Blockbuster Primate Study Shows Significant Harm from One Birth Dose of a Mercury-Containing Vaccine
[Editor's update: The article is now available for purchase at Science Direct. See link below.]
By Mark Blaxill
A research team led by scientists from the University of Pittsburgh and Thoughtful House reported today that exposure to a birth dose of a hepatitis B vaccine that included an ethyl mercury preservative caused significant delays in the development of several survival reflexes in male rhesus macaque monkeys. The findings were published on line today in the journal Neurotoxicology. [See the abstract below and the link to a site where you can purchase the article on Science Direct HERE]
In the first safety study of its kind of the hepatitis vaccine birth dose, the researchers showed that male macaques vaccinated at birth with a hepatitis B vaccine (HBV) took more than twice as long as unexposed macaques to acquire three standardized skills typically used to measure infant brain development. The thirteen vaccinated monkeys each received a dose of Merck’s Recombivax® hepatitis B vaccine to which a weight-adjusted amount of the ethyl mercury-containing vaccine preservative thimerosal had been added (each dose included 2 micrograms of ethyl mercury as opposed to the human infant dose of 12.5 micrograms). Seven unexposed monkeys received either a saline placebo injection or no shot at all.
Over a two week period following birth, the researchers examined the infant macaques daily for their ability to perform nine basic reflexes (four reflexes were tested in two ways, so the paper reports thirteen performance results). Three of nine reflexes showed significant delays in vaccinated macaques while two other reflexes were delayed and “approached significance.” As for the three significant reflexes, vaccinated macaques learned more slowly to: 1) turn their head in response to a brush on the cheek (the root reflex); 2) open their mouth in response to a brush on the forehead (the snout reflex); and 3) suck on a nipple placed in their mouth (the suck reflex).
Although the paper is carefully worded and the results reported modestly, these findings are certain to receive intense scrutiny. For while hepatitis B vaccines currently produced in the United States no longer contain thimerosal, the vast majority of American infants born during the 1990s received a vaccine formulation similar to the one the thirteen vaccinated macaques received. In addition, thimerosal-containing HBVs are still routinely administered to newborn infants in developing countries such as Brazil. Consequently, the finding that early exposure to potentially toxic vaccine formulations can cause significant neuro-developmental delays in primates has explosive implications for vaccine safety management. These implications go far beyond the domestic HBV program and raise concerns about HBV formulations sold abroad as well as the domestic influenza vaccine program. Most influenza vaccines, including the vaccines in the upcoming swine flu program, contain thimerosal and are routinely administered to pregnant women and infants.
According to Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Executive Director of Thoughtful House and a co-investigator of the project, “What is particularly concerning is that in spite of the recommendation to remove thimerosal from vaccines a decade ago, millions of people, many of them children and pregnant mothers, are about to get mercury in their shots. Thimerosal is still routinely used in Hepatitis B and numerous other vaccines world-wide. ”
The authors are careful to point out several limitations of their analysis. According to the paper, “our study design does not enable us to determine whether it is the vaccine per se, the exposure to [thimerosal], or a combination of both that is causing the observed effects. “ In addition, the effects appear in some reflexes to be mediated by other risk factors such as birth weight and gestational age, suggesting that vaccinating premature and/or low birth weight infants may create especially high risk. “Infants of lower birth weight and gestational age were at greater risk” explained Dr. Laura Hewitson of the University of Pittsburgh, one of the principal investigators of the study. “The reflexes affected in this study are controlled by the brainstem, which regulates functions like heart rate, breathing, and intestinal activity, so these findings give us cause for concern, especially for low birth weight and pre-term infants who might be more susceptible to functional brain injury from this vaccine”.
Despite their interest in the brainstem, the authors note that the “the mechanism of these effects and the requirement for [thimerosal] is not known and requires further study.” At least some of that further study is underway. According to Wakefield, “This study is part of a larger research program looking at the safety of the vaccine schedule from birth to age four years.”
In fact, some findings from the group’s own further study may already be at hand. Close reading of the published paper reveals that these macaques were followed for only fourteen days from birth for adverse responses to HBV because “infants received further interventions on Day 14 which would have confounded the independent effects of the HB vaccine.” These further interventions were most likely additional vaccinations. Over a year ago, Age of Autism reported on a series of abstracts presented at an autism conference by many of the same authors (see HERE). These abstracts describe a study design in which multiple vaccines were administered, in addition to HBV. The current study design appears similar to the earlier reports, but differs from the previous abstracts in the number of vaccine exposures (one vs. multiple, including MMR) and the number of unexposed macaques (three vs. seven).
Careful methods, conservative findings
Basic reporting aside, it’s worth digging a bit deeper into some of the details of the study design, which will almost certainly attract further attention. There are numerous elements that go into a primate study like this, elements that can and should influence the scientific acceptance of the results. These include: the quality of the primate lab and research group, the quality of the study design and testing methods, the size of the sample, the authors’ statistical interpretations and potential biases.
Primate research expertise. The macaques were bred and housed at the primate nursery of the Pittsburgh Development Center (PDC) at the University of Pittsburgh, where the research team’s principal investigator, Dr. Laura Hewitson, is a member of the faculty. The PDC is a part of the Magee Women’s Research Institute of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine. PDC’s research mission includes stem cell development and infertility in addition to an infant development research program of which the Infant Primate Laboratory headed by Dr. Hewitson is the driving force.
The PDC was founded in 2001 and its primate program is relatively new. But the director of the PDC, Gerald Schatten, came to Pittsburgh from Oregon National Primate Center, one of nine National Primate Research Centers (NPRCs) sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition, the vaccine study’s PDC team has benefited from the direct involvement of two of the most prominent primate researchers in the nation. The late Gerald Ruppenthal was an active collaborator of the PDC and in that capacity also “assisted in the [vaccine] study design, training and implementation of the infant primate developmental measures prior to his death in 2004.”
Perhaps most importantly, one of the vaccine study co-authors is Dr. Gene Sackett, who was once director of the University of Washington’s Infant Primate Research Laboratory, another one of the nine NIH primate centers (now headed by Dr. Thomas Burbacher). He is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington. Along with Ruppenthal, Dr. Sackett was co-editor of one of the most widely used texts for primate research, Research Protocol and Technician’s Manual, published in 1992.
In short, while the PDC is a relatively new primate facility, both the PDC primate facility and the vaccine study team have benefited from the active support and participation of the country’s leading primate experts.
Study design and testing methods. The study was carefully designed and tightly controlled to prevent bias from entering into any of the assessments. Crucially, the exposure status of the macaques was not known to the team. “Neonatal assessments were performed by [Lisa A. Houser] who was unaware of the study group assignment of each animal, the number of animals in each study group and the number of study groups.” Adding rigor to the implementation of the testing, Houser “underwent extensive training” in making these assessments by the leading experts in the field, Gerald Ruppenthal, before his death.
