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Autism News: Collection of articles

The Not-So-Crackpot Autism Theory

Date: Sat, 9 Nov 2002 09:16:25 -0000

The Not-So-Crackpot Autism Theory


Neal Halsey's life was dedicated to promoting vaccination. In June 1999, the Johns Hopkins pediatrician and scholar had completed a decade of service on the influential committees that decide which inoculations will be jabbed into the arms and thighs and buttocks of eight million American children each year. At the urging of Halsey and others, the number of vaccines mandated for children under 2 in the 90's soared to 20, from 8. Kids were healthier for it, according to him. These simple, safe injections against hepatitis B and germs like haemophilus bacteria would help thousands grow up free of diseases like meningitis and liver cancer.

Halsey's view, however, was not shared by a small but vocal faction of parents who questioned whether all these shots did more harm than good. While many of the childhood infections that vaccines were designed to prevent -- among them diphtheria, mumps, chickenpox and polio -- seemed to be either antique or innocuous, serious chronic diseases like asthma, juvenile diabetes and autism were on the rise. And on the Internet, especially, a growing number of self-styled health activists blamed vaccines for these increases.

Like all medical interventions, vaccines sometimes cause adverse reactions. But unlike pills, vaccines come packaged with high expectations, which make them particularly vulnerable to public criticism. Vaccines don't cure people, and they are administered to healthy children, which gives them few opportunities for good press. When they work, nothing happens. When vaccinated children become ill, their parents are grief-stricken and often enraged, even if vaccines aren't proved to be at fault. All of this puts public-health advocates like Halsey on the defensive. Most attacks on vaccines, they say, are based on hysteria, bad science and dubious politics.

Halsey, 57, has green eyes, a white beard that makes him look like a ship's captain and an air of careful authority. As chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on infectious diseases from 1995 through June 1999, he often appeared in the media administering calm reassurance. ''Many of the allegations against vaccines,'' Halsey said in one interview, ''are based on unproven hypotheses and causal associations with little evidence.''

And then suddenly in June 1999, during a visit to the Food and Drug Administration, a squall appeared on the horizon of Halsey's confidence. Halsey attended a meeting to discuss thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative that at the time was being used in several vaccines -- including the hepatitis B shot that Halsey had fought so hard to have administered to American babies. By the time the dust kicked up in that meeting had settled, Halsey would be forced to reckon with the hypothesis that thimerosal had damaged the brains of immunized infants and may have contributed to the unexplained explosion in the number of cases of autism being diagnosed in children.

That Halsey was willing even to entertain this possibility enraged some of his fellow vaccinologists, who couldn't fathom how a doctor who had spent so much energy dismantling the arguments of people who attacked vaccines could now be changing sides. But to Halsey's mind, his actions were perfectly consistent: he was simply working from the data. And the numbers deeply troubled him. ''From the beginning, I saw thimerosal as something different,'' he says. ''It was the first strong evidence of a causal association with neurological impairment. I was very concerned.''

The investigation into mercury vaccines was instigated in 1997 by Representative Frank Pallone Jr., a New Jersey Democrat whose district includes a string of shore towns where mercury in fish is one of many environmental concerns. Pallone, who had been pressing the government to re-evaluate its overall guidelines on mercury toxicity, attached an amendment to an F.D.A. bill requiring the agency to inventory all mercury contained in licensed drugs and vaccines.

The job of adding up the amount of mercury in vaccines and assessing its risk fell to Robert Ball, an F.D.A. scientist, and two F.D.A. pediatricians, Leslie Ball, Robert's wife, and R. Douglas Pratt. Thimerosal, which is 50 percent ethyl mercury by weight, had been used as a vaccine preservative since the 1930's in the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis shot, known as D.T.P., and it was later added to some vaccines for hepatitis B and haemophilus bacteria, which by the early 1990's had become routine immunizations for infants.

The F.D.A. team's conclusions were frightening. Vaccines added under Halsey's watch had tripled the dose of mercury that infants got in their first few months of life. As many as 30 million American children may have been exposed to mercury in excess of Environmental Protection Agency guidelines -- levels of mercury that, in theory, could have killed enough brain cells to scramble thinking or hex behavior.

''My first reaction was simply disbelief, which was the reaction of almost everybody involved in vaccines,'' Halsey says. ''In most vaccine containers, thimerosal is listed as a mercury derivative, a hundredth of a percent. And what I believed, and what everybody else believed, was that it was truly a trace, a biologically insignificant amount. My honest belief is that if the labels had had the mercury content in micrograms, this would have been uncovered years ago. But the fact is, no one did the calculation.''

Making matters worse, the latest science on mercury damage suggested that even small amounts of organic mercury could do harm to the fetal brain. Some of the federal safety guidelines on mercury were relaxed in the 90's, even as the amount of mercury that children received in vaccines increased. The more Halsey learned about these mercury studies, the more he worried.

''My first concern was that it would harm the credibility of the immunization program,'' he says. ''But gradually it came home to me that maybe there was some real risk to the children.'' Mercury was turning out to be like lead, which had been studied extensively in the homes of the Baltimore poor during Halsey's tenure at Hopkins. ''As they got more sophisticated at testing for lead, the safe level marched down and down, and they continued to find subtle neurological impairment,'' Halsey says. ''And that's almost exactly what happened with mercury.''

Halsey was beginning to think that it would be prudent to limit thimerosal-containing vaccines and urge pediatricians to use thimerosal-free shots when possible. But his decision inflamed some of his peers. After all, although the thimerosal data was worrisome to Halsey, the available science offered no clear proof that the preservative posed a genuine danger to children when given in parts per million. Moreover, it wasn't clear that there were enough thimerosal-free vaccines available for diseases like pertussis and hepatitis B. Should an unproven fear justify the cessation of a procedure that protected children from proven dangers?

Halsey looked into the matter further and found only complexity. In the medical literature, most cases of acute mercury poisoning result from doses hundreds or thousands of times higher than what infants received with thimerosal-laden vaccines. And although the thimerosal levels in vaccines exceeded the E.P.A.'s guidelines for methyl mercury, thimerosal contained ethyl mercury, a compound that behaves somewhat differently in the body. The E.P.A. based its guidelines on a series of studies of 917 children born in 1987 in the Faeroe Islands, a windswept North Atlantic archipelago, to women who ate methyl-mercury-tainted whale meat. The Faeroes children, whose umbilical cord blood averaged four times the E.P.A.'s daily ''safe'' dose -- which was 0.1 micrograms per kilo -- exhibited small but measurable neurological deficits seven years later. They had slower reaction times and diminished attention spans and their word choice and memorization were less keen than those of their classmates who had been exposed to less mercury, according to Philippe Grandjean, a Danish researcher who leads the continuing Faeroes study and teaches at Boston University.

During most of the 90's, many American 6-month-olds received a total of 187.5 micrograms of ethyl mercury through vaccination. While the Faeroes children were exposed to mercury as developing fetuses, and therefore were more vulnerable than the vaccinated American infants, the American babies included about 60,000 each year who had already been exposed to high mercury levels because their mothers had eaten a lot of contaminated fish. What's more, hundreds of thousands of Rh-negative pregnant women and their unborn Rh-positive babies received additional thimerosal each year through injections designed to keep the mothers' immune systems from attacking the fetuses.

The Faeroes studies, though they dealt with methyl mercury, unnerved Halsey. Other researchers were troubled, too. George Lucier, a toxicologist who led a 1998 White House review of mercury's dangers, went so far as to say it was ''very likely'' that thimerosal had damaged some children. There was precious little data to back up that precise suspicion -- and little to dismiss it -- because of the lack of toxicology research on ethyl mercury.

On July 7, 1999, at Halsey's urging, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Public Health Service released a statement urging vaccine manufacturers to remove thimerosal as quickly as possible and advising pediatricians to postpone giving most newborns the birth dose of the hepatitis B vaccine. The decision, which helped to create vaccine shortages and led some babies to become infected with hepatitis B, outraged some senior vaccine experts. Walter Orenstein, director of the National Immunization Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, would charge that the rush to remove thimerosal-containing vaccines was ''precipitous.'' Stanley Plotkin, a renowned vaccine developer, said that it was fruitless to try to soothe vaccination critics. ''If antivaccinationists did not have mercury, they would have another issue,'' he said at one meeting. ''One cannot prevent them from making hay regardless of whether the sun is shining or not.''

In Halsey's view, however, thimerosal wasn't simply a bone for rabid vaccine opponents to gnaw on. In the middle of that hectic summer he took a vacation in Maine. Canoeing on a lake, he came across posters that advised fishermen to ''protect your children -- release your catch.'' Halsey took that message to heart. If the government was warning people against eating fish with mercury, he asked his colleagues, ''does it make sense to allow it to be injected into infants?''

Although other vaccinologists criticized Halsey, many of his colleagues rallied around him. ''Neal put kids ahead of the vaccination program, which was gutsy,'' says Lynn Goldman, a former E.P.A. official who has been on the Hopkins faculty since 1999 and worked with Halsey on thimerosal. ''It would have been easier for him to line up on the other side.''

Few scientists believe that the spike in autism could have been caused solely by the thimerosal in vaccines, but in October 2001, a vaccine-safety committee at the starchy Institute of Medicine confirmed that it was ''biologically plausible'' -- though by no means proved -- that thimerosal could be related to neurodevelopmental delays in some children. The committee recommended that thimerosal be removed from vaccines and called for extensive research to determine any damage it had caused.

alsey's fellow researchers were right about one thing. Antivaccine advocates immediately seized upon the thimerosal theory, and Halsey became something of an unwilling hero to the vaccine-safety advocates with whom he had so often sparred. In fact, thousands of parents with autistic children have responded to the Institute of Medicine report by filing lawsuits. Michael Williams, who has won millions in toxic tort settlements from pharmaceutical companies, was among the first lawyers to sue vaccine manufacturers, on behalf of William Mead, a 4-year-old Portland, Ore., boy with autism. Williams also filed a separate class-action lawsuit with William's healthy older sister, Eleanor, as lead plaintiff, demanding that vaccine makers also pay for studies to determine thimerosal's effects on millions of children who might have lower I.Q.'s or other less obvious signs of mercury poisoning. Past studies have shown that mercury's effects vary tremendously from person to person, presumably because of genetic differences in the body's capacity to protect delicate organs from it.

'In order to win the Eleanor lawsuit you need to establish liability, but I don't think that is going to be that hard,'' Williams said in a recent chat in his Portland office. ''Organic mercury is a very serious neurotoxin.''

