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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fwd: Aspartame and Children (Case Histories: 2 Deaths and 1 Permanent Neurological Damage)

Mary Nash Stoddard/author 
Deadly Deception Story of Aspartame

Aspartame was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in July, 1981, based on tampered results of the scientific studies submitted by G.D. Searle pharmaceutical, to show safety. Deceased laboratory animals were miraculously brought back to life on paper and a coverup of gigantic proportions ensued. 

Almost a year later, the sweetener could be found on store shelves and in restaurants. By 1987, five deaths had been formally reported to the Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS) of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Most had medical records attached. Five deaths reported within 5 years of Aspartame use by the general public. How many more do you suppose have occurred in the interim 30 years? Since the ARMS division ceased collecting adverse reactions a few years after approval, and since, unlike prescription drugs, no legal adverse reaction reporting guidelines are established for reporting by physicians and others, for a food additive such as Aspartame, one can draw one's own conclusions regarding the numbers of serious adverse reactions people have experienced since that time. Especially given the fact that in 1982, it was approved for aqueous solution and by late 1984, soft drinks, sweetened with Aspartame were being consumed on a daily basis by thousands. 

When the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network was officially begun in July, 1987, at least 3 out of 5 people in a poll, admitted to suffering from at least one of the 92 symptoms reported to FDA, ranging from migraines and seizures, all the way to blindness, hearing loss, skin reactions and many other serious symptoms. 

Try to imagine the large numbers of children who are innocent victims, suffering from aspartame reactions. These children don't know how to tell parents or teachers why they are feeling sick, disoriented, confused, and cannot control their emotions. 

The case histories continue to pour in to our network. Consumers are now sharing information they got from our organization and telling their personal experiences, in order to help educate others as to the many risk factors associated with use of Aspartame sweeteners such as Equal, NutraSweet, Canderel, and now, Neotame.

"The number of deaths from seizures has substantially increased since Aspartame has been on the market. Many more seizure related emergency transports done now," reports author, Dr. Janet Starr Hull.

Parents the FDA is not Protecting Your Child:

Young Katrina Carridine had been complaining of an earache the very day she went for her three year check up, Wednesday, January 5, 1994. Her pediatrician checked her ear. "Well, Mrs. Carradine," the pediatrician stated as she tore a sheet of paper from a rubber-lined pad. "Katrina appears to have an ear infection. Take this prescription for an antibiotic."

"Katrina has had ear infections before," replied Katrina's mother, Carmen. "But, she's never complained of so much pain. Why this time?"

"I really can't answer that question, Mrs. Carradine." the doctor said, in a somewhat dismissive manner. "I'm sure it's nothing to be worried about."

"Odd things have been happening to Katrina, lately." Carmen added, sharing her concerns with the doctor. "Especially Katrina's complaints of almost daily stomach aches over the past six to eight weeks."

"If she doesn't improve in a few days," the doctor responded, "Bring Katrina back in, and we'll run some tests."

Carmen was worried. Katrina was becoming clumsy, particularly compared to other children her age. Sometimes, she acted blind, literally running into things. Occasionally, she fell. At times, she was hyperactive. Her speech sounded slurred. She never acted in a reliable manner. Her mother wondered, "Is this typical three year old behavior?"

Katrina commonly had loose stools, but over the past several months she was experiencing diarrhea and cramping. The doctor suggested Katrina "see a neurologist," regarding her blinding falls.

Two days later, the ear pain increased in intensity. She continued falling, once bumping the back of her head quite severely. Katrina kept complaining her head was hurting where her ear was infected. Carmen called the pediatrician, who guessed the antibiotic must not be working. He prescribed Vantin®, an antibiotic she had used before, and Tylenol® with codeine. She vomited several times that night. The Tylenol never had a chance to get into her system. She couldn't keep anything down. Her parents waited until morning to start the Vantin, and tried a second dose of the Tylenol.

Carmen was not convinced Katrina HAD an ear infection. She believed this time her ear was sore because it was swollen and red at the site; not the other way around.

By Saturday, Katrina was lethargic. Carmen held her most of the day, when she was not sleeping. She would not eat anything. Her mother managed to get some sugar-free yogurt down her. Katrina liked yogurt. Carmen hoped she would keep it down. She vomited several times that day. She also sipped on a cold diet coke.

Sunday, January 9. The next morning, Katrina was still very lethargic. Her parents decided to take her back to the doctor the next morning if she did not improve that day. At 1:15 pm, Carmen was leaving for work. Katrina had not gotten out of bed for lunch as she normally did. Not wishing to disturb her sick child, Carmen let her sleep. 

