Supporting Children's Health - by Philip Incao, M.D.

Supporting Children's Health
 - by Philip Incao, M.D.
(Courtesy: Sheri Nakken, Homeopath)

The rate of chronic illness in children has tripled since 1960, possibly
due in part to the overuse of childhood vaccinations. The surprising news
is that the standard childhood illnesses these vaccines suppress may
actually benefit the immune system.

One of the best ways to ensure your children's health is to allow them to
get sick. At first hearing, this concept may sound outrageous. Yet standard
childhood illnesses, such as measles, mumps, and even whooping cough, may
be of key benefit to a child's developing immune system and it may be
inadvisable to suppress these illnesses with immunisations. Evidence is
also accumulating that routine childhood vaccinations may directly
contribute to the emergence of chronic problems such as eczema, ear
infections, asthma, and bowel inflammations.

It's a challenging medical proposition, but ever since the 1920s, many
European physicians and a small band of American doctors (myself included,
for the past 23 years) have avoided using most vaccinations, based on a
medical approach called Anthroposophic medicine.

In this field, we regard childhood vaccinations as anything but routine;
rather, we consider them in most cases to be suspect, dangerous, and worthy
of exceedingly rigorous review. Generally, we try to avoid giving most
vaccinations and rely instead on alternative, more natural ways of helping
the child cope with what we contend are the necessary and beneficial
illnesses of childhood.

The Immune System Benefits from Early Illness
Before these concepts make sense, it must be pointed out that the immune
system has two different aspects. One aspect is called the humoral immune
system whereby antibodies (specialised defence proteins) are produced to
recognise and neutralise antigens (foreign particles in the body).
The other aspect is called the cell-mediated immune system, and involves
white blood cells and specialised immune cells called macrophages which
ÒeatÓ antigens. These also help drive the antigens out of the body, causing
skin rashes and discharges of pus and mucus from the throat and lungs. Both
are typical signs of the beneficial acute inflammatory illnesses of

These two poles of the immune system have a reciprocal relationship. That
means when the humoral pole is overstimulated (for example, from vaccines
or allergies), the cell-mediated pole tends to be relatively inactive.
Vaccines do not stimulate this pole, so their contents never get discharged
from the body.

Polio and tetanus do not belong to this group of beneficial standard
childhood illnesses. I use the word "standard" to denote acute inflammatory
illnesses (usually with rash and fever) typical and common to children in
Western, industrialised nations. These illnesses are also standard to
childhood as a developmental phase, something akin to the predictable
change in teeth around age seven.

Many years ago, Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian scientist and founder of the
Anthroposophic approach to medicine, argued that childhood illnesses are a
standard feature of childhood because the young body needs them. Now let's
see how this plays out in a standard childhood illness or its suppression
with vaccinations.

An acute inflammatory childhood illness--measles, mumps, rubella, chicken
pox, scarlatina, or whooping cough--develops the cell-mediated immune
system, while a vaccine activates the humoral immune system. The difference
here is crucial because it is the cell-mediated response that protects the
child from future illness and that provides, in effect, the deeper immunity.
Physicians who practice Anthroposophical medicine generally believe that
having acute but limited inflammatory diseases as a child helps protect one
as an adult against more serious, long-term, chronic illnesses. Not having
these childhood illnesses (because of multiple vaccinations) can lead to a
greater incidence of adult health problems. The same is true when these
childhood illnesses are routinely suppressed with antibiotics rather than
helping the cell-mediated immune system to work out the illness in a rash
or mucous discharge.

Recent research in conventional medical journals is now confirming this
view. In early 1997, a team of British physicians writing in Science made
this provocative statement: "Childhood infections may, therefore,
paradoxically protect against asthma." In other words, these infections
have a purpose in building general immunity.