In addition to Ruppenthal’s involvement as a trainer, Dr. Sackett’s involvement as co-author and data analyst ensured that Houser’s data collection was sound. Dr. Wakefield and Dr Hewitson designed the study, but neither was involved in data collection or statistical analysis. Dr. Wakefield’s role in the ongoing autism-vaccine controversy may make the design subject to added criticism; at the same time, it provided added incentive to make the design impervious to superficial criticism.
Sample size. At first glance, the number of infant primates involved, thirteen vaccinated macaques and seven unexposed (the paper avoids using the word “unvaccinated” to describe the latter group since four were injected with saline placebo and three received no shot at all) may seem low. Some might offer the concern that this sample is too small to draw any strong conclusions, but this would reflect ignorance of how primate research is typically conducted. Unlike rats and mice, which can be bred in laboratories in relatively large numbers, primates are expensive to raise. And since the purpose of study designs involving infant primates is to infer human exposure risk from the developmental outcomes of our closest animal relatives, the testing protocols are designed to be sufficiently precise so that valid conclusions can be drawn from small numbers of animals.
In other words, the sample is sufficiently large for a study of this type, especially since only two exposure groups were studied. In addition, all 20 macaques described were male, eliminating any confounding effect of gender and further raising the statistical power of the sample.
It’s worth comparing the size and composition of these study groups to that of two comparable research projects that have been frequently cited and widely accepted as sound. In the first of these, published in 2005, Dr. Thomas Burbacher, from University of Washington’s NPRC, led a study team that examined the effects of thimerosal and methyl mercury in infant primates. In this study, Burbacher’s team examined a different species of macaques in a mixed-gender sample that included seven controls and seventeen animals in each of the two (thimerosal and methyl mercury) exposure groups. The total study involved 41 infant male and female macaques. In a second comparable project, Dr. Burbacher published an influential series of studies on the effect of subclinical methyl mercury exposure, spanning five papers published from 1994-96, in adult macaques. His study sample examined multiple exposure groups with five female macaques in each group and only four unexposed females. The total study involved 27 adult female macaques.
It’s worth noting that the seven unexposed macaques reported in today’s paper represents an increase in unexposed animals relative to the three animals in the conference abstracts published last year. Last year’s control group was similar in size to the 1994-96 Burbacher control group (three infant males vs. four adult females) but may have raised concerns over adequate sample size. The current study’s unexposed population is equal in size to Burbacher’s infant (but mixed gender) 2005 control group and larger in size than the 1994-96 control group of adult females.
When considering both the confounding effects of gender and the number of animals per exposure group, today’s study compares favorably to both of these prior studies, with more gender specific controls than either of the Burbacher studies and more animals of a single gender in the main exposure group than either study as well.
Statistical interpretations. Setting aside the typical standards for primate work, from a purely statistical perspective the raw numbers involved in this vaccine study are still not large. That means that for any difference in developmental outcomes to reach statistical significance, it would have to be large. And despite the modest sample sizes, the statistical differences reported by the researchers are quite robust. Across a wide range of statistical tests the root reflex finding consistently reached significance with 99% confidence, the suck reflex finding reached significance with 98% confidence and the snout reflex finding reached 95% confidence in two out of three analyses and with 94.5% confidence in the third (95% confidence is the level generally accepted as “statistically significant”).
These findings are clearly sufficient to make the findings important, but it’s worth noting that the authors’ interpretation of their data analysis is highly conservative. In addition to significant findings in three of the nine reflexes, it’s quite plausible to make the case that two more of the reflexes were delayed by HBV exposure as well. The analysis of these reflexes--the auditory startle reflex and the grasp hand reflex--“approached significance” in each case. Two different methodological obstacles contributed to the failure to reach significance.
1. In the case of the auditory startle reflex, the sheer size of the difference between the two groups was larger than any of the three reflexes that showed statistically significant differences. The vaccinated macaques took a full two days longer on average to acquire the auditory startle reflex than the unexposed group; by contrast, the difference between the averages of the two groups’ time to acquire the root reflex was just 1.2 days. The difference in the auditory startle was also understated, since one of the vaccinated macaques never acquired the reflex during the entire two week observation period. Because of the modest sample size, however, the relatively larger variation in this group made the result significant with only 89% confidence.
2. In the case of the grasp hand reflex, a result that was significant with 93.5% confidence, both vaccinated and unexposed macaques acquired this reflex relatively quickly. But since every one of the unexposed macaques acquired the reflex at the first examination, the average time to acquire it was “left-censored”, meaning that it was assigned the minimum possible value of 0.5 days, and almost certainly overestimated the development time of the unexposed sample. If the unexposed group had been measured without any need for “left censoring”, then only a modest reduction (under 10%) in the mean time to acquire the grasp hand reflex would have been enough to bring this result into the significant range.
To make the point more simply, it would have taken only modest differences in the management of the data analysis to make over half of the measured reflexes show significant delays instead of a third of them. Pointing this out is not intended as a criticism of the study, however, but rather a demonstration of how conservative the authors were in their interpretation of the results.
Finally, for the three reflexes that were initially found significant, the authors dug deeper and conducted two different kinds of regression analysis to ensure that the differences were not affected by other factors such as premature birth or low birth weight (the study’s tables provide a painstakingly intricate array of these regression model outputs). The first of these showed a consistently strong developmental benefit of not being vaccinated, with unexposed macaques having a “risk” of developing the three reflexes (where the risk was actually a benefit) that was 3-5 times the “risk” of the vaccinated group (although the snout reflex risk level only reached 94% confidence). The second set of regressions attempted to distinguish whether the effect of vaccination was a main effect or the result of interaction with the effects of premature birth or low birth weight. In all models that compared main and interaction effects, the exposure effect was significant in way or the other: the root and snout reflexes were best explained as main effects (although the root reflect was significant as an interaction effect also), while the suck reflex appeared to be best explained as an exposure risk for low birth weight and/or premature infants.
It’s likely that most readers will skim through the results of these regression models, just confirming the fact that the results were significant. But it’s important to recognize how carefully the analysts have investigated if other factors besides exposure could explain the developmental delays of the vaccinated macaques. In all cases, the delayed development of these reflexes was clearly traced to vaccination.
Potential biases. One likely tactic of critics of the study will include attempts to nullify the evidence based on the alleged bias of those involved. For one, the study is privately funded and acknowledges some well known autism advocates as financial contributors. These include the Johnson family (Jane Johnson is co-author of Changing the Course of Autism, a member of the Board of Directors of Thoughtful House and Director of Defeat Autism Now!), SafeMinds, the Autism Research Institute and Elizabeth Birt. Although all of these groups make clear their research interest is vaccine safety, they are frequently attacked for being “anti-vaccine”, an epithet that will almost certainly be hurled again here.
