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US Autism Statistics
documents estimate that one out of every 150 infants is becoming
- Four out of five are male.
- Three out of four are thought to be
- One-third of those with autism suffer from epilepsy.
- Most are institutionalized
by age 13.
- Occurrence has increased 556% during the 1990s, possibly
due to increases in occurrence or awareness.
Possible Causes of Autism
times more likely to have autism if sibling does
percent with affected identical twin
- Clear genetic predisposition
but no consistent chromosomal link
- What triggers those that are
predisposed is unknown
Toxins and Pollutants
- Brick Township, N.J., a
working class town with a well-known toxic landfill was found
to have three times the normal autistic
- Of the toxins involved, mercury seems to be the most common
- More evidence points towards childhood vaccinations
as a trigger, and the most common vaccine which seems to trigger
autism is the measles,
mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The reaction is not immediate.
The child begins to become autistic about one month after being
vaccinated. Another vaccines that appears to cause problems are the
triple – diphtheria,
tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) (DTP). Also, children have
been reported to become autistic after chicken pox or other viruses.
particular children tend to have many infections and viruses
in their early years, for example, tonsillitis and ear infections.
Food and Chemical Sensitivities
causes are digestive dysfunctions or genetically based intolerance
as lactose or gluten intolerances.
The Genetic Connection:
Why Some Children Become Autistic and Others
A person's ability to tolerate toxins depends on how quickly
the body can eliminate the toxic burden, and this important biological
detoxification mechanism depends on enzyme functions. Certainly, the
human body contains multiple enzyme systems involved in the detoxification
process, but when one or more are missing or are not functioning, the
body's ability to eliminate the excess burden is affected. In
fact, normal detoxification may be significantly impaired. To put it
simply: if a child is missing one or two enzyme systems, the immunization,
with its significant mercury exposure, can overwhelm the young developing
brain tissues, resulting in nerve damage. Had all enzyme systems functioned
properly, the body would have more quickly eliminated excess mercury,
preventing some or most of the damage.
The glutathione S-transferases (GSTM1, GSTT1, etc.) are a family of
enzymes responsible for the detoxification process, particularly mercury
and other toxic metal compounds detoxification. These enzymes are also
known to play a role in the detoxification of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
found in tobacco smoke. In the United States, case-control studies
have reported this enzyme missing in 23% -41% for those of African
descent; 32%-53% for those of Asian descent, 40% -53% for those of
Hispanic descent, and 35% -62% for those of European descent. Several
population studies have reported the deletion polymorphism among US
Caucasians as ranging from 48%-57%. Other countries have reported varying
frequencies of the deletion polymorphism, and an Iranian study showed
that in 31% to 38% of the population, the GSTM1 enzyme was missing.
Groups such as Pacific Islanders and Malasians have a reported frequency
of 62%-100%. Other Asian populations have high reported frequencies
of the deletion genotype ranging from 48% -50% for Japanese and 35%-63%
for Chinese. A population-based study conducted among Chinese reported
a frequency of 51% for the GSTM1 deletion genotype. Two Korean case-control
studies found frequencies of 53% and 56% for the GSTM1 deletion genotype.
The above statistics demonstrate that missing enzyme systems are playing
a large role in most populations. Since the genetic make-up is inherited,
it would make sense to have expectant parents and/or newborns tested,
particularly before vaccination with thimerosal-containing vaccines
are used. Genetic testing is relatively inexpensive, and it has to
be done only once in a lifetime. Most importantly, when we know our
genetic "disability," we are in a better position to protect
ourselves and our children in the following ways:
- We can use care in
preventing toxic overexposure.
- Since we have numerous enzyme
systems involved in the detoxification process, we can strengthen
our detoxification ability by supporting
and strengthening other enzyme systems.
We can prevent or lessen intoxication
problems by using chelation. Remember, a weak system needs more help to detoxify.
is a medical therapy that aids detoxification. By freeing our body from
toxins, we allow recuperation and regeneration of cellular systems,
The Mercury Connection
Mercury, one of the most
toxic elements, easily passes the blood-brain barrier. Research from
the University of Calgary has documented
that mercury, unlike
other toxic metals, is toxic to nerve cells in minute concentrations. For
the first time in medical history, scientists – Lorscheider,
Leong, and Syed – were
able to demonstrate how mercury infiltrates brain cells, affecting normal
cell growth. The team provided visual evidence that mercury initiates
How Are Children Exposed to Mercury?
Here's a curious "coincidence." In the late 1930s, Leo Kanner identified
autism as a new type of mental disorder. That was the year thimerosal was introduced
into vaccines! Although mercury toxicity has been studied for decades, and
EPA safety levels have been set, during all that time, a child's greatest exposure
to mercury – thimerosal in vaccines – was never even included in
the toxicity studies! The talk has always been about methylmercury from seafood
and the environment, totally ignoring the two most toxic sources of mercury
for children: vaccines and dental amalgams.
By age two, American children have received 237 micrograms of mercury through
vaccines alone, which far exceeds current EPA "safe" levels of
one-tenth of a mcg/kg per day. Three days in particular may be singled out
toxic for infants:
- Day of birth: hepatitis B vaccine is given, which
contains 12 mcg mercury, which is 30 times the safe level
- At four
months: DTaP and HiB vaccines are given on the same day, providing
a mercury dose of 50 mcg, which is 60 times the safe level.
