Will the Chimigen™ Vaccine Stop Bird Flu, Anthrax and Hepatitis?

Interviewer: Can you describe ViRexx Medical’s Chimigen™ therapeutic vaccine?

Dr. Rajan George: Chimigen therapeutic vaccine is used to produce immune responses in a host against infections which are difficult to produce immune responses, by targeting the vaccine to dendritic cells. The Chimigen platform can be extended to develop therapies for difficult-to-treat chronic infectious diseases.

Interviewer: Does that mean the Chimigen platform can be used to treat any infectious disease?

Dr. Rajan George: Yes, except in cases where the immune system is non-functional, as in the case of HIV.The Chimigen platform can be used to produce either a therapeutic vaccine or a prophylactic vaccine. This depends on the disease target and the antigen plugged into the platform. Some antigens have a use in treating infection, while others have a use in preventing an infection. Either one would be targeted to the dendritic cells. The therapeutic vaccine generates a cytotoxic T cell response. A prophylactic vaccine would generate a B cell response and antibody production.
Interviewer: From the way you’ve described the Chimigen™ vaccine, it appears potentially useful for many applications beyond Hepatitis B and C. How broad are the applications?

Dr. Rajan George: We should be able to use this platform for cancer therapy, depending upon the cancer antigen we use. We can plug in a specific cancer antigen into this platform, and the vaccine targeted to dendritic cells. The dendritic cells would process and present the right antigen, then generating immune responses (T &B cell) against the cancer. We are also evaluating some bioterrorist viruses, the biological weapons terrorists would use. We just started a project to look at one of those viruses to see if we can come up with the prophylactic vaccines to prevent diseases that would be caused by organism that could be used in bioterrorism.

Interviewer: Would the Chimigen™ vaccine be effective as a prophylactic against avian flu, H5N1?

Dr. Rajan George: It could work for bird flu if we just plugged in the bird flu antigen into the platform. Then we can use it as a prophylactic. It generates antibody to generate B-Cell response. You can produce a prophylactic vaccine using this platform. The Chimigen™ platform is quite adaptable.

Interviewer: How high is your confidence level in producing a prophylactic vaccine for the avian flu virus?

Dr. Rajan George: My thinking is that it is quite high. I think very highly of having a vaccine like that. But, the ultimate proof has to come from humans. Our HepaVaxx B clinical trial will give us a lot of information on how the technology really works. Until then, our optimism is based on laboratory results.

Interviewer: Can you describe what comprises the Chimigen platform?

Dr. Rajan George: The platform has two components. The first one is from the infectious agent. The second component is from a murine monoclonal antibody. Part one is fused with a fragment of part two by recombinant technology to produce a new entity, the Chimigen™ vaccine. We are recombining one thing with another. We have a virus which has certain antigens. We take one of those, and we produce a recombinant molecule with the fragment we have taken from a murine monoclonal antibody. Chimigen is the term we came up with to include the meaning of the full phrase, chimeric antigen. Chimeric means it comes from two different sources. We put them together and create a new molecule. One is from the virus. The other one is from the mouse, the monoclonal antibody. Now we have by recombinant methods produced a protein which is a chimeric protein. That’s the Chimigen™ vaccine.

Interviewer: How do you produce such a flexible vaccine, one that appears capable of treating nearly any infection?

Dr. Rajan George: To produce a Chimigen™ vaccine to treat nearly any infection, we start with an antigen (protein) from the infectious agent. We fuse it with a fragment called Fc of a mouse monoclonal antibody. This is done using recombinant methods. We end up with a new protein. This protein is made in a cell culture of commercially available insect cells. The protein is produced by the insect cells. From the culture, we purify this particular protein that we made. The insect cell system is just a tool. By virtue of its production in insect cells, the protein attains special properties which are useful in generating better immune responses. Producing this protein in insect cells gives it some very peculiar properties, which are different from our own mammalian proteins. Once we have it coming out of the cell, we purify it and make it really pure. Now we have a protein with the virus antigen murine monoclonal antibody with modified properties. This is a totally new entity.

