Thursday, March 27, 2008

Why a Guy Named Kurt Tyson Should Start Apologizing

(child injecting insulin)

Several months ago, I stumbled upon this video on raw food diets:

I originally found it on, but it seems to have been taken down (??).

A little less than halfway through the video, a guy name Kurt Tyson, who is narrating, says "Hi my name is Kurt Tyson, and I was diagnosed with type I diabetes. I was chosen out of hundreds of applicants to be one of six people to participate in a unique opportunity. For thirty days, we ate nothing but raw, live foods, and took supplements under the direction of Dr. Gabriel Cousins here at the Tree of Life. Since then I have returned to the real world, and I am excited to say that I have been diabetes free for over a year and a half now. Currently, I am attending Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, where I am studying to become a naturopathic doctor because I want to help people live healthier lifestyles."

Here is why you should be disturbed by that statement, and why Kurt Tyson should start apologizing:

Type I diabetes is not the same as type II.

Type I diabetes occurs when your pancreas does not have the ability to produce any insulin. The islet cells in the pancreas are permanently destroyed in the pathological process of type I. This can't be cured, at least not yet, and there is no diet to save you from a type I diagnosis.

If you have type I, you have to take insulin via injection or insulin pump in order to live.

It is NOT at all like type II, in which the body just has reduced ability to use the insulin it produces (or produces less of it) which case I could certainly see that a raw food diet (which would significantly reduce fat and carbohydrate consumption) "making a type II better."

This video looks like a pretty big production. It is hard to imagine that the guy could have simply misspoke. There seem to be two plausible possibilities here:

1. This guy was either misdiagnosed with type I, or

2. He is misleading the audience (I noticed he said, "I was diagnosed with type I diabetes" rather than "I had type I diabetes.")

Either way, this claim destroys any shred of credibility in the video. This type of misinformation can make people dangerously ill. It can KILL people. Worse yet, on the video Mr. Tyson says he is studying to become a naturopathic doctor. Really??!! Would you want this guy as your doctor, naturopathic or not...this man who can't distinguish between two distinctly different medical conditions that happen to share part of a name, this man who purports a cure to an incurable condition?!?

You know who really ought to be concerned is the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. This is not good for their credibility, and if they are letting this guy go on believing this stuff, they are promoting irresponsible "medicine."

I have seen someone make himself very ill trying to treat type I diabetes through herbal treatment. This smacks of a new version of the same thing.

Let's hear some apologizing Mr. Tyson. Please. Or if you have misunderstood the condition until now, would you please make a public correction of the dangerous misinformation you spread?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lost Videos

So I discovered after my last post (which I wrote over several weeks before posting), that all videos by Christschool have been taken off You Tube by Christschool himself. I don't know what happened, but I know for a very long time that he has taken a lot of grief from You Tube users who hurl insults for entertainment.

In any case, I am so saddened by the loss of his videos, which were a major piece of my writings below. I do hope that you can perhaps get some idea of what the videos were about by the context of my posts. But after all the time I have put into this, I admit that this is a huge let down.

So sad.

The Last of My Autistic Allie Series...For Now

The following post is the final post for now from my series called "Journey of an Aspiring Allie." If you have just started reading, I hope you will go back and read the series in order. The first post of the series was on 1/27. The series is in the form of a guided video tour. It's just the way MY mind works.

I do also hope you will watch the videos exactly as posted in the text, as a break before reading further. I had attempted to learn to imbed videos in my posts but was unable to do so. Like recent posts in this series, this post contains a number of videos of varying lengths. I will wait a week or so to post again so that I can give folks time to get through all this.

I suspect that you may find it possible to get through this post only in parts, depending on how much time you have available to you at any given moment. __________________________________________________________

So this is the deal:

This matters.

This post is about the difference that how we view and respond to neurological diversity makes.

There is a school in MA, the state where I am now living, that practices among other abuses, electric shock behavioral management on those children with "mental retardation," "autism," and other related "issues."

What types of behaviors are being managed in this fashion? The "worst of the worst?" If you don't have time to watch the whole video that follows, watch the first 2 minutes and fifty five seconds, so you get the context of what the video is talking about, and then the last part of the video, 8:20-9:59.

We're talking about electric shock for hand flapping, as an example. Yes, that is right. Shocking children when they flap their hands as they speak. The video clip at the end is directly from the school itself.

