Neuroprotection in Strokes, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Autism


THERE ARE TWO MAIN KNOWN PROCESSES involved in the onset of autism. The first is susceptibility to environmental toxins via mitochondrial dysfunction, which can be the combined result of environmental insults and mutations in mitochondrial genes and genes that directly influence mitochondrial function.  This combination of factors exists in as many as 20% of cases of autism.

The second is chronic microglial activation (CMA). Microglia are amazing nerve cells that serve as shepherds of learning, fostering connections at the synapse during reinforcement learning. They also play the role of the white blood cells (WBCs) of the brain, becoming activated due to injury or infection. Upon dying, brain cells release chemicals calls cytokines that activate microglia from tending shepherds to armed killers. They consume bacteria, viruses, and cellular debris, clearing the brain of the dead and dying cells. The eat impaired dendrites in their activated state.

Other cells called astrocytes mop up the chemical signals that cause microglial activation via molecules called receptors. One of these signals is glutamate.  CMA occurs when something causes glutamate build-up in the brain.  CMA can occur in autism patients with or without mitochondrial dysfunction, and both processes may be at work and interrelated in any given patient with autism.

Causes of Excess Glutamate in the Brain

Many environmental factors can cause excess glutamate. Eating it (MSG) is one way to upset the balance between glutamate in the blood and the brain. The higher the concentration of glutamate in the blood, the less able the brains glutamate pumps are able to dump excesses into the blood. Mercury and aluminum, both additives found in vaccines, can cause chronic microglial activation by harming astrocytes’ ability to uptake glutamate. Chronic microglial activation is found in people with autism from age 5 to 44 (Vargas et al., 2005).

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University in the Neuroimmunopathology lab studied autistics aged 5-44 and found that their brains had widespread microglial hyperactivation and sensitivity to astrocytes, reflecting IL-6 cytokine mediated inflammation (Vargas et al., 2005). The chronic inflammatory conditions were most pronounced in the cerebellum, anterior cingulate and the medial frontal gyrus. The fact that the hyperactivated state persisted for decades is a critical observation from this study.

Reducing Brain Glutamate and Brain Damage from Stroke

A series of important studies have shown that techniques that clear excess glutamate from the brain during stroke reduces brain damage.  Campos et al. (2011a), demonstrated the effectiveness of oxaloacetate  (a known blood glutamate scavenger) in treating rats in which a stroke was induced. The found that intravenous injection of oxaloacetate decreased both blood and brain glutamate levels. This led to an astounding  80% reduction volume of the brain infarct, dramatically reducing brain edema. The neuroprotective effects of oxaloacetate are due to the depletion of blood glutamate levels – which occurs as a consequence of the activation of a blood-resident enzyme glutamate-oxaloacetate transaminase (GOT) (Gottlieb et al, 2003). When blood glutamate levels are low, the gradient across the blood-brain barrier is in the correct ratio to allow rapid glutamate clearing. This will result in a shut-down of microglial activation.

Similar results were found in human studies by the same team. Campos et al (2011b) studied a cohort of several hundred stroke victims at two hospitals. Using the same inclusion and exclusion criteria, they found that blood glutamate levels at the time of admission to the hospitals was a good predictor of outcome from stroke. (Read more at “GOT to ride the body of excess glutamate“.

These studies confirm earlier findings that both oxaloacetate and pyruvate are effective at reducing brain glutamate levels (Boyko et al., 2012).

Read this exciting study in the abstract from Castillo et al. (2015):

“Glutamate excitotoxicity is a primary contributor of ischemic neuronal death and other cellular components of the neurovascular unit. Several strategies have been developed against glutamate excitotoxicity, however none of them have not shown positive results in the clinical practice so far. Nowadays, the concept of blood/brain glutamate grabbing or scavenging is well recognized as a novel and attractive protective strategy to reduce the excitotoxic effect of excess extracellular glutamate that accumulates in the brain following an ischemic stroke. The main advantage of this novel therapeutic strategy is that it occurs in the blood circulation and therefore does not affect the normal brain neurophysiology, as it has been described for other drug treatments used against glutamate excitotoxicity. In this work we report all experimental data from the beginning of our studies, focused on stroke pathology, and we describe new findings about the potential application of this therapy. Future clinical trials will allow to know the real efficacy of this novel therapeutic strategy in stroke patients.”

Microglia, Glutamate and Alzheimer’s Disease

One of the most vocal minds pointing to CMA as a major process involved in autism was Dr. Russell Blaylock, MD.  The abstract above  reads just like studies from autism by Blaylock and others (substitute “stroke” with “autism”). Blaylock’s various writing and videos of his presentations have awakened many to the fact that autism is a medical condition, not a neurodevelopmental disorder per se. The medical aspects of autism mean that reversing the causes of the disorder, such as shutting down chronic microglial activation, should be possible. An important part of that is diet. Some foods (such as those containing MSG) will exacerbate brain trauma caused by the excitotoxicity cycle set up by immunotoxins in vaccines (aluminum and mercury). Tylenol should be avoided as it depletes glutathione, a necessary component of microglial glutamate reduction.

It has only more recently been found that immunoneuroexcitotoxicity is at the causal center of Alzheimer’s disease.  A rich literature exists that shows that CMA is found as a causal factor in Alzheimer’s disease, with specific causal links demonstrated between excess glutamate, and microglial dysfunction.

