August 17, 2007

Looks Like Autism Speaks is Faking Us Out Again

Autism Speaks, who we in the biomed community have been praising in the last few weeks for beginning to put money into researching the treatments that are actually helping our kids, might just be doing it for show.

The Rescue Post is reporting that rumors point to Eric London of NAAR being put in charge of the biomed research at AS. This would turn the program into an instant joke.

If this happens, we can all just close the door on AS and move on with our lives.

Read the Post article. And the rest of them while you are at it. Blogging will continue to be light here for a while. But they are consistently on the ball.

August 13, 2007

CDC Schedule: 43 vaccines in the first 18 months

For those of you keeping track, Hep A and Rotovirus have been added to the CDC schedule for 2007 and we are now up to 43 vaccines in the first 18 months of life.

Would you want 43 vaccines over the course of the next 18 months?

UPDATE: I forgot the flu shot! So with the prenatal and yearly flu shots that are recommended, the total is actually at 46.

Tonsil Removal May Cure ADHD in Kids

Huh. Who'da thunk it?

Tonsil removal may cure ADHD behavior in kids
10:59 PM CDT on Saturday, August 11, 2007
Contra Costa County Times

TUCSON, Ariz. — Little T.J. was a monster. There's no other way to say it.

Extremely hyperactive, the toddler ran around in circles, destroying everything in his path. He got kicked out of day care and banned from friends' homes.

His own grandmother called the 2-year-old a "monster." Friends told his family that T.J. — short for Terence Johnson — was destined to be "the next serial killer."

"He was so out of control, I was at my wits' end," said his mother, Heather Norton. "It is hurtful to realize nobody likes your child."

That was then. Today, as T.J. gets ready to turn 3, he is a changed boy. Lively, to be sure, but affectionate instead of mean.

"It's a total turnaround — this is a different child," Ms. Norton said. "Everybody notices the difference."

A frontal lobotomy? Electroshock therapy? Powerful drugs?

No, T.J. had his tonsils out.

The removal of a child's tonsils can, in some cases, significantly improve, even cure, severe hyperactivity often diagnosed as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Now affecting more than 2 million U.S. children, ADHD most often is treated with psychoactive drugs, sometimes for a lifetime.

But in some children, simply removing the tonsils also has removed the diagnosis, by restoring normal behavior.

"Sometimes you get really great results, sometimes you see partial results in these children," said Dr. Damian Parkinson, the psychiatrist who suggested T.J.'s behavior might be related to his tonsils.

The key to making that connection is how the child sleeps. Snoring, restlessness, apnea, and gasping for breath during the night are clearly linked to hyperactive daytime behavior in very young children. And enlarged or infected tonsils and adenoids — immune-related tissue masses in the throat — most often are the cause of "sleep-disordered breathing."

In one recent study, at the University of Michigan, 22 children with ADHD and sleep-disordered breathing had adenotonsillectomies. After one year, 11 no longer battled ADHD.

"These improvements are remarkable because hyperactivity and inattention generally are expected to be chronic features in affected school-age children," the researchers wrote in a report published last year in Pediatrics.

As a result of this and other recent studies, "doctors conducting healthy-child checkups should always ask about snoring, poor sleep, behavioral and learning problems, and look for physical signs such as enlarged tonsils and adenoids," reads a summary published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in June.

August 10, 2007

Johnson & Johnson Shows Their True Colors

These guys are unbelievable.

Newsflash for J&J:

In the hearts and minds of everyone on this planet, this logo:

Means the Red Cross. Your piece of paper will never make it mean Johnson & Johnson.

This logo:

Is the only one that means Johnson & Johnson. But you already know that. I know that you know that because it is the only one on your web site. I can't find the red cross anywhere on it.

I didn't even know you guys had a red cross as your logo until you filed this lawsuit. Great PR move though. I guess you picked the Red Cross to sue because Mother Theresa was dead?

Just change your damn logo and let the Red Cross go back to driving into war zones to save lives.

Selfish idiots.

I plan to purge my house of all J&J products today.



"In a related story, rumors persist that Johnson & Johnson is considering a similar suit against the Catholic Church, as well as major Christian denominations, who persist in using the company's trademark cross in their religious ceremonies."


My cute husband's comment, "In other legal news, the Cavemen from the Geico ad file a law suit against Ford Motor company claiming that Ford has infringed upon their claim to the invention of "The Wheel®".

