Autism: A Novel Form Of Mercury Poisoning

14 Oct

Many in the Neurodiversity and Biomed communities are aware of this paper. It forms one of the lynchpins of the Biomed communities belief system – that autism and mercury poisoning are the same.

I’ve long been confused by this belief. Its plainly wrong and I’m amazed so many seemingly intelligent people believe it. I’ve posted about it numerous times both on here and in the comments of others blogs and the answers from its proponents when I question it veer from outright hostility to laughter at my supposed naivety in not being able to see ‘it’.

Its quite obvious to me that the symptoms of mercury poisoning tally very loosely with some comorbidities of autism but that as these things _are_ comorbidities, they cannot be used to diagnose autism and that therefore the two things cannot possibly by the same thing.

Just for your own information, here are the clinical symptoms of mercury poisoning and here is the diagnostic criteria for autism. But don’t just read the links I provide, go find some of your own.

After you’ve read around a bit you’ll probably conclude as I did: The idea that the two tally is ridiculous. However, Kathleen made me aware of a commentary piece in Pediatrics that backs up my position. I didn’t even know it existed until now so ‘thanks’ to Kathleen for posting its details.

Here’s a few quotes from the commentary – the full piece is available from the link I provided.

In mercury poisoning, the characteristic motor findings are ataxia and dysarthria. These signs, along with tremor, muscle pains, and weakness, are noted on relatively high-dose exposure, acute or chronic. In 3 Romanian children accidentally exposed to ethyl mercury in a fungicide, these same symptoms were prominent. The outcome of fetal methyl mercury poisoning in severe form also included spasticity. In contrast, in autism, the only common motor manifestations are repetitive behaviors (stereotypies) such as flapping, circling, or rocking. Persons with Asperger syndrome may be clumsy, and hypotonia has been noted in some infants with autism; the frequency of clumsiness and hypotonia in autism spectrum disorders is not established. *No other motor findings are common in autism*, and indeed *the presence of ataxia or dysarthria in a child whose behavior has autistic features should lead to careful medical evaluation for an alternative or additional diagnosis*.

Other signs that may appear in children with chronic mercury toxicity, such as hypertension skin eruption and thrombocytopenia are seldom seen in autism.

When severe mercury poisoning occurs in prenatal life or early infancy, head size tends to be small and microcephaly is common. Prenatal exposure to other neurotoxins—lead, alcohol, and polychlorinated biphenyls, for example—also predispose to decreased head size. In contrast, in autism increasing evidence indicates that head size and, as measured by volumetric magnetic resonance imaging, brain size tends to be larger than population norms.

At sufficient dose mercury is indeed a neurotoxin, but *the typical clinical signs of mercurism are not similar to the typical clinical signs of autism*.

Mercury poisoning and autism both affect the central nervous system but the specific sites of involvement in brain and the brain cell types affected are different in the two disorders as evidenced clinically and by neuropathology.

Nonspecific symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and irrational fears may occur both in mercury poisoning and in children with autism, but overall the clinical picture of mercurism—from any known form, dose, duration, or age of exposure—does not mimic that of autism.

53 Responses to “Autism: A Novel Form Of Mercury Poisoning”

  1. maelorin October 14, 2005 at 10:09 #

    they stick to the implausible because it suits their underlying psychological agenda. avoiding responsibility.

  2. clone3g October 14, 2005 at 13:35 #

    “Mercury poisoning and autism both affect the central nervous system but the specific sites of involvement in brain and the brain cell types affected are different in the two disorders as evidenced clinically and by neuropathology.”

    And that point is indisputable. No matter the (vague) external similarities, there are very few biological similarities.

  3. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) October 14, 2005 at 17:50 #

    maelorin: “they stick to the implausible because it suits their underlying psychological agenda. avoiding responsibility.”



  4. JP October 14, 2005 at 20:30 #

    “Nonspecific symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and irrational fears may occur both in mercury poisoning and in children with autism…”

    This is the key point that I always gleaned from Bernard’s paper – most of the symptoms they say are similar are really non-specific, vague, and can be attributed to any number of conditions. Like diarrhea, for example. Mercury poisoning could cause GI problems like diarrhea. So could autism. So could your random stomach virus. So could unrelated stomach or bowel problems.

    Kevin’s point about comorbidities holds utterly true here.

  5. HN October 15, 2005 at 01:38 #

    There is another article that reiterates that vaccines do not cause autism:

    Since this requires (FREE!) registration, I will point out a couple of paragraphs:

    “Current scientific research does not implicate thimerosal-containing vaccines or the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine with autism, asthma, or infection, according to Walter Orenstein, MD, professor of pediatrics and director of the Emory Vaccine Center at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. He spoke to a packed crowd here at a plenary session of the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition.”
    “He also pointed to a National Institutes of Health and Harvard study that compared the features of children with autism and nonautistic children with mercury poisoning. The study found few similarities between the groups in motor function, vision, speed, sensory perception, and psychology.

    There are major differences between traditional mercury poisonings and thimerosal, Dr. Orenstein said. “Not all mercuries are the same.”

    Methyl mercury implicated in the usual mercury poisoning is quite different from the ethyl mercury contained in thimerosal, he explained. “Ethyl mercury has a shorter half-life and is less associated with poisoning.””