Even non-autistic people occasionally flap their hands. Remember this video, featuring Bill Gates? Do we or do we not live in the 21st century?!

This is not an issue that can be isolated, however, to the abuses of just one school, an issue affecting a minority of children and individuals. This is a part of an ongoing but historic disregard for the humanity of individuals who do not conform to the "norm" and/or individuals with "disabilities."

The following is a video on the work of a man named Ivaar Lovaas. His story is one of a historical nature, but it continues to play out in our current times. Ivaar Lovaas pioneered an autism "treatment protocol," known as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), that is still widely used and-- despite many controversies- very much considered "mainstream."

The breadth and scope of impact from this disregard for humanity can not be covered even in a series of posts. But what I can do is at least indicate the severity of the matter. This is where the pieces start to come together in a big way. Check out the following written tribute, largely highlighting DAN (Defeat Autism Now) from a magazine for which I have deep respect and for which I have even spent four or five years of my life volunteering. Note the connection between ABA and DAN:

I respectfully disagree with a great deal of the stuff written in that tribute.

On rare but significant occasion, children have died because of DAN-recommended treatment protocols (take chelation...a response to concerns that heavy metals in vaccines were causing autism). Children have been subjected to scientifically unsound or experimental and very stressful treatments (take, for example, medicinal regimens involving countless injected and oral supplements and medication...some children taking 40, 50, even 6o medications and supplements daily...along with all the side effects. Or, as another example, take hyperbaric oxygen chambers).

When I can stop crying long enough, I can sometimes laugh at the absurdity:

After all this, one has to return to the question, just what is it we are trying to defeat, anyway? Far from a turn toward reason, this question leads straight to some of the most dark and frightening aspects of the entire conversation. The following video is a marketing tool for an organization called "Autism Speaks," which contrary to its name, is not the voice of autistics speaking out in any form (if you want to know why I say that, see: and and Otherwise, proceed to the video posted below).

Last I heard, unlike the largest Down Syndrome organization in the United States, Autism Speaks (which is the largest autism organization in the United States), does not allow autistic adults to serve on its board or participate in its organization in any meaningful way other than to present to the outside world a negative view of their condition.

Now watch this. It is, at least, the voice of one autistic adult:

And think about this (image...not a video):

But worse, while this video is a powerful marketing tool for Autism Speaks, it is devastation rhetoric (to which young people as well as parents of newly diagnosed children are especially vulnerable). It contributes to the pervasive negative societal images of autistics. It contributes to those conditions in our culture that create bullying and other peer-to-peer abuse for autistics. And within days after it came out, at least one autistic child was killed by her mother, possibly after viewing the video.

Autism is not a "painful disease" as it is characterized in this film. It is a condition that makes some neurotypical folks uncomfortable, but it also represents another way of being in this world. It is wonderful there are so many diverse ways we can be present in our bodies and in our environments. What are we so afraid of? Handflapping? Seriously?!

I ask again, what is it we are trying to defeat?

Am I anti-cure? I don't know. But I do know that it matters how we view autism. It matters for all of us.

Last of personal posts for a while:

I am back from a busy month, and I am getting ready to post again. I'll be returning to opinions, politics, religion, medical ethics, and that sort of thing with my next post, so this will be my last personal post for a while.

Just to tie up some loose ends:

1. We finally SOLD the house! Someone got a sweet deal on it, but now we can move on. In this market, we're lucky to have sold at all.

2. I am still undergoing the necessary neurological testing. I have an appointment on Friday at which I hope to finally have some answers.

3. For those who haven't heard our very sad news: our younger dog, B. died on Valentines Day. He was six years old. It was awful. His leash somehow wasn't fully clipped onto his harness and it snapped off and he went running. M. was frantic and kept calling and calling him. We tried to stay calm, but he wouldn't come back home so we decided we had to wait for him to come back on his own. B. has always been one to run farther and faster if someone is after him, and we didn't want to chase him off. He was hit by a car 45 minutes later. He lived for a short while, but by the time we spotted the police car out at the main road and I got over there, he was dead. It is sooooooo sad, and we all miss him like crazy (except maybe K. who at least seems unphased).

4. I do hope to post about New Orleans within the next week or two. Thanks a million to those who supported the trip. You were all so generous!