Since the 1990s, the number of people with ASD has increased by several orders of magnitude. The cause of autism is still unknown, and the only thing that is certain – vaccines do not cause autism. But is it really so?
Since most scientists are absolutely certain that vaccines are not associated with autism, it is logical to assume that studies comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated children have been conducted, and determined that the ASD incidence for both groups is the same. It is not so, however. Studies, comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated children in the context of autism, have not been conducted. In all the studies, which prove that vaccines are not associated with autism, groups of vaccinated children were compared to one another.
Pilot comparative study on the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated 6- to 12- year old U.S. children.
Well, not exactly. In fact, one study comparing vaccinated and completely unvaccinated children was published in 2017 after all, and it found that vaccinated children develop autism 4 times more often than unvaccinated children.
This study has many flaws. It was retrospective, based on anonymous surveys, and only 660 homeschooled children participated in it. However, no other similar studies have been conducted yet.
Autistic disturbances of affective contact.
Childhood autism was first described in 1943. The author, Leo Kanner, describes 11 cases of a previously unknown disease. It is accompanied by such symptoms as withdrawal, loneliness, hysteria, verbal rituals, strict adherence to a daily routine, obsessiveness, inappropriate statements, echolalia (uncontrollable, automatic repetition of words) and a mania for twirling round things. These children do not pay attention to people, but are interested in objects, especially the ones that can be twirled. Some made an impression of silent wisdom. Others differed by showing good mechanistic memory and early development. For example, it describes an 18-months-old boy, who was able to distinguish by ear between 18 symphonies from the first sounds.
Five children had relatively large heads. All were born into very intelligent families. Four fathers were psychiatrists, 9 out 11 of mothers graduated from college. The oldest girl described by Kanner, was born in 1931. This is the year when aluminum began to be added to the vaccines.
Leo Kanner, Hans Asperger, and the discovery of autism.
Kanner probably stole the discovery of autism from Hans Asperger, a Vienna pediatrician. Even though Asperger published an article, describing children with similar symptoms, a year after Kanner, he held lectures about them back in 1938 already. Kanner denied knowing about Asperger’s work, but this was most likely not true, since the chief diagnostician from Asperger’s clinic went to work for Kanner in 1938.
Autistic syndrome (Kanner) and vaccination against smallpox.
When a child develops normally, and then, at the age of 12-24 months, loses speech and social skills – it is called regressive autism.
The first case, similar to regressive autism, was described in Kanner’s article in 1943 already. The boy (case #3) was vaccinated against smallpox at the age of 12 months. Around this time mental regression has started, and he stopped imitating sounds. The article, of course, does not associate this regression with the vaccine. Nonetheless, Kanner emphasizes that in all the 11 cases, signs of autism were observed in children from birth.
In 1976, a case of regressive autism in a 15-months-old boy was described, which the authors associated with the smallpox vaccine. They believe that a causal relationship between vaccination and ASD is unlikely, but they acknowledge that the vaccine has triggered the regression process.
Validation of the phenomenon of autistic regression using home videotapes.
Arch Gen Psychiatry
In 1987, half of the autism cases were regressive. However, up until the mid-2000s, there was a debate about whether regressive autism actually existed, or whether parents simply idealized their children so much that they did not pay attention to early symptoms of ASD. In this study, the authors analyzed home videos and concluded that regressive autism does exist.
Onset patterns in autism: Variation across informants, methods, and timing.
According to the latest studies, 88% of the ASD cases are regressive. The authors conclude that regressive autism is rather a rule, than an exception.
Emergence of autism spectrum disorder in children from simplex families: relations to parental perceptions of etiology.
J Autism Dev Disord
Another study found that parents, regardless of their educational background or parental experience, were able to identify developmental problems in their children.
DSM-5 combined infantile (Kanner) autism, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome, into a single diagnosis called autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In 2012, 46% of ASD cases are attributable to infantile autism, 44% to PDD-NOS, and 10% to Asperger syndrome. Onwards, the term autism refers to ASD.
