Seizures and the Immune System – Part 2
One of the things I love most about Age of Autism readers are the intelligent and sophisticated comments they leave on articles.
In response to my article “Seizures and the Immune System” which detailed findings from New York University and the Scripps Institute that a meningitis virus in mice causes the T-cells to respond abnormally, resulting in inflammation and seizures I received the following comment from Cherry Sperlin Misra.
“A pertinent point may come from Dr. Isaac Pessah at U.C. Davis; His work showed that even very low concentrations of thimerosal (mercury) damaged the immune system. It happened in this way: Dendritic cells are the kingpins of the immune system. Each dendritic cell controls 200-300 T cells. When dendritic cells are affected by mercury, they first begin to send aberrant signals to the T-cells and when further damaged, they cease to send signals. Perhaps T cells in the brain are unable to function normally after mercury affects their controllers. This would give bacteria and viruses that reach the brain (including those introduced thru vaccines), the opportunity to do damage. Perhaps they would be, in effect, unstoppable.”
And of course when I checked out that research I found that the article (“Uncoupling of ATP-Mediated Calcium Signaling and Disregulated IL-6 Secretion in Dendritic Cells by Nanomolar Thimerosal”, July 2006 edition of Environmental Health Perspectives, the peer-reviewed publication of the National Institute of Environmental Health Science), had been accurately quoted. Our readers don’t get much wrong.
Because like everybody who reads Age of Autism I’m trying to get to the bottom of not just how our kids have been damaged, but how to recover them. My approach has been to listen to anybody who thinks they have something to offer, then try to figure out the commonalities between the differing accounts.
I’ve researched the possible role of HHV-6 in children with autism, as well as the stealth virus issue raised by another of Jacqueline's doctors. Can viruses act in ways which cause them to evade the immune system? Once they gained a foothold, could they disrupt the mitochondria, leading to low cellular energy, and the accumulation of heavy metals? It's an intriguing possibility and worthy of further study. You might say that whenever the issue of viruses is raised I’m listening. I do believe viruses play a significant role in autism and seizures. I mentioned before that with the UV light treatment I used to stimulate her cellular energy (and conceivably battle viruses) I got my first high mercury readings (23, reference range 5). Now I can also add a high lead reading (180, reference level 5) from a recent test.
While these results are gratifying, my child is still very seriously affected with autism and seizures. There are significant changes, but I keep looking for better treatments and a clearer understanding of what is going on with my daughter. Until she’s “recovered”, that’s my mission.
A recent visit to my local DAN doctor was instructive on how many practitioners are now looking at autism as an issue of both “infections and toxins.” While we seem to have a good idea of the toxins (mercury, aluminum, arsenic, lead, et al) on infections we’re not quite sure if the biggest players are viruses, bacteria, or fungus. And when my DAN doctor wanted to go after toxins rather than viruses first, it reminded me a bit of the bitter civil war in the satirical “Gulliver’s Travels”, between one group of little people who declared you had to open an egg from the small side, and another who believed the only proper way to open an egg was from the large side.
When my local DAN doctor saw the high lead reading she said it was “astonishing!” and comparable to what she gets from IV chelation. In the past I’d been wary of IV chelation, but in the years since I first looked at it the field seems to have come a long way.
Then I was recently re-reading Jenny McCarthy’s book “Mother Warriors” and came across the section about Stan Kurtz, now president of Generation Rescue. (Hey, he’s practically the only decent dad in the book, so naturally I’d gravitate to him!) He’s all over the viral connection to autism. Here’s an excerpt from “Mother Warriors” about Stan’s story.
“I didn’t know where or how viruses came into play. I just thought, “All right, I’ll check this out.” So I began research on the viral stuff and I was like, “Oh my God! A viral pattern!” An ongoing infection can mimic a lot of the biochemistry we see in autism.
Then I started looking at the medical literature and found there are cases of late-onset autism at fourteen and age thirty-one from a herpes virus. A fourteen-year-old girl gets a virus and bang: She’s autistic. A thirty-one-year-old man, boom: autistic.