Williams embodies the vaccine establishment's worst fear about Halsey's course of action -- which is that taking the precautionary step of eliminating thimerosal would be read as an admission of fault. ''The agenda was set by the lawyers and the antivaccine activists,'' a source close to a number of manufacturers complained to me. ''The scientists responded to it scientifically, and that put them behind the eight ball right away. You had Neal Halsey running around saying: 'We've got to do something! We've got to show we're concerned!'''

Paul Offit, a vaccinologist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, takes it a step further. ''In some instances I think full disclosure can be harmful,'' he says. ''Is it safe to say there is zero risk with thimerosal, when it is remotely possible that one child would get sick? Well, since we say that mercury is a neurotoxin, we have to do everything we can to get rid of it. But I would argue that removing thimerosal didn't make vaccines safer - - it only made them perceptibly safer.''

For Halsey, thimerosal injury is a possibility that must be addressed -- but by science, not by the courts. The scientific agenda, however, is already deeply politicized. From the start, the C.D.C.'s efforts to examine the possibility of thimerosal damage became snarled in acrimony. Critics of the vaccination system don't trust the C.D.C., which monitors evidence of adverse reactions to vaccines through the Vaccine Safety Datalink, a computerized set of 7.5 million medical records. Safe Minds, an advocacy group of parents who believe that their autistic children were damaged by thimerosal, has used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain documents showing that as early as December 1999 the C.D.C. had reason to believe that thimerosal caused developmental delays in some children. It was far from conclusive evidence, but vaccine critics charged that the C.D.C. tried to play it down. One of those critics was Dan Burton, a Republican congressman from Indiana, who says he firmly believes that his grandson's autism is a result of vaccines. ''I'm so ticked off about my grandson, and to think that the public-health people have been circling the wagons to cover up the facts!'' Burton fumed at a June hearing. ''Why, it just makes me want to vomit!''

What comes through in an examination of the documents uncovered by Safe Minds is less a coverup than an impression of scientists anxiously watching over their shoulders as they work. One document, for example, records comments made by Robert Brent, a Philadelphia pediatrician who served as a consultant for the thimerosal study. ''The medical-legal findings in this study, causal or not, are horrendous,'' Brent said. ''If an allegation was made that a child's neurobehavioral findings were caused by thimerosal-containing vaccines, you could readily find a junk scientist who would support the claim with a reasonable degree of certainty. But you will not find a scientist with any integrity who would say the reverse with the data that is available. . . . So we are in a bad position from the standpoint of defending any lawsuits if they were initiated.''

More research is in the works. The C.D.C. is setting up a study of neurodevelopmental effects based in part on the Faeroe Islands model. The N.I.H. is financing studies of thimerosal metabolism in animals and children. (An early University of Rochester study was reassuring: it indicated that children eliminate thimerosal much more quickly than expected.)

Clearly, a lot is riding on this research, and pressure is being brought to bear on both sides. Can the vaccine authorities accept a positive answer? Can the vaccine opponents accept a negative one? ''No one wants to think that harm might have been done,'' Halsey says. ''I don't want to think harm might have been done.''

American children still receive up to 20 vaccines in the first two years of life. The first symptoms of autism often appear between the ages of 12 and 24 months. Most autism experts say that the two facts are coincidental, but as a major California study recently confirmed, autism is being diagnosed in numbers far higher than ever before, suggesting that a nongenetic cause may be partly to blame. In some children, the behavioral traits of autism present themselves along with physical problems like sensory dysfunction and motor disorders that have rough correlates in the mercury-poisoning literature. For some parents, thimerosal provides a grand unifying theory that squarely points the finger at the government and vaccine makers.

During much of the 20th-century, children suffered from an ailment called pink disease, which caused peeling skin on the extremities as well as regressive behavior. In 1948, a keen-eyed Cincinnati pediatrician named Josef Warkany noticed a common risk factor in these children: they had all been given teething powders containing calomel, a mercury derivative. Only about 1 in 500 children whose parents gave them calomel got pink disease -- suggesting that a constitutional vulnerability to mercury was part of the clinical picture. Soon after the powders were taken off the market, pink disease disappeared.

Autism is a global phenomenon that was first reported in America in 1943, long before the potential dangers of thimerosal vaccines were raised. Removing the preservative won't -- even in the best case -- eliminate the illness. But scientists estimate that the current rate of autism in its various forms might be as high as 1 in 500. If the autism trend begins to recede now that thimerosal has been removed, it could certainly suggest a cause. If it does decline, we might have Neal Halsey to thank. If it doesn't, his colleagues in the vaccine establishment may blame him for stoking an irrational protest from the public.

Halsey, who still heads the Hopkins Institute for Vaccine Safety, which he was a founder of in 1997, is on the fence. ''I don't believe the evidence is convincing now that there has definitely been harm done by thimerosal,'' he says, absently stroking his balding head. But to keep the vaccine program on a steady keel, Halsey says, the public-health authorities simply must follow through with the studies and face the consequences without flinching. If there is damage, he says, ''there should be some kind of compensation, though I don't know how.'' He pauses, and sighs. ''I empathize with families of children with these disorders. How are you going to put dollar values on that?''

Arthur Allen lives in Washington and is working on a history of vaccination.

Homeopathic treatment for an autistic child

Subject: Email Message from Amy to those who write to her..........======

Hello! You are getting this message because you have written to me about seeking homeopathic treatment for your autistic child. I believe that most of you have found me via the article about my son Max that appears on the web at

First of all, thank you for your interest in my article and in Max's recovery. It is really a mission of mine to let people know more about his story and in particular more about homeopathy. I'm have just finished writing a book, which includes his story in even greater detail, as well as much much more about homeopathy and what homeopathic treatment is like. I am currently seeking a publisher and hope that it will appear in about a year. I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you a bit more about homeopathy, especially in treatment of autistic kids.

Homeopathy isn't a "take this for that" medicine. 10 different autistic kids might get 10 different remedies. Choice of remedy depends on a person's individual characteristics. That said, however, there is a range of 10-20 remedies commonly used in autism cases.

Autism, unfortunately, is very serious and is not an "easy cure". For example, while simple ADD (ADHD) has an 80% cure rate in many homeopathic practices, autism is much much more difficult. However I have heard of several other cure cases of autism besides my son Max, with homeopathy. In fact, besides the Kaufman's cure of their son Raun using their own techniques(see the book "Son-Rise"), I have heard of no other complete cures EXCEPT with homeopathy.

When I say complete cure, I mean a cure without the ongoing need for a heavily restricted diet, therapies, etc. -- i.e. complete recovery, not just functioning "better". If you met Max today (at age 10) you would never suspect he had been autistic. He attends regular school at age level, is an excellent student, outgoing and friendly! His teachers are, for the most part (unless I have told them), unaware of his past history. He attends sleep away summer camps with no problem, and is popular socially. He still sees his homeopath about 3 times a year and takes occasional remedies. So cure IS possible, but it requires commitment on your part.

Because autism is difficult to treat, you need to seek out a very good and experienced CLASSICAL homeopath (one remedy at a time, no mixtures) and STICK WITH IT FOR AT LEAST A YEAR. DO NOT try to treat your child yourself!! It usually takes a practitioner time to find a good remedy...often months of trial and error. In our case, we were lucky to see slow and steady improvement throughout, but that's unusual. It's really a longterm process but well worth it!! Your child's life is at stake -- and your own life as well! Once you begin to see improvement, I'm sure you will have no problem continuing with it. If you have no success with a particular homeopath, then I suggest trying another. Successful homeopathic treatment, unfortunately, depends on the ability of the practitioner to successfully find the right remedy for your child. If you have concerns about your homeopath's recommendations for your child, feel free to contact me.

To find a good homeopath, I suggest you go to the site: Within the top page is a pointer to recommended homeopaths in the USA and Canada. The ones in boldface are the most experienced ones. Please note that just because someone has an MD does not make them a better homeopath. Often, the opposite is true -- although there are exceptions. If you are located in the New England area, you might consider contacting Paul Herscu who has had a few successful autism cures. He practices in Massachusetts and possibly in Connecticut as well. He has a long waiting list though! If you are located elsewhere in the world, contact me and I will try to find you a reference. There is a world-wide homeopathic mailing list, and I can send out a message to that list in order to find a practitioner close to you. You can join the mailing list yourself by sending an email to: and have the subject line contain the word: subscribe

My other recommendations to you: a) DON'T GIVE UP HOPE FOR RECOVERY. So many parents with autistic kids get very despondent and don't believe their kid can recover. This really works against them!! Don't give in to despair. Try as hard as you can to be loving, accepting, but CONFIDENT that full recovery is possible! If you accommodate to your child's illness, you may also become invested in it. I have seen this quite alot in this community and I highly recommend avoiding it. Don't try to convince yourself that your child is just fine as an autistic person; they will be much better off if they aren't autistic!! Striking a balance between acceptance&love and confidence in improvement is difficult, but you can achieve it. Also, don't be afraid of disappointment! What's worse, experiencing disappointments or never trying at all? You owe it to your child to not let your own fears get in the way. b) THE SOONER YOU SEEK TREATMENT THE BETTER. It is my feeling that autistic children "leave" us and the further they get, the harder it is to bring them back. Ideally, you should treat before age 5 or 6. However, even older autistic children can manifest significant improvement, even if they cannot be fully cured.

c) DO NOT VACCINATE YOUR CHILD EVER AGAIN. There's been a HUGE rise in autism in the USA -- from about 1/10,000 to 1/150 -- and the most suspected culprit is vaccination damage. The most suspected vaccines are the MMR and DPT. If your child experienced convulsions and fevers before the onset of autism, DPT is highly suspect. If the onset was more insidious, MMR is more likely. The Hepatitis B vaccine is also suspected by some parents. The vaccination trigger for autism may be one reason that homeopathy is successful, because homeopathy has a pretty good track record in correcting vaccination damage.

d) TAKE MILK OUT OF YOUR CHILD'S DIET -- especially cow milk. For many kids, this helps a lot. A study at the University of Florida on the effects of milk protein on the brain found that eliminating dairy helped something like 75% of autistic and psychotic kids!! Goat milk is not as bad (it contains less milk proteins), but try to cut out all cow milk and dairy in general. You might also experiment with eliminating corn and avoiding food colorings as much as possible.