Interviewer: What do you mean when you say, “useful in generating better immune responses”?

Dr. Rajan George: When a person has a chronic virus infection, his or her body ignores the virus and associated proteins. The body treats the virus as part of itself. The body does not recognize this virus as something foreign to it. Therefore the immune system does not attack the virus. But, by combining the virus antigen with a foreign protein such as the murine antibody fragment, the whole chimeric protein now is recognized by the body’s immune system as “foreign,” different from something of its own. In essence, this is a re-education of the immune system to switch its recognition of the virus from “self” to “foreign”.

Interviewer: From where did the scientific model come, and does it have similarities to another ViRexx Medical product, OvaRex MAb®?

Dr. Rajan George: This scientific model arose from discussions among the three lead scientists of the company, Dr. Tony Noujaim, Dr. Lorne Tyrrell, both founders of the company and myself. I am a biochemist by training and the collective thoughts of all of us went into the design of the Chimigen™ platform. One major similarity between Chimigen and OvaRex is that both involve a murine monoclonal antibody. Another similarity is that both target dendritic cells. The Chimigen model came from thoughts about targeting dendritic cells, but without the use of antibodies. OvaRex is a murine monoclonal antibody against the cancer antigen CA-125. The Chimigen™ vaccine has a fragment of a murine monoclonal antibody. OvaRex needs the CA-125 antigen in a cancer patient to bind to. The bound complex goes to the dendritic cells. The Chimigen™ vaccine does not need to look for the antigen in a patient because it already has the relevant antigen built in it.

Interviewer: It sounds as though the Chimigen™ vaccine acts in a similar way to OvaRex® in dealing with a hostile threat to the body’s health. How do they differ?

Dr. Rajan George: There are similarities and there are differences. OvaRex binds to the antigen CA-125. Then, the CA-125/Ovarex complex binds to the dendritic cells. The complex is internalized and processed. The peptides generated from the antigen are presented to the T cells, and the chain of events in the immune system gets stimulated. The activated cytotoxic T cells eliminate the cancer cells which contain the CA125 antigen. In the case of the Chimigen™ vaccine, the vaccine itself contains the antigen. It goes through the dendritic cell pathway and triggers the CTL response to clear the virus-infected cells. The system also produces antibodies to viral antigens, which bind virus and viral antigens and accelerate their removal. Because of the presence of the murine monoclonal antibody fragment, which is foreign to humans, along with the antigen from the virus, the body’s immune system treats this as a new threat and takes action. That is the immune response.

Interviewer: How would this work in treating Hepatitis B?

Dr. Rajan George: Developing a treatment for Hepatitis B chronic infection, for someone who already has the infection, would involve re-educating the immune system to react differently than it previously has. The infected person already has this virus and the derived antigens. If you put some more of the same antigens into the person, the person’s immune system is not going to know the difference His body is going to say, “Well, what’s the difference? I already have it. I am not going to do anything with it.” The body will ignore it. That’s what is called tolerance. With the Chimigen™ therapeutic vaccine, we have changed the body’s immune response to the virus.

Interviewer: How then have you changed the body’s response to the infection?

Dr. Rajan George: In a Hepatitis B chronic infection, let’s say I have the infection. My system is tolerating the virus. It’s ignoring the presence of the virus. While that is happening, the virus may be causing disease in with my liver. With time, it’s going to get my liver into trouble and my immune system has not responded adequately to remove the threat. We inject the protein – the one we just produced, which we call the Chimigen™ Therapeutic Vaccine – into the HBV chronic carrier, a person who has a chronic hepatitis B virus infection. What happens is when our protein is administered, the dendritic cells are going to look for anything new which enters the body. Those cells are the immune system’s first-line surveillance. The dendritic cells are going to see this new foreign protein, and they are going to think that this is different from what was previously inside. Their recognition of the molecule has changed from what it was before. Before the virus protein was recognized as a “self” protein. Now it is being recognized as a “foreign” protein. In chronic hepatitis B virus infection, the dendritic cells saw the virus as part of the “self” of the host, the vaccine changes the recognition of the virus protein as “foreign” to the host. Because the viral antigen is linked to the fragment of the mouse monoclonal antibody the direct the chimigen to dendritic cells it will enter the dendritic cell and be processed and stimulate an immune response.

