Ancestry of pink disease (infantile acrodynia) identified as a risk factor for autism spectrum disorders

30 Jul

One of the arguments for the mercury-causes-autism hypothesis is that there are subgroups more susceptible to harm from mercury exposures. It is argued that pink disease gives an example for such a susceptibility group.

Pink disease was a reaction to a teething powder which contained mercury. About 1 in 500 children exposed to the powder reacted with pink disease. Two points are important to keep in mind. First, the levels of mercury exposure from the powder were far greater than from vaccines. Second, the exposures were not the same for all children. Some parents would use more teething powder at a time. Some might use it for longer times. This makes it impossible to claim a susceptibility group as the children who showed signs of pink disease could very likely be the ones who had higher levels of mercury exposure.

In a paper just released, a team of researchers interviewed people who had a history of pink disease. Since that teething powder has been gone for decades, these individuals are now old enough to be grandparents.

This is, at best, a very strange paper. Consider these questions:

1) why aren’t they reporting a high autism prevalence in the people who had very high mercury exposures and who showed signs of pink disease? If there is a genetic susceptibility, why isn’t it seen in those with the greatest exposures?

2) why isn’t there a report of high autism prevalence in the children, just the grandchildren? My guess is that the response from some will be that the grandchildren received higher doses of mercury in vaccines than did their parents. Which again would beg the question of where is the high rate of autism in those exposed to the teething powders, especially those who developed pink disease.

The conclusions of this paper have some major logical hurdles to overcome, to say the least. And this is even before the methods are addressed. For example, this all hinges on reports by the grandparents. Not on an actual prevalence measure of the decendents.

If is already well established that the rise in mercury exposures from childhood vaccines was not the cause of the rise in autism prevalence estimates. It has always been clear that autism is not similar to mercury poisoning symptoms. The mercury hypothesis has been harmful, both to public health and the autism communities The time for papers which pose intriguing questions on this subject has past. Studies with weak methods and poor logic are irresponsible in today’s world.

Here is the pubmed link:
Ancestry of pink disease (infantile acrodynia) identified as a risk factor for autism spectrum disorders.

Here is the abstract:

Pink disease (infantile acrodynia) was especially prevalent in the first half of the 20th century. Primarily attributed to exposure to mercury (Hg) commonly found in teething powders, the condition was developed by approximately 1 in 500 exposed children. The differential risk factor was identified as an idiosyncratic sensitivity to Hg. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have also been postulated to be produced by Hg. Analogous to the pink disease experience, Hg exposure is widespread yet only a fraction of exposed children develop an ASD, suggesting sensitivity to Hg may also be present in children with an ASD. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that individuals with a known hypersensitivity to Hg (pink disease survivors) may be more likely to have descendants with an ASD. Five hundred and twenty-two participants who had previously been diagnosed with pink disease completed a survey on the health outcomes of their descendants. The prevalence rates of ASD and a variety of other clinical conditions diagnosed in childhood (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, epilepsy, Fragile X syndrome, and Down syndrome) were compared to well-established general population prevalence rates. The results showed the prevalence rate of ASD among the grandchildren of pink disease survivors (1 in 22) to be significantly higher than the comparable general population prevalence rate (1 in 160). The results support the hypothesis that Hg sensitivity may be a heritable/genetic risk factor for ASD.

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75 Responses to “Ancestry of pink disease (infantile acrodynia) identified as a risk factor for autism spectrum disorders”

  1. usethebrainsgodgiveyou July 30, 2011 at 19:02 #

    Grandchildren would suffer from autism more than the children, because there is a far greater incidence of the autism label these days. I don’t know what the accepted ratio of child to adult autistics is, but I am sure many adults are undiscovered.

  2. usethebrainsgodgiveyou July 31, 2011 at 03:08 #

    Wow, though…one in 22. That’s pretty amazing. What would account for such a high number?

  3. Chris July 31, 2011 at 06:01 #

    Just for information, here is an article an a modern case report on Pink Disease from teething powder. Take note that those who affected get some very distinct and nasty symptoms, as noted: “Before admission the twins had regressed developmentally and were unable to feed orally, sit or walk. Over the 8 weeks in hospital they showed some minor neurocognitive improvements, but their long-term prognosis is uncertain.”

  4. Neuroskeptic July 31, 2011 at 11:27 #

    “The prevalence rates of ASD…were compared to well-established general population prevalence rates.”