The most aggressive attacks, however, will likely be reserved for the study authors. The basis of these attacks is best anticipated by the following conflict of interest disclosure in the published paper. “Prior to 2005, [Carol Stott] and [Andrew Wakefield] acted as paid experts in MMR-related litigation on behalf of the plaintiff. [Laura Hewitson] has a child who is a petitioner in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. For this reason, [Hewitson] was not involved in any data collection or statistical analyses to preclude the possibility of a perceived conflict of interest.”
Related evidence on the hepatitis B vaccine
In spite of the active involvement of autism-related organizations and parents in the study’s design and funding, this narrow investigation of HBV exposures doesn’t bear directly on the question of whether HBVs with (or without) thimerosal contribute to causing autism. The only harm described in these vaccinated macaques is in a tightly defined set of “survival reflexes” during a brief window after birth and exposure. We will have to wait for future reports from the research team to gauge both the nature and the persistence of the development delays in the vaccinated group.
At the same time, the narrow focus of the current study invites a similarly focused comparison to a small set of recent studies, published and unpublished, that explored the relationship between HBV/thimerosal exposure and autism or other neuro-developmental delays (NDDs). Three separate studies--two recently reported by a pair of scientists from Stony Brook University, the third disclosed via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and performed by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)—provided compelling additional evidence linking the birth dose of a thimerosal-containing HBV and elevated autism or NDD risk.
In the fall of 2008, Carolyn Gallagher and Melody Goodman, PhD candidate and Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine, respectively, at the Stony Brook University Medical Center, reported on their analysis of a sample of over 1800 children whose families were surveyed as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 1999-2000. They took advantage of two questions posed in that survey: 1) “Does your child receive Special Education or Early Intervention Services”; and 2) “Has the survey participant ever received the 3-dose series of the hepatitis B vaccine.” At the time of the survey, all HBVs administered to children under 10 years of age would have contained thimerosal.
When Gallagher and Goodman analyzed the risk of exposure to the 3 dose HBV series in children (the study didn’t query whether this dose included the birth dose, but the CDC’s universal birth dose recommendation was in place during the entire study period), they got back a surprising result. There was no apparent risk of HBV exposure in girls (there even appeared to be a protective effect), but the risk of needing special services in fully vaccinated boys was over twice as high as less vaccinated boys and the difference was statistically significant. When they adjusted the odds for confounding factors, they estimated the increased risk for boys needing special services after full HBV exposure to be fully 8.6 times higher than less vaccinated boys.
Subsequent to this publication, Gallagher and Goodman continued their investigation. Earlier this month, they published an abstract from a poster presentation that reported findings from a more focused investigation. In this analysis they looked at only the birth dose of HBV and boys born before 1999 whose parents reported their child had “received a professional diagnosis of autism.” The more precise data for this work was provided by a different survey, the National Health Information Survey (NHIS) and would again have included only thimerosal-containing HBV. They found that “U.S. male neonates vaccinated with hepatitis B vaccine had a 3-fold greater risk of ASD.”
So from two separate data sources, Gallagher and Goodman have produced findings that dovetail almost perfectly with today’s primate report. In male infants vaccinated at birth with thimerosal-containing HBV, the risk of immediate developmental delays (macaques), the need for early intervention services (NHANES) and autism (NHIS) is increased anywhere from three to eight fold.
If this finding is so clear, the obvious question is why the CDC’s vaccine safety apparatus hasn’t found the same thing.
The answer, of course, is that they have. In their very first examination of the risk of thimerosal exposure in infants, the single most startling finding was this: infants who received the largest exposure of thimerosal in the first month of life showed the highest risk of autism and several other NDDs. Buried deep in a pile of statistical tables that SafeMinds received under FOIA was a risk analysis conducted by CDC analyst Thomas Verstraeten showing statistically significant risk multiples for the most exposed infants. These ranged from 5 times the risk of unexposed infants in the case of sleep disorders to 11.5 times for autism. I summarized these data tables in a report written five years ago. You can find it HERE.
What happened to the CDC findings that are now forcing us to rediscover the risk of thimerosal-containing birth doses of HBV in monkeys? The answer is simple. The CDC team simply censored the data. Infants with the highest levels of thimerosal exposure--those who had received both the HBV and hepatitis B immune globulins--were simply removed from the study sample. In Verstraeten’s words, “the following children were excluded from the analysis…Children that received hepatitis B immunoglobulin as these were more likely to have higher exposure and outcome levels.”
Why they decided this was a legitimate exclusion is anyone’s guess. Unfortunately, it leads us all back to monkeys.
The report makes clear that future research is both needed and forthcoming. The immediate direction of that research is obvious. There is a clear, indeed urgent, need for further publications that describe what happened to the vaccinated macaques and their unexposed counterparts as succeeding vaccines were administered, including the thimerosal-containing DTaP and Hib vaccines and the MMR vaccine. These publications should include not just how the two macaque groups’ observable development proceeded, but also how their gastrointestinal tracts were affected by the vaccine exposures and how their brain development was changed. Judging from last year’s conference abstracts, the study team’s research program has included both brain imaging and gut tissue analysis, so the main obstacle to further dissemination of the research findings appears to be publication.
Between the May 2008 conference abstracts and today’s publication, over a year has passed and only a small portion of the promised insight from the original abstracts has been made public. The journal editors at Neurotoxicology have taken a courageous stand in publishing what is sure to be unwelcome evidence in some circles. Let’s hope we see more from this project team soon.
Mark Blaxill is Editor-at-Large for Age of Autism and a Director of Safeminds, one of the organizations that sponsored the study.
Abstract: This study examined whether acquisition of neonatal reflexes and sensorimotor skills in newborn rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) is influenced by receipt of the single neonatal dose of Hepatitis B (HB) vaccine containing the preservative thimerosal (Th). HB vaccine containing a standardized weight-adjusted Th dose was administered to male macaques within 24 hours of birth (n=13). Unexposed animals received saline placebo (n=4) or no injection (n=3). Infants were raised identically and tested daily for acquisition of 9 survival, motor, and sensorimotor reflexes by a blinded observer. In exposed animals there was a significant delay in the acquisition of three survival reflexes: root, snout and suck, compared with unexposed animals. No neonatal responses were significantly delayed in unexposed animals compared with exposed. Gestational age (GA) and birth weight were not significantly correlated. Cox regression models were used to evaluate the main effects and interactions of exposure with birth weight and GA as independent predictors and time-invariant covariates. Significant main effects remained for exposure on root and suck when controlling for GA and birth weight such that exposed animals were relatively delayed in time-to-criterion. There was a significant effect of GA on visual follow far when controlling for exposure such that increasing GA was associated with shorter time-to-criterion. Interaction models indicated that while there were no main effects of GA or birth weight on root, suck or snout reflexes there were various interactions between exposure, GA, and birth weight such that inclusion of the relevant interaction terms significantly improved model fit. This, in turn, indicated important influences of birth weight and/or GA on the effect of exposure which, in general, operated in a way that lower birth weight and/or lower GA exacerbated the detrimental effect of vaccine exposure. This primate model provides a possible means of assessing adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes from neonatal Th-containing HB vaccine exposure, particularly in infants of lower GA or low birth weight. The mechanism of these effects and therequirements for Th is not known and requires further study.
