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This was printed in the December, 2004, issue of The Paramedic, a British magazine of the Ambulance Services Benevolent Fund, of England.
Is It Child Abuse -- Or Something Else Entirely?
by Susan Pearce
Often a child will be thought to have been abused, when in fact low vitamin C stores, combined with the stresses of vaccination or infection, may have produced the physical signs suggesting abuse. Bruising, subdural hematoma, brain swelling, retinal hemorrhages, and even rib fractures are all signs of severe vitamin C deficiency, or infantile scurvy; but the need for blood vitamin C analysis and appropriate treatment may not be appreciated.
Dr. Clemetson stated that histamine levels are increased when a person has low levels of vitamin C. The high histamine levels become markedly increased because of infection or the injection of foreign proteins. He said that these high blood histamine levels due to infections or vaccinations in vitamin C-deficient infants can cause a variant of Barlow’s disease, or infantile scurvy. This causes “weakness of the retinal vessels and the bridging veins and venules between the brain and the dura mater in infants.”
Clemetson explained that for the first 75 years of the last century, Barlow’s disease was known to be characterized by broken bones, bruises, and sores that wouldn’t heal. This disease was found in bottle-fed infants whose mothers did not supplement their babies’ diets with orange juice as a source of vitamin C. Infants whose mothers boiled cow’s milk also suffered from scurvy because boiling destroyed vitamin C in the milk.
Dr. Clemetson discussed two papers written by two early shaken baby syndrome researchers, J. Caffey  and H. Kempe , in which both mentioned that the children that were considered battered could possibly have been suffering from infantile scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency disease.
Clemetson felt that one reason that current researchers do not mention vitamin C deficiency in relation to shaken baby syndrome might be the erroneous belief that people no longer become vitamin C deficient. Since infants do not show signs of scurvy in their gums as adults do, it is difficult to clinically diagnose infants with scurvy. He said that laboratory analysis for plasma ascorbic acid or blood histamine levels is hardly ever done before making the diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome.
Barlow’s disease can be caused not only by a deficient intake of vitamin C in the diet, but also by infections and wounds that tend to rapidly deplete the body’s stores of vitamin C. Other causes of low vitamin C that Clemetson listed include “trauma, surgery, cigarette smoke, hemolysis, heavy metals, and many drugs such as fenfluramine.”
He said that Barlow’s disease can also result from malnutrition in the mother, by excessive vomiting during her pregnancy, and by infections in the mother and/or in the infant.
Dr. Clemetson explained how even mild depletion of vitamin C can cause histamine levels in the blood to become elevated, which in turn causes capillaries to become fragile. This capillary fragility is a common characteristic of scurvy.
In a section on vaccinations, in Clemetson’s paper, he described how injection of foreign proteins into the body can result in increased levels of histamine in the blood. Most physicians know that, he said, but few know that histamine levels in human blood “are inversely proportional to the plasma vitamin C concentration.” He said that people can be apparently healthy but still have severely low levels of vitamin C. These low levels are a common result of infection, injury, or surgery. He compared the low number of vaccinations given to infants at one time in the past, with the six that infants may now receive together at the age of two months. Clemetson believes that this many injections could be more than some infants who are low in vitamin C can handle.
He has recently reviewed world scientific literature that shows that vitamin C significantly protects both animals and people from death and disability resulting from toxins and toxoids, including those found in vaccines.
It is Dr. Clemetson’s belief that many infant deaths are attributed to shaken baby syndrome when they were probably actually caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. His research has led him to suggest that before someone is accused of child abuse, there should be analyses done for plasma ascorbic acid and for blood histamine. The results of these tests need to be considered along with any other evidence that the child was abused. His question that needs to be answered is, “Were the capillaries of the retina and venules of the bridging veins strong enough to withstand normal handling?”
He gave four suggestions that will reduce the risk of Barlow’s disease. First, if an infant is premature or shows any signs of illness, such as a cold, vaccination should be postponed. Second, he suggested that the present vaccine schedule of injecting so many at once at the age of two months be seriously reconsidered. Third, before the infant is vaccinated, he needs to be given 500 mg of vitamin C in powder or crystal form, mixed in fruit juice. Fourth, if the baby has a severe reaction like high-pitched crying or convulsions, he should be given an injection of more ascorbic acid.