  6. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) October 15, 2005 at 03:34 #

    “There are major differences between traditional mercury poisonings and thimerosal, Dr. Orenstein said. “Not all mercuries are the same.””



    Mercury is mercury is mercury.

    That person’s a pillock.

  7. quick silber October 15, 2005 at 05:42 #

    Autism Diva has posted the full text of the article that HN quoted.

    There’s a little more to that entry as well.

    What’s with Sallie Bernard anyway? Why hasn’t she shown up at those DC rallies? Very mysterious.

    The whole point of the DC rallies, the last one a week ago, seems to be to keep the idea of vaccines cause autism in the news to keep the pressure on the plaintiffs in the vaccine cases. So far there is nothing like enough evidence to convince a court that vaccines of any type cause autism, so the lawyers are stalling for time. That’s what Autism Diva thinks. The cover story is to make sure every last molecule of thimerosal is banned from being in any vaccines in any state.

    Maybe Erik has a different take on why they are holding the rallies. It’s interesting that the “Power of Parents” rally drew so few and got so little media coverage. Maybe Erik can explain the mysterious behavior of Sallie Bernard. Is she for or against vaccines? Will she get a flu shot this year? One has to ask these things.

    Looks like maybe the Bird flu could kill thousands, as for me I’d get a vaccine if there was one availabe, but first my medically frail child is getting one, if they are at all available.

    Oh, and Erik, who says there’s evidence that many autistics have leaky guts. That’s not proven at all, no matter how many times you say it.

  8. Erik Nanstiel October 15, 2005 at 17:49 #

    Quicksilver, many of the “older” children I’ve run across (12-17 years old) no longer have leaky gut. But it’s the younger ones…2 to 7 years of age that have it most often.

    How do I know that? I speak with dozens of parents in my area with autistic children…and the story is always the same.

    I speak with dozens of parents online…and the story is much the same. Leaky gut… and at the most formative years of that young person’s life.

    You’re right, it’s not how many times I say it… it’s how many parents are saying it. And I’ve heard many.

    As for the Bird Flu. Aint’ gonna happen. The regular flu kills about 40,000 people annually. The Bird Flu has hardly killed anyone yet. Big Pharma just wants to sell another vaccine that you likely won’t need. The bird flu is right up there with Saddam’s hidden cache of WMD’s.

  9. HN October 15, 2005 at 18:10 #

    I tend to not post entire articles because of copyright concerns. Though I DID include the next paragraph which distinguished between “methyl” and “ethyl” mercury molecules. It was like saying there are differences between chlorines… because chlorine gas is deadly, but combine it with a sodium atom (which is a very dangerous flammable metal, ) and you have a very valuable molecule: NaCl (though they tend to float apart when combined with the “deadly” dihydrogen monoxide, )

    Yeah, we know about avian flu… it has “only” killed 60 people so far. Though the trick is that it is changing as it moves west.

  10. Camille October 15, 2005 at 18:52 #


    How did the parents come to know that their children had leaky guts? What is the test?

    Just having diarrhea or just have a certain behavior doesn’t prove a leaky gut.

    Where are the studies that show that the tests were done on a sample of autistic kids of whatever age and actually showed a leaky gut?

    I think it’s become a code word, if the child has some symptoms the parent calls it “yeast overgrowth” or “leaky gut” or whatever, just because that’s what they think.

    But I could be wrong.

    The symptoms of intestinal distress among autistic children may not be any more common than among normal kids.

    Perhaps the constipation and diarrhea are connected to the large amounts of cortisol they have in their systems from stress/fear/distress, etc.

    You remember how Dr. Hornig said that stress could be the “environmental trigger” they are looking for?

    No comment about Sallie Bernard and how antivax she is? My guess is that she won’t get any vaccines and discourages her husband and other families from getting vaccines. My guess is that she’s pretty solidly antivax but doesn’t have the courage to say it publically. Or maybe she loves vaccines and doesn’t have the courage to say it publically.

    She strikes me as kind of sneaky, being CAN’s president and a founder of SAFE MINDS. She’s trying to walk a middle road, acting neutral on vaccines, but there’s no middle road. I guess that’s why that letter went out from all the antivax folks criticizing the antimercury parents for saying they were for vaccines but against mercury in vaccines. I wonder why Buttar and Wakefield and Bradstreet and Kartzinel and Krigsman and Hayley and the rest of the big names didn’t sign this. I know that Kirby says he thinks vaccines are “great”, so he wouldn’t sign it. It’s funny that Bradstreet says he isn’t antivaccine but the URL of his business is attached to this letter.

    October 2, 2005

    To the members of NAA and Safe Minds,

    It is with sincere concern for all children that we are writing to you. The undersigned are all parents, activists and professionals that have been involved in the battle for the truth about our past and current vaccine policies.

    We first want to thank you for all your efforts in exposing the
    facts about thimerosal. We understand the difficulties of raising an autistic child and we commend you for taking on this vital job.

    With the publicity and media attention, you have generated, people are becoming more aware of the dangers of vaccines and the conflicts of interest that consume our political bodies. We applaud you for this. However, we are deeply worried about the message that is being ” received “.