Interviewer: And after the vaccine injection, what does the body see?

Dr. Rajan George: The body’s immune system see a new foreign antigen composed of a portion of the mouse monoclonal antibody linked to the viral antigen. It’s a foreign antigen.” The new “chimigen” stimulates an immune response to the antigen as well as the viral antigen. This is very important because the virus antigen was previously being ignored. Now, it’s being recognized as foreign through linked recognition of the mouse antigen as being foreign.

Interviewer: How do the dendritic cells react after they recognize this foreign threat?

Dr. Rajan George: The dendritic cells are the sentries of the immune system. They guard what comes in. When they recognize a “foreign situation,” what does the immune system do? It treats the whole molecule, the whole protein including the virus antigen, as foreign. The dendritic cells chop up this protein into small pieces called peptides. These peptides also are called “epitopes.” There are T cell epitopes which are smaller, and B cell epitopes which are longer. These small peptides bind to MHC I and activate Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). The dendritic cells have a system where they put the T-cell epitope on another protein, MHC Class I, and bring it to the surface of the dendritic cell. They are presented as a complex on the surface of the dendritic cell to attract the T-cells. The T-cells come and see this, then get activated. Now, the activation is also specific to the virus protein. There are different varieties of T-cells, but the cytotoxic T-Cells are the most important in eliminating infections that already exist. The activated cytotoxic T-cells are the ones who do the attacking. They are the ones who start killing the virus infected cells.

Interviewer: And what about the B Cells?

Dr. Rajan George: That is the other side to this story. The dendritic cells can present another kind of peptide epitope. There is a second class of peptides, which are also produced when the protein is chopped up. The dendritic cells stimulate the B-Cells, B-Lymphocytes. And B-lymphocytes produce antibodies. The longer peptides bind to MHC II and activate B lymphocytes (B cells). B cells produce antibodies against the peptides. The antibodies are specific to the antigens we put in the Chimigen™ Therapeutic Vaccine. Antibodies bind to viral proteins that are on the surface of and block the ability of the virus to bind to a target cell to cause an infection and prevent the infection. This is the basis of a prophylactic vaccine. The antigen can bind to the invading virus and form a complex that the body eliminates. The B-Cells produce antibodies against the virus antigen, which we have put in the Chimigen™ vaccine. What do these antibodies do? The antibodies are specific to the antigen and bind to the viruses because they have the antigen. The system removes the virus by binding with the antibody. Also, the system removes infected cells using cytotoxic T-lymphocytes. Both of these actions are achieved by the Chimigen™ vaccine.

Interviewer: Aren’t there a lot of antibodies being investigated as therapeutics?

Dr. Rajan George: There are a lot of antibodies being investigated as therapeutics. OvaRex is the prime example. Avastin and Herceptin are two others, both of which are doing very well in the market. Another is Remicade, which is used to treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. There are antibodies that are in various stages of clinical development, many are humanized antibodies where you want to avoid an immune response to the antibody. Our chimigen technology is new as we are trying to increase the immune response on a virus or a cancer through linked recognition. It is not found anywhere outside of our laboratories. This approach has not been tried before for chronic HBV or HCV infections.

Interviewer: Why would your vaccine work where others have tried and failed?

Dr. Rajan George: The reason is because of the novelty of the technology. We are re-educating the body’s own immune system to do the work by using the Chimigen™ technology. When you inject a xenotypic antibody , that is a non-human antibody that is linked to a specific antigen. The body recognizes the whole molecule as foreign and produces immune responses with both T- and B-Cell immunity. We believe that this enhanced immune response will be helpful in controlling the viral infection in the case of viral chimigens.

Interviewer: Much of the research has been within the laboratory. How much of this is hypothetical?

