AS COLLEGE PROFESSORS, my colleagues and I have always enjoyed the enthusiastic students who are eager to learn more. Those who stand out in my memory are those who have requested more reading material. I have taught basic introductory biology, genetics, bioinformatics, courses in high-dimensional genomic and proteomic data analysis, and courses in study design and research ethics – and I always loved the gleam in the eye of students who just want to know.
Paging Dr. Offit!
Dr. Paul Offit earned millions of dollars from the sale of his patent for the Rotavirus vaccine after he voted to have it included in the pediatric vaccine schedule. He also appears to not be familiar with the body of peer-reviewed literature that condemns aluminum as a serious neurotoxin with well-characterized mechanisms of neurological damage.
In his book, “Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All” (Basic Books, New York), Offit is irresponsibly and recklessly dismissive of aluminum as a serious threat to the health of nearly all people by falsely reporting that:
“aluminum has been found to be harmful in only two groups of people: severely premature infants who receive large quantities of aluminum in intravenous fluids, and people on chronic dialysis (for kidney failure) who receive large quantities of aluminum in antacids”.
People absorb around very little of the aluminum they eat, but they absorb 100% of the aluminum injected in to their blood stream. [GENEROUSLY OFFERED CORRECTION/DETAILS: From Vaccine Papers, Al absorption from food is about 0.3%, typically within a range of 0.1-1%]. Offit claims, without citation, that aluminum in very quickly cleared from the body. He cites “researchers” (without citations) who studied aluminum concentrations in “blood” before and after receipt of aluminum-containing vaccines, and reports “No difference”.
Offit’s book was published in 2011. Unfortunately, it is evident that Offit did not even bother to search of the Pubmed, a wonderful public scientific research literature database at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the standard resource for researchers who desire to know the latest on research topics in medicine, biology, psychiatry, and many other disciplines. A search reveals over 200 studies or papers on aluminum neurotoxicity before 2011. At the time of this writing (Nov. 2015), there are 393 studies or papers on the neurotoxicity of aluminum.
Some of these studies include direct discussions on the risk of aluminum in adjuvants in vaccines and provide data that demonstrate how aluminum works as a neurotoxin. Others discuss ways to alleviate neurotoxicity of aluminum. Others describe aluminum as a well-known neurotoxin responsible as a causal agent for neurodegenerative diseases.
Surely Offit, an expert placed on the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, the body in HHS responsible for making decisions on changes to the pediatric vaccine schedule, would have bothered to check the literature prior to 2011 while writing his book? If he had, he would have found studies with some compelling titles. The abstracts, and the papers themselves, are damning evidence for the use of aluminum as a vaccine adjuvant.
Here are some titles of the studies available at the time of his book-writing that individuals who are serious about vaccine safety might be interested in. Dr. Offit, for your convenience, I have included the links directly to the Pubmed entry:
Just in case Dr. Offit is still involved in vaccine research, development or policy, and since he makes statements that appear in news articles on vaccine safety, I have taken the time to create a second reading list of more recent articles as well that Dr. Offit can add to his first reading list. Medical doctors really should keep abreast of new developments in medical research to stay professionally accredited.
But first, I have a hypothesis to share, which is indicated by past studies of numerous types. It came to me during my research for my forthcoming book, “Genetic and Environmental Causes of Autism”.
Is Macrophagic myofasciitis (MMF) Vaccine-Related Adult-Onset Autism/ASD?
A study in 2001 – a full decade before Offit’s book – reported central nervous system ailments eerily similar to those found in autism in patients diagnosed with macrophagic myofasciitis, symptomatic demyelinating CNS disorder, hemisensory or sensorimotor symptoms, bilateral pyramidal signs, cerebellar signs, visual loss, cognitive and behavioural disorders, and bladder dysfunction, supratentorial white matter hyperintense signals and corpus callosum atrophy (Authier et al., 2001).
Clinical features of MMF as described by Rigolet et al., (2014) are also strongly reminiscent of autism, including marked cognitive deficits (not related to pain, fatigue, or depression) including dysexecutive syndrome and visual memory impairment, and some cognitive deficits can appear unusually severe. Cognitive dysfunction was found to be stable over time. They also report that “classical therapeutic approaches are usually unsatisfactory making patient care difficult”.
Autism also involves cognitive deficits, executive function issues, memory impairment, and can involve severe cognitive deficits that are recalcitrant to treatment.
Additional Findings Support the Hypothesis
Mice injected with aluminum adjuvant doses equivalent to those given to US military service personnel showed both neuroinflammation and cell loss in the spinal cord and motor cortex, with consequent memory deficits (Petrik et al., 2007).
