Update on Autism research
October 14, 2008
Medicine | Science

Although repeated studies show little or no correlation between vaccination with the MMR vaccine and the onset of autism, there is a lot of popular support for the idea that there is some causal link. Originally the use of mercury in the form of thiomersal in vaccines was suggested as the culprit, but this seems less likely since mercury was removed from vaccines in North America and Europe by 2001 and the incidence of Autism continued to rise

Still many people remain unconvinced there is NO link between vaccination and autism, despite all the negative results, so other ideas have been floated. These include:

  • Some children's immune systems may be predisposed to be overwhelmed by the combination vaccines, and they develop high fevers and sometimes febrile seizures which cause or contribute to the onset of autism.

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    Posted by ellen at October 14, 2008 01:14 PM

  • Some children may be unable to tolerate aceteminophen after the MMR vaccine, and one uncontrolled online survey of parents did show a correlation of aceteminophen use after MMR with onset of Autism. (Acetaminophen (paracetamol) use, measles-mumps-rubella vaccination, and autistic disorder: the results of a parent survey - Autism. 2008 May;12(3):293-307. )
  • Fever suppression (not simply the use of aceteminophen in conjunction with the MMR vaccine) may be involved in the etiology of autism somehow.

  • A possible link between gastrointestinal infections with neurotoxin producing bacteria (Various species of Clostridium) as discussed in this entry.

  • A hypothetical link between vitamin D deficiency and the prevalence of autism, consistent with symptoms displayed in children with vitamin D deficient rickets which disappear with high-dose vitamin D treatment, and the increased incidence of autism in areas with less UVB penetration, like poleward latitudes, urban areas, areas with high air pollution, and high precipitation. Apparently it is also more common in dark-skinned persons who are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency.

  • A more general hypothesis is that autism represents a derangement of the "drive" toward socialization, in a continuum with Williams disorder at the other end. See Williams syndrome: a genetic deletion disorder presenting clues to the biology of sociability and clinical challenges of hypersociability.

    "...Williams syndrome has enormous heuristic value because its pathological feature of heightened "sociability" can be a "deficit" symptom of major complex neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism. Data consistent with a core inability of patients with Williams syndrome to inhibit social approach suggest that this disorder may afford an opportunity to study the biological basis of the "drive" toward socialization. From a research perspective, the syndrome lends itself to neurobiological studies of sociability as a dimension that varies independently of cognition (or at least many separable cognitive processes)...."

  • Also of interest is the recognition that the behaviors of children with
    autism spectrum disorders (ASD) tend to improve
    , sometimes rather
    dramatically, during a fever. This would suggest that the pathways necessary for normal function exist, but are not being used, until the fever changes brain function in some way.

    Related resources:
  • Acetaminophen (a.k.a. Tylenol and Paracetamol) Linked to Autism
  • When does Autism start?
  • Autism Study Lends Credence to 'Fever Effect'
  • Study Finds Fever may Lead to Improved Behavior in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • The Sometimes Son - fever may temporarily cure autism - Brief Article

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    1 Comment

    It is quite unfortunate that no development occurred in medicne field for last so many years. development due to technology cannot be linked to medicine. it is unfortunate that diabetics and diseases like autism spoiling the life of young and old. Spending for these disease by governments of various countries are huge. It alarms the need of bright and dedicated scientists and motivation from all to support these guys

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