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Autism's Theoretical Causes: Mercury and Vaccines--An Editorial

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Autism related image Photo: Getty Images

In addition to genetics and metabolism, mercury exposure and vaccines have been implicated as a possible cause of autism. My previous article covered studies about genetic and metabolism causes and this article continues with research regarding vaccines.

Old style DPT vaccines used to contain thimerosal, a 49 percent mercury compound. Some DTaP vaccines still contain small amounts of mercury, according to the CDC Pink Book. Other vaccines, such as Hepatitis B and flu shots contain the full amount of thimerosal.

Some researchers believe that the increasing number of vaccines given at one time to a developing infant are a cause of autism, particularly as the blood/brain barrier is not yet complete.

A study in the Annals of Epidemiology found that newborn boys who had received Hepatitis B vaccine were three times more likely to be diagnosed with an ASD compared with boys who hadn’t had the jab.

"Findings suggest that U.S. male neonates vaccinated with hepatitis B vaccine had a 3-fold greater risk of ASD; risk was greatest for non-white boys." (2)

Autism symptoms and mercury poisoning symptoms are virtually identical. The Journal of Immunotoxicology wrote:

"Autistic brains show neurotransmitter irregularities that are virtually identical to those arising from mercury exposure. Due to the extensive parallels between autism and mercury poisoning, the likelihood of a causal relationship is great."

These neurotransmitter irregularities may be the reason why some autistic children have sensory processing disorders. (1)

MMR Vaccine

MMR vaccine is considered a possible cause of autism. In 1998 a gastroenterologist called Andrew Wakefield and his team of clinicians identified 12 children, eight of whom suffered regressive autism and gastrointestinal disease. After publishing this case paper, concluding that it did NOT prove an association with MMR, Dr. Wakefield studied a further 161 children, 91 of whom had bowel disease and a further 70 who did not.

He found measles virus in the guts of 75 of the children with bowel disease and only in five of the healthy children. He called this condition "measles enterocolitis".

Add a Comment87 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Joanna Karpasea-Jones)

No, you clearly don't study the same science that I do, nor do you understand the scientific evidence that can be appreciated by those who, unlike you, have devoted long years of study in the pertinent fields. You, instead, just cut and paste references that you have not read and clearly do not understand.

September 9, 2011 - 6:54pm
(reply to Anonymous)

As I said before, I do read the studies. Some just the abstract because the whole thing isn't always available online, sometimes the whole thing if they will allow it online, or if it is emailed to me.

Ever notice how they always put full texts on of 'no association MMR' papers, but just the abstract or just the title of less favourable results?

That is, if they publish at all. According to the Wall Street Journal, studies of antidepressants that come out bad, aren't published:


September 10, 2011 - 6:56am
(reply to Joanna Karpasea-Jones)

Joanna wrote,

"Ever notice how they always put full texts on of 'no association MMR' papers, but just the abstract or just the title of less favourable results?"

No, actually, I haven't. Your example is a classic example of confirmation bias.

"Confirmation bias, as the term is typically used in the psychological literature, connotes the seeking or interpreting of evidence in ways that are partial to existing beliefs, expectations, or a hypothesis in hand."

Nickerson RS (1998) Confirmation Bias: A Ubiquitous Phenomenon in Many Guises Review of General Psychology Vol. 2, No. 2, 175-220

September 11, 2011 - 10:55am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Honestly, you don’t understand this subject.

This statement is obviously false: “Vaccination is recognized as having a starter function for the onset of autism.”

You might try to read at least the ABSTRACT if not the full paper when you cite an article. In an attempt to support your nonsensical and thoroughly-refuted assertion that MMR is associated with IBD and Crohn’s disease, you cited a paper which says outright in it’s friggin’ abstract: “These findings provide no support for the hypothesis that measles vaccination in childhood predisposes to the later development of either IBD overall or Crohn's disease in particular.”

Apparently you’ve managed to miss the papers that show that encephalopathy following vaccination is in fact caused by pre-existing mutations associated with defined epilepsy syndromes. (Apparently you weren't able to simple copy the information from anti-vaccine web sites.) Read these—or at least read the abstracts:



September 9, 2011 - 5:03pm
(reply to Anonymous)

I did read the abstract and that's what it says 'vaccination is recognized as having a starter function for the onset of autism' - if you think pudmed are making it up take it up with them.