As early as 1981 there was medical literature talking about medical treatments and the reversal of autism. How the f*** doesn’t everybody know this? All you have to do is go into PubMed, a free search engine for accessing MEDLINE, the database of peer-reviewed medical literature sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. When you type in “autism and viruses” or “autism and herpes”, you will find these cases immediately. So I was thinking, “I can’t believe this! This is insane!” (P. 173-174)
Then there are the three ways the lawyers in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding are presenting their cases. The first theory is that the measles virus and thimerosal cause autism. The second is that thimerosal on its own can cause the disorder. The third is that the measles virus on its own can cause it. We’re supposed to be getting a decision by the end of January. (Although that's now come and gone!) And of course, there's the Hannah Poling case in which the government admitted that the vaccines somehow affected her production of mitochondrial energy and caused both her autism and seizures.
When we look at Dr. Pessah's research from U.C. Davis we get a picture of how mercury can alter the dendrites, resulting in T-cells not responding as they should and calling in an overabundance of monocytes and neutrophils which in turn causes the brain inflammation long noted in people with autism. When you look at the stealth virus theory along with the research from New York University and the Scripps Institute you get a picture of how certain viruses are evading the immune system. Do these viruses also affect cellular energy, leading to a retention of heavy metals? Are these approaches mutually exclusive? Or are we finally understanding the various ways in which the body's immune system can fail to adequately respond to certain challenges and cause autism?
Infections and toxins. It seems to be the mantra of our cause. When I went after viruses, I got metal excretions. When people go after metals are they getting rid of viruses, bacteria, and fungus as well?
And so I struck a deal with my local DAN doctor. I said I wanted to go after viruses and other infections first, then look at going after the metals specifically. Like one of the little people in “Gulliver’s Travels”, I’m choosing one side of the egg. If it doesn’t work, I’ll try the other side.
All I’m concerned about is getting to the person inside. Just like all of you are. Keep the comments coming. Together we're going to figure this out.
Kent Heckenlively is the Legal Editor of Age of Autism
I was just browsing the internet - interested in various topics. There is no history of autism in my family. My third son, born in 2005 when I was 35, showed characteristics of autism when he was about 3-4 years of age: no direct eye contact; ignoring voice commands; biting fellow nursey children; very slow to learn to write; unco-ordinated. Parents and school staff were very patient and gentle but tough and consequently he developed quite normally into a loving caring 7-8 year old with a tight friendship group and went from bottom to top table even though a summer baby. When he was 10 he complained of very itchy skin (no signs). Six months later he developed a rash on extremities of arms and legs and shoulder blades, and then slight systemic upset for 5 weeks which involved mild vomiting 15-5 times daily, and bright flushed cheek/high temperature at the start. I looked up everything to do with rashes at GP thought it might be "viral" possibly PLEVA. The rash on his arms persisted but faded over next six months (maybe due to sunlight exposure); his legs from knee to ankle took longer and he still has the occassional outbreak of spots, but almost cleared. My point is, recent austism research has pointed to a bacterial gut connection. Could there be a connection between Parvovirus B19, PLEVA and Autism?
Posted by: Rachel J. Brindle | February 23, 2017 at 08:22 AM
Diana F wrote about Pleva;
Yes, we all have episode of this! Only very few, usually around the hair line or in the scalp!
These things are almost not noticable at all. They form a flat thing on top of the barely noticable bump and that will flake off. Then it either goes away or in a few days there will be another flat flake again!
Posted by: Benedetta | December 31, 2010 at 10:09 AM
I never heard of it so I looked it up. It is caused from bites of sandflies in Peru????
Closest thing around here is cat scratch fever, but that is a limiting disease that the body will get over???
You are goig to have to give a few more detail than that. Please???
