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Medical anthropologist Vincanne Adams, PhD returns to our podcast, joined by co-author Michelle Perro, MD to discuss their new book, What's Making Our Children Sick?
Dr. Adams was interviewed here in May, 2013 regarding the profiteering in the disaster response to Hurricane Katrina detailed in her book Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith: New Orleans in the Wake of Katrina. Dr. Perro is a veteran acute care pediatrician who uses an integrative, food-focused approach to her patients. Her clinic, Down to Earth Pediatrics, is in Fairfax, California.
Your humble host doesn't generally cover health and nutrition, and this book revealed much about our "guts" and the complex interaction of bacteria--good and bad--in our microbiome. Perro draws on her deep experience with seriously ill children to explain how the gut is adversely affected by antibiotics, gluten, pesticides and other factors, which are not typically addressed by Western medicine.
Adams explains that she was skeptical of the negative impact of GMO foods, but that her research and interviews with Perro's patients and their parents changed her mind. Perro and Adams suspect that the widespread use of glyphosate (brand name: Roundup) in agriculture and local environments has led to growing sensitivity to glutens, especially in young children. They see a role for antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals in treatments, but argue that mainstream practitioners generally fail to address the larger systemic issues of their patients, especially diet and food allergies.
The book is not technical or academic, it's very accessible and focused on patients and their families. Perro explains that her approach has shown promise in addressing negative behaviors of those diagnosed on the Autism spectrum, especially in cases where chronic constipation or irritable bowel syndrome are triggers to acting out. We also touch briefly on chronic Lyme conditions, and Perro says that tick-borne illnesses are a growing problem, related to pesticides and environmental factors.
There's much more in the interview, and in the book, just released by Chelsea Green.