Mercury Levels: Study Findings
The autism group did not differ from the typically developing group in the level of mercury circulating in their blood after the researchers adjusted for the sources of mercury, Hertz-Picciotto says.
”There are no obvious differences in the circulating levels of mercury” among the three groups, she says.
“Unadjusted, those with autism had lower levels as it turns out,” she says. That may be due to a lower consumption of fish among those with autism, she says, perhaps because of the tendency to be picky eaters and adhere to the same foods.
The average levels of mercury were 0.24 micrograms per liter for the typically developing children, 0.26 micrograms per liter for those with autism or autism spectrum disorder, and 0.16 micrograms for those with other developmental disorders, she found.
To put that in perspective, Hertz-Picciotto says the Environmental Protection Agency considers a level of 5.8 micrograms per liter not risky for pregnant women. There is no specific standard set for children, she says.
Study On The Assumption That Mercury Exposure In Pregnancy Is A Major Cause Of Autism
- University of Bristol
- A major study examining the fish-eating habits of pregnant women has found that they are not linked to autism or autistic traits in their children. Scientists looked at the assumption that mercury exposure during pregnancy is a major cause of autism using evidence from nearly 4,500 women who took part in the Children of the ’90s study.
A major study examining the fish-eating habits of pregnant women has found that they are not linked to autism or autistic traits in their children.
Scientists at the University of Bristol looked at the assumption that mercury exposure during pregnancy is a major cause of autism using evidence from nearly 4500 women who took part in the Children of the 90s study.
Using analysis of blood samples, reported fish consumption and information on autism and autistic traits from one of the largest longitudinal studies to date, researchers found no links between levels of mercury in the mothers and autism or autistic traits in their children. The only adverse effect of mercury found was poor social cognition if mothers ate no fish at all, especially for girls.
Lead author and founder of the Children of the 90s study Professor Jean Golding commented: “Our findings further endorse the safety of eating fish during pregnancy. Importantly we’ve found no evidence at all to support claims that mercury is involved in the development of autism or autistic traits.
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Vaccine Ingredients Do Not Cause Autism
- One vaccine ingredient that has been studied specifically is thimerosal. Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative used to prevent germs from contaminating multidose vials of vaccines. Research shows that thimerosal does not cause ASD. In fact, a 2004 scientific review by the IOM concluded that the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosalcontaining vaccines and autism.Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism external icon
Since 2003, there have been nine CDC-funded or conducted studies that have found no link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and ASD. These studies also found no link between the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and ASD in children. Learn more about the CDC Studies on Thimerosal in Vaccines pdf icon.
Even before studies showed that thimerosal was not harmful, there was a national effort to reduce all types of mercury exposures in children. As precaution, thimerosal was removed or reduced to trace amounts in all childhood vaccines between 1999 and 2001. Currently, the only type of vaccine that contain thimerosal are flu vaccines packaged in multidose vials. There are thimerosal-free alternatives available for flu vaccine. For more information, see the Timeline for Thimerosal in Vaccines.
Besides thimerosal, some people have had concerns about other vaccine ingredients;in relation to ASD. However, no links have been found between any vaccine ingredients and ASD.
Autism And Its Histories
The hypothesis that thimerosal-containing vaccines could explain the remarkable rise in the prevalence of autism arose not among environmental scientists but among the communities that have emerged over the past 20 years of parents and professionals caring for autistic children. Specifically, parents and clinicians who have framed autism in biomedical terms have been critical agents in promoting both the concept of the autism epidemic and the primacy of vaccines as its cause. The passion behind their arguments stems from a long history of advocacy on behalf of their children, often in the face of psychiatric theories perceived as parent blaming and inadequately funded developmental and educational resources in many communities.
In 1965, psychologist Bernard Rimland rejected the psychogenic model of autism in his ground-breaking Infantile Autism, proposing that the condition was instead rooted in biology. The collapse of the psychoanalytic model gave rise, however, to two rather different explanatory frameworks in its place. The ways in which these have diverged and have been embraced by different communities of parents and professionals is of critical importance to understanding the current debate over the existence of an autism epidemic.
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Mercury Poison Linked To Autism
A FAMILY history of mercury poisoning has emerged as a significant risk factor for developing autism, Melbourne researchers say.
A Swinburne University survey of 522 Australian survivors of pink disease – a form of mercury poisoning common in the early 20th century – found that one in 25 of their 398 grandchildren aged six to 12 had an autism spectrum disorder. The prevalence is six times higher than the one in 160 diagnosed in the general population.
Many struggle with Autism, which has now been linked with mercury.
The study, published this week in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, found the grandchildren did not have elevated rates of any other conditions such as epilepsy, Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The authors said although they did not validate the autism diagnoses provided by the survivors in the surveys their study added to mounting evidence of a link between genetics, mercury sensitivity and autism spectrum disorders.
