She is William's god-daughter, little Grace van Cutsem, 3, the bridesmaid whom the media has uncharitably dubbed "Grumpy Grace" and "the Frowning Flowergirl".
The media reported that 'the grumpiest girl in England' was 'pouting', 'the least happy person in the world', and 'had had enough of what was going on behind her'. (Click for full pic.)
What an awful thing to say! Nothing could be further from the truth.
As soon as little Grace stepped out of the car at Westminster Abbey, she looked like she was about to cry and quickly covered her ears. Was the crowd that loud? Was the tolling of the bells deafening? I looked at the faces of the other guests, especially the children—did they find it too loud as well? Nope, none of them looked bothered, nor were they frowning. In fact, they were smiling!
Why did Grace find the noise unbearable then?
She very likely has a medical condition called hyperacusis. In plain English, it means 'super hearing'. Not like Superman who can detect a kitten's cry from miles away. Those who suffer from hyperacusis perceive sounds to be much louder than the rest of us do. A 'boom' on a faraway drum might sound like a "WHOMP!!!!" right on their eardrums. That's why Grace covered her ears when the other children next to her were not bothered by the sounds—she heard them much, much louder. In her world, the volume button is permanently stuck on 'maximum'.
The most obvious symptom of hyperacusis is the immediate clapping of hands over the ears at the slightest loud sound. Some children are so sensitive that even the rattling of a truck passing by outside or raindrops on the awning is intolerable.
If the sound is very loud, it can cause actual physical pain. Here, Grace was almost on the verge of tears as four planes roared overhead. Again, all the other adults and children were smiling. (Click to see full pic.)
Kate tried to comfort her but failed to. But of course—Grace was not throwing a tantrum! Neither did she have a bad disposition. She's not grumpy, she was in pain! (Off-topic: Why do you suppose Dr. House is always grumpy? Is it not because his bad leg is constantly causing him pain?)
Hyperacusis is a condition which is very common among children with autism, Down Syndrome or Williams Syndrome. It also occurs in neurotypical people, although at a much lower frequency.
Hyperacusis has various causes. One of the causes related to developmental disorders is the lack of magnesium.
You are probably familiar with the more common effects of magnesium deficiency:
Magnesium deficiency can affect virtually every organ system of the body. With regard to skeletal muscle, one may experience twitches, cramps, muscle tension, muscle soreness, including back aches, neck pain, tension headaches and jaw joint (or TMJ) dysfunction. [Clenching your jaws or grinding your teeth in your sleep.]Do you notice a similarity in all these symptoms? The muscles contract and can't let go. In some people, you might even notice an 'uptight' personality.
Symptoms involving impaired contraction of smooth muscles include constipation, urinary spasms, menstrual cramps, difficulty swallowing, photophobia [over-sensitivity to light] and loud noise sensitivity from stapedius muscle tension in the ear.
(See other fascinating everyday problems caused by lack of magnesium.)
When dealing with autism spectrum and other neurological disorders in children, it is important to known the signs of low magnesium: restless, can't keep still, body rocking, grinding teeth, hiccups, noise sensitive, poor attention span, poor concentration, irritable, aggressive, ready to explode, easily stressed.
- Dr. Mark Sircus
Because of the competing nature of calcium and magnesium, excessive calcium intake from foods or supplements can lead to a magnesium deficiency. Without adequate magnesium, the muscles cramp. The muscle does not go through a complete relaxation phase before the next calcium-driven contraction begins.
Read more: Magnesium - Possible Remedy for Rapid Heartbeat
Calcium = contract, magnesium = relax.
The same thing happens to the muscles of the inner ear, specifically, the stapedius muscle. That's the muscle attached to the stapes, one of the bones in your inner ear.
The stapes is the last of the three bones in your inner ear. It is responsible for transmitting vibrations from your eardrum to the membrane of your inner ear. The stapedius muscle controls the movement of this bone. So what happens when there is a magnesium deficiency? Calcium causes the stapedius muscle to contract, but without adequate magnesium, the muscle cannot fully let go, then the next infusion of calcium causes it to contract again. This is a muscle stuck in a perpetual spasm, amplifying the vibrations sent from the eardrum. Think how painful your leg is when it cramps. Now, can you imagine how painful it is to live in a world where everything is perpetually too loud?
86% of hyperacusis sufferers also have tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Same mechanism?
What causes a magnesium deficiency, especially in children so young?
Mercury is the main culprit, especially in children with developmental problems like autism. Mercury is the most poisonous non-radioactive substance on earth and is a potent neurotoxin. It has been proven to cause developmental disorders by killing brain cells. Mercury also displaces several key minerals in the body.
"Mercury (usually with a +2 charge) can grab the biological spaces that should be filled by another essential mineral. As a result, there may be plenty of the mineral found in the blood, urine, hair, etc., but due to the displacement at the active site, mercury interferes with the activity of the essential mineral."Mercury binds to the binding sites meant for magnesium (and iron, copper, selenium, zinc and iodine as well) and acts like the dog in the manger. It is a different metal, so it cannot do what the original mineral is supposed to do, but because it's stuck there, it prevents the correct mineral from getting in. So you may very well eat a healthy diet and have adequate levels of minerals in your blood (all blood tests come back normal), but none of that does you any good if your body cannot use the minerals because mercury is blocking the uptake sites.
