Autism & Intestinal Link Seen
By Staff News & Analysis - July 30, 2010

New Survey By Enzymedica Links Autism & Digestion, Suggests Successful Strategies … Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the world. With 1 child in 91 facing the disorder, the diagnosis is more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. … Autism and Digestion: The Surprising Link … A new survey by Enzymedica and the Enzyme Research Group (ERG), links autism and digestive problems, and suggests diet modification and dietary supplements as successful tools for families facing the diagnosis. While autism is generally considered a neurological disorder, the new survey reminds us that autistic children face additional health challenges, including 80% who report digestive difficulty, sensitivity, or intestinal inflammation. … Food sensitivities and cravings are widespread in the autism community. The ERG survey found that 35% of children craved sugary treats, 30% dairy, 25% wheat and 32% junk foods; and cravings were not mutually exclusive. Interestingly, the craved foods also caused the greatest digestive reaction. Lactose, gluten, casein, and phenol were the top reactive contenders in children on the spectrum. –

Dominant Social Theme: The link between autism and intestinal inflammation is certainly a surprise.

Free-Market Analysis: Is it really? It looks as if the infamous proponent of this link, Dr. Andrew Wakefield (above left), was correct after all. It is his contention that there is a connection between the gut and autism, and he has specialized in nutrition and gut-cleansing treatments in order to alleviate autism. For his troubles he has lost license to practice medicine in Britain and been roundly vilified as unscientific. Yet here is a fairly mainstream group making much the same argument that Wakefield has made. The Daily Bell recently conducted an exclusive interview with Dr. Wakefield. You can read it here: Dr. Andrew Wakefield on the Autism/Vaccine.

It's been a long and lonely road for Dr. Wakefield, however. Since he published his initial paper on a potential link between vaccines and autism, the attacks have not ceased. In our interview, he maintained the following: "Do I believe in what was in the paper? Absolutely. The bowel disease has now been confirmed in five separate countries. Papers have been published from Italy, Venezuela, the United States, Canada and the UK confirming the presence of bowel disease. So that discovery stands absolutely."

But this is not the only recent study that would seem to back up Dr. Wakefield's claims. In the interview, he mentioned a study that he himself had helped conduct that had made a linkage between vaccines and brain damage that might lead to autism. That study has now been published and is being reported on as follows:

New Study Shows Vaccines Cause Brain Changes Found in Autism … Abnormal brain growth and function are features of autism, an increasingly common developmental disorder that now affects 1 in 60 boys in the US. Now researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Thoughtful House Center for Children in Austin, Texas, have found remarkably similar brain changes to those seen in autism in infant monkeys receiving the vaccine schedule used in the 1990's that contained the mercury-based preservative thimerosal.

The group's findings were published yesterday in the journal Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis. They used scanning techniques that assessed both brain growth and brain function in the same animals over time. The research team was able to see differences in the way the brains of vaccinated and unvaccinated animals developed. Scans were performed before and after the administration of primary MMR and DTaP/Hib boosters that were given at the human equivalent of 12 months of age. – Age Of Autism

Of course, such reporting runs against the grain of a body of law that is being compiled to support the idea that there is no link at all between autism and vaccines. While one would think such linkages would be proven or disproven in the scientific realm, such is not currently the case. Courts are being used for scientific purposes, at least in the US, as follows:

Another shot was fired in the vaccine wars on Friday, March 12. The Vaccine Court, a special court set up within the federal system to handle only those cases related to the vaccines given to children, found against plaintiffs claiming that the vaccine preservative thimerosal was to blame for their children's autism.

According to the report by CNN, the findings from three test cases were released. In all three cases, the special masters assigned found the plaintiffs failed to prove a link between the thimerosal and autism. In the case of Mead v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Special Master Patricia Campbell-Smith wrote, "Petitioners' theory of vaccine-related causation is scientifically unsupportable." In another case, Special Master George L. Hastings Jr. wrote even more strongly, "After studying the extensive evidence in this case for many months, I am convinced that the opinions provided by the petitioners' experts in this case, advising the King family that there is a causal connection between thimerosal-containing vaccines and Jordan's autism, have been quite wrong."

The Vaccine Court has a different standard of proof than is applicable in other courts. According to the Associated Press report, parents need not prove the vaccine was the actual cause of the disorder, just that it was the probable cause. Anti-vaccine advocates are unhappy with the result of the three cases. The AP quotes Rebecca Estepp, of the Coalition for Vaccine Safety as saying, "You have government attorneys defending a government program using government-funded science before government judges. Where's the justice in that?" The rulings from the Vaccine Court can be appealed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. (-

Courts may rule, but that does not mean that the law has the last word, however. The controversy over autism and vaccines will continue not because it is fueled by parental hysteria but because there are continued findings that lead people over and over to the same conclusions – that there is more to the relationship than mere coincidence. Even the anecdotal evidence is startling, with parent after parent coming forward to claim that children lapsed toward autism and non-verbalism after receiving vaccines, especially vaccine cocktails.

Why is it so hard to believe that vaccines are injurious to children who may be sensitive to them? For at least a small percentage of children, vaccines may be difficult to tolerate. It may be because of what vaccines contain or simply due to a reaction somehow against the process itself. This is perfectly simple given that almost all medical procedures have side effects and complications. There are hardly any medical procedures of any type that work well in all cases.

Thinking people understand this. Dr. Wakefield has published a well-received book called "Callous Disregard," which makes the case that there is relationship between vaccines and autism. He continues his work, which includes the just-published study mentioned above. While the vaccine lobby is very powerful and continues to attempt to suppress research, those who are suffering from autism and their families push on. They demand answers, whether or not the answers are convenient for the powers-that-be that have a continued financial stake in the viability of a "one-size-fits-all" approach to vaccines.

After Thoughts

It is the parents themselves that are driving the anti-vaccine science at this point – the sufferers (parents and children, both) who are demanding answers. And their chosen vehicle of communication, not surprisingly, is the Internet. Many autism groups such as "Age of Autism" are Internet driven. The Internet has proven to be an effective way for parents to swap stories and information about autism and vaccines. Finally, even though vaccine critics such as Dr. Wakefield have had mainstream scientific and media doors closed to them, the Internet provides a powerful outlet for truth telling as the autism epidemic continues on its damaging path.

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