Here is an example from Solito and Sastre (2012):

Contrary to early views, we now know that systemic inflammatory/immune responses transmit to the brain. The microglia, the resident “macrophages” of the brain’s innate immune system, are most responsive, and increasing evidence suggests that they enter a hyper-reactive state in neurodegenerative conditions and aging. As sustained over-production of microglial pro-inflammatory mediators is neurotoxic, this raises great concern that systemic inflammation (that also escalates with aging) exacerbates or possibly triggers, neurological diseases (Alzheimer’s, prion, motoneuron disease). It is known that inflammation has an essential role in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), since amyloid-β (Aβ) is able to activate microglia, initiating an inflammatory response, which could have different consequences for neuronal survival. On one hand, microglia may delay the progression of AD by contributing to the clearance of Aβ, since they phagocyte Aβ and release enzymes responsible for Aβ degradation. Microglia also secrete growth factors and anti-inflammatory cytokines, which are neuroprotective. In addition, microglia removal of damaged cells is a very important step in the restoration of the normal brain environment, as if left such cells can become potent inflammatory stimuli, resulting in yet further tissue damage. On the other hand, as we age microglia become steadily less efficient at these processes, tending to become over-activated in response to stimulation and instigating too potent a reaction, which may cause neuronal damage in its own right. Therefore, it is critical to understand the state of activation of microglia in different AD stages to be able to determine the effect of potential anti-inflammatory therapies. We discuss here recent evidence supporting both the beneficial or detrimental performance of microglia in AD, and the attempt to find molecules/biomarkers for early diagnosis or therapeutic interventions.

One of the leaders in this area is Israeli scientist Dr. Vivian Teichberg, Ph.D., who proposed that clearing glutamate from the blood might cause a release of glutamate from the brain into the blood.  In a series of clever studies, researchers at the Weizmann Institute found that transforming glutamate in the blood into another form causes glutamate in the brain to exit – providing protection against glutamate storms associated with stroke.  (Read: “Protecting the Brain from A Glutamate Storm“). More on this exciting epiphany, below.

Aluminum, Alzheimer’s, and Glutamate Uptake

Aluminum has long been suspected to be a plausible causal contributing factor to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Geographic correlations of aluminum levels in drinking water (Martyn, et al., 1989), and the finding of high amounts of aluminum in the brains of some patients who died from Alzheimer’s disease (just one example, see Exley and Vickers (2014)  were initial indicators. More recent studies seem to confirm the link. A metaanalysis found a 71% increase in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in individual with chronic exposure to aluminum (Wang et al., 2016). As people age, their microglia become less efficient at clearing Aβ deposits from the brain parenchyma (Thériault et al., 2015).

Chronic Microglial Activation and Aluminum from Vaccines

Nine of 11 available studies reviewed by Flaten et al. (2001) concluded that Alzheimer’s disease incidence was increased regions with highest aluminum in residential drinking water. Measures of inflammation, particularly in the brain, were also seen to be increased when aluminum was high in drinking water (Campbell et al., 2004) – and, importantly, activated microglial cells were also increased. Aluminum in vaccines is almost certainly a causal factor in chronic microglial activation.

Aluminum is found in most vaccines, and is a serious neurotoxin, in spite of a thwarted misinformation campaign to the contrary (Read “Paging Dr. Offit! Your Aluminum Neurotoxicity Reading Assignments are Ready!“). In mice, subcutaneous aluminum injections resulted in significantly increased apoptosis of motor neurons and increases in reactive astrocytes and microglial proliferation within the spinal cord and cortex Shaw CA et al., 2013). Reduced spatial memory capacity and impairment of motor function was observed after six doses (Shaw et al., 2009). Aluminum also influences other cells than microglia; it results in altered mitochondrial metabolism, globular astrocyte shape and astrocyte dysfunction (Lemire et al., 2009).

Olmos-Alonso et al. (2016) found increased proliferation of microglial cells in human Alzheimer’s disease. Stanford University researchers have reported that a drug called EP2 can reverse microglial activation.


Chronic microglial activation  (CMA) leads to damage to synapses, loss of neural precursor cells, and neuronal death. The same process of CMA is seen in autism from ages 4-25 (Vargas et al.). Image modified from  Morales et al., 2014. Neuroinflammation in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. A rational framework for the search of novel therapeutic approaches. Front Cell Neurosci. 8:112. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2014.00112. eCollection 2014.).



Now The Most Exciting Part: Oxaloacetate and Pyruvate Supplements Clear Excess Glutamate from the Brain

Oxaloacetate is found in nature – and has numerous healthy benefits. It is non-toxic (similar toxicity to vitamin C) and is found in apples, pears, bananas, and spinach. (Read NDX USA’s easy-to-digest article “Oxaloacetate“.

Pyruvate is also found in nature. Foods containing it include red apples, cheese, dark beer, and red wine.  Here is a well-informed article  by Maia Appleby at SFGate on pyruvate supplements (“What Is Pyruvic Acid?”).

Both Oxaloacetate and Pyruvate are available in capsule form, however, the doses required to replicate the effects per body weight conducted in the studies showing their effects on glutamate levels in the brain are very high.  Here are some sources:

Oxaloacetate Supplement, 250 mg, by Natural Dynamix at

[Oxaloacetate (Oxaloacetic Acid) Mental Health Daily Link]

Pyruvate Supplement, 1000 mg, by Piping Rock Health Products at

According WebMD,  our bodies produce pyruvate when it breaks down sugar (glucose), and is used for weight loss and obesity, high cholesterol, cataracts, cancer, and improving athletic performance.  [WebMD Link]

[Disclaimer: These links are provided to the reader to inform on availability, are not meant as a recommendation. No health claims are made by the author, nor any recommendations. High doses of any supplement can have side effects. Check with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet].


Chronic and acute microglial activation leads to brain trauma in stroke, Alzheimer’s and autism. By reasonable inference, supplements that reduce glutamate-induce chronic microglial activation in Alzheimer’s are very likely to have the same effects on some patients with autism.  Studies are urgently needed to determine if dietary oxaloacetate and pyruvate supplementation provide neuroprotection against chronic microglial activation in persons with autism.  Studies of glutamate levels and injection of oxaloacetate during severe neurological distress following vaccination should be undertaken immediately.