    Most of us are involved with parents on a daily basis. We all do our best to stay abreast to the latest information. What has emerged through thimerosal ” political action” is increased confusion among parents regarding vaccination. The message sent by Safe Minds and NAA and a select group of other organizations is that all vaccines are safe for all children as long as the mercury derivative, thimerosal, is removed.

    The undersigned are well aware that this simply is not true and we believe many within your organizations also know that this is not true. Plunging into vaccines side effects and dangers is not necessary. We are all intelligent human beings who have spent many sleepless nights going over every detail. It is a sad realization when one discovers that something intended to promote health is in fact causing injuries and sometimes death. The thought of telling a parent of a vaccine injured child or a child with a compromised immune system to request thimerosal free vaccines is incomprehensible to us. The dangers of vaccines existed before thimerosal and will continue to exist after its removal. All parents need to be told that vaccinations come with risks and that exemptions exist. We all support parents having an informed choice. Safe Minds and NAA have given parents more options, no doubt, but by giving parents the false sense of security to vaccinate with thimerosal free vaccines will further complicate and confuse the public.

    Unfortunately, the legal systems have many of our hands tied. Laws need to be changed and we are aware of the related implications. We fully support all efforts for changing legislation and thank you for your leadership role.

    Whether through community awareness, education, fundraising, research etc. we have all supported your mission. Thimerosal in vaccines needs to be addressed and hopefully the thimerosal controversy will provoke research into the whole vaccine issue. However, we unite and pray, that parents can be advised to investigate vaccines further before making any vital, irreversible decisions. Visible groups, such as yours, have the opportunity to
    change history by exposing the whole truth about vaccines, not just the truth about thimerosal.

    We respectfully implore you to consider the position you are
    representing, for the sake of all the children.


    Dotty Scalco
    Founder/Director, The E.C.H.O. Foundation
    Mother of vaccine injured son

    William Labrecque
    Barbara Labrecque
    Child Advocate and Autism Representative
    Environmental Activists
    Parents of 2 vaccine-injured children

    Marge Grant
    Author of A Stolen Life
    Founder of Wisconsin Citizens for a Free Choice
    Mother of a DPT (non mercury ) injured son

    Nikki Riggs
    Child Advocate, UK
    Mother of a vaccine injured son

    Founder of The Autism Autoimmunity Project (TAAP)
    Father of a MMR injured son

    April Oakes
    President of The Autism Autoimmunity Project (TAAP)
    Mother of a vaccine injured daughter

    Sherri J. Tenpenny, DO
    President/CEO, OsteoMed II and New Medical Awareness, LLc

    Harold Buttram ,MD

    Vijendra Singh,PhD
    Associate Professor of Neuroimmunology
    Utah State University

    William Shaw, Ph.D.
    Laboratory Director
    The Great Plains Laboratory

    Neil Z. Miller
    Director, Think Twice Global Vaccine Institute
    Author, Vaccines: Are They Safe and Effective and
    Vaccines, Autism and Childhood Disorders

    Donald W Miller, Jr., MD
    Professor of Surgery
    Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery
    University of Washington School of Medicine
    Director, Cardiac Surgery, VA Medical Center, Seattle

    Sheri Nakken, R.N, MA, Classical Homeopath
    Vaccination Information & Choice Network
    Well Within, Director
    Nevada City, California

    Miranda Castro

    Tedd Koren, DC

    Dr Gary Snyder
    Founder/Director, Alternative Medical Center

    Andrew Leach, DC

    Cindy L. Griffin, HD(R.Hom.), DIHom.
    Professional Sequential Homeopath
    President/Co-founder, Homeopathy Center of Houston
    Mother of two vaccine injured children

    Lindyl Lanham, HD(R.Hom.), DSH-P
    Professional Sequential HomeopathVice President/Co-founder, Homeopathy Center of Houston
    Esteban Genoa, MD
    Bioenergy Wellness Center

    Ellen Sweeney
    President, The Autism Autoimmunity Project of New Jersey
    Founder, Parents for Autism Autoimmune and Vaccine Education (PAAVE-NJ)
    Mom to a vaccine-injured son

    Lisa Jillani,
    Director, PAVE (People Advocating Vaccine Education)
    Trustee, TAAP

    Dawn Richardson
    PROVE (Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education)

    Teresa Badillo

    Vice President Board of Director Development Delay Resources Autism Consultant

    The E.CH.O. Foundation
    Educating on Children’s Health Options


    Barbara H Labrecque
    Child Advocate

    Founder of, NY TAAP CHAPTER
    UA–NY State Representative
    E.C.H.O. Board Member
    ANDI Representative
    ARI ~
    ICDRC ~

    Autism is 1 in 150 children today, 1 in 68 families! TAAP (The
    Autism Autoimmunity Project) is a non-profit charity dedicated to obtaining funding for independent research into the cause, treatment and prevention of autism and other autoimmune disorders. Please learn from our mistake and “Educate BEFORE You Vaccinate!” For more information visit our website at and “TAAP into the Truth!”

  11. Erik Nanstiel October 15, 2005 at 20:49 #

    The preceding link will take you to a copy of Thomas Burbacher’s infant primate study that proves ethyl mercury from vaccines gets into the brain and causes damage…


  12. clone3g October 15, 2005 at 21:16 #

    Proves mercury gets in the brain, doesn’t prove any damage at the levels used in the study. Doesn’t prove that mercury in vaccines causes any damage whatsoever and doesn’t prove that mercury causes autism. In fact those monkeys were perfectly healthy until they were murdered.

