Sunday, March 24, 2013

Aluminum Adjuvant in Vaccines: A Smoking Gun Autism Link?

Reposted from Gaia Health

A new study shows a likely causal relationship between the vaccination adjuvant, aluminum, and autism. It is rigorous and makes a point of eliminating any artifacts that might skew the results.
The study’s focus is on the adjuvant aluminum. It’s a known neurotoxin that’s commonly used in vaccines. Of the 32 currently recommended vaccines for preschool children in the US, 18 contain aluminum. The number of vaccinations increased from 10 to 32 between the late ’70s and 2008. During this time, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children increased an astonishing 2000 percent. Yet, no serious study of a possible connection between childhood vaccines with adjuvant aluminum and ASD had been done … until now.
The researchers have provided compelling evidence that not only is there a link between aluminum in vaccines and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), they have also provided strong reason to believe that there may be a cause and effect connection. At the very least, this should be taken as a smoking gun indication of a direct link between vaccinations and ASD. Whether it’s proof positive of a connection between aluminum in vaccinations and ASD will require more research.
Considering the prevalence and severity of ASD and the cost to society, which is only beginning to be felt, and the devastation in lives, it’s clearly long past time to step back from the headlong rush into vaccinations. If nothing else, this study reveals that the presumption of vaccine safety is insupportable.

Reason for the Study

Lucija Tomljenovic and Christopher A. Shaw, the authors of “Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism?”, published in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry(1), noted in their introduction:
Although the etiology of 90% of ASD is still largely unknown, a growing body of scientific literature shows that neuroimmune abnormalities (i.e., abnormal cytokine profiles, neuroinflammation and presence of autoantibodies against brain proteins) occur in ASD patients and may contribute to the diversity of ASD phenotypes.
Al [aluminum] is an experimentally demonstrated neurotoxin whose ability to impact the human nervous system has been known for decades.
The authors determined that we should be concerned about a potential aluminum adjuvant-related connection to ASD, so they set about to find out if it exists. They examined child vaccine schedules for several western industrialized nations and compared them with ASD rates in children. What they found was chilling: a highly significant relationship between aluminum exposure from vaccinations and the number of ASD diagnoses in children.

Study Methods

They collected data on ASD diagnoses for children from ages 6-21, from 1991-2008 from the US Department of Education Annual Reports for ASD prevalence. Then they correlated this information with the estimated aluminum exposure from pediatric vaccines given to children up to age 6. They also collected the equivalent data from several other countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland, and they did the same kind of analysis on it that they did on the US data.
The authors decided to focus on accumulated aluminum exposure from vaccines as the most relative, noting that patients suffering from macrofagic myofasciitis, a neurological disorder known to be linked to aluminum adjuvant, are known to harbor aluminum at the site of injection up to 8-10 years after vaccination.
Minimum, mean, and maximum vaccine aluminum exposures were correlated against ASD diagnoses. The authors note that there will be variations because of differences in vaccine uptakes. However, they chose to base their study on the population as a whole, which should negate differences based on location or other factors.
Potential confounders, such as vaccines added to the schedule after the relevant ASD prevalence studies, were eliminated. In reading the article, it was clear that anything that might confound the results was systematically eliminated from the study.

