The most recent issue (2553) of the New Scientist has an article talking about a study on autistics urine as compared to normal controls. It shows further correlations to the much-debated links of heavy metal poisoning to development of autism in children. The subject of heavy metal poisoning , especially that of mercury, being a tie to autism has been something of rather hot debate.
Here’s an excerpt from the New Scientist article:
Samples from children with autism contained abnormally high levels of a family of proteins called porphyrins, which are precursors in the production of haem, the oxygen-carrying component in haemoglobin. Heavy metals block haem production, causing porphyrins to accumulate in urine. Concentrations of one molecule, coproporphyrin, were 2.6 times as high in urine from children with autism as in controls. [...] The researchers restored porphyrin concentrations to normal in 12 children by treating them with “chelation” drugs that mop up heavy metals and are then excreted.
In the past, when checking for heavy metal poisoning most studies I’ve seen solely looked for mercury excretion in the urine. This is perhaps a better study because it looks for secondary signs of the presence of heavy metals. Afterall, if the metals were being excreted properly in the first place there may have never been any kind of problems. But what I find most exciting about this study is it’s leading the way to treating mental disorders through de-toxification via chelation, which, I believe may be the most important thing accomplished through articles like these. I look forward to seeing the results to these kinds of studies.
Where do these heavy metals come from, though, you may ask? The most popular in the autism debate, mercury, can be taken into the body in many different ways. One of which is through “silver” dental amalgams, which leak mercury vapor into the mouth which is readily absorbed into the brain and bloodstream through the nasal cavity. Videos of both the destructive ability of mercury on neurons can be seen, as well as mercury vapor leaking from a dental amalgam at iaomt.org. This could, theoretically, be a source for unborn children to receive it in the mother’s bloodstream.
On top of that, mercury is also used in vaccines as a preservative known as “thimerosal.” Thimerosal, however, doesn’t solely preserve, it also acts as an adjuvant to initiate an immune response to the contents of the vaccine (since mercury in itself is toxic). Though the amount is extraordinarily small, it can have an extremely hazardous effect on an infants developing mind because of their lack of a fully developed blood-brain barrier. This lack of a blood-brain barrier may allow the adjuvant materials to initiate an immune response within the brain itself, thus the mercury isn’t the only enemy — but the body itself.
The argument for adjuvants evoking an auto-immune response does not hinge on any inherent neuro-toxicity of these compounds, but on the initiation of an allergic response. The model by which adjuvants initiate an immune response is that of Experimental Allergic Encephalomyelitis (EAE). To date, EAE is recognized as the best available animal model of several degenerative human diseases, like multiple sclerosis and post-vaccinal encephalopathies. EAE3 is generally thought to be an autoimmune response to myelin basic protein (MBP). Oddly, MBP can also suppress EAE, and many observations suggest that an independent immune response to so-called “adjuvant” material is also necessary to EAE induction. Of course, this is why adjuvants are used in vaccines, to dramatically increase the likelihood of an immune response to the administered biological material.
Chelation is an effective method of mercury removal, and can even be done with oral products like DMSA (which can be found readily simply by googling it), and neurofeedback also has a history of helping autistics. See this case study. Omega 3 has also been shown to drastically alleviate the affects of ADHD, and since ADHD is a part of the autistic spectrum it’s a safe bet that omega 3 certainly would not hurt in the case of autistics as well. My point is this: options exist out there for the parents of autistic children. The information is just a little more esoteric than it should be.