Autism is a neurological disorder characterized by impairments in language, cognitive and social development, usually manifesting in the first two years of life. Once considered rare with an incidence of 1-3 per 10,000 births, autism is now reaching 20-40 per 10,000 births with “clusters” of 1 per 150 reported. Autism now ranks third among childhood developmental disorders, more common than Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy or Cystic Fibrosis.13
Immune, gastrointestinal and neurological abnormalities, as well as heavy metal toxicity, (especially mercury) have been documented in autistic children. One source of mercury is immunizations. June 1999, the FDA announced “Infants who receive thimerosal containing vaccine at several visits may be exposed to more mercury than recommended by Federal guidelines for total mercury exposure.” Mercury is the third most toxic substance known and is the most toxic non-radioactive metal and is known to be neurotoxic, especially in brains of small infants. Mercury disrupts cell physiology by binding to sulfur with resulting dysfunction of enzymes, membranes, and structural proteins. Mercury binds with tubulin and disrupts microtubule formation which can directly cause nerve cell processes to degenerate.
Symptoms of mercury toxicity in young children mirror those of autism. Thimerosal, a preservative used in some vaccines, is 49.6% mercury by weight. Infants vaccinated with multi-dose vials can receive 62.5 micrograms of mercury per visit, about 100 times the 0.1 micrograms per kilogram of daily exposure considered safe by the EPA. The increased number of children with autism correlates with the hepatitis B and HIB vaccine given to infants in the early 1990s. For more on this see Appendix I. where Dr. Bernard Rimland, (consultant for the film The Rain Man), discusses mercury as a primary cause of increasing autism. As of 2003 mercury is still being included in the manufacture of several vaccines: DPT, hepatitis B, influenza, H. influenzae.14
Susan J. Crockford shows that global changes in body structure (expressed phenotype) can result from changing just a few genes that control thyroid hormones, especially the patterns of its timed, pusatile, release. Geographic or breeding isolation of pioneer groups, say, to a colder climate, change thyroid patterns, and with genetic drift, the patterns of thyroid timing soon differ from the general population. This leads to behavioral and physiological changes that become fixed through further selection. A similar mechanism explains sexual dimorphism.15
Simon Baron-Cohen presents a view of autism based on the observation of behavior types ranging from empathizing (common in females) and systemizing (common in males). Extreme autistic and Asperger’s syndrome people, male or female, have extreme “systemizing” behavior. This leads to the kind of obsessive focus on detail, mechanical and other systems often seen in autistics. He theorizes, following the work of Norman Geshwind, that the differences in the brain seen here may result from variations in the amount of testosterone encountered by the developing fetus. Increased testosterone causes increased growth of the left hemisphere of the brain, and results in a more “systemizing” brain, generally lacking in empathy.16
Crockford points out that the release of pituitary hormones, and the cascade of effects from them, including testosterone release, is controlled by the thyroid hormones. So we now have a general model that can help to explain speciation, sexual dimorphism, phenotypic variations, and autism spectrum disorders. Crockford presents a consistent model of sexual dimorphism and brain-gender-behavioral complexes that lie at the core of why we have male (systemizing) and female (empathizing) behavior patterns. Testosterone is controlled by thyroid hormones that can be changed by genetic, biological, and environmental factors (such as metal toxicity). Should any of these factors increase fetal testosterone, it will tend to produce a person in the autistic and Asperger syndrome spectrum of behavior.
Relevant to vaccines and autism, mercury is some 100 times more toxic in the presence of testosterone. This may explain why males are more often affected by autism. Mercury clearance rates were found to often be less in males, so a given dose of mercury could affect males more severely. Mercury can poison many systems and this could, in turn, change thyroid pulse patterns, etc. along the lines suggested by Crockford.
Careful evaluation of these matters should make the mechanisms clear. For the moment, we know that mercury can be cleared from the body using chelating agents and clathrates.
A remarkable story of success treating autism using diet and other alternative measures is included as Appendix II. Their experience offers methods to explore what anyone could do.
We also know dolphins often improve these conditions. Let’s investigate how they accomplish their feats.