    Given that there’s no well established population prevalence for autism, I don’t think they did.

  5. Chris July 31, 2011 at 18:50 #

    I am also wondering how they found the grandparents who had had mercury poisoning and how they worded the survey.

  6. Aaron July 31, 2011 at 22:36 #

    The mercury theory has not been disproven, since the epidemiological studies investigating mercury in vaccines in relation to autism HAVE NOT examined the possibility of susceptible populations. They have only compared vaccinated children exposed to thimerosal to each other. If a subset is sensitive, they would develop the disease at low doses or high doses. Therefore, comparing how much mercury they received or how many vaccines they received is of little value.

    For instance, acrodynia did not develop in children who received the highest doses. These patients developed the disease at exposures ranging from low- to high-dose. Even at the same levels of exposure, children ranged from appearing symptom-free to being severely affected.

    To put it bluntly, it isn’t the dose that makes the poison in this case, it is the susceptibility.

    Also, it wasn’t just based on reporting by the grandparents, it was also confirmed when the diagnoses were examined. Therefore, it can’t just be a reporting bias (i.e. they think autism is connected to mercury so they falsely report their grandchildren have autism — their grandchildren were checked to see if they had this diagnosis).

    I believe your line of thinking is more dangerous, being so sure of something that you don’t investigate it further. With that same kind of thinking, we wouldn’t currently know that acrodynia is caused by mercury!

    • Sullivan July 31, 2011 at 23:23 #

      Aaron,

      The mercury hypothesis held that the rise in administrative prevalence of autism coincided with the increase in mercury exposure from vaccines. The “vaccine epidemic” idea. It is false.

      The mercury hypothesis held that autism looked like mercury intoxication. That idea was bad from the start.

      If it weren’t for people like me, pinks disease would still exist and there would be people still pushing whatever early hypotheses were considered.

      If you want to say that there are small susceptibilty groups, you are implicitly accepting that the “epidemic” wasn’t caused by mercury in vaccines (at least if you are being intellectually honest). The problem with that is that without the epidemic, there is no evidence for mercury causation.

      One of the authors in the above study (David Austin) wrote a pretty awful review in 2008, citing the Geiers, DeSoto, Bernard, the whole gang of questionable sources, while downplaying and ignoring the mountain of evidence against him. He’s also a DAN practitioner who listed secretin and detox as services he could provide. As a non medical professional ( PhD not MD) I find that highly suspect.

      So you will forgive me if I doubt his results until someone credible replicates them. The time for the promotion of this idea with second rate (to put it nicely) research is passed.

  7. VOX July 31, 2011 at 23:48 #

    What the blogger fails to mention (why?) is that tetething powder is typically applied much later in a child’s life than vaccines.

    But you know that, don’t you..?

    • Sullivan August 1, 2011 at 00:12 #

      Vox,

      What age do you think first teeth appear? 6 months, plus/minus, right?

      Do you think parents waited until later to apply the teething powder?

      Alternatively, is the theory that only infants under 6 months are “susceptible “?

      Given the attention this post has gathered on a slow weekend, anyone want to bet against this paper being touted on a certain blog quite soon? They are rather starved for news.

  8. daedalus2u August 1, 2011 at 01:02 #

    The doses of mercury that were received from teething powders were gigantic. Typically each dose had a grain of mercury, that is 64,000 micrograms, or several thousand times the maximum amount of mercury that was ever in a vaccine. That is per dose. Many children received multiple doses.

    Many millions of children received many thousands of times more mercury from teething powders than any children got from vaccines.

    Where are the children with pink disease from vaccines? There aren’t any. The dose to get pink disease is many times larger than what anyone received from vaccines.

    Mercury from teething powders killed over 1,000 children. Pink disease was once a common cause of death in childhood. If mercury causes autism, where are the autistic children from the time that mercury in teething powders killed over a thousand children from mercury poisoning?

  9. usethebrainsgodgiveyou August 1, 2011 at 01:57 #

    http://www.jstor.org/pss/25377951

    1952 British Medical Journal article, where daedalus2u got his numbers? I thought it sounded awfully high, but it wasn’t.

  10. Jon Brock August 1, 2011 at 02:08 #

    I’ve just had a quick look at the paper. To be fair, they’re not saying that this is evidence for the mercury-in-vaccines-causes-autism hypothesis, although they do mention it in the intro (without citing the counter-evidence). Even though there’s zero evidence that vaccines cause autism,
    I think it’s still a legitimate question to ask whether heavy metals in the environment are a contributory risk factor. To be honest, I don’t know enough of the research in this area to say whether that’s plausible.

