Human Studies that Indicate Autism/Vaccine Link

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This is an excerpt from my forthcoming book from Skyhorse, available for pre-order on and due out in November, 2016. All references cited in “Causes” are found at .

“It does not take a stretch of the imagination to see how the immune system may learn to respond to self-antigens that resemble those in pathogens, when adjuvants like aluminum so effectively activate the adaptive immune response. This topic has been extensively studied by Yehudah and colleagues (e.g., Agmon et al., 2009; Rinaldi et al., 2014).

But then one does not need a stretch of the imagination when we have the bulk of science indicating that as more vaccines have been added to the pediatric schedule, we have been putting more and more immunostimulants into the bodies of our youth, inducing increasing numbers of autoimmune reactions and stronger innate autoimmunity, especially immunocytotoxicity, in human studies.

Human Studies That Support a Vaccine/Autism Link

  • Gallagher and Goodman, 2010: A cross-sectional study of the National Health Interview Survey from 1997-2002 found that the odds of a diagnosis of autism is threefold greater in neonates who received Hepatitis B vaccination than those who did not, and that minorities had an even greater risk of autism attributable to vaccination status. They reported a 9-fold increase in the rate of developmental disabilities associated with vaccination overall for boys. The others concluded: “U.S. male neonates vaccinated with the hepatitis B vaccine prior to 1999 (from vaccination record) had a threefold higher risk for parental report of autism diagnosis compared to boys not vaccinated as neonates during that same time period. Nonwhite boys bore a greater risk.”
  • Delong, 2011: This study found, after correcting for family income and ethnicity, that a 1% increase in vaccination rates resulted in 680 children with autism or SLI. The author concluded: “The results suggest that although mercury has been removed from many vaccines, other culprits may link vaccines to autism.”
  • Sharpe et al., 2013: This study showed increased Thimerosal hypersensitivity in B-cells grown from ASD individuals from four families, compared to controls. Cellular proliferation and mitochondrial function measures were taken. The authors concluded that “certain individuals with a mild mitochondrial defect may be highly susceptible to mitochondrial specific toxins like the vaccine preservative Thimerosal.”
  • Tomljenovic and Shaw, 2011: In looking for a triggering effort, this study examined a given year’s total aluminum dose and the rates of autism diagnosis. ASD incidence in each year (1991-2008) increased overall with increasing aluminum content, consistent with an epidemiological model of more and more children surpassing their individual dose tolerance. In addition, they applied Hill’s criteria for causality, which is a standard framework for assessing cause and found that sufficient criteria applied to support causality of the observed correlation.
  • Geier and Geier, 2007: The authors describe details of 9 patients whose ASD symptoms and mercury exposure could only be attributed to Thimerosal-containing vaccines. “Eight of nine patients (one patient was found to have an ASD due to Rett’s syndrome) (a) had regressive ASDs; (b) had elevated levels of androgens; (c) excreted significant amounts of mercury post chelation challenge; (d) had biochemical evidence of decreased function in their glutathione pathways; (e) had no known significant mercury exposure except from Thimerosal-containing vaccines/Rho(D)-immune globulin preparations; and (f) had alternate causes for their regressive ASDs ruled out.”
  • Young et al., 2008: These researchers examined the available data in the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System and found and association of exposure to Thimerosal-containing vaccines with “[c]onsistent significantly increased rate ratios were observed for autism, autism spectrum disorders, tics, attention deficit disorder and emotional disturbances with Hg exposure from TCVs.”
  • Nataf et al., 2006. These authors studied urinary porphyrin levels in ASD, Asperger’s and internal and external control groups. Coproporphyrin, a measure of exposure to environmental toxicity, was found to be elevated in children with autistic disorder relative to control groups, but not Asperger’s. The authors concluded : “These data implicate environmental toxicity in childhood autistic disorder.”
  • Yasuda and Tsutsui, 2013; Yasuda et al., 2013: Scalp trace element scans were studied for scalp hair concentrations for 1,967 autistic children. “In the 1,967 subjects, 584 (29.7%) and 347 (17.6%) were found deficient in zinc and magnesium, respectively and the incidence rate of zinc deficiency was estimated at 43.5% in male and 52.5% in female infantile subjects aged 0-3 years-old. In contrast, 339 (17.2%), 168 (8.5%) and 94 (4.8%) individuals were found to suffer from high burdens of aluminum, cadmium and lead, respectively and 2.8% or less from mercury and arsenic. High toxic metal burdens were more frequently observed in the infants aged 0-3 years-old, whose incidence rates were 20.6%, 12.1%, 7.5%, 3.2% and 2.3% for aluminum, cadmium, lead, arsenic and mercury, respectively.”
  • Blaurock-Busch E et al., 2012: This study compared hair metal concentrations of autistic and non-autistic children and found that “elevated hair concentrations were noted for aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, antimony, nickel, lead and vanadium… There was a significant positive correlation between lead & verbal communication… and general impression. The authors concluded that “heavy metals play a role in the development of ASD.”
  • Molina and Shoenfeld, 2005: In considering the link between vaccine and pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders, this analysis (not a new study) that “Vaccines, in several reports were found to be temporally followed by a new onset of autoimmune diseases.”
