COVID-19 Made worse By Social Distancing?

We are led to question whether the recommended social distancing measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission could increase the number of other serious instabilities. The breaking of the contagion pathways reduces the sharing of microorganisms between people, thus favoring dysbiosis, which, in turn, may increase the poor prognosis of the disease. #covid #microbiome #dysbiosis Célia P. F. Domingues, João S. Rebelo, Francisco Dionisio, Ana Botelho, Teresa Nogueira. The Social Distancing Imposed To Contain COVID-19 Can Affect Our Microbiome: a Double-Edged Sword in Human Health. mSphere, 2020; 5 (5) DOI: 10.1128/mSphere.00716-20 https://msphere.asm.org/content/5/5/e00716-20

To TIME magazine saying Autism is higher do to better diagnosis on Good Morning America…Do your RESEARCH!

EEV: Reposted from our HRR Site. It is not uncommon for some media organizations to mistake Belief, as Fact.

Study shows California’s autism increase not due to better counting, diagnosis: seven- to eight-fold increase in the number children born in California with autism since 1990

2009 study posted for filing

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — A study by researchers at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute has found that the seven- to eight-fold increase in the number children born in California with autism since 1990 cannot be explained by either changes in how the condition is diagnosed or counted — and the trend shows no sign of abating.

Published in the January 2009 issue of the journal Epidemiology, results from the study also suggest that research should shift from genetics to the host of chemicals and infectious microbes in the environment that are likely at the root of changes in the neurodevelopment of California’s children.
Continue reading “To TIME magazine saying Autism is higher do to better diagnosis on Good Morning America…Do your RESEARCH!”

U.S. Court Confrims M.M.R. Vaccine Caused Autism or Cumulative (Verified through Multiple Sources) From DEC 2012 Judgment

EEV: Court Document Clip: Followed by links to Last article from Jan 2013 and links to court documents

* This was requested article research

National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (“Vaccine Program”).2 Petitioners
alleged that as a result of “all the vaccinations administered to [Ryan] from March 25,
2003, through February 22, 2005, and more specifically, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR)
vaccinations administered to him on December 19, 2003 and May 10, 2004,” Ryan
suffered “a severe and debilitating injury to his brain, described as Autism Spectrum
Disorder (‘ASD’).” Petition at 1. Petitioners specifically asserted that Ryan “suffered a
Vaccine Table Injury, namely, an encephalopathy” as a result of his receipt of the MMR
vaccination on December 19, 2003. Id. In the alternative, petitioners asserted that “as a
cumulative result of his receipt of each and every vaccination between March 25, 2003
and February 22, 2005, Ryan has suffered . . . neuroimmunologically mediated
dysfunctions in the form of asthma and ASD.” Id. at 1-2.

CAMPBELL-SMITH.MOJABI-PROFFER.12.13.2012

RyanvHHSMMR[1]Measles Judgement

American parents awarded £600,000 in compensation after their son developed  autism as a result of MMR vaccine

  • Saeid and  Parivash Mojabi claimed their son suffered a ‘severe brain injury’
  • The  Californian couple said that son Ryan was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum  Disorder

By  David Gardner

PUBLISHED: 20:32 EST, 14  January 2013 |  UPDATED: 20:33 EST, 14 January 2013

Vaccine: An American couple have been awarded more than £600,000 by a U.S court after claiming their son developed autism as a result of the MMR jab (file picture)
Vaccine: An American couple have been awarded more than  £600,000 by a U.S court after claiming their son developed autism as a result of  the MMR jab (file picture)

Parents who claim their 10-year-old boy  developed autism as a result of being injected with an MMR vaccine when he was a  baby have been awarded more than £600,000 in a landmark court decision in  America.

Saeid and Parivash Mojabi claimed that son  Ryan suffered a ‘severe and debilitating injury to his brain’ after being  administered with two measles-mumps-rubella vaccinations in December, 2003 and  in May the following year.

They said in court papers that Ryan was  diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The ruling comes months after a judge in  Italy awarded £140,000 to an Italian couple who said their son had autism after  his routine childhood MMR inoculation.

The American decision – although it doesn’t  lay fault for the child’s disability with the drug – fuels anti-MMR campaigners  challenging the view of the majority of the medical profession that holds the  vaccinations are safe.

The claim was against the US government which  set up a Vaccine Programme. Although a judgement rules whether or not each case  is eligible for compensation and the amount – in this case against the US Health  Department – it does not apportion blame.

The San Jose, California, based family took  their case to the US Court of Federal Claims in 2006.

Under the National Vaccine Injury  Compensation Programme, parents can petition the US government for compensation  for injuries or deaths allegedly caused by compulsory childhood  vaccines.

A judgement in Ryan’s case, which was first  filed in 2006, was made on December 13 last year by the Office of Special  Masters set up by US Congress to decide on compensation claims. The defendant in  the case was the US Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The damages payment takes into account the  boy’s future loss of earnings because it’s unlikely he will be able to  work.

In statements to the court, Ryan’s  grandmother Paravaneh Shah-Mohammadi and his aunt Pooran Vahabi told how the boy  appeared ‘lethargic’, ‘hardly responsive to noises and people around him,’and  ‘unable to hold himself upright’ after having the first MMR  vaccination.

Under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Programme, parents can petition the US government for compensation for injuries or deaths allegedly caused by compulsory childhood vaccinesUnder the National Vaccine Injury Compensation  Programme, parents can petition the US government for compensation for injuries  or deaths allegedly caused by compulsory childhood vaccines (file  picture)

The number of autism cases in the UK has  soared over the past four decades. At the last count researchers found one in 64  British children have some kind of autistic condition.

In the Eighties, only four in every 10,000  children showed any signs of autism.

The Department of Health and NHS doctors  insist that better diagnosis of autism and environmental factors are responsible  for the dramatic rise in the number of cases and dismissed MMR vaccinations as a  cause.

No link between the jabs and autism has been  found in the British courts.

In America, nearly 5,000 families blame the  MMR injection for causing their children’s autism.

Boost: The case is likely to fuel the arguments of anti-MMR campaigners (file picture)Boost: The case is likely to fuel the arguments of  anti-MMR campaigners (file picture)

In 2008, a girl called Hannah Poling was  awarded £1 million damages by the US government when a court ruled that  receiving nine vaccines in one day, including the MMR, had caused her autistic  condition.

But the court said that Hannah had an  underlying cell disorder, mitochondria, which had been aggravated by the  vaccinations and manifested itself as autism.