    As you mention, the obvious weakness in this study is that the authors are relying exclusively on questionnaire data rather than proper diagnostic information, so it’s going to be highly unreliable. They’re also comparing their data to population prevalence rates that are almost certainly an underestimate of the true prevalence in Australia (although still nowhere near the rates they report in their study). What I can’t understand is why they didn’t at least give the questionnaire to a control group of people the same age as the Pink Disease survivors so they’re at least comparing apples with apples. As we saw recently with the South Korea study, prevalence rates can vary massively depending on how the data are collected.

  11. Jim Thompson August 1, 2011 at 02:10 #

    Consider that the Pink disease from mercury poisoning is closer to an acute brain injury on the spectrum of brain injury ranging from lowest level injury to highest level of injury. The fact that the mercury dose is much higher for teething powder proves nothing in regard to low levels of brain injury from thimerosal preserved flu vaccines administered to children and pregnant women. No one has proven a safe level of heavy metals in the developing brain of the fetus or an infant.

  12. Chris August 1, 2011 at 02:51 #

    thimerosal preserved flu vaccines administered to children and pregnant women.

    Which does not happen by law in several states, like California.

  13. Jim Thompson August 1, 2011 at 03:14 #

    Hello Chris:

    Yes.

    And the heavy metal lead is banned from children’s toys in all states by federal legislation.

    However, the CDC actually pays for flu vaccines that contain mercury based thimerosal preservative and claims it is safe for children and pregnant women.

    See http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/default.htm

    And this federal program for children includes flu vaccines with thimerosal preservative, each shot containing the same mercury as a half cup of D009 mercury hazardous waste. And the extra cost to get NO Thimerosal preservative with mercury–two dollars and thirty seven cents a shot.

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/cdc-vac-price-list.htm

    • Sullivan August 1, 2011 at 03:23 #

      Jim Thompson,

      I think we’ve had this conversation before. For the purposes of this blog, this discussion, safety us defined as not increasing the risk of autism. Your comment, therefore, is incorrect. A number of groups have shown that the levels of mercury exposure from old style vaccines is safe, by that definition.

  14. Jim Thompson August 1, 2011 at 03:47 #

    Hello Sullivan:

    To the contrary, autism is a spectrum disorder that may include sensory integration disorder, verbal apraxia, and seizure disorder. No groups have shown thimerosal exposure to be safe.

    • Sullivan August 1, 2011 at 04:43 #

      That’s a non sequitur. The fact that autism us a spectrum disorder has nothing to do with the fact that multiple groups have performed epidemiological studies which show no increased risk of autism with thimerosal exposure from vaccines. Price et al. Is a good start, as are the citations contained in it.

  15. Chris August 1, 2011 at 06:36 #

    verbal apraxia, and seizure disorder.

    My son has both of those conditions. His first seizure was when he was newborn, and he is first influenza vaccine was when he was a teenager.

    So which came first: the disorder or the vaccine?

    His last seizure when he was fifteen months old was from a now vaccine preventable disease. That may or may not be the cause of his lack of speech according to the child neurologist. So is his verbal apraxia the result of a vaccine or a disease? The neurologist refused to give a definitive answer. Can you provide that definitive answer? Do you know more than most real neurologists?

    Also, almost half of all influenza vaccines are available without thimerosal. Most kids do not get annual influenza vaccines (it has not been recommended for kids except for that last five or so years). All pediatric vaccines have had thimerosal-free versions for a decade. The “thimerosal in vaccine causes autism” argument is both false and outdated.

    If you have evidence to the contrary, please present it. Make sure it is as robust as the multiple epidemiological studies done in several countries on three continents.

  16. RAJ August 1, 2011 at 13:42 #

    Sullivan you said: ‘If there is a genetic susceptibility, why isn’t it seen in those with the greatest exposures’?

    That is a very large question. Autism is a complex multifactorial biological condition. One has to consider how common genetic variations may operate within multifactorial conditions. The most elegant demonstration of how gene-environment interplay operates and how common genetic variants have both risk and protective effects has come from AIDS researchers. Multiple groups have identified lower copy number variations in a single gene, CCL3L1, a common genetic variant located on chromosome 17q12 as associated with risk for infection after exposure to the HIV-1. A meta analysis demonstrated that lower copy numbers in this genetic variation substantially increases risk for infection. Higher copy number variations in the genetic variation confers resistance for infection after exposure ( Lui et al 2010 ).