  13. Erik Nanstiel October 15, 2005 at 23:11 #

    You think mercury in the brain WOULDN’T cause damage??? You must have mercury in your brain to believe that!

    But you’re partially right… the direct neurotoxicity to the brain merely causes the immediate regression. The autism is more a product of the effects on the body and brain AFTER the gut is damaged…affecting the immune system, nutrient supply and how the brain develops.

    And I’d murder a hundred primates (they’re not monkeys) if it would save millions of kids! Hell, I’d do it for ONE kid!

  14. clone3g October 15, 2005 at 23:31 #

    Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. I do have mercury in my brain and so do you. We all do. Damage occurs at different levels and there were no signs of damage in Burbacher’s macaques before or after they were sacrificed for autopsy. At least none that were noteworthy enough to include in the paper. So before you run around murdering any primates you may want to get that medical director of yours to explain the paper in easy to understand terms. Here ya go: Pictures and everything.

  15. Kev October 16, 2005 at 00:03 #

    Erik – please try and listen: for the hundredth time – we know mercury is a neurotoxin. Stop quoting meaningless studies and quote or link to the one that shows it causes autism.

  16. Erik Nanstiel October 16, 2005 at 01:06 #

    Boys, it’s not a useless study. There was a huge debate over whether or not ethyl mercury was even able to cross the blood brain barrier.

    Now we know it does.

    We also know that mercury ions bind to tubulin proteins and destroy myelin sheathing…leaving the neurons exposed and without a support structure…so they curl up and die.

    Clone thinks mercury can sit happily in the brain. Kevin says “we know mercury is a neurotoxin,” but doesn’t seem to mind that kids get injected with it after studies can show the harm.

    We’ve heard Mark Blaxill and Sallie Bernard talk about the flaws in the major epidemiological studies…and we’ve heard Mark Geier’s testimony on what he found in the CDC’s VSD database…and in the VAERS database.

    We have hundreds of thousands of parents reporting regression after inocculation… and a percentage of those parents going to DAN! doctors and having their kids tested… and they’re toxic. Where do you suppose their gut disbiosys comes from? The viral infections? Intestinal inflammation?

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to begin looking at these medical problems and tracing them back to a key causal factor: metal toxicity wrecks the gut and kills neurons. It lowers immunity and allows secondary infection in the gut (from measles, quite often) and who can tell how many other viral infestations…

    I cannot continue to try to help you. You don’t listen. you don’t really try to read and digest this stuff… you’ve just given up hope that your kids can be helped and believe whatever the state wants to tell you about autism. If it weren’t for the real scientists investigating autism…you’d all think autism was a case of bad parenting and genes!

  17. bonni October 16, 2005 at 02:07 #

    Well, here’s news.

    Even if it’s 100% that thimerisol crosses into the brain and does damage, even in miniscule amounts, it’s extremely well documented that the brain damage caused by mercury is permanent.

    Chelation may get excessive mercury out of the blood, but it won’t cause the brain to magically regenerate.

  18. Erik Nanstiel October 16, 2005 at 03:30 #

    Bonni, mercury doesn’t stay in the blood. It settles into fatty tissues pretty quickly after entering the body. Chelation binds up mercury (even the stuff hiding in tissues) and makes it soluble so the body can excrete it.

    The brain is capable of regeneration and growing new neurons. Old neurons that have died don’t grow back…sure, but new ones do grow. A young child can benefit, neurologically, because their brain is still developing. Adults are probably different, and wouldn’t be as likely to see such dramatic differences as many of these children do after treatment.

  19. HN October 16, 2005 at 04:22 #

    No, no, no… it is the SODIUM… much too much. Plus the CHLORIDE! There is too much in your brain! You have all ingested too much because it may have been disolved in the evil evil dihydrogen monoxide!

    On the other hand, hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen are completely innocuous. No need to worry… except perhaps as…. HCN … ;p

    (oh, and the one not so terribly well done study on primates with thimerosal and methyl mercury — does not quite say what you think).

  20. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) October 16, 2005 at 04:25 #

    “The brain is capable of regeneration and growing new neurons. Old neurons that have died don’t grow back…sure, but new ones do grow.”

    Actually, that is not true. If it were true, many of my clients in the UK would have grown the neurons back into the places where they had to have brain tissue taken out on account of things like tumours, invasive injury and cell death.

    Why didn’t it grown back for them?

    I am SO glad I don’t live near you.

  21. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) October 16, 2005 at 04:26 #

    What’s the difference between a terrorist and a mecury parent?

    You can negotiate with a terrorist.

  22. Kev October 16, 2005 at 04:35 #

    _”Clone thinks mercury can sit happily in the brain. Kevin says “we know mercury is a neurotoxin,” but doesn’t seem to mind that kids get injected with it after studies can show the harm._”

    I’ve said countless times that I’m glad its not in vaccines anymore. I’ve said it on here, on Wade’s blog and I think on Pat’s too. Stop building strawmen. *All* a lot of us are saying is that it *doesn’t cause autism* and isn’t that the point? Your belief it does? All anyone’s asking is that you back that up.