The British physicians noted that the incidence of asthma has doubled since
1977 in Western countries and in the U.S. it is responsible for 33% of all
paediatric emergency-room visits. Yet this growing incidence of asthma
seems to be related more to the suppression or absence of respiratory
infections than to the commonly perceived cause, air pollution.
Highly polluted European cities where the use of antibiotics and
immunisations is less than in the U.S. have lower asthma rates than
comparable U.S. cities. Conversely, in Tucson, Arizona, despite the dry
heat and lack of irritants (such as dust mites) in the air, the rate of
asthma is the same as elsewhere in the country.

The Science physicians suggested that diseases such as tuberculosis and
whooping cough may permanently alter a child's immune system such that they
confer a lifetime protection against asthma. Certainly they were not saying
children should have tuberculosis, but they noted that the humoral immune
system needs to be tempered by the cell-mediated response, and this best
happens during an infectious childhood disease.

When a child undergoes an intense but short-term lung infection, this
provides the necessary exercise of the cell-mediated immune system. If this
does not happen, the humoral system is left unbridled and subject to
over-reaction to otherwise harmless pollen and dust particles; eventually,
this may lead to asthma.

Let's follow this idea in the case of measles. When a child gets a measles
rash, the body excretes the virus through the skin, usually within about
four days after rash onset. If the child does not get a measles rash, some
of the measles virus remains unneutralised in the body where it can act as
a chronic irritant to the immune system and contribute to degenerative
disease later.

The fever and rash of measles enable the body to burn up the virus; having
a measles vaccine is like planting a seed of future infection in the body
and tricking the body not to reject it. This is because a vaccine results
in only a partial immunity; ie., the humoral system is triggered while the
cell-mediated system remains dormant or can even be inhibited by the
vaccine. This insight was first put forward by Boston homoeopath Richard
Moskowitz, M.D., in the early 1980s.

Danish physician Tove Ronne stated it simply in The Lancet in 1985:
"Measles virus infection without rash in childhood is related to disease in
adult life." Among these, Dr. Ronne listed skin disease, immune
dysfunctions, degenerative diseases of bone and cartilage, and certain
cancers. It's alarming to note that a few years later, in 1991, the
National Cancer Institute announced that the rate of all cancers among
white American children grew by 4.1% between 1973 and 1988. More
specifically, the rate of childhood leukemia increased by 10.7% while brain
cancers soared by 30.5%.

Predisposing Children to More Disease Later?
Put simply, the research suggests that if children do not undergo some type
of limited respiratory infection, they are more at risk for developing
asthma, among other problems. Michel R. Odent, M.D., and colleagues at the
Primal Health Research Centre in London, England, documented this
connection in a report on 448 children, published in the Journal of the
American Medical Association in 1994.

Out of this group, 243 children (average age, eight years) had been
immunised with the pertussis vaccine for whooping cough. Of these, 26 (10%)
had asthma compared to only four (1.9%) of the 208 children not immunised.
This suggests that having the pertussis vaccine can increase a child's risk
of developing asthma by more than five times.

Similarly, in the vaccinated group, 130 children had ear infections
compared to only 59 among the 208 non-vaccinated. Here the risk of
developing subsequent ear infections was increased by almost two times in
pertussis-vaccinated children. The incidence of other diseases (excluding
asthma, ear infections, eczema, and whooping cough) was also noticeably
higher in the vaccinated group--34.6% versus 24% for non-vaccinated

The measles vaccine has been linked with higher rates of inflammatory bowel
disease. Based on a study of 3,545 people who received live measles vaccine
as children, their rate of developing ulcerative colitis was
two-and-one-half times higher and three times higher for Crohn's compared
to an unvaccinated group, as reported in The Lancet. The MMR (measles,
mumps, rubella) vaccine has also been implicated in higher rates of
diabetes (see accompanying sidebar, "Do Vaccinations Cause Diabetes?").
There are still other data suggestive of a vaccine link with disease. For
example, for largely "unexplained" reasons, between 1960 and 1981, the rate
of activity-limiting chronic conditions among children doubled from 1.8 to
3.8%, most noticeably in allergic and mental/nervous system disorders. By
1995, this figure had climbed again to 6.7%. In other words, the rate more
than tripled since 1960. I contend the rise is not "unexplained;" rather,
it is explained by the fact that we have overused antibiotics and