Dr. Rajan George: Our experiences so far have been mostly with isolated systems, meaning experimental systems outside of the body. For example, ViRexx’s Chimigen™ vaccine for treating chronic hepatitis B infection is what we call HepaVaxx B. This is waiting to go into Phase I clinical trials. We have done a lot of ex vivo experiments in the lab to evaluate the immune responses it can produce. We showed what we had predicted in theory has been true. We have also done some animal experiments, where the vaccine showed similar effects, again, as predicted. For HepaVaxx B, the animal results are also showing great progress and promise. We believe the Phase I studies will show safety and maybe some immunological data. The advanced clinical trials, Phase II and III, will tell us exactly what happens in humans (efficacy) with a chronic infection of Hepatitis B. I believe the Chimigen™ vaccine platform can make a difference in the area of immunotherapy of infectious diseases and cancer. For HCV, there is neither a therapeutic vaccine nor a prophylactic vaccine available in the market right now. Current available therapies are not very efficient, are expensive and have severe side effects. We do need more effective vaccines, both prophylactic and therapeutic, to prevent new hepatitis C virus infections and to eliminate existing infections. It is not an easy challenge but hepatitis C is an important target.

Two Questions To Ask About Bird Flu Vaccines

The results of a government-funded study show that very high doses of an avian influenza vaccine, supplied by Sanofi-Aventis, are needed to produce an immune response that should guard against the virus. 54% of the volunteers received two shots of 90 micrograms each, 28 days apart. A typical flu shot is 15 micrograms.

Based on the requirements seen in the study, the U.S. government’s current stockpile of vaccines would provide enough for only about four million people, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases.

The problem isn’t just a matter of dosage. It is also a matter of production. Flu vaccines are produced using hen’s eggs,a 50-year old technology, if it can be called that. Automated machines inject hundreds of thousands of eggs, then an 11-day waiting period begins while the eggs incubate, brewing viruses that are then killed and bottled. To produce millions of the the final product takes about six months.

Then there’s the question no one seems to be asking: if we plan to rely upon chicken eggs to incubate an H5N1 virus, how do we know the H5N1 virus won’t kill the eggs? H5N1 already kills chickens. Shouldn’t we assume it also kills a high percentage of chicken eggs? Sanofi-Aventis is spending $150 million of its own money building a new vaccine-making plant based on the theory that H5N1 won’t kill the eggs. By the way, eggs have to be ordered many months in advance for this antiquated process.

And where does Sanofi-Aventis plan to get all these egg-laying chickens anyway? Millions of chickens have been slaughtered worldwide already and a pre-pandemic scenario could kill off whole U.S. chicken farms at once.

However, there is a new vaccine technology on the horizon. It’s called cell-based vaccine. Giant vats of living cells, such as dog kidney cells, multiply and then are inoculated with the virus. There are two companies already in the marketplace, one in Holland, one in Germany, but the technology won’t be widely available for years. The FDA must review the entire method before any equipment can be imported to the U.S.

Clearly, the U.S. has waited for a new virus to come along to spur vaccine research. We may have waited too long. H5N1 isn’t waiting. It’s figuring out how to mutate into human-to-human transmission. In fact, the rate of mutation is alarming. Dr. Robert Webster, Ph.D., Member, St. Jude Faculty Rose Marie Thomas Chair, calls H5N1 “the most frightening virus I’ve ever seen in 40 years of research.”

If you and your family are counting on a vaccine to protect you against H5N1 (Avian Influenza), don’t bet on it. There are still too many unanswered questions and too many risks.

ADD And College Students – How Does It Affect Them?

Unfortunately, Attention Deficit Disorder does not necessarily fade with age. Many people that suffer as a child will continue to suffer as a teen, as well as into adulthood. However, this disorder may affect people differently at different stages in their life.

College can be a difficult time for some students. For many, this represents a time of breaking free and starting their new uninhibited lives. This may be an exciting and emotional time. How does a college student with ADD face such a time?

