Researchers "wave off our kids’ disabilities as 'genetic' without ever pausing to think about what novel and powerful chemicals may have in fact drugged our DNA."
by Chrissy Young
I was born and raised in Boston, am a die-hard Red Sox fan, and have a beautiful son and daughter, both of whom have attention, conduct, processing, and learning disorders. Also before having them I had a girl with Turner’s syndrome but she was not born alive. My daughter also has precocious puberty. My older sister’s son is also behaviorally disabled, he is diagnosed with ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, a panic disorder, and is on the spectrum.
How did my sister and myself have between us three children with serious neurological disabilities? I think the clue lies with our mother, that is, our disabled children’s grandmother. Our mother has Type 1 diabetes, and as a consequence had been a patient at the famed Joslin Diabetes Clinic in Boston when she was pregnant with us in the 1960s.
Because I had many strange health problems growing up, including cardiac defects, abnormal dental structure, and persistent gynecological problems, and my sister had serious health problems, too, we looked into the drugs my mom had been given when she was pregnant with us. What we discovered was utterly shocking.
In addition to insulin, we saw that the Joslin clinic has also given my mom weekly injections of synthetic steroid hormones — a drug called Deluteval 2x (the 17-OHPC progestin Delalutin, plus estradiol valerate). These drug combos were mistakenly thought to help prevent miscarriage in “at-risk” pregnancies, including moms with diabetes.
In addition, we obtained records that my mom was regularly given many other drugs during pregnancy, including:
• Sedatives, including chloral hydrate
• Methamphetamine (desoxyn)
• Cough syrup with codeine
• Diuretics, including hydrodiuril (antihypertensive) and mercuhydrin (preeclampsia prevention, ineffective)
• Anti-nausea drugs, including Compazine
• Thyroid hormone
• Atropine (anticholinergic, unknown use)
• Hykinone (synthetic vitamin K)
• Kaopectate, Maalox, vitamins
My mother’s sister, who did not have Type 1 diabetes, had unmedicated pregnancies, and her offspring and grand-offspring are all typically developing, in stark contrast to our families.
There is so much more to the epidemics of autism and ADHD and other mental disabilities than researchers have been thinking about. They are not aware of the heavy and wanton use of pregnancy drugs such as those to which I and my sister were subjected. And they do not think about what these drugs might have done to our developing gametes—instead they wave off our kids’ disabilities as “genetic” without ever pausing to think about what novel and powerful chemicals may have in fact drugged our DNA.
My sister and I were both really lucky to get records of the drugs we were exposed to in the womb. I believe there are no coincidences and I think we were blessed with those rare records for a reason. I think they can help bring to light this horrible pregnancy drug history no one ever thinks about, and its catastrophic multigenerational consequences.
Chrissy Young lives in Boston.
A Glut of Abnormal Neurodevelopment in One Family — Did Grandma's 1960s Pregnancy Drugs Cause Germline Errors?
SNORD115 regions were represented in 4 of the top 10 DMRs.Dani Fallin and Andrew Feinberg of John Hopkins University Center for Epigenetics, and colleagues, have found a DNA methylation pattern in the sperm of fathers with an increased risk of fathering autistic children that is also present in brains of unrelated autistic children. See the paper at the International Journal of Epidemiology, April 2015.
Looking at the sperm of fathers of young children considered at risk for autism, the team found 193 significant differentially methylated regions (DMRs), compared to controls; those sperm DMRs are large stretches of dozens of CpGs, not single CpG sites, and were consistent with 75 CpG probes from the 450K; and the DMRs are involved in developmental processes including imprinting disorders
The aberrant methylation was associated with genomic areas involved in the imprinting disorders Angelman syndrome and Prader-Wili Syndrome. The region regulates neuron growth and produces important regulatory molecules. The large-scale methylation differences suggests epigenetic deviations in the germline may manifest as abnormalities in early brain development of offspring, producing the autism phenotype.
Jill Escher, Escher Fund for Autism, is a California-based science philanthropist and mother of two children with severe autism, focused on the question of how environmentally induced germline disruptions may be contributing to today's epidemics of neurodevelopmental impairment. You can read about her discovery of her intensive prenatal exposure to synthetic hormone drugs here. Jill is also president of Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area.