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21209899

    It would be simplistic to claim that lower copy number variations in the CCL3L1 is an ‘AIDS’ gene e.g. ‘New AIDS gene discovered!’. By itself the risk for AIDS in individuals with lower CNV’s in the gene is nill, it requires exposure to HIV-1 to ‘trigger’ the disease.

  17. VOX August 1, 2011 at 15:14 #

    Three major difference between Pink Disease and vaccine-induce autism:

    1. Teething powder normally given not before 6-7 months and probably much later.

    2. The mercurial substance of teething powder (calomel) is far less toxic than thimerosal.

    3. Oral route of entry contra intra-mascular route.

    Three major difference that the blogger – with her extensive knowledge – must be aware of.

    Still, she chose not to mention them. Why?

  18. Julian Frost August 1, 2011 at 15:29 #

    @ VOX:

    The mercurial substance of teething powder (calomel) is far less toxic than thimerosal.

    Citation needed.

    Oral route of entry contra intra-mascular route.

    Relevance?

  19. autism help for parents August 1, 2011 at 15:41 #

    Many new therapists who are about to begin working with children with autism might be concerned about how to make themselves reinforcing. The main key to a proper ABA home program is for the therapist to pair themselves with highly enjoyable activities in order for teaching to occur. When a child knows that when you come over, good things happen, the ability to teach this child and reinforce this child becomes strong.

  20. usethebrainsgodgiveyou August 1, 2011 at 17:52 #

    D-amn…y’all even got commercials!

    • Sullivan August 1, 2011 at 22:06 #

      “D-amn…y’all even got commercials!”

      I assume you are referring to “autism help for parents” strange comment above. It is pretty spammy.

  21. stanley seigler August 1, 2011 at 19:06 #

    [autism help for parents say] The main key to a proper ABA home program is for the therapist to pair themselves with highly enjoyable activities in order for teaching to occur.

    COMMENT
    not sure how the ABA “commercial” relates to subject…but the key to any program is for the therapist “to pair themselves with highly enjoyable activities” and;

    i add to become a friend…not a therapist who knows best…also communications is a key…ask the child questions re the methods…she what the child likes/want to do…use augmentative/alternate communications (AAC) to their fullest…

    stanley seigler

  22. daedalus2u August 1, 2011 at 19:25 #

    Oral methyl mercury is absorbed better and achieves higher mercury levels in blood and brain and is excreted slower than injected thimerosal.

    There is a factor of several thousand difference in dose between teething powders and vaccines. The children who received teething powders got mercury poisoning. Over a thousand of them died from mercury poisoning. That means they did get a lethal dose.

    There is more mercury in the diet from fish than there is from vaccines. A few cans of tuna has as much mercury as any vaccine did, and methyl mercury is better absorbed orally than thimerosal is when injected.

    How many children have gotten mercury poisoning from vaccines? I am talking “real” mercury poisoning which shows the definative symptom of mercury poisoning (that definative symptom would be an elevated level of mercury in blood).

    The answer is none.

  23. VOX August 1, 2011 at 21:39 #

    @Julian Frost

    Toxicity –
    Organic mercury is known to be much more lethal than inorganic forms, as it absorbs much better in the body.

    Check wikipedia.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury(I)_chloride

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_poisoning#Inorganic_mercury_compounds

    Oral vs. intra-mascular –
    Are you kidding me? Take the amalgam from one of your your teeth and swallow it. Then after a week, take amalgam from another tooth, this time put it in hot water, than inject it to your body.

    Let us all know which route felt better.

    • Sullivan August 1, 2011 at 22:03 #

      VOX,

      as has already been pointed out, the amount of mercury in a single dose of teething powder is 1000x (or more) than in a vaccine. Vaccines are not given 1 or more times a day over extended periods.

      “Let us all know which route felt better.”

      Toxicology isn’t about “what feels better”. While LD50 levels are different depending on the route, we are talking about small differences

      Seriously, the amount of mercury exposure from teething powder is big compared to that in vaccines. Very big.

    • Sullivan August 1, 2011 at 22:20 #

      VOX,

      as daedalus2u points out, a typical dose of Calomel from teething powder was 1 grain.