DSM-5 was supposed to lead to a decrease in the number of autism cases by 30%.
Estimated Prevalence of Children With Diagnosed Developmental Disabilities in the United States, 2014-2016.
NCHS Data Brief
In 1970 in the USA, autism occurred in 1 in 10,000 children.
In 1987 - 1 in 3,000.
In 2007 - 1 in 91.
In 2012 - 1 in 68.
In 2014 - 1 in 45.
In 2016, 2.76% of children from 3 to 17 years old in the USA have autism spectrum disorder (1 in 36). 6.99% (1 in 14) show developmental disabilities.
10.2% get diagnosed with ADHD, as compared to 6% in 1998. Same as with autism, ADHD is 3 times more common for boys than girls.
California Autism Prevalence Trends from 1931 to 2014 and Comparison to National ASD Data from IDEA and ADDM.
J Autism Dev Disord
Among those born in 1931 in California, 1 out of 100,000 had autism. Among those born in 2012 – 1 out of 85 did. The incidence started to increase gradually in the 1940s, and then increased sharply for those born in 1980, 1990 and 2007.
Trends in the prevalence of developmental disabilities in US children, 1997-2008.
In 2008, developmental disorders were observed in 1 out of 6 children in the USA. These disorders include ASD, ADHD, cerebral palsy, learning disorders, etc.
Some believe that there is no autism epidemic, but rather the diagnostic criteria have changed. There have always been this many people with ASD actually, it is just that no one noticed. However, their calculations are usually wrong, which they subsequently acknowledge themselves.
A comparison of temporal trends in United States autism prevalence to trends in suspected environmental factors.
75%-80% of the increase in the autism incidence is not due to changes in diagnostic criteria, but is a real increase in incidence.
Among the suspected toxins, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (fire-retardant materials that almost all mattresses and sofas are filled with today), aluminum adjuvants and glyphosate correlate with autism.
Diagnostic Substitution for Intellectual Disability: A Flawed Explanation for the Rise in Autism.
J Autism Dev Disord
Others suggest that ASD epidemic is explained by replacing of the mental retardation diagnosis with autism. It is not so, however. The number of mental retardation cases remains approximately the same, while the number of people with autism is growing exponentially.
Other studies suggesting that the autism epidemic is real, and is not a consequence of changes in criteria:  
Here, school representatives attest to a sharp increase in the number of students with autism in California. Senator Pan, however, claims that it was always so, and only the diagnosis changed.
There has been a trend in the media towards normalization of ASD recently. Sesame Street adds a doll with ASD. Movies and TV shows are released. They portray people with autism as ordinary people, who are just a little asocial, but instead are better than ordinary people in other skills. We are told that ASD should be ‘welcomed,’ because people with autism are not sick. They are ordinary people, just a little different.
In reality, in vast majority of cases, ASD is a serious illness. In 28% of cases, people with ASD exhibit self-aggressive behavior. 50% of them are non-verbal, 80% are mentally retarded, and 30% suffer from epilepsy. The risk of accompanying diseases, such as otitis, asthma, allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, etc, is much higher for people with ASD.
Supporting autistic people in the UK and the USA costs an average of more than $2 million over the course of lifetime, if they have accompanying mental retardation, and $1.4 million, if they do not. Only a small percentage of people with ASD are the way they are being portrayed in the media – gifted with high intelligence, or artistic and creative abilities.
A positive association found between autism prevalence and childhood vaccination uptake across the U.S. population.
J Toxicol Environ Health A
The author analyzed the vaccination coverage of the US states between 2001 and 2007, and found that 1% increase in the vaccination coverage is associated with a 1.7% increase in ASD and speech impairment.
Assessment of Hair Aluminum, Lead, and Mercury in a Sample of Autistic Egyptian Children: Environmental Risk Factors of Heavy Metals in Autism.