Pharmaceutical giant sues Red Cross over logo
By David Crary, Associated Press

Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical giant that uses a red cross as its trademark, sued the American Red Cross on Wednesday, demanding that the charity halt the use of the red cross symbol on products that it sells to the public.

NEW YORK - Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical giant that uses a red cross as its trademark, sued the American Red Cross on Wednesday, demanding that the charity halt the use of the red cross symbol on products that it sells to the public.

Johnson & Johnson said that it has had exclusive rights to use the trademark on certain commercial products -- including bandages and first-aid cream -- for more than 100 years.

It contends that the Red Cross is supposed to use the symbol only in connection with nonprofit relief services.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, marked the breakdown of months of behind-the-scenes negotiations and prompted an angry response from the Red Cross.

"For a multibillion-dollar drug company to claim that the Red Cross violated a criminal statute ... simply so that J&J can make more money, is obscene," Red Cross President Mark Everson said.

Johnson & Johnson began using the red cross design as a trademark in 1887 -- six years after the creation of the American Red Cross but before the organization received its congressional charter in 1900. The lawsuit contends that the charter did not empower the Red Cross to engage in commercial activities competing with a private business.

"After more than a century of strong cooperation in the use of the Red Cross trademark ... we were very disappointed to find that the American Red Cross started a campaign to license the trademark to several businesses for commercial purposes," Johnson & Johnson said in a prepared statement.

It said the products include baby mitts, nail clippers, combs, toothbrushes, hand sanitizers and humidifiers.

The Red Cross said that many of the products in question were part of health and safety kits, and that profits from the sales -- totaling less than $10 million -- went to boost Red Cross disaster-response efforts.

The suit asks the Red Cross to turn over the products in question to New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson for destruction and also seeks unspecified punitive damages.

"The Red Cross products that J&J wants to take away from consumers ... are those that help Americans get prepared for life's emergencies," Everson said. "I hope that the courts and Congress will not allow Johnson & Johnson to bully the American Red Cross."

August 2, 2007

Fisher-Price Recalls Toys for Lead

Seriously? We took the lead out of life like 30 years ago. Why are we suddenly sliding back into this. First lunch boxes, then Thomas the Train, and now Big Bird and Dora.

[see update at bottom. Head of Chinese company that supplied the toys committed suicide. Paint supplied by his best friend. It is so sad to see how many lives are destroyed by people who cheat just to make a few bucks.]

Fisher-Price to recall nearly 1M toys
Associated Press Writers Wed Aug 1, 9:33 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Toy-maker Fisher-Price is recalling 83 types of toys — including the popular Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego characters — because their paint contains excessive amounts of lead.

The worldwide recall being announced Thursday involves 967,000 plastic preschool toys made by a Chinese vendor and sold in the United States between May and August. It is the latest in a wave of recalls that has heightened global concern about the safety of Chinese-made products.

The recall is the first for Fisher-Price Inc. and parent company Mattel Inc. involving lead paint. It is the largest for Mattel since 1998 when Fisher-Price had to yank about 10 million Power Wheels from toy stores.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, David Allmark, general manager of Fisher-Price, said the problem was detected by an internal probe and reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recall is particularly alarming since Mattel, known for its strict quality controls, is considered a role model in the toy industry for how it operates in China.

Fisher-Price and the commission issued statements saying parents should keep suspect toys away from children and contact the company.

The commission works with companies to issue recalls when it finds consumer goods that can be harmful. Under current regulations, children's products found to have more than .06 percent lead accessible to users are subject to a recall.

Allmark says the recall was "fast-tracked," which allowed the company to quarantine two-thirds of the toys before they even made it to store shelves. In negotiating details of the recall, Fisher-Price and the government sought to withhold details from the public until Thursday to give stores time to get suspect toys off shelves and Fisher-Price time to get its recall hot line up and running. However, some news organizations prematurely posted an embargoed version of the story online.

Allmark said the recall was troubling because Fisher-Price has had a long-standing relationship with the Chinese vendor, which had applied decorative paint to the toys. Allmark said the company would use this recall as an opportunity to put even better systems in place to monitor vendors whose conduct does not meet Mattel's standards.

He added: "We are still concluding the investigation, how it happened. ... But there will be a dramatic investigation on how this happened. We will learn from this."

