Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Very successful workshop

The workshop was more successful than even I hoped. 33 doctors from across the U.S. and from 6 other countries sat down and worked together and learned how much is actually known about Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. As an opening salvo in setting about creating a case definition for MCS, this was ex-cellent. Ten doctors now have the task of writing up a definition. The whole process could take months, but the wheels are now turning.

Also at the workshop, 2 doctors were able to present information about new, as yet unpublished, research. Those were Dr. Robert Haley and Dr. Mohamed Abou-Donia. Dr. Haley's info was good news about identifying brain injuries in Gulf War vets. Dr. Abou-Donia's was scary news about long term brain cell death from exposures to several chemicals, including DEET — found in many bug repellants.

In spite of the toll the workshop preparation and this trip took on Cynthia, it appears to have been well worth the effort. Now we wait to see the product: a scientifically based case definition of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity that can help researchers and ignorant doctors world-wide.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

22 days and counting down

Twenty-two days from now the MCS Case Definition Workshop opens. With luck, it will result in a new definition for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity that will get world-wide acceptance. With doctors or researchers from 7 foreign countries coming — Australia, Canada, Scotland, Germany, Spain, Italy (which just won the World Cup), and Japan — the workshop has a real world-spanning flavor.

Things are bound to get more and more nuts leading up to the workshop. Adios.

Friday, June 09, 2006

MCS case definition workshop preperation

The MCS case definition workshop is coming in less than two months, and the workbook for the participants and others is looking great. It is big — over 600 pages so far — and contains the most pertinent, peer reviewed research papers on MCS. The book will be an awesome resource, and it will be available for sale after the workshop through ciin.org.
In the meantime, we will be starting to construct the workbooks — more than 100 of them, and that will be a monumental job. Makes me wish we had unlimited funds to have the woorkbook bound professionally. It is going to be a busy summer.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Wearing bamboo

Bamboo is one of the most invasive and hearty plants around. They make wood floors out of it that, from what I understand, rival other good hardwood floors. They also make paper, of course. Now it appears they are making clothing out of bamboo. No kidding.

I found this out from a catalog selling shirts made of bamboo and cotton. I am inclined to try one of them, but have not done so yet. But I love the idea of bamboo clothes. Cotton, the de facto go-to fabric, is one of the most chemical-intensive crops grown today. If we can clothe ourselves from what is essentially a weed tree, that would be great. I don't know how chemically intensive or environmentally friendly bamboo fabric is, but it is something to look in to.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Uncomfortable but true

    It is uncomfortable but true that some chemical exposures can make people appear to be crazy — just plain nuts. However, remove the exposure and the “nuts” goes away. I’ve seen it happen over and over.
    There is a second “however” to deal with. Over time, exposures take a toll — and it can become a permanent toll — on a person’s mental state. Sadly, we have witnessed downward spirals in some people that leave them no longer able to think, or talk coherently. By that time, any recovery is going to be uncertain and a long time coming.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

This is not an allergy

    There are many misconceptions about chemical sensitivities. Near the top of the list is that chemical sensitivities are a form of allergy.
    Not so.
    There are technical differences between allergies and chemical sensitivities, and those are important when dealing with doctors, but there are two practical, everyday reasons to not confuse chemical sensitivities with allergies.
    The first is this: though people may get an understanding of what kind of distress you are trying to describe, they will likely expect you to take an antihistamine and get on with your life.
    Antihistamines may provide a little relief of some symptoms, but many people with chemical sensitivities cannot tolerate them so they will tend to feel worse.
    The other is that many treatments designed for allergies are not designed for chemical sensitivities. In fact, some allergy treatments can be harmful for those who suffer chemical sensitivities. Provacation and neutralization comes immediately to mind.
-That's all for now.