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Weekly Wrap: Autoimmunity and Autism -- Twin Epidemics But a Common Cause

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

It's a useful coincidence that autism and autoimmunity start with the same three letters, in both cases because they derive from the Greek word for self, as in aut-obiography. The self of autism is trapped by developmental mayhem; the one in autoimmunity is turned against itself, mistaking its own physical home for an enemy invader.

Autoimmunity, of course, may be at the heart of autism, when the infant's immune system is goaded by the stimulation of excessive vaccination, organic mercury exposure, and other environmental triggers into launching damaging attacks. That, at least, is what we believe at Age of Autism.

So it's fascinating to watch more and more observers notice that -- autism completely aside -- we are in the midst of a tidal wave of autoimmune illnesses that young adults find themselves coping with, as if they were nursing home patients  whose defenses were going haywire in the inevitable decline into senescence and death.

The common theme: something is happening here, and we need to know what it is.

AOA's Anne Dachel drew my attention this week to an article in The Atlantic titled "Living Sick And Dying Young in Rich America"

by Leah Sottile, in which she describes her youngish husband Joe's battle with something called Ankylosing Spondylitis, which Wikipedia tells us "is a chronic inflammatory disease of the axial skeleton with variable involvement of peripheral joints and nonarticular structures. AS is a form of spondyloarthritis, a chronic, inflammatory arthritis where immune mechanisms are thought to have a key role."

Sottile realizes she and her husband are not alone: "Almost all of our friends are sick, too. When we met our friend Missy Narrance, Joe found solace in talking to her about his health. She’s 29 and has been battling lupus and fibromyalgia for the past 10 years."

And on and on. "In our close group of friends—who range from 25 to 35 years old—we know people with everything from tumors to chronic pain. Sometimes our conversations over beers on a Friday night turn to discussions of long-term care and miscommunication between doctors."

This is a valuable -- incredibly valuable -- observation. We need a widespread recognition that too many people are sick in disturbing new ways. So Sottile can be forgiven a conventional and not-so-valuable discussion of possible causes, from supposedly dangerous biofuels to the widespread but nonetheless wackadoodle hygiene hypothesis to the facts that people don't exercise and eat a lot of crap -- processed macaroni and cheese comes in for special scorn (in which case, I'm a dead man!). There's also this:

"Despite the fact that America shells out more money on healthcare than any other country in the world, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—and a hefty 75 percent of those dollars are going toward aiding people with chronic conditions—almost half of American adults had at least one chronic condition in 2005."

You, dear AOA reader, will recognize the anomaly there -- it is probably not "despite" all this healthcare, aka toxic medical interventions, but in large measure because of them that this "emergency" of chronic illness, as Sottile properly labels it, is occurring. (Quoting the CDC on this, ground zero for the bloated vaccine schedule, is especially rich.)

I was particularly struck by Sottile's husband's illness as a form of inflammatory arthritis, and their friend's battle with lupus. One need look no further than the first cases of autism to find direct correspondences between autism and autoimmunity -- and here, I would argue, is where coincidence ends and causation converges.

Case 1 in the landmark 1943 paper that first described autism is Donald Triplett, who we located in 2005; he is now 80 years old and living in Forest, Mississippi. "Donald T.," as he was identified then, came down with a life-threatening case of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis as a young teenager. As we recount in our book, his treatment with gold salts cleared up the JRA and made a vast improvement in his autism symptoms, particularly the characteristic anxiety and lack of sociability. (In the Atlantic article, Sottile writes that her husband had "been diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when he was in elementary school, but that went away when he got older. He figured this pain might just be a new version of that." It probably is.)

Then there's autism's Case 3. We identified him last year as William Ritchey Miller of Raleigh, N.C. An excerpt from our article focused on Miller's brother, Alden:


Alden graduated from North Carolina's Davidson College in 1962 and earned a PhD in sociology from the University of North Carolina, according to an account in an American Sociological Association newsletter.

He was on the faculty at Indiana and Boston universities. At the latter, "There were rumors among the faculty about his exceptional abilities as a methodologist. His reputation and quietness made him seem austere and unapproachable," but "those of us who got to know him found Alden to be not only approachable but extremely patient."

Alden joined the Harvard Center for Criminal Justice, rising to associate director, and then a similar institute at the University of Maryland. But his health began failing and he was unable to drive. He died in Hyattsville, Md., in 1984.