- At six
months: Hep B, Polio vaccines are given, providing 62.5 mcg mercury,
which is 78 times the safe level.
- At 15 months: the child receives
another 50 mcg, which is 41 times the safe level.
These figures are calculated for an infant's
average weight in kilograms for each age.
How Do I Know Whether My
Child Is or Has Been Affected?
Do we need a child's blood sample for the testing of toxic metals?
In most cases, we do not. A blood test for toxic metals is important
a patient has been exposed to the toxin within the last 72 hrs. For instance,
if we would
take a blood sample right after immunization, we would find high mercury
levels and know that this child has been exposed. We call this an acute
However, if the immunization took place two weeks ago, we no longer see
mercury, unless the child is exposed through other means. The following blood
shows extreme mercury blood levels of a young Hong Kong child suffering
from autism. Such high blood levels reflect a direct mercury exposure, which
this case stems from eating fish.
Hong Kong children eat a lot of fish, and much of that fish comes from
toxic sources. When we test the blood of these children, we generally
high levels of mercury. It is not unusual to find mercury levels in the
blood of Hong Kong children that exceed allowed blood levels more than
When we compare the blood levels of European children, we rarely see
elevated mercury levels. Micro Trace Minerals' database demonstrates
100% of the Hong Kong children's blood values are far above the safe
levels recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers
for Disease Control (CDC). In most cases, the mercury exposure is immediate.
fish is one source of contamination.
Hong Kong children, especially those of upper income parents, receive
fish meals quite early in life, and the fresh fish available in this
of the world contains levels of mercury that exceed safe levels as recommend
As a result, these children are chronically exposed throughout their
early lives. This long-term exposure results in tissue accumulation of
(and other toxins), and hair analyses performed on Hong Kong children
this chronic overexposure. Figure 1 shows a hair mineral analysis of
such a child. Mercury levels are high, demonstrating a significant long-term
Reference ranges are children-specific.
1: Hair Mineral Analysis of Child Living in Hong Kong
A hair mineral analysis indicates how much of a toxin is stored in
tissue. When we find elevated mercury levels in hair, we can be certain
significant amounts have passed to brain and nerve tissues. Hair mineral
long-term exposure, including fetal exposure. A pregnant mother frequently
detoxifies herself by passing on toxins to her developing fetus. A
pregnant woman receiving an amalgam filling will, most definitely,
child, predisposing it to metal intoxication. Thus, infants may be
born with a mercury
burden, and when immunization starts, even more toxins are added to
the already existing body burden. Taking a hair sample is a painless
then one half gram of head hair is needed for testing, and most infants
hair for that. (Please visit www.microtrace.eu for more details on
hair mineral analysis).
Detoxification and Other Treatment Modalities
Safe Ways to Detoxify Children
At the recent San Diego, California conference on autism, Dr. Amy
Holmes presented her thoughts on treatment. Dr. Holmes reported
success using alpha
(ALA) as an agent to cross the blood-brain barrier, and this use of
alpha lipoic acid has, indeed shown success in the treatment of
Lam, of Hong Kong, and other doctors reported good results when combining
alpha-lipoic acid and DMSA. Both of these substances are able to cross
the blood-brain barrier.
DMSA has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
to detoxify children, and it is important to know that chelating
such as EDTA
or DMPS do not in any significant way cross the blood-brain barrier
and therefore are not the chelators of choice when we aim to detoxify
There is another advantage to using DMSA and ALA: they do not
significantly bind essential elements such as zinc or iron. Thus,
the chelation treatment
is not likely to disturb the fragile biochemical make-up of children.
Certainly, ALA is not causing nutritional deficiencies or imbalances,
and it is unlikely
that DMSA does cause problems, provided the product is pure and used
according to protocol and under the direction of a physician
experienced in chelation.Treatment
protocols for the oral use of DMSA, lipoic acid, antioxidants, amino
acids, and other nutritional means are available and safe to
Still, medical observation is needed, especially when considering the
often highly allergic nature of the autistic child.
Autistic children are more difficult to treat. Doctors and parents
face difficulties, such as how to get the child to swallow the pills.
a challenge, and
thus alternative routes of administering "chelation substances" have
been proposed worldwide. For instance, the use of transdermal DMPS
is promoted as an alternative by well-meaning doctors. However, the
of the German Heyl Company, producers of DMPS, advises against transdermal
According to Dr. Ruprecht, this form of application is not able to
detoxify organ systems other than the skin, and mercury is not easily
found in skin
tissue. Furthermore, DMPS has a strong affinity to bind zinc, and since
zinc is necessary for skin health, a depletion can result in skin problems.
How can we get a child to swallow pills? Hiding the pills in food such
as a piece of banana or even chocolate may work, or placing the pills
of the mouth and having the child swallow, then quickly offering a
drink or favorite food. When all else fails, we open the capsules and
(foul-tasting) DMSA and ALA in a small portion of tomato or other juice
and follow-up with
a favorite drink, even lemonade or Coke. While Coke or lemonade are
not recommended otherwise, the purpose is to divert the child's attention,
and as a result,
the child swallows the chelating agents. With smartness and patience,
bring a child to swallow the necessary pills.
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