December 26, 2014

Behavioral Response Dogs for Autism?

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Can Dogs be Trained to Assist Autistic Individuals with Self-Injurious Behavior?

·       Self-Injurious Behavior (SIB) is one of the most devastating behaviors exhibited by people with autism

·       SIB is displayed by 10-15% of individuals with autism

·       Conventional pharmaceuticals have shown little clinical value in treating SIB in autistic individuals and often cause serious adverse side effects that cause other health problems that trigger more SIB

·       Seizure response dogs are custom trained to assist individuals with epilepsy

·       So, it’s possible dogs could be custom trained to re-direct individuals with autism who engage in self-injurious behaviors

·       A dog could be trained to intervene in positive ways during SIB

·       For example, if an autistic person slaps their face, the dog could be trained to lick the face. If SIB involves body punching the dog could be trained to use its paws to block or re-direct head hits or climb on the persons lap to offer sensory/comfort support.

·       A careful assessment could identity specific SIBs that could best be helped by a custom trained SIB response dog

·       Canine training experts could be utilized in identifying best type of dogs to train for autistic individuals who engage in SIB

·       Donations, grants or other funding could be used to start pilot programs to train Self-Injurious Behavior Response Dogs and match them with certain autistic individuals (obviously considering dog’s safety is important)

We have a severely-autistic son who suffers from SIB.  

We've witnessed a few times when our Australian Cattle Dogs have jumped on our son and began licking his face during the onset of mild SIB, which was strictly BEHAVIORAL, not related to underlying medical issue. 

During the strictly behavioral SIB, the dog licking our son's face caused our son to start laughing. He stopped the SIB. He reached out towards the dog. 

What's more, our dogs aren't afraid of him. Because our autistic son is always dropping food outside, the dogs think he's some kind of reward God. So they're very protective of him. 

Could they also be learning to protect him from himself? 

We recently witnessed one of our dogs use her PAWS to tap our son’s hands as he was trying to punch himself. Again, this was during rather mild to moderate SIB, but it surprised us that she did this. 

I don't know if a dog intervening would work during a full-blown SIB meltdown.  But, we can't rule that scenario out. Nobody knows the answer, because it's never been evaluated, researched or tried as an adjunct therapy in the treatment of autism and SIB. 

Dogs are man (and woman's) best friend. 

Autistic individuals who engage in SIB can find comfort from dogs, so why aren’t there dogs trained to respond to self-injurious behavior to help autistic people with SIB? 

Is it possible?   Yes, I think it is. 

Kim Oakley

September 28, 2014

MRSA Infection Treatment

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Decolonization of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus

MRSA kills more people each year than AIDS.  Children, elderly, sick and disabled who are non-verbal, are particularly vulnerable to MRSA infections. They can’t speak for themselves. They can’t tell you how sick they feel. They rely on caretakers to quickly identify staph infections. And seek prompt and effective medical treatment. 

Children have greater risk of MRSA infection in summer, while seniors have a greater risk in winter, according to a study published in American Journal of Epidemiology. My guess is children are more active in summer, attend camps, play more sports, thus getting more cuts that provide an open portal to Staphylococcus aureus, while many seniors are cooped up in nursing homes, aren’t being bathed and exposed to other immune compromised patients in winter.

Up to 20% of the US population is colonized with Staphylococcus aureus in anterior nares, with transient skin and nasal colonization rates as high as 60%. Staph aureus is a pathogenic opportunistic bacteria. In essence, it can be on your skin, but not until you get a burn, abrasion or cut, does it dive into the opening and spread its misery. If your doctor says you have a staph infection it is critical you:

·         *Ask doctor to perform a wound culture. As per culture results, demand appropriate antibiotic that is “susceptible” to the specific strain of Staphylococcus bacteria involved. 
       Getting the appropriate anti-biotic that targets specific strain of staph is the first line of defense in eradicating MRSA.

·         A wound culture can take up to 3 days. Few hospitals or healthcare providers have rapid detection MRSA tests. Troubling, considering an immune compromised or otherwise very ill person could die within few wait-for-wound-culture days, if they don’t get correct antibiotic.