Another article by Clemetson, called “Was That Baby Really Shaken?” again discussed the need for “plasma ascorbic acid and whole blood histamine levels” to be investigated when a child is suspected of being shaken. He stated that there seems to be a new variant of Barlow’s disease that appears earlier and develops faster. This new variant “does not show the usual radiological healing signs of calcification.” Since “the typical white line between the epiphyses and the diaphyses of the long bones is not seen on the X-rays,” physicians usually do not consider the possibility that it could be infantile scurvy.
Dr. Clemetson pointed out that the ribs of infants suffering from scurvy can be cracked simply as a result of being lifted by the chest. He mentioned the story of a nurse lifting a baby’s legs while changing its diaper. Since the baby had scurvy, the lifting caused the fracture of both femoral bones.
He wonders if people
who suspect shaken baby syndrome are aware of the fact that vitamin C
content of orange juice can be drastically reduced within one month. This was revealed by a 2002 study, Clemetson
said, done by
Scheibner described another sign of a “direct reaction to the DPT vaccine.” Brain swelling causes a bulging fontanelle, as revealed by Jacob and Mannino  in a seven-month-old child nine hours after being given its third DPT vaccine. Scheibner said that the baby also had fever and irritability.
Scheibner stated in her article that another side-effect of many vaccines is thrombocytopenia, a blood-clotting disorder characterized by bruising and easy bleeding and by petechial, or spotlike, rash. She said that thrombocytopenia can result in brain and other haemorrhages. 
In most of the rest of this article, I will use quotes and information directly from the writing of Harold E. Buttram, M.D., F.A.A.E.M. For the exact sources, please see the endnotes.
It is customary for medical researchers to experiment by developing animal models of diseases before they begin human studies. Such animal models reveal that studies involving pertussis endotoxin show “reactions to pertussis which match each and every feature of brain injuries now represented in courts by prosecutors as proof of the Shaken Baby Syndrome.” 
There are studies that “stressed the finding of brain edema as a feature of pertussis-induced encephalopathy.” His research of several sources showed that, “… brain edema in and of itself may result in both retinal and brain hemorrhages.”
Temporary brittle bone disease (TBBD), lack of vitamin C, and vaccination can cause fractures, hemorrhagic complications, etc.
One of the primary roles of vitamin C in the body being that of producing and maintaining connective tissue, Dr. Kalokerinos hypothesized that with minor viral infections further depleting an already marginal store of vitamin C, the administration of endotoxin-bearing vaccines would sweep away the residual traces of vitamin C provoking fulminating scurvy with hemorrhagic complications from the of (sic) weakening of blood vessels. 
practicing medicine in
Dr. Buttram co-authored an article with Alan R. Yurko, called “Childhood Immunizations and Abrupt-Onset Apnea,”  that explained the manner in which vitamin C acts as an antioxidant by donating electrons, thus neutralizing unpaired electrons contained in free-radical molecular fragments. One of vitamin C’s primary roles is to protect against the proliferation of free-radicals. As an electron-donating antioxidant, vitamin C “quench(es) free-radical inflammatory damage from infections and/or toxins, with our consideration here being vaccine toxins.” Since the brain is so high in fat content, it is probably the most vulnerable to free-radical damage. If the unpaired electrons in free-radicals are not neutralized, the free-radicals are able to very quickly “react with and damage nearby molecules and cell membranes with a chain reaction of damage. When uncontrolled, these can be very destructive to the body, such as may take place when exposed to harmful radiation.” Vitamin C becomes depleted because of its work in donating electrons. When the point is reached in which vitamin C can no longer protect the brain, since this organ is so susceptible to damage by toxins and infection, the brain may be vulnerable to free-radical damage. 
This information on free-radicals is linked to vaccination.