  • Bradstreet, J. et al., 2003: This study examined urinary mercury levels in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children after a three-day treatment with meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA), an oral chelating agent. They found that mercury concentrations were significantly higher in children with autistic spectrum disorders compared to neurotypical controls and that vaccinated (treated) cases showed a significantly higher urinary mercury concentration than did vaccinated (untreated) controls. The authors concluded: “The observed urinary concentrations of mercury could plausibly have resulted from Thimerosal in childhood vaccines, although other environmental sources and Thimerosal in Rh (D) immune globulin administered to mothers may be contributory. Regardless of the mechanism by which children with autistic spectrum disorders have high urinary mercury concentrations, the DMSA treatment described in this study might be useful to diagnose their present burden of mercury.” Notably, a later comparison of autistic and non-autistic urine mercury levels – without treatment – reported to show no difference in removable mercury, but their analysis was not standard, leading DeSoto (2008) to tell them “your data shows autistic children have higher levels of heavy metals.”
  • McDonald K et al., 2008: In a study 11,531 children, those who delayed vaccination had a much lower risk of asthma (McDonald et al., 2008). According to the authors, “Early childhood immunizations have been viewed as promoters of asthma development by stimulating a T(H)2-type immune response or decreasing microbial pressure, which shifts the balance between T(H)1 and T(H)2 immunity.” Reversibility of effect is key in determination of causation and while this study does not demonstrate reversibility, it demonstrates dose effect. The authors concluded: “We found a negative association between delay in administration of the first dose of whole-cell DPT immunization in childhood and the development of asthma; the association was greater with delays in all of the first 3 doses. The mechanism for this phenomenon requires further research.”
  • Singh et al., 1998: Using standard measurements of presence of antibodies, Singh et al.,found that ASD children had elevated measles antibodies and increased brain autoantibodies relative to age-matched controls. Dr. Paul Offit has claimed in his book Autism’s False Prophets that this study did not measure antibodies; indeed the study used standard ELISA. Offit would have to impeach hundreds of thousands of studies that used ELISA to warrant his patently false claim and untold numbers of ‘official’ findings by the CDC, including, for example, Atkins (2002). His claim also potentially defames the authors of this study with libel. The authors concluded: This study is the first to report an association between virus serology and brain autoantibody in autism; it supports the hypothesis that a virus-induced autoimmune response may play a causal role in autism.” Note that Dr. Rosalyn Yalow, co-inventor of ELISA, won the Nobel Prize for medicine for her work with the then-deceased Solomon Berson in 1977 in the development of ELISA.
  • Holmes et al., 2003: This study looked at the mercury content from infants’ first haircuts: “First baby haircut samples were obtained from 94 children diagnosed with autism… and 45 age- and gender-matched controls… Hair mercury levels in the autistic group were 0.47 ppm versus 3.63 ppm in controls, a significant difference. The mothers in the autistic group had significantly higher levels of mercury exposure through Rho D immunoglobulin injections and amalgam fillings than control mothers.”
  • Li X et al., 2009: This study compared cytokine levels, measures of immune activities, in the brain tissue of ASD patients and matched normal subjects and found a clear signature of autoimmunity. They found pro-inflammatory cytokines with an immunological Th1/Th2 ratio swayed toward Th1 over-representation. The authors concluded: “ASD patients displayed an increased innate and adaptive immune response through the Th1 pathway, suggesting that localized brain inflammation and autoimmune disorder may be involved in the pathogenesis of ASD.”
  • Vargas et al., 2005: This study showed that microglial activation, a sure sign of excitotoxicity and neuroinflammation, are both found in autistics. The vaccine link to microglial activation has been established by other studies. The authors concluded that “innate neuroimmune reactions play a pathogenic role in an undefined proportion of autistic patients”.
  • Seneff et al., 2012: This study examined the trends in the reported occurrence of autism in VAERS, noting an increase in reports that may be attributed to the increased burden of aluminum in vaccines as mercury was being phased out. They found that adverse events in individuals that had received aluminum-containing adjuvant attributable specifically to aluminum decreased after 2003. The data showed a marked decline, as would be expected due to the removal of Thimerosal from vaccines if a Thimerosal x aluminum interaction was present. From the authors: “While we have not shown that aluminum is directly causative in autism, the compelling evidence available from the literature on the toxicity of aluminum, combined with the evidence we present for severe adverse reactions occurring much more frequently following administration of aluminum-containing vaccines as compared to non-aluminum-containing vaccines, suggests that neuronal damage due to aluminum penetration into the nervous system may be a significant factor in autism.” They also noted a strong correlation between autism and the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), which contains neither aluminum nor mercury, but which they thought might be explained as an increased sensitivity to acetaminophen administered to control fever. It is now known that acetaminophen depletes glutathione levels in the brain.
  • Poling et al. (2006). Many people think that Hannah Poling was never diagnosed with autism. In fact her claim of vaccine-induced autism was conceded by medical experts from HHS. The Special Master’s court has repeatedly found in favor vaccine induced injury of encephalopathy with ‘autism-like features’.

