Down Syndrome Specialist Boston MA
Hyde Park (Boston), MA
Marian H. Putnam, M.D. Private Practice of Pe
Insurance Plans Accepted: All Blue Cross PlansBoston Health NetChildren's Medical Security PlanHealth Care Value ManagementHarvard Pilgrim health CareMass Health which is our state's MedicaidPrivate Health Care SystemsGreat WestPruCareTufts Health PlanCarpenter
Accepts Uninsured Patients: Yes
Emergency Care: Yes
Primary Hospital: Children's Hospital
Residency Training: St. Raphael's New Haven; Cincinnati Children's
Medical School: Tufts Medical School, 1974
Languages Spoken: English,Afar,French
Woburn Pediatric Associates
Hyde Park, MA
Graduation Year: 2007
Graduation Year: 1995
A New Day for Kids with Down's
By Melanie Haiken
As soon as Wendy Deaton’s son Mackenzie was old enough to swallow solid food—just two months after his birth in August 1995—she began stirring a powerful blend of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids into baby food and spooning the mixture into his tiny mouth. The reason? Mack was born with Down syndrome (DS), and Deaton, a nurse in Brownsburg, Indiana, had heard that other parents were successfully treating their DS children with a regimen of nutritional supplements especially developed for this purpose.
It was Deaton’s mother who first heard about nutritional therapy, on a 1996 episode of the TV news program Nightline. The program focused on the crusade of Dixie Lawrence, a former bodybuilder from Louisiana, who had consulted with several gurus of nutritional therapy for DS, and was now mixing up formulas in her kitchen to treat her adopted daughter Madison. The episode featured dramatic testimonials by other parents, too, who claimed that nutritional therapy, along with a “smart drug” called piracetam, had made their children healthier and more alert and even improved their cognitive abilities. The show included contact information for the company that produced the Lawrence formula, called NuTriVene-D.
Deaton immediately ordered the supplements and began giving them to Mack. He’s been on them ever since. “I’m a big believer in the power of nutrition and supplements,” says Deaton, “and what the parents were saying about their kids was very convincing.”
Because Mack, now nine, has been on nutritional therapy all his life, Deaton admits she has no way of knowing what he would have been like without the supplements. But she can compare him to his peers, the other kids with DS who are also mainstreamed with Mack in his public school. And she does know about the health problems typical of kids with DS, which include chronic ear infections, gastrointestinal distress, sleep disturbances, and weakened immune systems.
Mack, by contrast, has had only one ear infection in nine years, and has as good an attendance record as any other kid in his third-grade class. Not only is he more verbal than might be expected, he has been reading since first grade.
This story has all the makings of a classic case of hucksterism: the overeager television host, the desperate parents, the supplement marketers with extravagant promises. Except it’s not so. Some experts believe there’s real promise in nutritional therapy, largely because of a new way of thinking about how Down syndrome progresses—namely, that its course depends in part on the body’s stores (or lack) of certain nutrients.
“Studies going back to the sixties show that people with Down syndrome have unusually low levels of certain vitamins, minerals, and other critical nutrients,” says Warren Croom, a professor of nutrition and physiology at North Carolina State University who, it must be noted, consults with NuTriVene-D’s parent company. And there’s anecdotal evidence that supp...
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