They said the research also strongly suggested that autism was caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors such as a family predisposition to mercury sensitivity and exposure to the metal in the environment.
Professor Austin said his team was now examining the cellular and genetic characteristics of pink disease survivors and people with autism to try to understand the potential mechanisms.
What Do We Know About What Contributes To Autism
Largely ignored during this prolonged vaccine-autism controversy was clear evidence of a strong genetic influence on autism. For example, if one identical twin has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder , the other twin is from 60% to 90% more likely to also be diagnosed with an ASD. Also known is that males are more likely than females to be diagnosed with autism and that the older a father is, the higher the likelihood of a diagnosis of autism in his offspring.
Nonetheless, autism has proven to be very difficult to pin down genetically in the way that single-gene disorders, such as cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s disease, have been traced. The reasons for this difficulty have recently become clearer thanks to advances in DNA sequencing technology that have made it possible to compare the genomes of individuals with autism to those of individuals without autism, as well as to those of their parents. It is now evident that there are many genetic paths to autism, and that some mutations leading to autism are not inherited but arise spontaneously in reproductive cells or during development. These mutations help to explain how autism can appear in families that previously had no history of the condition.
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Mercury In Air Pollution: A Link To Autism
More Autism Seen in Texas Counties With Most Mercury Pollution
Mercury is one heck of a toxic substance. A fraction of a teaspoon can render all the fish in a 20-acre lake unsafe to eat.
A recent Institute of Medicine study found no link between the tiny amounts of mercury in childhood vaccines and autism. But the jury is still out on whether prenatal exposure to mercury might affect brain development.
Could environmental exposure to mercury affect autism rates? Raymond F. Palmer, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Texas Health Science Center explored the issue. They looked at EPA figures on industrial mercury release — most of which comes from coal-fired power plants — in 254 Texas counties. They compared these figures to autism rates from the counties’ 1,184 school districts, taking into account other factors linked to autism.
Study: No Link Between Mercury Exposure And Autism
- Study: No Link Between Mercury Exposure and Autism-like Behaviors
The potential impact of exposure to low levels of mercury on the developing brain specifically by women consuming fish during pregnancy has long been the source of concern and some have argued that the chemical may be responsible for behavioral disorders such as autism.;However, a new study that draws upon more than 30 years of research in the Republic of Seychelles reports that there is no association between pre-natal mercury exposure and autism-like behaviors.;
This study shows no evidence of a correlation between low level mercury exposure and autism spectrum-like behaviors among children whose mothers ate, on average, up to 12 meals of fish each week during pregnancy, said Edwin van Wijngaarden, Ph.D., an associate professor in the University of Rochester Medical Centers Department of Public Health Sciences and lead author of the study which appears online today in the journal Epidemiology.;These findings contribute to the growing body of literature that suggest that exposure to the chemical does not play an important role in the onset of these behaviors.
This study shows no consistent association in children with mothers with mercury levels that were six to ten times higher than those found in the U.S. and Europe, said Davidson. ;This is a sentinel population and if it does not exist here than it probably does not exist.
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Does Mercury Used In Vaccines Cause Autism
Thimerosal is a preservative that has been used in some vaccines since the 1930s . Thimerosal consists of 49% ethylmercury and some have suggested, partly because of the known effects of methylmercury as a toxic substance, that thimerosal delivered in vaccines causes autism to develop in some children. Much is known about the effects of the more dangerous methylmercury. Massive systemic damage can occur through excessive methylmercury exposure. The Food and Drug Administration has advised pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children limit their intake of certain types of fish, like tuna, that tend to contain high levels of methylmercury in order to prevent excessive methylmercury consumption. Much less is known about ethylmercury, however, the CDC reports that the cumulative exposure to ethylmercury that occurred when thimerosal was used as a preservative in vaccines was less than the FDA and World Health Organization recommended maximum safe exposure to methylmercury. However, the EPAs more stringent guideline for methylmercury exposure was exceeded. Therefore, given the heightened concern over mercury exposure, the suggested link between thimerosal and autism, and technology that exists for eliminating ethylmercury from vaccines, thimerosal has been removed from all vaccines in the U.S. with the exception of certain flu vaccines. Research into this putative link to autism was, and still is, clearly warranted.
Mercury Dumping More Autism
“We found that for every 1,000 pounds of mercury released by industry, there was a 17% increase in autism,” Palmer tells WebMD. “This is one of the most highly toxic on earth. So when we talk about 50 pounds, 1,000 pounds, 2,000 pounds released into the environment, this is a tremendous amount of potential exposure. But we do not know how these exposures get into the body.”
The findings are scheduled to appear in the journal Health & Place.
