Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Adjuvant Atrocities - Autism and Vaccines - A New Theory

(V.K. Singh, a respected Indian doctor and professor of organic chemistry, has been studying autoimmune disorders and autism and vaccines for the better part of 20 years. Byron Richards is a founding member of the International and American Associations of Clinical Nutritionists and the director of Wellness Resources, Inc. This article leans heavily on both of their bodies of work.)

Many people have been crying out that the autism-vaccines connection is patently false ever since the Democratic candidates brought up the issue in this American election cycle. The reasoning is simple: the best theory most people can find on the connection is the presence of Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, in many vaccine formulations. Everyone knows that mercury is toxic, and it makes sense that there was a causal link. But with a little more research, everyone learns that the FDA and CDC required the vaccine producers to remove thimerosal from most vaccines (but not the flu shot!) back in 2002, and autism rates continue to rise.

There is another, much more subtle connection between autism and vaccines, however. According to Byron Richards: "The rate of autism is directly time-associated with the increased vaccines given to our infants." This should lead us to the conclusion that, if there is a connection, it is between autism and the amount -- not the presence -- of vaccines given to infants. The number of shots given to infants under 15 months of age has tripled in the last 15 years, from 7 to 21.

The point?

So, what about getting more shots could cause this increase in autism? Independently, Richards and Dr. V.K. Singh have come up with strikingly similar hypotheses.

According to Singh, autism shows many striking similarities to an autoimmune disease. The same kinds of tests that register autoimmune diseases also register autism; autism occurs four times more often in boys than girls (similar to the pathology of several common autoimmune disorders - girls may be genetically more resistant to this phenomenon because of the autoimmune dangers of bearing a child); autistic patients respond well to treatments for autoimmune diseases.

Singh said: "The linkage of vaccines to neurological disorders comes through the promotion of an auto-immune process, triggered by the virus present in the vaccine together with the adjuvant used to sensitize the body to this virus." Simplified, this means that the adjuvants put into almost all vaccines trigger autoimmune reactions that can cause neurological disorders.

An adjuvant is a substance added to a vaccine to enhance the body's immunological response to the vaccine's primary ingredient. According to Richards, this "initiates an inflammatory reaction (the first step in any immune response). The idea is to get the immune system revved up so that it can see the weakened disease and learn what it looks like so that if it ever sees it again it will be more prepared to fight it." So, adjuvants cause inflammation (which helps your body find and build immunity to the virus in the vaccine) - and also trigger autoimmune neurological disorders.

A side note

Singh also hypothesizes, rather narrowly in this author's opinion, that "a measles virus-induced autoimmune response was a causal factor in autism...[which] may also explain why some children show autistic regression after the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) immunization." (For those of you that are not aware, a huge MMR-vaccine scandal erupted in Europe about a decade ago, which is likely the source of Dr. Singh's focus on this particular vaccine.)

Quoting another doctor's work, Singh points out: "In several cases, electron microscopy has revealed live measles virus in the intestinal lining of children with the gastrointestinal abnormalities common in children with autism." Translation: a significant number of kids have live measles in their guts - and a statistically-significant number of those kids have autism. If Singh's measles-induced-autism theory is correct, it means that lots more children were almost autistic, but avoided that fate through some unrecognized mechanism.

Inflammation of the brain

Richards, in an article on, said "It is clear that those with autism have an excessively inflamed brain...The multiple inflammatory insults from the adjuvant in vaccines, at a rate of 1 in 150 cases, sets the brain 'on fire' and causes autism. As an aside, and to a lesser extent (but just as important to society), a minor 'brush fire' causes ADHD and impaired intelligence."

The brain has a lot of what are called 'glial' cells, which are cells that provide nutrition and create myelin, which form the outer layer of our neurons and keep them from short-circuiting. These glial cells serve a secondary anti-inflammatory function for the brain. A weak glial anti-inflammatory barrier could be the reason why 1 in 150 people fall victim to autism induced by vaccine adjuvants.

I don't want my kid to go unvaccinated. What can I do?

Fully-developed children (2+ years of age) have significantly more time to develop a glial barrier than infants, whose nervous system is still developing. Also, the glial barrier regenerates with time, so vaccinating infants more slowly is safer (though not perfectly safe, of course).

Keep in mind that, according to Singh, "A small...proportion of children develop autism as a result of pre-or post-natal infections - for example, with rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, HIV, and so on." There is no absolute guarantee that, by avoiding vaccinations altogether, your child will also avoid autism - but when you examine the autism rate today (1 in 150) with the autism rate 20 years ago (1 in 500), you can cut the chance of your child getting autism by more than two-thirds.

Having done the math myself, as a first-time father, I can tell you that my child isn't getting vaccinated against anything until he is a year old, and after that, I am going to insist that at least a month pass between injections. (As a side benefit, there is a chance, however slim, that this will blow up in the pharmaceutical companies' faces in the meantime, and they will be forced to reformulate the vaccines with less dangerous ingredients before I have to vaccinate my child.) That will still give plenty of time to get the necessary immunizations in time for him to go to school, and keep this whole autism and vaccines concern to a minimum.

Michael Danielson will be a father for the first time in August of 2008. In the interest of his future child's health, he started a website about autism and vaccines in which he is exploring the recent political and scientific news on the subject.

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