In Ryan’s case, Chief Special Master Patricia  Campbell-Smith decided his family was eligible for damages under the US  government’s Vaccine Programme.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2262534/American-parents-awarded-600-000-compensation-son-developed-autism-result-MMR-vaccine.html#ixzz2bPIwE6WR Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Clues about autism may come from the gut

Contact: Joseph Caspermeyer Joseph.Caspermeyer@asu.edu Arizona State University

Bacterial flora inhabiting the human gut have become one of the hottest topics in biological research. Implicated in a range of important activities including digestion, fine-tuning body weight, regulating immune response, and producing neurotransmitters affect that brain and behavior, these tiny workers form diverse communities. Hundreds of species inhabit the gut, and although most are beneficial, some can be very dangerous.

In new research appearing in the journal PLOS ONE, a team led by Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, a researcher at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, present the first comprehensive bacterial analysis focusing on commensal or beneficial bacteria in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

After publishing earlier research exploring crucial links between intestinal microflora and gastric bypass, Krajmlanik-Brown convinced James Adams— director of the ASU Autism/Asperger’s Research Program—that similar high throughput techniques could be used to mine the microbiome of patients with autism. (Previously, Adams had been studying the relationship between the gut microbiome and autism using traditional culturing techniques.)

“One of the reasons we started addressing this topic is the fact that autistic children  have a lot of GI problems that can last into adulthood,” Krajmalnik-Brown  says. “Studies have shown that when we manage these problems, their behavior improves dramatically.”

Following up on these tantalizing hints, the group hypothesized the existence of distinctive features in the intestinal microflora found in autistic subjects compared to typical children. The current study confirmed these suspicions, and found that children with autism had significantly fewer types of gut bacteria, probably making them more vulnerable to pathogenic bacteria.  Autistic subjects also had significantly lower amounts of three critical bacteria, Prevotella, Coprococcus, and Veillonellaceae.

Krajmalnik-Brown, along with the paper’s lead authors Dae-Wook Kang and Jin Gyoon Park, suggest that knowledge gleaned through such research may ultimately be used both as a quantitative e diagnostic tool to pinpoint autism and as a guide to developing effective treatments for ASD-associated GI problems.  The work also offers hope for new prevention and treatment methods for ASD itself, which has been on a mysterious and rapid ascent around the world.

A disquieting puzzle

Autism is defined as a spectrum disorder, due to the broad range of symptoms involved and the influence of both genetic and environmental factors, features often confounding efforts at accurate diagnosis. The diseases’ prevalence in children exceeds juvenile diabetes, childhood cancer and pediatric AIDS combined.

Controversy surrounds the apparent explosive rise in autism cases. Heightened awareness of autism spectrum disorders and more diligent efforts at diagnosis must account for some of the increase, yet many researchers believe a genuine epidemic is occurring. In addition to hereditary components, Western-style diets and overuse of antibiotics at an early age may be contributing to the problem by lowering the diversity of the gut microflora.

In terms of severe developmental ailments affecting children and young adults, autism is one of the most common, striking about 1 in 50 children. The disorder—often pitiless and perplexing—is characterized by an array of physical and behavioral symptoms including anxiety, depression, extreme rigidity, poor social functioning and an overall lack of independence.

To date, studies of the gut microbiome in autistic subjects have focused primarily on pathogenic bacteria, some of which have been implicated in alterations to brain function.  One example involves gram-negative bacteria containing lipopolysaccharides in their cell walls, which can induce inflammation of the brain and lead to the accumulation of high levels of mercury in the cerebrum.

A new approach

Krajmalnik-Brown and lead author Dae-Wook Kang are researchers in the Biodesign Institute’s Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, which is devoted to the use of microbial communities for the benefit of human and environmental health. Their new study is the first to approach autism from a different angle, by examining the possible role of so-called commensal or beneficial bacteria.

Up to a quadrillion (1014) bacteria inhabit the human intestine, contributing to digestion, producing vitamins and promoting GI health. Genes associated with human intestinal flora are 100 times as plentiful as the body’s human genes, forming what some have referred to as a second genome. Various environmental factors can destabilize the natural microbiome of the gut, including antibiotics and specific diets.

In the current study, a cohort of 20 healthy and 20 autistic subjects between 3 and 16 years of age were selected and their gut microflora from fecal samples analyzed by means of a technique known as pyrosequencing. Pyrosequencing is a high-throughput method, allowing many DNA samples to be combined as well as many sequences per sample to be analyzed.

Lower diversity of gut microbes was positively correlated with the presence of autistic symptoms in the study. The authors stress that bacterial richness and diversity are essential for maintaining a robust and adaptable bacterial community capable of fighting off environmental challenges. “We believe that a diverse gut is a healthy gut,” Krajmalnik-Brown says.

The new study detected decreased microbial diversity in the 20 autistic subjects whose fecal samples were analyzed. Specifically, three bacterial genera—Prevotella, Coprococcus and Veillonellaceae—were diminished in subjects with autism, when compared with samples from normal children. (Surprisingly, these microbial changes did not seem directly correlated with the severity of GI symptoms.)

The three genera represent important groups of carbohydrate-degrading and/or fermenting microbes.  Such bacteria could be critical for healthy microbial-gut interactions or play a supportive role for  a wide network of different microorganisms in the gut. The latter would explain the decreased diversity observed in autistic samples.

Bacteria: in sickness and in health

Among the fully classified genera in the study, Prevotella was the most conspicuously reduced in autistic subjects. Prevotella is believed to play a key role in the composition of the human gut microbiome. For this reason, the group undertook a sub-genus investigation of autistic subjects. They found that a species known as Prevotella copri occurred only in very low levels in the autistic samples. The species is a common component in normal children exhibiting more diverse and robust microbial communities.

“We think of Prevotella as a healthy, good thing to have,” Krajmalnik-Brown notes. (Michael Polan’s recent New York Times Magazine story on the microbiome points to the fact that he is proud that his gut microbiome is rich in Prevotella regarding it as a possible sign of a healthy non-Western diet.)

Jin Gyoon Park (the other lead author),  who works in the Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics, under Joshua LaBaer’s direction, conducted a rigorous bioinformatic and statistical analysis of the intestinal microflora. He believes that the microbiome can be mined in future work to find diagnostic biomarkers for autism and many other diseases. Quantitative diagnoses of this sort have so far been lacking for autism, a disease for which subjective behavior indices are typically used to identify the disorder.

In describing the next steps for the research group, Kang and Park point to more detailed, gene-level analyses aimed at probing bacterial function and further illuminating relationships between human health and the complexities of the microbiome.  Additionally, the group will use the current results as a guide for new treatment studies for autism aimed at modifying bacterial composition in the gut.

