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Aluminum Adjuvants and The Rising Prevelance of Autism

I had to admit I was hesitant to comment and offer the following article, but there are a few reasons why I am. First, the article is fairly recent (published in Aug 2011) and  appears in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry. Secondly, this isn’t the first time I have been exposed to these assertions (Al adjuvants and immuno-neurological implications) and I feel compelled to share the information discussed by the authors.

The follow excerptions are from a PDF article titled, “Do Aluminum Vaccine Adjuvants Contribute to the Rising Prevalence of Autism?” from the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry. [*]

I urge you to read the article in its entirety. I also included information regarding the quthors of the publication at the bottom of this post. Until then, here are a few excerpts from what I highlighted and found interesting along with some comments.

Al is an experimentally demonstrated neurotoxin whose ability to impact the human nervous system has been known for decades.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Of course the heavy metal is going to be hazardous when injected into the human body. Not to mention a newborn or an unborn baby (via prenatal vaccination).

The mechanisms by which Al adjuvants interact with the immune system remain far from clear. In this regard it is notable that many vaccine trials usually use an Al adjuvant containing “placebo” or another vaccine as the “control” group”, rather than a saline control. This study design has not allowed a direct comparison of the efficacy and safety of the antigen alone versus the Al adjuvant.

Two things to note here.

One: no regulations govern placebo composition. The composition of placebos can influence trial outcomes and should merit reporting.[*]

Two: when a doctor states that aluminum adjuvants have been tested and are safe, they are mistaken. In fact, experimental research, clearly shows that aluminum adjuvants have a potential to induce serious immunological disorders in humans (carrying risk for autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation and associated neurological complications).[*]

Al has been shown to persist at the site of injection from several months up to 8-10 years following vaccination in patients suffering from macrophagic myofasciitis (an auto immune disease linked to Al vaccine adjuvants).

Once injected into tissues, aluminum hydroxide forms a deposit, damages the injected tissue, elicits danger signals from stressed cells, attracts inflammatory and antigen-presenting cells and is subject to phagocytosis (process by which cells ingest or engulf other cells).[*]  

An infant’s vaccine-derived Al exposure is equivalent to that from 10 Hepatitis B (HB) vaccines given in a single day to an adult.

The vaccine-derived Al exposure in a 2 month old is equivalent to that from 24 HB vaccines given in a single day to an adult.

Is there currently any regulation or limit to the amount of aluminum adjuvants injected in vaccine?   


It is also of note that the FDA requires limits on Al parenteral (injection) feeding solutions and requires warning labels about potential Al hazards, while setting no safety limits or issuing warning for Al in vaccines.

Even if you are a proponent for vaccines, you can’t deny that there should be some regulation of aluminum used as a vaccine adjuvant.

Children from countries with the highest ASD prevalence appear to have a much higher exposure to Al from vaccines, particularly at 2 months of age. In this respect, we note that several prominent milestones of brain development in humans coincide with these periods. These include the onset of synaptogenesis (birth), maximal growth velocity of the hippocampus (2-3 postnatal months) and the onset of the amygdale maturation (8 weeks postnatal age).

…there is also major development in many bio-behavioral systems including sleep, temperature regulation, respiration and brain wave patterns. Many of these aspects of brain function are known to be impaired in autism.

This is where the study begins to address the autism correlation. You’ll see further down that the article references Hill’s criteria – in which the authors attempt to establish causality between exposure and outcome. I am not, and neither are the authors, blatantly stating that vaccines cause autism, only that more rigorous evaluation and standards need to be placed to confirm Al adjuvant safety.

Children are regularly exposed to much higher levels of Al adjuvants than adults while practically nothing is known about the pharmacokinetics and toxicodynamics of Al adjuvants in children and paradoxically, evaluation of pharmaco-and toxicokinetics is not required for vaccine licensing purposes.

If you are unsure, let me explain exactly what pharmacokinetics is and why it’s frightening that no clinical research exists regarding its safety. Firstly, it is the action of drugs in the body over a period of time, including the processes of absorption, distribution, localization in tissues, biotransformation, and excretion.[*]

It is demonstrated that even a fully developed BBB (Blood brain barrier) does not impede Al access to the brain tissue. Al is known to disrupt the BBB and can increase its permeability by increasing the rate of trans-membrane diffusion and by selectively altering saturable transport systems.