·         *Ask doctor for prescription of MUPIROCIN. Normally, it’s applied to both nares twice a day x 5 days. (Studies show Mupirocin is more effective than Bacitracin in nasal decolonization of MRSA). 

·         *Ask doctor to prescribe CHLORHEXIDINE Gluconate mouthwash.

·         *Ask doctor to prescribe Hibiclens (CHLORHEXIDINE) for 5 days to do a full body wash (avoid eyes). You can find Hibiclens at your local pharmacy and at Walgreens, Wal Mart and Target.

·         If you are hospitalized with MRSA, or get MRSA while in the hospital (HA-MRSA) demand strict infection control protocol in place.

·        A study in Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control showed 21% of hospital nurses and 57% of surgical nurses are MRSA carriers. 

      A University of Michigan study showed 73% of nurses who wear artificial nails place patients at higher risk of MRSA via harmful bacteria on their nails. 

Deadly bacteria colonizes under artificial nails. 

Worse, artificial nails can tear apart latex gloves, spreading multi-drug resistant bacteria and blood to multiple patients. 

Doctor and nurse uniforms also transfer bacteria. (We had a nurse once that would work at a nursing home with very sick people, then go home and sleep, get up, and wear the same contaminated scrubs he wore to that job, to come work with our autistic son. 

Not good. No sense of infection control. No microbial thinking going on.  

We have preventative measures in place at home because our autistic son attends an Autism Day Program. 

These types of programs are a hot bed of bacteria transmission. 

To prevent opportunistic bacteria, we give our autistic son two baths a day, and change his clothes frequently. We also use essential oils on his skin as a natural barrier to bacteria. 

·         Studies of MRSA decolonization show its role in reducing MRSA colonization and preventing reoccurring infections. 

Successful colonization is achieved if results are negative for MRSA in 3 consecutive follow-up culture tests.

FYI: MANY people think ONCE U have MRSA U will always get MRSA again during a staph infection. NOT TRUE. You can have MRSA in one wound and months later have another staph infection that is MSSA (methicillin-suspectible) not MRSA (methicillin-resistant). 

Restoring your body's immune system defense, implementation of infection control and ensuring doctor's prescribe you the RIGHT antibiotics from the get go,  are all critical to preventing re-occurring MRSA infections. 

                              NATURAL TREATMENTS TO ERADICATE MRSA

·         MANUKA HONEY: A study in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy found that Manuka Honey contains anti-bacterial components. Researchers at the University of Wales College of Medicine found Manuka Honey destroyed MRSA inside leg ulcers.

·         EUCALYPTUS and TEA TREE OIL: According to a study in Reuter’s Health, a pair of surgeons turned researchers found that, applied to the skin of infected wounds, eucalyptus and tea tree oil can kill MRSA when conventional antibiotics fail, which means these essential oils can kill MRSA when antibiotics don’t fail, too, since antibiotic failure doesn’t alter therapeutic value of essential oils.

·         GARLIC: It can be used externally and internally to eradicate MRSA. A report in Nursing Times illuminated a study done at University of London, which showed garlic kills MRSA. It’s cheap and effective. Don’t count on the medical community to prescribe garlic anytime soon. The makers of bacitracin and mupirocin don’t appreciate competition from an herb you can find at your local farmer’s market or grocery store.

·         GOLDENSEAL: (H. canadensis). A study in Plana Medica shows the herb, Goldenseal is effective against MRSA.

·         NONPSYCHOACTIVE CANNABIOL: Aka, the medical cannabis that doesn’t get you “high”. According to a 2008, Science Daily report, substances in marijuana show potent germ killing activity against drug-resistant staphylococcus strains. 

       LAVENDER: Lavender oils inhibit growth of MSSA and MRSA, reported researchers in the Journal of Complementary Medicine

      LEMONGRASS for air disinfection: A study in Letter in Applied Microbiology found lemongrass disinfected the air by killing MRSA. If my autistic son was in hospital we would cover him with essential oils and diffuse the air around him. Don't count on air disinfection in hospitals. 

      MRSA is not the end of the world. There are effective antibiotics and natural treatments that can eradicate MRSA. Don't give up. 

Always consult your physician if you think you have a staph infection!