I'm aware that the study said it didn't prove a link with MMR, but they did say that there was evidence previously of that and as it was in 1997 this was before Wakefield and the controversy which means that the issue was there before he mentioned it. And at any rate, there are many studies that mention really awful side-effects and then conclude support of the product. After all, journals are paid for by drug companies and no one wants to annoy their sponsor.

See this:


So, some children with encephalopathy are thought to have gene mutations, and??? No one does genetic testing of children before they are vaccinated. Everyone, no matter what their health condition is expected to partake in the program no matter what and the contraindications list has got less over the years, while the number of vaccines required has increased. Yet parents would be called irresponsible if they requested screening before they considered vaccination.

Perhaps a sizable number of children has a mitochondrial dysfunction that is tipped over the edge by vaccination and that is why some children regress after MMR and other's don't? It still means vaccines are implicated. Is anyone going to check for mitochondrial dysfunction prior to vaccination? It hasn't been done so far.

I get the studies by searching for them on google and from paper copies of journals and from books and I am also on several special interest lists where I am emailed links to studies. I also get sent press releases since I'm a writer and the majority of them are medical. I don't just look on an 'anti-vaccine' website (although I WROTE one 'anti-vaccine' website as you put it, I personally prefer pro-choice). I mean, if someone had an allergic reaction to penicillin and then studied the phenominon, he wouldn't be called 'anti-penicillin'.

And at any rate, regardless of how the reporter feels on vaccines, whether that be myself or someone else, the studies and observations come from medical journals and doctors that are perfectly valid. Just saying that someone is anti-vaccine doesn't change the fact.

September 9, 2011 - 5:49pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Joanna Karpasea-Jones)

"vaccination is recognized as having a starter function for the onset of autism"

That's from a 1976 report of a single case. By citing it, you seem to ignore 35 years of research that you clearly cannot understand. You might just go back to the "refrigerator mother" hypothesis. (Note the spelling of hypothesis.)

September 9, 2011 - 6:13pm
(reply to Anonymous)

I was just using it to show that this issue has been around for a lot longer than Andrew Wakefield. The case was a single case, yes, but as the author said vaccines were recognised as a starter function for autism, there must have been other cases before that or it wouldn't have been recognised as such.

September 10, 2011 - 8:43am
(reply to Anonymous)

The above comment was mine but for some reason it logged me out so I didn't show as me.

September 9, 2011 - 4:34pm
EmpowHER Guest

Great article Joanna. Autism is simply a term from the psychiatric DSM-IV manual. It's nothing but a smokescreen. It provides an alibi for the drug companies who added mercury to vaccines at levels 250 times higher than hazardous waste levels (based on toxicity characteristics). It provides an alibi for the CDC, FDA, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the other drug company cronies who are responsible for the safety of our children. It provides an alibi for the pediatricians who administered this poison. It provides an alibi for health insurance companies so they don't have to pay for treatment for these sick kids. It provides an alibi for psychiatrists so they can force powerfull anti-psychotic drugs on these kids who are already terribly confused.

There will never be an identifiable cause for autism. There are though 21 published papers which identify the underlying medical condition of autism as neuroinflammatory disease. My favorite is ' Neuroglial activation and Neuroinflammation in the Brain of Patients with Autism'. This was published by John Hopkins University. Now, do you want to debate whether mercury, a known neurotoxin, added to childhood vaccines at levels 250 times higher than what the EPA identifies as hazardous waste, causes neuroinflammatory disease? Do you want to debate whether brain damaged kids behave in a way so that some psychiatrist can label them as somewhere on the 'spectrum'?

September 9, 2011 - 11:10am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Great article. Thank you so much. I just can't believe how ANGRY some people get to your articles. There is obviously something going on with autism and vaccines. You didn't see so many cases of autism 40 years ago. Plus people are reversing it with diet and therapy when they stop the vaccinating their children. I personally know of a family who reversed it and their Doctors still are telling them they are crazy. Mothers know their own children, and when they react to a vaccine I think Drs should listen! But unfortunately when parents speak up they are told they are crazy or are scared into complying. I am a mom of many and most of my kids are NOT vaccinated but a few older ones are and thank God they didn't develop autism but the ones that have had vaccines have a host of issues, from eczema, allergies, food allergies, etc..... and my un- vaccinated ones are hardly ever sick. They have had chicken pox, whopping cough, measles and their immune systems have fought it off since it wasn't compromised with vaccines. You keep posting information and thank for standing up and speaking the truth. God Bless.

September 9, 2011 - 11:29am
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