difficult for the layman because the untrained person may not be able to tell whether the difference in strength is significant, or to know how much "crookedness" in a tongue is too much. If all you can remember are the first three letters of stroke — S T R — and use them, you may save a life.