I have heard that many autistic children have improved significantly if they adhere to severe dietary restrictions. I think pursuing this avenue is VERY worthwhile. My guess is that vaccinations have triggered severe food allergies in these children that affect their brain, resulting in autism. Eliminating the allergens can unburden their systems and provide relief. Homeopathy can then go in and REMOVE THE ALLERGIC TENDENCY ALL TOGETHER. Homeopathy also has a very good track record in removing allergies.

e) Try traditional hands-on osteopathy -- cranio/sacral work. It's very gentle, and was also helpful to my son. f) I believe that energy healing (e.g. Reiki) and prayer are also helpful.

Finally, if you do try homeopathy, please let me know. And please let me know what the outcome is!!! My Love and Prayers for you, your child, and your family, Amy


about the common practice of premature umbilical cord clamping in many hospitals --which can cause cerebral palsy as well as contribute to autism and related learning disabilities such as ADHD. It is essential that babies receive the oxygen and blood from the placenta at birth. The umbilical cord should NEVER be clamped or cut until it stops pulsating and turns a grayish color. Following is an excellent article on this topic with more info. on the website

- -
By George Malcolm Morley, MB ChB (
Autism is one of several behavioral and developmental disorders exhibiting defects in learning, language and behavior that merge, in the more severe cases, into mental deficiency. No specific brain lesion, anatomical or metabolic, has been defined as causal and the diagnosis is purely clinical (based on observed symptoms). However, children with brain lesions due to the disorder tuberous sclerosis are at particularly high risk of having autism.[1] This indicates that brain lesions, regardless of the cause, may induce autism-like symptoms.
The diverse symptoms of these disorders involving "higher" human faculties indicate diverse cerebral lesions, probably cortical, involving memory ability, storage and recall. This article presents compelling evidence that autism and related childhood disorders can result from brain damage caused by birth asphyxia - more specifically due to interruption of placental oxygenation at birth by premature umbilical cord clamping.
Asphyxia at Birth
Over thirty years ago, Windle produced spastic paralysis (cerebral palsy) in monkeys that were asphyxiated at birth by interrupting placental oxygenation and delaying pulmonary oxygenation; specific brain lesions were demonstrated at autopsy. [2] Monkeys with minor degrees of neurological defect recovered much function (adapted to the permanent neurological defect) but showed a persistent defect in memory ability. When offered food placed in one of two containers, these primates very often could not remember the correct container when access was denied for one minute - they were correct only 50% of the time. Normal monkeys that had not been asphyxiated at birth chose the correct container over 90% of the time. The asphyxiated monkeys, in effect, had learning disabilities and could not keep their attention focused on a food container for one minute.
At natural (normal) birth with natural closure of the umbilical vessels (no cord clamp used), neonatal asphyxia is avoided because placental oxygenation continues - the cord pulsates - until pulmonary oxygenation is established. During this time, a large amount of placental oxygenated blood is transfused into the child; this additional blood volume is used to establish pulmonary circulation and pulmonary oxygenation. After the lungs are functioning, the cord vessels close reflexively.
Cord clamping before the child has breathed and while the cord is still pulsating causes a period of asphyxia until the lungs begin to function; it also aborts placental transfusion leaving the child hypovolemic (low blood volume) and prone to anemia as a large amount of iron is left in the placenta. Deficient pulmonary blood flow may delay pulmonary oxygenation. The "bottom line" is that immediate cord clamping followed by sufficient delay in pulmonary oxygenation will produce permanent hypoxic brain damage. [2]
Anemia - Cause or Effect?
Lozoff and others have numerous publications correlating infant anemia with childhood and grade school learning and behavioral disorders to the point of mental deficiency. [3] The degree of infant anemia correlates with the degree of mental deficiency. [4] Unfortunately, the early diagnosis and correction of infant iron deficiency anemia do not prevent the appearance of these grade school mental problems. [5]
Premature infants, who routinely have their cords clamped immediately, almost universally become anemic in the NICU, where the anemia is promptly corrected, sometimes by blood transfusion. However, despite prompt treatment they have poor mental achievement outcomes through young adulthood. [
6] This strongly indicates that asphyxia due to immediate cord clamping, not anemia, causes mental impairment.
At normal birth, no newborn has iron deficiency anemia; adequate iron is supplied from the mother regardless of her iron status. Any newborn that receives a full placental transfusion at birth has enough iron to prevent anemia during the first year of life. [
7] It is, therefore, reasonable to conclude that full placental transfusion (continuous oxygenation during birth, natural cord closure) will prevent the autism, mental retardation, behavioral disorders and learning disabilities that occur following infant anemia. In other words, infant anemia and autism are both caused by immediate cord clamping - the anemia by loss of blood volume and the autism by asphyxia.
How to Prove an Association Exists Between Birth Asphyxia And Autism
Immediate cord clamping is now a very common practice and occurs in almost all modern obstetrical births. It is routine when an NICU team is present at an "at risk" birth and is mandated by ACOG for cord blood pH determination. [8] In current obstetrical practice, natural (physiological) cord closure is almost never allowed to occur; obstetricians and pediatricians in general are completely unaware of any danger incurred by immediate cord clamping.
In general, the incidence of autism has paralleled the incidence of immediate cord clamping, and supports the conclusion that autism results from birth asphyxia caused by immediate cord clamping. Additional proof should be available from birth records:

Autism should correlate with birth records of premature cord clamping or with circumstances that confirm immediate / early cord clamping.
Autism should not correlate with natural cord closure or with a newborn that cries quickly and has a five-minute Apgar score of 9 or 10.
Despite the fact that time of cord clamping is not normally recorded, many factors at the birth indicate that the child was subject to some degree of asphyxia from early cord clamping, and many parents can recall the event of cord clamping:
Was a cord pH sample taken at birth?
Was an NICU team present at birth?
Was there any fetal distress during birth?
Was there meconium staining of the fluid?
Was the child resuscitated immediately after birth?
Was the child given oxygen?
Did the baby start crying after being separated from the mother?
Was the baby born by Cesarean section?
Did the baby become anemic?
Did the baby receive a blood transfusion or a blood volume expander?
Was the five-minute Apgar score less than 8?
Was the baby born prematurely?
Was the child admitted to the NICU?
A predominance of "yes" answers to the above questions for autistic children, compared to the general population, would strongly indicate that autism and related childhood developmental and behavioral disorders can result from hypoxic brain injury at birth caused by immediate cord clamping.
A recent Japanese study found an increased risk for autism in NICU babies, particularly with meconium staining of the fluid. [9] Meconium staining indicates fetal distress / in-utero asphyxia and these babies typically have immediate cord clamping for resuscitation. The study provides very positive "YES" answers to the above questionnaire and is very compelling evidence that neonatal asphyxia and immediate cord clamping can cause autism.
  •        Brain lesions are associated with autism and related disorders[1].
  •        Hypoxic brain lesions in monkeys are associated with intelligence/memory defects similar to autism. [2]
  •        Immediate cord clamping causes newborn hypoxia.
  •        Placental oxygenation until the lungs are functioning prevents newborn hypoxia.
  •        Placental oxygenation until the lungs are functioning should prevent autism that is caused by hypoxic brain lesions.
    Articles with full references that explain statements in this article are available at:

    1. Bolton PF, Griffiths PD. Association of tuberous sclerosis of temporal lobes with autism and atypical autism. Lancet 1997 Feb 8;349(9049):392-5.
    2. Windle W. Brain Damage by Asphyxia at Birth. Scientific American 1969 Oct; 221(4):76-84.
    3. Lozoff B. Jimenez E. Wolf AW. Long Term Development Outcome in Infants with Iron Deficiency. N Eng J Med 1991; 325: 687-94.
    4. Hurtado EK et al. Early childhood anemia and mild to moderate mental retardation. Am J Clin Nut 1999; 69(1): 115-9.
    5. Lozoff B, Brittenham GM, Wolf AW et al. Iron deficiency anemia and Iron therapy effects on infant development test performance. Pediatrics 1987;79:981-995.
    6. Maureen Hack M.B., Ch.B. et al. Outcomes in young adulthood for very low birth-weight infants. N Engl J Med 2002;346:149-157.
    7. Linderkamp O. Placental transfusion: determinants and effects. Clinics in Perinatology 1982;9:559-592.
        American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
    8. Umbilical Artery Blood Acid-Base Analysis. Washington, D.C.: ACOG; 1995. Educational Bulletin 216.
    9. Matsuishi T, Yamashita Y, Ohtani Y, Ornitz E, Kuriya N, Murakami Y, Fukuda S, Hashimoto T, Yamashita F. Brief report: incidence of and risk factors for autistic disorder in neonatal intensive care unit survivors. J Autism Dev Disord 1999 Apr;29(2):161-6

    George M. Morley graduated from Edinburgh University Medical School in 1957, completed a residency in OB/GYN in 1962, and practiced obstetrics and gynecology until his retirement in 1999. He is board certified in OB/GYN, and a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

    © Copyright G. M. Morley, MB ChB. April 2002
    To learn more about the Health_and_Healing group, please visit

    This is from Dr. Mercola's website. Please circulate widely!