Dr. Lyons-Weiler is the President and CEO of The Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge, which conducts basic, translational and clinical research in the public interest (without profit motive), and is author of three books, “The Environmental and Genetics Causes of AutismThe Environmental and Genetics Causes of Autism“,  “Cures vs. Profits“, and “Ebola: An Evolving Story“.


Boyko M et al., 2012. The effect of blood glutamate scavengers oxaloacetate and pyruvate on neurological outcome in a rat model of subarachnoid hemorrhage. Neurotherapeutics. 9(3):649-57. doi: 10.1007/s13311-012-0129-6.

Campos F, Sobrino T, Ramos-Cabrer P, Argibay B, Agulla J, Pérez-Mato M, Rodríguez-González R, Brea D, Castillo J. 2011. Neuroprotection by glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase in ischemic stroke: an experimental study. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2011 Jun;31(6):1378-86. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2011.3. Epub 2011 Jan 26.

Campbell A et al., 2004. Chronic exposure to aluminum in drinking water increases inflammatory parameters selectively in the brain. J Neurosci Res. 75(4):565-72.

Campos F, Sobrino T, Ramos-Cabrer P, Castellanos M, Blanco M, Rodríguez-Yáñez M, Serena J, Leira R, Castillo J. High blood glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase levels are associated with good functional outcome in acute ischemic stroke. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2011 Jun;31(6):1387-93. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2011.4. Epub 2011 Jan 26.

Castillo J et al. 2015. A novel mechanism of neuroprotection: Blood glutamate grabber. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2016 Feb;36(2):292-301. doi: 10.1177/0271678X15606721.

Exley C, Vickers T. 2014. Elevated brain aluminium and early onset Alzheimer’s disease in an individual occupationally exposed to aluminium: a case report. J Med Case Rep. 8:41. doi: 10.1186/1752-1947-8-41.

Flaten TP, 2001. Aluminium as a risk factor in Alzheimer’s disease, with emphasis on drinking water. Brain Res Bull. 55(2):187-96.

Gottlieb M, Wang Y, Teichberg VI. 2003. Blood-Mediated Scavenging of Cerebrospinal Fluid Glutamate. Journal of Neurochemistry  87: 119–126.

Lemire J et al., 2009. Aluminum-induced defective mitochondrial metabolism perturbs cytoskeletal dynamics in human astrocytoma cells. J Neurosci Res.;87(6):1474-83. doi: 10.1002/jnr.21965.

Olmos-Alonso A et al., 2016. Pharmacological targeting of CSF1R inhibits microglial proliferation and prevents the progression of Alzheimer’s-like pathology. Brain 139(Pt 3):891-907. doi: 10.1093/brain/awv379.

Martyn, C. 1989. Geographical relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and aluminum in drinking water. Lancet 1:59.

Shaw CA and MS Petrik. 2009. Aluminum hydroxide injections lead to motor deficits and motor neuron degeneration. J Inorg Biochem. 103(11):1555-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2009.05.019.

Shaw CA et al., 2013. Administration of aluminium to neonatal mice in vaccine-relevant amounts is associated with adverse long term neurological outcomes. J Inorg Biochem. 128:237-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2013.07.022.

Solito E, Sastre M. 2012. Microglia function in Alzheimer’s disease. Front Pharmacol. 3:14. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2012.00014. eCollection 2012.

Thériault, P et al. The dynamics of monocytes and microglia in Alzheimer’s disease Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy 20157:41 DOI: 10.1186/s13195-015-0125-2.

Vargas DL et al., 2005. Neuroglial activation and neuroinflammation in the brain of patients with autism. Ann Neurol. 57:67-81.

Wang Z et al., 2016.  Chronic exposure to aluminum and risk of Alzheimer’s disease: A meta-analysis. Neurosci Lett. 2016 Jan 1;610:200-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2015.11.014. Epub 2015 Nov 27.

Zlotnik A, Gurevich B, Tkachov S, et al. 2007. Brain Neuroprotection by Scavenging Blood Glutamate. Experimental Neurology 203: 213–220.


Books by Dr. Lyons-Weiler

Ebola: An Evolving Story (2015, World Scientific)

Genetic and Environmental Causes of Autism (2016, Skyhorse Publishing)

Cures vs. Profits: Successes in Translational Research (2016)

Related Abstracts

Bondy SC. 2016. Low levels of aluminum can lead to behavioral and morphological changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease and age-related neurodegeneration. Neurotoxicology. 52:222-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2015.12.002. 

Aluminum (Al) is a very common component of the earth’s mineral composition. It is not essential element for life and is a constituent of rather inert minerals. Therefore, it has often been regarded as not presenting a significant health hazard. As a result, aluminum-containing agents been used in the preparation of many foodstuffs processing steps and also in elimination of particulate organic matter from water. More recently, the reduced pH of bodies of water resulting from acid rain has led to mobilization of aluminum-containing minerals into a more soluble form, and these have thus entered residential drinking water resources. By this means, the body burden of aluminum in humans has increased. Epidemiological and experimental findings indicate that aluminum is not as harmless as was previously thought, and that aluminum may contribute to the inception and advancement of Alzheimer’s disease. Epidemiological data is reinforced by indications that aluminum exposure can result in excess inflammatory activity within the brain. Activation of the immune system not initiated by an infectious agent, typifies the aging brain and is even more augmented in several neurodegenerative diseases. The origin of most age-related neurological disorders is generally not known but as they are largely not of genetic derivation, their development is likely triggered by unknown environmental factors. There is a growing and consistent body of evidence that points to aluminum as being one such significant influence. Evidence is presented that reinforces the likelihood that aluminum is a factor speeding the rate of brain aging. Such acceleration would inevitably enlarge the incidence of age-related neurological diseases.

Fanne RA, Nassar T, Heyman SN, Hijazi N, Higazi AA.. 2011. Insulin and glucagon share the same mechanism of neuroprotection in diabetic rats: role of glutamate. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Sep;301(3):R668-73. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00058.2011. 