For these reasons, combinations of vaccines given to fragile infants may be an invitation to disaster with the brain being potentially subjected to a firestorm of free-radical inflammatory damage. Once this pattern has been set in motion, there is a variable latent period with gradual progression of inflammatory brain edema (swelling). The breathing center, located at the base of the brain, appears to be uniquely vulnerable to the process. This in turn may result in respiratory paralysis and collapse. In other instances there may be seizures. Among the cases of SBS that we have reviewed, this has been a common pattern, too frequent to be coincidental. 
Dr. Buttram also wrote about free iron that is released from subdural hematomas, in an article entitled, “Does Free Iron in the Brain Interact with Vaccines to Trigger Lipid Peroxidation and Hemorrhagic Encephalopathy?”  In the section called Vaccines and Vitamin C Depletion, he explained that though 30 mg of vitamin C is usually sufficient for a healthy baby, when the infant is stressed, it could be quickly consumed. The stress causing this depletion could be “free iron in and around the brain, the injection of vaccine components, or other factors, especially in combination.” Toxins and free-radical generators found in vaccines include “formaldehyde, mercury, aluminum, phenols, alcohols, mineral oil, antibiotics, bacterial endotoxins, and foreign viral DNA. Viral infections have been shown to reduce vitamin C levels by 50 percent.”
There is a lack of scientific studies needed to prove the causes of SIDS and of SBS. Vaccines are rarely even considered as a cause, but there are “animal models for vaccine-induced/endotoxemic hemorrhagic encephalopathy in the scientific literature.”  These experiments have been done using the whole-cell pertussis vaccine, though the acellular pertussis vaccine is now being used. The use of many vaccines at one time has unknown consequences and could possibly be the same as or exceed the effects seen with use of the whole-cell pertussis vaccine.
Dr. Buttram hopes that there will soon be “sober, objective, scientific investigation to find the underlying truth.” 
The signs that are commonly seen as shaken baby syndrome include a combination of three main physical manifestations. The first is subdural hematoma, the second is retinal hemorrhage, and the third is diffuse axonal injury, or DAI, which is the shearing (tearing) of the brain’s long connecting nerve fibers (axons) that can occur with severe brain injury. In some cases of suspected child abuse, there might be rib or other fractures.  [The next several paragraphs will be from the same article – endnote # 7.]
There are few published vaccine adverse reaction studies that include “before-and-after studies of immune parameters or brain function studies such as electroencephalograms, or long-term safety monitoring.” There has not been adequate consideration given to the synergistic adverse reactions to “multiple simultaneous vaccines, although in the case of toxic chemicals, two compounds together may be 10 times more toxic than either separately, or 3 compounds 100 times more toxic.”
Dr. Buttram hopes that in the future, attention will be given to “the possibility that the various vaccines, given in combination, may be synergistic in causing hypersensitivity and autoimmunity.” The Hemophilus influenza type b (Hib) and the pertussis vaccines, and possibly others, “are noted for their sensitizing potencies” and they are routinely administered to infants at the same time.
Retinal hemorrhages have been attributed to many causes, two of which are MMR and DTP vaccines. In studies performed on laboratory animals, vaccines such as pertussis have been shown to induce allergic encephalomyelitis. The resulting damage to the animals’ brains was similar to those caused by mechanical injuries. In these studies, the vaccine reactions included brain swelling and hemorrhaging.
Many cases of shaken baby syndrome could be the adverse effects of certain highly potent vaccines given to infants at the same time. The hepatitis B vaccine might be one. Its side effects could include “hemorrhagic vasculopathies, autoimmune reactions, [and] neuropathies.” Those of the Hib vaccine and the tetanus vaccine might include hypersensitization, and the pertussis vaccine could cause “hypersensitization, brain edema, and the effects of endotoxin in causing vascular inflammation and hyper-coagulability.”
The syndrome that appears in an infant within 12 days of vaccination may actually be adverse reactions. The brain edema and the blood vessel inflammation may be increasing “fragility and friability of blood vessel walls,” which could lead to “spontaneous hemorrhages from a shearing of subdural blood vessels and the development of subdural hematomas, thus mimicking what is now thought to represent the SBS.”