    Update on the Autism Epidemic and Vaccines
    Opening Statement
    Chairman Dan Burton
    Committee on Government Reform

    The Status of Research into Vaccine Safety and Autism
    In April the Committee conducted a hearing reviewing the epidemic of autism and the Department of Health and Human Service's (HHS) response. Ten years ago, autism was thought to affect 1 in 10,000 individuals in the United States. When the Committee began its oversight investigation in 1999, autism was thought to affect 1 in 500 children. Today, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that autism affects 1 in 250 children.
    In April we looked at the investment our Government has made into autism as compared to other epidemics. We showed in that hearing that the CDC and NIH have not provided adequate funding to address the issues in the manner that our Public Health Service agencies have used to address other epidemics.
    We have learned that a majority of parents whose children have late-onset or acquired autism believe it is vaccine-related. They deserve answers. We have also learned that the parents have been our best investigators in looking for both causes of autism and for treatments.
    I might have been like many of the officials within the public health community - denying a connection - had I not witnessed this tragedy in my own family. I might have been like so many pediatricians who discounted the correlation between vaccination and the onset of fever, crying, and behavioral changes. Because both of my grandchildren suffered adverse reactions to vaccines, I could not ignore the parent's plea for help. I could not ignore their evidence.
    My only grandson became autistic right before my eyes - shortly after receiving his federally recommended and state-mandated vaccines. Without a full explanation of what was in the shots being given, my talkative, playful, outgoing healthy grandson Christian was subjected to very high levels of mercury through his vaccines. He also received the MMR vaccine. Within a few days he was showing signs of autism.
    Through a Congressional mandate to review thimerosal content in medicines, the FDA learned that childhood vaccines, when given according to the CDC's recommendations exposed over 8,000 children a day in the United States to levels of mercury that exceeded Federal guidelines. Is there a connection between this toxic exposure to mercury and the autism epidemic?
    We have twice received testimony from Dr. Andrew Wakefield regarding his clinical research into autistic entercolitis. We will learn today that not only has he continued to conduct clinical research, but that this research is confirming the presence of vaccine-related measles RNA in the biopsies from autistic children. Dr. Wakefield - like many scientists who blaze new trails - has been attacked by his own profession.
    He has been forced out of his position at the Royal Free Hospital in England. He and his colleagues have fought an uphill battle to continue the research that has been a lone ray of hope for parents whose children have autistic entercolitis.
    Unfortunately, rather than considering the preliminary clinical findings of Dr. Wakefield as a newly documented adverse reaction to a vaccine, the CDC attempted to refute these clinical findings through an epidemiological review. While epidemiological research is very important, it cannot be used to disprove laboratory and clinical findings. Valuable time was lost in replicating this research and determining whether the hypothesis was accurate.
    Officials at HHS have aggressively denied any possible connection between vaccines and autism. They have waged an information campaign endorsing one conclusion on an issue where the science is still out.
    This has significantly undermined public confidence in the career public service professionals who are charged with balancing the dual roles of assuring the safety of vaccines and increasing immunization rates. Increasingly, parents come to us with concerns that integrity and an honest public health response to a crisis have been left by the wayside in lieu of protecting the public health agenda to fully immunize children.
    Parents are increasingly concerned that the Department may be inherently conflicted in its multiple roles of promoting immunization, regulating manufacturers, looking for adverse events, managing the vaccine injury compensation program, and developing new vaccines. Families share my concern that vaccine manufacturers have too much influence as well.
    Access to the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD)
    One of the primary topics to be discussed at this hearing is access to the Vaccine Safety Datalink. (VSD). To help fill scientific gaps, the CDC formed partnerships with eight large health maintenance organizations through an agreement with the American Association of Health Plans to continually evaluate vaccine safety.
    This project is known as the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) and includes medical records on millions of children and adults. Up until this year, access to data from the VSD has been limited to researchers affiliated with the CDC and a few of their handpicked friends. This 'good old boy's network" practice has predictably led to questions about the objectivity of the research and the fairness of the results.
    The VSD data should be made available to all legitimate scientific researchers so that independent studies can be conducted and results verified. This database contains a wealth of data involving millions of patients over a ten-year period. If properly utilized, it can help researchers study vitally important questions about the safety of vaccines, the effects of mercury-based preservatives in childhood vaccines, and many other questions.
    As representatives of the people, we have a responsibility to ensure that our public health officials are adequately and honestly addressing this epidemic and its possible links to vaccine injury.
    White House June 19, 2002
    Submitted By
    Dawn Richardson

    I would encourage you to email this information to as many friends as possible. The only way we are going to win this battle is to educate the public and allow them to review the evidence and make an informed decision.
    Folks, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure this one out. Most children in grade school could examine the facts and rapidly reach the conclusion that there is something dangerously wrong with the current vaccine policy.
    Thank God for courageous men like Congress Burton who is showing that one man can make a difference in this battle!
    Related Articles:
    Warning: New Hepatitis Vaccine Recs Can Devastate Newborn's Health
    The Sanctity of Human Blood
    Dr. Mercola's Favorite Vaccine Links Page

    Autism & Heavy Metals

    The Herald- United Kingdom July 22, 2002
    Scots study on autism poses new question of MMR link


    A SCIENTIST in Scotland yesterday revealed new research which could indicate a link between autism and the MMR vaccine by showing that autistic children have abnormally high levels of toxins in their bodies.

    The study by Gordon Bell, of Stirling University, also raises hopes that autism may not be genetic and instead be a physical, and therefore potentially treatable, condition.

    Lead, aluminium and antimony (similar to arsenic but more toxic) were found to be present in children suffering from autism at a significantly higher level than other children.

    All three toxins weaken the immune system and, when present in high levels, Dr Bell believes they could affect the body's response to the MMR jab. He suggests the immune system could be too weak to react properly to the triple vaccine, triggering the onset of autism.

    "These toxins could increase the likelihood of a reaction to viral change because they are all immune suppressants," he said.

    "Autism is all about putting too much of a burden on the body, and high levels of heavy metals may lead to other catastrophic events in the body which may then lead to autism.

    "All these metals or elements are at toxic levels so the body may not react appropriately to a immune change such as that caused by the MMR vaccine."

    Dr Bell, whose own son developed autism at the age of two after having the MMR jab, believes children susceptible to autism may have a problem getting rid of toxins from their bodies. He called for more research, both to test his results and establish whether it was possible to develop a treatment for the problem.

    "This is just a small-scale study, but it is very relevant. I simply do not have the resources to do the large-scale studies that are needed," he said.

    "I am saying: look at this, it is a real result, and if it is the reality in a majority, or even a significant minority, of people with autism then it is something we should be looking into."

    Action Against Autism said the research undermined the traditional model of the disease as "psychiatric, genetic, lifelong, and incurable". Bill Welsh, chairman, called for a large-scale study. "Clinical examination of autistic children should now be a priority. Dr Bell's findings further confirm that these unfortunate children are just plain sick and probably in distress."

    David Potter, head of policy at the National Autistic Society, confirmed the toxins found by Dr Bell had never previously been detected. "The medical establishment see this as a gen-etic condition, but this type of research shows there are other factors involved. We would be very keen to see this type of research furthered."

    Dr Bell, a lecturer in marine biology at Stirling, has a PhD in biochemistry and became heavily involved in autism research since it affected his own family six years ago. He is a member of the Scottish Executive's cross-party group on the condition.

    With funds provided by the Autism Research Trust, Dr Bell tested 37 children for toxic elements, taking hair samples which were then sent to a laboratory in America for analysis.

    Levels of antimony in autistic children were five times above the normal maximum range and levels of lead and aluminium were three times higher. Antimony can cause fatigue, hypotension, angina, and immune dysfunction.

    All 24 children with autism who took part in the study were found to have antimony present above the recommended maximum values, compared to 50% of the eight non-autistic children tested, and 40% of the five children with Asperger's Syndrome.

    Lead, an excess of which can lead to severe gastro-intestinal problems, loss of appetite, insomnia, and nervousness, was present above the normal maximum range in 92% of autistic children, compared to only 25% of non-autistic children, and 20% with Asperger's Syndrome.

    High levels of aluminium, which have been implicated in the onset of dementia, were present in 54% of autistic children, compared to only 12.5% of the control group, and none in the Asperger's group.

    Paper on mercury exposure and autism Date: Wed, 2 Oct 2002 14:17:35 -0700

    This new paper is important for parents with autistic children to see for a few reasons. It is a published University study that notes several basic factors that the parents seem to "get";

    1) Mercury is excreted at a much slower rate in infants and children who are on a MILK diet (does not specify breast milk). The removal of milk helps get the mercury out faster.

    2) All ASD (autistic spectrum children) react at a HIGHER RISK RATE to ALL VACCINES. Once there is any suspicion of a diagnosis - they must stop vaccinating. I tell them that "Your child IS the risk statistic." If you have one child in the family with ASD and there is a genetic component - then ALL of the children are at risk of severe vaccine reactions AT A MUCH HIGHER RATE than the published studies (which I don't believe anymore, anyway). Some of the parents are understanding this and have stopped vaccinating all their children.

    This presentation also shows some other very interesting correlations between vaccinating with mercury preservatives and lead - when more and more children are testing positive with LEAD. The Oregonian, an incredibly conservative, support-the-business paper) has published several studies clearly showing that lead and mercury cause a drop in IQ in children by age 5 - all the way down to retardation.

    Subject: Possible Connection of Heavy Metal Toxicity and Autism.html

    Possible Connection of Heavy Metal Toxicity and Autism This is the html version of the file --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Possible Connection of Heavy Metal Toxicity and Autism

    Prof. James B. Adams, Ph.D.

    Chemical and Materials Engineering

    Arizona State University


    Charles E. Holloway - ASU

    Brittany Done, ASU

    Mary Kerr

    Michael Margolis, D.D.S.

    Frank George, D.O.

    Karen Medville, D.Sc.

    Woody McGinnis, M.D.

    Xianchen Liu, M.D., Ph.D.


    Do mercury and other heavy metals contribute to the causes and/or symptoms of autism in some cases?

    Background - Lead Toxicity

    Lead- most widespread case of heavy metal poisoning

    1991-1994: 4.4% of US children ages 1-5 “affected” (blood levels >10 ug/dL)

    loss of 4-7 IQ points per 10 ug

    even levels below 10 ug may affect children

    can affect every organ

    correlates with lower class rank, absenteeism, slower reaction times, worse coordination

    effects often life-long

    exposure of parents can affect their child 30 years later (greater risk of learning disabilities)

    Children more susceptible than Adults

    more exposure (crawling, playing in dirt, licking hands)

    less excretion (adults retain only 1%, children retain 33%)

    brain still developing

    lead crosses placenta, no blood/brain barrier in fetuses

    low calcium in mothers results in lead stored in bone being released

    Major Sources of Lead

    Leaded Gasoline:

    major source of lead, permanently contaminating soil near roads

    introduction of unleaded gasoline in 1980’s has greatly reduced emissions (95 million kg in 1979 to only 2 million kg in 1989); average blood lead levels now much lower than 20 years ago

    Old paint:

    up to 1955, most household paint 50% lead

    1955-1971: voluntary limit of 1% lead

    1971: 1% lead required

    1977: “lead-free” paint limited to 0.06% lead

    note that remodeling an old home (especially sanding) is very hazardous

    Lead Pipes:

    still used in many homes

    replaced with copper, but used lead solder until 1991

    brass faucets contain up to 8% lead

    most filters useless; only reverse osmosis removes lead

    Prevention and Treatment for Lead Poisoning

    Most states require check of blood lead level in school-age children (but often too late)

    Reduce children’s exposure lead (remediation of environment by removing paint chips, dust, dirt)

    increasing calcium intake (to reduce lead intake)

    chelation if high blood lead level (> 40 ug/dL);

    for blood lead level of 20-40 ug/dL, large study of 780 children found that chelation with DMSA for 1 month did temporarily lower blood lead levels, but rapidly returned and no long-term benefit (however, could longer-term treatment help?)