For a person with Attention Deficit Disorder, this may prove to be a harsh time of transformation. Typically coming from families that were especially doting and accommodating to their situation, they are thrown in to a new environment to fend for themselves. One of the basic behavior modification techniques in training an ADD child is through structure, routine, and habit. At once, all of this is taken and it becomes the student’s responsibility to recreate this structured life they once had. Of course, a person with ADD is typically disorganized and unstructured. So, they may have a difficult time having the discipline to enact such stringent requirements for themselves.

Another aspect to consider is the increased difficulty in the academic load in college as compared to high school and the additional responsibility put on the students. Not only will the student be responsible for their own organization and structure, they will do so under more stress and academic pressure. This increasingly more difficult schoolwork is not made easier by the student’s general inattentive nature, distractibility, and impulsiveness. The very core of ADD makes college more difficult. With any luck, the student has spent enough time over the last few years regulating their own behavior that they will easily be able to in this new environment.

For the most part, the same steps should be taken in college to deal with ADD as was necessary in high school and other grades. To be effective, a student should carry some type of organizational calendaring system or digital organizer. In college, they do not hold the students’ hands like they do in high school – once an assignment is made, it is expected to be turned in on time, without reminders. Therefore, it becomes imperative to keep up with deadlines and dates. Students should also create structure and organization in their dorm or apartment and utilize the same skills they have been developing for years.

Bird Flu: Killer epidemic prevention advice

With so much concern being shown regarding the Bird Flu situation we are all asking if modern medicine can save us from what could become a human pandemic.
Unfortunately it would appear that this is most unlikely, as the World Health Organization has explained that although modern day medicine has improved tremendously over the last decades a pandemic, such as bird flu, presently could result in 2 million to 7.4 million deaths globally.

It was expressed on their website, that hugh demands would be made on local hospitals for many millions of outpatient visits and possibly 1.5 to 5.2 million hospital admissions in the high income countries alone which account for 15% of the worlds population.

It has been recorded that the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 to 1919 killed an estimated total of 40 million people from around the world and we are ever present of what possible tragedies can happen as highlighted by the 2002 to 2003 SARS scare which killed an astonishing 10% of those infected and was only barely prevented from becoming a global pandemic.

Unfortunately with the world becoming a smaller and more easily travelled place the possibilities of a world pandemic such as bird flu is becoming more than a possibility to occur in the coming years.

Unfortunately today the world has progressed to a situation that is ready to foster a global outbreak, such as a bird flu pandemic, and is quickly becoming virtually defenceless against such a tragedy becoming a real life situation.

The world seems to be ill prepared for such a tragedy, as bird flu, with no vaccines apparently available and no distribution network system in place for such an event.

It would appear that it would be in each person’s own interest to prepare individually to prevent their own weakness to catching such a virus, as bird flu, and an obvious solution would be to investigate natural anti-viral foods, nutritional supplements and herbs that may offer a powerful medicine to overcome these ever looming threats.

Bird Flu: What are the Real Chances of a Pandemic

Avian influenza, or bird flu as it is more commonly known, was discovered over a century ago in Italy and to date, there are several strains of the bird flu virus. Many of these strains have become deadly, particularly the H5 and H7 strains. The deadliest one to date, the H5N1 strain, has reportedly killed 70 people in Asia alone in the last two years. Many scientists believe that if proper action is not taken, bird flu has the potential to be the fourth major pandemic in the world.

Influenza has affected the lives of so many people, particularly in the 20th century. The Spanish Flu of 1918, Asian Flu of 1957 and Hong Kong Flu of 1968 killed at least 20 million people worldwide.

Bird flu can spread quickly since the bird flu virus is typically found in the intestines of migrant birds that travel great distances. Bird flu spreads when other birds, chickens or geese come in contact with an infected bird’s saliva, nasal secretions or feces. Birds fall ill and die within 48 hours of contracting the virus. Humans who interact with infected birds without proper protective gear are also at risk.

There are four reasons that scientists believe that bird flu could become a pandemic.