###

A new, interdisciplinary consortium (Autism Microbiome Consortium) has been formed to investigate the underpinings of autism and the gut microbiome, bringing together the combined skills of neurologists, psychiatrists, neuroimmunologists, epidemiologists, pediatricians, geneticists, biochemists, microbiologists and others. In addition to Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and James Adams, the group consists of:

Jack Gilbert (University of Chicago), Catherine Lozupone (University of Colorado), Rob Knight (University of Colorado and HHMI). Mady Hornig (Columbia University), Sarkis Mazmanian (California Institute of Technology), Tanya Murphy (University of South Florida), , Paul Patterson (California Institute of Technology), John Alverdy (University of Chicago), Janet Jansson (Lawrence Berkeley Lab), KImberly Johnson (University of Colorado).

Written by: Richard Harth Science Writer: Biodesign Institute richard.harth@asu.edu

UCSB researchers successfully treat autism in infants

Contact: Andrea Estrada andrea.estrada@ia.ucsb.edu 805-893-4620 University of California – Santa Barbara

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) –– Most infants respond to a game of peek-a-boo with smiles at the very least, and, for those who find the activity particularly entertaining, gales of laughter. For infants with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), however, the game can be distressing rather than pleasant, and they’ll do their best to tune out all aspects of it –– and that includes the people playing with them.

That disengagement is a hallmark of ASD, and one of the characteristics that amplifies the disorder as infants develop into children and then adults.

A study conducted by researchers at the Koegel Autism Center at UC Santa Barbara has found that replacing such games in favor of those the infant prefers can actually lessen the severity of the infants’ ASD symptoms, and, perhaps, alleviate the condition altogether. Their work is highlighted the current issue of the Journal of Positive Behavioral Interventions.

Lynn Koegel, clinical director of the center and the study’s lead author, described the game-playing protocol as a modified Pivotal Response Treatment (PVT). Developed at UCSB, PRT is based on principles of positive motivation. The researchers identified the activities that seemed to be more enjoyable to the infants and taught the respective parents to focus on those rather than on the typical games they might otherwise choose. “We had them play with their infants for short periods, and then give them some kind of social reward,” Koegel said. “Over time, we conditioned the infants to enjoy all the activities that were presented by pairing the less desired activities with the highly desired ones.” The social reward is preferable to, say, a toy, Koegel noted, because it maintains the ever-crucial personal interaction.

“The idea is to get them more interested in people,” she continued, “to focus on their socialization. If they’re avoiding people and avoiding interacting, that creates a whole host of other issues. They don’t form friendships, and then they don’t get the social feedback that comes from interacting with friends.”

According to Koegel, by the end of the relatively short one- to three-month intervention period, which included teaching the parents how to implement the procedures, all the infants in the study had normal reactions to stimuli. “Two of the three have no disabilities at all, and the third is very social,” she said. “The third does have a language delay, but that’s more manageable than some of the other issues.”

On a large scale, Koegel hopes to establish some benchmark for identifying social deficits in infants so parents and health care providers can intervene sooner rather than later. “We have a grant from the Autism Science Foundation to look at lots of babies and try to really figure out which signs are red flags, and which aren’t,” she said. “A number of the infants who show signs of autism will turn out to be perfectly fine; but we’re saying, let’s not take the risk if we can put an intervention in play that really works. Then we don’t have to worry about whether or not these kids would develop the full-blown symptoms of autism.”

Historically, ASD is diagnosed in children 18 months or older, and treatment generally begins around 4 years. “You can pretty reliably diagnose kids at 18 months, especially the more severe cases,” said Koegel. “The mild cases might be a little harder, especially if the child has some verbal communication. There are a few measures –– like the ones we used in our study –– that can diagnose kids pre-language, even as young as six months. But ours was the first that worked with children under 12 months and found an effective intervention.”

Given the increasing number of children being diagnosed with ASD, Koegel’s findings could be life altering –– literally. “When you consider that the recommended intervention for preschoolers with autism is 30 to 40 hours per week of one-on-one therapy, this is a fairly easy fix,” she said. “We did a single one-hour session per week for four to 12 weeks until the symptoms improved, and some of these infants were only a few months old. We saw a lot of positive change.”

Meds taken during pregnancy increase risk of Autism

 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Women who take valproate (Depacon) during pregnancy may increase the risk of childhood autism and its spectrum disorders in their children, a population-based study showed.

In utero exposure to the drug was associated with a five-fold elevated risk of autism and three-fold elevated risk for autism spectrum disorder, Jakob Christensen, PhD, of Denmark’s Aarhus University Hospital, and colleagues found.

The absolute risks were 2.5% and 4.4%, respectively, and remained significantly elevated after adjustment for parents’ epilepsy and psychiatric disease, the group reported in the April 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“For women of childbearing potential who use anti-epileptic medications, these findings must be balanced against the treatment benefits for women who require valproate for epilepsy control,” they concluded.

But “because autism spectrum disorders are serious conditions with lifelong implications for affected children and their families, even a moderate increase in risk may have major health importance,” they added.

The American Academy of Neurology recommends avoiding valproate in pregnancy whenever possible due to cognitive and physical birth defect problems for children exposed in utero.

 

http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/23192/54/

U.S. autism estimates climb to 1 in 50 school-age children: 72% increase since 2007

Thu, 21 Mar 2013 00:05 GMT

Reuters

* Boys four times more likely than girls to have diagnosis

* Milder cases made up much of the increase  (Adds CDC and expert interview, byline, background)

By Julie Steenhuysen

March 20 (Reuters) – As many as one in 50 U.S. school age children have a diagnosis of autism, up 72 percent since 2007, but much of the increase involves milder cases, suggesting the rise is linked to better recognition of autism symptoms and not more cases, government researchers said on Wednesday.

Overall, the telephone survey of more than 100,000 parents found about 2 percent of children ages 6 to 17 have autism, up from 1.16 percent in 2007, the last time the study was conducted.

“That translates to 1 million school age children ages 6 to 17 who were reported by their parents to have autism spectrum disorder,” said Stephen Blumberg, a senior scientist at the National Center for Health Statistics, a part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who led the study.

As with prior estimates, boys were much more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls, with 1 in 31 school-age boys, or 3.2 percent, having an autism diagnosis, compared with 1 in 143, or 0.7 percent of girls, having a diagnosis.

“Boys were more than 4 times as likely as girls to have autism spectrum disorder,” Blumberg said.

He said the increase among boys accounted for nearly all of the overall increase in autism diagnoses.