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Endogenous Opiate Precursor Theory
In 1979, Jaak Panksepp proposed a connection between autism and opiates, noting that injections of minute quantities of opiates in young laboratory animals induce symptoms similar to those observed among autistic children. The possibility of a relationship between autism and the consumption of gluten and casein was first articulated by Kalle Reichelt in 1991.
Opiate theory hypothesizes that autism is the result of a metabolic disorder in which opioid peptides gliadorphin and casomorphin, produced through metabolism of gluten and casein , pass through an abnormally permeable intestinal wall and then proceed to exert an effect on neurotransmission through binding with opioid receptors. It has been postulated that the resulting excess of opioids affects brain maturation, and causes autistic symptoms, including behavioural difficulties, attention problems, and alterations in communicative capacity and social and cognitive functioning.
Mercury In Vaccines Not Linked To Autism New Study Finds
A new government study adds to the evidence that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative until recently found in many vaccines, does not increase children’s risk of autism.
It shows kids who had been exposed as babies to high levels of the preservative — through vaccines they received or their mothers received while pregnant — were no more likely to develop autism, including two distinct subtypes of the condition.
“This study should reassure parents about following the recommended immunization schedule,” said Dr. Frank Destefano, director of the Immunization Safety Office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and the study’s senior author.
Concerns about a link between vaccines and autism were first raised more than a decade ago by British physician Andrew Wakefield.
His report, based on 12 children, has since been discredited and was retracted earlier this year by the journal that published it. In the meantime, it sparked a fierce worldwide debate among scientists and a health scare that caused many parents to shy away from recommended vaccines like the one against measles, mumps and rubella.
Outbreaks of all three diseases followed.
One widespread worry has been that thimerosal might play a role in the development of autism, a condition that affects as many as one in 110 U.S. children, according to the CDC.
Most scientists consider autism a developmental disorder, likely influenced by genes.
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Brain Damage Seen In Mice
Her study showed that giving thimerosal to susceptible mice caused behaviors and brain changes similar to those found in autism. This study was one of several reviewed by the IOM committee before they drafted their statement on vaccine safety.
The study is published in the July issue of Molecular Psychiatry.
“This type of study, while certainly interesting, in no way substitutes for actual human evidence,” IOM panelist Steven Goodman, MD, PhD, MHS, associate professor of oncology and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, tells WebMD.
“We don’t have an animal model for autism and we don’t understand exactly what causes autism. … So we don’t understand it completely in either system at the moment, and we certainly don’t understand to what extent one is a model for the other.”
Although autism was once considered a rare condition, the number of children diagnosed with autism has increased tenfold since 1985, to about one in every 1,000 children. Whether this is an actual increase in the disease or just an increase in the diagnosis of the condition is not clear.
About one third of children with autism have increased risk of autoimmune diseases, suggesting that genetics may play a role in autism. To examine the relationship between genetics and environment, researchers in the mouse experiment gave thimerosal to a genetic strain of mice susceptible to autoimmune diseases.
Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism
- Some people have had concerns that ASD might be linked to the vaccines children receive, but studies have shown that there is no link between receiving vaccines and developing ASD. The National Academy of Medicine, formerly known as Institute of Medicine, reviewed the safety of 8 vaccines to children and adults. The review found that with rare exceptions, these vaccines are very safe.Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality external icon
- A CDC study published in 2013 added to the research showing that vaccines do not cause ASD. The study focused on the number of antigens given during the first two years of life. Antigens are substances in vaccines that cause the bodys immune system to produce disease-fighting antibodies. The results showed that the total amount of antigen from vaccines received was the same between children with ASD and those that did not have ASD.Increasing exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides in vaccines is not associated with risk of autism external icon
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New Study Confirms That Mercury Is Linked To Autism By Robert F Kennedy Jr
PROFESSOR OF PRACTICE ZAYED UNIVERSITY UAE at Zayed University
Two new studies by international teams, including Egyptian scientists, have validated the link between autism and mercury.
In an article published in the journal Metabolic Brain Disease, a team of nine scientists from leading Egyptian universities and medical schools confirmed the causal role of mercury in the onset of autism.
The scientists determined the extent of mercury poisoning in children by measuring urinary excretion of organic compounds called porphyrins, which act as biomarkers for mercury toxicity. The researchers also measured blood levels of mercury and lead. The researchers found a strong relationship between mercury toxicity and the presence of autism and a direct correlation between levels of mercury toxicity and the severity of autism symptoms.
The scientists studied 100 children; 40 with autism spectrum disorder , 40 healthy individuals and 20 healthy siblings of ASD children. The results showed that the children with ASD had significantly higher mercury levels than healthy children and healthy siblings. Children with the highest mercury levels had the most severe autism symptoms.