The same thing that happened to them happened to my son at two days old after receiving the HepB. We knew that his illness was significant, but we did not realize there was proof until reading this paper.
Posted by: Meadow Davidson | October 05, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Jen, if I'm understanding your posts correctly it sounds like your younger son is unvaccinated and less severely affected, while your older son was vaccinated and is more severely affected by autism?
Posted by: Twyla | October 25, 2009 at 02:05 AM
My 3rd son had an adverse reaction to his very first DPT 19 years ago. It was the 1 in 900 one listed in the PDR. I took him back the evening after the shot he had a weird high pitched scream that started about 6 hours post injection lasted for over 24 hours and reoccurred every time he was active over the next week. The only treatment his dr recommended was benadryl given every 6 hours. It did stop the screaming which was horrible. That child had a number of odd neurological quirks over the years. He had poor temperature regulation and ended up sleeping with us as no matter how many blankets or warm clothes he wore he would turn blue with cold sleeping in his crib at night. he was prone to febrile seizures too. He never got any further shots until he was almost 10 when they reformulated the DtP. His Guidance counselor thought he had ausbergers in middle school due to some behavioral oddities he is OCD but he met developmental milestones and was actually quite smart and did amazing in sports in high school.Since him I have been more than ordinarily slow to get the routine injections for my subsequent children they have not had any severe reactions but living through his was scary. they were usually caught up by kindergarten so as not to aggravate the school nurse but I wonder if my procrastination saved them the ordeal their brother went through. With the inexplicable rise in autism, ADD, AUSBERGERS, and bizarre severe food allergies like peanuts we need to ask ourselves what we are doing different and find out what the cause is, there is ample cause to suspect childhood immunizations after all the list of immunizations grows longer each decade and if your child has autism and no history of immunizations you need to realize that mercury is an environmental toxin not exclusive to vaccines. We live in a autism "cluster" most of the local lakes have consumption recommendations related to mercury contamination in the fish i.e. pregnant women and young children should not eat the fish
Posted by: Lori MIller | October 24, 2009 at 11:15 PM
When my daughter gave birth to her son she refused the Hep B shot for my grandson. When she got the bill from the hospital she discovered that she was charged for it. We never could comfirm if he was injected or not. The baby developed skin problems and an allergy to his mother's milk when he was brought home. Things got much worse when he was vaccinated at two months old. He developed severe food allergies and chemical sensitivities. He is now three years old and is allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, sesame, food dyes, dogs,,,the list goes on.
Had we known what we do now, he would have never left his mother's side while in the hospital and he would not have gotten the other vaccines at two months.
Posted by: Shirley Calabrese | October 22, 2009 at 09:42 PM
Jen , you could be right and wrong! You don't know nd I don't know why exactly our children suffer with these problems. However, It is our responsibility to question every possible source of such maladies and don't accept as gospel any one explanation !
Posted by: mike | October 22, 2009 at 02:26 AM
I was floored when I read this because I think this is exactly what happened to my son. He was born in Aug of 2000, he was an easy 3 hour labor and delivery, 9lbs, I dont recall his apgar but i know there were no problems. This was my 3rd child so I knew the ropes where breastfeeding is concered, he roomed in with me so he wouldn't be in the nursery to prevent pacifiers and bottles being given. I held him to my breast within minutes of being born, he latched on immediately and was a very strong nurser. He had a strong rooting, sucking reflex. At some point during my stay the nurse came to get him for his heel prick test. The reason I remember this so clearly is because I was so furious at what they did next.
My sons doctor told us that the hospital dr that did the circumcisions didn't think it necessary to use a local anesthetic but we could bring our baby in to his office a few days after birth and he would do it in the office with a local to reduce pain. We had also done this with our middle son.
What i remember is the nurse bringing him back and saying "He'll probably want to nurse because he was just circumcised" I was like WHAT! Of course she panicked and got upset because she didn't get our consent. She stated that the urologist was already there preforming for another boy so he wrote the order. I was seriously upset but since we had planned to have it done we decided to let it go.
The reason this is important is because I noticed he was not crying. I thought that was really strange after going through such a painful procedure and he was very listless, when I put him to my breast he did nothing. His lips were very floppy, it was like he had lost his sucking and rooting reflex. I couldn't figure out what was happening, the nurse suggested it was trauma from the circ. and I accepted that. With a lot of work he finally was able to nurse again but it was more like he would swallow when the milk came but he never recovered the rooting reflex or the initial strength of his sucking reflex.
I knew my son reacted badly to his 12 month shots. And when he had more shots to go to daycare at age 3 we lost him to autism completely. Thats when I started researching and I have always stated that I think they gave him the Hep B while he was getting his circ. and that was probably his first vaccine injury. He was not out of my sight at any other time. I have believed this for years with no confirmation, I have never heard of anyone else with this story. Now here it appears with the monkeys, I finally have my confirmation and know my instinct was right.
I have read statistics that the United States falls way behind other countries in successful nursing. I wonder if we have found our reason for that.
Posted by: jenb | October 07, 2009 at 01:15 PM
Will this group of primates be continued to be studied to see what happens with their next rounds of vaccinations? it would be interesting to see how the group diverges, if at all, with each round of vaccination.
Posted by: David | October 05, 2009 at 01:09 AM
It's time for them to start spitting out more studies!
Posted by: Claddaghmom | October 02, 2009 at 11:47 PM
No, pediatricians were NOT advised to stop recommending Tylenol, even though there is over ten years worth of evidence linking Tylenol to asthma and allergies. More research is needed, keep using it in the meantime, blah blah blah.
Tylenol is a mitochondrial toxin, derived from coal tar. It would be surprising if it weren't damaging children, even in the absence of vaccines. It already fries over 500 livers a year, and leads to thousands of hospitalizations, and that's more than enough reason to restrict its use. Too many people don't understand just how dangerous Tylenol really is.
It would be nice if *that* message were shouted as loudly as the vaccine message. My children could have been spared a lot of pain and suffering had I known this.
Posted by: Jen | October 02, 2009 at 10:03 PM
When my son suffered his 105.5 fever after the MMR vaccination, the pediatrician who administered it, matter of factly told me, "this happens some times", "just give him tylenol for the fever, he should be fine". Three years later when he had the speech/language skills of 10 month old, we decided to stop listening to the neurologist and see a DAN doctor. He told us the Tylenol processed in your liver reduces the bodies' glutathione levels dramatically and only adds inhibits the body from being able to detoxify from toxins/viruses in the vaccines. Obviously, you run out of treatment choices when the child's fever is 105.5. So, did Tylenol cause his autism -- I say no. It prevented a fever from reaching fatal proportions. BUT it most likely complicated an already thimersol and live virus overdosed immune system. No winners in this situation!