Despite a prevalent view that the peripheral immune responses do not affect brain function, overwhelming research suggests that neuro-immune cross talk may be the norm rather then the exception. It is clearly established that this bi-directional neuro-immune cross-talk plays crucial roles in immuno-regulation and brain function.  

Ok, this excerpt is remarkable in a few ways. First off, aluminum has been documented in crossing the BBB which means, in laymen’s terms, aluminum can enter the brain tissue. Secondly, aluminum can increase the ability for other agents to cross the BBB. Thirdly, aluminum promotes brain inflammation by penetrating the BBB and could play a critical role in autoimmunity.

Epidemiological studies implicate HB vaccination as a risk factor for ASD. For example, in the US, males 0-9 years who received a complete triple series of HB vaccine were found to be significantly more susceptible to developmental disabilities, while those aged 3-17 years who received HB vaccination during the first month of life had a 3-fold greater risk of ASD the unvaccinated males.

The Hepatitis B vaccine series totals 750 micrograms of aluminum (250 each dose).

The implications of this will be summed up a bit further down…but first, the authors briefly address the issue of aluminum ingestion versus injection and toxicological risk.

This notion contradicts basic toxicological principles. For instance, it should be obvious that the route of exposure which bypasses the protective barriers of the gastrointestinal tract and/or the skin will likely require a lower does to produce a toxic outcome.

The half life of aluminum injected into the blood stream is thought to be short, but….

…the same cannot be assumed for adjuvant-Al because to sizes of most antigen-Al complexes are higher then the molecular weight cut-off of the glomerulus kidney which would excrete the Al adjuvant.

In fact, a longer elimination period is one the major properties of effective vaccine adjuvants, including Al salts.

Now for the correlation….(study results in relation to Hill’s criteria)

The positive correlation between Al exposure from vaccines and prevalence of ASD does not necessarily imply causation. However, if the correlation is strong (criterion 1), consistent (criterion 2), and if there is a biologically plausible mechanism by which it can be explained (criterion 6), as well as an appropriate temporal relationship between the proposed cause and the outcome (criterion 4), then the satisfaction of these criteria supports the notion that the two events may indeed be causally related.

Our results satisfy not only ALL FOUR of the criteria applicable for establishing causation in neuropsychiatry, BUT ALSO FOUR OTHERS. These additional criteria are: biological gradient, coherence with the current knowledge, experimental or semi-experimental evidence and the analogy with similar evidence.

***I understand that correlation is not causation. It still does not mean that aluminum adjuvants in vaccines should not be looked at critically.

Al adjuvants have all the necessary biochemical properties needed to induce neurological and immune disorder. In this regard, it is interesting to note that autism is a multisystem disorder characterized by dysfunctional immunity and impaired CNS (central nervous system) function.

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 vaccination as a possible cause of adverse long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes, including those associated with autism.

Again, I was hesitant to share this with you due to the nature of the volatile subject matter but I think I made the right decision and I anticipate you to research more into the use of aluminum adjuvants.

Consider this: If you decide to vaccinate, there are several vaccines that do not contain aluminum.

About the authors of this review:

Lucija Tomljenovic

Dr. Lucija Tomljenovic is an early career postdoctoral fellow. She was awarded a PhD in 2009 in Biochemistry, from the Comparative Genomics Centre at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia.

In 2010, she joined the Neural Dynamics Research Group at the University of British Columbia (Chris Shaw’s lab) and is currently researching the neurotoxic effects of aluminum vaccine adjuvants.

Tomljenovic has recently become an Associate Editor of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Christopher Shaw

Shaw a Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of British Columbia and holds cross appointments with the Department of Experimental Medicine and the Graduate Program in Neuroscience.

He is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles as well as numerous book chapters and special reviews. Shaw has edited four books on neuroscience themes. The main focus of his research has been on the Guamanian neurological disease spectrum, ALS-parkinsonism dementia complex (ALS-PDC). Recent work in the laboratory has developed animal models of the disease that are able to recapitulate all the essential behavioral and pathological features. The model is also being used to understand gene-toxin interactions, define neurodegeneration pathways involved, and to attempt therapeutic interventions at early, mid and late time points.

Work in the laboratory also provided one of the first models of aluminum adjuvant-induced neuropathology and these studies have become a new research direction.

He is the founder and a former director of Neurodyn, a biotechnology company based out of Prince Edward Island. Neurodyn's efforts are directed at early phase detection and treatment for age-related neurological disorders.

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