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Hear This Well: Ear Infections and Autism

EarBy Teresa Conrick

When looking at issues in current day, it's often important to look at evidence in the present but also in the past. I have reported on much research showing that the MICROBIOME has an integral part in Autism.  Consider these updated pieces of both past and present "evidence" :

Vaccine Helps Prevent Ear Infections   April 2, 2007 

New study shows that PCV7 vaccine routinely given to infants helps reduce frequent bouts of otitis media

"Studies show that the number of middle ear infections caused by the pneumococcus serotypes in the vaccine have declined dramatically, but others have increased by 30 percent," Nuorti says. Bacteria on the rise may be filling the ecological void left by the decline in the vaccine's seven pneumococcus strains. But, he adds, two vaccines in the pipeline would cover more pneumococcal strains, including those whose rates of occurrence are escalating.

 Yet look at a newer study that shows the science behind the "ecological void" and the negative, domino effect consequences:

Preventing Ear Infections, Pneumonia Could Start With A Common Bacterium Found In Your Nose Jan 5,2016 

...The term “skin microbiota” refers to the colony of microorganisms found on your skin. Though the thought is repulsive, some of these benign bacteria offer great benefits by providing a first line of defense against harmful pathogens. In fact one of the good bacteria species, a new study finds, appears to thwart the growth of a bad bacteria species that is capable of causing middle ear infections as well as life-threatening pneumonia...Corynebacterium accolens is a harmless bacterial species that commonly colonizes the nose. It falls within the genus of Corynebacterium. These Gram-positive, aerobic, rod-shaped bacteria are found throughout nature in different ecological niches, including our skin, the soil, vegetables, cheese, and sewage,

...Following formal investigation, Bomar and her co-researchers discovered C. accolens are overrepresented in the noses of children who are not colonized by Streptococcus pneumoniae. A major cause of pneumonia, meningitis, middle ear infections, and sinusitis, S. pneumoniae leads to more than one million deaths each year, reports the World Health Organization. Most of those who die as a result of infections caused by this bacterium are young children in developing countries. While most people who host S. pneumoniae do not develop infections, colonization is a perquisite for infection and also greatly increases the risk of both infection and transmission....“These data indicate that C. accolens may play a beneficial role in sculpting the human microbiome,” wrote the authors.

The study, titled, "Corynebacterium accolens (C. accolens) Releases Antipneumococcal Free Fatty Acids from Human Nostril and Skin Surface Triacylglycerols," is published on January 5, 2016 in mBio.

From that study:

To our knowledge, this work provides the first evidence that C. accolens, a commensal Corynebacterium species that colonizes the nose, can inhibit S. pneumoniae. The goal of identifying antagonistic interactions between commensal nasal bacteria and S. pneumoniae is to lay the foundation for future translational research aimed at preventing pneumococcal colonization and subsequent infection...Because S. pneumoniae can be part of the healthy microbiota without causing disease, it is considered a pathobiont—a commensal bacterium that is also a pathogen (7)....

A challenge to controlling pneumococcus in humans is that there are over 92 known capsular serotypes of S. pneumoniae and these display different antigenic properties and biological behaviors (8-12). Introduction of conjugated vaccines, which are effective in infants, against the most commonly invasive serotypes has led to a significant reduction of severe infections, i.e., invasive pneumococcal disease (13,14). In contrast, conjugate vaccines have been less effective in controlling milder, noninvasive pneumococcal disease, such as middle ear infections (otitis media). In addition, while vaccinated individuals are uncommonly colonized by vaccine serotypes, the ability of nonvaccine pneumococcal serotypes to occupy the niche vacated by vaccine serotypes (serotype replacement) means that overall pneumococcal colonization rates remain unchanged (15-17). Thus, an increased understanding of S. pneumoniae colonization dynamics, especially in children, is important for developing new approaches to prevent pneumococcal colonization....This interaction is part of a growing list of examples of skin/nasal commensals impacting pathobiont growth/behavior (73, 88-90), and the outcome of this interaction could have important implications for the human host.

What that means is that Pneumococcal vaccines can kill what they are programmed to kill BUT can cause empty spaces or niches that can cause MORE pathogenic bacteria to grow, like the "92 known capsular serotypes of S. pneumoniae" which then spread. As a result, it is very possible that this newly discovered, helpful bacteria, C. Accolens, which can destroy S. Pneumoniae, is also being eliminated.  Why do some children have it and others do not?

                                                                          Dr. Kanner, I Presume                                                                           

In 1943, Dr. Leo Kanner, a psychiatrist who first identified the original eleven patients, touched briefly on this issue of infection.  The medical issues of Autism have been denied and disregarded for far, too long:

He had been kept in bed often because of colds, bronchitis, chickenpox, streptococcus infection, impetigo, 

He suffered from repeated colds and otitis media, which necessitated bilateral myringotomy

...large and ragged tonsils

...large tonsils and adenoids

Those examples show like today, many children who are diagnosed with Autism have a history of infections, and ear infections ( Otitis Media) tend to be more prevalent in Autism than in neurotypical children.  It's a good clue to this issue of the Microbiome and the dysfunction of their immune systems:

Ear infections in autistic and normal children.    