1. Many countries, specifically third world countries, do not have the proper facilities in place to take care of the bird flu problem. Without these facilities, there is a high possibility of the bird flu virus spreading.

2. No vaccine has been fully developed and tested to fight bird flu virus. Using amantadine and rimantadine, two drugs that are used to treat influenza, on those infected with the virus has not been successful. Even though research is underway, there is still no known cure for bird flu in humans. Should a pandemic happen, it will take at least four months to produce vaccines that can be distributed to people suffering from the disease.

3. The avian influenza virus affects birds and pigs. However, because the virus has different strains and they easily mutate, scientists fear the virus could evolve into something worse and affect humans directly. The virus could become airborne and be transmitted from one human to another.

4. People who work in farms and are in the poultry and livestock industry many not have the proper equipment and adequate protection against the disease.

A human who is possibly infected with bird flu could show symptoms similar to human influenza. A person with bird flu will experience fever, sore throat and muscle pains. Because of the similarity of symptoms between bird flu and human flu, a person with bird flu could be mistakenly diagnosed with human flu. However, advanced symptoms of bird flu include eye infections and respiratory problems, which could become life threatening.
In 1997, when an outbreak of bird flu occurred in Hong Kong, 18 people were infected and six were killed. As a quick response, Hong Kong’s entire poultry population, which was estimated at 1.5 million, was killed. Many believe that this rapid response to the bird flu outbreak was the best solution and helped avert it from becoming a pandemic.

In general, there is little risk of most people getting infected with bird flu since it requires close or direct interaction with infected birds or bird feces. Since the number of people that has been infected with the disease is still low and confined to a few children and adults, there is no serious cause of alarm yet. However, for those who have constant contact with birds, the risk becomes very high during outbreaks in local poultry

Because of the constant and rapid advances in technology today, in addition to lessons learned from past major pandemics, there is hope that bird flu will be prevented from becoming another global pandemic.

Fight Against The Pandemic

According to The Navhind Times dated 8th May 2006, USA is unprepared for the Bird Flu pandemic. A fact that the United States Health and Human Services Secretary, Mr. Michael Leavitt admitted.

Avian Influenza or the H5N1 Bird Flu virus has not yet been found in North America but experts feel that it is only a matter of time before it crosses over from Asia to Europe and Africa. It may only be a matter of the next few months!
The US has already awarded $ 1 billion worth of contracts to five drug companies to develop a vaccine. The White House has an action plan ready to counter the pandemic in the midst of fears that a pandemic may kill up to two million Americans causing economic havoc.

The US and the European Union will host talks in Vienna on June 6-7 to evaluate the action plans to fight the Bird Flu crisis and this will include the vaccine development progress.

Vaccine development and manufacture was a top priority laid out by President George Bush’s “National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza”.

206 people worldwide have been infected with the H5N1 virus out of which 113 have died, more than 50 percent, according to World Health Organization. Mr. Leavitt compared the H5N1 virus to the 1918-1919 influenza epidemics which had killed 50 million people worldwide.

The Bush administration released the Bird Flu response plan called the “Pandemic Influenza” which outlines the strategies that the government, businesses and citizens were to take incase a deadly strain reached the shores of USA. The Military would be called on to help.

The Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman said that the Military would aid in transporting essential supplies via military aircraft, medical surveillance, scientific investigations and tests abroad, distribution of medicines and provision of emergency medical facilities, communication support to hospitals, spot dispensaries, police and other civic agencies. The US Military might even be used to give quarantine assistance and/or be used in any appropriate situation. This would entail the need of the overseas troops as well.

US is looking for long term action plans and methods to slow the virus from spreading, get enough critical medical supply and limit if not stop this inevitable chaos. The government is trying to gear itself up against a worst-case scenario of almost 2 million deaths due to this deadly virus.

Until now only the only drug oseltamivir or Tamiflu is known to reduce the severity and duration of the illness within 48 hours of the flu symptoms. This may increase the chances of survival but clinical data is limited regarding this and until more research is done, it is all the help we have right now. Let us therefore join hands across the world and look for solutions to combat a situation that seems mightier than us!