I will let the case description speak for itself and let the reader decide. I will let the case description speak for itself and let the reader decide. This is the opinion of Hannah’s neurologist, Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, provided a diagnosis of autism, was prepared to testify in her behalf:

“Within 48 hours after immunizations to diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis; Haemophilus influenzae B; measles, mumps and rubella; polio; and varicella (Varivax), the patient developed a fever to 38.9°C, inconsolable crying, irritability and lethargy and refused to walk. Four days later, the patient was waking up multiple times in the night, having episodes of opistho-tonus and could no longer normally climb stairs. Instead, she crawled up and down the stairs. Low-grade intermittent fever was noted for the next 12 days. Ten days following immunization, the patient developed a generalized erythematous macular rash beginning in the abdomen. The patient’s pediatrician diagnosed this as due to varicella vaccination. For 3 months, the patient was irritable and increasingly less responsive verbally, after which the patient’s family noted clear autistic behaviors, such as spinning, gaze avoidance, disrupted sleep/wake cycle and perseveration on specific television programs. All expressive language was lost by 22 months. The patient continued to have chronic yellow watery diarrhea intermittently for 6 months, which was evaluated with negative testing for Clostridium difficile, ova/parasites and culture. Four months later, an evaluation with the Infant and Toddlers Early Intervention program for possible autism was initiated. Along with the regression, her appetite remained poor for 6 months and her body weight did not increase. This resulted in a decline on a standard growth chart for weight from the 97th to the 75th percentile.”

Dr. Jon Poling, Hannahs’ father, felt compelled to write a letter to a blogger named Steven Novella because of his representation of the case on the web. Novella, a neurologist, posted a reply which included his assessment (without full evaluation) of Hannah’s condition as not likely autism because, in his view

“Hannah Poling’s history has many features that are not typical of autism – like a history of otitis media with frequent fevers, seizures and what sounds like a rare encephalitis that probably did result from vaccines. Even if we put her mitochondrial mutation aside – this is not a typical case of autism.”

At the time of Novella’s reply (July, 2008) Rosenhall et al. (1999) had already reported that at least 25% of cases of ASD had otitis media and a more recent study in (Deavenport-Saman, 2015) now has found that otitis media is one of the top three reasons for autistic to appear in the emergency room. And, of course, seizures are often reported as comorbid with autism (ca 25%). Frequent fevers is consistent with autoimmunity and chronic microglial activation, both part of the immunological inducement of AD/ASD. It is important to pay attention to evidence in medicine in support of positions that might influence public health policy.

  • Palmer et al. (2006): These authors found a 43% increase in the rate of special education services and a 61% increase in the rate of autism for every 1,000 lb of environmentally released mercury.
  • Mohamed et al., 2015: Concentrations of mercury, lead, and aluminum were measured in hair samples from 100 autistic children and 100 controls. All three metals were found to be higher in autistic children compared to controls. The authors concluded that “Environmental exposure to these toxic heavy metals, at key times in development, may play a causal role in autism.”

