Monday, June 24, 2013


Decision questions validity of “constellation of injuries,” need for parents to admit guilt

An Illinois family fighting for custody of their children has received a refreshing decision from a state appeals court, which reviewed testimony from both the child-protection team and the family’s experts and concluded:
As vexing as this case appears, after a thorough, painstaking examination of the entire record, and in particular a detailed analysis of the expert testimony, we conclude that the trial judge’s finding of abuse and neglect cannot stand, and K. S. and Teresa G. have been thrust into a nightmare by well-intentioned, but misguided doctors and child protection specialists.
Like so many of these cases, this story started with a difficult birth:  The infant Y. entered the world precipitously, with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, on May 1, 2011. He was immediately whisked off for six hours of stabilization before being returned to his parents’ care.
Y.’s father took the month off work to be home with the family after Y’s birth. Both parents noticed that their son’s behavior was much different from that of his older sister two years earlier: He occasionally gave out “yelps” that lasted for several seconds, and he exhibited unusual facial expressions. From the court opinion:
On May 9, [the father's] sister came to stay with the family for a week. She too observed Y.’s unusual expressions, where he would look dazed with his eyes rolling up and side-to-side, which the family referred to as “drunk old man expression” or “dazed and confused.”
The parents reported their concerns at Y.’s well-baby appointment three weeks after his birth, and were advised to give him gripe water to fight indigestion.
When the child began vomiting during feedings at the age of four-and-half weeks, his mother called their doctor’s office, and at the advice of the on-call physician, she made an appointment for the following morning. The parents kept a close eye on him that afternoon, and they noticed slight twitching of his left hand and leg during a nap.
ToyOnBlanketThe twitching recurred the next day in the doctor’s office, where it was identified as seizure activity. The doctor sent the child and his parents by ambulance to the local children’s hospital, where his admission examinations reported no bruising, contusions, or other external injuries. All of his extremities showed a full range of motion, with no apparent pain.
A CT scan and MRI of the boy’s brain, however, revealed subdural hematoma and possible subarachnoid bleeding, as well as evidence of “restricted diffusion,” possibly reflecting a shortage of oxygen to the brain. A skeletal exam noted an abnormality on his left femur, near the knee, that might represent a healing fracture, for which the parents had no explanation.
During 9 days of hospitalization, Y. had a number of retinal examinations, with conflicting reports. For example:
On June 14, CMH resident Dr. Grace Wu examined Y. and found his retina to be attached and flat, with scattered retinal hemorrhages bilaterally and one small preretinal hemorrhage to his right eye. Dr. Wu also noted that the hemorrhages were greater in Y.’s right eye than his left. Supervising attending physician Dr. Yoon examined Y. immediately after Dr. Wu and noted bilateral, multilayer, retinal hemorrhages. Dr. Yoon noted the hemorrhages were too many to count and greater in the left eye than the right.
None of the ophthalmologists recorded either diagrams or photographs of Y.’s retinas, ordinarily a standard practice, making reconciliation of the different reports especially difficult.
Based on Y.’s “constellation of injuries,” the hospital contacted child protective services, who placed restrictions on the parents’ access to both children. Convinced that their son had an underlying medical condition, the parents arranged blood tests in July that measured the mother’s Vitamin D levels as “insufficient” (25 on a reference range of 30 to 100) and Y.’s levels as “deficient” (13 on a reference range of 30 to 100). Not only is Vitamin D essential for the formation of healthy bones, but lack of Vitamin D can also lead to clotting disorders:  The deficiency could explain both the bone abnormality and the subdural hematoma. These findings had no impact on the custody situation, however, or on the opinions of the doctors from the children’s hospital.
blanketEdgyThe parents brought in Stanford University neuroradiologist Dr. Patrick Barnes, who concluded from Y.’s imaging that his skeleton showed signs of rickets, the weakening of bones most often caused by a lack of Vitamin D. He also noted that Y. had more space than usual between his brain and his skull, a condition known as “benign external hydrocephalus” (BEH), which is commonly believed to make subdural bleeding more likely.
A second outside expert, neurosurgeon Dr. David M. Frim from the University of Chicago, concluded that both the subdural bleeding and the retinal hemorrhages could have resulted from the BEH:
After reviewing Y.’s brain images and medical records, Dr. Frim opined that Y. was born with BEH, that he likely sustained a hemorrhage during birth that caused him to be even more susceptible to additional hemorrhages and that these hemorrhages caused the seizures he exhibited when he was admitted to [the children's hospital] on June 6, 2011. Dr. Frim explained that blood from the subarachnoid space surrounding the brain can travel to the retinas causing retinal hemorrhaging.
Based on the opinion of the child protection team, however, the state pursued its efforts to strip the parents of custody. The Public Guardian’s office, appointed to represent the children, asked for a judicial declaration of abuse and neglect of both Y. and his older sister.
At the evidentiary hearing, Dr. Kristine Fortin, one of the first pediatricians in the country to pass the new “child protection” specialty exam, rejected the rickets diagnosis and said that low Vitamin D levels do not necessarily lead to rickets. She accepted the BEH diagnosis but not its relevance:
Dr. Fortin acknowledged that Dr. Frim diagnosed Y. with BEH, but opined that even though some of the medical community believes BEH predisposes children to subdural hemorrhages, BEH could not account for all of Y.’s injuries.
The “proponents” in the case (the state’s attorney and the Public Guardians) called a total of seven medical witnesses, including a pediatric neurologist, a pediatric radiologist, a pediatric neuroradiologist, a pediatric ophthalmologist, a hematologist, and a pediatric orthopedist, all of whom attributed Y’s injuries to abuse. While conceding that no one at the hospital had considered the BEH diagnosis, one doctor said he had never diagnosed a case in his career, and another disputed Frim’s definition of the condition. One of the two doctors who rejected the rickets diagnosis had seen only the initial set of x-rays, which were of poor quality.
scalesDr. Barnes and Dr. Frim testified for the parents, repeating their earlier diagnoses of BEH and rickets. Pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Christopher Sullivan also testified, saying that the abnormality on Y.’s left leg was “a classic finding for irregular calcification of normal bone growth, or rickets,” and adding that an actual fracture would have caused the child pain, which should have been noticeable to the treating physicians.
The parents also called a number of lay witnesses who testified that the two of them had been responsible, loving parents to both children.
The trial judge in 2012 reached a hybrid conclusion, declaring the parents to be “fit, willing, and able to care for their children” but also finding that abuse had occurred. The court held that “to conclude that all three of these infrequent to rare conditions came together at the same time to explain the minor’s condition was not reasonable.”
Despite the abuse finding, the court returned the children to their parents, but the Public Guardian’s office appealed the decision. Then the parents cross appealed, which resulted in last week’s ruling.
The appellate court’s decision includes two promising points:  A challenge to the “constellation of injuries” theory, and an objection to the requirement by social services that the parents admit to abuse before the family could be reunited.
Regarding the constellation of injuries, the court wrote:
¶ 146 The expert witnesses called by the proponents testified that each of Y.’s injuries could occur from trauma. Instead of evaluating and weighing the evidence and expert testimony as to each alleged injury, the trial court allowed the proponents to elude their burden of proof by claiming that the “constellation” of Y.’s injuries created a preponderance of evidence that he was abused. This “constellation” of injuries theory allowed the trial court to conclude that Y. had been abused even though not one of his individual injuries within the constellation had been proven to be by abuse and where highly experienced and credentialed, nationally recognized doctors provided well-reasoned medical explanations, albeit rare ones, to explain each of his injuries.
¶ 147 The proponents offered no evidence that an injury is more likely to be caused by abuse merely because a second injury is alleged to exist, particularly where there are reasonable nonabuse explanations offered for each of the individual conditions. Not only did the proponents fail to provide authority supporting their “constellation” of injuries theory, but they failed to identify any specific facts showing it should apply to Y. The “constellation” theory invited the proponents’ experts to improperly rely on assumptions about injuries outside their respective specialties to rule out nonabuse explanations for the injury under their direct evaluation. In contrast, the parents offered nonabuse medical explanations supported by expert testimony from nationally recognized, highly qualified doctors in specific fields of expertise to explain the individual conditions suffered by Y. Accordingly, the trial court erred in disregarding the parents’ medical experts’ diagnoses because a single, uniform medical condition could not explain every medical finding Y. presented.
And on the subject of admitting to the abuse:
¶ 153 The proponents fail to present any persuasive evidence supporting their conclusion that “meaningful therapy” cannot and did not occur in light of the parents’ unwavering claims of innocence of the abuse allegations. The proponents offer no support for their suggestion that an acknowledgment of abuse is a per se requirement for therapy to be considered meaningful. To require that the parents must “acknowledge” the truth of a trial court’s nonfinal findings of fact to be deemed to have had “meaningful therapy” has no precedent. Instead, we find the support offered for the proponents’ position to be a misreading of case law in which parents failed to make actual progress in therapy and, thus, were deemed unable to care for their children as a result of having not participated in meaningful therapy, a significantly different factual scenario from the one presented here. We completely reject any notion that parents should be declared unable to care for their children merely because they persist in their own belief of innocence of wrongdoing, particularly here where their insistence is supported by the evidence.
FDCThe family in this case had the resources to bring in their own experts and hire a private attorney for the initial trial. The appeal was handled by the Family Defense Center (FDC), a non-profit organization based in Chicago that advocates for families in the child welfare system. FDC Executive Director Diane Redleaf credited both trial attorney Ellen Domph and lead appellate attorney Melissa Staas with “outstanding lawyering” in this case, noting, “While we are delighted by the results in this case and hope it will serve as a strong precedent for other families, we realize that many wrongly accused parents do not have the same access to the resources necessary to demonstrate their innocence.”
For the full appellate court opinion: In re Yohan K. & Marika K., 2013 IL App (1st) 123472 (June 19, 2013)