Posted by: Benedetta | December 30, 2010 at 10:16 PM
We tested and found bartonella --DX prior PDD-NOS and PANDAS
Posted by: Randy | December 30, 2010 at 07:39 PM
Dear Kent, I wish you strength, I think you are a wonderful and caring father. I think
the vaccination issue is quite complex, as each ingredients causing some sort of a harm.I look it each ingredient in the vaccine,their properties,their history, their side effects,how they effect or enhance the other ingredients. The vaccines
are like an orchestra, where each ingredient
will do its damage.Eg.aluminum hydroxide is an adjuvant if mercury present in the vaccines that the child receive they will be more powerful together.Detergents like polysorbate 80 will be enhanced by boric acid and become more powerful to interfere
with lipids and proteins.If salt is present
(NaCl) then detergency will also increase.
These detergents will weaken the blood brain barrier, so we know that the viral proteins are able pass to the central nervous system.The dendrites are hyperstimulated due to the fact that they use combination of multiple aluminum adjuvants and if yeasts presents,multiple antigens presents,so now we see the rapid rise of auto immune disorders.The brain also receive
20 % of the circulating blood and all the toxins and viral particles together with the help of the detergents are able to damage the mitochondrial membranes and will cause cellular energy loss.All the best to you,we will have to find all the answers and help our children.
Posted by: Concerned Professional | October 15, 2009 at 12:34 AM
Interestingly, Isaac Pessah received an "Inaugural CAN Environmental Innovator Award" from CAN helping to fund his work in this area, before CAN merged with Autism Speaks. This was "made possible by a generous gift from Sallie and Tom Bernard" and is described on the AS web site.
Posted by: Twyla | February 05, 2009 at 11:56 AM
Thank you for this article! :)
I just wanted to state that my son has been on Valtrex for 5 months and that new Enhansa supplement as well for 2 months....I can't believe it is just coincidence that he is now seizure free (as of 3 weeks ago- according to his latest sedated EEG). His language and behavior has improved dramatically, as well. His teachers tell me he is talking up a storm at school and is very focused as of late.
While I believe a non-toxic, organic diet is also extremely important to children with seizures and autism, I firmly believe that his anti-viral treatments were the final clincher in putting an end to his seizures.
Posted by: Julie Swenson (note how I use my full name) | February 04, 2009 at 10:02 PM
Thank you very much, Garbo. I'll check that out.
Posted by: Diane F. | February 04, 2009 at 09:39 PM
Diane F. -- just wanted to mention that one of the teen girls who had a terrible reaction to Gardasil also had pityriasis lichenoids. They are looking for "comparables" to compare notes; you can find them via www.jenjensfamily.blogspot.com
I don't know anything about the condition but the name stuck with me...
Posted by: Garbo | February 04, 2009 at 09:08 PM
Thanks for this article. I have been thinking about Stan Kurtz's chapter in Jenny's book a lot lately. My son has responded to many of the same treatments that his son did. We have not tried any anti-viral treatments,mostly focusing on his fungal issues. Anti-fungal tx has improved his behaviour and cognition immensely. He developed molloscum contagiosum-related to pox virus on his right arm last year after starting MB-12 and supplements. It is supposed to go away on its own according to doctors in 6 months-5 years,depending on when the host's immune system recognizes it. This pox virus started spreading to his torso after a year and his body cannot recognize it to fight it. If his body is not responding to this virus on the outside,I can imagine that he is having an issue with viruses internally as well. His chicken pox titers are 5x normal after 1 dose given 5 years ago. My instincts are telling me anti-virals may help.Thanks for the info.
Posted by: SFelix | February 04, 2009 at 02:07 PM
When I first started down the autism-recovery journey, I was looking for "the" cause, as if it was either this or that. I now know it's the state of the body - that many different pathogens and toxins can cause. Just like pneumonia can be caused by either viruses, bacteria, fungi, boating accident, or etc., autism has many causes. As with pneumonia you have hampered breathing due to fluid in the lungs, with autism, you have immune dysfunction due to overload of pathogens and toxins.