The reason these findings are presently not acknowledged is that they are not sought. For the sake of those who are unjustly imprisoned for shaken baby syndrome, and for those who will be convicted of SBS in the future, the current situation should be investigated.
Dr. Buttram also discussed rib and other fractures. A study was described involving 2,080 children who had been seen at a pediatric trauma center. Out of 33 children who had multiple rib fractures, in 85 percent of the cases, the children also had severe internal thoracic injuries. In the remaining 15 percent, it appeared that the fractures were spontaneous, with no internal injuries, making it likely that they were not caused by abuse.
Two occasions when spontaneous fractures are apt to occur include when the person develops scurvy or when he has temporary brittle bone disease (TBBD). He mentioned “imperfect connective tissue formation in fetal or infant skeletal tissue.” There were 26 infants whose fractures “fit the criteria of TBBD.” In these babies, the study found a clear “association between TBBD and decreased fetal movement during pregnancy, which might occur in extreme prematurity, multiple-birth pregnancies, and chronic oligohydramnios as a result of inadequate uterine space for fetal movement.”
Low levels of vitamin C might lead to “inadequate connective tissue formation” in the fetal bones. This would make them weaker, possibly resulting in “green-stick fractures and/or metaphyseal plate (costochrondal junction) slippages in utero or during the mechanical stresses of childbirth.”
A trial of a man accused of shaking his baby was discussed, in which the rib fractures that the infant had suffered could have been caused by scurvy. In the trial, Dr. Kalokerinos read from an older text which described scurvy. The text stated:
Scurvy disrupts these areas, the bone breaks down, and the ribs may over-ride, forming in typical cases ‘beads.’ Then healing commences with new bone formation looking just like true healing fractures. Furthermore, not all the ribs may be involved in this process, and the changes will not all occur at the same time --- giving the appearance of multiple fractures of different ages. 
The section on rib and skeletal fractures ended with Buttram’s statement that a study of Australian children which showed X-ray evidence of “multiple metaphyseal plate fractures” casts doubt on the acceptance of these fractures as evidence of battering. He feels that such fractures which can occur as a result of scurvy do not cause the child “undue trauma.”
The article briefly mentioned the sensitizing, potent neurotoxin, mercury, “one of the most toxic of the heavy metals.”
In a 1955 study, 83 children were given electroencephalograms both before and after being injected with pertussis vaccine. Two of the 83 children showed abnormal EEGs as a result of the vaccination. These two did not have other signs or symptoms, which suggested that they suffered “mild but possibly significant cerebral reactions.” These mild reactions occurred “in addition to the reported very severe neurological changes.” 
This study has enormous implications, since there are many “children diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, previously called ‘minimal brain dysfunction.’” Greg Wilson was quoted as saying, “Studies such as Low’s which closely examine individual children, are extremely rare in the study of vaccine reactions and virtually nonexistent in today’s literature.” 
Buttram searched the
literature for more such studies and only found one, from
Dr. Buttram concluded the article by stating that shaken baby syndrome theories are undocumented and faulty. Since many SBS convictions have been based upon these theories, these children’s deaths or injuries, when properly diagnosed, could have been vaccine injury.
One of the most widely-known cases of alleged shaken baby syndrome is that of Alan Yurko. Details of the events that have changed his life are given at the following web site: http://www.freeyurko.bizland.com/.
Also, failure to thrive can be linked to vaccination, but the parent might be charged with neglect.
Another example of
possible vaccine-related illness was shared with me by a
A recent article written by Ronald Uscinski, M.D., F.A.C.S., called “The Shaken Baby Syndrome” describes research that has been done on whether or not a person can cause intracranial injury in an infant. Lab investigations that were “based on the known biomechanics of head injuries” demonstrated that “human beings cannot achieve the necessary accelerations for causing intracranial injury in infants by manual shaking alone, but that impact is required.” Dr. Uscinski believes that, though it is commendable to want to protect children, we need to base our accusations of child abuse upon facts that are verified by both clinical observation and scientific tests. 