In patients with acute ischemic stroke, diabetes and hyperglycemia are associated with increased infarct size, more profound neurologic deficits and higher mortality. Notwithstanding extensive clinical and experimental data, treatment of stroke-associated hyperglycemia with insulin is controversial. In addition to hyperglycemia, diabetes and even early prediabetic insulin resistance are associated with increased levels of amino acids, including the neurotoxic glutamate, in the circulation. The pleiotropic metabolic effects of insulin include a reduction in the concentration of amino acids in the circulation. In this article, we show that in diabetic rats exposed to transient middle cerebral artery occlusion, a decrease of plasma glutamate by insulin or glucagon reduces CSF glutamate, improves brain histology, and preserves neurologic function. The neuroprotective effect of insulin and glucagon was similar, notwithstanding their opposite effects on blood glucose. The therapeutic window of both hormones overlapped with the short duration (~30 min) of elevated brain glutamate following brain trauma in rodents. Similar neuroprotective effects were found after administration of the glutamate scavenger oxaloacetate, which does not affect glucose metabolism. These data indicate that insulin and glucagon exert a neuroprotective effect within a very brief therapeutic window that correlates with their capacity to reduce glutamate, rather than by modifying glucose levels.

Pogue AI, Lukiw WJ. 2016. Aluminum, the genetic apparatus of the human CNS and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Morphologie. 2016 Mar 8. pii: S1286-0115(16)00024-2. doi: 10.1016/j.morpho.2016.01.001.

The genomes of eukaryotes orchestrate their expression to ensure an effective, homeostatic and functional gene signaling program, and this includes fundamentally altered patterns of transcription during aging, development, differentiation and disease. These actions constitute an extremely complex and intricate process as genetic operations such as transcription involve the very rapid translocation and polymerization of ribonucleotides using RNA polymerases, accessory transcription protein complexes and other interrelated chromatin proteins and genetic factors. As both free ribonucleotides and polymerized single-stranded RNA chains, ribonucleotides are highly charged with phosphate, and this genetic system is extremely vulnerable to disruption by a large number of electrostatic forces, and primarily by cationic metals such as aluminum. Aluminum has been shown by independent researchers to be particularly genotoxic to the genetic apparatus, and it has become reasonably clear that aluminum disturbs genetic signaling programs in the CNS that bear a surprising resemblance to those observed in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) brain. This paper will focus on a discussion of two molecular-genetic aspects of aluminum genotoxicity: (1) the observation that micro-RNA (miRNA)-mediated global gene expression patterns in aluminum-treated transgenic animal models of AD (Tg-AD) strongly resemble those found in AD; and (2) the concept of “human biochemical individuality” and the hypothesis that individuals with certain gene expression patterns may be especially sensitive and perhaps predisposed to aluminum genotoxicity.

Image for online ads (<20% text)



Paging Dr. Offit! Your Aluminum Neurotoxicity Reading Assignments Are Ready

AS COLLEGE PROFESSORS, my colleagues and I have always enjoyed the enthusiastic students who are eager to learn more. Those who stand out in myREADING 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:

Long-term persistence of vaccine-derived aluminum hydroxide is associated with chronic cognitive dysfunction.” (2009)

Aluminum hydroxide injections lead to motor deficits and motor neuron degeneration.” (2009)

Aluminum-induced defective mitochondrial metabolism perturbs cytoskeletal dynamics in human astrocytoma cells.“(2009)

Role of metal ions in the abeta oligomerization in Alzheimer’s disease and in other neurological disorders.” (2008)

Aluminum adjuvant linked to Gulf War illness induces motor neuron death in mice.” (2007)

Neurological adverse events of immunization: experience with an aluminum adjuvanted meningococcal B outer membrane vesicle vaccine.” (2007)

Mechanisms of aluminum-induced neurodegeneration in animals: Implications for Alzheimer’s disease.” (2007)

Inflammation, neurodegenerative diseases, and environmental exposures.” (2004)

Chronic exposure to aluminum in drinking water increases inflammatory parameters selectively in the brain.” (2004)

Neurotoxic effects of aluminium among foundry workers and Alzheimer’s disease.” (2004)

Neurological adverse events associated with vaccination.” (2002)

“The potential role of aluminium in Alzheimer’s disease.” (2002)

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:

Trace elements in scalp hair samples from patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.” (2015)

Correlation of aluminum and manganese concentration in scalp hair samples of patients having neurological disorders.” (2015)

Aluminum-induced entropy in biological systems: implications for neurological disease.” (2014)

Are there negative CNS impacts of aluminum adjuvants used in vaccines and immunotherapy?” (2014)

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)

Elevated brain aluminium and early onset Alzheimer’s disease in an individual occupationally exposed to aluminium: a case report.” (2014)

Prolonged exposure to low levels of aluminum leads to changes associated with brain aging and neurodegeneration.” (2014)

Administration of aluminium to neonatal mice in vaccine-relevant amounts is associated with adverse long term neurological outcomes.” (2013)

Aluminum in the central nervous system (CNS): toxicity in humans and animals, vaccine adjuvants, and autoimmunity.” (2013)

Autoimmune/autoinflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA syndrome) in commercial sheep.” (2013)

How aluminum, an intracellular ROS generator promotes hepatic and neurological diseases: the metabolic tale.” (2013)

Aluminum toxicity and astrocyte dysfunction: a metabolic link to neurological disorders.” (2011)

Aluminum vaccine adjuvants: are they safe?” (2011)

Metal ions affecting the neurological system.” (2011)

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.

Sing up for our mailing list to receive updates and news about Progressive Science:


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)



Books and Publications by James Lyons-Weiler


Dear American Press: Enough with the Rhetoric. Tell the Full Autism/Vaccine Safety Research Story

PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS on the GOP ticket touched a bit of a third rail in the debates on Wednesday night.JLW1

The ANTI-VACCINE SAFETY PRESS (how do you like it?) ran into overdrive to perform damage control on their favorite, most-run story on vaccines and autism: that, again, for (sigh, when will people ever understand, I suffer so!) the BILLIONTH time, “Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism”. They are no doubt trying to save countless lives by teaching people that vaccines save lives.

