Aluminum, Autism and Alzheimer’s

On June 21, the Georgia Straight reported about the aluminum adjuvant found in most vaccines. A study by UBC’s Lucija Tomljenovic, PhD and Chris Shaw, PhD published in Current Medical Chemistry concludes that, “The continued use of aluminum adjuvants in various vaccines for children as well as the general public may be of significant concern. In particular, aluminum presented in this form carries a risk for autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation and associated neurological complications and may thus have profound and widespread adverse health consequences.”

The research found that the burden of aluminum from vaccines highly correlates with increased prevalence of ASD (autism spectrum disorders) in western countries. In the U.S. the greatest annual increase of ASD “was observed in 1992, when ASD cases rose by 189%. This event was closely preceded by the addition of 6 doses of [two new] aluminum containing vaccines to the immunization schedule, 5 of which are administered in the first 4 months of life… It appears that the consistently rising trend in ASD prevalence should perhaps be of little surprise, given that two month old children in developed countries routinely receive 245 to 270 micrograms per kg/bw of aluminum per vaccination session – a burden equivalent to 38 standard adult-dose injections of hepatitis B vaccine”, remark Shaw and Tomljenovic. They report that currently, 1 in 91 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with ASD, while the current prevalence in the United Kingdom is 1 in 64 children. Canada has no clear statistics on ASD.

The researchers also question the reliability of vaccine safety trials which routinely use aluminum-adjuvanted vaccines as so-called “placebos”. They note that, despite its use in vaccines for almost 90 yrs, there’s a dearth of evidence for the safety of vaccine aluminum in the science literature. Concerning vaccine which contains aluminum, they emphasize, “far more scrutiny than has been provided to date” is needed to determine whether the risk of disease outweighs the risk of toxicity from its “presumed prophylactic agent.” The only Canadian taxpayer-funded childhood vaccines which don’t contain aluminum are MMR, chickenpox and influenza; the first two contain live virus, the latter, mercury. The authors call for more research including examination of the effects of aluminum adjuvant “in combination with other potentially toxic vaccine constituents (e.g. formaldehyde, formalin, mercury, phenoxyethnol, phenol, sodium borate, polysorbate 80, glutaraldehyde).”

Tomljenovic and Shaw explicitly state: “No clinical studies have been conducted to establish the safety of aluminum adjuvants in infants and children.” They explicitly ask: “Does an elevated aluminum burden from vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism?” The study found that most vaccine aluminum forms molecules too large to pass through the kidneys and be eliminated via the urine. Whereas only 0.25% of dietary aluminum remains in the body, almost 100% of vaccine aluminum remains. “Thus,” say the authors, “Vaccine-derived aluminum would have a much greater potential to induce neurological damage than that obtained through diet.”

Alzheimer’s disease may be another consequence of injection of aluminum or even ingestion of it. Tomljenovic has another recently published study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease which concludes aluminum may be the “single most aggravating and avoidable factor related to Alzheimer’s” and recommends that steps be taken immediately to reduce our exposure to it. Although vaccine aluminum is potentially more toxic because we retain it so well, “Even the little that we absorb from food tends to accumulate and persist in a body, especially the brain.” she states, explaining that it crosses the blood-brain barrier and only tiny amounts are needed to produce neurotoxicity. It should also be noted that, considering the high aluminum content of some soy-based infant formulas which may provide three times more than the US “provisional tolerable weekly intake” (and 250 times that from breast milk), the US Dept of Food and Agriculture warns that, “aluminum compounds have the potential to affect the reproductive system and developing nervous system at doses lower than those previously set.”

As well as Alzheimer’s disease, past research has linked aluminum adjuvants to numerous other conditions. One of these, macrophagic myofasciitis, is a muscle disease first identified in 1993. It’s been attributed to aluminum adjuvants in hepatitis A and B and tetanus vaccines. Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, Gulf War syndrome and epilepsy are some more diseases which have been linked to aluminum toxicity.

Tomljenovic and Shaw have calculated that two month old babies in Canada, the U.K., U.S and Australia are exposed to 49 to 54 times the current safety limit for injected aluminum, 5 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day. In the first 2-3 months, babies receive the highest amount of aluminum from vaccines, 270 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day (ug/kg/bw/day). At 4, 6 and 15 months they receive 110.3 to 177.6 ug/kg/bw/day. The authors remind us that it’s not only their low weight which makes babies more susceptible to toxic assaults than adults but also their immature nervous systems. “Thus,” they warn, “the earlier in life a vaccine is given, the greater the potential for harming the nervous system.” Exposure to as little as 4 to 5 micrograms of aluminum per kg/bw/day has been found to create “long-term detrimental outcomes on neurologic development in preterm infants.”

In an attempt to allay the incoming tide of enlightenment from this profound scientific research, Vancouver Coastal Health MHO, Meena Dawar repeated well-worn phrases to Georgia Straight. She claimed that vaccines “save countless lives every day [They’re “countless” because nobody can prove a person would have died or even contracted the disease if he/she hadn’t been vaccinated.]…A hundred years ago, infectious diseases were the number one cause of death in Canada…In the developed world, we don’t see infectious diseases today, thanks to vaccines.” [Oh, but we do see them. In fact, a photo of Dawar standing in front of a pair of sexually suggestive posters advertising MMR vaccine - for those whose transient vaccine-derived immunity might put them at risk of inflamed testicles - was featured in the Vancouver Province on April 27. And why did people die from infectious diseases a hundred years ago and why do people in ‘undeveloped’ countries still often die from them today? Was/is it because they weren’t vaccinated or was/is it because their standard of living was/is much lower than that of today’s Canadians?] Finally, without saying that investigators found over half of those diagnosed with pertussis in California in 2010 had received pertussis vaccine; without saying that even breastfed babies of mothers who’ve never been recently exposed to pertussis are more vulnerable to catching and dying from pertussis than breastfed babies of mothers who have; without saying that nations with the highest vaccination rates tend to have the highest infant death rates; without saying that parapertussis (which mimics pertussis) is increasing, likely replacing vaccine-suppressed pertussis, and cannot be prevented by vaccination; and without saying the babies had actually been tested and found to have pertussis, she let loose her trump card, exclaiming, “Ten infants in California with pertussis died last year…That’s just outrageous.” Extending her previously unfocused argument to the outer realms of religious belief, Dawar also claimed, “aluminum is safe” and it is “easily excreted.” The one thing Dawar got right was that aluminum (or occasionally, an alternate adjuvant) is used to elicit a significant immune response to present-day taxpayer-sponsored vaccines which don’t contain live virus (like MMR and chickenpox) or the complete pathogen (like the old whole cell pertussis vaccine). But, contrary to what Dawar would like us to believe, either type – adjuvanted or not – is capable of causing harm.

This research reported in the Georgia Strait builds upon Shaw’s two previous studies which clearly showed aluminum can be neurotoxic in lab mice. Shaw and Tomljenovic are continuing their research of aluminum-adjuvant safety, including more investigation into the link between aluminum and autism spectrum disorders.