Autism Reality

Autism, Vaccines & the Spread of Mumps – Eastern Canada

The belief that some vaccines, or mercury based vaccine preservatives, cause or contribute to today’s increasing autism rates, now estimated at 1 in 150, persists despite an almost total lack of support in the scientific community for any causal connection. The fear generated by that belief is itself believed to have contributed to higher rates of vaccine refusals with resulting increases in diseases such as measles and mumps. In Atlantic Canada we are currently suffering an outbreak of mumps, with the particular strain of mumps having orginated in the UK where immunization rates dropped from fear that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine caused autism.

Health: ALERT: INFECTIONS

Mumps outbreak spreads

CAROLINE ALPHONSO

May 11, 2007

Nova Scotia’s mumps outbreak has spread to Ontario, infecting five people so far and putting public-health officials in the province on alert for even more cases in the weeks to come.

The latest outbreak indicates that many who were vaccinated years ago are now susceptible to catching the disease. Public-health officials are now debating whether they need to administer a booster shot.

Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care confirmed yesterday that the cases, two of which are in Toronto, are linked to the outbreak in Nova Scotia, where more than 200 people have been infected by the disease. The outbreak, which began in late February, has also infected 34 people in New Brunswick and one in Prince Edward Island.

Neil Rau, an infectious disease specialist at Halton Healthcare Services in Ontario, said the current strain of mumps originated in Britain, where there was a large outbreak in 2004. Immunization rates had drop significantly in Britain because many people believed the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine caused autism. The vaccine-autism link has since been disproved, he noted.

The disease reached Iowa last year, and Dr. Rau said it has now found its way into Canada.

“It’s global travel compounded with vaccine refusal,” he said.

http://tinyurl.com/3b49fz

Advertisements

May 13, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, autism rates, Autism Society New Brunswick, measles, MMR, mumps, Nova Scotia, rubella, thimerosal, vaccines | 2 Comments

Autism & Mercury – Wagnitz Challenges Fombonne

The mercury autism debate continues. While not a subscriber to the mercury vaccine/autism link I do not think debate and discussion should be closed on this or any other subject related to autism. Toxicologist Michael Wagnitz seems somewhat more qualified to present information on the “mercury” side of the debate than David Kirby and presents some interesting points in rebuttal of Psychiatrist Dr. Eric Fombonne.


The mercury, autism debacle: How stupid do they think we are?

Michael Wagnitz
May 7, 2007

Last weekend the Sixth International Meeting for Autism Research took place in Seattle. The meeting claimed to draw the top 900 autism researchers and scientists from around the world. One of the key participants was Dr. Eric Fombonne of Montreal Children’s Hospital at McGill University. Dr. Fombonne, a psychiatrist, presented his research on mercury. His work involved testing the blood and hair of 147 children. Roughly half of his subjects were diagnosed with autism and half were considered neurologically typical controls. He found no difference in mercury levels in the patients hair or blood.

The first question one might ask is why a psychiatrist is considered qualified to do toxicological work. Most parents are concerned about the mercury exposure that their children received as newborns and infants from mandatory vaccines. The vaccine schedule in Canada, where Dr. Fombonnes study was done, and the United States were quite different in the 1990’s. Dr. Fombonne,s patients were not tested after vaccination. If he had talked to any reputable toxicologist, they would have told him that the ethylmercury from vaccines clears the blood in about seven days. Ethylmercury, a short-chain alkyl mercury compound, is rapidly distributed to the brain, kidneys and other tissue. The hair tested would need to be from a first haircut to show this mercury exposure. Even if this was the case, research has shown that autistic kids do not excrete mercury efficiently. The hair would not contain any measurable amounts of mercury. It’s to bad that McGill University does not have any toxicologists who could have explained to Dr. Fombonne that his work was a waste of time and money.

If one was really interested in determining the body burden of mercury they would perform the urinary porphyrin profile analysis (UPPA). Porphyrins are precursors to heme, the oxygen carrying component of blood. Mercury inhibits the conversion of specific porphyrins to heme. This test is backed by decades of published research. Recently it was shown in two published, peer-reviewed studies, that mercury inhibited porphyrins were significantly higher in autistic patients when compared to age matched controls (1)(2). The other way to test for mercury in the body is by using a provoking agent and measuring mercury in the urine.