DIFFERENT METHODOLOGY

The new findings differ sharply from autism data released just a year ago by the CDC, which said 1 in 88 children in the United States had autism, a spectrum of disabilities that can range from highly functioning individuals to those with severe speech and intellectual disabilities.

In general, individuals with autism struggle with difficulties in communication, behavior and social interaction.

In the current study, the researchers surveyed parents of children age 6 to 17 as part of the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health or NSCH. They compared their findings to the same study done in 2007, which found 1 in 86 children had an autism diagnosis.

The estimate from last year involved a review of medical and educational records of 8 year olds in 14 sites around the country. Data in the records were last collected in 2008, so the finding of 1 in 88 is not far off from the 1 in 86 figure in 2007, the starting point of the current study.

Blumberg said much of the increase in the estimates from the current parent survey was the result of diagnoses of children with previously unrecognized autism.

Increased awareness of autism differences in children and better detection of autism symptoms by doctors, especially in children with milder cases, likely accounts for the increased diagnoses.

“We think the improved recognition is really a recognition of autism spectrum disorders in children with previously unrecognized autism as opposed to new cases,” Blumberg said

Symptoms of autism can be seen in children as young as 18 months of age, and doctors are urged to conduct a screening for developmental delays on all children by age 2. But doctors often fail to detect mild cases of autism until children enter school, when parents become aware of their child’s troubles making friends and teachers notice differences in the child’s ability to interact socially, the team said.

“This is not saying anything about an increased risk for autism but rather that the NSCH is capturing more of the cases that had been missed previously,” said Michael Rosanoff of the advocacy group Autism Speaks.

For families, the findings mean detection of autism, particularly milder forms, is improving but could still happen earlier.

“Even mildly affected children who are in general education settings can struggle without and benefit from appropriate autism spectrum disorder services,” he said in an e-mail.

While scientists believe genetics account for 80 to 90 percent of the risk for developing autism, a growing number of studies are beginning to suggest that a father’s age at the time of conception may play a role by increasing risks for genetic mistakes in the sperm that could be passed along to offspring.

And new research by a British team found that older fathers are more likely to have grandchildren with autism, suggesting that risk factors for autism may build up over generations.

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Cynthia Osterman)

http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/us-autism-estimates-climb-to-1-in-50-school-age-children/

 

Folic acid lowers risk of autism

Women who take a vitamin B9 supplement (folic acid) during the beginning weeks of their pregnancy can cut the risk of having a child with autism in half. But the supplement has no effect if it is started more than 8 weeks into the pregnancy.

These findings are the result of a new study carried out at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. In the study, women who took folic acid supplements from four weeks before conception to eight weeks into pregnancy had a 40 per cent lower risk of giving birth to children with childhood autism (classic autism).

Photo: Torunn Gjerustad, FHI Pål Surén, MD and doctoral fellow at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.  (Photo: Torunn Gjerustad, FHI)  “It appears that the crucial time interval is from four weeks before conception to eight weeks into pregnancy,” states Pål Surén, MD and doctoral fellow at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

The study is based on the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) and the Norway Autism Birth Cohort Study (ABC). It covered a total of 85 176 children born in the period 2002–2008.

Inexpensive, simple prevention

Folic acid is a B vitamin that is essential for the construction and repair of DNA molecules, which control all body cells. Folate is the naturally occurring form of folic acid found in food and in the body.

Most pregnant women need folic acid supplements to reach the daily recommended levels. The Norwegian Directorate of Health recommends that women who are planning to become pregnant start to take folic acid supplements one month before conception and during the first three months of pregnancy.

The results of the study of the correlation between intake of folic acid supplements and childhood autism indicate that the lower risk is only associated with this specific supplement and not with the consumption of food or other supplements.

“Thus, the findings show that a measure already used here in Norway, one which is simple, inexpensive and without any known side effects among pregnant women, can prevent autism. Previous studies we have carried out have shown that folic acid may have a similar effect on other developmental disorders as well,” Dr Surén says.

Illustrative photo: Shutterstock Pregnant women who take folic acid early in their pregnancy can lower the risk of giving birth to a child with autism.  (Illustrative photo: Shutterstock)  Important in other areas as well

The Directorate of Health’s recommendations regarding pre-natal folic acid supplements are based on research that shows that the vitamin protects the foetus against spina bifida and other neural tube defects.

The researchers have also found a correlation between folic acid supplements and the reduced risk of severe language delay by the age of three. Such language problems are common in connection with autism but may also occur with many other conditions.

“It will be a tremendous breakthrough if it turns out that folic acid also prevents other developmental disorders,” Dr Surén believes.

Some more vulnerable than others?

Dr Surén and his colleagues will conduct new analyses when the children involved in the study are older, among other things to examine whether there is any correlation between folic acid and a reduced risk of other developmental disorders such as ADHD and cerebral palsy. They will also carry out genetics studies.

“We know that there is a genetic component to the body’s ability to use folate, so it is possible that some mothers are more prone to folic acid deficiency than others,” Dr Surén adds.

The study was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa)
The mothers participating in the MoBa Study have provided detailed information about their eating habits and use of dietary supplements early in their pregnancy. Children with autism diagnoses involved in the study were identified using questionnaires, through referrals from parents and the National Health Service and through the Norwegian Patient Registry.

The Research Council of Norway’s national initiative on neuroscientific research (NevroNor) provided funding for the use of the data from the Norwegian Patient Registry (NPR). The research activity carried out in connection with the ABC Study was also primarily funded under various programmes at the Research Council

Study finds higher levels of several toxic metals in children with autism

James Adams uatism research

James Adams, a professor of materials science and engineering, has done extensive research into autism. He directs the ASU Autism/Asperger’s Research Program. Photo: Jessica Slater/ASU

Posted February 25, 2013

In a recently published study in the journal Biological Trace Element Research, Arizona State University researchers report that children with autism had higher levels of several toxic metals in their blood and urine compared to typical children. The study involved 55 children with autism ages 5–16 years compared to 44 controls of similar age and gender.

The autism group had significantly higher levels of lead in their red blood cells (+41 percent) and significantly higher urinary levels of lead (+74 percent), thallium (+77 percent), tin (+115 percent), and tungsten (+44 percent).  Lead, thallium, tin, and tungsten are toxic metals that  can impair brain development and function, and also interfere with the normal functioning of other body organs and systems.

A statistical analysis was conducted to determine if the levels of toxic metals were associated with autism severity, using three different scales of autism severity. It was found that 38-47 percent of the variation of autism severity was associated with the level of several toxic metals, with cadmium and mercury being the most strongly associated.