In support of their positions, each story used well-worn tactics of argumentation. They cited “dozens” of studies that have been published.

Where is the Fourth Estate?

The Washington Post went back in time to 1998 to the Wakefield affair.

But The Post they did not go back to August, 2014 to the news that Dr. William Thompson confessed that the CDC fudged data on vaccine safety, nor did they mention Thompson’s statement via his lawyer’s website that verified that yes, they omitted results. And that he regretted doing harm to people.

The Post also cited the 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences/Institute of Medicine review that concluded that “the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.”

Oddly, they neglected to reference the updated (2012) National Academy of Science/IOM report that rejected 17/22 studies that had been touted as “evidence” that autism is not linked to vaccines.

The New York Times went so far as to tell the candidates (and the American public) that vaccines are “not up for debate”.

Excuse me?

Since when does a news organization, which is supposed to objectively report the news, determine the issues that are “open to debate”? They should go back to reporting, and not creating, the news.

The same article cited the outlandish (and irresponsible) statement by Dr. Paul Offit that vaccines are so safe that they could tolerate 100,000 shots at the same time. Really?

Is that rational debate? Each 100,000 shots of just about ANYTHING would likely kill any child. They are not even taking safety seriously. At all.

I take it seriously. Here is the text from the NAS/IOM 2012 report:

The committee reviewed 22 studies to evaluate the risk of autism after the administration of MMR vaccine. Twelve studies (Chen et al., 2004; Dales et al., 2001; Fombonne and Chakrabarti, 2001; Fombonne et al., 2006; Geier and Geier, 2004; Honda et al., 2005; Kaye et al., 2001; Makela et al., 2002; Mrozek-Budzyn and Kieltyka, 2008; Steffenburg et al., 2003; Takahashi et al., 2001, 2003) were not considered in the weight of epidemiologic evidence because they provided data from a passive surveillance system lacking an unvaccinated comparison population or an ecological comparison study lacking individual-level data. Five controlled studies (DeStefano et al., 2004; Richler et al., 2006; Schultz et al., 2008; Taylor et al., 2002; Uchiyama et al., 2007) had very serious methodological limitations that precluded their inclusion in this assessment. Taylor et al. (2002) inadequately described the data analysis used to compare autism compounded by serious bowel problems or regression (cases) with autism free of such problems (controls). DeStefano et al. (2004) and Uchiyama et al. (2007) did not provide sufficient data on whether autism onset or diagnosis preceded or followed MMR vaccination. The study by Richler et al. (2006) had the potential for recall bias since the age at autism onset was determined using parental interviews, and their data analysis appeared to ignore pair-matching of cases and controls, which could have biased their findings toward the null. Schultz et al. (2008) conducted an Internet-based case-control study and excluded many participants due to missing survey data, which increased the potential for selection and information bias. The five remaining controlled studies (Farrington et al., 2001; Madsen et al., 2002; Mrozek-Budzyn et al., 2010; Smeeth et al., 2004; Taylor et al., 1999) contributed to the weight of epidemiologic evidence and are described below.

What’s that? DeStefano et al., (2004) – one of the very studies that Thompson reported that he and colleagues had strong preliminary association results in co-morbid free autism cases, and in African American males – both results which were omitted from the study.

Yahoo! Health tapped an expert in Infectious disease, who claimed that sudden onset of autism is an “odd statement”:

“It’s an odd statement because the diagnosis of autism is made over months and years, not right after a child has a fever,” he says. “It’s a behavioral neurological disorder.”

That expert, Dr. Martin Hirsch, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a senior physician in the Infectious Disease Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, might have done well also to read the 2012 IOM report:

Because the timing of diagnosis or recognition of autism coincides with
the administration of many vaccines, questions have been raised regarding potential etiologic relationship(s) between the two. There are several challenges in interpreting existing data. Establishing a temporal relationship
between a potential inciting event (such as vaccine administration) and
the onset of autism is difficult because dating the onset of the syndrome in most cases is imprecise (although there is a subset of children with acute regression from reportedly normal development). Rechallenge data are not available, since most children do not rapidly (if ever) recover a normal developmental pattern following the onset of their symptoms.

Perhaps Dr. Hirsch should have consulted case reports, such as that of Hannah Poling, who, after receiving vaccinations on July 19, 2000, regressed within a few days into classic and severe infantile autism (Oller and Oller, 2010). Hanah’s case is consider ‘typical’ of regressive autism.

Regressive autism used to be rarer than natal autism; however, these news outlets failed to report that over the time period that the vaccine schedule was expanded, the percentage of total cases of autism that were of the regressive form increased:

“By 1985 the incidence of regressive autism had equalled that from birth. By 1997 both types had increased although the regressive form was now >75% of the total occurrence. This suggests that an acquired condition was overtaking birth defects or purely genetic conditions.” (Ewing, 2009).

News outlets need to stop playing bait-and-switch on the issue of vaccine safety and do their job. When someone brings up questions about the validity of vaccine safety research, they go right to efficacy. Those questioning safety are chastised and minimized. Check out the post’s “news” article – (they puts quotes around the word ‘debate’, so I put quotes around ‘news’):

The GOP’s dangerous ‘debate’ on vaccines and autism.

It is abjectly ridiculous to think that Americans should not discuss or learn about vaccine safety. Or the lack thereof. And it is intolerable for the American Press to ignore one of the largest stories in the history of medicine in the US, and perhaps in the history of the world.

Yahoo! Health’s focus is on the “horror” of doctors. Take the excerpt:

““These politicians are making everybody anxious about an issue and then potentially harming the general population,” Lawrence Michael Dell, MD, primary care specialist at Internal Medicine & Primary Care Specialists in West Bloomfield, Mich., tells Yahoo Health. “If the average American doesn’t look into the efficacy of vaccines, they may say ‘I’m not going to vaccinate my child’ based on these comments.”