He was only 44 years old. The cause of death, according to the ASA account, was lupus erythermatosis, an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own healthy tissue.

According to his death certificate ... his brother, Ritchey, (autism's Case 3) died of multiple myeloma -- a cancer of the immune system, formed by malignant plasma cells in the bone marrow.

Problems related to the immune system, then, look like a clue from early days to the nature of autism. Something may have been triggering both. But what?


We have written at length about the "something" that triggered both the developmental disorder called autism and autoimmune disorders like lupus and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and immune cancers, and suffice it to say it is not extruded cheese product, toxic-though-addictive as that may be. We propose it was the commercialization of a truly toxic substance, an organic mercury compound first used in the 1930s as a fungicide in plant and forestry products and -- may God and the CDC not smite us for saying so -- in multidose vaccines. The first three autism cases point to the first two uses, as we detail in our book, and the autism epidemic points to the third one. Again, from our article last year:


-- In 1930, Donald Triplett's parents built the house he was born in three years later. The comfortable, unpretentious residence set in a large, leafy yard is not far from the lumber mills where the first tests of the ethylmercury wood preservative Lignasan were done at the same time. We suspect off-gassing of ethylmercury from the wood -- a known risk that eventually led to Lignasan's decline -- affected the mother and her infant.

-- In 1936, the year Case 2, Frederick Wellman, was born, his father was experimenting with the ethylmercury dust Ceresan at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center just outside Washington in suburban Maryland, according to records in his archive.

-- In 1937, when Ritchey Miller was born, his father had already been exposed to Lignasan at the University of Idaho during its wood-preservation experiments; the report of those experiments lists Lignasan as one of the substances tested and shows its effect in protecting a window frame.

Forest, Mississippi. A plant pathologist. A forestry professor who later taught at the same southern university ((North Carolina State). A new toxic exposure that links all three and triggered the rise of autism. As autism research wandered far afield, the truth was evident in the first three cases -- confirming Occam's Razor, the axiom that the simplest explanation is usually correct.

We believe that in all three cases this exposure extended to the mother and her infant. Second-hand risks from occupational exposure to mercury – especially in excessive quantities as might arise in a laboratory setting -- are well-documented in the medical literature. Other cases in the first 11 point to risks to the mother and the child from the new diphtheria toxoid vaccination; one mother was a public health pediatrician who was part of the first well-baby clinic project at Harvard and actively promoted the shots.

So the life of Ritchey Miller helps form a pattern that might otherwise have remained obscured. Yet even now, more than a decade after the similarities between mercury poisoning and autism were pointed out in a peer-reviewed journal article by Bernard et al. -- and despite the evidence we've assembled of a link in the very first cases -- health officials continue to insist ethylmercury is safe to inject in children. And they fail to recognize the significance of associated immune problems also evident from the beginning.


So, to my mind, there is common cause among people like Leah Sottile and her family and friends, bearing up under the weight of baffling and crippling chronic autoimmune disorders, and families struggling with the autism epidemic. That's because the history of both autism and autoimmunity points to specific new chemical compounds, not just vague genes and a generically polluted environment and food supply, as culprits.

Perhaps in the coming year and years we can move beyond confusion and coincide -- and work together to make the true connections explicit by demanding deeper and more honest explanations.

A final note: while Ritchey and Alden Miller succumbed to autism and lupus and immune cancer, their parents lived long and healthy lives, well into their 90s. Of course, they weren't exposed to organic mercury as infants, as their two children were, as are tens of millions of children around the world and in the United States to this very year, courtesy of, among others, the World Health Organization and the CDC, in the name of wiping out flu and other illnesses either not worth preventing, or preventable without it.

Progress sometimes means reclaiming the past rather than creating a utopian future whose actual outcome no one can truly predict -- a future whose tragic dimensions we are witnessing every day.


Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.



Cia: Like you, I don't think the hygiene hypothesis is responsible for autism, but I don't think it's ridiculous either. It's not to be dismissed as going hand in hand on the perfect storm of circumstances leading to today's tragically sick humans. Bacteria divide and expand at an incredibly fast rate vs the very slow life span of a human and everything that humans have done for the past 100 years or so, maybe even longer, have stopped our own natural coping systems that allow for successful healthy procreation. Vaccines tried to take a short cut and when containing thimerosol, can it actually create antibiotic resistance and halt the body's natural way of maintaining a healthy symbiotic relationship with the admittedly countless bacteria and germs that are in us and on us every day? Antibiotics are great when used properly but having been improperly used and have actually led to antibiotic resistance, ie, forced, sped up evolution while doing nothing to speed up human beings' immunities, creating disparity. Some antibacterials are also endocrine disrupters - further hampering natural growth and development, of which our immune system is part. Migration from farms to cities put people with declining symbiosis in close proximity with each other. (Gee, what farms does the autism community know about which haven't compounded their own problems, ie they don't vaccinate, and also don't use chemicals in farming?)