I have found (from reading numerous reports) that pleomorphic bacteria appears to be the number one cause, followed by mercury and other toxins, followed by viruses. The pleomorphic bacteria wears down the immune system, but the person still looks and acts normal. When a toxin comes along, they can not secrete it, so they stock-pile it, instead. When a virus comes along, they can not fight it off, so they stock-pile it as well. Since their immune system is broke, they do not show a sick response. Thus, the pathogens just live in them happily, reproducing, causing brain swelling and sludgy blood and swelling of capillaries so that blood flow is hampered. Several defects throughout the body also happen, clogged galbladders and livers cause lack of bile and lack of glutathione, etc. This all adds to the domino affect. What are those pleomorphic bacteria starting this whole mess. So far, they appear to be lyme, Bartonella, and/or mycoplasma fermentes.
To add to this problem, most lab tests are truthfully unreliable and will not detect this, and most doctors are unaware of this. And to even make matters worse, doctors who treat lyme are being de-licensed just for treating lyme. What's really going on, I don't know, but this whole thing is very scarey. What I do know is that I have read A LOT, and I mostly pay attention to what parents say makes the differences in their children. Almost every parent will say, when I give my child antibiotics, either a dramatic decrease or a dramatic increase in symptoms happens. This implies that bacteria seems to be the main thing involved. Yes, they report detoxing and anti-virals help, but not as much and not until the treatment has been going on for a long time. With bacteria treatment, the changes are noticed right away. Thus, it's got to be bacteria. Just like AIDS is caused by a pleomorphic virus, and thus they stock-pile pathogens and toxins, so do those with autism But with autism, it's a pleomorphic bacteria, instead.
I do not mean to let vaccines, mercury, gmos, preservatives, cell phones, etc. off the hook. They are all guilty as well. They all do contribute to this problem. It's quite possible that our bodies would be able to fight off this pleomorphic bacteria had they not been further stressed by these other contributors.
Let me add, that as much as I have not seen the phrase "autism is caused by pleomorphic bacteria" said by anyone as of yet, all other phrases and points in this comment were obtained from reports previously made by others.
Posted by: Heidi N | February 04, 2009 at 09:15 AM
Check out Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, M.D., PhD who talks a lot about the virus and autism connection. He also sees our exposure to EMF increases the virulence of these viruses very interesting reading. More testing for us!!!
Posted by: Maureen O | February 04, 2009 at 08:42 AM
Speaking of T-cells, my son (ASD) was diagnosed with Pityriasis lichenoids et varioliformis acuta (PLEVA), two years ago.
His case is not as severe as these photos. We treat it with plenty of antioxidants and natural Vit. E cream, as per our DAN, and it is under control, waxing and waning, but not in remission. Our DAN had not seen it before in children with autism.
Posted by: Diane F. | February 04, 2009 at 07:55 AM
hmmmm.... I was all over my autism friends and facebook last night b/c my son had a very verbal evening... I was gathering opinions on what they thought might be the case. Their replies got me thinking...
We happened to all be sick as heck right now and he is on antibiotics among other things. He is also covered in hives... a reaction to his new seizure med. Strep Throat... flu... fever(which never made him lucid before last night)...
I started pondering this today too. That glimpse I had into Gavin for a short time (He wasn't as verbal today) really energized me. I have tried so many things with limited results.
That glimpse and this post really have my brain firing now!
Posted by: Jenny | February 03, 2009 at 10:58 PM
No detected glutathione is an indicator that Riley has not been able to clear himself of heavy metals. My DAN doctor is starting my daughter on glutathione IV pushes as we wait for her test results to come back.
The metals test probably doesn't give a full reading as to what's inside him.
The porphyrin test from Laboratoire De Phillipe Auguste is something that I belive you can order, or do in combination with your doctor. I've had one doctor say the results are variable, and the other say they're very reliable. I've just sent another test out to them (my DAN doc says I didn't do the full test), so I'll probably post those findings when I get them back in a week or two.
I'm generally hopeful as I jump back into the DAN world that it seems as if so much has been learned in the past few years.
All the best,
Posted by: Kent Heckenlively | February 03, 2009 at 09:18 PM
Thank you for your continual quest for what is going on medically in your daughter and all the kids.
Though my Megan will be 16 in 4 weeks, I worry daily about her health...her autism.
She has not had seizures but we all are learning that the teens years and even beyond can bring a host of problems.
