April 2013 – A US National Health Statistics Report estimates that, as of June 2012, one out of fifty (that’s 1/50!) schoolchildren had been diagnosed with ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder]. It states: “The magnitude of the increase was greatest for boys and for adolescents aged 14-17…Children who were first diagnosed in or after 2008 accounted for much of the observed prevalence increase among school-aged children (those aged 6-17).”
The report suggests that part of the increase was due to better diagnosis. It notes that, “School-aged children diagnosed in or after 2008 were more likely to have milder ASD and less likely to have severe ASD than those diagnosed in or before 2007 … much of the prevalence increase from 2007 to 2011-2012 for school-aged children was the result of diagnosis of children with previously unrecognized ASD.” The report reasons that subtle ASD symptoms are more likely to be noticed in schoolchildren than in younger children, and parents are more likely to seek a medical diagnosis if their children would benefit from government-funded support services.
But, whether or not more perceptive diagnosis or other suggestions such as better general awareness of autism and increased access to diagnostic services were major factors in the result, ASD is now much more prevalent than health authorities have admitted in the past. The report acknowledges that, “The increases in ASD prevalence reported here extend an ongoing trend observed in the United States and other developed countries over the past several decades.” Unless they receive effective therapy, the younger children who have mild symptoms now could develop more severe ASD as they grow older and, unless we address the root causes of the explosion, we can expect the overall increase to continue unabated. (Anne Dachel, who frequently comments on vaccine issues has written a poignant article about this.)
And what are the root causes of the explosion? Considering that children’s autism rates have skyrocketed from about 1/10,000 just fifteen years ago to last year’s 1/50, inheritance can be ruled out. In fact, a 2011 study of twins published in the Archives of General Psychiatry concluded that, regardless of increased incidence, susceptibility to ASD has only “moderate genetic heritability”; the results showed that, “A large proportion of the variance in liability can be explained by shared environmental factors.” And, according to mercola.com, “The majority of autism cases appear to result from environmental factors that activate the expression of a number of different genes, along with multiple epigenetic factors that produce the traits of autism.”
Dr Mercola refers to a 2011 review in the Journal of Immunotoxicology. It covers peer-reviewed studies published as far back as 1943 when autism was first described and was estimated to occur in only 4-5 children out of 10,000. In a summary of results which correlate the timing of changes in incidence with environmental changes, it documents the causes of autism: genetic mutations and/or deletions, viral infections, and encephalitis following vaccination, ie genetic defects and/or brain inflammation.
The author, Helen Ratajczak PhD, contends that, “Due to the extensive parallels between autism and mercury poisoning, the likelihood of a causal relationship is great. More evidence linking autism with mercury poisoning is the timing of inclusion of Thimerosal in vaccines in the 1930s closely preceding the discovery of autism in 1943 (Kanner, 1943).” And she notes that, although a 2008 study by Schechter and Grether “did not show any decrease in autism in California, despite the exclusion of more than trace levels of Thimerosal from nearly all childhood vaccines by 2002…in 2004, inactivated influenza vaccine frequently containing Thimerosal was newly recommended for all children 6-23-months old in the United States. In addition, influenza vaccination during all trimesters of pregnancy is now universally recommended (Ayoub and Yazbak 2006).”
Also, Ratajczak notes that, “mercury exposure results from mercury as a pollutant in air, soil, dust, water, consumer products, dental amalgam and lighting fixtures, foodstuffs, fish, and seafood. Concerning air, for every 1,000 pounds of mercury (all forms), there was a 61% increase in the rate of autism [Dufault et al, 2009]. Mercury is found in many foods, including high-fructose corn syrup … the consumption of some artificial color additives has been shown to lead to zinc deficiency. Dietary zinc is essential for maintaining the metabolic processes required for mercury elimination.” Obviously, this multitude of chronic non-vaccine possibilities for children’s exposure to mercury would tend to diminish the relative contribution of vaccine thimerosal to mercury’s total effect on rates of autism – even though injections in the first 2-3 yrs of life risk its speedy access to the brain.
Ratajczak emphasizes the possibility that MMR plays a role in the autism increase. She writes: “The new version of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine (ie, MMR II) that did not contain Thimerosal was introduced in 1979. By 1983, only the new version was available. Autism in the United States spiked dramatically between 1983 and 1990 from 4-5/10,000 to 1/500. In 1988, two doses of MMR II were recommended to immunize those individuals who did not respond to the first injection. A spike of incidence of autism accompanied the addition”. She remarks that dramatic increases in autism also occurred in the UK, Canada, Denmark and Japan after the introduction of MMR II and that, “It is important to note that unlike the former MMR, the rubella component of MMR II was propagated in a human cell line derived from embryonic lung tissue (Merck and Co, Inc, 2010). The MMR II is contaminated with human DNA from the cell line. This human DNA could be the cause of the spikes in incidence. An additional increased spike in incidence of autism occurred in 1995 when the chickenpox vaccine was grown in human fetal tissue (Merck and Co, Inc, 2001; Breuer, 2003).”
Dr Mercola mentions other factors that could be contributing to the increased autism rate. One is the electromagnetic radiation which is expanding exponentially as more wireless technologies are developed. Numerous studies show that such commonly used devices as wireless laptop computers, baby monitors (which were first developed to monitor possible reactions from DTP vaccine) and cellphones are most likely affecting our brains, especially those of foetuses, infants, children, adolescents and teenagers. As with vaccines, the more chronic the exposure, the greater would be the risk of ASD. And in addition to mercury, research implicates phthalates as a possible cause of ASD. Helen Ratajczak informs, “When the concentration of phthalates in the urine of autistic subjects was calculated, there was a significant relationship between the concentration and the degree of autism …(Kim et al, 2009). Dr Mercola mentions 2009 research which discovered that infants living in homes with vinyl floors were twice as likely to have autism five years later than infants living in homes with wood or linoleum floors. Pthalates enter our bodies via inhalation of their vapours, ingestion, and skin contact. They are ubiquitous chemicals used as plastic softeners; as well as in vinyl floors, they are found in hairsprays, perfumes, cosmetics, toys, shower curtains, wood finishes, lubricants, and even some medical devices.
Dr Mercola points to the important discovery by neurologist, Natasha Campbell-McBride – parent of a now-recovered autistic boy – that nearly all mothers of autistic children had abnormal gut flora when those children were born. She uses the term, Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) to describe brain toxicity arising from gut toxicity. Babies who inherit their mothers’ toxic flora while in the womb are at a major disadvantage; their immune systems are compromised and thus, they are at greater risk for vaccine reactions. For parents who are concerned that their babies may develop GAPS, tests are available. Mercola also emphasizes the importance of Vitamin D during pregnancy, referring to the research of Dr John Cannell which links Vitamin D deficiency and autism.
We have to ask, what will the next announcement be: one in twenty, one in ten, one in two with autism? How long will it take until society can no longer bear the enormous burden ASD entails? How long will it be until health authorities consider it serious enough to put aside their dogmas and start really doing something about it?