She almost left without checking on her, but intuitively changed her mind, checking to see if she was sleeping. Katrina was lying on her side. As Carmen paused over her, she saw Katrina staring at the wall. She called her name, but Katrina did not respond. She said a little louder, "Katrina?" She still did not move. Carmen called for Katrina's father, Jay, who had just sat down to give a bottle to their three-month old baby
"Jay," she said in panic. "I think something is wrong!"
She turned Katrina over onto her back. She will never forget what she saw. Her three year old daughter lay unconscious. Eyes open and glaring. Lips and finger nails blue. The right side of her face covered with mucous and saliva from a puddle still pooled on her bed.

Jay rushed to her side, saying, "She's not breathing, Carmen!" She then picked Katrina up, as if it were happening in slow motion. They discussed what to do next. What do they do with the baby? Where do they lay Katrina? Who was going to give her CPR? "Carmen, call 911!" screamed Jay.

Within one minute, two policemen ran through the front door without a knock. Within two minutes, an ambulance and a fire truck idled outside the house. There were people everywhere asking questions. Carmen was still on the line telling the 911 operator what was happening. 

The paramedics identified Katrina's left side as being totally paralyzed. They asked Jay and Carmen if they had any idea why. No one knew what was wrong with Katrina.

Katrina had a grand mal seizure while being transported in the ambulance. She had stopped breathing again. Once in the emergency room, Katrina was heard saying, "Mommy, Mommy." Carmen's heart was breaking.
Katrina sat up in her temporary hospital bed, arms extended for Carmen to hold her. Carmen held her tightly, fighting tears that would frighten Katrina. As Carmen lay her back down, Katrina slipped unconscious again and had to be resuscitated. Again. Carmen was asked to leave as they intubated Katrina. She was given Valium®, Dilantin®, and Versid®. They performed a CAT scan. After four hours, Katrina was transferred to Riley Children's Hospital at Indiana University. She remained there for six weeks. She was on life support for two weeks. In ICU for four weeks.

Jay and Carmen received an incredible education during that six weeks, as well as a new home. Katrina's baby sister went to live with friends.

Katrina continued to have seizures and apnea the first day in the hospital. Doctors performed an MRI without a contrast, but saw nothing. They did a spinal tap. Nothing. They thought they had her stabilized with anti-convulsants. They extubated her the next day, moving her into the toddler unit.

The seizures were no longer blatantly obvious. Jay and Carmen had never seen them. Katrina had no jerking of limbs or any physical effects common to seizures. That night, she complained of another bad headache. She could get no relief.

By 6:00 am the following morning, Katrina began acting in a strange manner. Her hands began to twitch. Carmen held her while she summoned the nurse. The nurse arrived, but just stood in place watching Carmen hold Katrina. Carmen grew angry. "Why don't you do something?" she questioned. She found out later that the nurse was watching and timing Katrina's seizure. There was nothing more she could have done. She was unaware that Carmen had never seen Katrina have a seizure before.

Within fifteen minutes, Katrina had another seizure, this time with more arm and mouth movement. Again, fifteen minutes later, another seizure. This continued until 7:30 am. Back in ICU, Katrina slipped into status epilepticus. She stopped breathing. They re-intubated and performed an MRI with a contrast. This time, they finally saw something, although no one knew what it meant.

Katrina was put into a Pentobarbital® coma for one week to stop the status epilepticus. Otherwise, Katrina could have died, from the damage to her brain by the constant seizing. The doctors wanted her brain wave to be as flat as possible, referred to as 'burst suppression.' During this time, Katrina was on complete life support and a constant EEG monitor. She had an arterial line in her ankle to draw blood hourly to check for blood gases and drug levels.

The little patient required a blood transfusion to replace what was being continuously drawn. She had two central lines; one in her neck and one in her groin area. Each central line had two lines leading into it. One for feeding, three for various drugs. Her urine was collected hourly.

In a sort of cruel irony, Katrina was put into isolation as they suspected she was contagious. Jay and Carmen were required to wear masks and gowns to stay with her. What a horrible sight for her parents to see - their beloved daughter almost gone from them forever. Her soul was floating in space, somewhere out in space. It was a long, long time before she came back.

Jay and Carmen wanted answers! They asked the doctors, "Why is our daughter so sick. "What could've so suddenly caused this?" They complained of being kept in the dark. No one offered any explanations. 

As if they were being childish and disruptive to the healthcare team, they were coldly told, "Look, we have a live child to work with here. She could easily be dead. You're lucky. Don't complain. All you can do for Katrina is support her. You'll just have to wait and see what happens."