Another one of the original Kanner patients was a girl. Elaine was her name. According to his report, she initially had a normal EEG as a young child but then in later years the report states-"She has epileptic seizures occasionally of grand mal type and is receiving antiepileptics and tranquilizers." She was 39 at the time of the report.
So, yes, please include me as another searcher for the answers. Since AAP/CDC, most media,and the Offit gang continue to slander that, "this stuff just happens with autism", is the mantra of the uneducated and I have to say, dishonest.
But we know that this mercury (aluminum rising), viral, bacterial illness is wreaking havoc on these kids as the unholy 3 above ignore their plight and instead add insult to injury by adding more vaccines and turn their back on this susceptible population.,,,that is growing each day.
Posted by: Teresa Conrick | February 03, 2009 at 09:18 PM
Can anyone answer a few question for me? As you all know, we are fairly new to the biomed treatments and I've recently been able to pull a few tests for Riley. There were 2 that concerned me. The first is, apparently, Riley has no detected glutathione levels in him. Does this mean a possible Mito problem? We have an appt on Feb 13th at the Cleveland Clinic to see a doctor about this possiblilty. Should I have him tested for MBP? As was stated in the other article?
I also had a metals lab done on him. I wasn't expecting this to come back as all that significant because it's my understanding that number 1, the metal doesn't hang out in the blood stream for very long...that it deposits itself in the fatty tissues. Number 2, the best way to get a true reading is to do the urine test. Should I figure out a way to get a proferin (sp?) test on him. He is not potty trained and I really don't know how we could get a urine from him even with one of those "bags" taped to the front of him. I think, ok know, he would rip it off.
Is the fact that Riley's mercury level is greater that 2 out of 5 (ref range) bad? Even though he had his vaccines so long ago? Shouldn't it be lower in the blood stream?
If anyone can help me with this I would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you Kent. I find your articles so informative and they make me question. I just want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to help my son. That means everything from tests and biomeds and therepies.
Posted by: rileysmom | February 03, 2009 at 07:09 PM
Chronic infectious diseases, including tick-borne infections such as Borrelia burgdorferi may have direct effects, promote other infections and create a weakened, sensitized and immunologically vulnerable state during fetal development and infancy leading to increased vulnerability for developing autism spectrum disorders. A dysfunctional synergism with other predisposing and contributing factors may contribute to autism spectrum disorders by provoking innate and adaptive immune reactions to cause and perpetuate effects in susceptible individuals that result in inflammation, molecular mimicry, kynurenine pathway changes, increased quinolinic acid and decreased serotonin, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and excitotoxicity that impair the development of the amygdala and other neural structures and neural networks resulting in a partial Klüver–Bucy Syndrome and other deficits resulting in autism spectrum disorders and/or exacerbating autism spectrum disorders from other causes throughout life.
Support for this hypothesis includes multiple cases of mothers with Lyme disease and children with autism spectrum disorders; fetal neurological abnormalities associated with tick-borne diseases; similarities between tick-borne diseases and autism spectrum disorder regarding symptoms, pathophysiology, immune reactivity, temporal lobe pathology, and brain imaging data; positive reactivity in several studies with autistic spectrum disorder patients for Borrelia burgdorferi (22%, 26% and 20–30%) and 58% for mycoplasma; similar geographic distribution and improvement in autistic symptoms from antibiotic treatment. It is imperative to research these and all possible causes of autism spectrum disorders in order to prevent every preventable case and treat every treatable case until this disease has been eliminated from humanity.
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | February 03, 2009 at 06:00 PM
The best way to address seizures, at least in my histroy in my kids, is to address the infections, the toxins, etc, and the resulting inflammation in the brain. By also addressing thyroid function, which controls ATP in the brain, is also another method.
1. Find if they have LYME (www.igenex.com ), IgG and IgM WB PCR/Fish Babesia/Bartonella IFA - treat with abx's such as minocycline/zithromax/mepron
2. Viruses - Herpes 6/CMV or EBV - lauric acid-monolaurin/olive leaf, acyclovier/gancyclovier/IvIG - especialy for IgG subclass deficiencies
3. Address thyroid, usually kids with seizures have hypothyroid. Thyroxin treatment compound pharmacist.
4. HBot, to get more oxygen in there. Do while using Abx's to penetrate cells. Oxygen water, no heat at night, no EMF in bedroom.