Is exposure to aluminium adjuvants associated with social impairments in mice? A pilot study.
J Inorg Biochem
Newborn mice, injected with aluminum hydroxide in the amount equivalent to that which children receive from vaccines, subsequently showed reduced social interest. These mice also gained less weight, which has been demonstrated in other studies as well.
The half-life of enteric aluminum is relatively short (24 hours). Aluminum in adjuvants, however, is excreted much more slowly due to its high affinity for various antigens.
The putative role of environmental aluminium in the development of chronic neuropathology in adults and children. How strong is the evidence and what could be the mechanisms involved?
Metab Brain Dis
There is strong evidence that vaccination can accelerate the transition of subclinical autoimmune conditions into symptomatic, within 30 days of vaccination.
Aluminum exposure is associated with the formation of pro-inflammatory cytokines and with development of chronic oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and activation or dysfunction of microglia (immune system cells in the brain). These changes, in turn, are associated with ASD.
Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism?
J Inorg Biochem
The authors analyzed data from several countries and concluded that the more vaccines with aluminum are given in the country, the greater is the level of ASD in it.
In the USA, the increase in the number of autistic people correlates with the increase in the use of aluminum adjuvants. The authors use Hill’s criteria and conclude that the relationship between vaccines and ASD is likely to be causal.
Immunoexcitotoxicity as the central mechanism of etiopathology and treatment of autism spectrum disorders: A possible role of fluoride and aluminum.
Surg Neurol Int
Sequential systemic immune stimulation can lead to chronic inflammation of the brain. Children are subject to such sequential immune stimulation through a growing number of environmental toxins, vaccines and persistent viral infections. Aluminum and fluoride can exacerbate pathological problems by increasing excitotoxicity and inflammation. Long-term effects of these toxins have effects similar to the ASD symptoms. Their synergistic effect in AlFх complexes can affect neurodevelopment and central nervous system functions at significantly lower concentrations than aluminum and fluoride separately.
Aluminium in brain tissue in autism.
J Trace Elem Med Biol
Autistic people had very high levels of aluminum in their brains. Judging by the place of aluminum detection, it enters the brain through lymphatic system.
This study had no control group, since no suitable brain samples had been found. Therefore, the authors compare the levels of aluminum with that found in other studies. The levels of aluminum in young people with ASD were higher than in the brains of elder people suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Inflammatory responses to trivalent influenza virus vaccine among pregnant women.
Pregnant women who received flue shots had significantly elevated levels of C-reactive protein (inflammation marker) for at least two days after vaccination. Inflammation during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of preeclampsia and premature birth.
Elevated maternal C-reactive protein and autism in a national birth cohort.
Elevated levels of C-reactive protein during pregnancy are associated with ASD in children.
Low-grade inflammation decreases emotion recognition - Evidence from the vaccination model of inflammation.
Brain Behav Immun
Typhoid vaccination causes systemic low-intensity inflammation. The level of IL-6 cytokine (pro-inflammatory cytokines secreted by Th2 cells) rises by 400%, but with no increase in body temperature or any symptoms of the disease.
This systemic inflammation significantly reduces the ability to interpret the mental state of other people. The authors conclude that systemic inflammation can contribute to the socio-cognitive deficits. Other studies have also shown that social interactions are more difficult for people with inflammation.
In this study, IL-6 levels only increased by 5 times (this vaccine does not contain aluminum). In the studies using endotoxin, IL-6 levels increased by 100-1000 times.
Maternal immune activation alters fetal brain development through interleukin-6.
Pregnant rats were injected with the cytokine IL-6, and ASD symptoms were observed in baby rats.
Activation of the maternal immune system during pregnancy alters behavioral development of rhesus monkey offspring.
Maternal immune activation during pregnancy in macaques led to ASD symptoms in their babies.
Perinatal Immune Activation Produces Persistent Sleep Alterations and Epileptiform Activity in Male Mice.
