A recently published systematic review and meta-analysis reported higher levels of mercury in children with autism. These findings have the naturally-minded community saying the c word: causation. I’m writing this to clear up some confusion as usual. This study in no way suggests that vaccines containing mercury are correlated with autism, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be concerned.
All it says is that in serum, whole blood, and red blood cells, people with autism have higher levels of mercury. This may be due to increased absorption (in which case the vaccines could play a role), as well as decreased excretion, the latter of which the study authors are pointing to as a reasonable explanation.
What would be scientifically necessary for us to start speculating that vaccines are implicated in autism? Here is a potential study design:
Pre-post mercury level measurement:
Before the onset of vaccination, and after the onset, mercury levels in whole blood, serum, RBC, and hair are measured.
The vaccinated group has higher levels of mercury after vaccination, but not before.
- Determine rates of autism diagnosis after a 1, 5, and 10 year follow up (as autism can develop in teenage years).
- Compare rates of autism between vaccinated and unvaccinated group, and determine if mercury plays a mediating role (by determining if there is a significant difference in mercury levels in the autistic people in each group).
Now, it’s important to note that this type of science isn’t the only way to determine cause and effect. We have to consider all the available data we have before drawing a conclusion. If these types of studies do not exist, that’s what we have to refer to. So here are several facts that have me question the safety of vaccines:
- Over x billion dollars have been rewarded to plaintiffs in vaccine cases
- A plethora of anecdotes from parents who report a drastic change in the behavior of their child shortly after vaccination (at 12-18 months).
- The mainstream view tells us that this is when autism is typically diagnosed, but what makes the parents more believable is the drastic change in behavior that is generally not the typical course of autism. If it just develops out of thin air around that age, then that is a legitimate counterargument to the plethora (hundreds of thousands I’m guessing) of parents complaining about this
- The safety of administering multiple vaccines over a short period of time has not been tested.
- The “scientific” community (academics, and people who think they’re more scientific than the so-called ‘anti-vaxxer’ crowd) dismisses the anecdotal evidence completely. Until they themselves suffer a loss due to vaccination (in the movie “Vaxxed” there was at least one MD who’s child was diagnosed with autism shortly after vaccination and began to question the idea that all vaccines are safe).
So yea, let’s not jump to conclusions, or rely solely on scientific data to form conclusions about health.
1. The association between mercury levels and autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2017;44:289-297. doi:10.1016/J.JTEMB.2017.09.002.