The organizers of this meeting did not reveal that when Dr. Fombonne isn’t conducting epidemiological studies or doing heavy metal analysis, he is appearing on behalf of vaccine manufacturers defending the safety of mercury. Dr. Fombonne refers to the amount of mercury in vaccines as “trace”. Again, if he were a toxicologist or chemist, he would realize that the concentration of mercury in a multi-dose vaccine vial is 250 times higher than what the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies as hazardous waste.

References:

(1) Nataf R, Lam A, Lathe R, Skorupka, C. 2006. Porphyrinurea in Childhood Autistic Disorders: Implications for Environmental Toxicity. Toxicol. Appl. Pramacol. 214(2):99-108

(2) Geier M, Geier D, 2006. A prospective assessment of porphyrins in autistic disorders: a potential marker for heavy metal exposure. Neurotox Res. Aug;10(1):57-64

About the Author: Michael Wagnitz has over 20 years experience evaluating materials for toxic metals. He currently works as a chemist in the toxicology section of a public health lab evaluating biological samples for lead and mercury.

Michael Wagnitz

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=26477

May 8, 2007 Posted by | autism awareness, autism disorder, David Kirby, Eric Fombonne, Geier, mercury, Michael Wagnitz, thimerosal, vaccines | 1 Comment

Autism & Thimerosal – Geier & Geier (2007) Study Suggests A Link?

One of the great debates in autism discussions has been between those who believe that mercury based vaccine preservatives cause or contribute to incidents of autism and those who do not subscribe to that theory. The overwhelming consensus from the scientific community has been that there is no evidence to support such a link. Notwithstanding that consensus there are still a large number of parents of autistic children ( I am not one of them ) and one journalist/author (David Kirby) who believe that there is indeed a link. A few of the parents have been very vocal. Some, if internet discussions can be believed, have gone as far as harassing and threatening those who oppose their views. At least those are the allegations advanced by some “neurodiversity” commentators some of whom are equally as hostile and rude to those who disagree with their views as the extremist few among the mercury-thimerosal advocacy groups. Now, another study by Geier & Geier (2007) apparently suggests that there is a causal connection between Thimerosal and autism. Hopefully, this study will be neither rejected nor accepted based solely on prior belief. Hopefully the scientific professionals capable of properly analyzing this study will do so and offer their commentary. Hopefully hostility and hatred between the few extremists in both the mercury-vaccine and the neurodiversity groups will stand aside in favor of reason and proper scientific assessment of this study and any further evidence relevant to this issue which might arise.

The following commentary, however, appears to indicate that the old pattern of jumping to conclusions about issues in the mercury-autism debate, based on ideological pre-disposition will, unfortunately, continue to prevail and that the world autism community will be inflicted with more needless hostility between the mercury and neurodiversity groups. The author’s readiness to conclude that the study “leaves little doubt” does not suggest the kind of reasoned professional analysis that will be needed to properly interpret and assess the study.


The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues, an authoritative journal featuring original toxicological research, has published, “A Case Series of Children with Apparent Mercury Toxic Encephalopathies Manifesting with Clinical Symptoms of Regressive Autistic Disorders,” by Geier and Geier (2007).

This new study leaves little doubt there is a direct causal link between mercury exposure from Thimerosal-preserved biological products (vaccines and Rho(D) products) and mercury poisoning diagnosed as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Thimerosal (49.55% mercury by weight) is a highly toxic mercury compound used as a preservative in some OTC and prescription drugs, including most flu shots given to pregnant women, infants, children, adults, and the elderly.

On April 19, 2007, Dr. Larry L. Needham, Chief, Organic Analytical Toxicology Branch, CDC, announced to the US National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine that Thimerosal was among the “Chemicals Linked to ASD.”

Thus, Geier and Geier (2007) provide the first clinical case-series of ASD patients that confirmed this causal role for Thimerosal-preserved drugs in patients having a regressive ASD diagnosis.

The Geiers describe a case-series of eight patients who had:

— a regressive ASD diagnosis,

— elevated levels of androgens,

— excreted significant amounts of mercury after a chelation challenge,

— biochemical evidence of decreased function in their glutathione pathways,

— no known significant mercury exposures except from Thimerosal-preserved vaccines and Rho(D)-immune globulin preparations, and

— alternative causes for their regressive ASDs ruled out.