    The only truly effective current treatment is prevention

    Mercury Exposure: Sources

    Coal-burning Power Plants: emit 52 tons of Hg/year into air (unregulated); most ends up in water, and then in fish

    Seafood: larger fish have most mercury, due to eating smaller fish

    Water: limited to 2 ppb (regulated)

    Fungicides/Pesticides: some contain mercury (decreasing)

    Vaccines: many childhood vaccines used to contain 12.5-25 ug of thimerosal, so that a fully-vaccinated child could receive up to 237.5 ug of thimerosal injected into them

    Dental amalgams: usually emit 1-10 ug/day; amount of mercury in brain strongly correlated with number of dental fillings; could release much more when first placed or removed

    Thimerosal Toxicity

    Previous studies of thimerosal had two major limitations:

    only tested thimerosal in adult animals

    only followed animals for 14-45 days, even though lethal doses in humans may not produce any symptoms for 3 months

    Thus, actual lethal dose may be much lower than believed.

    Comparison of thimerosal toxicity

    Humans: immediately lethal at 10,000-30,000 mcg/kg

    Lower doses lethal after several months 3000 mcg/kg?

    Infants more vulnerable 1000 mcg/kg?

    Vulnerable population (1 in 250) 100 mcg/kg?

    Neurological damage instead of death 10 mcg/kg?

    Oral antibiotics prevent excretion 1 mcg/kg?

    exposure to other heavy metals 0.1 mcg/kg?

    Note: the EPA safe limit for mercury exposure is 0.1 mcg/kg

    Thimerosal in vaccines: up to 237 mcg total; in 2-month children, about 60 mcg/5 kg, or 12 mcg/kg in one day

    Conclusion: amount of thimerosal in vaccines could have harmed children, especially those on oral antibiotics or genetically vulnerable

    Thimerosal Settling

    Thimerosal molecule is far denser than other molecules in vaccine, due to heavy mercury atom

    So, thimerosal may settle to bottom of 10-dose vial, so that some unlucky children could have received up to 10x the dose of thimerosal

    Rather than replacing thimerosal with other preservatives, single-dose vials would be safer at modest cost

    Mercury in Seafood - highest level


    Tilefish 1.45 0.65-3.73 60

    *Swordfish 1.00 0.10-3.22 598

    *Shark 0.96 0.05-4.54 324

    King Mackerel 0.73 0.30-1.67 213

    Grouper (Mycteroperca) 0.43 0.05-1.35 64

    * commonly consumed

    data from US-Food and Drug Administration, 2001

    Mercury in Seafood - Lower Levels


    Tuna (fresh or frozen) 0.32 ND-1.30 191

    *Lobster Northern (American) 0.31 0.05-1.31 88

    *Halibut 0.23 0.02-0.63 29

    *Sablefish 0.22 ND-0.70 102

    *Pollock 0.20 ND-0.78 107

    *Tuna (canned) 0.17 ND-0.75 248

    *Crab Blue 0.17 0.02-0.50 94

    *Crab Dungeness 0.18 0.02-0.48 50

    *Scallop 0.05 ND-0.22 66

    *Catfish 0.07 ND-0.31 22

    *Salmon ND ND-0.18 52

    *Oysters ND ND-0.25 33

    *Shrimp ND ND 22

    FDA Recommendations - 2001

    Avoid fish from the highest category

    limit consumption to 12 ounces/week (2-3 servings) of other fish

    Example: 12 ounces (340 g) of canned tuna would contain 58 ug of mercury, roughly the amount excreted by a mouthful of old amalgams over a week, or the amount in 2-4 vaccines

    Note: nearly 100% of mercury from seafood is absorbed into body

    Prevalence of Mercury Toxicity

    National Academy of Sciences estimates 60,000 children/yr in US suffer neurological damage due to mercury poisoning.

    Who are they? Mostly not diagnosed, since mercury only briefly stays in blood, and limited physician knowledge/experience for diagnosing

    Are some children with mercury/heavy metal toxicity diagnosed with a behavioral label of autism, Asperger’s, ADD/ADHD, or learning disabilities?

    Mercury Toxicity

    According to the ATSDR Toxicity Profile on mercury:

    “Mercury is considered to be a developmental toxicant. … The symptoms observed in offspring of exposed mothers are primarily neurological in origin and have ranged from delays in motor and verbal development to severe brain damage.”

    “The infant may be born apparently normal, but later show effects that may range from the infant being slower to reach developmental milestones, such as the age of first walking and talking, to more severe effects including brain damage with mental retardation, incoordination, and inability to move.”

    “Other severe effects observed in children whose mothers were exposed to very toxic levels of mercury during pregnancy include eventual blindness, involuntary muscle contractions and seizures, muscle weakness, and inability to speak.”

    “It is important to remember, however, that the severity of these effects depends upon the level of mercury exposure and the time of dose.”

    Bernard et. al. “Autism: A Novel Type of Mercury Poisoning” Medical Hypothesis 56(4) 462-471 (2001)

    They discuss the many similarities between autism and mercury toxicity, including:

    Psychiatric Disturbances: social withdrawal; repetitive behaviors; anxiety; irritability; poor eye contact

    Speech/Language Deficits: loss of speech or delayed speech; speech comprehension deficits

    Sensory Abnormalities: oral, touch, light and sound sensitivities

    Motor Disorders: flapping motions; poor coordination; abnormal gait

    Cognitive Impairments: low intelligence; poor memory; difficulty with abstract ideas

    Unusual Behaviors: self-injurious; sleep difficulties; ADHD

    Physical Disturbances: gastrointestinal disorders

    Biochemistry: reduced glutathione; decreased detoxification ability of liver; disrupted purine metabolism;

    Immune System: increased likelihood of auto-immune response, allergies, and asthma

    CNS Structure: mercury accumulates in amygdala, hippocampus, basal ganglia, and cerebral cortex, which are damaged in autism; mercury also damages Purkinje and granule cells (seen in autism); disruption of neuronal organization

    Neurochemistry: decreased serotonin synthesis; elevated norepinephrine and epinephrine; demyelination

    Neurophysiology: abnormal EEGs; abnormal vestibular nystagmus response

    Gender bias: higher sensitivity/occurrence in males vs. females

    Combined Toxicity of Lead and Mercury

    Since lead, mercury, and other heavy metals are excreted by the same mechanism, then a combined dose is more dangerous

    A study of rats found that the LD1 of lead and the LD1 of mercury resulted in LD100 (all the rats died). Schubert et al, J. Toxicology and Env. Health V4, 763-776, 1978.

    Note that humans are usually exposed to many toxic metals simultaneously, but most toxicology tests done on individual metals

    Present Study


    55 children with ASD ages 3-24 years (mostly 3-10), chosen from Phoenix ASA mailing list

    50 typical children chosen from their friends/neighbors (unrelated), same age and sex


    heavy metal exposure questionnaire

    hair analysis

    dental exam

    psychological testing (Gilliam Autism Rating Scale)

    urine test of sulfate (results pending)

    Preliminary Results of Heavy Metal Questionnaire

    Caveat: mostly based on mother’s memory

    Seafood: 60% of ASD mothers consumed more than 2 servings/month during pregnancy/breastfeeding, compared to 30% of controls;

    yields a 3.4x relative risk of ASD (p<0.02);

    presumably mercury in the seafood is the major problem

    Preliminary Results of Heavy Metal Questionnaire (cont.)

    Ear Infections: during first three years of life:

    ASD: 10x controls: 2x

    yields an 8x relative risk of ASD if > 8 infections; p<0.001

    Symptom or cause?

    1) could be an indication of weakened immune system

    2) In a study of rats given high doses of oral antibiotics (Rowland, Archives of Environmental Health 1984: 39(6); 401-408), half-life for excretion of mercury increased from 10 days to >100 days; if also on milk diet, >300 days

    (possibly due to yeast/bacterial overgrowth, which can last for years in children with autism)

    Preliminary Results of Heavy Metal Questionnaire (cont.)

    Chronic GI Severity: ASD: 1.8 controls: 0.1 (scale of 0-3) p<0.0000001

    consistent with a major gut dysbiosis

    Pica: 30% of ASD vs 0% of the controls

    a major source of heavy metals

    symptom and/or cause?

    Pesticides: 2x higher use of pesticides in autism homes (p<0.02)

    note that Edelson found elevated levels of a wide variety of toxic chemicals in blood of children with autism

    could indicate a general problem with detoxification

    Preliminary Results of Heavy Metal Questionnaire (cont.)

    Negative immediate reaction to vaccines:

    None. Mild Moderate Severe

    ASD 53% 27% 12% 18%

    Controls 72% 21% 7% 0%

    p=0.01 - highly significant;

    Since mercury has a latency period of several months, this is probably due to other components of the vaccine.

    Still analyzing vaccination records for long-term effects of vaccines.

    Preliminary Hair Data

    Children: ASD cntrl p value

    lead 0.40 0.54 0.10

    mercury 0.14 0.17 0.67


    mercury 0.39 0.17 0.34

    There is a trend that children with autism excrete slightly less lead and mercury than typical children. Surprising, since 30% exhibit pica (those children excrete more than controls).

    Mothers of autistic children seem to excrete roughly 2x mercury than typical mothers, presumably due to higher seafood consumption.

    Need more data to be conclusive (still collecting)

    Dental Amalgams

    Mothers of children with autism had an average of 9.9 dental amalgam surfaces, vs 8.2 for mothers of typical children: not statistically significant

    However, our recent study found that a new dental amalgam releases approximately 450 mcg/day (about 500x what an old amalgam emits), so new amalgams should be avoided in women who are planning to conceive, pregnant, or nursing

    Future epidemiological studies should focus on placement of amalgams during pregnancy/nursing, not the total number of amalgams

    Preliminary DMSA results

    Much higher levels of Al, Hg, Sn, and U in autistics vs. controls

    Somewhat higher levels of Sb, As, Pb, W in autistics vs controls

    Need more numbers for differences to be statistically significant

    DMSA results (continued)

    Child 16: excess Sn (60x normal)

    Child 50: excess Al (700x), Sb(13x), Bi(5x), Cd(6x), Pb(5x), Ni(5x), W (5x), U(200x) - most severe case

    Child 53: excess Sb (8x)

    Child 2: excess Sb (7x), As(10x), Hg(150x)

    Child 51: nothing unusual

    Child 35: excess Hg (6x)

    Child 36: excess Al(35x), U(60x)

    DMSA results

    Bradstreet used a 3-day, 30 mg/kg-day DMSA treatment in roughly 200 children with autism and 19 controls. He found that children with ASD excreted 5x as much mercury as the controls.