The cause of MMF has since been identified aluminum hydroxide from vaccines lesions (Gherardi et al., 2001; Authier et al., 2006; Gherardi et al., 2012; Rigolet M et al., 2014). Patients with MMF have an unusually long reaction at the site of injection of aluminum-containing vaccines in their muscle, and biospies show infiltration of muscle tissue by macrophages.
Here is chilling description of the effect of aluminum when used as an adjuvant:
“…poorly biodegradable aluminum-coated particles injected into muscle are promptly phagocytosed in muscle and the draining lymph nodes, and can disseminate within phagocytic cells throughout the body and slowly accumulate in the brain” (Gherardi et al., 2015).
This is important: microglial cells are macrophages with dual roles in the brain: they perform routine surveillance and clean-up of cellular debris, viruses and bacteria. Upon infection, or serious brain damage, however, they become activated, change shape, and go on the attack. Microglial overactivation is a leading candidate for increased apoptosis and neurological damage associated with autism.
The neurotoxic effects of aluminum salts are also apparent: it increases levels of glial activation, inflammatory cytokines and amyloid precursor protein within the brain (Bondy, 2010). Amyloid precursor protein is one of the main culprits for Alzheimer’s disease.
The medical community and the public should revisit the issue of whether aluminum is a necessary adjuvant for vaccines. Evidently, for some vaccines that use virus-like particles as opposed to attenuated or live virus vaccines, no adjuvant is needed.
Reading List #2
Here is the rest of Dr. Offit’s reading list of studies and papers published after 2010:
“A sudden onset of a pseudo-neurological syndrome after HPV-16/18 AS04-adjuvated vaccine: might it be an autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA) presenting as a somatoform disorder?” (2014)
To be clear, Dr. Offit’s book could not include the references from the second reading list, as his book was published in 2011. But in the page and a half he takes to uses to claim that aluminum is only a problem for people with kidney failure and premature infants is terribly misleading, and is now also woefully out of date. As he and his profit-driven colleagues saw fit to allow vaccinations in babies between the age of 1 day to 2 years, it is of little reassurance that he knew that aluminum was harmful to premature babies.
Perhaps Dr. Offit was also not aware that the WHO Vaccine Safety Advisory Committee had, long before 2011, reported that there may be a subset of predisposed individuals who may be sensitive to aluminum-containing adjuvant (Authier et al., 2001).
Published scientific knowledge does not appear to play a role in the formation of vaccination policy in the United States.
November 16, 2015 (updated 11:22 AM)
Dr. James Lyons-Weiler is author of “Ebola: An Evolving Story” and “Cures vs. Profits: Successes in Translational Research“. He is also President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge (IPAK). IPAK is a pure public charity dedicated to providing impartial interpretation of research results without the influence of profit pressures. You can support IPAK with donations via the web. Your generous support will help Dr. Lyons-Weiler and his colleagues continue their efforts to keep the public, including Dr. Offit, informed.
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Authier FJ et al., 2001. Central nervous system disease in patients with macrophagic myofasciitis. Brain. 124(Pt 5):974-83.
Authier FJ, et al. 2006. AlOH3-adjuvanted vaccine-induced macrophagic myofasciitis in rats is influenced by the genetic background. Neuromuscul Disord 16(5):347–52.10.1016/j.nmd.2006.02.004
Bondy SC. 2010. The neurotoxicity of environmental aluminum is still an issue. Neurotoxicology. 31(5):575-81. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2010.05.009.
Gherardi RK, et al. 2001. Macrophagic myofasciitis lesions assess long-term persistence of vaccine-derived aluminium hydroxide in muscle. Brain 124(Pt 9):1821–31.10.1093/brain/124.9.1821
Gherardi RK et al., 2001. Macrophagic myofasciitis lesions assess long-term persistence of vaccine-derived aluminium hydroxide in muscle. Brain. 124(Pt 9):1821-31.
Gherardi R and Authier FJ. 2012. Macrophagic myofasciitis: characterization and pathophysiology. Lupus 21(2):184–9.10.1177/0961203311429557
Gherardi RK et al., 2015. Biopersistence and brain translocation of aluminum adjuvants of vaccines. Front Neurol. 2015 Feb 5;6:4. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2015.00004. eCollection 2015.
Petrik MS et al., 2007. Aluminum adjuvant linked to Gulf War illness induces motor neuron death in mice. Neuromolecular Med 9:83–100.
Rigolet M et al., 2014. Clinical features in patients with long-lasting macrophagic myofasciitis. Front Neurol. 5:230. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2014.00230. eCollection 2014.
New Books Released 2016
Cures vs. Profits: Successes in Translational Research (World Scientific (323 pages).
The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism (Skyhorse Publishing)