This clinical study also found a significant dose-response relationship between the severity of the ASD symptoms and the total mercury dose these children received from Thimerosal-preserved drugs.

Based on differential diagnosis, these patients were exposed to significant mercury amounts from Thimerosal-preserved biologic drugs during their fetal and neonatal development as well as between 12 and 24 months of age. Thus, these initially normally developing children suffered mercury toxic encephalopathies that manifested with clinical symptoms consistent with their regressive ASD diagnosis.

Hence, mercury poisoning should be considered as a cause for those children exhibiting the symptoms of an ASD in any differential diagnosis designed to assess underlying causes.

Today, any parent or other healthcare provider can easily confirm whether, or not, a non-chelated autistic child is mercury poisoned by having urinary porphyrin profile analysis (UPPA) testing run at LabCorp (Test#120980) or Laboratoire Philippe Auguste (Urine Porphyrin Profile).

For additional information on UPPA testing for mercury poisoning, please visit the “UPPA” page on CoMeD’s web site, http://www.Mercury-freeDrugs.org.

Dr. King
http://www.dr-king.com

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=69427

May 1, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, CDC, David Kirby, Dr. King, Dr. Larry Needham, Geier, mercury, neurodiversity, thimerosal, vaccines | 5 Comments

Immunologist Responds to Wagnitz Mercury-Autism Link Argument

The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin) carried an opinion piece recently by Michael Wagnitz, a chemist with years of experience in trace analysis, who argued that the brains of some deceased autistic persons showed evidence of neuroinflammation which he attributed to mercury poisoning from the vaccine preservative thimerosal. On that basis Mr. Wagnitz argued that thimerosal poisoning is a cause of autism. The Capital Times has now published a passionate response to the Wagnitz argument by Cheryl A. Robinson, R.N., M.S., immunization program manager, public health, Madison and Dane county.

http://www.madison.com/tct/opinion/letters/index.php?ntid=121460&ntpid=2

Ms. Robinson takes particular aim at Wagnitz’s dismissal of epidemiological evidence refuting a thimerosal-autism link:

The real disservice to your readers was Michael Wagnitz’s dismissal of a vast body of epidemiological evidence. These studies compared large groups of children who received thimerosal-containing vaccine to large numbers of children who did not get these vaccines. The occurrence of autism in each group was the same. While no one believes that mercury is healthy for children or adults, there is simply no evidence demonstrating that thimerosal in vaccine causes or is linked to autism.

Developmental problems are most often noticed when children reach the age of 1 or 2 years – a time when children also receive a large number of immunizations. I understand how easy it is for families to link the two events.“

Ms. Robinson also notes that vaccines in the US are now thimerosal free, with the exception of influenza vaccine for which a thimerosal free version can be requested. She accuses Wagnitz of the kind of alarmism which drives some parents to avoid immunization an unwise decision which poses a genuine threat to public health.

Personally I have not been a subscriber to the mercury-autism link theory and do not think parents should avoid immunizing their children but I thought Mr. Wagnitz argument about neuro-inflammation interesting. Further scientific study and evidence may yet reveal some connection. We certainly should not stop looking at the best available evidence even if it contradicts our own views. I find discussions such as are taking place in the opinion pages of the Madison Capital Times helpful in understanding these issues and the developing state of scientific knowledge surrounding them.

March 4, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, Capital Times, Madison, mercury, neuroinflammation, Robinson, thimerosal, vaccines, Wagnitz | Leave a comment

The Autism Vaccine Link – A Dangerous Urban Myth

The vaccine-autism debate has been raging for years despite a lack of scientific evidence to support the belief in a link between thimerosal, the mercury based preservative once widely used in vaccines, and increased rates of autism. In New Brunswick a couple of years ago I received some very heated responses when I posted on an autism discussion newsgroup a British Medical Journal article which called into question the existence of any vaccine autism link. But the belief continues on in the media fueled by Robert Kennedy Jr. and David Kirby. Arthur Caplan is a bioethics professor at the University of Pennsylvania and he has written an excellent opinion piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer/Centre Daily.Com in which he describes the vaccine causes autism link as an urban myth and also describes the horrible consequences that have ensued from this urban legend. Many parents fearing the autism link refuse to vaccinate their children against deadly diseases putting them and all of us at risk of an outbreak of these diseases.