In an article called, “Shaken Baby Syndrome and VAERS: A Review and Analysis,” F. Edward Yazbak, M.D., F.A.A.P., gave several suggestions to keep in mind if someone who is innocent is suspected of child abuse. His information can be seen at http://www.redflagsweekly.com/conferences/shaken_baby/sept08_Yazbak.html.
According to Howard
Fishman, M.Ed., M.S.W., of
In the Buttram and Yurko article, “Childhood Immunizations and Abrupt-Onset Apnea,”  hearings were described, which have been held since 1999 in the U.S. Congress, dealing with vaccine safety. These hearings have revealed that safety studies have been inadequate, having been limited to short periods. Since there have been no long-term safety studies on any particular childhood vaccine being used today, it can be concluded that scientific evidence does not support the safety of vaccinations. Controlled, systematic studies need to be completed, comparing vaccinated with completely non-vaccinated children, that will show the effects of vaccination on the brain, as well as on the neurologic, immune, and hematologic systems of infants and children.
A study was discussed in which 11 healthy adults had been vaccinated with a routine tetanus booster. They experienced a significant reduction in T-helper lymphocytes. The study revealed that four of the subjects had temporary, reduced levels of those lymphocytes to levels found in patients with active AIDS. The four who had this serious, though temporary, consequence of the tetanus vaccine, were healthy adults. What are we to think of the multiple vaccines injected into our infants and children with their immature immune systems? This study was reported in 1984, but Buttram has searched for further research and has never found any that repeated that one, or that carried it further by studying the effects upon children. 
The larger issue is that of vaccine safety studies.  I believe that all of the researchers I have studied concerning shaken baby syndrome would agree that there is a dearth of reliable long-term scientific studies, comparing vaccinated with totally unvaccinated people. I join these researchers in their hope that this situation will soon be rectified. In the meantime, their suggestions that certain tests be done before suspecting a person of child abuse, are reasonable.
The good news is that -- Dr. Clemetson believes that:
most of these inoculation reactions and subsequent disabilities could be prevented by giving infants 500 mg of vitamin C powder in fruit juice to drink within a day or two before vaccination. Vitamin C has been shown to be protective against vaccine reactions due to the toxins of all bacteria and viruses that have been tested in all animal studies. One wonders why the Centers for Disease Control has not yet advocated the administration of this vitamin before all vaccinations. 
1. Clemetson, C. Alan B., M.D., “Is it ‘Shaken Baby,’ or Barlow’s Disease Variant?” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Fall 2004, http://www.jpands.org/vol9no3/clemetson.pdf.
[Sources for Dr.
Clemetson’s statements can be found at the end of his article. He is Professor Emeritus of
2. Clemetson, C. Alan B., M.D., “Was That Baby Really Shaken?” http://www.redflagsweekly.com/conferences/shaken_baby/2004_aug10.html. [Clemetson’s source for this study: Johnston CS, Bowling DL. Stability of ascorbic acid in commercially available orange juices. J Amer Dietetic Assoc 2002; 102:525-529.]
3. Scheibner, Viera,
PhD., "Shaken Baby Syndrome - The Vaccination Link,” Nexus
Magazine, August-September 1998, http://www.nexusmagazine.com/shakenbaby.html.
4. Scheibner, Viera,
PhD., "Shaken Baby Syndrome - The Vaccination Link,” Nexus
Magazine, August-September 1998, http://www.nexusmagazine.com/shakenbaby.html.
5. Scheibner, Viera,
PhD., "Shaken Baby Syndrome - The Vaccination Link,” Nexus
Magazine, August-September 1998, http://www.nexusmagazine.com/shakenbaby.html.
6. Buttram, Harold
E., M.D., “Rebuttal letter to: Minister of
Public Works and Government Services,”
7. Buttram, Harold E., M.D., “Shaken Baby Syndrome or Vaccine-Induced Encephalitis?” Originally published in the Medical Sentinel 2001;6(3):83-89. Copyright ©2001, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, http://aapsonline.org/jpands/hacienda/buttram.html.
8. Buttram, Harold E., M.D., and Alan R. Yurko, “Childhood Immunizations and Abrupt-Onset Apnea,” Redflagsdaily.com, February 2004, http://www.redflagsweekly.com/conferences/shaken_baby/2004_feb05.html, 5 February 2004.