Certainly this evidence paints a picture, and it confirms what
Anthroposophic physicians have contended for 75 years. It is healthier for
the child to undergo an acute upper respiratory infection (with appropriate
herbal and homoeopathic support, described below) than to suppress or
preempt it with antibiotics and vaccinations. The more you allow children
to work out their acute illnesses, to really exercise their immune systems
without suppressing the process, the stronger the system will be and the
less prone the children will be to serious adult degenerative illnesses.
When an adult comes down with an infectious, inflammatory disease, it is
actually a blessing because it might prevent them from developing a more
serious chronic problem. I've seen adults who suppressed inflammatory
diseases, such as bronchitis or pneumonia, then five to ten years later
came down with cancer. Letting the inflammations run their course instead
(with support, naturally), may have prevented the cancer from developing.

How Measles Can Cure Eczema
Now let's see how undergoing childhood measles may actually improve a
child's health, both immediately and in the long-term. Consider the case of
Hans, whom I first treated for measles when he was nine.

Hans did not receive the measles vaccine because he was allergic to eggs.
The vaccine contains an egg product and is not recommended for children
with this allergy. When he was nine, he came down with measles, which is a
bit late for children. Of considerable interest here is the fact that for
years Hans had suffered from severe eczema; his skin was dry and cracked,
particularly behind the elbows and knees, and occasionally it bled. In
fact, Hans often could not straighten his legs because the eczema made it
too painful.

His measles produced a strong rash and a fever of 104 F, yet I did nothing
to suppress these reactions with Tylenol (Panadol) or Advil (Ibuprofin),
for example, as conventional medicine would recommend. Instead, I gave Hans
Anthroposophic remedies to support him through the measles process.
Specifically, I gave him low potencies of Apis, Belladonna, Argentum/
Carbo/Silicea, Ferrum Phosphate, Prunus Spinosa (from the sloe plum), and
These remedies do not suppress the fever, but allow the constitution to
tolerate it better. The temperature does not need to come down, but the
child needs to be able to tolerate it. Again, the important concept is that
the fever is a natural, useful, necessary process for a child's health. The
child must be closely observed by a medical professional during the illness
process to be sure the course the illness is taking is benign. It is
important to find out if complications like encephalitis or pneumonia are
developing. These rarely occur and are not directly linked to the degree of
the fever.

The remedies we use for children make the body more transparent or
permeable to allow the toxicity or fever process to flow through it without
getting stuck. Let me illustrate this principle with an analogy.
If you have a copper rod and you light a candle at one end of it, the
warmth of the flame will flow quickly through the rod and you feel the
warmth at the other end. Similarly, if the body is like a copper tube, the
warmth of the fever will flow through it but not cause a complication such
as a convulsion; but if the body is more like lead, which is dense and does
not conduct heat well, complications are likely to arise.

The lead does not conduct or dissipate the heat; rather, it starts to melt
at the point of contact with the heat. It remains cold at one end and gets
overheated at the other. This is analogous to the undesirable situation of
children having cold feet and a hot head. Care should always be taken that
children have warm feet, especially during a fever.

If you suppress the fever with drugs or antibiotics, you block this flow
and make the body more like the lead in this analogy. How long a child has
the disease is not as important as avoiding complications. The length of
time depends on how much toxicity the body needs to discharge through the

When Hans' measles were over, his eczema had almost completely disappeared.
Hans is now in his twenties and has never had a recurrence of eczema since
his measles. This is a typical example of how stimulating the cell-mediated
side of the immune system can help the body overcome an allergic problem.
The measles process enabled Hans' system to stop reacting allergically and
producing the eczema symptoms. In a sense, you could say that the fever
burned the allergic reaction out of his body.

His case also underscores the fact that childhood measles in industrialised
countries is a benign disease if you understand how to treat it. Hans'
symptoms, the high fever and intense rash, were not mild, but scientific
studies have shown that the stronger the initial symptoms, the less likely
it is that the child will get the damaging or dangerous complications, such
as encephalitis or pneumonia.