“Fact: No link of vaccine, autism

Arthur Caplan

is the Emanuel and Robert Hart Professor of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, where he co-directs the Ethics and Vaccines Project

What must it be like to spend a huge amount of time every waking day trying to change public health practice – only to find out that you were wrong?

That is precisely what has happened to the proponents of the theory that mercury in vaccines – contained in the preservative thimerosal, which once was used (and is used no longer) in vaccines – is responsible for a nearly 20-year explosion in autism and other neurological disorders among American children.

This urban legend has had very real – and terrible – consequences. It has led, and continues to lead, many parents to avoid getting their kids and themselves vaccinated against life-threatening diseases. The failure to vaccinate has caused many preventable deaths and avoidable hospitalizations from measles, whooping cough, diphtheria, flu, hepatitis and meningitis. And fear of vaccines puts each one of us at risk that we, our children or grandchildren will become part of a deadly outbreak triggered by someone whose parents avoided getting their child vaccinated for fear of autism.

Recent research on many fronts in medicine and science has nailed the coffin shut on the mercury-in-vaccines-

causes-autism hypothesis. The connection is just not there. Perhaps the key fact, which has garnered little attention, is that thimerosal has been removed from vaccines in this and other countries for many years, with no obvious impact on the incidence of autism. The most recent data point toward a correlation with nothing at all to do with vaccines: the increasing age at which people (particularly men) have children seems to be associated with an increase in autism and other neurological problems.

Still, some of the most fervent anti-vaccine critics cannot let go. They continue to tell devastated parents of children with autism that vaccines are to blame. Others are still out on the lecture circuit peddling books and articles that bash vaccines and invoke mercury as a problem. Still others pepper the Internet with the false message that vaccines and autism do go hand in hand – it is just that the government, or the pharmaceutical companies, or organized medicine, or all of them, are keeping the truth from us all.

Less than two years ago, Robert Kennedy Jr. published an article in Salon.com alleging that the government knew of and covered up the autism-vaccines connection. Thimerosal was, Kennedy told large audiences and many media reporters, to blame.

Kennedy was hardly alone in fingering vaccines as the cause of the epidemic of autism affecting American children. David Kirby’s 2005 best-selling book, Evidence of Harm, and many other articles, newsletters and advocacy blogs fanned the flames. Some continue to do so.

Proponents of the thimerosal/mercury-causes-

autism theory have had a powerful impact on public opinion. When one of my students recently conducted a pilot study of attitudes about the new cervical-cancer vaccine, fears about autism were prominent among the reasons many respondents gave for being wary of the vaccine. Friends of mine continue to tell me of parents in Lafayette Hill, Voorhees, Greenville and Downingtown who won’t have their children vaccinated because of the risk of autism. States continue to allow parents to opt out of vaccines on “philosophical” grounds – perhaps the only arena in American public life where “secular philosophy” is given legal standing in public policy. And even some young health-care workers report that they don’t get important vaccines that would protect them, their families and their vulnerable patients against death because of worries about autism and vaccines.

Science and medicine have not bought the thimerosal/mercury-autism link. For years the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Vaccine Education Center, the National Academy of Sciences, the Food and Drug Administration, and countless other prestigious organizations and scientists have said the data do not support mercury in vaccines as the cause of autism.

Now, with the mercury long out of vaccines, what is there left to say? Why won’t the slandering of vaccines as the cause of autism stop?

There has always been a great deal of antipathy toward vaccines – in part because vaccines do have a tiny chance of causing death or other serious side-effects. Parents who have been through that hell have a hard time hearing or sending any other message other than “vaccines are bad.” And those who made careers out of peddling the vaccine-autism link – in the face of a lack of evidence – have really been motivated by a distrust of medicine, science, government and experts, a distrust that has little to do with scientific studies or expert opinions. Even government officials have never really cared enough about public health to do much to counteract the incredible damage the autism-vaccine proponents have done. That is not acceptable.

Our nation is spending a fortune on plans to cope with the prospect of a bioterror attack. State, city and federal agencies are trying to figure a plan if avian flu mutates into a form in which it can start killing people. Hospital officials are worrying over how to cut back on preventable deaths in our hospitals and nursing homes. Those in charge of keeping disease transmission in hospitals, schools and public spaces to a minimum are fretting over what steps to take. The answer to every one of these challenges involves – vaccines.