      Here is a description of a child poisoned by Calomel. Child 1 had 1450 microgram/liter of mercury in his urine.

      Compare that to the mercury exposure from the entire 1990’s US vaccine schedule–which was less that 200 micrograms total.

      This kid was passing more mercury in his urine, every day, than modern children could be exposed to in their entire lives from vaccines.

      Child 2 had 2400 micrograms per liter.

      Child 12 had 3900 micrograms. After her death, they found 1.8 mg per 100 grams in her liver. Milligrams. Plus more in the brain and kidney. And that’s what stayed in.

      The exposures from teething powders were huge. People (as in child 12) died. The argument that the mercury in the vaccines is somehow more toxic, even though the doses were much much lower, is just plain false.

  24. VOX August 2, 2011 at 00:37 #

    Calomel doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier.
    Ethyl mercury does.
    Amount in urine doesn’t say much as to what is left in the brain.

    That’s why babies of the 90s are autistic, while their ancestors of the 40s had the pink disease. Thimerosal is far more dangerous to the brain, and it was given in earlier age, when the brain is most exposed, as it is growing rapidly.

    However, this is besides the real issue here. The real question for you dear blogger is why didn’t you cover the differences that I mentioned above in your blog post? It’s pretty obvious don’t you think? Different age, different mercury-derivative, different route of entry – isn’t this enough to at least grant that a different outcome is possible?
    Of course it is.

    For someone as smart and as knowledgeable as you – this raise serious doubts as to your true motives.

  25. Chris August 2, 2011 at 00:49 #

    Calomel doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier.

    Citation please.

    Also, why do children with pink disease show neurological impacts? And why did Child 12 have mercury in her brain as noted by Sullivan?

    Which pediatric vaccines are now only available with thimerosal? Isn’t this an outdated concern since all pediatric vaccines have had versions without thimerosal for about a decade? Plus there is no real epidemiological evidence that the amount that used to be in the vaccines caused any damage.

  26. VOX August 2, 2011 at 00:54 #

    Chris,
    Can you perhaps answer the question I posed to the blogger?
    Why hadn’t she provide the full picture here, describing the difference in mercury-derivative, age of babies and the route of entry?

    • Sullivan August 2, 2011 at 01:02 #

      “Why hadn’t she provide the full picture here, describing the difference in mercury-derivative, age of babies and the route of entry?”

      I am male and I have answered your questions. You, however, are dodging the huge logical errors you are making.

  27. VOX August 2, 2011 at 00:58 #

    ..And chris, here’s your citation:
    “Mercury occurs inorganically as salts such as mercury(II) chloride. Mercury salts primarily affect the gastro-intestinal tract and the kidneys, and can cause severe kidney damage; however, as they can not cross the blood-brain barrier easily”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_poisoning#Inorganic_mercury_compounds

    Yes, I forgot to write “easily”.
    Don’t you think this provides a good explanation why does it takes huge amounts of calomel to create neurologic problems while only a tiny amount of thimerosal will suffice for such a damage?

  28. VOX August 2, 2011 at 01:04 #

    ..Ooops and the rest of the citation:

    “…however, as they can not cross the blood-brain barrier easily mercury salts inflict little neurological damage without continuous or heavy exposure.”

    Now, this is mercuric chloride which is more toxic then calomel (mercurous chloride or Mercury(I) chloride): “Mercury(II) salts are usually more toxic than their mercury(I) counterparts because their solubility in water is greater; thus, they are more readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract”.

    And all of this from Wikipedia, which is a known pharma-biased source.

  29. VOX August 2, 2011 at 01:05 #

    @Sullivan
    No you didn’t. not in your blog post.
    citation please.

    • Sullivan August 2, 2011 at 01:38 #

      Vox,

      Both daedalus2u and I have pointed out the fact that there are heavy doses involved in teething powder.

      We have backed up our arguments with actual data. You are the one who has not. Vague quotes of Wikipedia ae not that helpful, especially as you ignore the fact that “more toxic” is meaningless if the dosages are vastly different.

      Contribute something new, or say goodbye.

  30. Chris August 2, 2011 at 02:23 #

    Vox, what I posted at “July 31st, 2011 06:01:32″, what usethebrainsgodgiveyou posted at “August 1st, 2011 01:57:03″, and what Sullivan posted at “August 1st, 2011 22:20:58″ are cites. The wiki page is not, especially when it explains that Calomel caused neurological damage in children.