No, Dr. Dell, we were not discussing efficacy. That’s not the discussion the we were having. Let’s try this re-focus back on safety:

“When the average American looks into the sorry state of vaccine safety research, they may say ‘I’m not going to vaccinate my child’ based on the reports that the research was reported to be fraudulent by a senior scientist at the CDC.”

Now there’s a focused discussion point.

Concerns over safety cannot be effectively addressed by brow-beating the American public with efficacy.

It is highly irrational for anyone to change the topic from safety to efficacy. Imagine someone who was exceptionally good at walking a tight-rope who became so enamored with their high skill level who decided that they no longer needed a safety net. Is that a reasonable thing to do? They can be good at walking a tight-rope, AND have a safety net. Just in case.

Or imagine car seats that were observed, by some percentage of parents, to give children permanent brain damage. There would be an uproar. To counter with “But car seats save lives!” would convince very few people that the design flaw in the car seats should not be fixed.

We are told that if we only understood the utility function properly that the adverse events associated with pediatric vaccines, then we would see that the suffering of the small percentage of kids who might undergo serious, debilitating reactions are worth it. Really?

What percentage of children should the American people tolerate receiving permanent brain injuries due to car seat manufacturing flaws?

“But car seats save lives!  So don’t talk about their safety, it’s not up for debate.”

Yes, ok. That’s not going to happen.

Vaccines, like car seats, are manufactured. They are man-made. The risks that we are asked to endure for our children in terms of adverse events may be rare, but they are not trivial. Because they are man-made, they can be changed. Improved. Updated. Made more safe.

Or, at least we should look into why some people have adverse reactions, and some do not. In any other medical research setting, the public would be hearing about, with fanfare heralding a new era of medical science:

Individualized medicine. Biomarkers. Big Data.

As the pharmamedia projects to the public the perspective that there is no need to concern ourselves with the safety of vaccines, we’re left with the sense that no vaccine safety research need ever be conducted again. After all, vaccines save lives, right?

The discussion is not on whether vaccines save lives. We all know that they do. The discussion is whether they harm people, and whether the research conducted to date is reliable, and whether the CDC committed scientific misconduct, fraud, and whether they continue to mislead the American public on the accuracy of Dr. Thompson’s revelations of same?

I would not be involved in this ‘debate’ were it not for the egregious handling of public education by the CDC on Ebola. When Direct Tom Frieden testified there were no mutations in the virus to the House Select Committee hearings, I was so moved by the attendant risks of that level of ignorance, or misinformation, about a disease so deadly, that I wrote a book to help set the record straight. Medical practitioners, including nurses, need accurate information to know how to care for Ebola patients. They also need to know the reality of the risks they ask their patients to endure when they vaccinate them.

The CDC markedly and repeatedly assured us that we are all going to be OK, even with an outbreak of a disease as deadly as Ebola in the US, due to our advanced medical infrastructure (that claim, by the way, is almost certainly false. Ten cases in one city would exhaust the resources available for handling the infectious liquid waste). And yet we told that anyone questioning vaccine safety is risking, it would seem, the entire population of the US with certain death – just by holding discussions on what we really, truly know about whether vaccines are safe?

I would also not be involved in this topic were it not for Dr. William Thompson’s confessions. He did not merely allege that OTHERS at the CDC fudged and omitted data in numerous studies; he stepped forward to say that he himself participated in these activities. The man was risking, for all he knew, jail time and fines for defrauding the American government of research funds.

So, by all means, let’s sweep the New York Times aside, and let’s continue the debate.

In the Yahoo! Health article,  Dr. Danelle Fisher, MD, vice chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., says there is a “huge amount of medical evidence” that supports the safety of the vaccine schedule, published by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in conjunction with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And then, she follows with the chronic non-sequitur statement:

“The vaccine schedule is there for a reason.”

Really. Vaccines exist for a reason. Well thank you, Dr. Obvious!

The American Press also does not report on financial conflicts of interest among members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.  Well, CBS News did run an article on this issue. Back in 2008. Fourteen Studies did an excellent job reporting on these organizations:

  1. The American Academy of Pediatrics The American Academy of Pediatrics, a private, non-profit organization, is perhaps one of the few organizations powerful enough to put and end to the autism epidemic. Ostensibly, their focus should be the health of American children. Instead, the interests of the vaccine program and pharmaceutical companies always seems to come first. Here’s a great article from CBS Evening News: How Independent Are Vaccine Defenders?Among the many sins the AAP has committed:
    • Of the 19 actual studies we critique on this website, 50% were published in Pediatrics, the trade journal of the AAP.
    • The AAP has actively lobbied in states to keep mercury in children’s vaccines and against state bans
    • The AAP has yet to acknowledge there is an actual rise in the number of cases of children with autism and instead continues to imply that rising autism levels may solely be due to “better diagnosis”
    • The AAP does not acknowledge, nor have they been known to pursue, any of the hundreds of reported cases of recovery from autism through biomedical intervention
  2. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
    Centers for Disease Control According to the CDC’s website, “the ACIP consists of 15 ‘experts‘ in fields associated with immunization who have been selected by the Secretary of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide advice and guidance to the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary for Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the most effective means to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases.”The ACIP is responsible for expanding the number of required vaccines for children from 10 in 1983 to 36 in 2007 (see a comparison here), without ever ensuring that the schedule was tested in combination or that appropriate monitoring took place for delayed onset conditions.The ACIP was the topic of a document titled Conflicts of Interest in Vaccine Policy Making written by the U.S. Congressional Subcommittee on Government Reform which highlighted the conflicts of interest present between ACIP members and pharmaceutical companies manufacturing vaccines.
  3. Paul Offit, M.D.
    Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Mr. Offit appears to be the pharmaceutical industry’s go to Doctor to speak to the press about the safety of the current vaccine program. He is also the patent holder for the new rotavirus vaccine, recently added to the Immunization Schedule, and a past member of the ACIP (See #1). Among his many outrageous statements, Mr. Offit wrote in the journal of Pediatrics that a child’s immune system could handle 10,000 vaccines:“A more practical way to determine the diversity of the immune response would be to estimate the number of vaccines to which a child could respond at one time…then each infant would have the theoretical capacity to respond to about 10,000 vaccines at any one time.”Regarding Thimerosal in vaccines:“In some instances I think full disclosure can be harmful. 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.”On potential conflicts of interest as a vaccine patent-holder:“I am a co-holder of a patent for a (rotavirus) vaccine. If this vaccine were to become a routinely recommended vaccine, I would make money off of that. When I review safety data, am I biased? That answer is really easy: absolutely not.”Speaking to a journalist:

    “You did more harm than good in sort of quote/unquote allowing the parent to be fully informed [regarding the presence of mercury in vaccines]. There’s no politically correct way to say this, but being fully informed is not always the best thing. You can take that out of context and make me look like a jerk, but you know what I’m saying.”‘

It’s not out of context to report a conflict of interest. And the existence of a conflict of interest are not excused by one’s claim that they are not influenced by profit motives. And the American Press stays eerily silent on this side of the issue.

Why do 2015 press articles cite a 2002 IOM review, but not the more recent, updated 2012 review? If these publications include any rejected by the IOM in 2012, then we have not only selective reporting by the Press, but selective citation of the scientific literature. That alone is a form of bias.

The Yahoo! Health article then say that Fisher claims that “it can be potentially dangerous to spread out a vaccination schedule because nearly all of the vaccinations given are not 100 percent effective with the first dose. Spreading out the schedule has ‘no scientific merit,’ she says, and can leave children more susceptible to contracting the diseases you’re trying to protect against until the schedule is complete.”

What she didn’t say is that the effects of wholescale changes to the pediatric schedule that have occurred over the last 15 years have never been studied at all. Instead, vaccines are studied, one at a time, with research funds provided by the manufacturers of vaccines, who, by the way, are completely indemnified from lawsuits for damages or liability for injuries. There are over 250 vaccines in the pipeline – a profiteer’s dream.

The American Press also does not report on the assault on personal liberties that the choice about vaccines embodies. Two words sum it up: Informed Consent.

As for me, I believe that vaccines save lives. I also believe it is a fundamental human right to refuse a particular form of medical care and opt for others. I believe that the CDC has failed to demonstrate the safety of vaccines (re: Dr. William Thompson’s confession of his and others’ scientific misconduct during vaccine safety studies during the 2000’s, which help set the current pediatric schedule. I’ll say it again: I believe vaccines save lives. But informed consent laws required that we are informed with accurate information about the state of knowledge of the safety of the food and drugs we are given.

This is not longer about vaccines. It’s about whether we still have a free and independent press in America. Or do we know live in a Pharmatopia? It’s about whether conflicts of interest still matter. And it’s about whether faked science still matters.

Do we really want to be a country that forces specific medical care upon patients without consent? Consent by coercion is not recognized as consent under any setting. The Universal Code of Human Rights – and the Nuremberg Code – both say that forced medical treatment is unethical. Ask yourself why would anyone want to force this medical, when they also know about the scientific misconduct  – it’s entered into the Congressional Record thanks to Rep. Bill Posey (FL-R).

I’m a demoncrat (that’s a joke, son), and I love Posey for bringing this issue forward. Don’t let them do this with vaccines – what else will they force on us in the name of easily justified profits from mass vaccinations?

We should be overhauling our vaccine safety research programs instead.

Appreciation is extended to my son Zach for the word “Pharmatopia”. I had been using the awkward term “Pharmacocracy”. 

What do you think? Should the press tell the whole story? Or should they just be ‘responsible’ and report in a manner that is designed to get people to adhere to the CDC’s vaccination schedule?  Does a Fourth Estate even exist in this country? Do ethics still matter in vaccine medicine? Feel free to comment. Detractors welcome!


Top 10 Things You Must Know About the Autism/Vaccination Question

Emotional, disparaging comments from those who believe they know the science that appears to show that there is no causal link between thimerosal in vaccines and the increased rates of autism include name-calling “Anti-vaxxers”, charges of “over-emotionalizing” the issue, and,  “distracting” the families who should be focused on caring for their autistic child or children.

During my research for my second book, “Cures vs. Profits: Success Stories in Translational Research”, I have found wonderful advances in the care of cancer, in brain surgery, in robotic surgery, and forthcoming advances in early Alzheimer’s diagnosis. My approach was unbiased: I wanted to find bona fide advances in medical care made possible via biomedical and clinical research.

I also uncovered a number of accounts of unsavory and illegal activities undertaken by researchers and by medical doctors. This led to four chapters covering such acts, two of which I wrote intentionally to provide a framework of contract of clear evil-doers (Abuses in Medicine, and Outrageous Acts of Pseudoscience). The third and fourth chapters surprised me: They involve Overdiagnosis in ADHD and Vaccinations.

I will blog on the the problem of ADHD Overdiagnosis at a later date: for now, the story of how Pharma reached into academic clinical research center activity is not pretty. I went into the Vaccine chapter to advocate for Vaccines, to review some of this history of this most clear of all translational successes. How could vaccines be bad? They stop the spread of disease, after all. No one gets polio anymore. Practically no one dies from measles in the US anymore. Most of my colleagues clearly stand on the side of protecting the population from diseases with vaccines.

In taking the time to really look at the published data on the possible links between Autism and Vaccines, I have become convinced not only that there is a likely direct cause of Autism, but that the US CDC has repeatedly acted in a manner that is as egregious, if not more, than those actors in the  Abuses in Medicine and Outrageous Acts of Pseudoscience chapters.