  23. Prometheus October 16, 2005 at 07:24 #

    Erik seems to have missed something in the Burbacher et al study. Actually, several “somethings”. To begin with, it has long been assumed, if not known outright, that ethyl mercury would cross the blood-brain barrier. Since all other organomercury compounds do, that is not much of a deductive stretch. The question the Burbacher study answered was the half-life of ethyl mercury (shorter than ethyl mercury – a surprise) and the amount retained in the brain (less than methyl mercury).

    Erik and a number of other autism-mercury apologists repeatedly misinterpret the amount of inorganic mercury retained in the brain of the primates after exposure to ethyl mercury. While those exposed to ethyl mercury had a higher percentage of the retained mercury in an inorganic state, the total retained mercury was lower.

    A curious result of the Burbacher study is that people who should know better (e.g. Professors of Chemistry at Large US Universities) have been making the amazing statement that the retention of inorganic mercury may result in greater brain injury. This is not only wrong – it is absurdly so!

    Of course, the usual straw man of “isn’t mercury bad for you?” gets set up for easy demolition, but that isn;t anything new. For the record (again): Yes, mercury is bad for you and nobody would advocate taking in more of it than is absolutely necessary. But this still doesn’t mean that mercury causes autism any more than mercury causes adolescent acne – after all, one of the signs of mercury poisoning is skin eruptions.

    Final point – none of the authors of the “landmark” paper – “Autism: a novel form of mercury poisoning” (Bernard S, Enayati A, Redwood L, Roger H, Binstock T. Med Hypotheses. 2001 Apr;56(4):462-71.) have ever seen mercury poisoning. This is a significant point, since the words that describe the signs and symptoms of mercury poisoning cannot convey unambiguously what mercury poisoning actually looks like. People who have seen mercury poisoning and autism assure me that there is no similarity.


  24. bonni October 16, 2005 at 08:52 #

    The brain is capable of regeneration and growing new neurons.

    Tell that to the parent of a child with cerebral palsy induced by lack of oxygen during birth, i.e., brain damage.

    Tell that to the millions of people worldwide who have permanent brain damage from brain injury.

  25. HN October 16, 2005 at 09:31 #

    _The brain is capable of regeneration and growing new neurons._

    Sadly, no (serious for a moment):

    What does happen is that there are new CONNECTIONS made everyday (think of synapse). Sometimes with proper therapy new pathways can be made when there has been damage (like in the frontal lobes near Broca’s area that were zapped during one of my son’s seizures… with lots of speech therapy he actually did learn to speak, but there are still deficits).

    Anyway, more information is here: (go down a bit, and there is a whole section on neurons, ).

  26. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) October 16, 2005 at 14:36 #

    “What does happen is that there are new CONNECTIONS made everyday (think of synapse).”

    This is entirely different from saying that brain tissue regenerates.

    Put simply, brain tissue – once lost – remains lost.

    So chelation will not reverse the so-called “mercury-induced brain damage cause by thimerasol”, since brain damage is not reversable.

    Yet another flaw in the autsm=mercury-poisoning argument… oh, and don’t go telling me that chelation is what makes the new connections either: I worked in special education and in medical physics, alongside teachers and therapists. We got results, not using ABA and not using chelation.

    “… with proper therapy new pathways can be made when there has been damage…” … which is entirely different from claiming regeneration of brain tissue. This is using other tracts of tissue essentially as hardware learning space.

    In autism, the brain is basically intact. There is no regeneration of tissue.

  27. bonni October 17, 2005 at 01:52 #

    We got results, not using ABA and not using chelation.

    May I ask what sort of therapies or treatments you use?

    In autism, the brain is basically intact. There is no regeneration of tissue.

    I read some recent studies that show that autistic people’s brains have areas that don’t work in conjunction. That is, in a neurotypical person, two or more areas of the brain will “fire” at once in response to certain stimuli, but in the autistics, the brain fired only in one area, or in different areas at different times. Very interesting study (might be able to find a link if anyone’s interested; I don’t think I have it saved since losing my bookmarks, though). It is interesting that it supports the notion that autistics are simply “wired differently”.

  28. clone3g October 17, 2005 at 02:12 #

    Does anyone want to tell Erik that he has carbon monoxide in his brain? Nitrous oxide too, lots of it. Does Buttar make a CO chelation creme?

    Erik, do you know what else “lowers immunity”? DMSA, DMPS, and EDTA.

  29. HN October 17, 2005 at 02:13 #

    Bonni asked:
    _May I ask what sort of therapies or treatments you use?_

    Through the school district, local Children’s Hospital and private neurotherapy providers there are a variety of neurotherapies that are in no way form or shape like ABA. The professional organizations that the therapists usually belong to are:

    Since my son was mostly speech impaired (with some deficits in gross motor skills) I found the book _Speech, Language and Listening Disorders, What Every Parent Should Know_ by Patricia McAleer Hamaguchi very helpful ( ). She explained about all the myriad ways that a child could have a communication disorder… PLUS she had a list of agencies in the USA and Canada where a parent/guardian could get more information and services. It was vastly more usefull than the horrible stuff available at my local library 12 years ago! (I checked out everybook I could on speech and language disorders, including a the dreadful Doman “What to do if your baby has brain damage”, which was just an advertizement for his clinic… which is best described in _No Time for Jello_ by Bratt, )

  30. bonni October 17, 2005 at 02:39 #

    Thanks. My daughter’s most noticible issue is with language, as well (although she’s got some other noticibly autistic traits, too, particularly the “I only do what I feel like doing” stubborn streak). I might have to check out that book. Looks very helpful.