Analysis Methods

The authors reasoned that, if there is a relationship between aluminum adjuvant in vaccines and autism spectrum disorder, then more vaccines with aluminum adjuvant would result in more children diagnosed with ASD. So, they performed a statistical analysis called Pearson correlation, which is a measure of how well two sets of variables are related, for each country studied. The Pearson correlation can be anywhere between 0 and 1, with results closer to 1 indicative of a closer correlation between the two sets of variables. In this case, the two variables are the number of ASD cases and the cumulative dose of vaccines containing aluminum. The results for each country were similar to each other. (For more information on Pearson correlation, see Sources below.)
They also looked at Hill’s Criteria of Causation, explaining how the connection between ASD and adjuvant aluminum satisfies eight of the nine criteria, and they explain why the ninth criterion does not relate to this issue. This establishes a strong presumption that there is a cause-and-effect connection between adjuvant aluminum and ASD, not merely a correlation. (For more information on Hill’s Criteria of Causation, see Sources below.)
Pearson Correlation
Aluminum Exposure-ASD Cases
The graph above is a visual representation of the Pearson calculation for the US data. (This is the original graph, graciously provided to me by the researcher Tomljenovic. It is not the image presented in the journal, but is much clearer and easier to understand—not to mention also being in color!)
The diagonal lines demonstrate the Pearson correlation-defined linear relationship between the number of ASD cases (shown on the y-axis) and the cumulative aluminum exposure (shown on the x-axis). The calculation was done three times to account for the minimum aluminum exposure, maximum exposure, and the mean of the exposures.
Each of the points graphed represents the number of ASD cases for aluminum exposure in a particular year. Minimum exposures are shown in blue diamonds, mean exposures in red squares, and maximum exposures in green triangles. Each point represents the totals for one year, from 1991 at the bottom through 2008 at the top, for a total of 18 points in each of the three sets.
You will note that each group shows slight jogs to the right, showing that the amount of aluminum exposure from vaccines increased in that year because of the addition of new vaccinations to the schedule. It’s obvious that the number of ASD cases increased with those vaccine schedule additions.
The Pearson correlation was calculated at .92 in all three sets, which clearly demonstrates a strong correlation between ASD diagnoses and adjuvant aluminum exposure. Similar results were obtained for all the countries examined.
Now, the question is: Does this correlation also describe a cause-and-effect relationship?
Cause and Effect: Hill’s Criteria of Causation
Hill’s Criteria considers nine questions. If all or most can be answered in the affirmative, then it is reasonable to assume that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between two items.
The authors explain why 8 of the 9 Hill’s Criteria are met, along with why the one that isn’t is not relevant in this instance.
Here are the Hill’s Criteria items, whether each is satisfied by the study, and partial explanations of why:
Hill’s CriterionCriterion
StrengthYesThe Pearson correlation shows that the association is highly significant.
ConsistencyYesThe ASD-aluminum correlation is consistent between populations in different countries. It is also consistent with documentation that autistic children have higher than normal aluminum in the body. Several others studies have found a positive association between autism, other developmental disabilities, and vaccination uptake in early childhood.
SpecificityNoThis is not applicable in diseases like ASD which may have multiple factors in their etiologies.
Biological RationaleYesAluminum is a neurotoxin and a strong immune stimulator. It therefore has the biochemical properties required for induction of neuroimmune disorders like ASD.
Temporal RelationshipYesUntil the early 1980s, ASD was rare compared to now. The increase in number of vaccinations precedes the autism epidemic. The increase cannot be explained by genetic factors alone or by changes in diagnostic criteria. (The authors point out that some of the diagnostic criteria have been changed to make them more restrictive.) Autism prevalence has increased as the vaccination schedule has expanded.
Biological GradientYesThe greater the exposure to aluminum from vaccines, the greater the prevalence of ASD.
CoherenceYesThe same inflammation agents induced by aluminum adjuvants have been shown to be elevated in the blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and post-mortem brain tissue of ASD patients.
YesAluminum can impair prenatal and postnatal brain development in humans and experimental animals. Well documented symptoms of aluminum intoxication that are also found in ASD includd loss of speech skills, cognitive and behavioral impairments, increased incidence of seizures, increased inflammation and microgliosis in the brain, impairment of synaptic plasticity, synaptic loss, and myelin sheath damage.
AnalogyYesPeripheral stimulation of the immune system during critical periods of brain development can lead to ASD-related outcomes.

Significance of the Findings

This study by Tomljenovic and Shaw provides convincing evidence of a strong relationship between the aluminum adjuvant frequently used in vaccinations and the increasing burden of childhood vaccinations. Even more significantly, it makes a highly plausible case for vaccines’ aluminum adjuvant as a cause of autistic spectrum disorders.
The only question is whether it should be considered a final determination. If one takes the view that only a double-blind placebo-controlled study can demonstrate the truth, then it will never be found. Conventional medicine refuses to do such studies in vaccinations. The claim is that it would be unethical to refuse the benefits of a vaccination. Of course, the consideration of harm from vaccinations is somehow not factored into the scenario. The results of this study, of course, demonstrate that the views of medical ethicists are strongly biased towards assumptions of the infallibility of their treatments.
The authors wrote:
Clearly, we cannot draw definite conclusions regarding the link between Al adjuvants and autism based on an ecological study such as the present one and hence the validity of our results remains to be confirmed.
This is, of course, true. However, the evidence provided is very strong, and the harm done to hundreds of thousands of children in the United States is so severe that ignoring it is nothing less than criminal. It would also be mistaken to presume that, because a strong connection between adjuvant aluminum in vaccinations and autism has been shown, there is no other potential vaccine-related cause of ASD.
The authors, rather generously in my view, state:
Nonetheless, given that the scientific evidence appears to indicate that vaccine safety is not as firmly established as often believed, it would seem ill advised to exclude pediatric vaccinations as a possible cause of adverse long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes, including those associated with autism.
In personal communcation with Tomljenovic, I have been informed that they are doing animal experiments to further test the aluminum-adjuvant-as-an-ASD cause hypothesis. They would also like to do a human investigation involving comparison of individual medical records of vaccinations with aluminum body burdens. However, this is very costly and the funds are not yet available.
An honest government would jump in right now and arrange for such a study to be done without a moment’s hesitation. If the health and well-being of our children and their futures are not valuable enough to do this, then our governments have taken a clear stand on the side of the pharmaceutical industry’s profits and against the welfare of the people.