In the paper about the study, the authors state “We hypothesize that reducing early exposure to toxic metals may help ameliorate symptoms of autism, and treatment to remove toxic metals may reduce symptoms of autism; these hypotheses need further exploration, as there is a growing body of research to support it.”

The study was led by James Adams, a President’s Professor in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.  He directs the ASU Autism/Asperger’s Research Program.

Adams previously published a study on the use of DMSA, an FDA-approved medication for removing toxic metals.  The open-label study found that DMSA was generally safe and effective at removing some toxic metals. It also found that DMSA therapy improved some symptoms of autism. The biggest improvement was for children with the highest levels of toxic metals in their urine.

Overall, children with autism have higher average levels of several toxic metals, and levels of several toxic metals are strongly associated with variations in the severity of autism for all three of the autism severity scales investigated.

The study was funded by the Autism Research Institute and the Legacy Foundation.

Media Contact: Joe Kullman, joe.kullman@asu.edu (480) 965-8122 Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Some Children lose the symptoms and the diagnosis of autism as they grow older

Some Children Lose Autism Diagnosis: Small Group With Confirmed Autism Now On Par With Mainstream Peers

Jan. 15, 2013 — Some children who are accurately diagnosed in early childhood with autism lose the symptoms and the diagnosis as they grow older, a study supported by the National Institutes of Health has confirmed. The research team made the finding by carefully documenting a prior diagnosis of autism in a small group of school-age children and young adults with no current symptoms of the disorder.

The report is the first of a series that will probe more deeply into the nature of the change in these children’s status. Having been diagnosed at one time with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), these young people now appear to be on par with typically developing peers. The study team is continuing to analyze data on changes in brain function in these children and whether they have subtle residual social deficits. The team is also reviewing records on the types of interventions the children received, and to what extent they may have played a role in the transition.

“Although the diagnosis of autism is not usually lost over time, the findings suggest that there is a very wide range of possible outcomes,” said NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D. “For an individual child, the outcome may be knowable only with time and after some years of intervention. Subsequent reports from this study should tell us more about the nature of autism and the role of therapy and other factors in the long term outcome for these children.”

The study, led by Deborah Fein, Ph.D., at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, recruited 34 optimal outcome children, who had received a diagnosis of autism in early life and were now reportedly functioning no differently than their mainstream peers. For comparison, the 34 children were matched by age, sex, and nonverbal IQ with 44 children with high-functioning autism, and 34 typically developing peers. Participants ranged in age from 8 to 21 years old.

Prior studies had examined the possibility of a loss of diagnosis, but questions remained regarding the accuracy of the initial diagnosis, and whether children who ultimately appeared similar to their mainstream peers initially had a relatively mild form of autism. In this study, early diagnostic reports by clinicians with expertise in autism diagnosis were reviewed by the investigators. As a second step to ensure accuracy, a diagnostic expert, without knowledge of the child’s current status, reviewed reports in which the earlier diagnosis had been deleted. The results suggested that children in the optimal outcome group had milder social deficits than the high functioning autism group in early childhood, but had other symptoms, related to communication and repetitive behavior, that were as severe as in the latter group.

The investigators evaluated the current status of the children using standard cognitive and observational tests and parent questionnaires. The optimal outcome children had to be in regular education classrooms with no special education services aimed at autism. They now showed no signs of problems with language, face recognition, communication, and social interaction.

This study cannot provide information on what percentage of children diagnosed with ASD might eventually lose the symptoms. Study investigators have collected a variety of information on the children, including structural and functional brain imaging data, psychiatric outcomes, and information on the therapies that the children received. Analysis of those data, which will be reported in subsequent papers, may shed light on questions such as whether the changes in diagnosis resulted from a normalizing of brain function, or if these children’s brains were able to compensate for autism-related difficulties. The verbal IQs of the optimal outcome children were slightly higher than those with high functioning autism. Additional study may reveal whether IQ may have been a factor in the transition they made.

“All children with ASD are capable of making progress with intensive therapy, but with our current state of knowledge most do not achieve the kind of optimal outcome that we are studying,” said Dr. Fein. “Our hope is that further research will help us better understand the mechanisms of change so that each child can have the best possible life.”

Study shows California’s autism increase not due to better counting, diagnosis: seven- to eight-fold increase in the number children born in California with autism since 1990

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Phyllis Brown
phyllis.brown@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9023
University of California – Davis Health System

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — A study by researchers at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute has found that the seven- to eight-fold increase in the number children born in California with autism since 1990 cannot be explained by either changes in how the condition is diagnosed or counted — and the trend shows no sign of abating.

Published in the January 2009 issue of the journal Epidemiology, results from the study also suggest that research should shift from genetics to the host of chemicals and infectious microbes in the environment that are likely at the root of changes in the neurodevelopment of California’s children.

“It’s time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism in California,” said UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute researcher Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a professor of environmental and occupational health and epidemiology and an internationally respected autism researcher.

Hertz-Picciotto said that many researchers, state officials and advocacy organizations have viewed the rise in autism’s incidence in California with skepticism.

The incidence of autism by age six in California has increased from fewer than nine in 10,000 for children born in 1990 to more than 44 in 10,000 for children born in 2000. Some have argued that this change could have been due to migration into California of families with autistic children, inclusion of children with milder forms of autism in the counting and earlier ages of diagnosis as consequences of improved surveillance or greater awareness.

Hertz-Picciotto and her co-author, Lora Delwiche of the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences, initiated the study to address these beliefs, analyzing data collected by the state of California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) from 1990 to 2006, as well as the United States Census Bureau and state of California Department of Public Health Office of Vital Records, which compiles and maintains birth statistics.

Hertz-Picciotto and Delwiche correlated the number of cases of autism reported between 1990 and 2006 with birth records and excluded children not born in California. They used Census Bureau data to calculate the rate of incidence in the population over time and examined the age at diagnosis of all children ages two to 10 years old.

The methodology eliminated migration as a potential cause of the increase in the number of autism cases. It also revealed that no more than 56 percent of the estimated 600-to-700 percent increase, that is, less than one-tenth of the increased number of reported autism cases, could be attributed to the inclusion of milder cases of autism. Only 24 percent of the increase could be attributed to earlier age at diagnosis.

“These are fairly small percentages compared to the size of the increase that we’ve seen in the state,” Hertz-Picciotto said.

Hertz-Picciotto said that the study is a clarion call to researchers and policy makers who have focused attention and money on understanding the genetic components of autism. She said that the rise in cases of autism in California cannot be attributed to the state’s increasingly diverse population because the disorder affects ethnic groups at fairly similar rates.