Each one of these studies provides peer-reviewed results that stand in direct contradiction to Schuchat’s testimony to Congress, as well as other testimony from Dr. Coleen Boyle and the current stagnant CDC policy on vaccines. What if the CDC knew there could be association with neurological disorders, but never brought it forward as a publication?

  • CDC, Unpublished. DeStefano et al. (2000), found a positive association for all ASD (ADHD) and vaccination exposure. This result was never included in a published study, but some of the text of the report is interesting:

“As for the exposure evaluation at 1 month of age, which is basically an evaluation of the neonatal hepatitis B dose, we have found a significant relationship to the outcome only for misery and unhappiness disorder (ICD9 code 313.1). We were not able to produce a graph for the RRs at 3 months of this condition as no or few cases occur in the two lower categories. The relative risk for this condition was significantly increased (2.04, 95%CI:1.09-3.82) when comparing those with a cumulative exposure above 62.5 ug at three months compared to those with cumulative exposure equal to or less than 62.5 ug.

There is a nearly significant increased risk for the category exceeding 12.5 ug at 1 month for attention deficit disorder. This group includes children that received 2 doses of HepB or the first dose of Hib or DTP in the first month of life. At three months, this positive relationship is no longer significant for any category

As for the exposure evaluated at 3 months of age, we found increasing risks of neurological developmental disorders with increasing cumulative exposure to Thimerosal. Within the group of developmental disorders, similar though not statistically significant increases were seen for the subgroup called specific delays (ICD9 code 315) and within this sub-group for the specific disorder developmental speech disorder (dysalia, ICD9 code 315.39) and for autism (ICD9 code

314.0) and attention deficit disorder (ICD9 code 314.0). This increase, when comparing each category of exposure to the lowest exposure group was significant only for the entire category of developmental disorders. For specific delays and speech disorder this increase occurs only about 25 ug.”

Later in the same report:

  1. Comparison to the number of vaccines, aluminum

The purpose of these analyses would be to differentiate between the effect of Thimerosal and the vaccines themselves. Unfortunately (nearly) all vaccines in our analysis were either Thimerosal containing (DTP, DTaP, HepB and Hib) or Thimerosal free (polio). Any analysis of the number of vaccines or aluminum as an exposure variable would show a correlation to the Thimerosal analysis and not be helpful in this distinction. I ran analyses with the number of Hib, DTO, HepB and polio vaccines as exposure and found a relationship of the risk [of ADHD] to the number of DTP and Hib vaccines received at three months, which was to be expected. I also

found a relationship to the age at which the first Hib vaccine was given (the later the vaccine given, the less chance of neurological developmental delay), which was also to be expected. Surprisingly, I did not find this for DTP.

These are the CDC’s own findings. They never appeared in any peer-reviewed publication and were released under a Freedom of Information Act request.

These passages show a huge lapse in logic on the part of the analyst. If they cannot comment on aluminum because it is confounded with the dosage of Thimerosal, the reverse is equally true (such is the nature of confounding). They seem to be oblivious to this rather obvious fact. And yet, the analyst was willing to apply the knowledge from the Thimerosal analysis leading to the expectation of results – in which they even showed surprise to not find as an association for DTP!

None of this text reads like any of the association studies from the CDC on vaccines. Not even close. Anywhere one looks for CDC statements, they state unequivocally that “Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism” and “Vaccine Additives Do Not Cause Autism.” CDC officials have sworn under oath in testimony to Congress to the same effect. No qualifiers, no caveats. Absolute knowledge. No exceptions.

Which of course all by itself reveals that they are not dealing in science. Knowledge in science is asymptotic. There are almost always exceptions to the rule. Their position is so unqualified that even a single case of autism resulting from vaccination would make their statements absolutely false.

If there had been only one or two studies, Schuchat could be excused for dismissing the evidence of a vaccine/autism link. However, a huge number of studies that point to immunoneuroexcitotoxicity were available at the time and more are available now. There is no excuse for her testimony, but her behavior was consistent with other examples of grossly misleading information from CDC officials.

These are the studies that the CDC ignores. Most of the studies to date in this book have been animal studies, or correlation studies, such as scans of microglial activation in the human brain. Many have involved human subjects. But now we turn to both the studies conducted by the CDC and those conducted by others not associated with the CDC.”



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