Autism Reality

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.

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

Too Soon to Write Off a Possible Mercury (Thimerosal) Autism Link ?

I have personally never been a believer in possible alleged mercury (thimerosal) autism link. Primarily because I accept the overwhelming consensus in the world scientific community that there is no link. Second, because I don’t believe in the conspiracy angle of those who postulate a mercury autism link. Third, for personal reasons, my son displayed unusual behavior, which we have documented in a large photograph collection, since birth. None the less I think that Michael Wagnitz has made a very interesting argument for the mercury vaccine connection. Mr. Wagnitz is a chemist with 20 years experience working trace metal analysis who argues that recent findings of clinical studies examining brain tissue, blood, urine and human cells make a strong case for thimerosal as the agent causing the neuroinflammation which has been found in the brains of deceased autistic persons. The following article in the Madison Wisconsin Capital Times is worth a read. It will be interesting to read critiques of Mr. Wagnitz’ theory but for now at least maybe it is worth waiting for more study before writing off the mercury-autism link.

Michael Wagnitz: Research supports mercury-autism link

By Michael Wagnitz

It was reported repeatedly in 2006 that the link between mercury-containing vaccines and autism has been disproven. Yet if one looks at the most recent research coming from some of our major universities, one may draw the opposite conclusion.

What we have learned in the last couple of years is that the underlying medical condition of autism is neuroinflammatory disease. In a study conducted at John Hopkins University, brain tissue from deceased autistic patients was examined. The tissue showed an active neuroinflammatory process and marked activation of microglia cells. Neuroinflammatory disease is synonymous with an activation of microglia cells.

A study done at the University of Washington showed that baby primates exposed to injected thimerosal (50 percent mercury), at a rate equal to the 1990s childhood vaccine schedule, retained twice as much inorganic mercury in their brains as primates exposed to equal amounts of ingested methylmercury. We know from autometallographic determination that inorganic mercury present in the brain, following the dealkylation of organic mercury, is the toxic agent responsible for changes in the microglial population and leads to neuroinflammation.

Recently it was shown that in more than 250 examined patients, atypical urinary porphyrins were almost three times higher in autistic patients than controls. Porphyrins are precursors to heme, the oxygen-carrying component of blood. Mercury inhibits the conversion of porphyrins to heme. When the patients were treated to remove mercury, urinary porphyrins returned to normal levels.

In a study done at the University of Arkansas, autistic children were found to have significantly lower levels of the antioxidant glutathione. Glutathione is the major antioxidant needed for the elimination of mercury at the cellular level. This may explain why some children are more severely affected by thimerosal in vaccines than others.

While all the government-conducted epidemiological (statistical) studies show no link between thimerosal and autism, the clinical studies examining brain tissue, blood, urine and human cells show a completely different picture.

Michael Wagnitz is a Madison resident with more than 20 years of experience as a chemist working with trace metal analysis.

Published: February 27, 2007

http://www.madison.com/tct/opinion/column/index.php?ntid=120748&ntpid=1

February 27, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, John Hopkins University, mercury, neuroinflammation, thimerosal, Wagnitz | 1 Comment