I got myself in hot water sending the email I posted in my previous post (should have seen that coming). I offended somebody and, among other things, they wanted to know to which studies I was referring in order to support a link between autism and mercury poisoning. Well, here are some to start with. And if the CDC isn't talking about it, does that mean I'm foolish, or that the government really is whitewashing this? At some point, it begins to feels like only one of those things can be true. Thanks to TACA and Generation Rescue for compiling this list, and Ginger Taylor (adventuresinautism.com) who I know had a hand in this too (Her list is here).
[EDITED 5/14/08 to add]: This is a short list. The TACA Web site has a 346-page document containing all sorts of studies on autism. To view it, go to http://www.talkaboutcuringautism.org/index.htm and scroll down until you see "Vaccines" in the left-hand column. Mouse over it and click on the PDF link to autism studies. You can even download the whole thing to your computer. The book Evidence of Harm by David Kirby is also (I've been told) a well-documented resource on this topic. (I still need to read it.)
Blood Levels of Mercury Are Related to Diagnosis of Autism: A Reanalysis of an Important Data Set
Journal of Child Neurology, Vol. 22, No. 11, 1308-1311 (2007)
M. Catherine DeSoto, PhD, Robert T. Hitlan, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa
Excerpt: ”We have reanalyzed the data set originally reported by Ip et al. in 2004 and have found that the original p value was in error and that a significant relation does exist between the blood levels of mercury and diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. Moreover, the hair sample analysis results offer some support for the idea that persons with autism may be less efficient and more variable at eliminating mercury from the blood.”
Developmental Regression and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in a Child With Autism
Journal of Child Neurology / Volume 21, Number 2, February 2006
Jon S. Poling, MD, PhD, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery
Johns Hopkins Hospital
This article showed that 38% of Kennedy Krieger Institute autism patients studied had one marker for impaired oxidative phosphorylation (mitochondrial dysfunction), and 47% had a second marker.
Excerpt: "Children who have (mitochondrial-related) dysfunctional cellular energy metabolism might be more prone to undergo autistic regression between 18 and 30 months of age if they also have infections or immunizations at the same time."
Oxidative Stress in Autism: Elevated Cerebellar 3-nitrotyrosine Levels
American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology 4 (2): 73-84, 2008
Elizabeth M. Sajdel-Sulkowska, - Dept of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Shows a potential link between mercury and the autopsied brains of young people with autism. A marker for oxidative stress was 68.9% higher in autistic brain issue than controls (a statistically significant result), while mercury levels were 68.2% higher.
Excerpt: The preliminary data suggest a need for more extensive studies of oxidative stress, its relationship to the environmental factors and its possible attenuation by antioxidants in autism.”
Large Brains in Autism: The Challenge of Pervasive Abnormality
The Neuroscientist, Volume 11, Number 5, 2005.Martha Herbert, MD, PhD [Harvard University].
This study helps refute the notion that the brains of autistic children are simply wired differently and notes, "neuroinflammation appears to be present in autistic brain tissue from childhood through adulthood." Dr. Herbert suggests that chronic disease or an external environmental source (like heavy metals) may be causing the inflammation.
"Oxidative stress, brain inflammation, and microgliosis have been much documented in association with toxic exposures including various heavy metals...the awareness that the brain as well as medical conditions of children with autism may be conditioned by chronic biomedical abnormalities such as inflammation opens the possibility that meaningful biomedical interventions may be possible well past the window of maximal neuroplasticity in early childhood because the basis for assuming that all deficits can be attributed to fixed early developmental alterations in neural architecture has now been undermined."
Neuroglial Activation and Neuroinflammation in the Brain of Patients with Autism
Annals of Neurology, Feb 2005.Diana L. Vargas, MD [Johns Hopkins University].
This study, performed independently and using a different methodology than Dr. Herbert (see above) reached the same conclusion: the brains of autistic children are suffering from inflammation. Excerpt:
"Because this neuroinflammatory process appears to be associated with an ongoing and chronic mechanism of CNS dysfunction, potential therapeutic interventions should focus on the control of its detrimental effects and thereby eventually modify the clinical course of autism."