Do Vaccinations Cause Diabetes?
While the U.S. population has only doubled since the 1940s, the number of
Americans with diabetes has increased 200 times, and it has increased by
300% in the last 15 years alone, representing about 15% of all U.S.
health-care costs. Routine childhood vaccinations may be a prime cause of
the diabetes epidemic, according to testimony presented before the U.S.
House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations on April 16, 1997, by
Harris L. Coulter, Ph.D., medical history scholar and president of the
Center for Empirical Medicine in Washington, D.C. Based on animal studies,
the pertussis vaccine (part of the DPT vaccination) is known to stimulate
overproduction of insulin by the pancreas. This is followed by exhaustion
of that organ's "islets of Langerhans" (which make insulin) and
underproduction of insulin, resulting in chronic low blood sugar
(hypoglycaemia) and eventually diabetes, says Dr. Coulter.

Both untreated rubella and the rubella vaccine (part of the MMR
inoculation) produce immune complexes that can damage the pancreas and
significantly reduce the levels of insulin that organ is able to secrete.
As an untreated disease, mumps can damage the pancreas. As a vaccine, there
are now many case reports directly linking the onset of diabetes--sometimes
within only a month's time--with receipt of the mumps vaccination. New
Zealand researchers observed a 60% increase in the cases of juvenile
diabetes following a hepatitis-B vaccination program. Despite the mounting
evidence linking vaccines with diabetes, the U.S. government refuses to
research the connection, says Dr. Coulter. "The fact that the federal
medical establishment--which would be the major source of funds for such an
epidemiologic investigation--is itself highly committed to the childhood
vaccination program, goes far to explain the absence of any official
interest in this connection."

How a Fever Can Reverse the Effects of a Vaccination

It is increasingly noted that many of the routine childhood vaccinations
can produce a variety of side effects and complications, posing both
immediate and long-term dangers. Todd, aged 19 months, had all his
vaccinations, including DPT, MMR, tetanus, polio, and Hib (Haemophilus
influenza type b).

After his first two DPT shots at two and four months, Todd screamed every
night for a week, after which his parents and paediatrician realised he had
reacted to the shot and should have no more DPT. At 18 months, Todd
received his MMR and polio immunisations, after which he slept almost
continually for two days; when he was awake, he was lethargic and his
breathing was shallow. A week later, Todd had trouble standing erect and
did not want to walk on his own. About two weeks later, Todd came down with
a 104 F fever and a rash. When both subsided, he was his normal self again.
To understand what happened with Todd, you need to appreciate the
documented fact that some vaccines can produce a slight but significant
state of encephalitis, or brain inflammation. While this is usually
reversible, it may also leave lingering effects such as dyslexia or
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. I didn't get to treat Todd until
after all this had happened, so I focused on giving him remedies to heal
his post-encephalitic state. I gave him Arnica, Belladonna, and Formica to
take for the next six to 12 months for the after-effects of the brain
inflammation caused by the vaccines.

Todd's fever and rash following his MMR vaccination was his body's attempt
to "burn" the vaccine toxins out of his system. The first sign that these
materials irritated his system was Todd's lethargy, two-day sleeping binge,
and inability to walk; these symptoms, in fact, indicated a slight brain
inflammation. The second sign was the rash and fever which arose to
discharge these toxins from the body.

In Afghanistan, the common treatment for measles is to wrap the child in
blankets to produce a rash. The idea is that the more the measles comes out
as a skin rash, the less likely the child is to get encephalitis or
pneumonia. Anthroposophic physicians concur with the thinking behind this
"folk remedy."

In the months immediately following his MMR injection and reaction, Todd
developed constipation (with movements only every 2-3 days) and a spastic
bowel. I regarded this as another symptom of his vaccine reaction. Spastic
colon is often a symptom of food allergies and according to research
reported by Harris L. Coulter, Ph.D., in Vaccination, Social Violence, and
Criminality: The Medical Assault on the American Brain (North Atlantic
Books, 1990), many of today's food allergies are traceable to vaccines. Dr.
Coulter noted that encephalitis, especially derived from vaccinations, can
produce allergic states, adding that "the interrelation among allergies,
vaccination, and encephalitis has been an active topic of medical
investigation since the 1930s."