At this time, they were informed that 60% of the children that come to Riley for diagnosis never get one. "So, don't get your hopes up." (Ed. ACSN even talks about Aspartame and Difficult to Diagnose Diseases, which are more and more prevalent since the advent of Aspartame in our food supply, in 1982.)

For the two weeks in a coma and on life support, Katrina's family didn't know whether she would live or die. If she did live, could they keep this from happening again? No one could give them any answers.

When Carmen was not at the hospital, she was searching for the answer. She went to the medical library, continuously reading articles, books, and research trying to help her daughter. But, like the doctors, she also found nothing.

Jay drove to Chicago late one night to have a friend run a test on some of Katrina's blood. He thought she may have lead poisoning. Nothing.

The Carridines had their furnace checked for carbon monoxide leaks. They checked her blood for that, too. Still ... nothing.

Could the cause be Chocolate? A friend mentioned an article she had recently read on theobromine, an ingredient in chocolate. She knew Katrina had an insatiable, almost embarrassing, craving for sweets/candy. Another friend suggested a possible carnitine deficiency. Nothing.

Frail little Katrina endured one diagnostic test after another. So many, in fact, Jay and Carmen lost track. And, the Carridines were getting buried in astronomical medical bills.! 

Katrina had a CAT scan, three MRIs, three spinal taps, and so many EEGs, her parents lost count.
Katrina soon developed problems with her liver. A liver biopsy was performed. A muscle tissue biopsy was also done. An ophthalmologist was called in to check for a Kayser-Fleischer ring indicating Wilson's Disease. Nothing.

A cytogenetic test was performed, an abdominal ultrasound of her liver and gall bladder. A VER and BSER were performed. The list went on and on ad infinitum. Still nothing.

An infectious disease specialist diagnosed Katrina with noninfectious encephalitis. Her pediatric pulmonologists agreed she had encephalitis, but believed it was viral. Three spinal taps did not support that opinion.
Katrina was then followed by a gastrointerologist and a neurologist. The neurologist's final impression on April 15 was "Status-post status epilepticus of unknown etiology with evidence of a meningo encephalitis on MRI scan."

After Katrina came out of a coma, Carmen rocked her, talked to her, read to her, played music for her, and waited day after day for her to 'come back' from the deep sedation. Her Mommy waiting to hold her again.
The time at the hospital spent waiting for Katrina to get better flew by quickly, thanks to the constant flow of friends who came to keep Jay and Carmen occupied. No one could offer answers, only support and love.

Who knew the answer to why Katrina was fatally ill so suddenly? What caused this? Katrina was always healthy. Other than ear infections and the unusual symptoms over the past two and one-half months, leading up to her hospitalization, she was a model, healthy baby. Who or what was to blame?

Jay and Carmen pondered the fate of their child. What do they do next? What's the fate of their second child?
Katrina was finally released from the hospital after eight weeks. Over $300,000 worth of care without answers. Her parents brought her home with little else to go on. They didn't know what caused her near-death experience or if it would ever occur again. The doctors never determined what really happened. It was still a dark mystery.

The doctors wanted Katrina to remain on anticonvulsants for a lack of anything else to do. After being on life support for two weeks, six weeks at Riley Children's Hospital, being transferred to a rehabilitation hospital for another two weeks - yielded no answers.

Six weeks of tests, including three lumbar punctures, constant EEGs, a liver biopsy, a muscle tissue biopsy, Echocardiography, Genetic Screenings, Abdominal Ultrasounds of an enlarged liver and high enzyme readings, four MRIs, tests for: Wilson's Disease, Herpes and Hepatitis, hourly blood tests, daily blood tests, lead poisoning tests, carbon monoxide poisoning tests, cytogenetic tests, and countless others, the Carradines didn't even know about - NOTHING. An infectious disease specialist saw Katrina for a while, but found NOTHING.

Katrina's final diagnosis was meningo encephalitis of unknown etiology. No virus found. No bacterial infection discovered. The doctors talked of a possible toxin, but it was never pursued.

Katrina was finally home. But, for how long?

In July, 1994, the Carradine's moved to Dallas, Texas. A new friend and neighbor suggested Katrina's symptoms might simply be reactions to aspartame. She gave Carmen an article published by a consumer group concerned about NutraSweet safety, the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network. Handing her the ACSN's telephone number, she said, "It couldn't hurt to check it out."

Finally! Answers!

Jay and Carmen were interested in all the information they could get. Mary Nash Stoddard, founder of Aspartame Consumer Safety Network showed them similar cases from the ACSN files. For the first time since Katrina's illness, they had answers that made sense.