    Together, our data suggests ASD children have inhibited ability to excrete heavy metals


    Seafood consumption > 2 servings/month yields 3.4x risk

    Ear infections > 8x (first 3 years) yields 8x risk ; antibiotics greatly reduce mercury excretion

    Pica is common in ASD (major source of heavy metals)

    Home pesticide use is important

    Vaccine reactions are more common in ASD

    Hair data intriguing but not yet conclusive

    DMSA results strongly suggest children with autism cannot excrete heavy metals; need more data and pre-test data

    Overall, mercury and other metals appear to be a major risk factor for ASD

    Edelson/Cantor Studies

    S. Edelson and D. Cantor, Toxicology and Industrial Health (2000) 16 1-9.

    Evaluated 39 children with autism

    blood test of 20 toxic chemical solvents by Accu-Chem; compared against labs reference range for “maximum acceptable for adult”

    3-methylpentane (n=24, 3.7x adult max)

    N-Hexene (n=17, 9.5x adult max)

    2-methylpentane (n=13, 9.2x adult max)

    toluene (n=13, 6.1x adult max)

    tetracholorethylene (n=10, 8.5x adult max)

    13 other chemicals: n=1-6, levels = 1.8-21.5x adult max)

    89% of children had 1 or more excess levels of toxic chemicals

    Consistent with their earlier study of 20 children with autism.

    (Toxicology and Indus. Health, 1998, V.14, 799-811)

    Edelson/Cantor Studies - continued

    Liver Detoxification Test: challenge with caffeine, Tylenol, aspirin (Great Smokies)

    Measure % of abnormal results (n=36) - compared to adults?

    phase 1 value 81

    plasma cysteine 8

    plasma sulfate 25

    glutathione conjugation 22

    glycine conjugation 31

    sulfation 19

    glucoronidation 19

    phase 1/sulfation 42

    phase 1/gluconation 81

    phase 1/glucuronidation 81

    plasma cysteine/sulfate 14

    Phase I overactive compared to phase II: 86%

    Functional Phase I, but impaired phase II: 14%

    100% of children with autism had abnormal liver detoxification (compared to adults?)

    Revised Hypothesis

    Liver detoxification problems in autism could lead to impaired ability to excrete heavy metals and chemical toxins, as well as waste products from body’s metabolism

    Recommendations for Prevention

    Larger, more controlled study is needed to confirm results

    However, if the results are correct, then many cases of autism might be prevented by:

    limiting maternal seafood consumption (warning labels on fish)

    reduced use of oral antibiotics (especially many repeated uses)

    removal of thimerosal from vaccines

    Testing and Treatment Recommendations

    DMSA challenge test of heavy metals

    check levels of toxic chemicals (Accu-Chem labs)

    check mercury in baby hair (if available)

    Limit exposure to heavy metals (check drinking water and paint; avoid seafood, especially those with high mercury; limit pica; wash hands)

    support liver detoxification

    consider DMSA chelation

    consider sauna

    other? still a lot to learn

    Caveat: unclear if damage caused by heavy metals can be reversed, especially in older children/adults

    Case Study: Adult recovery from mercury toxicity

    April 1999: Airline pilot (Gulf War Veteran) suffered from abnormal weight loss (40 pounds), elevated liver enzymes, elevated blood pressure, esophagitis, gastritis, duodenitis, anxiety, depression, insomnia, muscle joint pain, and short term memory loss. Voluntarily removed himself from active flight status

    8/1999: Carl Hayden VA Hospital evaluates patient at 66% intellectual ability. Diagnosis of Severe Depression, Adjustment Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, with variable to poor short-term memory, and Acalculus Cholecystitis.

    11/1999 - Gulf War veteran found to have high level of mercury in hair (14.2 ppm, >5 ppm indicative of mercury toxicity)

    2/2000 - Chelation challenge with 250 mg DMPS found 74 ug/g-creatinine in urine, compared with pre-challenge level of 3.3 ug/g-creatinine

    11/2000 - after removing dental amalgams and 9 months of chelation therapy, complete symptom relief; urine level after DMPS reduced from 74 -> 10; hair level reduced from 14.2 -> 1.2; VA Hospital evaluates intellectual function at 93%, no diagnosis; returned to active flying status

    Current and Future Studies

    More DMSA testing

    Expanded epidemiological study

    baby hair collection (duplicate Holmes’ results)

    protein/gene abnormalities

    chelation treatment study?


    Funded by Arizona State University, Greater Phoenix Chapter of ASA, and Pima County Chapter of ASA

    for copy of talk and other information

    Wednesday, October 02, 2002
    By Matti Huuhtanen, Associated Press

    HELSINKI, Finland
    " Mercury and other toxins in the food chain are threatening humans and wildlife in the Northern Hemisphere, leading to high blood pressure in newborn babies and causing polar bears to lose cubs at b irth, scientists said Tuesday. "We were really surprised by the mercury pro blem. The amount of mercury transported into the area seems to be much high er than anyone believed before," said Lars-Otto Reiersen, one of the compil ers of a report on Arctic pollution. Released at a conference of environmen tal experts in Rovaniemi, 830 kilometers (520 miles) north of the capital H elsinki, the Arctic Pollution 2002 report says human-made toxins follow air and water currents from as far away as Asia to the remote and fragile Arct ic environments of North America, Greenland, and the Svalbard islands north of Norway. Although still one of the cleanest regions in the world, indige nous peoples =E2=80" especially the Inuit in Greenland and Canada =E2=80 " are particularly vulnerable because they depend on whale blubber and se al meat containing high concentrations of toxins. "The energy is in the fat , the vitamins are in the fat, and now, unfortunately, we see the pollutant s are in the same place," said Reiersen, who heads the Norway-based Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP). The effects of the toxins are fel t further south too, including in the Faeroe Islands, an archipelago midway between Iceland and Scotland several hundred kilometers (miles) south of t he Arctic Circle, the AMAP report said. "Newborn babies in the Faeroe Islan ds have increased blood pressure, and it stays high for six years," Reierse n said. "It's the only place we have studied this, but it's bound to occur in other more northern areas where concentrations of pollutants are equally high or even greater." Reiersen said that while mercury emissions =E2=80 " from burning coal in power plants and garbage incinerators =E2=80" ha ve fallen in Europe and North America, they are increasing in China and els ewhere in Asia. Reiersen said polar bears are giving birth to fewer cubs, a nd many more are dying at birth because of the toxins. Arctic fox, seals, k iller whales, harbor porpoises, and birds also suffer high levels of contam ination by organic pollutants that damage the nervous system, development, and reproduction, the AMAP report said. But it's not all bad news. Emission s of some heavy metals such as zinc are down, and lead has been substantial ly reduced because of a switch from leaded to lead-free gasoline, the repor t said. Lapland, which stretches across northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, a nd Russia, provides a livelihood =E2=80" mainly fishing, reindeer husband ry, and tourism =E2=80" for 40,000 indigenous Sami, or Lapps. "The fish, reindeer, and plants of Lapland are safe to eat. Numerous tests have proven this," said Outi Mahonen, a Finnish member of AMAP. In a separate study, f emale polar bears with both male and female sexual organs were discovered i n 1997 on Norway's Svalbard Archipelago, some 500 kilometers (300 miles) no rth of the mainland. Researchers believe the deformity could be due to PCBs and other toxins. Potentially cancer-causing PCBs, or polychlorinated biph enyls, are chemical compounds once widely used in plastics and electrical i nsulation that can take decades to break down. They have been widely banned in the West. But new pollutants are taking their place. "Now we are seeing evidence of a new generation of pollutants in the Arctic: brominated produ cts or flame retardants" used in radios, televisions, and textiles to reduc e the risk of fire, Reiersen said. "We are near to achieving a ban on them in Europe, but once again, they are being increasingly used in Asia from wh ere they will travel here," he added.

    Copyright 2002, Associated Press
    All Rights Reserved

    Measles virus is found in boy's brain after MMR By Lorraine Fraser, Medical Correspondent (Filed: 06/10/2002) 0/06/ixhome.html

    A child who developed severe epilepsy after receiving the MMR jab has been found to have measles virus from the vaccine in his brain.

    The results of tests conducted recently have been revealed by the 13-year-old boy's mother. She says that she has decided to go public in order to push the Government to take the plight of children allegedly damaged by the three-in-one measles, mumps and rubella vaccination more seriously.

    Scientists say that the implications of the discovery are difficult to assess without further research. However, it raises new questions about the triple inoculation, which has been dogged by controversy since Andrew Wakefield, a former consultant at the Royal Free Hospital in London, linked it with a new syndrome of bowel disease and autism in children.

    The boy's mother, who has asked to remain anonymous, told The Telegraph yesterday that her son had developed an allergic rash eight days after he received the MMR vaccination when he was 15 months old. He then progressed to have 10 to 12 seizures every month.

    In the summer of 1998, however, he descended into "status epilepticus" - continuous convulsions - and surgeons at a London hospital decided that he needed emergency brain surgery to save his life. It was at this point that a brain biopsy was taken.

    The woman, who is suing the manufacturers of the MMR vaccine on behalf of her son, declined to say where the biopsy had been tested for the measles virus but indicated that this had been done in a reputable laboratory.

    She had been shocked to receive the test results indicating that vaccine-strain measles virus had been found, she said. She had also learnt that samples from her son's bowel, taken in 1997 because he had digestive problems, had tested positive for vaccine-strain virus.

    After the operation when he was nine, her son had had to relearn "virtually everything", she said. His personality changed and he was no longer able to attend mainstream school, although he had very recently been free of seizures.

    "Now with this new information I am very concerned," the boy's mother said. "Is it over for him or not? No one knows and this is why all these children - not just my son - need to be acknowledged rather than have the continuous stream of blanket denials that have been issued by the Department of Health."

    British specialists investigating MMR were reluctant to comment publicly on the case last night. One cautioned that it was theoretically possible that the boy had developed a vaccine-related condition that was more commonly caused by a natural measles virus infection.