Immune activation in mice, a few days after birth, led to symptoms similar to those of ASD and to other neuropsychiatric diseases.
Neuroglial activation and neuroinflammation in the brain of patients with autism.
The authors analyzed the brain tissue of people with autism and found active neuroinflammatory processes in their brains. (These people did not die of infection, but of heart attacks and other causes.) More: 
Increased inflammatory processes in the brain (microglial activation) were also found in living people with ASD. The authors conclude that autism is caused by abnormalities in the immune system.
Brain IL-6 elevation causes neuronal circuitry imbalances and mediates autism-like behaviors.
Biochim Biophys Acta
Elevated levels of the IL-6 cytokine are observed in people with autism. Elevated levels of IL-6 in the brain of mice cause autistic behavior in them.
Selective induction of IL-6 by aluminum-induced oxidative stress can be prevented by selenium.
J Trace Elem Med Biol
Aluminum increases the IL-6 levels in rats (and lowers the levels of glutathione). Selenium prevents this process, if given together with aluminum.
IL-6 levels increase also upon oral administration of aluminum.
Neonatal vaccination with bacillus Calmette-Guérin and hepatitis B vaccines modulates hippocampal synaptic plasticity in rats.
The hepatitis B vaccine (which contains aluminum), administered to newborn rats, also increases the levels of IL-6 in hippocampus, while BCG vaccine lowers them. The IL-6 levels were not elevated at first, but were elevated in adulthood.
In another study of the same group, which was already mentioned, it is reported that in mice, vaccinated against hepatitis B in infancy, neurobehavioral disorders were observed in adulthood due to pro-inflammatory processes in the hippocampus, induced by the immune system bias in Th2.
Aluminum causes inflammation in the brain cells in nanomolar concentrations. That is, it is enough for 0.01% of the aluminum contained in the vaccines to enter the brain to lead to inflammation. More details here.
Summing up these and other studies, a group of independent scientists, running the VaccinePapers site, concludes the following: aluminum from vaccines enters the brain through lymphatic system, where it causes an increase in IL-6 cytokine levels and chronic immune activation, which, in turn, cause autism and other neurological disorders.
Read more on the relationship between immune activation and autism and the role of aluminum in it, here.
But why do the ASD symptoms often start right after the MMR vaccine, even though it does not contain aluminum? One of the possible explanations is that MMR, being the first live vaccine given to a child, causes a strong immune reaction, and increases the levels of MCP-1 cytokine (macrophage chemoattractant protein). This cytokine, as its name implies, attracts microphages. Inflammation, even if it is not in the brain, increases the levels of MCP-1. Increased levels of MCP-1 cause the macrophages from the entire body to rush to the brain, even if the inflammation is not in the brain. These macrophages carry aluminum from previous vaccines (see the section on aluminum). This way, MMR helps aluminum get into the brain, which, in turn, leads to an increase in the levels of IL-6 and ASD.
MCP-1 levels are elevated in people with autism. Infants, who became autistic, had elevated levels of MCP-1 after birth. Read more on this, here.
Aluminum from previous vaccines can probably enter the brain not only due to MMR, but also due to infection. Here and here are the descriptions of cases of ASD in 14-year-old girl and 31-year-old man, which resulted from herpetic encephalitis. More:   
ADHD seems to also be a result of inflammation
Impact of environmental factors on the prevalence of autistic disorder after 1979.
J. Public Health Epidemiol
The authors analyze data on the incidence of autism since 1970 in the USA, Western Australia, the UK and Denmark, and found that the slope of the incidence growth rate increased precisely at the time, when vaccines grown on human diploid cells (rubella, MMR-II, varicella and hepatitis A) were added to the immunization schedule.
Epidemiologic and Molecular Relationship Between Vaccine Manufacture and Autism Spectrum Disorder Prevalence.
