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From the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients
January 2003
Web Page Potpourri: Informative Alternative Health Resources on the Internet
by Marjorie Roswell
Our January 2003 cover
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Autism Info is an impressive website. The site can be a little overwhelming at first, but it's a treasure-trove of information on diet, medical intervention, behavioral therapies, and nutritional supplementation for autistic children and adults.

My favorite story on the site (originally published in Parents Magazine) is We Cured Our Son's Autism. Karyn Seroussi and her husband achieved the cure by putting their son on a gluten-free, casein-free diet. The child's doctors remarked, "If I hadn't diagnosed him myself, I wouldn't have believed that he was the same child.”

The site features daily news, an "Action Plan for Parents with Newly Diagnosed Kids,” searchable databases, information on books and conferences, advocacy and links.

Valuable links include the Autism Network for Dietary Interventions, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Resources, a Mercury-Autism listserv, and the DAN! Protocol, which covers biochemical, immunological, and genetic aspects of autism. "DAN!” stands for "Defeat Autism Now!”

Parents, doctors, teachers, tutors, caregivers, and especially people diagnosed with autism will benefit from The site is a labor of love, by parents Brad and Jenny Middlebrook.

Alternative Medicine Homepage

If you want good information, check out the library. If you want great information, check out the librarian. Medical librarian, Charles B. Wessel, from the University of Pittsburgh has developed a tremendous Alternative Medicine Homepage.

The Alternative Medicine Homepage features more than 30 searchable databases, ranging from the AltHealthWatch, to the Online Archive of American Folk Medicine. Some of the databases require an access fee.

The site offers resources on 15 diseases or conditions, with heavy emphasis on AIDS, HIV, and cancer. There are more than 50 links in the area of herbal medicines, and more than 20 links each to alternative medicine directories and to manual healing sites.

In the Fraud & Quackery section, the site (unwittingly?) provides links to some organizations that oppose alternative medicine. For instance, I'm not sure what a link to the industry-funded greenwashing group, "American Council on Science and Health” is doing on this site. (ACSH articles have names like Toxic Green, and New, Clear Reactions to Nuclear Fearmongering, and Is There a Cure for Alternative Medicine?)

The Alternative Medicine Homepage also features links to government sources in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with heavy emphasis on U.S. links. True to its roots, the site also features a few links to Pennsylvania-based resources.

This site has picked up a slew of awards. I recommend that you bookmark it.

The Right-to-Know Network

We may often surmise that we're living in a toxic brew. But what if we wanted to know what was in that brew, and where it was coming from? The Right-to-Know Network would be a good place to start.

At you can get information on chemical accidents, the toxic release inventory, Superfund sites on the National Priority List, toxic spills, hazardous waste handler permits, etc.

Some of the available databases are not for the faint of heart. But the Right-To-Know Network is very helpful to users. The site offers an "About the Data” button for each database, identifying where it comes from, how often it's updated, what the fields mean (in plain English), and for some of the databases: email and phone contacts for handling questions and comments.

Even a casual user can get something out of the site, however. I was easily able to learn that less than a mile from my house is a chlorinator station that handles 8 one-ton containers of liquid chlorine. I was also kindly emailed an outline of the city's plan in case of emergency. It was comforting to know that "this data when modeled, produced no off-site impacts” under one Scenario, but under the Worst Case Release Scenario, "the distance to the toxic endpoint was determined to be 2.0 miles.” This information came from the Risk Management Plans database.

In addition to rich content and good background information, the site offers a variety of ways to access each database, letting you choose among geographic searches, or searches by facility, industry, or parent company. You can also choose the level of detail you want, and in what format you want your search results.

With the Right-to-Know Network, we're not left to wonder.

Marjorie Roswell is a web developer and a geographic information specialist at the University of Maryland Baltimore County Center for Health Program Development and Management.

Marjorie Roswell
3443 Guilford Terrace
Baltimore, Maryland 21218 USA
Phone: 410-467-3727



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