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Autism and the Microbiome: My Letter to the White House, Office of Science and Technology Policy

MicrobiomeBy Teresa Conrick

Below is my letter to the White House  regarding the urgent need for Microbiome research and Autism.  I am writing in response to this request: 

Given the demonstrated and potential value of microbiome research in such diverse applications, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is issuing a Request for Information to provide a broad community of stakeholders, including experts and members of the public an opportunity to comment on the current status and needs of microbiome research.

I am the parent to a daughter who has a diagnosis of both Autism and Autoimmunity.  I have been researching for years, her regression into Autism after vaccination and the mounting evidence is pointing to the Microbiome for her and thousands more.  Because the number of children, being diagnosed with Autism is increasing each time CDC looks at prevalence, (1:50 currently) it is imperative that research into both causation and treatments for those affected take precedence.  I will use space here to list research that connects this reality:

The Gut Microbiome: A New Frontier in Autism Research  

Autism Study: More Evidence Linking Altered Gut Bacteria to ASD 

Reduced Incidence of Prevotella and Other Fermenters in Intestinal Microflora of Autistic Children   

Short-chain fatty acid fermentation products of the gut microbiome: implications in autism spectrum disorders  

Gut Bacteria May Play a Role in Autism - Evidence is mounting that intestinal microbes exacerbate or perhaps even cause some of autism's symptoms 

Autism: metabolism, mitochondria, and the microbiome 

Characteristics of the gastrointestinal microbiome in children with autism spectrum disorder: a systematic review  

Gut bacteria in children with autism spectrum disorders: challenges and promise of studying how a complex community influences a complex disease  

Microbiome Disturbances and Autism Spectrum Disorders. 

Be assured there is more but unfortunately there is a void in applying this research to investigate both, causation or treatments.  The reason may be that some are hesitant to connect the dots.  Autism is not a genetic, developmental disorder, although decades of irrelevant research have tried to assemble that picture, and more and more studies are showing this fact:

Gene × Environment Interactions in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Role of Epigenetic Mechanisms” 

Arguments for an environmental contribution to AD come from the growing number of studies on environmental factors in ASD, but also from the current lack of conclusive results on an etiopathological genetic model of autism.

Many families have witnessed regression after vaccination.  Research shows that both mercury, ambient and the vaccine type, can alter the Microbiome.  Vaccines are also being researched as changing the Microbiome:

A Study in Balance: How Microbiomes Are Changing the Shape of Environmental Health 

Normal neonatal microbiome variation in relation to environmental factors, infection and allergy 

Five Hundred Years of Mercury Exposure and Adaptation  

Effect of Dietary Methylmercury on the Gut Microbiome of Fathead Minnows    “Data analysis revealed that the presence of dietary methylmercury induced a significant shift in the composition of the microbiome.”

Proximity to point sources of environmental mercury release as a predictor of autism prevalence 

Ancestry of Pink Disease (Infantile Acrodynia) Identified as a Risk Factor for Autism Spectrum Disorders  

“The results support the hypothesis that Hg sensitivity may be a heritable/genetic risk factor for ASD.”

Gut Microbiome and Brain-Gut Axis in Autism

Randomized Open-Label Pilot Study of the Influence of Probiotics and the Gut Microbiome on Toxic Metal Levels in Tanzanian Pregnant Women and School Children   

Is exposure to mercury a driving force for the carriage of antibiotic resistance genes?  

Mercury Disposition in Suckling Rats: Comparative Assessment Following Parenteral Exposure to Thiomersal and Mercuric Chloride   

“Our finding of high mercury mass fraction in the small and large intestine of pups proves that endogenous faecal excretion given in the form of ethylmercury or thiomersal is an important route of excretion and it is probably more important than urinary excretion…… Past research confirmed that under same exposure conditions higher mercury retention is found in the gut and the brain of young compared to adult experimental animals…”

Nasopharynx Microbiome and Vaccination in Children  

Human microbiome science: vision for the future

In the second keynote, Dr. Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello (New York University) (Figure 2B) spoke about the modern versus ancestral microbiome [29,30]…..She showed that people living more ancestral lifestyles, without antibiotics and vaccines, such as a previously uncontacted group of the Yanomamö Amerindian tribe in Venezuela, have a profoundly different microbiome as compared to western peoples.

Unacceptable omission of documenting vaccine effects on the microbiome  

Seven-Valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine and Nasopharyngeal Microbiota in Healthy Children 


Seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV-7) is effective against vaccine serotype disease and carriage. Nevertheless, shifts in colonization and disease toward nonvaccine serotypes and other potential pathogens have been described. To understand the extent of these shifts, we analyzed nasopharyngeal microbial profiles of 97 PCV-7–vaccinated infants and 103 control infants participating in a randomized controlled trial in the Netherlands. PCV-7 immunization resulted in a temporary shift in microbial community composition and increased bacterial diversity. Immunization also resulted in decreased presence of the pneumococcal vaccine serotype and an increase in the relative abundance and presence of nonpneumococcal streptococci and anaerobic bacteria. Furthermore, the abundance of Haemophilus and Staphylococcus bacteria in vaccinees was increased over that in controls. This study illustrates the much broader effect of vaccination with PCV-7 on the microbial community than currently assumed, and highlights the need for careful monitoring when implementing vaccines directed against common colonizers.

Since 1938, Autism has gone from a rare disorder to an epidemic.  If the Microbiome is being altered by both Mercury and Vaccines, it is crucial that research be completed that actually can help individuals currently affected and also establish preventative treatments. Prebiotics, probiotics, antibiotics, fecal transplants, helminth treatments, special diets and supplements have the potential to change the future of affected individuals.  Exploring vaccination and the Microbiome has the potential to change the course of Autism.  We cannot be afraid to look.

Teresa Conrick is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.


Angus Files

The silence from the media concerning Microbiome... deer caught in the headlights, if such an metaphor can be used for non-visual media who prefer to report non-stories week after week.


Angus Files

Well said Theresa it seems its only the parents that look for a cure the Politicians, Doctors, et-al look the other way.



It is just absolutely galling how they label vaccines as environmental factors when they are solely iatrogenic.

Also unbelievable how no one among the huge army of scientists employed by our government will provide our President with this information.

Thank you, Theresa.

mary w maxwell

Thank you to the dear daughter for making all this wonderful knowledge congeal.

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