Issues Law Med
Rubella and hepatitis A vaccines are grown on human fetal diploid cells and contain residual DNA fragments in quantities that are ten times higher than the FDA standards. These DNA fragments can spontaneously integrate into the DNA of other cells, which has been proven in many experiments.
Additionally, vaccines grown on the WI-38 diploid cell line, such as MMR, rubella and varicella, are contaminated with human endogenous retroviruses (HERVK). Recent studies have shown that transcripts of these retroviruses are elevated in patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and in leukocytes of people with ASD. These retroviruses are also associated with several autoimmune diseases.
The health effects of the residual fragments of the human fetal DNA and retroviral contamination have never been adequately studied.
Cell debris and DNA remains, as well as DNA fragments of retrovirus, can lead to insertional mutagenesis and to autoimmune responses. In authors’ study, the DNA fragments from vaccines replaced 0.2%-0.6% of genome of the cells to which they were added within 24-48 hours. In another experiment, heterogeneous DNA replaced 1% of the genome within 30 minutes.
Integration of small DNA fragments has also been proven in vivo. In the Jensen (2011) study, small DNA fragments were successfully delivered and integrated into the liver of mice by injection into the tail vein. Colosimo studies also demonstrated 1%-10% genome integration. McNeer (2013) showed genome integration in mice in 0.01%-0.04% fragments with a length of 60 base pairs using DNA, and 1.2% upon using triplex PNA (peptide-nucleic acid). Genome integration was highest in bone marrow, spleen and thymus cells.
The authors conclude that vaccines, grown on human embryonic cell lines contain unacceptably high levels of fetal DNA fragments. Human DNA fragments of such lengths spontaneously integrate into the genome of cell lines, and this process intensifies upon inflammation. Human genome by nature contains regions that are susceptible to breaking double strands of DNA and insertional mutagenesis. These regions are especially concentrated in the genes that are associated with autism. The solution for this terrifying problem is easily accessible: vaccines should be grown on cell lines of animals, insects or plants, eliminating the danger of residual human DNA and retrovirus contamination. 
Developmental regression and mitochondrial dysfunction in a child with autism.
J Child Neurol
The case of Hannah Poling. 19-months-old girl was given a series of vaccines. 48 hours later she started running a fever, began the continuous crying, irritability and lethargy. She began to wake up often at night, and stopped going up the stairs. For the next 3 months she was irritable, was gradually losing her speech skills, and began to show ASD symptoms, such as twirling, avoiding eye contact, disturbed sleep cycle, and perseveration on particular TV programs. For six months, she had diarrhea, poor appetite and did not gain weight. At 23 months old, she was diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, slow hair growth. She began to walk on her toes, and was diagnosed with autism.
From the age of 30 months she took vitamins and her symptoms got better. She was diagnosed with mitochondrial dysfunction. It is unclear whether the mitochondrial dysfunction was the result of a primary genetic abnormality, atypical development of the main metabolic pathways, or other factors.
The authors conclude that infections or vaccination can cause regressive autism in children with mitochondrial dysfunction.
There is nothing special about this case, except for the fact, that the girl’s father (Jon Poling) is a neurologist, who documented all the tests that he ran on this daughter. Moreover, Poling worked with Andrew Zimmerman, one of the prominent neurologists in the USA, who appeared as an expert witness in vaccine courts, where he argued that there is no link between MMR and autism. Zimmerman was the co-author of the abovementioned article, and in his expert opinion stated that in the case of Hanna Poling, there was a link between vaccination and autism.
Hannah Poling was initially one of the several participants in a class action lawsuit on the link between vaccination and autism, representing 5,500 children. HHS removed this case form the class action lawsuit and paid the family that signed a non-disclosure agreement, $20 million. A class action lawsuit, however, was rejected. The fact that Zimmerman changed this opinion in the process, and gave different expert opinions in the class action lawsuit and Hanna Poling case, was unknown at the time, since Hanna Poling case was classified, and was only learned about after the attorney leaked information to a journalist. After his conclusion in the Hanna Poling case, Zimmerman was no longer invited to be an expert witness in vaccine court, but his expert opinion, written before he changed it, was used as an argument to dismiss the class action suit. 