“Right now, about 10 to 20 times more research dollars are spent on studies of the genetic causes of autism than on environmental ones. We need to even out the funding,” Hertz-Picciotto said.

The study results are also a harbinger of things to come for public-health officials, who should prepare to offer services to the increasing number of children diagnosed with autism in the last decade who are now entering their late teen years, Hertz-Picciotto said.

“These children are now moving toward adulthood, and a sizeable percentage of them have not developed the life skills that would allow them to live independently,” she said.

The question for the state of California, Hertz-Picciotto said, will become: ‘What happens to them when their parents cannot take care of them?’

“These questions are not going to go away and they are only going to loom larger in the future. Until we know the causes and can eliminate them, we as a society need to provide those treatments and interventions that do seem to help these children adapt. We as scientists need to improve available therapies and create new ones,” Hertz-Picciotto said.

Hertz-Picciotto and her colleagues at the M.I.N.D Institute are currently conducting two large studies aimed at discovering the causes of autism. Hertz-Picciotto is the principal investigator on the CHARGE (Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment) and MARBLES (Markers of Autism Risk in Babies-Learning Early Signs) studies.

CHARGE is the largest epidemiologic study of reliably confirmed cases of autism to date, and the first major investigation of environmental factors and gene-environment interactions in the disorder. MARBLES is a prospective investigation that follows women who already have had one child with autism, beginning early in or even before a subsequent pregnancy, to search for early markers that predict autism in the younger sibling.

“We’re looking at the possible effects of metals, pesticides and infectious agents on neurodevelopment,” Hertz-Picciotto said. “If we’re going to stop the rise in autism in California, we need to keep these studies going and expand them to the extent possible.”

 

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The study was funded by grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and by the M.I.N.D. Institute.

In 1998, dedicated families concerned about autism helped found the UC Davis M.I.N.D. (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) Institute. Their vision? Experts from every discipline related to the brain working together toward a common goal: curing neurodevelopmental disorders. Since that time, collaborative research teams at the M.I.N.D. Institute have turned that initial inspiration into significant contributions to the science of autism, fragile X syndrome, Tourette’s syndrome, learning disabilities and other neurodevelopmental disorders that can limit a child’s lifelong potential

Autism May Be Caused By An Immune System Response To Measles: Only Autistic Children Had Brain Autoantibodies

Re-Posted at Request 1998 Study..I hope this helps

Contact: Nancy Ross-Flanigan rossflan@umich.edu 734-647-1853 University of Michigan

Autism May Be Caused By An Immune System Response To A Virus

ANN ARBOR—Antibodies found in the blood of autistic children suggest that at least some cases of autism are caused by a misguided immune response, triggered by exposure to a virus, researchers in the University of Michigan’s College of Pharmacy report.

The researchers found that autistic children who had been exposed to certain viruses in the past showed unusually high levels of antibodies to brain proteins, suggesting an autoimmune response.  Their findings appear in the October issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Clinical Immunology and Immunopathology.

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects brain function, interfering with reasoning ability, imagination, communication, and social interaction.  Children with autism start talking later than other children, and when they do speak, their communication skills are extremely limited.  They often avoid looking at other people and don’t learn to read others’ faces for signs of emotion or other cues.  These children typically are unable to play creatively, and some engage in repetitive, sometimes self-destructive, behavior, such as rocking, hand flapping or head-banging.

No single cause of autism has been found, and researchers believe that genes and environmental factors (such as viruses or chemicals) both may contribute.  The kinds of brain abnormalities found in people with autism suggest that the disorder arises when something disrupts normal brain development.

One possibility is that early exposure to a virus prods the body into mounting an immune response that somehow goes awry.  In addition to producing antibodies against the virus, the body makes antibodies against itself, resulting in damage to tissues and organs.

This “autoimmune” response is what happens in autoimmune diseases such as lupus, and some researchers think a similar response may account for the brain abnormalities found in people with autism.

It was this possibility that U-M researchers Vijendra Singh and Victor Yang and undergraduate student assistant Sheren Lin investigated.  In their study of 48 autistic children and 34 normal children and adults, the researchers measured levels of antibodies to two viruses—measles virus and human herpesvirus-6—in the subjects’ blood.  These antibodies were chosen because they are often used in research on known autoimmune diseases, says Singh, the principal investigator of the project and an assistant research scientist in the College of Pharmacy.

The researchers also measured levels of two brain autoantibodies (antibodies to brain tissue).  One, anti-MBP, is an antibody to myelin basic protein, a protein found in the protective sheaths around nerve fibers in the brain.  The other, anti-NAFP, is an antibody to neuron-axon filament protein, a protein that makes up the nerve fibers themselves.

Virus antibody levels were essentially the same in autistic and non-autistic subjects, as the researchers expected.  But the majority of autistic children who had virus antibodies also had brain autoantibodies.  The higher the level of virus antibodies, the more likely an autistic child was to have brain autoantibodies.  None of the non-autistic subjects had brain autoantibodies.

The strongest link found in the autistic children was between measles virus antibodies and anti-MBP, suggesting that exposure to the measles virus may trigger an autoimmune response that interferes with the development of myelin, says Singh.  If myelin in the brain doesn’t develop properly, nerve fibers won’t work as they should.  This could be one way that the brain abnormalities associated with autism arise.

The question of how exposure to measles virus occurs raises a controversial issue.  Parents of children with autism often report that the children started showing signs of the disorder shortly after being immunized with measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) or diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) vaccine, but no scientific studies have shown a link between vaccines and autism.  In the U-M study, almost all the subjects had had MMR immunizations, and none had ever had a case of measles.  It is possible, however, that some might have been infected with measles virus but never developed symptoms of measles, says Singh.

###Contact:  Nancy Ross-Flanigan University of Michigan 412 Maynard St. Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1399 Phone:  (734) 647-1853 rossflan@umich.edu

Panel rules MMR jab made girl deaf – but not enough for payout

By Mail On Sunday Reporter

PUBLISHED:17:09 EST, 18  August 2012| UPDATED:17:09 EST, 18 August 2012

A woman has won her fight to prove she was  left deaf by the MMR jab – only the second time it has been linked to  disability.

But a medical assessment panel ruled Katie  Stephen, 21, will not receive compensation because she is not considered  disabled enough.

Katie was given the measles, mumps and  rubella jab in 1991 when she was 15 months old.

But she developed a fever and irreparable  damage to the nerve between her brain and ear, and is deaf on her left side.

Officials at the Vaccine Damage Payment Unit  accepted the vaccine was the likely cause of her hearing problems.

But the body, run by the Department for Work  and Pensions, ruled out compensation as she was only ‘20 per cent disabled’.