  31. bonni October 17, 2005 at 03:42 #

    “Finding supports theory that autism results from failure of brain areas to work together – In contrast to people who do not have autism, people with autism remember letters of the alphabet in a part of the brain that ordinarily processes shapes, according to a study from a collaborative program of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health.”

    There’s one link, anyway… I can probably find more, but right now I need to take my neurotypical child to her weekly playgroup session. 🙂

  32. HN October 17, 2005 at 04:50 #

    About ABA… I knew very little about it, then the Autism-Diva wrote an explanation about in the comment section of her blog, but I can’t find it! I found this: … which has some discussion of ABA.

    I got the impression that it was lots like the Doman/Delcato bit (from _No Time for Jello_), where lots of parental imput was needed, the kids needs were ignored AND if it didn’t work it was the parents’ fault for not being totally into the system or not completing every little detail.

    Good luck. I remember from an “Apraxic” group I belonged to a while ago that had several parents of autistic kids that there a type of “pragmatic” speech therapy. This is were the clients learn appropriate responses to converstation… or just how to recognize common facial expressions.

    This becomes an ongoing process. Even my son’s high school has a program of “peer relationship” time for autistics. There is a flyer asking for regular students to volunteer their lunch time to interact in a controlled environment with some autistic classmates.

    Actually, even though my son is NOT autistic… he has hit a developmental impasse. He has stalled when it comes to communicating with peers at a high school level (one of the things he did was to stop doing homework, plus his anxiety driven tics in the form of head and hand shaking have re-emerged, sigh). The special ed. department recognizes this and will try to get him into one of the autistic peer socialization classes. He does not withdraw… but he says canned phrases because they are the ones he knows how to say.

    Sorry, Kevin… it does not get any easier.

    But on a bright note: I caught my son’s younger brother giving him advice on how to behave. The younger boy also calls me on his cell if there are any concerns (yeah, all my kids now have cell phones, it is about keeping in touch folks!). Despite the yelling I hear over how one is bugging the other, or has left the bathroom or kitchen in a mess — they do look out for each other.

  33. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) October 17, 2005 at 19:16 #

    “May I ask what sort of therapies or treatments you use?”

    These days, I don’t do treatments/therapies (being an educational psychologist)… I use two ways of counselling… rational-emotive and personal construct. I also at least partly get involved with planning interventions and how they might be evaluated. I draw on Vygotsky, Kelly, Järvilehto and Lewin for ideas and things to apply to problems of daily living. I may in some cases use bits of ABA-validated protocols… the bits which are, essentially, common sense.

  34. Camille October 17, 2005 at 20:19 #

    Just a comment about connections.

    If you think about a row of neurons (to make it simple) where each one has a branch that is touching each other neuron… it would look like a row of espaliered trees or something (trees trained to grow flat against a trellis like this except the branches would cross each other which doesn’t happen in espaliered trees.

    Where was I? … A yes, well, some of those connections, say from the first neuron to the 3rd and from the 3rd to the 5th might get a lot of heavy lifting done, they are just active all the time and because of that their connection is very good. The other branches are still technically making connection, but they are unused. In a very short time – with learning – these unusued connections can become strengthened.

    On the surface of the brain is the cortex. The cortex has all these cells that talk to their neighbors on the cortex (as well as elsehwere in the brain). You can look at a map of the brain and see, for example, “this area right here is the area of the cortex that controls the left ring finger and on either side of it are the areas that control the pinkie and the middle finger” (it’s very cool and logical)

    Now, lets cut off the ring finger! (You can only do this if the person agrees, or to a poor monkey) Very quickly the area that used to control the ring finger now controls part of each of the pinkie and middle finger.

    The cortical map is very flexible, but for instance the area used for controlling fingers never could take over the whole surface of the brain.

    So, the boundaries between the areas that control one thing and another are fluid and constantly changing. If you learned to play the piano very well and did if for years your cortex would show a larger area for finger controlling, and if you stopped playing it would shrink again.

    In monkeys the time it takes for the cortex to get remapped is a few minutes, if I remember correctly, anyway very quickly compared to what most people would think. You can’t do the same kind of thing with humans (cut open their skulls and stick probes in their cortices while they are still alive… yes, I know it’s awful…) But transcranial stimulation is showing similar effects, if I’m not mistaken, At any rate, its a good bet that human brains react with the same speed of change as monkey brains.

    There aren’t new “finger neurons” replacing old wrist neurons or whatever it’s just that the connections with nearby neurons are stronger.

    There was a gril who had most of her brain “gone” because she had an extreme case of water on the brain, the whole middle of her brain was water and what was left of the brain was smooshed against her skull. But she graduated from high school and was pertty normal. She walked around and talked and everything. She might have had some deficits, but they weren’t easy to see.

    Plasticity works better in children, too.