Unanswered questions from the vaccine injury compensation program: a review of compensated cases of vaccine-induced brain injury.
Pace Envtl. L. Rev
The authors analyzed 1,300 cases of compensation for post-vaccination complications that were heard in court, and found that although vaccines do not cause autism officially, and the class action lawsuit was dismissed, compensation to people with autism was paid in at least 83 cases. Most of the compensation cases are classified, so a group was created to call the people who went to the vaccine court.
Parents, who used the word “encephalopathy” in their lawsuit in the vaccine court, won the case and received compensation. Those, who went to court with similar symptoms, but used the word “autism”, lost and their case was dismissed. 
Environmental risk factors for autism: an evidence-based review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
As compared to genetic studies of the nature of autism, studies of environmental risk factors are at a rudimentary level, and have significant methodological limitations.
Almost all of the genetic risk factors of autism can be found in general population. From this follows that without the environmental factor, genetic risk remains only a risk, and autism does not develop.
A prevalence estimate of pervasive developmental disorder among immigrants to Israel and Israeli natives- a file review study.
Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol
The risk of pervasive developmental disorder in children of Ethiopian immigrants, born in Israel, is much lower, than in children of non-Ethiopians. However, among the Israeli children born in Ethiopia, there was not a single case of pervasive developmental disorder (among 11,800 children). The authors conclude that childbirth in Israel, an industrialized country, is a marker of an environmental risk of autism.
Autologous cord blood infusions are safe and feasible in young children with autism spectrum disorder: results of a single-center phase I open-label trial.
Stem Cells Transl Med
The authors proposed a hypothesis that stem cells, contained in the umbilical cord blood, can suppress the inflammation, which is observed in the brain of people with ASD. They injected autistic children intravenously with their own umbilical cord blood, stored at birth. Children showed a significant improvement in the symptoms.
If own stem cells of people with ASD, contained in their blood at birth, can improve symptoms of ASD, it might indicate that autism is not congenital or genetic disease.
Since there are no studies, which would compare vaccinated and unvaccinated children in the context of autism (or rather, there is one that indicated that they are related), the statement that vaccines do not cause autism is not true. All the other studies, first of all, were only epidemiological, and second of all, focused on only on one vaccine (MMR), and on one vaccine component (thiomersal). There is not a single study, examining the possible role of any vaccine other than MMR in the autism epidemic. Therefore, if anything can be concluded from the existing studies, it is only that MMR does not cause ASD, and that thiomersal does not cause ASD. Studies on thiomersal were analyzed in the previous section, so here I will analyze some studies on MMR.
Firstly, to understand why epidemiological studies may not reveal the link between the vaccines and autism in general, even if there is one, let us return to acrodynia.
Acrodynia was caused by mercury in tooth powder, diapers and various medications, and affected one in every 500 children in the first half of the 20th century.
A 1950 review article, analyzes various possible causes of acrodynia. Infections, lack of vitamins, allergies, fungus or arsenic poisoning, are listed among them. Possible mercury poisoning is also mentioned (this hypothesis was first expressed in 1846, and then again in 1922). However, according to the author’s opinion, acrodynia is a form of encephalopathy, which is caused by psychological and emotional factors.
It was only in 1953 that mercury was established to have been the cause of acrodynia, and it was done on the basis of a study 28 children’s cases, that is, on the basis of the exact same study that Andrew Wakefield conducted. The authors explain, that some medications that are tolerated well by most, might, after all, be dangerous, to some people. They mention mercury diuretics, thousands of doses of which were administered to patients without any visible side effects, but sometimes yet another one of those injections caused sudden death.