Saturday, June 22, 2013


An exponentially increasing number of people now understand that a small group have eternally controlled the law and the land.  In so doing they were able to extract the commercial energy and life force of many of the people for their private gain. 

Contrary to popular belief, The Powers That Be (TPTB) used this power to orchestrate our world for their benefit and not for the betterment of humanity or to improve the lives of ordinary people. 

Now that this and the nuances of the control system are known to the world, it is upon us to seek new ways to improve our lives, the plight of humanity and our world. 

The AnnyBelle Foundation continues to expand an outreach providing options, resources and access to benefits and various solutions that otherwise may not be known to the general population.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Symphony of the Soil Trailer 

 Symphony of the Soil is a 104-minute documentary feature film that explores the complexity and mystery of soil. Filmed on four continents and sharing the voices of some of the world's most esteemed soil scientists, farmers and activists, the film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story. Using a captivating mix of art and science, the film shows that soil is a complex living organism, the foundation of life on earth. Yet most people are soil-blind and "treat soil like dirt." 

Through the knowledge and wisdom revealed in this film, we can come to respect, even revere, this miraculous substance, and appreciate that treating the soil right can help solve some of our most pressing environmental problems. In addition to the feature film, there are several short films, Sonatas of the Soil, that delve deeply into soil-related topics, and several short clips, Grace Notes, that are available to stream on the film's website.

Produced and Directed by Deborah Koons Garcia

LOGLINE: Symphony of the Soil explores the evolution and importance of soil in today's world.

TAGLINE: Discover the life beneath your feet.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Plants are finally turning Monsanto’s dreams into nightmares.

Nature has a funny way of always coming on top and the Amaranth plant is a perfect example. Amaranth is showing the biotech giant you can’t mess with nature without consequences.

A Superstar of the Plant Kingdom

Approximately 60 species are recognized and each plant produces about 12,000 seeds per year, with the leaves containing an abundance of vitamins and minerals. It has been proposed as an inexpensive native crop that could be cultivated by indigenous people in rural areas for several reasons:

– It is easily harvested.