Pasteurization came about in the same era taking away that route of natural relatively safe mouth to gut exposure to PROBIOTICS. (Are there farming families who drink a natural source of probiotics?) Vitamin D3 deficiency - a reduction in a known naturally antibiotic metabolic process - evolved during the same time in history as people became industrialized and pasteurized, and then on top of that started slathering on the sunblock. Wheat also changed, and there are hypothesis out there about wheat blocking D3 production, ie blocking humans' natural bacterial coping mechanisms needed for healthy procreation. Agriculture began spraying chemical antibiotics and various chemical germaicidals all over our food, furthering forced evolution process on microbes - which we put in our mouths 3-5 times a day (and we don't expect that to change our guts' environments?) At what point did we start using mercury in teeth and what does that do to the mouth's ability to properly process incoming microbes? Does it disrupt the probiotic/hygiene balance in the mouth? What does it do to IgA?

Yes, we need to protect against direct blood exposure to these microbes, - we know what happens when people go septic despite a hospital's best efforts to protect the blood (yet then we shoot germs right into the blood and think that's going to be mostly good rather than bad?) And those w/weak immune systems need to strengthen their systems more than anyone (or else maybe that direct blood exposure to thimerisol and microbes might just be the final straw.) But after providing proper immune support, safe routes of natural exposure seems to be the next step in catching up humans to what used to be a symbiotic state.

How many complementary and whole body health practitioners are always talking about poor health being the result of imbalance? Hygiene theory and its connection to the immune system IS all about balance.

The next cutting edge treatment for complex auto-immune and inflammatory medical conditions might just be the strategic rebuilding of the immune system through targeted application of probiotics and natural soil-based organisms chosen to reclaim that balance. Unfortunately, certain corporate researchers have already looked at the idea, and decided there must be a way to patent it and make huge profits, and there are patents for GMO bacteria out there. Hmmm, if you have the time to use PUBMED or PLOS you probably have the intelligence to explore the US Patent system, too.

Gee whiz, as if GMOs haven't caused problems in the food system what could possibly go wrong with GMOs in our probiotics?


CBS has declared Alzheimer's an "epidemic." I would suppose the USA also leads the world in this autoimmune disease. A new case every 4 seconds worldwide.

Any chance of ....a senior vax / unvaxed study... to see if it is related to the annual flu shot and other vaccines???

Doctors Jon Lapook and Rudolph Tanzi discuss a disease that almost everyone fears , Alzheimer’s, during this week’s Morning Rounds on "CBS This Morning: Saturday."


Truthseeker 2

Surely all those with auto-immune conditions would not have all been culled by disease as the doctor in the Atlantic article tried to promote. It seems risk VS benefit gone awry. Benedetta rightly points out the increase in so many with mental health problems as well.

cia parker

Í don't think the hygiene hypothesis explains the surge in autism or allergies, but I don't think it's ridiculous. The immune system needs training and practice to function well, and exposure to many pathogens is necessary for this. Having natural measles has sometimes cured eczema, and natural pertussis has cured asthma. Not having the formerly universal childhood diseases correlates with a higher rate of several cancers later in life, presumably because overcoming the diseases teaches the immune system how to keep dangerous cells in check.


Autoimmune diseases, bipolar disorder, and non-affective psychosis Pubmed lots of research on that and schizophrenia



And what about case # 7 whose pediatrician mother told an Annapolis newspaper that you can't be vaccinated too often:

"Too many parents, said Dr. Peabody, have the proper shots given and then relax, forgetting that booster shots are needed and that immunization does wear off. Speaking specifically of some of the most prevalent ailments, she stated that a child cannot be vaccinated against smallpox too often and it should be done for the first time when a baby is between three months and one year of age. In the case of diphtheria, booster shots are extremely important.”


The smallpox vaccine didn't contain mercury, but the diphtheria vaccine did.