This nation’s future, its national security, the safety of its health-care institutions, and the safety of its citizens depends upon vaccination. It is way past time that message got heard by parents, teachers, nurses, doctors, hospital administrators, the media and politicians. If there has been a more harmful urban legend circulating in our society than the vaccine-autism link, it is hard to know what it might be. At a time when vaccines may be our last best hope in facing some of the greatest challenges we and our children face, this legend needs to be put to rest. Vaccination, not vaccine-bashing, is what this nation needs.

http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/news/opinion/16630652.htm

February 6, 2007 Posted by | autism, David Kirby, diptheria, flu, hepatitis, measles, meningitis, Robert Kennedy Jr., thimerosal, vaccines, whooping cough | 3 Comments

Mayo Clinic – No Evidence to Support Chelation Autism Treatment – Can Be Dangerous

In this comment Dr. Hoecker of the Mayo Clinic states that there is no evidence to support Chelation as an autism treatment. Chelation can be dangerous – even deadly.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/autism-treatment/AN01488


There’s no scientific evidence that chelation therapy is an effective autism treatment.

In recent years, some doctors and parents have recommended chelation therapy as a potential treatment for autism. Proponents believe that autism is caused by mercury exposure, such as from childhood vaccines. Chelation therapy supposedly removes mercury from the body, which cures autism.

But extensive studies have revealed no evidence of a link between mercury exposure and autism. In addition, chelation therapy is not approved as an autism treatment and can be associated with serious side effects, including liver and kidney damage that can result in death.

There is no cure for autism. As a result, unproven alternative therapies are often suggested to parents who — frustrated by the lack of effective medical treatment for autism — are desperate to find something that will help their children. However, in clinical studies, these alternative therapies are usually found to be ineffective and sometimes harmful. Talk to your son’s doctor before starting any alternative autism treatment.

Although no cure for autism exists, early behavioral and educational interventions can help children with autism improve their communication and social skills.

January 27, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, chelation, health, mercury, treatment, vaccines | Leave a comment

Early treatment of autism hinges on genetic discoveries

Much attention has been paid to purported environmental causes of autism. Controversy has raged over both the MMR vaccine itself and the use of thimerosal, a mercury based preservative used in vaccines as a potential cause of autism.

As prominent a figue as Robert Kennedy Jr has pushed the thimerosal theory before the US Congress and the world. There is however precious little scientific support to date for the vaccine/thimerosal theories. Recent environmental theories include Lyme Disease and television as possible causes of autism.

Notwithstanding the focus on potential environmental causes of autism it is heartening to read that research continues on genetic factors. Genetic research is an important element to the early identification and treatment of autism including development of specific treatments for individual autistic persons as discussed in a very readable article by Dr. John Bernard, president of the Children’s Research Institute, published in the Columbus Dispatch:

Identical twins have identical genes, while fraternal twins are genetically similar, but not identical. When identical twins have autism, both are affected about 60 percent of the time, whereas fraternal twins are both affected only about 5 percent of the time.

These findings strongly suggest a genetic basis for many cases of autism.

But current thinking is that autism spectrum disorders do not result from genetic factors alone. It is likely that unknown environmental factors also are involved, perhaps as a result of genetic susceptibility.

It is probable that each of the autism spectrum disorders is associated with a specific genetic abnormality. However, scientists involved in the search for specific genetic abnormalities in autism are challenged by the complex variability of individual cases.

Unless individual children can be accurately and specifically classified within the autism spectrum, the search for underlying genes is clouded. Fortunately, specific genetic abnormalities are now being discovered for some of the rare and distinctive types of autism spectrum disorders.

Discovering specific genetic abnormalities associated with autism spectrum disorders might help detect them earlier in life than currently is possible.

Children then could receive customized treatment programs at the earliest possible age, when the prospect for success is best. It is also possible that drug treatments can be designed by researchers to specifically modify the genetic abnormality involved.

http://www.dispatch.com/science/science.php?story=dispatch/2007/01/16/20070116-D5-04.html

January 17, 2007 Posted by | autism, Bernard, causes, environment, genetics, health, Kennedy, Lyme Disease, research, thimerosal, treatment, vaccines | Leave a comment