    If this was the case, he said, then MMR would actually help to protect the wider population from similar infections. However, he added: "We do not know what this result means."

    The Department of Health has told parents they have no need to be concerned about MMR - a position supported by leading medical bodies.

    This article is from Jock Doubleday's NWNM issue one.

    Girl gets $4.7M for Vaccine Injuries Friday, August 16, 2002

    By LINDY WASHBURN Staff Writer North Jersey News

    A New Jersey girl whose mental development stopped at 2 months old after a routine immunization has received a $4.7 million settlement from a national trust fund.

    More than $3 million of the award will go to an annuity that will pay for the child's care as long as she lives. Its payout could exceed $61 million if she lives to 71, said Mindy Michaels Roth, the Glen Rock attorney who brought the case in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

    The payment to the girl, now 9 years old but with the mental ability of a 2-month-old, comes from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, funded by a 75-cent tax on each vaccination. Congress created the fund in 1986, at a time when a growing number of lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers was driving them out of the marketplace, and more parents were choosing not to immunize their children because they feared harmful side effects.

    [Thus, instead of vaccine manufacturers paying for vaccine-related injuries, American citizens pay for them out of their own pockets. --JD]

    "It removes a tremendous weight as to how we'll care for [our daughter] financially,'' said the girl's father, who lives in Central Jersey and asked that the family not be identified. "As finite human beings, we die. Who's going to care for her? This eliminates that burden'' because her eventual care in a nursing home is provided for, he said.

    Congress established the program to stabilize the supply of vaccines and free money for research on safer alternatives. The program also created a less expensive method to resolve claims outside the normal court system.

    [The above is the spin put on the creation of the NVIC program by vaccine manufacturers and their government cohorts. --JD]

    Since its inception, the fund has settled more than 5,500 claims, and awarded nearly $1.4 billion. Awards range up to $9.1 million. This year's average has been $800,000.

    The fund provides compensation for injuries from all vaccines mandated by the federal government: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP); measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR); polio, hepatitis B, chickenpox, and H. influenza Type B.

    This month, the pneumococcal vaccine was added to the list, and it became easier for parents whose babies suffered a bowel blockage following the rotavirus vaccine to secure compensation. Injuries from smallpox and anthrax vaccines are not covered by the fund.

    Legislation is also pending, Roth said, to consider autism as a possible vaccine-related injury.

    Some people believe the rising incidence of autism is partly attributable to the growing number of vaccines administered before a child's immune system is mature. In particular, they cite the mercury used as a component in some vaccines as a possible toxin.

    However, a recent Institute of Medicine report concluded there was insufficient evidence to accept or reject a link between thimerosal, a mercury component in some vaccines, and autism and other developmental and neurological disorders.

    [For the establishment of a clear connection between autism and vaccination, see --JD]

    Of the 4 million children each year who receive multiple vaccines, about 10,000 adverse reactions are reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Most of those reactions are minor, but about 15 percent report incidents of hospitalization, disability, life-threatening illnesses, or death. Those reports do not prove the vaccine caused the problem, however.

    The Central Jersey girl, the youngest of four children, was a bright, healthy 2-month-old when she visited a pediatrician in September 1993, her mother said. While there, she was given a vaccination for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP).

    Eleven hours later, her mother noticed odd eye movements as she changed the baby's diaper. She put the baby to bed and went to sleep, she said. When she awoke the next morning, she realized her daughter hadn't cried for her 3 a.m. feeding.

    She found the baby "red in the face, foamy at the mouth, and having difficulty breathing,'' the mother said. The baby didn't have a fever, however, and the pediatrician advised her to keep an eye on the situation. The baby was very lethargic, her parents said. Later, as her father held her in his arms, she started to shake--the first of many seizures. As the seizures increased, she was hospitalized.

    "It was very frightening,'' the girl's mother said.

    At first, neither the family nor the doctors connected her problems with the vaccination. "It's a highly emotional state,'' the father said. "It takes time to wrestle with this.''

    A child injured by a vaccine must file a claim within three years after the first symptoms appear. The family of a child who dies must file within two years of the death.

    No lawsuits concerning vaccine injuries can be filed in a civil court, the law says, until after a claim has been filed with the vaccine compensation program and the litigant has decided to reject its award. As a result, the number of lawsuits filed against vaccine manufacturers has plunged since the fund's inception: four suits against DTP makers in 1997, compared with 255 in 1985.

    In New Jersey, four attorneys are listed by the Court of Federal Claims for filing vaccine-related claims with the program. Roth and her partner, Drew Britcher of Britcher, Leone & Roth, are two of them.

    "People need to know to get to the fund,'' Roth said. "They have this child. They have huge medical bills. They'll be capped-out on their insurance. There is a place to go. If you don't go there, you aren't going to go anywhere. You will be dismissed from state court, and have no recourse.''

    The program, which operates with a special master, pays attorney fees regardless of whether the claim succeeds or fails. The fees are based on an hourly rate of $175, plus expenses--not a percentage of the settlement, as in malpractice cases. Awards for pain and suffering are capped at $250,000.

    The child is the sole beneficiary of the award, not the family. If the child dies, the annuity established as part of the award reverts to the compensation fund.

    Lindy Washburn's e-mail address is

    Thimerosal: A Missing Link in Denmark MMR-Autism Study Date: Thu, 07 Nov 2002

    Thimerosal: A Missing Link in Denmark MMR-Autism Study

    Today, the New England Journal of Medicine has published an article which refutes a link between MMR and autism using epidemiology. This study was released last week to the major media by the CDC, its major funder along with NAAR. Since then, the CDC PR machine has been working very hard to spin the conclusions their own way. Obviously, they want to put an end to any more discussions and research on vaccines and autism.

    However, while the study methodology appears to be good, and there is much to learn from the informative findings, there are some significant shortcomings in the conclusions drawn and the study results raise more questions than they answer and underscore the importance for more research.

    For example, one of the most concerning omissions of the study was their failure to consider the absence of Thimerosal in the other infant vaccines the children of the Danish study received prior to getting their MMR vaccine.

    Although she did not include it in her article, the reporter from the Dallas Morning News who interviewed me (article below) was able to confirm that the mercury based preservative under so much legal fire for triggering autism was removed from vaccines on the market in Denmark prior to the birthdates of the children studied. American children on the other hand, have potential cumulative mercury exposures at sometimes neurotoxic levels from prenatal exposures including maternal vaccination and immune globulin preparations, environmental pollution and infant vaccinations which create a significantly different set of circumstances when the MMR vaccine, which does not contain mercury, is administered.

    We feel very strongly that it is erroneous for the study's authors to conclude that since the children in the Danish study did not show an increased incidence of autism after MMR vaccine that the same would hold true for all children. They have not satisfied the question of the MMR vaccine's potential role as a trigger amidst other environmental factors including previously administered mercury containing vaccines that have been given to children outside of their population. It is entirely possible, but not yet studied by the CDC, that a child's immune response, inhibited by the elevated mercury levels from thimerosal-containing vaccinations, has less ability to respond to the measles virus in the MMR vaccine. This might be an explanation for the presence of measles virus cultured from the brains and guts of 80 percent of autistic children. However, we are grateful for their epidemiological research and hopeful that it will spur the absent and yet much needed biological mechanism research here in the United States.

    Sallie Bernard from Safe Minds ( has prepared an exceptional press release and comprehensive point by point assessment of the positives and the negatives of this study. We support and agree with the position of Safe Minds on this study.

    Additionally, you may want to pick up the November/December issue of Mothering Magazine ( - it has a sizeable section devoted to investigating Thimerosal and neurodevelomental delays. It includes articles by some of the other brains behind Safe Minds - Lyn Redwood and Liz Birt, articles by mercury expert Dr. Boyd Haley and Autism expert Dr. James Jeffrey Bradstreet , and an interview with Dr. Stephanie Cave.

    Sincerely, Dawn Richardson Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education (PROVE)


    Denmark Study on Autism and MMR Vaccine Shows Need for Biological Research Courtesy of Sallie Bernard, Safe Minds (

    (Cranford, NJ, November 6) The newly released study on autism and the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine ("A Population Based Study of Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccination and Autism." New England Journal of Medicine, Vol 347, No 19; Nov 7, 2002: 1477-1483, by Kreesten Meldgaard,et al) is a welcome addition to autism epidemiology. Unfortunately, the study conclusions appear overreaching, claiming that this analysis is the final word on autism and vaccines and implying that more research on the topic is unnecessary. Safe Minds asserts that other vaccines besides MMR may be involved in autism, and that only biological research, not epidemiology, can answer the question of whether the MMR vaccine plays a role in autism.

    "It is important to note that the study only focused on the MMR vaccine, and not vaccines also implicated in autism which contain the mercury preservative thimerosal," explains Sallie Bernard, executive director of Safe Minds. "The study also failed to investigate whether the MMR vaccine might be interacting with the thimerosal from other vaccines to increase the severity of symptoms in children who already have autism. Finally, the study did not differentiate between regressive autism, which is the type being linked to MMR vaccine, and the more prevalent early onset autism, which is the type being linked to thimerosal."

    Safe Minds is an advocacy organization which focuses on the role of mercury in neurodevelopmental disrorders, including autism. It was founded by parents of autistic children. Thimerosal contains 50% ethylmercury and has been used in most recommended childhood vaccines, including the Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTP), Haemophilus influenzae type B (HiB), and Hepatitis B (Hep B) vaccines.

    Research studies have shown that mercury exposure in utero or during early postnatal life - the time when thimerosal vaccines are being given - can cause immune system abnormalities which predispose the child to ongoing viral infections. It is biologically plausible that this immune disruption may have allowed the live measles virus component in the MMR vaccine to persist in susceptible autistic children, making the symptoms of the disorder worse. This connection would not be detected through an epidemiology study like the Denmark one. Nor does the Denmark study have the power to detect differences in rates of regressive autism between vaccinated and unvaccinated children, since the number of regressive cases - estimated to be 10%-20% of all autism cases - would be too small.

    "The overreaching conclusion of the study should not obscure other important findings from this extensive and well planned analysis from Denmark," continued Ms. Bernard. "The authors report an increased prevalence of autism in that country, and thus it supports other recent studies that are also showing increases. This rise tells us that an environmental agent is at work worldwide that is driving this trend. We believe that thimerosal and environmental mercury - which are worldwide pollutants - are behind the surge. Also, Denmark has had lower and later exposures to thimerosal in vaccines, and the report shows that their rate of autism is lower than in the US, which is also consistent with a thimerosal connection."

