What’s making our children sick?

Jill Carlson is a book author, mother of three married children and grandmother of seven children. Here she reviews the eye-opening new book: What's Making Our Children Sick? by Michelle Perro, MD and research scientist Dr. Vincanne Adams.

What would you do for these kids? 

Mike… at age ten became angry and rebellious. His family of six was close-knit: boy scouts, church, Sunday dinners, time together. But after Mike started punching holes in the wall and frightening them enough to call the police, they began taking him to one doctor after another. By the fourth doctor, he was on ADHD medications, antidepressants and an antianxiety drug. Mike got worse. 

Carlos… The problems began just after his 18-month checkup, which included vaccines. He shortly stopped talking and laughing. He barely ate enough to keep alive. He screamed and “stimmed” (flapped his arms up and down). He had stomach aches and constipation. At age two he was diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder. 

Zoe... at age three, had outbursts of biting and hitting preschool classmates. A pediatrician suggested to the parents that a second child — their new baby at home — was the problem. He sent Zoe to a psychiatrist, who prescribed anti-psycotic Risperdal. Its side effects were worse than the outburst symptoms. 

Enter Michelle Perro, MD,  pediatrician.  She takes more than the standard 15 minutes to diagnose, label and send your child home to founder. She listens to the mother, the father and the child. She is also one who still uses a few mainstream medical interventions like vaccines, drugs and frequent blood panels. 

Dr. Perro worked with the above children, and hundreds of others. Although many of these patients had conditions meriting a multi-pronged approach including homeopathy, cranial manipulation and sometimes antibiotics, for ALL of them, changing the source of their family’s food was the common Rx. For some of these children, eating organic foods was the only change needed. That’s right. Most often, however, Dr. Perro’s patients came to her after months, sometimes years — of wrong diagnoses, dangerous drugs, and parents frazzled to the core. 

In mainstream medicine, digestive symptoms typically lead to allergy testing, antacids, keeping the parents' Epi-pen close at hand, and avoidance of problem foods.  Behavioural changes, on the other hand, all too often lead to psychiatrists and psychotic drugs. 

But what if just putting the entire family on pesticide-free organic foods could make dramatic changes — even paving the roads that lead out of autism and food allergies? 

If you’ve come this far with this review, perhaps you’ll open Dr. Perro’s astounding book, and read What’s Making Our Children Sick cover to cover. 

Dr. Perro has a solid medical background. She began her work in the Metropolitan Hospital Center of New York City and moved to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California. After 36 years of watching America’s children decline in health, she’s digging hard for answers. Her own pediatric practice in California is a leading resource for those answers.

In What’s Making Our Children Sick, Perro teams with Vincanne Adams, PhD, a medical anthropologist who tracks multiple systems: health care, societal, epidemiological, political, cultural and a host of other isms, to see how they converge into real answers for real people. 

Here’s what they see: 

* Every epidemiological disease marker in America is rising fast. In a parabolic upward curve.

* Agricultural breakdown is escalating as GMO-linked herbicides trigger weed resistance, and fungal invasions require yet more killer sprays. Our entire ecology and the industrial food system which stems from it — our water, soil, food and air — is contaminated with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. The biggest medical challenge: glyphosate (a main ingredient in Roundup), which has health impacts at food-residue levels below those considered safe by U.S. "protective" agencies. 

* Standard medical practice does not look for answers in the right places. (Some important procedures and tests which actually heal children do not even have a billing code for insurance purposes.) 

* Sickness begins and escalates in the gut. 

* Very few professionals are looking seriously at why children’s guts are damaged. Food is seldom seen as a factor. 

* A multiple-pronged approach heals children. 

* Sick children respond favorably to changes in diet — in as little as three days.   

* Our GMO industrial-driven food system needs repair. 

But repair alone is not where Dr. Perro begins. Rather, she uses the 5-R approach: remove, replace, reinoculate, repair, rebalance. 

Remove. A child may respond quickly to diet change, so the job of watchdogging and permanently removing favorite foods from the family cupboards is usually Mom's burden. Watch out for the new Tiger Mom of children’s health. In fact she is so politically potent that the corporate world (and moms who disdain Tiger Mom's diet enforcement) call these healing mothers Sancti-mommies

Replace is simple in theory. Rolling your grocery cart through the organic section may look budget-bending — until you remember your previous budget-buster of going to the doctor 50 times a year. Dr. Perro’s food regimen is strict: No GMOs, nothing but organic food, no glyphosate-sprayed non-GMO grains and beans either (oats, barley, wheat and dry bean growers use glyphosate to artificially “die down” the crop for uniform harvest). Perro warns that the glyphosate which kills weeds in the GMO lineup now inhabits most of our bodies and does its mischief by killing friendly bacteria in our guts. Digestive Disorder clinics are springing up like mushrooms. Ever notice? 

Reinoculate. No, it’s not about more vaccines. It’s about healing the gut biome — the newly labeled body village of microbes which eat, inhabit, mend, remove, repair and change the gut from a gurgling, unpredictable cauldron of undigested and poisoned matter into a friendly village of microscopic soldiers whose first job is to heal.

Dr. Perro starts this reinoculating process by giving her patients probiotics, herbs and homeopathic remedies prescribed for each child’s needs. Once the biome begins to repopulate, it can more efficiently utilize vitamins and minerals. This new step is not about killing pathogens with antibiotics (which are often the major culprit in a child’s damaged biome). It is about arming the original gut soldiers so they can do what they were designed for. 

Repair naturally follows. Now the body’s own armory of enzymes, microbes and digestive juices can follow the natural order set up by the gut biome. Some researchers are even beginning to call the Biome a body organ. The Biome is possibly the most important of all our systems. Perro consistently orders blood panels, other tests and extra probiotics so she can safely begin the next step. 

Rebalance. This is an eye-opening long term project. Getting the child to know his own body, plus educating the parents in how to feed and care for their precious child, involves a new way of looking at soils, grocery stores, snacks at home and school — and understanding that, given the right tools, the body can do its own healing.

When parents see their child responding in health, vigor and mental stability — when they see their child’s anger dissipating and a natural rhythm establishing itself — they know what questions to ask, how to manage the little ups and downs. And perhaps, just perhaps, these new moms will join coalitions, speak out — and put their government watchdogs’ collective feet to the fire. 

Watch out! There may be just such a mom in your neighborhood.