– Its seeds are a good source of protein. Compared to other grains, amaranth is unusually rich in the essential amino acid lysine and some dieticians have argued that amaranth protein in higher than that of cow’s milk and far richer than soy.

-The seeds of Amaranthus species contain about thirty percent more protein than cereals like rice, sorghum and rye.

-It is easy to cook. As befits its weedy life history, amaranth grains grow very rapidly and their large seedheads can weigh up to 1 kilogram and contain a half-million seeds in three species of amaranth.


The Amaranth is a plant well known to our ancestors, since the Incas considered it a sacred plant. Ancient amaranth grains were cultivated on a large scale in ancient Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru. In a 1977 article in Science, amaranth was described as “the crop of the future.”

Amaranth Is Fighting the GMO Battle Like No Other

Besides the incredible nutritional benefits which nature has bestowed upon the human race with Amaranth, it appears it also knows how to fight GMO manipulation.

Studies began documenting weed resistance several years ago but the problem continues to mount, with The New York Times warning of the “Rise of the Superweeds” analogous to that of the ‘superbugs’ in medicine. But nature only does what its designed to do.

Kept as a very secretive incident, in 2004 the first farmers noticed that some of amaranth seedlings were resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup ready technology as they generously generously sprayed their soybean plants.

It turns out the amaranth seed received a resistance gene for Roundup.

Since then, the phenomenon has spread to other states: South Carolina, and northern Arkansas, and Missouri Tenesse.

“There’s no question, we have a lot of problems in the Southeast,” York said. “For us, the horse is already out of the barn. For the Mid-South, you don’t want to go down this path we’re on right now.”

On July 25, 2005, the Guardian published an article by Paul Brown, who revealed that the modified genes were passed to the natural plants, creating a seed resistant to herbicides.

It was is confirmed by experts at CEH (center for ecology and hydrology), and the finding contradicting claims of Monsanto and pro-GM scientists who always claimed that hybridization between a genetically modified plant, and natural plant was impossible.

“The epicenter of glyphosate-resistant Palmer pigweed is Macon County, Ga. That site is now 70 percent to 80 percent resistant and over 10,000 acres were abandoned in 2007,” said Bob Nichols with Cotton Incorporated.

Palmer amaranth is suspected to be resistant on 300,000 acres in 20 counties in Georgia; 130,000 acres in nine counties in South Carolina; 200,000 acres in 22 counties in North Carolina.

Resistant weeds to Roundup ready are making rethink their strategies and forcing them to go back to being weed managers.

“It only takes one successful crossing over millions of possibilities. Once it is created, the new plant has a huge selective advantage and multiplies rapidly. The powerful herbicide used here, based on glyphosate and ammonium exerted on plants enormous pressure which further increased the speed of adaptation,” said British geneticist Brian Johnson, specializing in issues related to agriculture.

It seems Monsanto may have long ago anticipated the inevitable failure of the devious combo of genetically modified seeds plus Roundup. The company started experimenting with a ‘souped-up’ Roundup over 10 years ago, to manage the problem of superweeds. Not that this is today any consolation to the farmers who are suffering from the expense of buying costly products that do not work, leaving them with lower crop yields.

Indeed, Monsanto’s own website includes instructions encouraging farmers to mix glyphosate and older (i.e., leftover) herbicides such as 2,4-D, a herbicide which was banned in Sweden, Denmark and Norway over its links to cancer, reproductive harm and mental impairment. 2,4-D is also well known for being a component of Agent Orange, a toxin used in chemical warfare in Vietnam in the 1960s. Imagine that, Agent Orange finally coming home to fight the superweeds: a dark sequel to Vietnam in the making?

The only solution some farmers have left is pulling amaranth plants by hand. Since the plant is rooted very deeply, it makes it almost impossible to achieve this solution.

More and more U.S. farmers are forgoing the use of GMO plants, first because there expensive increases yearly, and the cost is required in agriculture and elsewhere, and finally because the effectiveness of GMOs is questionable in light of what is happening around the world and a consequence to GM seed planting.