Posted by: Monica | October 02, 2009 at 03:54 PM
When we talk of all these out of control autoimmune diseases, it is pure insanity to say that they are genetic--in terms of passing down from parent to sibling.
If my genes are damaged due to vaccines, EMFs (yes, plenty of factual evidence that EMFs reduce immune systems and do cause harm), poison food, water and air, I would hardly claim that as being a legitimate, natural inheritance. NO, our gov, corporations and so forth ARE the reason we have so many problems today--the MILITARY being one of the worst contributors to our demise.
It is just sick when people cannot figure out, via timelines, when the explosion of diseases occcured--along with the upward shift in profits for telecom, pharma, oil, etc.
The breakdown of genes is man-made and getting worse because of the cowards that can't think for themselves and rely on the idiot box, or tainted gov, or industry-sponsored studies (that is laughable... industry sponsored anything).
Vote every one out of office that is in our gov offices today at the next election... put donald duck in and we could get better results. The cabinet and czars of this current madman makes anything else look good.
Posted by: KDK | October 02, 2009 at 03:17 PM
For natural solutions to Hepatitis C, bacteria and viruses, I invite you to visit my web site, http://aromatherapyliving.com - read about Juva Cleanse essential oil blend. We do have a choice and there are effective and safe and natural solutions - thank goodness for plants!
Posted by: Diana Ewald | October 02, 2009 at 01:38 PM
Didn't the news this spring say that the peds are now being advised not to push tylenol anymore, and instead for fever control use ibuprofen. They said they suppect, or proven to cause asthma.
I know that the Pertusis caused my son and daughter thier problems, I know the tetanus shot caused my husband his problem, I know that the hep B vaccine brought back and made my daughter's symptoms worse!
But if I had not given tylenol and asprin instead the night of my son's stroke, and then afterward I was told to give him four times the recommended dose of tylenol whenever he had fever to keep him from having seizures. If this did not cause worse problems for him in the end?
We should not have to be guessing about what caused the perfect storms in our children!!! That is the job of the CDC, NIH, and that other alphebet thingey IACC, so that is where I am putting my that deep seated anger, hate, rage, toward them
Posted by: Benedetta Stilwell | October 02, 2009 at 01:33 PM
You're free to call me an idiot or a troll or whatever, but I will have a voice too. I've been called much worse over on Orac's blog, so I am used to the name-calling. Though, I will say it's just as childish and unhelpful here as it is there. I want to know what happened to my boys as badly as the rest of you.
Just wanted to point out that this is not a study, but a hypothesis. No one has really looked into Tylenol being a causative factor in autism, although there is some research done by Dr. Rosemary Waring that shows kids with autism process acetaminophen differently that NT kids. Look it up.
I take "heritable" to mean something that is passed on to the fetus in utero, and I don't see why that would be so unreasonable. I'm sure that a lot of us moms have the same deficiencies (depleted glutathione, metal toxicities, dietary insufficiencies, gut dysbiosis, etc.) that we may be passing along to our unborn. Just a thought.
I think that the Tylenol hypothesis fits the timeline better, since the rise clearly starts almost immediately after aspirin was found to be linked to Reye's Syndrome.
You're probably right in that my younger son might not have qualified for an ASD diagnosis 20 years ago...severely learning disabled or speech delayed, but the PDD-NOS diagnosis stands just the same. It has been confirmed by more than one doctor, and it took several different clinicians to convince me. As I mentioned previously, I was in deep denial for a long time, and unfortunately, he didn't get help early enough. Still, he may lose that diagnosis as he ages, I am told. I am hopeful. In addition, his UMA shows a lot of the same deficiencies, yeast markers, etc. that are being seen in other kids with autism. In fact, his UMA looked a lot worse than my older, more severely affected son, and his bowel issues were also more severe. (chronic diarrhea that responded to dietary intervention.)
No problem, and I can understand the skepticism.
Posted by: Jen | October 02, 2009 at 12:23 PM
At the bottom right corner of the 1st page of the study you provide it states the "autism has been shown to be highly heritable..."
This statement alone makes me question the quality of the study. For me and mine we are experiencing a catastrophe of only this generation in our family....heritable? Laterally heritable at that?? I don't see it. I do however have concerns about tylenol and vaccines together and the synergistic effect of both. Maybe they are not mutually exclusive.
Posted by: kathleen | October 01, 2009 at 09:01 PM
Maybe your boys received the autism diagnosis du jour and shouldn't really be on the spectrum. Take it from someone who has 3 children -- two healthy and one totally autistic after an overdosed thimerasol immune system received the MMR vaccination and suffered seizures and a 105.5 fever. The regression was undeniable.
Speak for yourself and only yourself
Posted by: Monica McAloney | October 01, 2009 at 08:56 PM
A HepB shot for a newborn is a completely worthless and dangerous. Is "trace" a scientific term? They could use a "pinch" or "dash" of thimerisol instead. What medicine is prescribed for the baby if the mother has HepB? I bet it is not standard HepB shot.
Posted by: Mr. T | October 01, 2009 at 08:27 PM
Thank you, Jen. I did not mean to be annoying, just wanted to be sure. I have friends who told me they did not vaccinate their kids and then it turned out they just didn't get the MMR, which is not unvaccinated. One of their kids is on the spectrum...
Posted by: 4bobby | October 01, 2009 at 07:48 PM
You wrote: "None of these vaccine studies impress me. One of my boys is completely unvaccinated, and on the spectrum, so I'd like to know how vaccines had anything to do with it."
You are either a troll or an idiot.
How dare you try to general a single case to entire group of children, a group that includes our children?
Do you not have even a basic understanding of scientific or medical studies? How did you ever even get on the internet?
Your lack of reasoning is sad. I am depressed because your children have such an idiot as a mother.
Posted by: David Taylor | October 01, 2009 at 07:26 PM
I think that the words "completely unvaccinated" speak for themselves, don't they? And no, no RhoGam or flu shots during pregnancy, either.
Posted by: Jen | October 01, 2009 at 04:09 PM
Please clarify "completely unvaccinated." Also, did you receive a flu shot while pregnant? How about Rhogam?
Posted by: 4bobby | October 01, 2009 at 03:27 PM
Thanks Jen for going into more detail.
I know when you do it ruins your day. But I am really glad you told me. I too second guess and wonder if I might have controlled my son's fever with his DPT shot if I had given him asprin instead of tylenol.
Tylenol never did nothing ever in helping my kids with their fevers. Asprin always worked better.