    • Sullivan August 2, 2011 at 03:55 #

      VOX,

      One grain of calomel: 65 milligrams

      http://m.eb.com/topic/240807/grain

      Msds for calomel:

      http://www.chemcas.com/msds/cas/msds75/10112-91-1.asp

      Which gives the ld50 for a mouse, oral delivery as 180mg/kg

      Msds for thimerosal:

      http://msds.chem.ox.ac.uk/TH/thimerosal.html

      Which gives ld50 ( lethal dose 50, dose required to kill 50% of the mice) intravenous delivery as 30mg/kg.

      Wikipedia, no doubt, is comparing ld50 values. That is to say, they are assuming constant dose.

      Mice weigh about 40 grams

      http://jaxmice.jax.org/support/weight/002052.html

      So, a grain of teething powder would kill more than 50% of mice, if given orally. 180mg/kg times 0.040 kg is 7.2 mg. 1 grain (65mg) would be 9 times the ld50.

      The full mercury exposure from the entire 1990’s vaccine schedule is less than 200 micrograms (0.2 mg). Ld50 for a 40gm mouse is 1.2mg (30 mg/kg times 0.040 kg). I.e. If you gave the full infant schedule to a mouse, you would give 1/6 of the ld50.

      Someone I’m sure will check my math, but this estimate makes the teething powder 42 times as toxic as the thimerosal.

      Keep in mind, infants didn’t get the full schedule at one time. Those who got the teething powder got the exposure repeatedly, over long periods of time.

      Also, the amount of mercury in the vaccines was much more precise than the doses of teething powder. Some kids got more than one grain at a sitting.

      Which is more toxic, a dose that would kill a mouse, or a dose which wouldn’t?

      Pretty simple choice.

  31. Jim Thompson August 3, 2011 at 04:04 #

    Hello Daedalus2u:

    An early PC was the Tandy Radio Shack Model 80 with a Zilog 80 processor—containing 8,500 transistors. Later, a Pentium 4 central processing unit had 42 million transistors. Three years ago, the Core 2 Duo (that is processing these words) was made with 291,000,000 million transistors. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transistor_count . Now look at the difference that more transistors make–faster and more complex machines that use faster and more complex algorithms.

    Then look at the devastation from the damage to a human being when the number of neurons in the brain are disabled or destroyed.

    Then look at the scientific evidence showing inorganic mercury in brain tissue as a result of thimerosal preserved vaccine injections in infant monkeys. See figure 7 in Burbacher et al 2006 “Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal” at http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info:doi/10.1289/ehp.7712 )

    Finally look at the scientific evidence showing that inorganic mercury kills brain cells. No one knows how many brain cells the mercury in thimerosal dosage contained in vaccines 12 years ago killed—but everyone knows that mercury is neurotoxic. See http://www.epa.gov/teach/chem_summ/mercury_inorg_summary.pdf

    What happened to First Do No Harm?

  32. Jim Thompson August 3, 2011 at 04:09 #

    Sullivan:

    Re: “…multiple groups have performed epidemiological studies which show no increased risk of autism with thimerosal exposure from vaccines.”

    The scientific method requires a numeric level of no harm established in exposed groups compared to a control group with zero thimerosal exposure. That has not been done.

  33. Jim Thompson August 3, 2011 at 04:23 #

    Chris:

    I am sorry to hear about your son. One definitive answer is to reduce exposure of the brain tissue to heavy metals. There are no established numeric criteria for safe levels of thimerosal exposure. The mercury levels in over half of the available flu shots, those that use thimerosal preservative, is over 200 times the hazardous waste threshold for D009 hazardous waste. Mercury is a neurotoxin.

  34. Chris August 3, 2011 at 07:32 #

    Mr. Thompson, you do not even know the difference between the powers of federal law (CDC) and state law (the ones that dictate which vaccines are allowed to individuals… hint: California is a state). You do not even understand that influenza vaccines are available without thimerosal.

    You even missed the fact that my son’s seizures started before he ever had vaccines, and his last one was from an actual disease.

    You are the last person I would ever take advice from.

  35. Jim Thompson August 3, 2011 at 13:25 #

    Chris:

    The mercury levels in over half of the available flu shots [in the nation in total, with a few states banning mercury in vaccines including California], is over 200 times the hazardous waste threshold for D009 hazardous waste. Mercury is a neurotoxin. Four million children are born in year in this country–in total.