The 1966 article dedicated to the already eradicated acrodynia, reports that this disease was a fascinating mystery to a generation of pediatricians. The theory of mercury, as a cause of acrodynia, was accepted slowly, with resistance, hesitation and even ridicule. Only after the ban on mercury did acrodynia disappear, without fanfare and festivities. At the end of the article, the author, who determined the final relationship between mercury and acrodynia 16 years earlier, asks the following question: “Is there really scientific evidence of the truthfulness of this theory? We, who believed in this theory for a long time, collected pieces of evidence, and then predicted that the disease will disappear, when mercury is removed from homes as a regular product and medical panacea. And acrodynia did disappear. But is it scientific proof? After all, so much has changed since the 1950s, that we might be attributing it to the wrong reason. And those who believe in the viral theory of acrodynia can argue that epidemics come and go, and now we are in a period of the natural decline of the disease. Virologists sometimes use this argument in their discussions. It would take many years to refute this theory, and there are no virologists willing to study a dead disease. Thus, the anti-mercurialists won by default, and we are left with the question: What is scientific proof? Can it ever be found in medicine?”
Acrodynia affected only children sensitive to mercury, and there were only 0.2% of such children. ASD also only affects susceptible children, and there are less than 3% of those, as of today. Even assuming that vaccines can cause autism, epidemiological studies, which do not take into account this susceptibility, might not reveal an association. Moreover, since all the existing epidemiological studies are focused only on MMR or thiomersal, they would not be able to identify an association even theoretically, if we were to assume that other components or vaccines might cause autism as well. The assumption that only MMR can cause autism, and other vaccines cannot, is similar to an assumption that only Marlboro can cause lung cancer, and other brands of cigarettes cannot. Epidemiological studies of acrodynia, most likely, could not have detected this disease, firstly, due to the low susceptibility to it, and secondly, because mercury was widely used at the time. These studies certainly could not have revealed a link if the scientists had suggested that acrodynia was caused only by tooth powders, and had not considered that acrodynia could also be caused by diapers, mercury anthelmintic chocolates, or broken thermometers. If a disease similar to acrodynia were to appear today, no one would have banned mercury on the basis of the data available by 1953. The evidence based on a series of 28 children and other anecdotal cases, would have been regarded by the scientific community as laughable, and mercury would have kept killing children susceptible to it for many more decades, while the scientific community would have spent billions of dollars testing for genetic causes of acrodynia (and, of course, finding them), and would have conducted large epidemiological studies, the design of which is generally not able to identify mercury as the reason for such disease.
This is exactly what has been happening with autism since the 90s.
To date, there is much more scientific evidence on the association between vaccination and ASD, than there was in 1953 on the association between mercury and acrodynia.
Studies that are most often cited as proof that vaccines do not cause autism:
Madsen, 2002: A Danish study, according to which, those vaccinated with MMR had a 17% lower risk of autism than those unvaccinated. That is, the vaccine had a protective effect against autism.
- This study is criticized здесь, among other places, where the epidemiology professor calculates that, assuming that only 10% are susceptible to regressive autism, then with the given design of the study, it will turn out, that MMR is associated with a 4 times higher risk of autism. However, if all types of autism were to be analyzed together, given the same design, there would be no association, and even a protective effect would appear.
- Also, this study analyzes person-years instead of cases, which is logical for epidemiological studies, but is not logical in cases of chronic disease, such as autism. This leads to the fact that cases of early diagnosis (and they are a minority) have more weight than cases of later diagnosis. Additionally, the average age in the “unvaccinated” group was 5 years, and the average age of the vaccinated was 3.7 years. Therefore, the probability of having been diagnosed was much lower for the vaccinated group. Moreover, the average age for autism diagnosis in Denmark was 5 years, so about half of the children were too young to be diagnosed.
- Poul Thorsen, one of the author of this and other Danish studies, Head of the Autism Center, is accused of stealing over a million dollars from CDC, and has been awaiting extradition to the USA since 2011. Although, for some reason, no one seems to be in a hurry to arrest him, even though he is not hiding and continues be published].