Treating ADD – The Range Of Possible Options

Attention Deficit Disorder, a challenge to say the least, may have you ready to pull your hair out. Luckily, there are treatments available to help your child be more successful at completing daily tasks, paying attention, and resisting impulsive activity. Generally, there are three most utilized methods for treating ADD: medication, behavior therapy, or alternative medicine.

Medication has been the primary treatment method for Attention Deficit Disorder for decades. Although it has been the center of much controversy the last several years, many argue that the effectiveness of medication can not be matched by any other treatment method. On the other hand, it is also argued that the side effects common of such medication make it a poor choice of therapy. ADD is most often treated by a form of stimulant medication. While this medicine would cause increased activity in most people, it has a calming effect on people with ADD. There are also other forms of medication used as well.

Side effects of the medication used to treat ADD are typically decreased appetite, and weight loss as a result, increased anxiety, insomnia, and/or irritability.

Behavior therapy, on the other hand, does not have the side effects common with medication. On the other hand, it will not have the overnight reaction typical of medication treatment either. Behavior therapy focuses on teaching the child effective management skills to deal with the disorder, as opposed to masking its existence. This may include the use of organizers to keep up with schoolwork, as well as introducing a reward system for good behavior. Such steps teach the child the positive results of good behavior, instead of concentrating on negative behavior and harsh discipline. This treatment route is a long and arduous process and will not display immediate results, although the results that come about may be more long term in nature.

Treating ADD with alternative medicine has also proven to be an area of controversy. Technically, “alternative medicine” is anything that falls outside the realm of standard medication and behavioural treatments. The list of alternative treatments include dietary intervention, nutritional supplements, interactive metronome training, motion sickness medication, treatment for candida yeast, optometric visual training, thyroid treatment, and lead treatment. While these treatments seem to be plentiful, it is important to understand many of these are unproven, or in fact, proven to be ineffective by the scientific community. No treatment should be instituted without the supervision of a doctor.

Treating ADD With Behavior Therapy

While medication has long been used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder, Behavioral Therapy has proven to be incredibly effective as well and is now being used in combination with its long utilized counterpart. There are many aspects of Behavior Therapy, but the overall purpose is to train the individual to improve their behavior and be more effective.

There are basically three principles to a behavior therapy approach: set goals that are specific, provide consequences and rewards, and consistently utilize consequences and rewards. Basically, you should lay specific groundwork for acceptable and unacceptable behavior; when either is realized, the consequences, be them positive or negative, should be utilized consistently and continually.

Examples of consequences are time-out, which removes the child from their surroundings for a specific period of time; positive reinforcement, which rewards positive behavior; or a token reward system; which can be added to or taken away from depending on behavior.

There are more in-depth behavior modification techniques that should be utilized to help you child control their behavior. Remember, ADD children suffer from forgetfulness, inattentiveness, impulsiveness, and distractibility. Utilizing a system to reinforce the child’s ability to complete daily activities in spite of these shortcomings will be the most effective. For example, keeping your child on a schedule is a very effective way to keep their activities organized. If they wake up at a certain time, get dressed, take baths, do homework and go to bed at specific times, they will begin to function out of habit, at which point forgetfulness and distractibility become less of an issue.

Likewise, organization helps a child with ADD stay focused and reduces key items being misplaced. Have a set place for books, backpacks, clothes, and toys so your child will react out of habit in returning these items. Typically, routines prove to be an effective treatment course for children with ADD.

You should also be aware of the difficulties your child has, such as distractibility. Limit external stimuli during times when concentration is necessary, such as homework time, or during times when attention is necessary, such as mealtimes.

Help your child stay on task with the use of checklists, charts, or organizers to track responsibilities and monitor progress; as your child ages, this will teach them to function on a daily basis regardless of their disorder. They will learn to write down important tasks and to keep track of things they must accomplish.

Treating ADD With Medication

Medication has long since been the cornerstone for treating Attention Deficit Disorder. There are several medications on the market and their effectiveness is rarely at question; however, they do not come without their side effects and criticisms.