Sue Broz Thorpe

Here are OVER 700 Research links in my FB note re: VACCINE induced AUTOIMMUNE disorders:) Some released ahead of Publication: https://www.facebook.com/editnote.php?draft&note_id=629511430406129&id=100000566815512
--Also.. 1. Nobel prize winner states WHY PROTEINS should NEVER be INJECTED (as in vaccines): "In the presentation speech as winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work with anaphylaxis, Charles Robert Richet said, "We are so constituted that we can never receive other proteins into the blood than those that have been modified by digestive juices. Every time alien protein penetrates by effraction, the organism suffers and becomes resistant. This resistance lies in increased sensitivity, a sort of revolt against the second parenteral injection which would be fatal. At the first injection, the organism was taken by surprise and did not resist. At the second injection, the organism mans its defenses and answers by the anaphylactic shock." In naming "anaphylaxis", Richet described, "Phylaxis, a word seldom used, stands in the Greek for protection. Anaphylaxis will thus stand for the opposite. Anaphylaxis, from its Greek etymological source, therefore means that state of an organism in which it is rendered hypersensitive, instead


I have two kids, one in her early thirties and one in his late twenties, and so I have been at the epicenter of autoimmune plague for a long time. I don't know one family that doesn't have at least one child who is sick or on medication. What surprises me is that it has taken this long for anyone to notice because surely the people who publish newspapers and write TV news are in the same situation. I stay on top of autism related science because it has helped my daughter with an immune disorder immensely. She is gluten free (blood test positive for gluten intolerance), eats only organic food, and takes cod liver oil daily along with zinc and magnesium. Recently she got a cold and instead of it spiraling into a severe illness requiring antibiotics to recover she was well in a week's time.

Still, when I compare my wayward youth of smoking, drinking, never seeing a doctor, never having or needing health insurance to the current generation that could die without the right diet or medication it is obvious we are in an autoimmune crisis. My generation took health for grant it because we were young and now the young are sicker than the old.


I follow a lot of groups on the internet, including many that deal with IBDs. The number of children being diagnosed with crohns or colitis as infants is astounding.
A lot of groups that deal with autoimmunity keep asking questions about vaccines, it comes up over and over again.
And I also see these same groups all overlapping in protocols with the autism community - diets like scd and gaps; ivig; mthfr testing; ldn; etc.

John Stone

Congratulations Shell - the new Pastor Niemöller! John

Shell Tzorfas

Recovering Autism, ADHD, & Special Needs
21 hours ago
Shell Tzorfas
12:47 PM (0 minutes ago)

to me
Moving Targets..

First they came for infants and they shot them 26 times

They came for school children and shot them 46 times

They came for teens from high school and shot them 6 times

They came for nurses and shot them numerous times

They came for doctors..and shot some of them

They came for college kids and shot them 7 times

They came for some Ivy League students and reshot them 2 times

They came for those entering the military and shot them with undisclosed amounts

They came for fetuses and shot them indirectly, 4 times

They came for visitors and shot them 8 times

They came for elders , shot them, but they were placed in nursing homes

Then they came for me… but nobody was left standing..

Shelley Tzorfas
Author of "Recovering Autism, ADHD, & Special Needs"
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Dan Burns

Evidently the vaccine harm deniers haven't jumped on dissing the autoimmune epidemic yet. Or have they? In either case, if autism leaks into the autoimmune discussion -- and the Atlantic article is surely the leading edge of more to come in major media -- Dorit Reiss and her Pharma-frenzied ilk will need more hands than a Hindu goddess to keep their fingers in the dikes.

Yes, common cause here. Welcome, 2014!

John Stone

Hi Dan

When it comes to lupus and rheumatic disorders we must not forget the fact that Hep B vaccine is specifically implicated:


In the case of lupus it was an immune condition which rose almost simultaneous with autism - rare before the late 80s and now proliferating.


Bob Moffitt

"Despite the fact that America shells out more money on healthcare than any other country in the world, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—and a hefty 75 percent of those dollars are going toward aiding people with chronic conditions—almost half of American adults had at least one chronic condition in 2005."

I think the name "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" should be changed due the growing awareness of the "tidal wave of autoimmune illnesses that young adults find themselves coping with". Not only has the CDC proved incapable of "preventing" this unfolding catastrophy .. it does not seem eager to take any responsibility for "ending" it.

How about the "Centers for Disease Control and Promotion"?

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