Taylor, 1999: A study in the UK, according to which, the ASD incidence did not increase drastically after the introduction of MMR (in 1988), but grew gradually.
This study does not account for the fact that older children received MMR as part of the “catch-up vaccination program.” So the authors mistakenly conclude that since children born before 1988 also have autism, MMR has nothing to do with it.
Despite all this, the authors found a clustering of autism diagnoses within 6 months of vaccination. They conclude that when parents do not remember the exact age of the onset of symptoms, they just randomly say 18 months. Therefore, they discard all the cases of the onset of symptoms at 18 months, analyze the data again, and statistical significant disappears.
DeStefano, 2004: A case-control study in Atlanta. The authors found that by the age of 3 years, more children had been vaccinated with MMR in the autism group than in the control group (OR=1.49). Among children in the 3-5 years age group, this association was significantly higher (OR=2.34). However, the authors concluded that children with autism were probably vaccinated at a younger age, since vaccination is required to enroll in early intervention programs for ASD correction.
Jain, 2015: This study found that among children who had an older sibling with ASD, MMR was not associated with autism.
This study (like all the rest), does not account for the "healthy user bias", although it does mention it. That is, the parents of these children, who already have one child with ASD, and whose risk of ASD is higher a priori, refuse vaccination more often, fearing its consequences. (About 50% of the residents of the developed countries believe that there might be a link between vaccines and autism). This study is analyzed in greater detail link here.
Once again, I emphasize that in this and all the other studies, ‘unvaccinated’ refers only to those who have not received the MMR vaccine, but might have been vaccinated with other vaccines.
The authors of these studies have conflicts of interest. Other MMR studies are analyzed in detail here and here.
Let me also remind that Cochrane notes in its systematic review, that clinical and post-clinical MMR safety studies are largely inadequate.
Controversies surrounding mercury in vaccines: autism denial as impediment to universal immunisation.
Indian J Med Ethics
In 2004, the CDC published the abovementioned study (DeStefano), which did not find a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. William Thompson, one of the authors, later admitted that he and his colleagues found that African Americans, who received the MMR vaccine before the age of 36 months, were at increased risk for autism, but they destroyed the evidence and did not publish this data.
Brian Hooker, to whom Thompson admitted this, analyzed the full data and found that among African Americans, MMR at the age under 2 years was associated with a 340% increase in the risk of autism, as compared to those vaccinated after 2 years of age. This article passed the review process and was published, but was recalled a few hours after CNN published this story, due to an undeclared conflict of interest. The article, the author of which admitted to data manipulation, however, was not recalled, of course, and is still used as an argument that vaccines do not cause autism.
This story is detailed in the Vaxxed movie.
MMR vaccination at the time of a disease is associated with a 17-fold increase in the risk of regressive autism. At the moment, the CDC does not consider a mild disease, such as common cold or varicella, to be contraindication for MMR or any other vaccine. The authors believe that the link between vaccination during an illness and autism needs to be further studied, and the guidelines may need to be revised.
If MMR during a mild illness increases the risk of ASD, could it be that for some children, infection with several viruses at a time could cause too strong of an inflammation, and MMR or MMRV, which contain 3-4 viruses, could increase the risk of autism themselves, as compared to monovalent vaccines or natural disease?
A 20-year-old woman received meningococcal vaccine in college, and lost cognitive skills immediately after. She lost the ability to read and speak, began to suffer from sounds, smells, light, touch and even from the chest movements during breathing. She started getting hallucinations, lost 20 kg, because she could not eat, and developed strabismus. She was diagnosed with autism. She was hospitalized, but the doctors sent her home to die. She started detoxification, taking vitamin A and other supplements, and gradually more or less recovered.
A little bit of history
Inflammation and immune activation
Human fetal cells
The other side