Posted by: Benedetta Stilwell | October 01, 2009 at 03:20 PM
To Schoolteacher in NYC:
Study on Thimerosal damage at 20 ppb; flu shots are 50,000 ppb. And all those traces bioaccumulate.
UC Davis Study With Mice Links Thimerosal With Immune System Dysfunction
"When thimerosal at a concentration as low as 20 parts per billion alters the fidelity of normal calcium signals, dendritic cells show abnormal secretion of IL-6 cytokine--a potent chemical signal that initiates inflammatory responses. Higher concentrations--200 parts per billion--causes programmed death of dendritic cells, preventing them from maturing and doing their primary job of activating T-cells."
Uncoupling of ATP-Mediated Calcium Signaling and Dysregulated Interleukin-6 Secretion in Dendritic Cells by Nanomolar Thimerosal
Environ Health Perspect. 2006 July; 114(7): 1083–1091.
Posted by: nhokkanen | October 01, 2009 at 02:51 PM
is anyone else having difficulty in finding this published study? Seems that it's not coming up in searches. How curious. NOT!
[Editor's note: We have been in touch with Thoughtful House. They have been in contact with the journal and have been assured the paper will be posted soon.]
Posted by: it's a conspiracy | October 01, 2009 at 01:21 PM
Jen, you may be right. My friend researcher has a page on this, www.rollingdigital.com/autism who is an autism researcher immunologist. The fact is, fever suppression drives infections deeper into the body, and would support chronic infections which would lead to autism. I am of hte opinion MANY INFECTIONS, both from a needle, and or from in utero, can cause autism. They remarkably work on same mechanisms, and we as moms often reach for tylenol to take down fevers...which are God's way of removing viruses and bacteria from our body, just like throwing up something. So, you can have unvaccinated children, but still have the same mechanisms of autism. I also feel the vaccinated children often have underlying chronic infections in utero, which are not being identified by the immune system, and are allowed to proliferate. Then, when the same child is vaccinated, it allows other organisms to come to head. For instance, a child with lyme in utero, could already have glutathione block, low metallothionein, mehntylation problems, and damage to areas of the brain that are responsible for behavior and speech, through, hypoperfusion and inflammation. So, there are many ways to GET autism, and in no way do we exclude those who say, but, my child was not vaccinated. In like fashion, exposure to toxins, such as amalgams in utero, andd other sources of heavy metals, pesticides, and endocrine disruptions, can also cause autism. This is why I say, is genetic studies so important, as to how they change the influence of the DNA, or the timing of laying down our synpses, when so much of THIS STUFF is going on?
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | October 01, 2009 at 12:51 PM
While I totally agree with the concern regarding the many remaining sources of mercury, I question the worrying about "trace amounts". Bob Sears is pretty hard on mercury and even he says trace amounts of it are no threat. If I'm not mistaken, I can pick up a trace amount of nearly anything nearly anytime. If anyone has evidence to suggest otherwise I'm all ears!
Posted by: Schoolteacher in NYC | October 01, 2009 at 11:46 AM
I'd like to see the same study done using Thimerosal-free vaccines. I am completely opposed to injecting humans with mercury, but I do wonder whether the vaccine without thimerosal still leads to developmental delays. I don't want to be anti-vaccine because some vaccines have saved so many lives, but I do feel that vaccinating at birth (even with mercury-free vaccines) is a bad idea.
I, too, wish I had known of the dangers of Tylenol. Some days are full of too many "I wish I had known"s.
Posted by: Mom to 2 Kids | October 01, 2009 at 10:37 AM
I'm not saying that vaccines can't trigger autism in an already susceptible child. Vaccines could very well be what tips a sensitive child over the edge. I just happen to think that the Tylenol issue is being overlooked. There is actually quite a bit of epidemiological evidence linking Tylenol to asthma and allergies, and that is something that I've heard a lot of parents blame vaccines for as well.
What interests me about the Becker/Schultz hypothesis is the drop in both asthma and autism after the Tylenol cyanide poisonings in the 80's (see the graphs in the link in my previous post) as well as the association between large head circumference, seen in both asthma and autism, which suggests to me some sort of possible inflammatory problem that likely starts in utero.
I believe that the reason epidemiology is not picking up a link between vaccination and autism is that the use of antipyretics is not being factored in.
Posted by: Jen | October 01, 2009 at 09:09 AM
Jen, see yesterdays post on MMR studies. Julie did a great job of explaining your question. It really is like saying that because some overweight people do not eat pizza, we can conclude that pizza does not cause obesity.
Posted by: Natasa | October 01, 2009 at 03:19 AM
Jen-- yes, my understanding is that if you had a mercury/toxic metal body burden and took a lot of Tylenol in pregnancy, it would have been possible to create the same effect as a pregnancy-dose or birth-dose of mercury in a vaccinated infant. One of the four Amish children with autism (the other three were adopted and vaccinated) lived in a highly mercury polluted area and showed signs of mercury intoxication. Others have told a similar story.
Possible sources of maternal mercury toxicity:
-Rhogam shots in pregnancy
-previous travel shot series
-working with ceramics
-contact lenses in the days when lens solution contained thimerosal
-other thimerosal containing drugs (Ayr nasal spray, etc.)
-ear drops (before 1999 I believe)
-living near a coal fired power plant or chlor-alkali plant
-living near cement-making facilities
-fish consumption, particularly canned tuna, sword fish, sushi, etc.
-living in argricultural areas using pesticides suspected to mimic the effects of mercury
-use of the drug Depakote-- a known but relatively rare cause of autism
I also wonder that for exquisitely sensitive individuals, if certain mitochondrial-toxic drugs in drinking water (found in measurable levels in almost every state's drinking water supply), particularlly Depakote, coupled with other amplifying chemical insults might not create a perfect enough storm these days that thimerosal would have just been an after thought.
Posted by: Gatogorra | October 01, 2009 at 12:47 AM
I have two boys on the spectrum. My older son is 15 and very severely autistic. I became pregnant with my younger son around the time that we started having some MAJOR behavioral issues with him, and I just wasn't willing to chance vaccinating the younger one, after witnessing some of the violent behavior that he exhibited at that time.
However, my younger son started showing mild signs of autism around 1 year of age, although I was in deep denial about it for a long time. (He didn't talk until he was three, wouldn't look in our direction when we called him--mild things that I brushed off as just being a late bloomer.) He also has very mild asthma, and multiple food allergies (wheat, milk, eggs, peanuts)and these things are also being linked to acetaminophen use in late pregnancy. I suspect that he started falling apart around the time we started solid food, but I can't be certain.
I don't necessarily regret not vaccinating him, since I would have likely followed the same stupid advice that the army hospital gives out--to give tylenol before and afterwards, since no one warned me of just how dangerous tylenol really is. I did this with my older son, and I get so angry when I think back on it.
