We frequently read theories on the causes of autism, but they often have a single focus such as genetics, or vaccines, or the age of the father. Now, scientist Helen Ratajczak, PhD, has completed a comprehensive review of all current theories.
Dr. Ratajczak’s report, “Theoretical aspects of autism: Biomarkers — A review,” was published in the Journal of Immunotoxicology (2011) and offers excellent insights.
Reviewing data since 1943, Ratajczak explains that autism results from genetic defects and inflammation in the brain. Numerous factors can cause this inflammation including viral infections, encephalitis following vaccination, a defective placenta, an immature blood-brain barrier, the immune response of the mother to infection while pregnant, a premature birth, or a toxic environment.
A few key areas from Dr. Ratajczak’s report are excerpted below:
Many parents cite normal development of their children until they receive vaccines at about the age of 18 months. The vaccine organism itself could be a culprit. One hypothesis of the cause of autism is that the pertussis toxin in the DPT vaccine causes a separation of the G-alpha protein from retinoid receptors in genetically at-risk children. Another organism of suspect is the live measles virus.
There is evidence that Thimerosal (which is 49% ethyl mercury) is indeed harmful. Since the 1930s, Thimerosal has been extensively used as an antibacterial agent in vaccines. Not only is every major symptom of autism documented in cases of mercury poisoning but also biological abnormalities in autism are very similar to the side effects of mercury poisoning itself .
Metal metabolism disorder:
Supporting this relationship are reports documenting that heavy metals are increased in the blood and urine of autistic subjects. . . Many classic symptoms of autism may be explained by a metallothionein defect, including gastrointestinal (GI) tract problems, heightened sensitivity to toxic metals, and abnormal behaviors.
Mercury is known to be neurotoxic and has effects on the immune system as well. Mast cells are involved in allergic reactions, and also in inflammation, and innate and acquired immunity. Autistic individuals have a 10-fold greater number of hyperactive mast cells in most tissues.
Measles Mumps Rubella Vaccine (MMR):
Reports have been conflicting, but the key report denying an association has been contradicted. Other reports have also used prevalence data that support an association of the MMR vaccine with an increased prevalence of autism.
The United States Government and Dr. Geberding, Director of Vaccines at Merck & Co., Inc. say that autistic conditions can result from encephalopathy following vaccination (Child Health Safety, 2010).
There is indisputable evidence for a genetic component in autism (Rodier, 2000).
There is a serological association of measles virus and human herpesvirus-6 with brain autoantibodies in autism. . . Autistic traits were documented to be increased following prenatal exposure to abnormally high levels of testosterone caused by congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
Other Environmental Agents:
Other environmental agents that have been implicated in autism include the phthalates. Phthalates are a class of high production-volume synthetic chemicals with widespread human exposure because of their use in plastics and other consumer products.
Additional Environmental Causes:
Additional environmental causes could be responsible for documented unusual brain growth patterns in early life in autism. There may also be an interaction of genes with the environment. Epidemiology studies have documented the presence of cluster sites of incidence of autism.
Abstract of research here.
Interview with Dr. Ratajczak by Age of Autism here.