    Seizures are not limited to brain injury from toxic heavy metal exposure.

    But in regard to fish mercury look at Minimata in Japan for toxicity of mercury from methyl mercury in fish. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minamata_disease

    And then look at all of the evidence on the links provided above regarding the neurotoxicity of inorganic mercury. Burbacher et al (above link) show evidence of inorganic mercury in the brain of infant monkeys after thimerosal exposure from vaccines.

    Each part per billion (nano gram of inorganic mercury per milliliter of brain tissue) is about three trillion atoms of mercury per milliter of brain tissue.

  36. Jim Thompson August 3, 2011 at 13:32 #

    Four million children are born in each year in this country—in total.

  37. daedalus2u August 3, 2011 at 15:19 #

    Jim, did you look at figure 4 in Burbacher’s paper? The one that shows that mercury from injected thimerosal is excreted more than 10x faster and more completely than oral methyl mercury.

    In figure 7, (the figure you cited) in 28 days, organic mercury from injected thimerosal decayed from about 30 ppb at the peak to 2-8 ppb for a half life of 14.2 days.

    In figure 4, organic mercury from oral methyl mercury (methyl mercury is the mercury in fish) decayed from about 105 ppb at the peak to ~80 ppb for a half life of 58.4 days.

    In other words, from equivalent doses of injected thimerosal and oral methyl mercury, after 28 days the mercury level of the brain from oral methyl mercury was still 3x higher than the peak mercury level from injected thimerosal. After 28 days, mercury in the brain from thimerosal was ~1/10 that from methyl mercury.

    Mercury from injected thimerosal is excreted 4x faster than methyl mercury from tuna fish. Tuna fish has ~ 0.5 ppm mercury. As Sullivan pointed out, the total mercury load from thimerosal in vaccines was at most ~200 micrograms, or the amount of mercury in a pound of tuna fish. Since the mercury in thimerosal is excreted 4x faster, applying a 1/4 dose-effect is not inappropriate, making the integrated mercury exposure from vaccines equivalent to eating 4 ounces of tuna fish over an entire childhood.

    Your analogy to transistors fails. People with autism tend to have larger brains with more neurons in them. There isn’t any evidence for destruction of neurons in autism, there is very strong evidence for more neurons.

  38. Chris August 3, 2011 at 16:40 #

    I am getting a deja vue vibe from Mr. Thompson. We have gone over this before, and you obviously have a skull welded shut to information that is against your hard felt beliefs. There is no point repeating the same information to you.

    Persevering on an ingredient that is in some vaccines is doing you no good. All pediatric vaccines have been available without thimerosal for about a decade, including three out of eight influenza vaccines.

    • Sullivan August 3, 2011 at 20:07 #

      “I am getting a deja vue vibe from Mr. Thompson.”

      Absolutely. Same old arguments. Ignoring the evidence in front of him.

      I invite Mr. Thompson to take his arguments somewhere other than an autism blog. His concern is focused on whether the vaccine constitutes toxic waste if/when disposed. Surely there are forums out there with an environmental focus which would welcome that discussion. I’m fine with more vaccines being produced without thimerosal. But, since this is an autism blog and thimerosal has been shown to not increase the risk of autism, I kindly invite Mr. Thompson to take the advice he has posted: find that fork in the road. Take it.

      “Look at the Minamata link again.” What, is there evidence of a higher prevalence of autism in Minamata? Is there a higher prevalence of autism in those who suffered from pink disease? If so, why didn’t the author of the above mentioned study find it?

      The arguments for mercury as a causative agent for autism have failed. All people like Mr. Thompson have left is the “it’s a neurotoxin” and “it’s toxic waste” arguments. Either use it to scare people about vaccines or use it to advocate for reducing the number of thimerosal containing vaccines, but leave those of us in the autism community alone.

  39. Jim Thompson August 3, 2011 at 19:37 #

    Chris:

    Regarding the indisputable statement that mercury is a neurotoxin, “when you come to the fork in the road–take it.”
    Yogi Berra

  40. Jim Thompson August 3, 2011 at 19:47 #

    Daedalus2u:

    Burbacher et al show inorganic mercury levels in the brain higher from thimerosal exposure and that is a problem. The half life of inorganic mercury in the brain is so long that it was not determined. And both dose and time contribute to brain cell injury.