    Still… mercury tends to destroy cells and make the brains of mercury poisoned people smaller, not larger, and no one yet has ever tested the level of mercury in a deceased autistic brain. I think that the mercury scientists like Hayley and Deth and whomever, don’t want to know.

    Someone by now could have gotten a grant from CAN or elsewhere (the money is there) to assay the mercury in autistic brains, but I really think they know it’s not there and don’t want to look.

    gotta go check out the virtual conference!
    David Kirby will be there!!! Ooooooh, goody!

  35. clone3g October 18, 2005 at 01:56 #

    There are three different kinds of brains, the one understands things unassisted, the other understands things when shown by others, and the third understands neither alone nor with the explanations of others. The first kind is most excellent, the second kind also excellent, but the third useless.
    Niccolo Machiavelli

  36. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) October 18, 2005 at 02:54 #

    “… but the third useless.”

    Erik…. here’s a brain going spare…..

  37. Camille October 18, 2005 at 06:55 #

    Recommended reading:

    This is a letter about the apparent rise in autism according to the DDS, it’s repsonding to an exchange between someone who said there wasn’t a real rise in autism or something… and Blaxill and a couple of names I didn’t recognize…

    Anyway, the author of this letter works for the DDS in California at a “regional center”. I’d paste the contents here, but it’s one of those pdfs if you try to cut and paste, all the words run togetter without spaces.

    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Vol. 34, No. 1, February 2004 (©2004) Commentary: Further Commentary on the Debate Regarding Increase in Autism in California

    on the subjects of three kinds of thinking. I highly suggest William Golding’s essay, “thinking as a hobby”

    He wrote: “Lord of the Files”, which is way too creepy for me to appreciate, or maybe I just always knew I would be the first to get killed on an island with bullies…

    “Thinking as a Hobby” is great, and I think Golding might be on the autism spectrum, too, read it and see for yourself.

    His three kinds of thinkers are a little different that the one’s Machievelli described.

    I don’t agree with everything in the essay, but I do with most of it.

  38. bonni October 18, 2005 at 06:56 #

    I remember some years ago when my daughter was first going through the initial assessment process and all that, and a local magazine for parents (a free publication, paid for by the advertising) had an article on autism. I was, quite frankly, scared to death by it. They said how difficult it was to get the child assessed and to gather the team needed for such an assessment/diagnosis, and how hard it was to get the therapy, which was supposed to be forty hours a week…

    I now believe that they were getting their facts from unusual sources, because we had no trouble finding appropriate diagnosticians, and she certainly doesn’t need anything like forty hours a week (she never could have maintained that level of therapy!). She gets speech therapy, occupational therapy, and an early intervention playgroup, plus she has a special assistant teacher at pre-school, which she attends three days a week, and we’re seeing excellent progress.

    That “forty hours per week” figure sounds suspiciously like ABA to me, now, with hindsight. And yes, I reckon it would be hard to find that kind of therapy, or to carry it out yourself. Yikes.

    I’m pleased that she’s doing well, and she is. The four days a week that she has something going on (plus speech therapy every other week) seems to be doing a tremendous amount of good (and her behavior was greatly improved by removing chocolate and a particular food additive from her diet; poor kid is allergic to chocolate like both of her uncles, and the additive is known to be problematic in many children), and giving her regular iron supplements (as recommended by her pediatrician).

    Next year, five days a week at a school that specializes in autism spectrum disorder, and I think we’ll see huge changes for the better in many areas.

    I’m just glad that I wasn’t taken in by that article on autism. I was pretty shocked by it at the time (and still somewhat in my “denial” phase). These days, I’d be writing to them to complain about their poorly researched article…. 😉

  39. Wade Rankin October 18, 2005 at 16:20 #

    We had a “team” assessment performed on our son. The team told us that the only way to help our child was to undergo several hours of therapy each week — not surprisingly with the various members of the team — and to put the child on Ritalin. In the end, the therapy we actually got from those people was almost as worthless as the assessment they came up with at a very large price.

  40. Kev October 18, 2005 at 20:04 #

    We had the UK version of that Wade – cheap knock-off version of ABA and no Meds but equally useless.

  41. Camille October 19, 2005 at 02:29 #

    I posted the letter from the person at the California DDS about the non-epidemic …

    Commentary: Further Commentary on the Debate Regarding Increase in Autism in California from the JADD.

    but I put it in the wrong comment section… it’s in the “What am I missing” comments section… It’s long or I would post it here, too.

    I love that this person pretty much slams the Byrd study that came out of the MIND institute.

  42. Elisabeth Clark October 19, 2005 at 07:05 #

    I obviously live in the wrong area then… I was never offered any kind of therapy for Alex, useless or not!

    Hmmmm… now shall i feel relieved, or miffed…


    B xxx

  43. Kev October 19, 2005 at 07:13 #

    Ah, don’t get me wrong Elisabeth – when I say ‘offered’ I mean it was touted as a possibility, not that they were saying they’d provide it :o)

  44. Elisabeth Clark October 19, 2005 at 14:51 #

    *grin* I see! Yup… it figures!

