Archive for the ‘Seizures’ Category

If you don’t know about Dr. Barbera, I highly recommend that you get your reading hat (or listening hat) on and learn! For years, I was familiar with her work but only recently got to meet her.

You can follow her blog here: https://www.marybarbera.com/blog/

You can follow her podcast here: https://www.marybarbera.com/turn-autism-around-podcast/

And you can get her books here: https://www.marybarbera.com/the-verbal-behavior-approach-book/ Please note, only one book is available right now but her new book will be forthcoming in 2021.

And, not too long ago, Dr. Barbera and I sat down to discuss some of the co-occuring medical conditions of autism. Go ahead and check it out! https://www.marybarbera.com/medical-conditions-associated-autism/

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Headline News….this just in…….(imagine a similar header running across the bottom of your TV screen).

“Our previous study among 12-to 23-month-olds found increased risk of febrile seizures 7 to 10 days after receiving the MMR or the MMRV” (Klein et al., 2012).

Why is THIS not headline news? This study is hot off the press (right along with the increased risk for autism if obese during pregnancy)

Important Background Information

Readers should know that the MMR refers to the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccine that children in the US are advised to receive between 12 and 15 months of age and again between 4 and 6 years of age. So, the medical community knows about an increase risk of seizures for infants an toddlers when they receive the MMR, yet they continue to recommend that the children receive the vaccine?!?!

The MMRV is a vaccine that includes the MMR as well as a dose of varicella. In addition to the MMR between 12 and 15  months, children are also advised to receive a dose of varicella. Thus, some vaccine manufacturers created the MMRV so that children can receive all the vaccines in just one dose. However, after vaccinating many infants and toddlers with the MMRV, researchers later learned that the MMRV more than doubled the risk of febrile seizures for children 12 to 23 months of age. Thus, it is now recommended that the MMR and the varicella be given in separate doses (unless the parent insists otherwise).

For the current recommended vaccine schedule click here.

Little Seizure Risk at Later Ages

Klein and colleagues (2012) (the same authors who first told us about the increase seizure risk for infants and toddlers back in 2010) set out to assess the risk of seizures following the MMR+ varicella or the MMRV for children aged 4 years to 6 years. The authors reported that few seizures were observed during the study of over 150,000 children. As a result, the authors concluded that their study “provides reassurance that MMRV and MMR +V were not associated with increased risk of febrile seizures among 4- to 6-year-olds.”

This is exciting news! Neither vaccine increases the risk of febrile seizures for older children.

It seems as the children age, their bodies may be better able to process the chemicals in the vaccines.

Modify the Vaccine Schedule?

So, based on this new research, does it not make sense to modify the vaccine schedule to reduce the risk for infants and toddlers?  Why is the administration of MMR at age 12-15 months so important? Do we know? Will the world come down with measles if we hold off on the vaccine until the child is 4? Has the research even been completed?

Uninformed is Better

Maybe the medical community does not want us to know this research. If we don’t know that vaccines may have harmful side effects, then we won’t question vaccine safety. If we know the true risks of vaccines, we may use our brains and decide to withhold measles-containing vaccines from our 12- to 23-month-olds.


Klein, N. P., Lewis, E., Baxter, R., Weintraub, E., Glanz, J., Naleway, A., Jackson, L. A., Nordin, J., Lieu, T., Belongia, E.A.,  Fireman, B. (2012). Measles-containing vaccines and febrile seizures in children age 4 to 6 years. Pediatrics, 129 (5), 1-6.

For a complete copy of the article, click here.

It is that time again. We are linking up with our friends over at Yeah Write. Hop on over there and check out all the other great blogs!

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Recovering from a series of seizures

Dear Dr. _________,

I am writing as a follow-up to our ER visit on Saturday. I am certain that you will remember me, the guardian who fired you from treating my brother. I wanted to take a minute and explain to you why I asked you to step aside and why another physician was needed in your place.

  1. You made a recommendation for medical care for my brother without assessing him. You did not even take 5 seconds to step in and say hello and yet, somehow you think your pedigree gives you the right to treat him, sight unseen.
  2. You made a recommendation for an invasive medical treatment without cause. Sure, go ahead and restrain my brother to the bed so that you can put an IV in him. I’ll just step aside and allow you and your staff to recklessly provide treatment that is not medically necessary. Your “little” hospital makes a profit off that IV doesn’t it? Your “little” hospital does not make any money off my brother when he is taking up a bed for observation does it?
  3. You had the audacity to ask where “his mother” was! How dare you? You do not know the first thing about him or his situation. If you had taken the time to even glance at his file, you would have seen that he was there with his sister and guardian–the person who has provided care for him for the past 20 years. That should have been a hint that his mother was not in the picture. Did it ever occur to you that his mother might have passed away at some point in his life? He is 33 after all. As humans age, the likelihood that our parents pass away increases. How cold and inconsiderate of you to ask such a question!
  4. How many grand mal seizures have you seen? Let’s be honest. You are, at best, 28 years old. I’m pretty sure you didn’t see any seizures in medical school, maybe 1 or 2 in your residency, maybe 1 or 2 more in your time in the ER. I’ll give you 5 and I think that is generous. How many of my brother’s seizures have you seen? Zero. That’s right–none. If you learned anything in medical school, it should have been that no two people have the same type of seizures. So don’t go taking your very minor seizure experience and try to act like you know anything about my brother’s seizures. By the way, I’ve been a witness and first responder to my brother for about 5 seizures per year. You do the math. I’m pretty certain that I know more than you do when it comes to his seizures.
  5. Before you go talking down your nose to me, you should know that I am not some uneducated homeless person off the street. I realize that at your fancy “little” hospital, most of your patients are homeless, uninsured, do not speak English as a first language, or are drunk/strung out on drugs. What you don’t know is that I have a doctorate myself. That degree came from a major Research-I institution (top 5 in my field if you want to get specific about it). Oh, and I have a master’s degree too–from an Ivy League school very similar to the one where you work now. So please, do not patronize me.
  6. Finally, I will remind you that you took the Hippocratic Oath at some point in your career. You remember it, don’t you? I especially want to highlight the parts about over-treatment and the importance of warmth and sympathy. I’m including a copy so you can review it in its entirety.

I hope that you learned something from your experience with my brother and me. You need to treat your patients and their family members with respect and care. Contrary to what you may have been taught in medical school, you do not know everything. You are not even close. Maybe after a few more years of experience, you will learn that. Or maybe you won’t.


Missy (the sister, guardian, and eternal advocate for my brother)

Hippocratic Oath (Modern Version via Wikipedia)

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of over-treatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

I will not be ashamed to say “I know not”, nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, be respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

We are linking up again with Erica over at Yeah Write. Hop on over there and check out all the other blogs. Go back on Thursday to vote on your favorites!

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