Evidence of Toxicity, Oxidative Stress, and Neuronal Insult in Autism
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Nov-Dec 2006.Janet Kern, Anne Jones
"This article discusses the evidence for the case that some children with autism may become autistic from neuronal cell death or brain damage sometime after birth as result of insult; and addresses the hypotheses that toxicity and oxidative stress may be a cause of neuronal insult in autism..the article discusses what may be happening over the course of development and the multiple factors that may interplay and make these children more vulnerable to toxicity, oxidative stress, and neuronal insult."
Oxidative Stress in Autism
Pathophysiology, 2006.Abha Chauhan, Ved Chauhan
This study provides a helpful overview of the growing evidence supporting the link between oxidative stress and autism. Excerpt:
1"Upon completion of this article, participants should be able to: 1. Be aware of laboratory and clinical evidence of greater oxidative stress in autism. 2. Understand how gut, brain, nutritional, and toxic status in autism are consistent with greater oxidative stress. 3. Describe how anti-oxidant nutrients are used in the contemporary treatment of autism."
Porphyrinuria in Childhood Autistic Disorder: Implications for Environmental Toxicity
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2006.Robert Nataf, Corinne Skorupka, Lorene Amet
This new study from France utilizes a new and sophisticated measurement for environmental toxicity by assessing porphyrin levels in autistic children. It provides clear and unequivocal evidence that children with autism spectrum disorders are more toxic than their neurotypical peers. Excerpt:
"Coproporphyrin levels were elevated in children with autistic disorder relative to control groups...the elevation was significant. These data implicate environmental toxicity in childhood autistic disorder."
Thimerosal Neurotoxicity is Associated with Glutathione Depletion: Protection with Glutathione Precursors.
Neurotoxicology, Jan 2005.S. Jill James, PhD [University of Arkansas].
This recent study demonstrates that Thimerosal lowers or inhibits the body's ability to produce Glutathione, an antioxidant and the body's primary cellular-level defense against mercury. Excerpt:
1"Thimerosal-induced cytotoxicity was associated with depletion of intracellular Glutathione in both cell lines...The potential effect of Glutathione or N-acetylcysteine against mercury toxicity warrants further research as possible adjunct therapy to individuals still receiving Thimerosal-containing vaccines."
Uncoupling of ATP-mediated Calcium Signaling and Dysregulated IL-6 Secretion in Dendritic Cells by Nanomolar Thimerosal
Environmental Health Perspectives, July 2006.Samuel R. Goth, Ruth A. Chu Jeffrey P. Gregg
This study demonstrates that very low-levels of Thimerosal can contribute to immune system disregulation. Excerpt:
1"Our findings that DCs primarily express the RyR1 channel complex and that this complex is uncoupled by very low levels of THI with dysregulated IL-6 secretion raise intriguing questions about a molecular basis for immune dyregulation and the possible role of the RyR1 complex in genetic susceptibility of the immune system to mercury."
Aluminum adjuvant linked to gulf war illness induces motor neuron death in mice Neuromolecular Medicine, 2007Christopher Shaw, Ph.D. [Department of Ophthalmology and Program in Neuroscience, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada]
This study demonstrates the extreme toxicity of the aluminum adjuvant used as a preservative in vaccines. Excerpt:
"testing showed motor deficits in the aluminum treatment group that expressed as a progressive decrease in strength measured...Significant cognitive deficits in water-maze learning were observed in the combined aluminum and squalene group...Apoptotic neurons were identified in aluminum-injected animals that showed significantly increased activated caspase-3 labeling in lumbar spinal cord (255%) and primary motor cortex (192%) compared with the controls. Aluminum-treated groups also showed significant motor neuron loss (35%) and increased numbers of astrocytes (350%) in the lumbar spinal cord.
Activation of Methionine Synthase by Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 and Dopamine: a Target for Neurodevelopmental Toxins and Thimerasol.
Molecular Psychiatry, July 2004.Richard C. Deth, PhD [Northeastern University].