    And “larger brains” but with more glia–not with more healthy neurons.

    And no doctors recommend that infants or pregnant women have tuna fish with mercury in their diet. Look at the Minamata link again.

  41. Jim Thompson August 3, 2011 at 19:59 #

    Chris:

    Re: flu vaccines

    There are over 86 million flu vaccine doses with Thimerosal Preservative(2010-2011). These are recommended as safe for 6 month olds and pregnant women.

    http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaxsupply.htm

  42. Jim Thompson August 3, 2011 at 20:36 #

    Sullivan:

    You state in the first paragraph “One of the arguments for the mercury-causes-autism hypothesis is that there are subgroups more susceptible to harm from mercury exposures.” Well the fact is that Minamata is a clear example of high level brain injury. Epidemiological studies rarely can eliminate all the variables but this one did. And yet you reject information about mercury links and information on mercury’s neurotoxicity at lower doses.

    • Sullivan August 3, 2011 at 20:50 #

      “And yet you reject information about mercury links and information on mercury’s neurotoxicity at lower doses.”

      No. I accept the research which shows no increased risk of autism from thimerosal. This being an autism blog, I don’t see the need to continue beyond that.

  43. Chris August 3, 2011 at 20:42 #

    Mr. Thompson you are still not providing any evidence of understanding the issue. Though I thank you for the revised list of influenza vaccines that show there are now six not just three flu vaccines available without thimerosal, it is now more than half!

  44. Jim Thompson August 3, 2011 at 20:45 #

    Most people do not know that vaccines still contain mercury. The consent forms for seasonal flu shots only use the trade name Thimerosal http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-flu.pdf

  45. Aaron August 3, 2011 at 20:49 #

    Sullivan: “If you want to say that there are small susceptibilty groups, you are implicitly accepting that the “epidemic” wasn’t caused by mercury in vaccines (at least if you are being intellectually honest).”

    If everyone is vaccinated and only 1 in 90 children develop autism in the population, that is only a small subset which may be susceptible.

    The same thing happened with acrodynia, nearly every child received teething powders but only a subset develop the disease. It wasn’t the children who received the highest doses, either.

    For instance, everyone becomes infected with flu-related viruses or bacterium but only a small percentage develop the clinical disease. This is actually how nearly every single infection or toxin on the planet works.

    You’re talking about a straight up toxic reaction, I’m talking about an immunological reaction to small doses.

  46. Jim Thompson August 3, 2011 at 20:49 #

    Chris:

    The issue is that over half of the total 165 million flu doses still contain mercury levels that are 250 times higher than the D009 hazardous waste threshold–and no one is informed.

  47. Jim Thompson August 3, 2011 at 20:51 #

    On one would knowling allow their family members to drink a half cup of D009 mercury hazardous waste. And yet that has the same mercury amount as a single flu shot with Thimerosal preservative.

  48. Jim Thompson August 3, 2011 at 20:52 #

    correction: No one would knowling allow their family members to drink a half cup of D009 mercury hazardous waste. And yet that has the same mercury amount as a single flu shot with Thimerosal preservative.

  49. Jim Thompson August 3, 2011 at 20:53 #

    “I accept the research which shows no increased risk of autism.”

    Verstraeten et al 2000 showed an increased risk of autism.

    • Sullivan August 3, 2011 at 21:10 #

      “Verstraeten et al 2000 showed an increased risk of autism.”

      You are, I believe, referring to the early unpublished report by Verstraeten. Not his 2003 paper. The one where he finished the work and actually submitted it for peer review.

      Conclusions. No consistent significant associations were found between TCVs and neurodevelopmental outcomes. Conflicting results were found at different HMOs for certain outcomes. For resolving the conflicting findings, studies with uniform neurodevelopmental assessments of children with a range of cumulative thimerosal exposures are needed.

      Multiple reports since have supported the lack of increased risk from thimerosal in vaccines. E.g. Price

      Conclusions: In our study of MCO members, prenatal and early-life exposure to ethylmercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines and immunoglobulin preparations was not related to increased risk of ASDs.

      It’s time to move on. If you want to keep harping on unpublished data from 11 years ago–data which are inconsistent with multiple studies since (including the final report on that study)–do so elsewhere.

  50. Jim Thompson August 3, 2011 at 20:55 #

    Not even the CDC and FDA rejected that research. See http://www.safeminds.org/research/library/20010229.pdf . They simply ignore it.

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