While conventional medicine sees no connection between the digestive and
nervous systems, the interrelatedness of the two is strongly acknowledged
by practitioners of Anthroposophic, Chinese, and homoeopathic medicine.
To correct Todd's intestinal problems, I started him on ground flaxseed at
the rate of two teaspoons, twice daily. Six months later when I saw him
next, Todd was having daily bowel movements; the stools were softer and
were eliminated without pain. He also had no problem standing up or moving
around on his own and by all visible signs was developing normally.
Todd cured most of the brain inflammation himself by getting the rash and
fever. However, Todd is still at risk for a learning disability such as
dyslexia--in effect, a third layer of reaction and damage from the
vaccines--when he eventually attends school. Many of these relationships
are subtle and problems may not surface or become noticeable until years

Remedies for Dealing with Childhood Illnesses

Most of the illnesses common to childhood are the standard upper
respiratory tract conditions. While in the view of physicians practicing
Anthroposophic medicine it is crucial to not suppress the illness with
drugs or antibiotics, we offer many remedies to parents to support the
discharging--we call it "the expressing"--of the illness, driving it out of
the body.

Typically, I find that about 90% of the childhood illnesses can be helped
with about a dozen low-potency home remedies. I often prescribe my
personalised home remedy "kit," which contains 13 Anthroposophic or
homoeopathic medicines, to parents wishing to approach their children's
health in this way. For example, Ferrum phosphate is effective for
relieving colds, flu, sinusitis, or any upper respiratory infection such as
bronchitis; Cinnabar is for sore throats and swollen lymph glands; and Apis
belladonna (a homoeopathic combination of the honey bee and deadly
nightshade) works well for fevers and pain.

These are classical homoeopathic remedies, but among specifically
Anthroposophic medicines we often use Infludo for flu, bronchitis, or
pneumonia. This formula contains phosphorus, Aconite, Bryonia, eucalyptus,
Eupatorium, and Sabadilla. For earaches, my home remedy kit includes
capsicum (red pepper) and the herb lovage, given orally or directly into
the ear where it has a gentle warming effect that relieves the pain. The
parents obtain the kits (and other Anthroposophic medicines) from Weleda
Pharmacy which prepares the kit according to my prescription for each
child. Certain old-fashioned remedies, including milk of magnesia which
cleanses the colon, are handy for treating children with inflammatory

From our medical perspective, it is often not the type of childhood illness
that determines the mix of remedies, but rather the child you are treating.
You have to individualise, based on symptoms and the child's particular
constitution. Two different children with the same illness may require
quite different treatments.

Anthroposophic, homoeopathic, and other natural medicines have also enabled
me for the last 20 years to avoid using antibiotics in treating children.
The aim of treatment is to support the externalising and discharging of the
illness process--to get it out of the body--so that no residual illness
remains to become a chronic problem later in life. The essential point is
that health is not merely the absence of illness, as conventional medicine
presumes. Rather, it is the balance between acute inflammatory and chronic
illnesses; when you suppress the first in childhood, you're likely to get
much more chronic illness in adulthood.

Do Vaccines Delay Children's Development?

According to the U.S. Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families,
7.5 million American children are considered developmentally delayed,
compared to 4.8 million in 1991. Of these 7.5 million, an estimated 30% are
autistic, which is not surprising as autism has been linked with the MMR

Children with developmental delays (based on a survey of 696 children, aged
1-12) are 27% more likely to have had at least three ear infections and 50%
more likely to have been on continuing rounds of antibiotics (20 cycles or
more), according to the Developmental Delay Registry in March 1995. Most
important for this discussion, the study also found that developmentally
delayed children were four times more likely than normal children to have
had a negative reaction to a vaccination.