This study demonstrates how Thimerosal inhibits methylation, a central driver of cellular communication and development. Excerpt:
"The potent inhibition of this pathway [methylation] by ethanol, lead, mercury, aluminum, and thimerosal suggests it may be an important target of neurodevelopmental toxins."
Environmental mercury release, special education rates, and autism disorder: an ecological study of Texas.
Health & Place, 2006Raymond F. Palmer, University of Texas Health Science Center
This study demonstrated the correlation between environmental mercury and autism rates in Texas. Excerpt:
"On average, for each 1,000 lb of environmentally released mercury, there was a 43% increase in the rate of special education services and a 61% increase in the rate of autism. The association between environmentally released mercury and special education rates were fully mediated by increased autism rates. This ecological study suggests the need for further research regarding the association between environmentally released mercury and developmental disorders such as autism."
Autism Spectrum Disorders in Relation to Distribution of Hazardous Air Pollutants in the SF Bay Area
Environmental Health Perspectives – Vol. 114 No. 9, September, 2006
Gayle Windham, Div. of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control, California Department of Health Services
284 ASD children & 657 controls, born in 1994 in Bay Area, were assigned exposure levels by birth tract for 19 chemicals. Risks for autism were elevated by 50% in tracts with the highest chlorinated solvents and heavy metals. The highest risk compounds were mercury, cadmium, nickel, trichloroethylene, and vinyl chloride, and the risk from heavy metals was almost twice as high as solvents.
Excerpt: “Our results suggest a potential association between autism and estimated metal concentrations, and possibly solvents, in ambient air around the birth residence.”
Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal
Environmental Health Perspectives, Aug 2005.Thomas Burbacher, PhD [University of Washington].
This study demonstrates clearly and unequivocally that ethyl mercury, the kind of mercury found in vaccines, not only ends up in the brain, but leaves double the amount of inorganic mercury as methyl mercury, the kind of mercury found in fish. This work is groundbreaking because little is known about ethyl mercury, and many health authorities have asserted that the mercury found in vaccines is the "safe kind." This study also delivers a strong rebuke of the Institute of Medicine's recommendation in 2004 to no longer pursue the mercury-autism connection. Excerpt:
"A recently published IOM review (IOM 2004) appears to have abandoned the earlier recommendation [of studying mercury and autism] as well as back away from the American Academy of Pediatrics goal [of removing mercury from vaccines]. This approach is difficult to understand, given our current limited knowledge of the toxicokinetics and developmental neurotoxicity of thimerosal, a compound that has been (and will continue to be) injected in millions of newborns and infants."
A Case Series of Children with Apparent Mercury Toxic Encephalopathies Manifesting with Clinical Symptoms of Regressive Autistic Disorder
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, 2007David A. Geier, Mark R. Geier
This study reviewed the case histories and medical profiles of nine autistic children and concluded that eight of the nine children were mercury toxic and this toxicity manifested itself in a manner consistent with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Excerpt:
"...these previously normally developing children suffered mercury toxic encephalopathies that manifested with clinical symptoms consistent with regressive ASDs. Evidence for mercury intoxication should be considered in the differential diagnosis as contributing to some regressive ASDs."
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and blood mercury level: a case-control study in chinese children
Neuropediatrics, August 2006 - P.R. Kong [Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The University of Hong Kong].
This study demonstrates that blood mercury levels are higher for children with ADHD. Excerpt:
"There was significant difference in blood mercury levels between cases and controls, which persists after adjustment for age, gender and parental occupational status. The geometric mean blood mercury level was also significantly higher in children with inattentive and combined subtypes of ADHD. High blood mercury level was associated with ADHD. Whether the relationship is causal requires further studies."
The Changing Prevalence of Autism In California
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, April 2003Mark Blaxill, MBA
This study helps to refute the supposition made by some researchers that autism's epidemic may only be due to "diagnostic substitution". Excerpt:
"They have suggested that 'diagnostic substitution' accounts for an apparent increase in the incidence of autism in California that is not real. This hypothesized substitution is not supported by proper and detailed analyses of the California data."