My older son reacted quite violently to Tylenol last fall, and we had to make that discovery the hard way, with multiple visits to our house from the police and EMS to help me control him, three separate admits to the state hospital, a bite on my leg that took months to heal, and thousands of dollars worth of damage to our house.
Luckily, he, as well as the little guy, (who is now 7) are under the care of the wonderful clinicians at Thoughtful House, and life is much better now.
Posted by: Jen | September 30, 2009 at 11:53 PM
Actually, according to this video of a vaccine hearing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqO_PulbKgw , existing supplies of already produced thimerosal-containing vaccines remained in circulation until 2003. That's VERY interesting because when you look at the chart on this same video (shown at 1:15) the Minnesota IDEA Data shows a significant drop in special education services when you compare 2003 to 2004. Then the childhood flu vaccine was added to the schedule in fall of 2004, and that same chart shows the special education services then increased some in 2005, but not up to the 2003 level.
And even from 2003 to 2004, children were not receiving thimerosal-free vaccines. They were receiving vaccines with so called 'trace levels' of thimerosal. When you take a 'trace amount' and mulitply it by how many shots children receive, it adds up.
But probably even more significant than that, even though it was recommended by congress in 1999 that thimerosal be removed from all childhood vaccines, the flu shot was and is still given to pregnant women. Doctors won't even give the flu shot to babies younger than 6 months and yet they'll vaccinate pregnant women. That really doesn't make much sense. Mercury has been proven to cross the placenta.
So ever since the first thimerosal-containing vaccines were used, there still has not to date been a time period where children were not exposed to any thimerosal (assuming their parents followed the CDC recommendations that is). And while I don't have any study results regarding vaccination trends, based on my own observations vaccination rates have only just recently started to decline significantly.
Mark, excellent analysis!!
I only wish that they could have separated the vaccinated group into a group that got just the vaccine and another group that got the vaccine plus the thimerosal. I believe that the thimerosal group would have been even worse than the 'just vaccine' group, but I also believe that the 'just vaccine' group would have still been worse than the controls. Particularly because they observed "Infants of lower birth weight and gestational age were at greater risk", and the FDA has already found that aluminum causes neurological delays in preemies.
Both the Engerix and Recombivax Hep B shots contain 250 mcg of aluminum (10 times the limit set by the FDA for injectible solutions) Recombivax containts Aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate:
So while I do believe mercury is a very big part of the problem, I also believe the aluminum is also a contributing factor, and I wish it could be studied too.
I too am concerned about the effects of combining thimerosal and aluminum. You might find this graph by Dr. Boyd Haley very interesting (on page 3). It shows the synergistic effects of thimerosal plus aluminum hydroxide:
Posted by: CM | September 30, 2009 at 11:45 PM
“IT JUST WON’T GO AWAY”
From: Verstraeten, Thomas
Sent: Friday, December 17, 1999 4:40 PM
To: ‘Robert Davis’
Cc: Destefano, Frank
Subject: It just won’t go away
"Attached please find four tables with RRs [relative risks] and three SAS
As you’ll see, some of the RRs increase over the categories and I haven’t yet
found an alternative explanation...Please let me know if you can think of
one. Frank proposes we discuss this on a call after the New Year...
Thomas Verstraeten, M.D."
"HAPPY HOLIDAYS!"? How many ASD families have Happy Holidays or happy any other day of the year?
Posted by: The Madoff of autism | September 30, 2009 at 10:53 PM
Why and how is your son on the spectrum not vaccinated????
Did you make this decision - and When?
Just curious how this could be in this day and time?
Posted by: Benedetta Stilwell | September 30, 2009 at 10:21 PM
Despite attempts by most mainstream media to squash our concerns about vaccine safety, the word is getting out as evidenced by this recent poll...
Majority of U.S. parents wary of H1N1 vaccine: poll
Posted by: Donna Alvado | September 30, 2009 at 08:51 PM
My children range in age from fifteen to twenty.
When I was pregnant, Doctors were not routinely recommending flu shots for pregnant women. They do now, and have for at least a few years. When my children were babies and toddlers, Doctors were not routinely recommending that babies and toddlers get flu shots. They do that, now, and have for at least a few years.
CNN did a study a few years ago and found that the vast majority of those flu shots (ninety four or ninety six percent, I forget the exact number) contained thimerosal. I've no reason to believe that that has changed in recent years.
It infuriates me that so many people still spout this bit of misinformation, and so many people still believe it-- that mercury was removed and yet autism rates continued to increase. Mercury was NOT removed! They've replaced the mercury in most of the childhood vaccines with mercury (same toxic levels of 25 mcg per dose) in the flu shots that are now routinely advised.
Not to mention that there are other sources of mercury exposure than vaccines, altho I continue to believe that vaccines have been the most significant when it comes to auto-immune and developmental disorders in children.
Posted by: Robin Nemeth | September 30, 2009 at 08:28 PM
None of these vaccine studies impress me. One of my boys is completely unvaccinated, and on the spectrum, so I'd like to know how vaccines had anything to do with it.
Personally, I suspect the max. dosages of Tylenol I took in my second trimester for pain after a breaking a pinky toe.
Apparently, I'm not the only one who suspects Tylenol as a causative factor in ASD's:
Posted by: Jen | September 30, 2009 at 08:05 PM
Dawn -- as the thimerosal has been decreased but never eliminated, the number of vaccines has increased; some do still contain thimerosal, including the annual flu shot which adds up over time, especially for those who are slow/no excretors. There has also been a concomitant rise in the amount of aluminum adjuvant compounds in childhood vaccines, the same compounds that have been linked to Gulf War illness, motor neuron death, MS and MMF. Aluminum and thimerosal are not supposed to be combined, according to Merck's MSDS for thimerosal, but yet they are found together in more than a few childhood vaccines. Aluminum has been shown to increase permeability in the blood-brain barrier, which then allows entry by thimerosal/mercury, viruses, and other vaccine contaminants. Once in the brain, the ethyl mercury converts to the more toxic methyl mercury and stays there (The Burbacher study mentioned above.) "Trace" amounts of mercury can still do damage. Vaccines have not been exonerated, by any stretch of the CDC's fervent imagination, and they won't be, ever, because they are causing more harm to ever growing numbers of children, adolescents, and adults.
Posted by: Garbo | September 30, 2009 at 07:39 PM
What's really interesting to me is how the kids who are getting diagnosed with autism today seem to have "lighter" autism than the kids born in the 1990s and early 2000s. It's more prevalent today but seems to be less severe at the same time. My friends who have kids who are 10 and 12 years old have a totally different kind of "autism" than my son has, who undoubtedly received less mercury than they did. There is something wrong with our vaccination schedule, period.
Vaccines are NOT 100% mercury-free. This is the biggest myth on the face of the planet. Do you really think injecting "trace amounts" of mercury into kids is okay and can't affect their little tiny bodies?