Katie, of Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire,  said: ‘If my disability can be cast aside so easily, why have I suffered so many  difficulties in my life as a consequence? This has put me in a  negative  place.’

An alleged link with the condition has since  been discredited.

The family is now involved in a new group  action being brought by Blacks Solicitors, pursuing their ex-lawyers for  professional negligence.

A spokesman for the DWP would not comment on  the case.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2190391/Panel-rules-MMR-jab-girl-deaf–payout.html#ixzz248qcIbIp

‘MMR vaccine causes autism’ claim banned – Followed by 15 studies that link Strong Correlation, it May

By

8:34AM BST 08 Aug 2012

Babyjabs.co.uk said the vaccine “could be causing autism in up to 10% of   autistic children in the UK”. It also said: “Most experts now agree that the   large rise (in autism) has been caused partly by increased diagnosis, but   also by a real increase in the number of children with autism.”

A further claim said the vaccine-strain measles virus has been found in the   gut and brain of some autistic children, which supports many parents’ belief   that the MMR vaccine caused autism in their children.

One person complained that the claims are misleading and unsubstantiated.

Defending the claims, Babyjabs referred to one study in particular from 2002,   which it considered to be one of the strongest pieces of evidence that the   MMR vaccine does not cause autism but which it claimed includes the lead   author’s conclusion: “We cannot rule out the existence of a susceptible   subgroup with an increased risk of autism if vaccinated.”

It also said The Truth About Vaccines, a book written by Babyjabs medical   director Dr Richard Halvorsen, stated: “If one in 800 MMR vaccinations   triggered an autistic disorder, this would result in around 1,200 children a   year in the UK being made autistic by the bundling of the vaccines. This is   probably the worst case scenario.”

Dr Halvorsen added that “research, including large population studies, has   since shown that the MMR is not causing the large majority of autism, but   has been unable to exclude the possibility that it is causing autism in a   small number of susceptible children”.

Upholding the complaint, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) noted that   the website makes clear that the original allegations of a link between the   MMR vaccine and autism by Andrew Wakefield was “strongly rejected” by   government and the medical establishment”.

But it said consumers are likely to infer from the website’s claims that the   vaccine might have played a role in the “increase” in the number of children   with autism.

The ASA said: “We understood that the position held by the World Health   Organisation and the Department of Health was that no evidence existed of a   causal association between the MMR vaccine and autism or autistic disorders,   and that the Cochrane review, looking at the general evidence available,   could find no significant association between MMR immunisation and autism.

“We noted that the evidence provided by the advertiser included studies and an   article which looked at the increased prevalence of autism, but did not   include evidence that any increase was due to the MMR vaccine.”

It ruled that the claims must not appear again in their current form

 

Now for the Correlating studies in Support of Neurlogical Damage: With thanks to Gaia Health and The refusers…This is the counter argumant

 

Viral/Immune studies:

Abnormal measles-mumps-rubella antibodies and CNS autoimmunity in children with autism.

Autoimmunity to the central nervous system (CNS), especially to myelin basic protein (MBP), may play a causal role in  autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder. Because many autistic children harbor elevated levels of measles antibodies, we conducted a serological study of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and MBP autoantibodies.

….over 90% of MMR antibody-positive autistic sera were also positive for MBP autoantibodies, suggesting a strong association between MMR and CNS autoimmunity in autism. Stemming from this evidence, we suggest that an inappropriate antibody response to MMR, specifically the measles component thereof, might be related to pathogenesis of autism.

Serological association of measles virus and human herpes virus-6 with brain auto-antibodies in autism.

This study is the first to report an association between virus serology and brain autoantibody in autism; it supports the  hypothesis that a virus-induced autoimmune response may play a causal role in autism.

Hypothesis: conjugate vaccines may predispose children to autism spectrum disorders.

Conjugate vaccines fundamentally change the manner in which the immune systems of infants and young children function by deviating their immune responses to the targeted carbohydrate antigens from a state of hypo-responsiveness to a robust B2 B cell mediated response.

This period of hypo-responsiveness to carbohydrate antigens coincides with the intense myelination process in infants and young children, and conjugate vaccines may have disrupted evolutionary forces that favored early brain development over the need to protect infants and young children from capsular bacteria.

Effects of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis or tetanus vaccination on allergies and allergy-related respiratory symptoms among children and adolescents in the United States.

The odds of having a history of asthma was twice as great among vaccinated subjects than among unvaccinated subjects The odds of having had any allergy-related respiratory symptom in the past 12 months was 63% greater among vaccinated subjects than unvaccinated subjects The associations between vaccination and subsequent allergies and symptoms were greatest among children aged 5 through 10 years.

Neurological Complications of Pertussis Immunization

Review is made of 107 cases of neurological complications of pertussis inoculation reported in the literature. The early onset of neurological symptoms was characteristic, with changes of consciousness and convulsions as the most striking features. The question of aetiology is considered and contraindications are discussed….as is the grave danger of further inoculations when a previous one has produced any suggestion of a neurological reaction.

Hepatitis B vaccination of male neonates and autism diagnosis, NHIS 1997-2002.

Findings suggest that U.S. male neonates vaccinated with the hepatitis B vaccine prior to 1999 (from vaccination record) had a threefold higher risk for parental report of autism diagnosis compared to boys not vaccinated as neonates during that same time period. Nonwhite boys bore a greater risk.

Aluminum Studies:

Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism?

Our results show that: (i) children from countries with the highest ASD prevalence appear to have the highest exposure to Al from vaccines; (ii) the increase in exposure to Al adjuvants significantly correlates with the increase in ASD prevalence in the United States observed over the last two decades;

and (iii) a significant correlation exists between the amounts of Al administered to preschool children and the current prevalence of ASD in seven Western countries, particularly at 3-4 months of age.

Aluminum hydroxide injections lead to motor deficits and motor neuron degeneration.

…A second series of experiments was conducted on mice injected with six doses of aluminum hydroxide. Behavioural analyses in these mice revealed significant impairments in a number of motor functions as well as diminished spatial memory capacity.

Aluminum Vaccine Adjuvants: Are they Safe?

Experimental research, clearly shows that aluminum adjuvants have a potential to induce serious immunological disorders in humans. In particular, aluminum in adjuvant form carries a risk for autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation and associated neurological complications and may thus have profound and widespread adverse health consequences. click for entire study

Thimerosal studies:

Integrating experimental (in vitro and in vivo) neurotoxicity studies of low-dose thimerosal relevant to vaccines.

