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September 19, 2004

Rubella Syndrome of Deaf People

From: HLO/WRAD - Sept 19, 2004

News of item: Rubella Syndrome

There has been a great deal of recent research on people who became deaf from Rubella in their mother's womb during the mother's "first trimester" (first 3 months) of pregnancy. These people are now known as people with "Rubella Syndrome."

The news is not good for Rubella Syndrome deaf and deafblind adults.

In 1996, there was research done by M. Alter and R. Schulenberg, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (August 29.1966), volume 197, issue 9, pages 685-688, entitled "Dermatoglyphics in the rubella syndrome." In the article the researchers noticed that there were strange differences in the fingerprints and hand creases of people who had been born with Rubella Syndrome, which looked just like the same abnormal folds and creases that researchers had previously found in people with schizophrenia.

Later, in March 1997, researchers Alan S. Brown, Ezra Susser and Patricia Cohen published an article in the Schizophrenia Research Journal, volume 24, issues 1-2, page 247, entitled "Psychosis after prenatal exposure to rubella," proving that persons who had suffered from Rubella Syndrome in the womb had SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED frequencies of psychotic mental smptoms in comparison to the general population. They checked with other deaf groups and they found out that the psychological problems of the Rubella adults are NOT related to being deaf. They are directly related to Rubella Syndrome. The same psychological problems (including schizophrenia) appear in other Rubella Syndrome adults who are NOT deaf, including some of the CODA people, and some hearing people whose mothers did not have "severe" Rubella when they were pregnant.

[NOTE: Some mothers DID HAVE Rubella during their pregnancies, but Rubella can be so mild that the mother doesn't even know that she had Rubella when she was pregnant. But the Rubella virus still attacks the unborn child in the womb anyway. This can explain why a lot of "unknown" causes of deafness can actually be due to Rubella Syndrome]

There was then another article published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in March, 2000, volume 157, Issue 3, pages 438-443, by people at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, in New York City, and was also published and won the A.E. Bennett Research Award in the Journal of Biological Psychiatry, March 14, 2001, volume 49, issue 6, pages 473-486. The research report is entitled "Prenatal rubella, premorbid abnormalities, and adult schizophrenia" and it PROVED WITHOUT ANY DOUBT and with extensive scientific research that Rubella-exposed infants are at SUBSTANTIALLY GREATER RISK for developing schizophrenia when they become adults. There is a DIRECT LINK between prenatal (before birth) exposure to the Rubella virus, and a "different" development of the brain and nervous system in childhood and teenage years, which leads to schizophrenia (called "nonaffective psychosis") as an adult, in the same individuals.

When this Journal article was published, the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind persons began finding and questioning people who had become deaf and deafblind from Rubella Syndrome. They also found that Rubella Syndrome causes "later life effects" in adult life thereafter, including glaucoma, adult-onset diabetes, psychological problems, and much more. The Rubella virus DOES NOT "disappear" from the human body. In many people it "wakes up again" and causes further health damage, including worse asthma and respiratory distress.

(Other people affected by viruses early in life also have similar problems, since a "virus" is not a living organism and it cannot be killed. It can remain "dormant" (in hiding) for many years and then begin again. People who had polio in their younger years and who "recovered" from the polio virus now have "post-polio syndrome" again when they get older).

Thereafter, in 2002, there was another research article published in the Mental Retardation Developmental Disabilities Research Review Journal, volume 8, issue 1, pages 51-57, entitled "In utero infection and adult schizophrenia." In this article, Brown and Susser, from the Deaprtment of Psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical School in New York City reviewed and researched even more evidence that shows that in utero (in the womb) exposure to the Rubella virus is a DEFINITE risk factor for schizophrenia. They began to find more and more people born with Rubella Syndrome who had severe psychological problems later in their lives when they became adults.

Most recently in December 2003, the American Journal of Psychiatry, volume 160, pages 2108-2115 published an article entitled "Clinical Characteristics, 4-year course, and DSM-IV Classification of Patients with Nonaffective Acute Remitting Psychosis." In this article they again noted that people who had Rubella Syndrome at birth also ended up being admitted to mental hospitals with a diagnosis of "nonaffective acute remitting psychosis" (adult-onset schizophrenia). They noted that these people are at a VERY HIGH RISK of psychotic episodes, suddenly and usually without any warning, and that the psychological problems usually begin within a time frame of 2 weeks or less, and then they last for around 6 months, and then they go away again for even 4 years. But then the symptoms and psychological problems can pop up again at any time, without warning.

Recent brain research now shows clearly that people with Rubella Syndrome have less "gray matter" brain tissue in their brain. Usually these people are smarter at birth, but they can lose IQ points between birth to childhood, and more loss between childhood to adulthood, and even more IQ can be lost as the person gets older in adult life.

Rubella Syndrome definitely causes ORGANIC (physical) brain damage, and Rubella Syndrome is now known to be a definite Developmental Disability that occurs before birth and which lasts for the rest of a person's whole lifetime.

People who were born with Rubella Syndrome need to see a PSYCHIATRIST (a MEDICAL DOCTOR specialist) as soon as possible, and they will need to continue to see a Psychiatrist for the rest of their lives.

People with Rubella Syndrome also need to get fully checked by their regular Primary Care Physician for possible adult-onset diabetes, and also for respiratory (lung) problems, and also to make sure that their heart functions are OK (because there is a high occurrence of heart malformations (not normal structure of the heart) in people with Rubella Syndrome.

People with Rubella Syndrome also need to go to an eye doctor as soon as possible, and at least once a year for the rest of their lives, to have their eyes checked for glaucoma and cataracts, which are now known to be very common adult "later in life" results of Rubella Syndrome.