Katrina occasionally had Kool Aid® with aspartame. Carmen fed her yogurt with aspartame when sugar-sweetened was not available. Katrina took sips of Jay's diet drinks. Carmen sometimes used aspartame during pregnancy with Katrina. Her OB/GYN said it was fine. None of these foods was given to Katrina regularly. Maybe once or twice a week. Where could she have gotten enough aspartame to create such serious symptoms?

Carmen called the NutraSweet Company to ask if they had ever received complaints like hers. They claimed to have no idea what she was talking about. They mailed her brochures advertising all the products NutraSweet is found in, professing their unassailable confidence in their product's safety.

The information from the files of Mary Nash Stoddard, told her the answer. Especially one compelling case history of a toddler from Kansas, whose Mother sent Mary a video of Jennifer's erratic behavior and all her medical records. The cases were chillingly similar.

She knew then how Katrina got ill! Katrina's daily children's multiple vitamins contained aspartame. Carmen never knew they contained aspartame because the chewable vitamins were not labeled 'sugar-free.' Carmen bought the popular children's vitamins for Katrina in October and religiously gave them to her until January 9. On October 13, a few days after she started the vitamins, Katrina was taken to the emergency room with a concussion. She had 'stumbled' and fallen. She began developing strange repercussions. She had a hard time standing. She'd stand in one spot with her finger pointed out, turning in circles and mumbling. Carmen talked to the pediatrician about Katrina's strange reflexes. To test Carmen's concerns, the pediatrician asked Katrina 'who her mommy was.' Katrina went over to the nurse, pointed, and called her 'mommy.'

Katrina could no longer see well. She began to develop frequent earaches. Her mother started Katrina on a children's pain reliever, unaware IT also contained aspartame. Katrina was given vitamins and pain relievers containing aspartame without her mother's knowledge. More vitamins, more aspartame, more earaches, more sugar-free pain relievers.

Home from the hospital, Katrina was on prescribed anticonvulsants. Carmen did not start her back on vitamins until she weaned her completely from the medication. Seizure free for over one year, Carmen started Katrina back on her favorite chewable vitamins. Tragically, just one week later, the same symptoms as before her illness reappeared. Katrina began complaining of stomach pains and diarrhea, she began stumbling and falling down.

About this time, Carmen was introduced to Mary Nash Stoddard, one of the nation's leading experts on the topic of aspartame, who gave her copious amounts of information concerning aspartame's reported risk factors for children. She began to put two and two together. Was aspartame in Katrina's vitamins? Yes, but why? Katrina didn't need sugar-free vitamins. Carmen took the vitamins away from Katrina, and her returning symptoms disappeared. Coincidence? She didn't think so.

Katrina suffered from acute toxicity, lethargy, confusion, impairment of articulation, sever headaches, abdominal pain, vertigo, and temporary visual loss. All symptoms of aspartame toxicity. Katrina also had nausea, an unsteady gate, and unusually high liver enzyme levels.

Katrina has suffered so much, and has a hard life ahead of her. She is in need of speech therapy. Her behavior is unpredictable. She requires special schooling. Her diet will have to be watched very closely from now on. Her parents must scrutinize all her meals and snacks. Eating out is risky.  Only God knows what additives are found in contemporary foods. This one thing is certain: Katrina can never have aspartame again, if she hopes to stay well. The artificial sweetener is hidden in so many things. Her life will never again be the same.

April 6, 1995
Mary Nash-Stoddard
Aspartame Consumer Safety Network
PO Box 780634
Dallas, Texas 75378

Dear Mary,

After talking with you a few weeks ago, I felt a kind of excitement and relief because I was FINALLY getting an answer to what happened to my daughter in January of 1994. Just 10 days after her third birthday, she nearly died, and would have had my husband not known CPR, and had an ambulance and medical team not been only two blocks away...

Is my child's life worth nothing? It makes me very, very angry that the FDA has allowed something to be put into my children's food that can harm them and even take their lives. The FDA knows it has already taken lives. Are millions of dollars being spent buying up books and other literature so the public doesn't have a chance to read the truth?

I am very grateful to have been informed, and I know from our prior experience that my child could be dead by now if the ACSN had not chosen to speak out. Katrina had so many symptoms listed on the FDA complaint list, I knew immediately, without a doubt, she was a victim of aspartame poisoning. I knew it, even before I figured out where she was getting her largest, regular dose of it.
It was helpful for me to be able to put down the words, kind of like therapy. 

I will remain in contact and will do what I can to help you in your efforts to let people know the dangers of aspartame. Thank you for your help, and advice, and for listening!