GMO seeds are simply disappearing from catalogs as morefarmers now returning to traditional farming.

“The amaranth is a kind of boomerang returned by nature Monsanto,” said Sylvie Simon. “It neutralizes the predator and settled in places where it can feed humanity in times of famine. It supports most climates, as well as areas dry monsoon and tropical highland regions and has no problems with either insects or diseases with so will never need chemical products.”


Friday, June 14, 2013


Prozac Turns Minnows Into Killers

Fish swimming in water with a trace of the anti-depressant Prozac did not adopt a cheery disposition.  Instead, they became edgy, aggressive and some even killed their mates.

The fish were subjected to traces of the drug by a research group at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee that examined how environmental exposure to the medication altered the behavior of fathead minnows, a common fish found throughout the Midwest.

Lead researcher Rebecca Klapper says that this experimental setup could actually be a reflection of the fishes' reality. 

The human body does not absorb medications 100 percent, so a trace amount is excreted in urine. Water treatment centers are unable to completely filter out all of those contaminant and can trickle down and affect the wildlife. Klapper sees the minnows as a way to gauge the long-term effects of Prozac in humans. 
"It's not just an environmental question but a human question as well," she tells ABC News. 

Changes in the minnows' reproductive behavior were seen in as low concentrations as 1 microgram per liter, equal to a single dose of Prozac dissolved in over 5,000 gallons of water. 
"They spent more time in their nest than they did interacting with the females," Klapper says. At higher concentrations, that behavior switched from disinterest to outright aggression with the male fish started to attack and sometimes killing their mates. 

Similar effects have been seen in humans who take the antidepressant. Common Prozac side effects include a decrease in sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm, according to WebMD and  [More effects on here]

Fathead minnows are small fish, the biggest ones measuring only a couple of inches long. Their small size could be a factor in how they react to low levels of Prozac. However, Klapper believes that the concentrations used in this experiment, as well as the levels seen in the environment, could also impact larger species of fish. 

"Fish don't clear the medication as quickly as other animals," she says, which can lead to a possible build up of Prozac ultimately changing the fish's behavior.

Source: Good Morning America


Monday, June 3, 2013


Plant a Tree

Trees — by Kristof Nordin May 27, 2013

Imagine the type of world we could see
If instead of saying ‘pray,’ we said, ‘plant a tree’.
With this one little change so much more could be done
To protect all living things found under the sun.

We could ‘plant a tree’ for our troops sent away into war
So when they return they’d come home to find more.
We could ‘plant a tree’ at our churches with our husband or wife
To praise the Creator through a celebration of life.

We could ‘plant a tree’ for the needy and for those with no food
We could even plant in public without seeming rude.
The government would not have to introduce rules,
And most likely we could ‘plant a tree’ at our schools.

If we took it to task to ‘plant trees’ for the poorest,
We would all soon be reaping the wealth of a forest.
We could plant freely with those of all religions and creeds,
The improvement of earth would be based on these deeds.

We could plant with our neighbours, our family, and friends,
And ‘plant a tree’ with our enemies to help make amends.
If we ‘plant a tree’ for the sick to show them we care,
We would also be healing the soil, water, and air.

We could ‘plant a tree’ to observe when two people wed,
And plant one with our kids each night before bed.
Throughout the history of the whole human race
We find respect for the ‘tree’ has always had a place.

The great Ash of the Norse was their tree of the World,
And on a tree in the Garden is where the serpent once curled.
It was in groves of Oaks that the Druid priests wandered,
And under the Bodhi where the great Buddha pondered.

In the Bible it’s clear that we have all that we need:
‘All the trees with their fruits and plants yielding seed’.
Despite all these lessons that the past has taught
Now days, it seems, we cut our trees without thought.

This is confirmed by the Koran, for in it we read:
‘Many are the marvels of earth, yet we pay them no heed’.
We all have a duty, no matter what nation
To perform our part in protecting Creation.

Just think what we’d have if we had picked up a spade
Every time each one of us bowed our heads and prayed.