The recall follows another high-profile move from toy maker RC2 Corp., which in June voluntarily recalled 1.5 million wooden railroad toys and set parts from its Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway product line. The company said that the surface paint on certain toys and parts made in China between January 2005 and April 2006 contain lead, affecting 26 components and 23 retailers.

"Anytime a company brings a banned hazardous product into the U.S. marketplace, especially one intended for children, it is unacceptable," said Nancy Nord, acting chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. "Ensuring that Chinese-made toys are safe for U.S. consumers is one of my highest priorities and is the subject of vital talks currently in place between CPSC and the Chinese government."

Carter Keithley, president of the Toy Industries Association, praised Mattel's quick response to the problem, and suggested Mattel will use this setback as a lesson for not only the company but for the entire industry. However, he expressed concern about how the recall and other toy recalls will play out in consumers' minds in advance of the holiday season.

"We are worried about the public feeling," said Keithley, adding he observed how toy companies are embracing strict controls during a recent toy safety seminar in China. "We have thought all along that (consumers) can be confident in the products," he said. "But if companies like Mattel have this, then you have to ask how did this happen?"

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., introduced a bill last month that he contended would dramatically expand the product safety commission's ability to protect consumers. In a statement Wednesday night, Durbin also called for better safety standards for products imported from China.

"Sadly, this is the most recent in a series of disturbing recalls of children's toys. While the toys may be different, they have one thing in common — they were manufactured in China," he said. "With the current tools and resources the Consumer Product Safety Commission has, it cannot adequately protect American consumers."

Owners of a recalled toy can exchange it for a voucher for another product of the same value. To see pictures of the recalled toys, visit For more information, call Mattel's recall hot line at 800-916-4498.


China toy boss kills self after recall
By AUDRA ANG, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 15 minutes ago

BEIJING - The head of a Chinese toy manufacturing company at the center of a huge U.S. recall has committed suicide, a state-run newspaper said Monday.

Zhang Shuhong, who co-owned Lee Der Industrial Co. Ltd., killed himself at a warehouse over the weekend, days after China announced it had temporarily banned exports by the company, the Southern Metropolis Daily said.

Lee Der made 967,000 toys recalled earlier this month by Mattel Inc. because they were made with paint found to have excessive amounts of lead. The plastic preschool toys, sold under the Fisher-Price brand in the U.S., included the popular Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego characters.

It was among the largest recalls in recent months involving Chinese products, which have come under fire for globally for containing potentially dangerous high levels of chemicals and toxins.

The Southern Metropolis Daily said that a supplier, Zhang's best friend, sold Lee Der fake paint which was used in the toys.

"The boss and the company were harmed by the paint supplier, the closest friend of our boss," a manager surnamed Liu was quoted as saying.

Liu said Zhang hung himself on Saturday, according to the report. It is common for disgraced officials to commit suicide in China.

"When I got there around 5 p.m., police had already sealed off the area," Liu said.

A company official who answered the telephone at the Lee Der factory in the southern city of Foshan on Monday said he had not heard of the news. A man at Lee Der's main office in Hong Kong said the company was not accepting interviews and hung up.

According to a search on a registry of Hong Kong companies, Zhang — whose name is spelled Cheung Shu-hung in official documents — is a co-owner of Lee Der. The other owner, Chiu Kwei-tsun, did not return telephone messages left for him.

The recall by El Segundo, California-based Mattel came just two months after RC2 Corp., a New York company, recalled 1.5 million Chinese-made wooden railroad toys and set parts from its Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway product line because of lead paint.

The maker, Hansheng Wood Products Factory, was also included in the export ban announced Thursday by the General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, one of China's quality watchdogs.

The administration also ordered both companies to evaluate and change their business practices.

Lead poisoning can cause vomiting, anemia and learning difficulties. In extreme cases, it can cause severe neurological damage and death.

The quality watchdog also said police were investigating two companies' use of "fake plastic pigment" but did not give any details. Such pigments are a type of industrial latex usually used to increase surface gloss and smoothness.

Telephones rang unanswered at the public security bureau in Foshan and at Dongxing New Energy Company, which is the paint supplier.

In its report, the Southern Metropolis Daily said Zhang, who was in his 50s, treated his 5,000-odd employees well and always paid them on time.

The morning of his suicide, he greeted workers and chatted with some of them, the newspaper said.

Chinese companies often have long supply chains, making it difficult to trace the exact origin of components, chemicals and food additives.