  45. clone3g October 19, 2005 at 15:00 #

    Prometheus said:
    Erik seems to have missed something in the Burbacher et al study. Actually, several “somethings”. To begin with, it has long been assumed, if not known outright, that ethyl mercury would cross the blood-brain barrier

    Toxicology Letters
    Volume 154, Issue 3 , 30 December 2004, Pages 183-189

    Mercury concentrations in brain and kidney following ethylmercury, methylmercury and Thimerosal administration to neonatal mice

    G. Jean Harrya, , , Martha W. Harrisb and Leo T. Burkac

    Received 8 June 2004;

    The distribution of mercury to the brain following an injection of methylmercury (MeHg) or ethylmercury (EtHg) was examined in immature mice. Postnatal day (PND) 16 CD1 mice received MeHg chloride either by IM injection or by gavage. At 24 h and 7 days post-injection, total mercury concentrations were determined in blood, kidney, brain, and muscle by cold vapor atomic fluorescence spectrometry. At 24 h, an IM injection of MeHg chloride (17.4 μg) produced total mercury concentrations in the blood (6.2 ± 0.9 μg/g), brain (5.6 ± 1.3 μg; 0.6% delivered dose), and kidney (25.2 ± 5.6 μg; 1.1%), approximately 30% of that obtained from oral administration (blood: 17.9 ± 1.0 μg; brain: 16.1 ± 1.2 μg, 1.5%; kidney: 64.9 ± 6.3 μg, 2.7%). For comparison, PND 16 mice received an IM injection of concentrated dosing suspensions (2 μl dosing vol.) for EtHg chloride (6 μg) or Thimerosal (15.4 μg). For EtHg, approximately 0.39 ± 0.06% of the injected mercury was detected in the brain and 3.5 ± 0.6% in the kidney at 24 h. Thimerosal IM injection resulted in 0.22 ± 0.04% in the brain, and 1.7 ± 0.3% in the kidney. By 7 days, mercury levels decreased in the blood but were unchanged in the brain. An acute IM injection to adult mice of each suspension at a 10-fold higher dose resulted an average 0.1% mercury in the brain, and higher levels in the blood, kidney, and muscle as compared to the young. In immature mice, MeHg delivered via oral route of administration resulted in significantly greater tissue levels as compared to levels from IM injection. Comparisons of tissue distribution following IM administration suggest that an oral route of administration for mercury is not comparable to an IM delivery and that MeHg does not appear to be a good model for EtHg-containing compounds.

  46. Camille October 22, 2005 at 09:19 #


    Thanks clone dude, or clone gal.

    Mukhtarova’s paper from 1977. Cited as proof of the dangers of thimerosal. The paper mentions ethyl mercuric chloride concentrations in the title.

    “>…In order to study the clinical manifestations and time course of neurotoxicity over teh long term, we investigated the dynamics of 25 people with nervous system pathology caused by accidental consumption over 2-3 months of milk and dairy products contaminated with low levels of ethyl mercury (EMC). The meat and dairy prodcuts became contaminated when grain, treated with Granozan, was mistakenly fed to anmals (cattle and swine) and poultry. some of the poultry died and mercury was found in their organs….”

    The victims reported dizziness and headaches, and some problems with peripheral nerves. Cerebral ischemia in 2 patients, encephalopolyneuritis and encephalopathy in 9 patients.

    Anyway, did the people get exposed to methyl mecury if they ate meat and milk products from cows that ate ethyl mercury?

  47. clone3g October 24, 2005 at 16:54 #

    Camille: Anyway, did the people get exposed to methyl mecury if they ate meat and milk products from cows that ate ethyl mercury?

    Probably a little bit of each but predominantly inorganic mercury since ethylmercury has a relatively short half life in vivo. Dealkylation is the primary detox mechanism in mammals, not methylation.

  48. Camille October 25, 2005 at 08:33 #


    Would cooking the meat, come on even Russians cook their meat… change the mercury further.

    At any rate, we don’t know anything about the amount of mercury that the people took in. The article as translated by someone for SAFEMINDS doesn’t include that info.

    It doesn’t give numbers on mercury in blood, urine, hair or feces.

    I think the point is that whatever kind of mercury they ate, it was bad for them, but they survived eating it every day or therabouts for 3 years. The people who were the worst off were active alcohlics and smokers.

    Alcohol (ethyl) makes mercury more damaging to the brain according to one paper, I just read. That paper said a guy killed himself (rather horribly) by taking 5 *grams* of thimerosal orally. It took a week or so for him to die.

    OK, now we know that 5 gm. is way too much thimerosal, even for a grown man. But, he was trying to kill himself.

    I’m getting my flu shot day after tomorrow. I’ll make sure it doesn’t have a full 5 grams of thimerosal in it.

  49. Kim Clark November 4, 2005 at 17:05 #

    Kim’s comment deleted as it a) wasn’t his/hers b) wasn’t properly sourced or cited and c) dull.

    Kim – if you want to engage in a discussion then thats fine. If you want to post something then get yourself a site. I would warn you (and everyone else who thinks this is a good idea) copying and pasting whole articles without permission is a copyright violation and I’d be happy to provide your IP details to the copyright holder to chase if they so desired.

  50. HN November 4, 2005 at 18:28 #

    I saw this today, it is a commentary by Fitzpatrick of the recent surge of chelation as a treatment in the UK:

    Also, I am still wondering for any child born after 2001 exactly how much thimerosal they have received. Using the amounts in I am guessing it is not very much.

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