By Teresa Conrick
Megan, born in 1993, regressed into an Autism diagnosis by 1995. She had chronic ear infections and behavioral regression after vaccinations but the MMR vaccine was the most pronounced. Meg's MMR titers, the antibodies obtained from her blood now, reveal high numbers since that fateful day, June 18th, 1994. She received the MMR vaccine that one time only, as I was concerned about her health and behavior thereafter. Vaccination to me had become a personal and conscientious belief that something was not right for my daughter.
The immediate days after June 18th: Fever, rash on body, ear infection & not looking at us.
The following weeks: Ear infection, not happy, crying, lethargic, picky eating, difficulty climbing stairs, staring spells, loss of previous words & appearing deaf. Dr. diagnosed her with a "virus."
The following months: Rash, loose stools, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, another "virus" per Dr., irritable, nosebleeds, regression of receptive language, loss of play, loss of counting, loss of laughing, sensory defensive, waking with pain & crying from GI upset.....
When she was about 4 years old, Meg was scheduled to get the second dose of MMR. I declined with a religious exemption. NOTE- this was 1997, well before the brave and brilliant, Dr's Wakefield, Murch, Walker-Smith, et al's paper in the Lancet: We investigated a consecutive series of children with chronic enterocolitis and regressive developmental disorder....Onset of behavioural symptoms was associated, by the parents, with measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination in eight of the 12 children, with measles infection in one child, and otitis media in another.
Disregard the word, "RETRACTED", as their research was solid but the avalanche of Public Health fear and Pharmaceutical greed caused a Blackout.
Still today, I search for answers to not only help Meg's health but to help others understand the science that keeps evolving. The MICROBIOME is a big piece of both the IMMUNE SYSTEM and AUTISM. It's connection is becoming more well known. Vaccine ingredients, pesticides and mercury, controversial as they may seem to HEALTH, cannot be ignored in our children's lives. Facts are facts. Meg's life was forever changed. Can we learn now what to do for her and so many others? The love we have for our children is the biggest fuel in our quest to help them.
Let's take a look at some of the science:
..children were immunized with the MMR vaccine at 18 months of age. MMR vaccine-induced antibody titers were measured in plasma samples obtained at 36 months of age. Infants' blood samples obtained at birth, 3–5 days and at 4 and 18 months of age were analyzed for T- and B-cell numbers, proportions of naive and memory T and B cells, and fractions of putative regulatory T cells. Multivariate factor analyses show that higher anti-MMR antibody titers were associated with a lower degree of adaptive immune maturation, that is, lower proportions of memory T cells and a lower capacity of mononuclear cells to produce cytokines, but with higher proportions of putative regulatory T cells.
...One principal finding was that higher anti-MMR antibody titers were associated with delayed T-cell maturation.
...These results indicate that higher anti-mumps and anti-rubella IgG titers are related to delayed T-cell maturation, which was also observed for higher anti-measles IgG titers
...The main finding from the current study is the association between delayed adaptive immune maturation and higher magnitudes of MMR vaccine-induced antibody titers.
That seems important and maybe pertinent in our situation. Is the Adaptive Immune System important in AUTISM?
Overall these data indicate significantly altered adaptive cellular immune function in children with ASD that may reflect dysfunctional immune activation, along with evidence that these perturbations may be linked to disturbances in behavior and developmental functioning.
So could immune system problems contribute to an inability to have normal social interactions? The answer appears to be yes, and that finding could have significant implications for neurological diseases such as autism-spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.
“The brain and the adaptive immune system were thought to be isolated from each other, and any immune activity in the brain was perceived as sign of a pathology. And now, not only are we showing that they are closely interacting, but some of our behavior traits might have evolved because of our immune response to pathogens,” explained Jonathan Kipnis, chair of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience. “It’s crazy, but maybe we are just multicellular battlefields for two ancient forces: pathogens and the immune system. Part of our personality may actually be dictated by the immune system.”
Or this newer study too, showing the specific importance of the Adaptive Immune System in Autism:
Individuals with ASD are characterized by deficits in social interactions and communication as well as by repetitive, stereotyped behavior. These behavioral abnormalities are detectable in early childhood and continue throughout life. Although the prevalence of ASD is relatively high, i.e., at least 1 in 68 children in the United States, it is not fully understood what causes this complex neurodevelopmental disorder (1-3). A recent study by Filiano et al. (4) unraveled a novel mechanism regulating sociability, which may explain why some children develop ASD. The authors can convincingly demonstrate that an intact adaptive immune system is needed for correct social behavior.
We can see that the role of the ADAPTIVE Immune System is very important AND very impaired in Autism.
Could Meg's chronic ear infections - "otitis media" - that persisted for years, also be connected here? Very possibly as shown by this research, especially if high vaccine antibodies are perceived by the body to be a persistent virus? For Meg, strep infections, sinus infections, and GI infections began to multiply as well.
Although MV infection itself is not commonly lethal, MV-induced suppression of the immune system results in a greatly increased susceptibility to opportunistic bacterial infections that are largely responsible for the morbidity and mortality associated with this disease...These results document that MV infection can suppress both innate and adaptive immune responses and lead to increased susceptibility to bacterial infection.
Research is showing this can happen, especially as we are looking at the MMR, a live attenuated, triple-viral vaccine:
....vaccination with a live attenuated viral vaccine can directly modulate colonizing dynamics of important and unrelated human bacterial pathogens, and does so in a manner highly analogous to that seen following wild-type virus infection.
BACTERIAL PATHOGENS.....back to the gut, the MICROBIOME and the epicenter of AUTISM.
As I began this article, I stated that I investigate the research to see how I can help my daughter and many others. The science keeps evolving and it is important to keep up with it. Meg also has high GAD 65 antibodies, positive antinuclear antibodies and very low IgG Immunoglobulin levels. All of that screams that her immune system does not work properly, perhaps also explaining her PANDAS/PANS episodes.
Here too, is more evolution in MMR research. How many children have had a similar fate but the science is just now catching up?
-- my comments in bold --
This is the first confirmed report of MuVJL5associated with chronic encephalitis and highlights the need to exclude immunodeficient individuals from immunisation with live-attenuated vaccines [ Meg was never tested....are they testing now?]. The diagnosis was only possible by deep sequencing of the brain biopsy. .........In summary, we report a case of progressive chronic encephalitis in a patient [An 18-month-old male infant] with SCID, in which the MuVJL5 vaccine strain was detected in brain biopsy by deep sequencing. This case emphasises the generally poor rates of pathogen detection in encephalitides, making a strong case for deep sequencing of brain tissue where other methods have failed. The similar pattern of viral mutations in this case and those of measles SSPE suggest a common pathogenic process and further work is currently underway to determine the contribution of fixed mutations to the chronic encephalitic phenotype observed in the patient. It is important to note that MMR continues to be a highly effective and safe vaccine in the vast majority of individuals [ no reference for this.....]. However, this case highlights the importance of developing strategies such as newborn screening to exclude the very small proportion of infants [ where is that data on small?] at extremely high risk of complications from live-attenuated vaccines.
Those are facts. Science. And that science is increasing in countries and states, towns and homes, and it is heartbreaking.
Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.