There is a need to interpret neurotoxic studies to help deal with uncertainties surrounding pregnant mothers, newborns and young children who must receive repeated doses of Thimerosal-containing vaccines (TCVs).

Information extracted from studies indicates that: (a) activity of low doses of Thimerosal against isolated human and animal brain cells was found in all studies and is consistent with Hg neurotoxicity; (b) the neurotoxic effect of ethylmercury has not been studied with co-occurring adjuvant-Al in TCVs; (c) animal studies have shown that exposure to Thimerosal-Hg can lead to accumulation of inorganic Hg in brain, and that (d) doses relevant to TCV exposure possess the potential to affect human neuro-development.

Neurodevelopmental disorders following thimerosal-containing childhood immunizations: a follow-up analysis.

“The present study provides additional epidemiological evidence supporting previous epidemiological, clinical and experimental evidence that administration of thimerosal-containing vaccines in the United States resulted in a significant number of children developing NDs.”

Neonatal administration of thimerosal causes persistent changes in mu opioid receptors in the rat brain

“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.”

Persistent behavioral impairments and alterations of brain dopamine system after early postnatal administration of thimerosal in rats.

“These data document that early postnatal THIM administration causes lasting neurobehavioral impairments and neurochemical alterations in the brain, dependent on dose and sex. If similar changes occur in THIM/mercurial-exposed children, they could contribute do neurodevelopmental disorders.”

Maternal Thimerosal Exposure Results in Aberrant Cerebellar Oxidative Stress, Thyroid Hormone Metabolism, and Motor Behavior in Rat Pups; Sex- and Strain-Dependent Effects.

Thimerisol exposure also resulted in a significant increase in cerebellar levels of the oxidative stress marker 3-nitrotyrosine…. This coincided with an increased (47.0%) expression of a gene negatively regulated by T3,… Our data  thus demonstrate a negative neurodevelopmental impact of perinatal thimerisol exposure.

Administration of thimerosal to infant rats increases overflow of glutamate and aspartate in the prefrontal cortex: protective role of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate.

Thimerosal, a mercury-containing vaccine preservative, is a suspected factor in the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders. We previously showed that its administration to infant rats causes behavioral, neurochemical and neuropathological abnormalities similar to those present in autism.

#16, Extra Credit:

Influenza Vaccination during Pregnancy

The ACIP’s recommendation of influenza vaccination during pregnancy is not supported by citations in its own policy paper or in current medical literature. Considering the potential risks of maternal and fetal mercury exposure, the administration of thimerosal during pregnancy is both unjustified and unwise.

Also, take note of the 71 references at the end of this study

Fish show autism-like gene expression in water with psychoactive pharmaceuticals

Results may suggest environmental trigger for autism, but only in genetically predisposed individuals

Psychoactive medications in water affect the gene expression profiles of fathead minnows in a way that mimics the gene expression patterns associated with autism spectrum disorder in genetically susceptible humans, according to research published June 6 in the open access journal PLoS ONE. These results suggest a potential environmental trigger for autism spectrum disorder in this vulnerable population, the authors write.

The researchers, led by Michael A. Thomas of Idaho State University, exposed the fish to three psychoactive pharmaceuticals – fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSR1; venlafaxine, a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, and carbamazepine, used to control seizures – at concentrations comparable to the highest estimated environmental levels.

They found that the only gene expression patterns affected were those associated with idiopathic autism spectrum disorders, caused by genetic susceptibility interacting with unknown environmental triggers. These results suggest that exposure to environmental psychoactive pharmaceuticals may play a role in the development of autism spectrum disorder in genetically predisposed individuals.

Lead researcher Michael A. Thomas remarks, “While others have envisioned a causal role for psychotropic drugs in idiopathic autism, we were astonished to find evidence that this might occur at very low dosages, such as those found in aquatic systems.”

Bacteria in the gut of autistic children different from non-autistic children

 

The underlying reason autism is often associated with gastrointestinal problems is an unknown, but new results to be published in the online journal mBio® on January 10 reveal that the guts of autistic children differ from other children in at least one important way: many children with autism harbor a type of bacteria in their guts that non-autistic children do not. The study was conducted by Brent Williams and colleagues at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

Earlier work has revealed that autistic individuals with gastrointestinal symptoms often exhibit inflammation and other abnormalities in their upper and lower intestinal tracts. However, scientists do not know what causes the inflammation or how the condition relates to the developmental disorders that characterize autism. The research results appearing in mBio® indicate the communities of microorganisms that reside in the gut of autistic children with gastrointestinal problems are different than the communities of non-autistic children. Whether or not these differences are a cause or effect of autism remains to be seen.

“The relationship between different microorganisms and the host and the outcomes for disease and development is an exciting issue,” says Christine A. Biron, the Brintzenhoff Professor of Medical Science at Brown University and editor of the study. “This paper is important because it starts to advance the question of how the resident microbes interact with a disorder that is poorly understood.”

Bacteria belonging to the group Sutterella represented a relatively large proportion of the microorganisms found in 12 of 23 tissue samples from the guts of autistic children, but these organisms were not detected in any samples from non-autistic children. Why this organism is present only in autistic kids with gastrointestinal problems and not in unaffected kids is unclear.

Sutterella has been associated with gastrointestinal diseases below the diaphragm, and whether it’s a pathogen or not is still not clear,” explains Jorge Benach, Chairman of the Department of Microbiology at Stony Brook University and a reviewer of the report. “It is not a very well-known bacterium.”

In children with autism, digestive problems can be quite serious and can contribute to behavioral problems, making it difficult for doctors and therapists to help their patients. Autism, itself, is poorly understood, but the frequent linkage between this set of developmental disorders and problems in the gut is even less so.

Benach says the study was uniquely powerful because they used tissue samples from the guts of patients. “Most work that has been done linking the gut microbiome with autism has been done with stool samples,” says Benach, but the microorganisms shed in stool don’t necessarily represent the microbes that line the intestinal wall. “What may show up in a stool sample may be different from what is directly attached to the tissue,” he says.

Tissue biopsy samples require surgery to acquire and represent a difficult process for the patient, facts that underscore the seriousness of the gastrointestinal problems many autistic children and their families must cope with.

Benach emphasizes that the study is statistically powerful, but future work is needed to determine what role Sutterella plays, if any, in the problems in the gut. “It is an observation that needs to be followed through,” says Benach.

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mBio® is an open access online journal published by the American Society for Microbiology to make microbiology research broadly accessible. The focus of the journal is on rapid publication of cutting-edge research spanning the entire spectrum of microbiology and related fields. It can be found online at http://mbio.asm.org.

The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 39,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM’s mission is to advance the microbiological sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide