Autisms Poor Excretors

31 Jan

Pediatrics released a study refuting the autism/thiomersal hypothesis early yesterday. They said that they did it to counter the upcoming Eli Stone pilot (of which there will be more to speak of soon). If that’s true then we need to thank the creators of Eli Stone for prompting the early release of more science debunking the anti-vaccine stance.

I don’t have this new study yet so I want you to bear in mind that I can only go on what’s in the news reports. This isn’t ideal but there are numerous quotes from the study authors over the news.

Basically, this study refutes the idea that autistic kids are poor excretors of mercury. Obviously, a lot of Hub bloggers have already taken this silliness apart but this is (IIRC) the first science paper to do so.

A proviso of this study would seem to be that it was done on NT kids rather than ASD kids but there’s no real scientifically valid reason to use ASD kids particularly anyway.

“….Now it’s obvious that ethyl mercury’s short half-life prevents toxic build-up from occurring. It’s just gone too fast,” Pichichero said.

To illustrate, researchers cite that infants in the 6-month-old group — who, in their lifetimes, had encountered more total ethyl mercury that any other group studied — still had the same pre-vaccination blood-mercury levels before their checkups as most 2-month-olds had before theirs. This suggests that, before each round of shots, the mercury has plenty of time to be cleared.

Source

Now, a group of people we all know are going to claim that the Burbacher et al showed that this was becuase the ethyl-mercury was going into the brain. This isn’t strictly accurate. Though total levels in the brain were lower for the thimerosal group, a higher ratio of inorganic mercury was noted. The anti-vaxxers tried to link this to Vargas because inorganic mercury is alleged to cause microglial activation.

But Burbacher detected no neuroinflammation. He should now know if there is neuroglial activation in his primates however. This paper was due some time ago but seems to be having trouble finding a publisher. Its pure speculation on my part that this would either be because his sponsors (SafeMinds) didn’t like the results and pulled the plug, or the science is bad and can’t find a journal to be published in.

Anyway, here’s this new paper that demonstrates that thiomersal is very quickly eliminated from the body. What is the typical mercury militia response to this?

And if it’s not thimerosal, then it must be some other vaccine-related interaction, said Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center.

……

“Mercury doesn’t belong in any product,” Fisher added. “Mercury doesn’t belong in vaccines whether it’s proven or not proven that mercury is a problem in vaccines.”

You see? Its not even really about mercury to these geniuses. Its about vaccines. Always. Even when it isn’t. And when it is mercury it doesn’t matter if its actually dangerous or not. What a shame there’s no vaccine for stupidity.

Note: Bart Cubbins has done an excellent video on some of the shortcomings of the Burbacher study.

12 Responses to “Autisms Poor Excretors”

  1. notmercury January 31, 2008 at 15:19 #

    “And if it’s not thimerosal, then it must be some other vaccine-related interaction,”

    Why must it? Did I miss something?

    Good to have you back, Kev.

  2. Joseph January 31, 2008 at 21:24 #

    “Its not even really about mercury to these geniuses.”

    The problem is that it doesn’t seem to be about autism anymore. I think they truly forgot about their kids and their outcome in life and decided to focus on the presumed evils of vaccination instead.

  3. Sullivan January 31, 2008 at 22:16 #

    It is wrapping up to be a bad week for people who think that mercury causes autism. They expected a nice little TV show that would help support their cause. Instead, AAP comes out with a letter about how the mercury/autism theory is nonsense. Then they early release the study you mention that punches another big hole in the already weak hypothesis.

    Follow this up with a clear statement by Dr. Minshew that vaccines don’t cause autism
    http://gmwm.autistics.org/?p=141

    It isn’t like the last few weeks were going well either, with the Baltimore case and other new information.

    Thank god. Maybe we are getting to or past the peak in the hysteria.

  4. MJ February 1, 2008 at 03:05 #

    I am not sure what to make of these two statements when you put them together :

    “Basically, this study refutes the idea that autistic kids are poor excretors of mercury.”

    and

    “A proviso of this study would seem to be that it was done on NT kids rather than ASD kids but there’s no real scientifically valid reason to use ASD kids particularly anyway.”

    So the study is supposed to put the rest the theory that a subset of the population has issues with mercury by testing the population as a whole? That logically doesn’t work.

  5. Kev February 1, 2008 at 08:37 #

    _”So the study is supposed to put the rest the theory that a subset of the population has issues with mercury…_”

    Its not a theory MJ, its a hypothesis. And no, its not, this study is supposed to (and has helped to) refute the idea that ethyl mercury from vaccines stays in the bloodstream causing harm.

    There’s no especial reason – certainly no scientifically valid one – to single out ASD kids.

  6. MJ February 1, 2008 at 19:11 #

    I have never heard of the “hypothesis” that autism is related to ethyl mercury not leaving the blood stream.

    I have heard the one that it is related to it not leaving the body but it does not follow that it stays in the bloodstream.

    If that were the case then this entire hypothesis could have been put to bed long along by simple blood tests.

    As to there being “no scientifically valid” reason to test ASD kids, wouldn’t that be the whole point? If the hypothesis is that a subset of children have an issue, it would be imperative to test the the subset against the population as a whole to confirm/refute the hypothesis.

    Anything less won’t answer the question. Which I suspect is the reason why this is still an issue.

  7. Kev February 1, 2008 at 19:47 #

    “I have heard the one that it is related to it not leaving the body but it does not follow that it stays in the bloodstream.”

    If its leaving the body MJ I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest its leaving the bloodstream.

    “If the hypothesis is that a subset of children have an issue”

    Thats not even a hypothesis, its an opinion. No, as far as I see it, this study was to test the idea that kids couldn’t excrete ethyl mercury from vaccines. Its obvious that the results of this study were that they can and it is. If anybody wants to do blue sky science I would guess that it’d be up to them to fund it themselves.

  8. MJ February 2, 2008 at 01:07 #

    “If its leaving the body MJ I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest its leaving the bloodstream.”

    True however the opposite is not necessarily true. Just because it leaves the bloodstream doesn’t mean it has left the body.

    If you think it is true then please explain how a substance can go straight from the bloodstream to the outside of the body without first passing through some other system of the body.

    “this study was to test the idea that kids couldn’t excrete ethyl mercury from vaccine”

    Since neither of us have read the actual study I think that comment is premature.

  9. MJ February 2, 2008 at 02:02 #

    The study is freely available online here :

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/121/2/e208

    It seems to be a well done study.

    “Basically, this study refutes the idea that autistic kids are poor excretors of mercury”

    Nope, the study doesn’t even mention the issue. As a matter of fact this :

    “Anyway, here’s this new paper that demonstrates that thiomersal is very quickly eliminated from the body.”

    isn’t true either. From page e214 of the study :

    “Second, our measurements are unable to determine the fate of the mercury after it leaves the blood, because our sampling was limited to blood, urine, and stool, and we did not collect 24-hour samples; therefore the data do not allow any conclusions about the proportion of administered ethyl mercury that is ultimately excreted in stools or the time course of that excretion”

    Or in other words, they measured the half life of the 3.2% (page e211) of the ethyl mercury that entered the blood stream. They did not address how quickly the substance left the body.

  10. Kev February 2, 2008 at 09:47 #

    “True however the opposite is not necessarily true. Just because it leaves the bloodstream doesn’t mean it has left the body.”

    Yes…and?

    “Nope, the study doesn’t even mention the issue.”

    I disagree. Unless you have some kind of evidence that autistic kids excrete mercury in any way differently than any other child I’d say it covers it admirably.

    “They did not address how quickly the substance left the body”

    Correct, I meant to write blood.

  11. MJ February 2, 2008 at 16:23 #

    “I disagree. Unless you have some kind of evidence that autistic kids excrete mercury in any way differently than any other child I’d say it covers it admirably.”

    You miss the point, it didn’t cover general excretion of mercury at all for any group. It only covered blood half life. Therefore, unless you are redefining excretion to be leaving the blood instead of the more general definition of leaving the body in general, the the study did not address it at all for any group.

    So saying:

    “Basically, this study refutes the idea that autistic kids are poor excretors of mercury”

    Simply isn’t true.

  12. Kev February 4, 2008 at 10:41 #

    Well, we’ll just have to disagree MJ – personally I’m at a loss to see how mercury leaving the blood _cannot_ be leaving the body but there you go.

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