So, to help others who, like me, had extolled the virtues of vaccines over the possible, but apparently unlikely risk of adverse events such as brain damage leading to autism, understand the reality that our society is experiencing, and will experience for some time, I decided to share the Top 10 Things You Must Know about the Autism/Vaccination Question.

(1) The science behind the causal link between thiomerosal and neurological damage is both strong, and vast.  We know precisely how ethyl mercury harms neurological development. In brief, nerve cells grow at the tips of their axons via extension of tubulin proteins. Ethyl mercury robs the energy molecule for that extension, thus the growth does not occur.

(2) Ethyl mercury is more, not less toxic than methyl mercury. Studies in monkeys have shown that ethyl mercury is deposited in the brain at a greater rate, and remains in the brain, far longer than methyl mercury. Forget everything you thought you knew about the relevance of EPA guidelines for methyl mercury exposure: they are irrelevant as the mechanisms of damage of the two forms, and the metabolism of the two forms, are significantly different.

(3) Wholescale changes to the vaccination schedule are not subject to testing by the FDA. Between 2003 and 2013, the dosage of ethyl mercury to children via the national vaccination program increased from 75 ug to 575 ug due to additions of new vaccines to the schedule, and to accelerations of the rate of vaccination to fit new vaccines into the schedule. This increase in dosage should be a cause for concern by the FDA even if the question of autism did not exist.

(4) The rates of autism have increased from 1 in 2500 in 1970 to 1 in 68 in 2010. The CDC reports 1 in 50. That’s 2% of the population diagnosed with frank autism. The CDC has argued that the rates reflect an expansion of autism into a spectrum that include Aspberger’s. However, those factors do not account for the exponential increase in the rates of autism.

(5) People in charge of the vaccination schedules have had serious conflicts of interest and have personally profited from the decisions they helped make in terms of which vaccines to add to the schedule. The committee that makes the decisions about the health of our entire country has serious financial conflicts of interest. Watch Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s testimony on this in Vermont earlier this year, arguing why parents should still have say over what goes into their children’s bodies:

(6) The press has a conflict of interest as well. As Kennedy points out, Pharmaceutical industry now represents the number one source of advertising revenue for major media outlets. Direct to consumer market is legal in two countries in the world: the US and New Zealand. Thus, the things you may read or hear about Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s presence of mind are ruthless, irresponsible pandering, and are likely a direct consequence of this influence.

(7) Parents can easily request thimerosal-free vaccines. The CDC is quick to say that thimerosal has been removed from all vaccines except one (the flu vaccine, for pregnant women, of all people!). This is not true. Thimerosal is included at doses of at least 24.5 ug of mercury in the following:

Tdap (Boostrix)

Influenza (Affluria, Fluvirin)

Meningococcal (Menomune)

these brands about be avoided by anyone concerned about exposing their children the mercury. There are thiomerosal-free alternatives for each of these vaccines listed by Vaccine Safety.

Nevertheless, the FDA reports that many vaccines still use thiomerosal early in the production process, leaving behind “trace amounts”. They also report that vaccines now include aluminum (another known neurotoxin, which can act synergistically with thimerosal), and, of all things, MSG. Some people (like myself) are highly sensitive to MSG (it, like nitrates, can cause migraines).

(8) Most so-called “Anti-Vaxxers” are not against vaccines. Rather, they for vaccines, they just want safe ones. They are castigated, ridiculed, called crazy, all for wanting to protect their own, and others’ children, from being poisoned by mercury and other neurotoxins.  They should be referred to as “Pro-Safe Vaccineers”, or “Anti-Toxins”.

(9) Certain state governments want to take the Parent’s right to say “No” out of the equation. California just passed a law that only allows religious exemption for refusal of vaccines. (CORRECTION BY READER: California just passed a law that dispensed with the “Personal Beliefs Exemption. Now only Medical Exemptions are allowed with the recent passage of SB 277. This law did away with the Personal Beliefs Exemption if you want your children to be able to attend both public and private schools. Home-schooled children will not have to comply with the new law.” The measles outbreak of 2014 has helped bouy the sense that parents who refuse vaccines are irresponsible hacks who need a paternalistic government intervention in their lives. As I wrote my chapter on vaccines, I advocated for the CDC, and medical doctors, to outline the risk that parents place others at by choosing to not vaccinate their child. I stand by that recommendation. There are young (6 mos), the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems whose lives could be devastated by an outbreak of childhood diseases.  However, I also emphasize that the vaccines should be safe.

(10) Which side your choose as a scientist, a doctor, a parent, a lawyer, and a citizen matters. The Autism movement does not trust the government. This mistrust is well-earned. Until there is an other hearing on the CDC cover-ups, including their manipulation of the data via repeated analyses, and their hiding results that showed potential significant association, it is up to the public to communicate our concerns to our law makers, and our doctors.

Listen to (part) of Dr. William Thompson’s admission. If you find it distateful, you may choose to ignore Dr. Wakefield’s dramatic linking of this issue to Tuskegee. The issue, for me, stands on its own. if you cannot understand that Wakefield was trying to study to problem of whether the age of vaccination increased the risk of autism – the very question of whether the accelerated vaccine schedule – the CDC’s schedule – increased the risk of autism.

I am appealing to my colleagues in science, and in medicine. If you are so moved by Dr. Thompson’s admissions of fraud by the CDC, contact your Congressional representative, and demand that Congress subpoena Dr. Thompson for a new hearing (as of July 14, thousands of pages have been sent to the Congressional Science Committee). Dr. Thompson has released a statement via his lawyer [UPDATED LINK] (one of the best Whistle-Blower lawyers in the country) in which he further admits wrong-doing by the CDC.

To learn more, I strongly recommend Robert F. Kennedy’s Jr.’s book, “Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak for Itself” (173 pp, Skyhorse Publishing) on Amazon.