5. Reduce inflammation - Benicar - and or COX 2 inhibitors/celery juice (not kidding).
6. No gluten, corn, soy, casein, MSG, GMO foods, pesticide free foods.
7. ATP cocktail, co enzyme Q10, B vitamins, Zinc (go slow on Zinc), Vit K2, Magnesium Gluconate, VIT C
8. Herbs - Cats claw, valerian root for flares. Cowden Herbs (google)
9. Have an evacuation cleaning of the entire colon...detox liver with Milk Thistle
10. Edgar Cayce Castor oil Mineral Pack on Stomach - wool/heat pack
11. Kallawalla - bmr-biological response modifier herb.
12. NO CLO, bad for seizures...try to find out the specific oils your child may be having problems with, is he having problems with Delta 6, converting omega threes and sixes? this is important.
13. Remember, the critical window is puberty...grey matter changes then, and may give liscence for the brain to be even more excitable.
14. Cranial Sacral Therapy.
Hope this helps someone who's child is suffering.
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | February 03, 2009 at 05:42 PM
Interesting article, Kent. I still wonder how much our mass exposure to SV-40 from polio vaccines, in us parents born in the late 50's and 60's is related, (if at all) to so many of our children having problems. Thanks for all your research!
Posted by: jen | February 03, 2009 at 11:24 AM
Awesome reading this morning Kent, thanks.
I came across this the other day-
"Researchers said the children with both HIV and measles had higher than normal levels of CD8 T-cells, which are a measure of immune response. These elevated levels of CD8 cells, also known as killer T-cells, were found at the same time the children had suppressed levels of HIV in their blood. After the children recovered from their bouts with measles, viral levels went back up."
so, if the measles are causing an increase in T-cells, yet the T-cells don't know how to function, they will keep increasing, causing inflammation?
Posted by: Monica | February 03, 2009 at 11:02 AM
Joann, the recordings and transcripts of the Cedillo, Hazelhurst, and Snyder cases are here:
Posted by: nhokkanen | February 03, 2009 at 11:01 AM
I thought I read somewhere that the lawyers decided not to present 3 theories to Autism...
Posted by: Joann Mrozinski | February 03, 2009 at 09:07 AM
Good morning, Kent. Just wanted to share a very recent finding with you regarding your desire to go after viruses in your daughter. Apparently, the lauric and capric acid in virgin coconut oil is antimicrobial and kills HIV, measles, yeast, fungus, H. pylori, candida albicans, and other organisms. There are actual medical studies on this, so you may want to investigate this. I just started feeding macaroons to my kids, and to my surprise, they like them (which is odd as they never agree on anything). Macaroons are GFCF, too. I am also blending the oil into their drinks (makes them look and taste tropical and exotic). Who knew the things found in nature could be so amazing?
Posted by: Gayle | February 03, 2009 at 08:12 AM
Great stuff, Kent. Keep it coming. I just read that book about false profits and I can't help but compare the author who leads the charge to do-nothing for the children and a father who is pulling out all the stops in helping his own.
Posted by: Harry Hofherr | February 03, 2009 at 08:06 AM
On the day my son was born, while he was getting the birth dose of Hepatitis B, I was getting the rubella vaccine. I breastfed him for a whole year. My son was exposed to a known virus that causes autism and a huge dose of heavy metals (with no blood brain barrier in place) on the day he was born. Any wonder he has autism.
Posted by: Maggie | February 03, 2009 at 07:15 AM
Hi Kent, here is more on how/why viruses may be implicated in autism:
(you may want to read the introduction page first)
The part on seizures link to viruses/inflammation, calcium signalling and autism is not online yet - unfortunately a book in itself.
you may also find this of interest, on virus-induced CNS Dysfunction (autism not mentioned specifically):
Posted by: Natasa | February 03, 2009 at 06:32 AM