    Safe Minds is encouraged that the Centers for Disease Control sponsored such an extensive study on autism, which shows that this terrible disease is finally getting the attention of public health officials. Safe Minds looks forward to increased support for autism research, especially at the biological level.

    Assessment of the Denmark MMR-Autism Study (11/6/02)

    Study "A Population Based Study of Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccination and Autism." New England Journal of Medicine, Vol 347, No 19; Nov 7, 2002: 1477-1483. Kreesten Meldgaard, M.D., Andders Hviid, M.Sc., Mogens Vestergaard, M.D., Diana Schendel, P.H.D., Jan Wohlfahrt, M.Sc., Poul Thorsen, M.D., J=D8rn Olsen, M.D., and Mads Melbye, M.D.

    KEY MESSAGE This study is well done, but due to its design, it cannot be considered the "definitive" study on autism and the MMR vaccine. Rather, biological research, not epidemiology, is needed to truly answer the question of a link between the MMR and regressive autism.

    POSITIVE ASPECTS ABOUT THIS STUDY * The CDC and public health authorities are investing dollars and efforts into autism research. These efforts should be applauded, and expanded!

    * The study reports a steep rise in autism rates from 1980s to 1990s (from <2.0 to >10.0 per 10,000). Increases are also being reported in other countries, again suggesting environmental influences at work, as the recent landmark MIND Institute epidemiology of California study did.

    * The results appear to support a thimerosal role in the increases in autism being reported in the study in Denmark, and the fact that Danish autism prevalence is less than in the US and the UK, where the thimerosal vaccines are given in larger quantities and/or earlier in life. Further clarification is needed to elucidate this association; specifically, the prevalence by birth cohort and the Danish vaccine schedule and formulations for the time period are needed.

    * The study authors acknowledge that previous attempts to refute the MMR-autism hypothesis were too poorly designed to reach definitive conclusions. (p.1477, 2nd paragraph on right)

    * The study brings attention to a rich database of information (i.e., Danish registries) on which additional studies of autism can be based.

    CAUTIONS ABOUT THE STUDY'S CONCLUSIONS ON BEING THE "DEFINITIVE" STATEMENT ON AUSTISM-MMR * A vaccine-induced autism subset may be present at a much lower prevalence in Denmark since the prevalence of autism is lower in Denmark compared with other countries (see prevalence comparison table at end of document). This may indicate a co-factor effect (e.g. thimerosal) that operates to a greater degree elsewhere.

    + The lower prevalence in Denmark is not a function of variation in diagnosis, since the same diagnostic criteria developed by CDC was used in Brick, Atlanta, and Denmark.

    + Means other environmental factors, rates of factors, or combination of factors may be at work in Denmark vs US or UK.

    + It is possible that MMR increases the rate of autism only when acting in conjunction with another environmental factor, such as mercury. If that factor's prevalence is not controlled for among the study groups (vaccinated vs unvaccinated), it would obscure the role of MMR as a causative factor in the study.

    + This is entirely biologically plausible since mercury impairs the antiviral immune response, and mercury-exposed fetus and infants are more susceptible to persistent viral infections.

    + Only psychiatric records were accessed, not medical records, so there were no data on gastrointestinal symptoms and no taking of CSF or GI samples to detect presence or absence of measles virus. Cannot tell if measles persistence is impacting a subgroup of children, if any. Measles persistence may be increasing the severity of autism, even if it is not causing an increase in the number of cases.

    * There was no attempt to differentiate between regressive and early-onset forms of autism. Since the regressive form comprises a minority of cases - 10%-20% - the power to detect whether there was a difference in regressive autism prevalence between MMR vaccinated and non-vaccinated is lacking in this study.

    + The assertion that a relative risk of autism of less than one rules out the possibility that there are important subgroups is false.

    * Although overall well designed, there appear to be some methodological problems with the study, which need further elucidation from the investigators and raise questions about its conclusions of being the "definitive" MMR-Autism study.

    + The study covered 8 birth cohorts, but two of these, those born in 1997 and 1998, were only 1 or 2 years old when the data records were obtained at the end of 1999. These age groups are too young in most cases to be diagnosed with autism or to be immunized with the MMR. This might have been fine if the impact applied equally to both vaccinated and unvaccinated groups. However, fully half (50.6%) of the unvaccinated group fell into these two younger birth cohorts, vs. just a fourth (27.7%) of the vaccinated group. Therefore, in these 2 birth cohorts, true autism rates will be underestimated (since they have yet to be diagnosed) and unvaccinated status is over-represented.

    + Children who were in fact vaccinated were assigned to the unvaccinated group if they were diagnosed with autism efore they received the MMR. The reassigned cases comprise 10% of the unvaccinated autism cases (13 out of 130). This commingling blurs the distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated. It is not clear what effect this would have on the results.

    + A number of the measures used to arrive at the conclusion that autism and autism disorders were not associated with MMR vaccination are irrelevant. Age of vaccination with MMR, time interval between receipt of MMR and diagnosis of autism, and year of MMR vaccination do not help elucidate the hypothesized relationship between receipt of MMR and development of measles-related symptoms and regressive autism. The age of diagnosis is arbitrary and can vary for many reasons, among them differences in severity of illness, access to care, and clinician skill and preference. Thus these measures cannot be used to refute the presence of a temporal relationship between MMR and onset of symptoms of measles-related illness and regressive autism.

    * As the authors point out on page 1481, they had no information on the presence or absence of a family history of autism, which could explain the study's negative findings only if families with a history of autism avoided MMR vaccination. It should be noted that in 1993, there was a widely reported news story in Denmark about a parent with autistic twins who asserted that their autism was caused by the MMR vaccine. It is entirely possible that parents with either (a) a family history of autism or (b) an infant or toddler with emerging symptoms of autism, would avoid vaccination at a higher rate than other parents. This would inflate the unvaccinated group with children of families predisposed to autism.

    A chart showing comparative Reported Rate of Autism from Recent US, UK, and Denmark Studies can be found on the Safe Minds web page at

    Danish study: Autism not linked to vaccination

    11/07/2002 By SHERRY JACOBSON / The Dallas Morning News

    A major new study of half a million children in Denmark offers further evidence that there is no connection between a common childhood vaccination and the subsequent development of autism.

    Researchers looked at the incidence of autistic disorders among 440,655 Danish children who had received the standard vaccine to prevent measles, mumps and rubella. Then they compared how often the same disorders appeared in a group of 96,648 children who were not vaccinated.

    The eight-year study, published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine, found the same risk of autism in both groups, providing what the authors called "strong evidence" against the hypothesis that the vaccine could be causing autism.

    A number of smaller studies in recent years have likewise established no connection.

    "Few studies can be said to be conclusive, but I think this is as close as we can get," said Dr. Kreesten Meldgaard Madsen, an epidemiologist at the Danish Epidemiology Science Center in Arhus, Denmark, and the study's lead investigator.

    Eight years of records

    The study was drawn from the meticulous health records kept of every child born in Denmark from 1991 through 1998.

    Each childhood vaccination was recorded, as well as subsequent diagnosis of mental disorders such as autism.

    However, the study is unlikely to satisfy parent groups that have targeted the MMR vaccine as a possible source of their children's medical problems.

    "This is not going to put the question to rest for parents whose perfectly normal children regressed after they received this vaccination," said Dawn Richardson, president of Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education, an Austin-based group that includes about 3,500 families concerned about vaccine safety.

    Such groups point to several smaller studies that have suggested that some children experience behavioral problems soon after receiving a measles, mumps and rubella vaccination at age 18 months. Autism experts have speculated that behavioral difficulties may become apparent at that age but be merely coincidental to the timing of vaccination shots.

    "Maybe the vaccine is not the cause of autism disorders, but it could be the trigger," Ms. Richardson speculated. "Maybe it's not happening in Denmark, but we're saying there's something going on here in the U.S. with the children who are being vaccinated."

    Barbara Low Fisher, co-founder and president of another parent group, the National Vaccine Information Center, said a Danish study might not apply to American children.

    "They are a genetically homogeneous people," Ms. Fisher said of the children in the Danish study. "And we are not."

    Relevance in U.S.?

    Dr. Greg Poland, a measles vaccine expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., agreed that a study in one country might not always relate to people in another. However, he noted that many Americans are of Scandinavian descent.

    While calling the new study "the single best epidemiological population study done on this issue," Dr. Poland also said that the findings were unlikely to convince people who have decided that vaccinations were harmful for their children.

    "You can't change emotion or fear-based decisions with scientific data," Dr. Poland said. "It is exceedingly difficult for people not to assume cause and effect in situations like this." He heads the Mayo Vaccine Research Group and is a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the Mayo Medical School.

    The combination measles, mumps and rubella vaccine has been in use since 1988, leading some critics to link it to the growing incidence of autism in the United States and elsewhere. Studies have estimated there were two autism cases per 10,000 children ages 5 to 9 in the 1980s and early 1990s. By 2000, the incidence had grown to 10 cases per 10,000 children in the same age group.

    However, Dr. Madsen and his colleagues noted in the new study that the autism increase in the United States and Denmark "occurred well after the introduction" of the MMR vaccine.

    "Also, if there were any association between the MMR vaccination and autism, we would expect to see a rise in the diagnoses of autism in the time after vaccination," he said. "We did not see that."

    Mercury in hair and blood

    Cox C, Clarkson TW, Marsh DO, Amin-Zaki L, Tikriti S, Myers GG., "Dose-response analysis of infants prenatally exposed to methyl mercury: an application of a single compartment model to single-strand hair analysis", Environ Research 1989 Aug;49(2):318-32

    "Previous studies by this laboratory and by others have established that concentrations of methyl mercury in newly grown hair are directly proportional to the simultaneous concentrations in whole blood."

    "In summary, risk analysis based on the data in Figs 5-7 indicated that motor retardation should occur in children prenatally exposed to maternal hair concentrations less than 50 ppm and may be expected in the range of 10-20 ppm."

    "These conclusions are consistent with a recent Canadian study on Cree Indians prenatally exposed to methyl mercury where developmental effects were noted in children of mothers who had maximum hair concentrations between 13 and 24 ppm. Kjellstrom et al. have detected evidence of developmental delay in children of mothers who had mean maternal hair concentrations in the range of 6 to 18 ppm, approximately equivalent to maximum concentrations of 9 to 27 ppm."

    Why parents of autistic children are upset: