Medical Marijuana for Autism
Mieko says her 10-year-old son, Joey, was diagnosed with autism when he was 16 months old. By age 5, Joey's behavior was destructive and aggressive, and despite trying 13 different medications, Joey's condition was going from bad to worse.
"Because of his autism, Joey was very particular about the foods he would eat and was literally starving to death in front of our eyes," recalls Dr. Rebecca Hedrick, Joey's psychiatrist at UC Irvine.
Desperate for a solution to save her son, Meiko turned to medical marijuana, a controversial remedy not often associated with children. Under a doctor's care, she began treating Joey with medical marijuana.
Marijuana as Treatment
The chemical in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can stimulate appetite. The use of medical marijuana as a treatment option for children is considered controversial due to the inherent nature of the drug and minimal research available.
However, the results of Joey's treatment are promising. Not only has Joey doubled his weight, he is responsive and socially engaged. "Joey has had an awakening," his mother reports. "That is truly what has happened to my son. I lost him at 16 months. When he was saying ‘Mom,' I feel like I have my son back."
"After starting to use the medical marijuana, he interacts with us," Dr. Hedrick adds. "We don't have any medications right now that treat autism. We have two FDA-approved medications that treat the irritability side effect of autism, but nothing that treats this disinterest in personal relationships."
Dr. Stephen Hinshaw from the University of California at Berkeley calls in and he, The Doctors and Dr. Hedrick all agree that Joey's progress is encouraging and that medical marijuana as a treatment for children with autism warrants further research.
Learn more about the unconventional treatment for autism.
Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which encompasses the thymus gland, tonsils, spleen, bone marrow, appendix and lymph nodes. Cells in the lymphatic system grow abnormally and may spread throughout the body. As the disease progresses, the body's ability to fight infection becomes severely compromised.
Common Symptoms of Lymphoma:
• Swelling in the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, or groin, which is often painless
• Recurring fever
• Night sweats
• Unexplained weight loss
• Itchy skin
Hereditary Gastric Cancer Prevention
Would you remove one of your organs to prevent cancer? The Chelcun family has a cancer gene that spans more than four generations, and they have taken the drastic step to prevent the disease from developing.
Hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC) is an inherited genetic susceptibility to stomach cancer. The condition is rare but can be detected by a simple blood test.
HDGC is a diffuse cancer, growing under the lining and throughout the stomach, encompassing the organ. "One of the dilemmas of the disease is [that] routine screenings often aren't helpful because the endoscopist can't see the tumor," Dr. Piro explains. "It's hidden; it's sub-mucosal and growing along."
A CDH1 gene mutation can translate to a 60 to 80 percent chance of developing gastric cancer. Six members of the Chelcun family were tested and all six tested positive.
Karen Chelcun Schreiber, her brother and her nephew chose to have their stomachs removed in a radical attempt to prevent the cancer.
"I watched my mother and my brother suffer horrible deaths from stomach cancer," Karen says. "After we discovered this hereditary cancer syndrome in our family, and as I learned more about it and eventually tested positive for it myself ... It was coming to a realization that this is what I had to do to save my life because if I didn't, chances were I'd be following down the same path."
Oncologist Dr. Lawrence Piro from the Angeles Clinic and Research Institute describes how a gastrectomy, or the removal of the stomach, is performed.
Johanna, Karen's niece, tested positive for the gene, but has chosen not to have the surgery. "I know I have to do it at some point, and the question is when," she says. "There's never a great time to have a gastrectomy."
"The younger you have a procedure, the easier your body will adjust to it," Dr. Piro says. "The compelling scenario about having this done earlier is your bowel gets adjusted, the absorption can change. I think that waiting doesn't generally provide much in the way of benefits."
A personal note from Karen Chelcun Schreiber:
We share our family story in an effort to raise awareness about hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC) -- awareness which is lacking in both the general public and in the medical community. I believe that this deadly cancer syndrome is not that rare, but rather under identified. I fear for the affected families out there who have not yet made this discovery, those who are losing lives that can be saved.
If you are seeing instances of diffuse stomach cancer and/or lobular breast cancer in your family, seek genetic counseling. Share this information with your family, friends, colleagues, even your own doctor. Families at risk will be identified and lives will most certainly be saved.
We have established No Stomach For Cancer, Inc., a charitable organization whose mission is to expedite education and research for early diagnosis, screening, treatment and prevention of hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC) and other diffuse gastric cancers and their related health risks, and to provide a network of support for affected families.
Learn more at www.NoStomachForCancer.org