The most common medication is methylphenidate, more commonly known as Ritalin and Concerta. Other stimulant medications are pemoline, known as Cylert; dextroamphetamine, known as Dexedrine and Dextrostat; and d- and l-amphetamin racemic mixture, known as Adderall.

Stimulant medications would typically make a person more active; however, with Attention Deficit Disorder, it has a calming effect. Therefore, it quiets impulsive and disruptive behavior quickly and effectively. For this reason, many teachers and parents sing its praises. However, this is only a treatment and not a cure for Attention Deficit Disorder. Ultimately, it is a temporary form of relief.

Other types of medicine sometimes used to treat ADD include atomoxetine, known as Stratera; buproprion, known as Wellbutrin; clonidine, known as Catapres; imipramine, known as Tofranil; and desipramine, known as Norpramin.

However, Stratera was recently the subject of a public health advisory issued by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA issued a statement saying Stratera was linked to increased suicidal thoughts among children in an extensive study. This, of course, should be of great concern to parents, as well as doctors treating a child with ADD.

Side effects that are common with these medications include loss of appetite, stomachache, headache, insomnia, fast heart beat, vomiting, and chest pain. Many of these effects can be reduced or eliminated with the lowering of medication dosage, eliminating doses close to bedtime, and taking medication with food.

Due to the possible side effects, as well as the negative connotation surrounding over-medicating children, there are a lot of people against administering medication for ADD. However, this may also be due to the misconception that ADD is not a real disorder and is a parent’s way of getting out of controlling or disciplining their child. This, of course, is not true and such unfounded opinions should not be considered in seeking a treatment course for your child. Professional advice will prove to much more helpful in making sound decisions for your child and your family.

It should also be understood that, while medication may be effective, it is not a cure for ADD. Many doctors suggest using medication in conjunction with behavioral therapy to achieve the full benefit of both treatment methods.

Utah Offers Vaccine Of Serenity For Bird Flu

Recently, Utah’s epidemiologist, Dr. Robert Rolfs, injected his entire state with a heavy dose of complacency and told them not to worry about bird flu.

He said, “Avian influenza means bird influenza. It’s a problem for birds right now in other parts of the world, and it is a problem for birds there.” He was persuading KSL-TV reporter Shelley Osterloh that there was nothing to worry about in Utah. In fact, he told her “Utah has other health threats we should be concerned about.” You can read Rolfs comments at http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=185817

Rolfs in effect sedated the entire Utah population.

Nevermind that former Utah governor, Mike Leavitt, and now Human Health Secretary, recently came to Utah and said it’s time to get prepared for what could be the most devastating pandemic in our history.

Never mind that Dr. Robert Webster — the scientist who discovered H5N1 — has called avian influenza the “most frightening virus” he has ever seen.

Never mind that the CDC, the WHO, and scientists worldwide are trying desperately to find a solution to save whole nations.

One can almost visualize Osterloh addressing a gathered crowd of Roman citizens in 165 B.C. when the Antonine Plague was about to begin killing 5,000 Romans a day. “Do not fear, my fellow Romans. Harken unto me…these rumors of a plague are but whispers in the wind. Go about your business. I have spoken with Rome’s greatest physician and he says Rome will never fall to plague.”

Rolfs wants Utah residents to forget about bird flu and worry about something else, like pertussis. Reporter Osterloh abandons her objectivity and sidles up to Rolfs and proudly agrees that “The bird flu isn’t in the USA.” The inference is that Utah residents shouldn’t worry. Not one bit. How could it possibly get over the mighty Wasatch mountains and hurt us? Well, Ms. Osterloh, I guess we should wait until it takes wing on the thousands of Utah seagulls and one of them drops a gift on your shoulder before Utah residents should take action.

This false sense of well-being spouted by Rolfs may soon invade other states, other epidemiologists. Be wary of this state-sponsored vaccine of serenity. It’s a vaccine your local government wants you to take so you won’t worry so much. But it could kill you.