- Dr. Jeremy Kaslow (<-- an excellent, excellent site on health problems caused by mercury)
Dr. Mercola). (I suppose since mercury is fat soluble and the foetus requires a high-fat 'diet', the mercury is carried along with the fat.)
Mercury also comes from fish. Because mercury is bio-accumulated (it is not easily disposed of by the body), it accumulates up the food chain, so the larger the fish, the higher its mercury content. According to the CDC, eating fish just 2 or more times per week increases mercury levels to seven times that of women who have not eaten any fish for a month. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you will pass the majority of that to your child. That is certainly food for thought.
After birth, babies are also injected with large amounts of mercury (also known as thimerosal) in the form of vaccines, particularly if your child was born before 2005. (Mercury is used as a preservative/antibiotic in multi-dose vials to prevent the growth of bacteria from repeated jabs into the bottle of vaccine.) If you live in a third world country, your child might still be getting the full dose. Old high-mercury stocks which are no longer welcome in the western world are sent to third world countries under the WHO's vaccination programme. When children there die, you don't hear of it because their parents don't know how to report it to the CDC.
Mercury has NOT been removed from vaccines - don't be fooled by the advertising - it has only been REDUCED in a number of vaccines. Even so, mercury has not been reduced in all childhood vaccines - that's another lie. Some vaccines still contain the full dose of mercury (regardless of where you live), like the Hepatitis B, tetanus and flu vaccines. The "full dose" meaning about 130 times above the EPA's safe limit.
Children are more susceptible to the effects of toxins than adults are because their organs have not yet fully developed and they cannot eliminate toxins as quickly and efficiently as adults. They are often vaccinated on the very first day of life when their organs are just sputtering to life. Premature babies are even more susceptible as their organs are still greatly under-functioning. Just look at how many babies get jaundice - that is a symptom that the liver is under-performing. They can't even process their own waste, so is this a good time to inundate them with a tsunami of neurotoxins? Low birth weight babies receive the biggest dose of all because all vaccines come in a standard size, so they are given the same amount of toxins as another baby of, say, twice their body weight, so they now have twice the toxic burden. Unless this toxic load of mercury, aluminium and other potent toxins are eliminated by the body, it will remain in the fatty organs like the brain, kidney and liver (because mercury is fat-soluble) where it becomes very difficult to remove, and lodge in the binding sites of other metals, causing problems associated with a deficiency in these minerals. Besides killing brain, kidney and liver cells, of course. A mineral deficiency or a potent neurotoxin at such a sensitive developmental stage in life will cause untold damage. Might this be what contributes to jaundice in so many newborns? Could this also be why premature babies and low birth-weight babies have more developmental problems and have a far higher rate of learning disabilities? (Something like 75% for premature babies.)
Children with autism also suffer from magnesium malabsorption due to intestinal problems (caused by mercury killing off the good bacteria in the gut) or the lack of correct enzymes (whose production is also disrupted by mercury).
Certain medications can also impede the absorption of magnesium. One such medication that children are routinely given is neomycin. Neomycin is an antibiotic present in almost all vaccines.
Neomycin and kanamycin [antibiotics] have a limited antibacterial spectrum and are more toxic than the other aminoglycosides. These two drugs should only be used topically [on the skin] or orally. Neomycin and kanamycin are more toxic than the other aminoglycosides and should not be used parenterally [injected]. All aminoglycosides are nephrotoxic [kills kidney cells] and ototoxic [kills inner ear cells]. Aminoglycosides can cause neuromuscular blockade, paresthesias, and peripheral neuropathy [all neurological problems]. Hypersensitivity reactions may occur. Large oral doses of neomycin or kanamycin can produce a malabsorption syndrome.Isn't this lovely? The manufacturer themselves say that neomycin should not be injected into the body because it can kill kidney and inner ear cells and cause all sorts of neurological problems, and then duly adds it into their vaccines. Why do you think that is?
Source: Merck (now removed) and Merck (current)
There are many other causes of hyperacusis. However, if your child also suffers from a developmental disorder like autism or has other sensory sensitivities like sensitivity to light or can't stand certain food or fabric textures (see Sensory Processing Disorders), your best bet would be to look into biomedical treatment. If your child has a genetic disorder like Down Syndrome or Williams Syndrome, there is no cure for that, however, if he or she has a physical problem like a magnesium deficiency, heavy metal poisoning or an intestinal problem that is causing malabsorption, which in turn causes the hyperacusis, then these problems can and should be medically treated. There is no reason to let your child continue to suffer.
Ten percent of children with Down Syndrome also have autism, which suggests that there is a genetic susceptibility towards developing such biochemical problems.
• Biomedical Treatment for Hyperacusis
• Big Pharma Admits that Vaccines Cause Autism