9. Buttram, Harold E., M.D., and Alan R. Yurko, “Childhood Immunizations and Abrupt-Onset Apnea,” Redflagsdaily.com, February 2004, http://www.redflagsweekly.com/conferences/shaken_baby/2004_feb05.html, 5 February 2004. [The “Childhood Immunizations and Abrupt-Onset Apnea” article used the following three sources for some of the information in the section on free-radicals:
A Textbook of EDTA
Chelation Therapy, Second Edition, Elmer Cranton Editor, Hampton
Roads Publishing Co,
Sensitivity, Volume I (volume one of four volumes), William
J Rea, MD, Lewis Publishers,
10. Buttram, Harold E., M.D., “Does Free Iron in the Brain Interact with Vaccines to Trigger Lipid Peroxidation and Hemorrhagic Encephalopathy?” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Fall 2004, http://www.jpands.org/vol9no3/buttram.pdf.
[Sources for Dr. Buttram’s statements can be found at the end of his article.]
11. Quoted from Dr. Harold E. Buttram’s “Shaken Baby Syndrome or Vaccine-Induced Encephalitis?” http://aapsonline.org/jpands/hacienda/buttram.html. [Buttram’s source for the quote was: Hess AF. Scurvy, Past and Present. Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott Co., 1920.]
12. Quoted from Dr. Harold E. Buttram’s “Shaken Baby Syndrome or Vaccine-Induced Encephalitis?” http://aapsonline.org/jpands/hacienda/buttram.html. [Buttram’s source for the quote was: Low AL. Electroencephalographic studies following pertussis immunization. J Pediatrics 1955; 47:35-39.]
13. Quoted from Dr.
Harold E. Buttram’s “Shaken Baby Syndrome or Vaccine-Induced
Encephalitis?” http://aapsonline.org/jpands/hacienda/buttram.html. [Buttram’s source for the quote was: Karlsson L, Scheibner V. Association between
non-specific stress syndrome, DPT injections and cot death. Presented at Second Immunization Conference,
14. Quoted from Dr. Harold E. Buttram’s “Shaken Baby Syndrome or Vaccine-Induced Encephalitis?” http://aapsonline.org/jpands/hacienda/buttram.html. [Buttram’s source for the quote was: Nouno, Togawa K, Yamatogi Y, et al. Adverse effects on EEG and clinical condition after immunizing children with convulsive disorders. Acta Paediatr Japonica 1990;32:357-360.]
16. Uscinski, Ronald, M.D., F.A.C.S., “The Shaken Baby Syndrome,” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 9 Number 3 Fall 2004, http://www.jpands.org/vol9no3/uscinski.pdf.
17. Fishman, Howard, M.Ed., M.S.W., “Letter to Judge C. Alan Lawson, Orange County, Courthouse After Reviewing Case Files of the Yurko Case – From a Child Abuse Consultant,” Redflagsdaily.com, June, 2003, http://www.redflagsweekly.com/conferences/shaken_baby/aug27_Fishman.html, 14 June 2003.
18. Buttram, Harold E., M.D., and Alan R. Yurko, “Childhood Immunizations and Abrupt-Onset Apnea,” http://www.redflagsweekly.com/conferences/shaken_baby/2004_feb05P.html, 5 February 2004. [Buttram’s source for the information on the 11 adults with the tetanus vaccine came from Eibl M et al, Abnormal T-lymphocyte subpopulations in healthy subjects after tetanus booster immunization, (letter), NEJM, 1984; 310(3):198-199.]
19. Clemetson, C. Alan B., M.D., e-mail message to Susan Pearce. 12 November 2004>
Susan Pearce is a co-founder of Wyoming Vaccine Information Network. WVIN is a state chapter of Vaccination Liberation. The web site http://www.vaclib.org/ is an excellent source of information on vaccine and health-related topics. The Vaccination Liberation mission statement is:
Susan was an Emergency Medical Technician for six years in the 1980s and early 1990s.
SBS/SIDS Index - (Shaken Baby Syndrome) (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)