Autistic children had a greater incidence of ear infections than matched normal peers. Lower-functioning children had an earlier onset of ear infections than their higher-functioning autistic peers.

Early medical history of children with autism spectrum disorders.

Previous studies have suggested that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may have different medical histories than nonspectrum children in several areas: their reactions to vaccinations, number of ear infections, chronic gastrointestinal problems, and use of antibiotics...... Children with ASD were found to have significantly more ear infections than the typically developing children....

Otitis Media and Related Complications Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Children with ASD had a significantly increased rate of AOM, otitis media with effusion, otorrhea, and PE tube placement. Children with ASD were more than twice as likely to develop mastoiditis, and to undergo mastoidectomy and tympanoplasty. Children with ASD are more likely to have middle ear infections and otitis-related complications, highlighting the importance of routine middle ear examinations and close attention to hearing impairment in this population.

Tympanostomy tube placement in children with autism.

The authors found that approximately 1 in 6 children with ASD underwent TTP [tympanostomy tube placement], more than double the rate in the general population...

The UCLA-University of Utah epidemiologic survey of autism: Recurrent infections, April, 1993  

A significantly greater number of children with autism had recurrent otitis media, upper respiratory and other infections than their nonautistic siblings.... The only significant pre-, peri-, or postnatal risk factors between children with autism with recurrent, mild or no infection was an increase in the maternal-fetal incompatibility (ABO or Rh) in the recurrent infection group. Half the families with more than one child with autism had recurrent infections and 72% of those children with concurrent diseases which effect the CNS had recurrent infections.

NOTE- The RH incompatibility in 1993 would have been handled with a blood plasma containing mercury as a preservative, in the form of Thimerosal.    The evidence is mounting that mercury, in addition to being a neurotoxin,  can cause antibiotic resistance in the Microbiome.  The question of vaccines, types and reactions probably did not come up in this study as it was 1993, and the number of cases was about to start taking off.  My daughter, Megan, was born in 1993.

I lived many of these studies as I helplessly watched Megan regressing into a diagnosis of Autism.  You can see it here in the first three years of her life.  Note, first came vaccines then came the unrelenting infections:

3/2/93 -   Birth - Hep B at hospital 
3/26/93  -   VACCINES
5/21/93  -   VACCINES
7/10/93  -   VACCINES
9/10/93  -   VACCINES
10/22/93 -  VACCINES
12/7/93 -    Diaper rash for 6 weeks - ear infection 
12/28/93 -  Ear infection 
1/17/94  -   Ear infection 
3/21/94  -   Virus
5/11/94  -   Virus 
6/3/94    -   Loose stool - rash - ear infection
6/18/94  -   VACCINES (Including MMR)
6/28/94  -   Fever-  rash on body - ear infection 
7/11/94  -   Ear infection 
8/22/94  -   On vacation in WI and became sick.  Not happy - crying - lethargic - Dr. there unsure of the cause.
9/9/94   -    Rash - loose stools - VACCINES  

10/17/94  - Vomiting  -  diarrhea
11/1/94   -  103 fever -  virus
5/23/95  -   Irritable - nosebleeds
10/9/95  -   Not talking - PDD dx - to specialist
11/27/95  - Temp. - not eating/sleeping - ear infection  
12/19/95  -  103 fever - crying for 2 days - ear infection 
12/21/95  - Waking at night - crying - acute bowel 
12/28/95  -  Re-check - right ot media 
1/25/96   -   Ear infection 
2/8/96   - Re-check - unhappy- crying - nosebleeds 
2/29/96  -    Check up - nosebleeds x5 
3/26/96  -    104 Fever 

                                                            Important Implications for the Human Host

Two scientific explanations causing bacteria overgrowth have been presented.  The first, by knocking out some bad guy bacteria via vaccines and then having even more bad guys replace them and then the issue of mercury causing bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics, thus the bad guy bacteria flourish.  There is a third way that the microbiome can tilt more to the pathogenic side, especially S. Pneumoniae, as we discuss ear infections and more :

Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine Enhances Colonization of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus in Mice 

Community interactions at mucosal surfaces between viruses, like influenza virus, and respiratory bacterial pathogens are important contributors toward pathogenesis of bacterial disease. What has not been considered is the natural extension of these interactions to live attenuated immunizations, and in particular, live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIVs). Using a mouse-adapted LAIV against influenza A (H3N2) virus carrying the same mutations as the human FluMist vaccine, we find that LAIV vaccination reverses normal bacterial clearance from the nasopharynx and significantly increases bacterial carriage densities of the clinically important bacterial pathogens Streptococcus pneumoniae .... 