Yours very truly,
Carmen Carradine
The following is another case history of a Mother's grieving over an unthinkable loss. Taken from Deadly Deception Story of Aspartame. This one is about Patti, the daughter of one of my dearest friends, Betty Hailand, who gave me Patti's ring to wear when I give keynote speeches and media interviews about Aspartame:

December 7, 1987. Patti Crain was a beautiful girl. She enjoyed a normal and healthy life until she mysteriously dropped dead at age twenty-three. Cause: Death Unknown. Patti's mother, Betty Hailand, witnessed the tragedy evolve.
Patti was Betty's adopted daughter. She was the 'All-American girl.' Suddenly out of nowhere, Patti developed eye problems, experiencing blurred vision accompanied by bad headaches. Betty took Patti to have her eyes examined. The doctor found nothing wrong with her eyesight. Patti and Betty were frustrated because they knew something was wrong.

One day after work, Patti returned to her apartment complaining that her vision was intolerably blurred, and she was experiencing unbearable head pain. She progressively grew worse through the night and willingly admitted herself to the hospital emergency room early the next morning, accompanied by her friend, Cheryl. The E.R. doctor diagnosed Patti with a common case of the flu. He routinely ordered medication for her nausea, immediately prescribed IVs to be administered to her while in the E.R. for severe dehydration (she required three IVs), and sent her home after they had done all they could for her. She was told to drink plenty of liquids, which she always did - plenty of diet drinks. She went home and drank countless diet colas to overcome her state of dehydration.

Two days later, Patti's health was returning to normal. Two days after that, Patti was dead on the floor of her apartment. Apparently, she died around 4:00 p.m., while staying home from work. Her hands were tightly clinched and her tongue sharply bitten. Empty diet drink cans were scattered throughout her apartment.

A friend of Betty's called the Aspartame Consumer Safety Hotline and talked to Mary Nash Stoddard for hours on the phone hotline. Betty Hailand and Mary Nash Stoddard met at the DFW airport in Dallas to travel to Washington together to tell Patti's story. 

There was no official cause for the grand mal seizure that ended Patti's life at age twenty-three, but Betty knew what killed her daughter. She always maintained Patti died from the aspartame found in NutraSweet diet products.

Betty charged that her daughter was addicted to aspartame. Patti incessantly drank no fewer than six diet drinks every day and perpetually added in excess of five packets of Equal® to one glass of iced tea.

Betty never stopped believing her daughter's death was connected to her heavy consumption of aspartame. In the memory of her daughter's 'cause of death unknown' as stated on her death certificate, Betty teamed with Mary Nash Stoddard and James Turner, Esq., as they devotedly battled The FDA, Monsanto's NutraSweet Company and fought the suppression of information concerning the dangers connected to this chemical sweetener together - in the halls of Congress, at the headquarters of the FAA and on internationally televised interviews. As a mother fighting for her child, Betty never gave up the battle to prove she was right.

In 1991, Betty was found shot to death in her Vista, California home, in what appeared to be a forced entry through a window.To date, the L.A. police have not determined what really occurred on that day.


5.0 out of 5 stars My daughter diedJanuary 10, 2012
This review is from: While Science Sleeps (Paperback)
Wade (Dallas, TX) - 
"This book helps me better understand some of the following. My teenage daughter started drinking diet-colas with aspartame, and soon after she started having seizures. That lead to an eternal stream of medications and their side affects, including blurred erratic speech when too many pills were prescribed. She kept drinking that stuff. I begged her to stop. She moved on to bi-polar depressions and screaming rages. When she was in her 30s, a Harvard professor, who created, told me 'aspartame definitely lowers the threshold for seizures'. More begging. I couldn't get her to quit. Addiction, I guess, like cigarettes and alcohol. She became ever more mentally unstable. Simultaneous care from a neurologist, psychiatrist, and psychologist. She received government financial assistance. Finally, I felt guilty at feeling relieved when she died in her late 30s, with no quality of life left. 20 years of suffering. Two car crashes with my grandchildren in the car. Tears. Pain. Death for my daughter. At one time she was so lovely and happy. She gave that drink to her young son. He started having rages in the classroom and at home. The father, grandmother, and I, the grandfather, took control with constant adult supervision. My wonderful grandchild never had another rage after drinking no more aspartame in the diet-cola. No more car crashes with adult supervision and her not being alone with the children. I so wish, as a young parent, I had been able to understand what's in this book. I'll never understand why the FDA allows aspartame to be placed in 1,000s of food and beverage products. I could ramble on, like this, in tears, for such a long time ... need to go think about something else."

submitted 4/14/12 by Mary Nash Stoddard/author Deadly Deception Story of Aspartame (Odenwald Press 1998)