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There’s a Funny Thing About Evidence: More Support for Autism-Mercury Link

Posted Sep 07 2010 12:00am

Science_jpg_w300h345 " ...thimerosal at the same concentrations received in human infants had clearly measurable effects on opioid receptor development in the infant rats. They also found that these effects were stronger at higher doses. The effect was found to be persistent, lasting well beyond the initial period of administration. According to the authors, “very likely, it is permanent.”"

By Mark Blaxill

Despite the relentless drumbeat of propaganda from the CDC, public health authorities and the thuggish on-line goons of the medical industry, there’s a funny thing going on. The evidence of a connection between mercury exposure and autism keeps growing.

Last month, two scientists at the University of Northern Iowa, Catherine DeSoto and Robert Hitlan, published a fascinating review paper (see HERE for an interview with DeSoto; also see HERE and HERE for earlier reviews of DeSoto’s successful debunking of an error-filled paper on autism and mercury). They asked a simple question: what does the published evidence linking autism and mercury really say? To answer that question, they did a simple Pub Med search. They searched for the terms “(Autism AND Mercury) OR (Autism AND Heavy Metals)”. They found 163 articles (a number that has since risen to 174) and reviewed them. According to the authors, “Of these 163 articles, 58 were research articles with empirical data relevant to the question of a link between autism and one or more toxic heavy metals. Fifteen were offered as evidence against a link between exposure to these metals and autism. In contrast, a sum of 43 papers were supporting a link between autism and exposure to those metals.” In short, 74% of the published studies supported the theory.

Evidence is a funny thing.

Last week, yet another important study was published with no fanfare in the mainstream media. A research team in Warsaw led by Dr. Dorota Majewska published the latest findings from their ongoing investigation of the effect of thimerosal administration on newborn rats. I wrote about the first published findings from this project HERE . In their latest paper, the authors extended their investigation of the potential relationship between thimerosal and the development of opioid receptors in the infant brain. They found that thimerosal at the same concentrations received in human infants had clearly measurable effects on opioid receptor development in the infant rats. They also found that these effects were stronger at higher doses. The effect was found to be persistent, lasting well beyond the initial period of administration. According to the authors, “very likely, it is permanent.”

Should it surprise anyone that thimerosal administration in low doses is dangerous to infant brain development? So far, we’ve seen this result repeated reliably in rats, hamsters, mice and monkeys (the single animal study that has not reproduced this finding was NIH-funded).  It’s obvious to these researchers what many of us have argued for years, that giving mercury to infants on purpose is stupid. In a similar spirit, the Warsaw team closed their paper with the following observation.

In conclusion, this study documents that parenteral administration of [thimerosal] to suckling rats at doses equivalent to those used in pediatric vaccines or higher produces lasting alterations of [mu-opioid receptors ] in several brain regions and damage to neurons. If analogous changes occur in the brains of some children, they are likely to have profound neurological, physiological and behavioral consequences, which may be relevant for certain neurodevelopmental disorders. These data argue for removal of [thimerosal] from all infant vaccines.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Mark Blaxill is Editor-at-Large for Age of Autism and a director of SafeMinds. His new book, co-authored with Age of Autism Editor Dan Olmsted, The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine and a Man-Made Epidemic will be published next week.

The abstract of the Warsaw team’s article is below. The full article is available free HERE .

Neurochem Res. 2010 Aug 28.
Neonatal Administration of Thimerosal Causes Persistent Changes in Mu Opioid Receptors in the Rat Brain.

Olczak M, Duszczyk M, Mierzejewski P, Bobrowicz T, Majewska MD.

Department of Pharmacology and Physiology of the Nervous System, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Sobieskiego 9 str., 02-957, Warsaw, Poland.

Abstract
Thimerosal added to some pediatric vaccines is suspected in pathogenesis of several neurodevelopmental disorders. Our previous study showed that thimerosal administered to suckling rats causes persistent, endogenous opioid-mediated hypoalgesia. Here we examined, using immunohistochemical staining technique, the density of mu-opioid receptors (MORs) in the brains of rats, which in the second postnatal week received four i.m. injections of thimerosal at doses 12, 240, 1,440 or 3,000 mug Hg/kg. The periaqueductal gray, caudate putamen and hippocampus were examined. Thimerosal administration caused dose-dependent statistically significant increase in MOR densities in the periaqueductal gray and caudate putamen, but decrease in the dentate gyrus, where it was accompanied by the presence of degenerating neurons and loss of synaptic vesicle marker (synaptophysin). These data document that exposure to thimerosal during early postnatal life produces lasting alterations in the densities of brain opioid receptors along with other neuropathological changes, which may disturb brain development.

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