...We next sought to test the effects of LAIV on carriage of an entirely distinct but important Gram-positive bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus... Similar to the previous experiments using two strains of pneumococcus, the density of these two strains of S. aureusfollowing vaccination was increased at all measured time points...

...Here, we demonstrated that vaccination with LAIV, like a WT influenza virus, induces swift increases in bacterial density within the URT, with no discernible differences in effects on bacterial dynamics in the NP between the two virus strains...

I have written about this study before and these authors who should be commended for bringing up this serious and important issue of the live attenuated, nasal flu vaccine causing pathogenic bacteria to grow. Dr. Andrew Wakefield also discussed a live viral vaccine, (MMR) with THREE attenuated virusesThe treatment he received reporting on his research was a lashing unlike any other in recent history, and possibly ever. 

Knowing about that, this warning from the above authors may add more evidence to live attenuated viral vaccines and regression into Autism:

While care should be taken to not overgeneralize the data described here to all vaccines, the broad implications suggest that live attenuated viral vaccines may have unintended consequences on important human bacterial pathogens unrelated to the vaccine target species.

This is all very pertinent to Autism as increasing research keeps showing how dysfunctional and pathogenic the Microbiome is in so many of these very affected individuals. Both the science and the truth need to be shown so that harm can be avoided.

Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.



Thank you for writing this piece. My son had 10 ear infections in his first year of life and 2 surgeries for ear tubes within his first 2 years. This is so upsetting. I know now that we were caught up in the vicious cycle antibiotics...but now this on top of it all. UGH. So disheartening and maddening.


Jeannette Bishop says: vaccinating (not just medicating) to treat "side" effects of vaccinating.

I have done this.

After about the humpteenth time of my two kids getting pneumonia - after their DPT reactions -- I felt like we were against the Devil and the Deep blue sea and my two kids had to receive yet another vaccine - a pneumonia vaccine by the allergy doctor.

Would that be an example, of what Jeanette means?

After that they were always catching strep - strep - strep.

Yogurt has several safe strains of strep in it. I wish I had known -- I would have loaded them up on yogurt.

Jeannette Bishop

So we're vaccinating (not just medicating) to treat "side" effects of vaccinating and claim it's all about increasing "community immunity," at least here in California. Immune to self and health, I guess.

Not scientifically gathered (and probably familiar), but still interesting data from 1992:

George stevens Deniero is the man.


There are times when it seems like an infection, but is not. Sometimes this happens with ears.

Sometimes with bladder -- and it's especially common in the elderly. The caregiver says, oh no, another UTI; but nothing turns up in the test(s).

There are other conditions which can cause these ear problems. Or exacerbate them. Very hard to "tease apart" just what is going on.

cia parker

Breast feeding is instrumental to establishing a healthy microbiome in infants, and also is very effective in preventing both meningitis and ear infections. Do all women know this?


Sigh then again a vaccine causes the immune system to turn on these bacteria and empties a niche, to be refilled by something else - another bacteria.

There is so much that can go wrong messing with all this stuff.

Looks like what we always needed was the environmental type of scientist and - not a bunch of half wits that decided to go all military like the CDC.


Staph aureus is one of the bacteria that has tons of coping skills to survive. It is plentiful - every where - human skin, dogs, cats, out in the air, the soil - everywhere.

Just one of the vast ways of coping can turn Staph into flesh eating, antibiotic resistant MERSA. All they say from cleaning hospital rooms with mercury.

I found it very interesting that in Dan and Mark's book on Vaccines in an effort to help parents to decide which were worth the risk, they found information that the diphtheria bacteria became this horrible, strangling, choking and killing type of diphtheria when it was infected with - a virus.

Which makes me remember the rotavirus had one and then two types of pig wasting virus.

Which makes me remember all about the mouse virus that Judy Mikovits found in the blood of kids with autism or mitochondria disease and assumes it came through the vaccines.

Every time the CDC opens their mouth on the zika virus, it is just more and more - suspicious.

zika - it causes birth defects of small headed babies (The DPT more than capable).

The zika causes Guillian Barre syndrome - paralyzing of the lower legs that spread upward - common reaction in the 1976 -1977 flu vaccine, and all flu vaccines since.

Now the Zika is worse than they thought - it causes auto immune diseases -- which something we know strep and Staph does do, as well as vaccinations.

Perhaps it is time for me to revisit Judy and Kent's mouse virus in the vaccines theory, cause I think the CDC has finally decided to admit that said same mouse virus, renamed zika does exist

Hans Litten

Does anyone know of any association between that piece of garbage Prevnar13 and ear infections ?

Investigating myself now also .

But thanks for your article , it has inspired some new thoughts . I'll re-read it all again - thanks again .

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