And you think less parents are getting the flu shot? LOL! I think not. I know a few who are planning on getting the H1N1 vaccine, with all it's mercury glory, as soon as it comes available. My son got his flu shot along with his MMR, Varicella, Hep A, and DTaP and has never been the same since.
Posted by: Jessica | September 30, 2009 at 07:19 PM
Dawn: See the Age of Autism article from July 7, 2009 for a discussion of mercury exposure and autism rates (Thimerosal and Autism Rates: A Minnesota Perspective
By Tim Kasemodel)
Posted by: Theodore M. Van Oosbree | September 30, 2009 at 05:04 PM
According to Larry L. Needham Ph.D Chief, Oraganic Analytical Toxicology Branch,Thimerosal is a chemical linked to ASD.
Posted by: Mr T | September 30, 2009 at 05:00 PM
Another great job! I always look forward to your articles.
All the best,
Posted by: Kent Heckenlively | September 30, 2009 at 04:43 PM
Wasn't the hep b vaccine Engerix only licensed thimerosal free in January 2007? At least that's how the FDA website makes it look. Guess babies were still getting their birth dose of mercury well past the supposed removal date of 2001.
Posted by: Maggie | September 30, 2009 at 04:41 PM
Mark, Not only is your analysis of this study incredibly comprehensive, but the fact that you address the criticism it will most likely generate as part of your overview is a brilliant tactic. I know the naysayers will come and most likely attempt to tear it apart (because the implications are too big.) However, the scrupulous attention to detail evident in the design of the study and in your analysis of it will make it much more challenging to dispute. thank you.....
Posted by: Maureen H. McDonnell, RN | September 30, 2009 at 03:48 PM
I'm so sorry Ben and Claudia.
Posted by: Holly M. | September 30, 2009 at 03:44 PM
Dawn, this study doesn't say that mercury was a problem, it says that something within the Hep B vaccine was a problem. Infants are still routinely given Hep B at birth.
Posted by: Paige Wentworth | September 30, 2009 at 03:38 PM
Who are watching the current vaccines to insure that they are mercury free? I suspect they are not as mercury free as we are lead to believe.
Posted by: Richard | September 30, 2009 at 03:29 PM
The issue that I have with the mercury hypothesis is why have we not had big decrease in autism since 2001 when it was taken out of vaccines, except flu, which I am sure parents have decreased getting since all of this controversy. The fact that autism is still rapidly on the rise shows that the vaccines had little if nothing to do with autism. The Doctors/government might lie, but the stats don't.
Posted by: Dawn | September 30, 2009 at 02:47 PM
I think an interesting follow-up would be to see the same study comparing low birth weight female monkeys to normal birth weight ones to see if there is a difference between the two groups. I think this could explain the paper in Pediatrics (Pediatrics. 2008 Jun;121(6):1155-64) last year showing that low birth weight girls were more likely get autism. Whereas with boys it didn't matter. I'd presume because they have a lower threshold for toxicity than the girls do and that threshold is even reached in some normal birth weight males.
How long can they claim there is no data to support a link when in fact the evidence is all over the place? Forever?
At the rate the CDC studies autism now it will be 2024 before they discover what they did to kids this fall. 2024. I'm sure they'll have a good story to explain the 1 in 40 rate put together by then.
Posted by: Jack R. | September 30, 2009 at 01:39 PM
"For while hepatitis B vaccines currently produced in the United States no longer contain thimerosal..."
I love that they've done this study! But I'm confused; I thought Energix-B and Twinrix both still have trace amounts of thimerosal. (Which isn't supposed to be combined with the aluminum they also contain.)
Posted by: Garbo | September 30, 2009 at 01:31 PM
Very interesting and not surprising (sadly enough).
The younger one of my two children who got HepB at birth is the same one who had alot of trouble breast-feeding (did not put that connection together until now though). This is the same child with chronic immune problems (strep, staph, severe allergies, etc).
Our child is not autistic but we think this child has celiac disease (auto-immune problem). My sister's child has Type-1 diabetes (another auto-immune disease). I have a friend with three children on her STREET (her child included) with Type-1 diabetes. All of these kids are in that "tween" age range - i.e., probably got HepB at birth, unlike my much healthier teen who got the first one at 4 months.
It's frustrating . . . especially when most of these kids are at very low risk of contracting HepB (unless their mom has it - they are probably not going to have sex or do drugs anytime soon).
Posted by: Angela | September 30, 2009 at 01:28 PM
Great summary. This is the kind of research Dr. Healy has always advocated doing and the CDC has run away from. It's really unbelievable, the lengths to which public health authorities will go to avoid inconvenient truths. JB
Posted by: JB Handley | September 30, 2009 at 01:22 PM
Thank you Mark, for a brilliantly watertight report on this simple research project-- but with such complex implications!
Posted by: Anne Van Rensselaer | September 30, 2009 at 01:17 PM
Grateful to read this study this morning on the 10th anniversary of my sons' autism diagnosis. (It is crazy how I track this date almost more than my direct family's birthdays)
Posted by: Lisa @ TACA | September 30, 2009 at 01:07 PM
Thank you Mark. With talent like yours and others like you - mixed in with determination and compassion the additude of vaccinating everything in sight can not keep on.
Tom Insel knew this too! That was what that weird out of the blue comment protecting only one vaccine in the host of many - was all about when he was in front of Tom Harkin!
Posted by: Benedetta Stilwell | September 30, 2009 at 12:57 PM
amazing! Nice to see some research done with integrity.
Posted by: jennifer | September 30, 2009 at 12:20 PM
The evidence keeps mounting yet the damage continues. Bravo to this research team and Neurotoxicology.
Can someone please send this to Team Insel?
Posted by: Teresa Conrick | September 30, 2009 at 12:12 PM
HURRAH for thoughtful house, AGAIN. And, great timing. Maybe they should forward this to SHEPPARD SMITH of FOX NEWS (who got really flustered and angry) who interviwed a nurse who objects to being innoculated with an unproven vaccine, which contains this stuff? And I quote "the CDC wouldn't put out unsafe products". ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This is the mindsent of our news people, or their sponsers? The public, I can only imagine is entirely confused at this point. And let's not forget, they stated OR THE OTHER COMPONENTS in vaccines...because let's get real, viruses were also the subject of focus no more than a decade ago, not just the mercury. Do we really know what the viruses are capable of doing? Or the aluminum in conjunction with the mercury, or the MSG, or the formaldehyde? Let alone the immune surgery it does on our kids?
Once again, I applaud this study, and I hope they test ALL vaccines on those poor primates...
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | September 30, 2009 at 12:08 PM
Just a note for those looking to download the article. The embargo period was officially passed this morning and the article has officially been released by Neurotoxicology today, but there appears to be a delay in the Elsevier data operation. We are assured that the full text of the article will be available on line shortly.
Posted by: Mark Blaxill | September 30, 2009 at 11:48 AM