Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Neurological and Immune Reactive Conditions Affecting Kids

Neurological and Immune Reactive Conditions Affecting Kids:

The mercury connection to neurological pervasive developmental disorders

(autism, schizophrenia, dyslexia, ADD, childhood depression, learning disabilities, OCD, etc.) and developmental immune conditions (eczema, asthma, and allergies)Bernard Windham- Chemical Engineer

The incidence of neurotoxic, allergic, and immune reactive conditions such as autism, schizophrenia, ADD, dyslexia, allergies, asthma, eczema, psoriasis, childhood diabetes, etc. have been increasing rapidly in recent years.

A recent report by the National Research Council found that 50% of all pregnancies in the U.S. are now resulting in prenatal or postnatal mortality, significant birth defects, developmental disabilities or otherwise chronically unhealthy babies(3). There has been a similar sharp increase in developmental disabilities in Canadian children over the last 2 decades, including learning disabilities and behavioral problems, asthma and allergies, and childhood cancer.

Exposure to toxic chemicals or environmental factors appear to be a major factor in much of the developmental problems of the 4 million U.S. children born each year, with at least 1 in 6 having one of the neurological conditions previously listed.

U.S. EPA has estimated that over 3 million of these are related to lead or mercury toxicity, with at least 25% of U.S. kids getting mercury exposure at dangerous levels. The U.S. Dept. Of Education indicates that over 5 million children attending school have neurological related disabilities reported by state agencies, other than ADD.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics between 4 to 12 % of all school age children are affected by ADHD(4) and a similar number have some degree of dyslexia. However large surveys of elementary level student records finds much higher levels- with over 20% of elementary school boys in some areas being treated for ADD. Studies have found that long term use of stimulent drugs commonly causes significant adverse neurological and health effects, and options are available to deal with such conditions without such adverse effects including dealing with the underlying causes.

Estimates of the percentage of children with mood or anxiety orders are as much as 20%. Studies indicate that over 60,000 children are born each year with neurodevelopmental impairments due to prenatal exposure to methyl mercury, and two other sources of mercury exposure appear more common and at higher levels than this, mercury from vaccines and Amalgam dental fillings.

A study at the U.S. CDC found "statistically significant associations" between neurologic developmental disorders such as autism, attention deficit disorder(ADD) and speech disorders with exposure to mercury from thiomersal-containing vaccines before the age of 6 months. An analysis of the U.S. CDC VAERS database for adverse reactions from vaccines regarding effects of the diptheria-tetanus-pertusis vaccine found that those receiving DTaP and DTucP vaccines with thimerosal had significantly higher rates of autism, speech disorders, and heart arrest than those receiving DtaP vaccine without thimerosal, and that the rate of these increase exponentially with dose.

An analysis of the U.S. Dept. of Education report on the prevalence of various childhood conditions among school children found that the rate of autism and speech disorders increased with increasing levels of thimerosal exposure from vaccines(81).
Changes in birth proceedures in hospitals such as immediate cord clamping has also been found to be a factor in the increase in neurological developmental problems(83).
Also according to the U.S. FDA, at least 26 million have allergies, at least 17 million have asthma, 15 million have systemic eczema, and childhood diabetes is increasing rapidly(82). Although Russian and U.S. studies from the 1980s found that thimerosal was highly toxic and recommended thats its use as a medical preservative should be discountinued(70,79) , its use was not discontinued. One study(60a) found 5 times higher rate of allergy among a group vaccinated with pertussis vaccine(DPT) as opposed to an unvaccinated group, and 2 other studies(60bc) found increased asthma, allergies, and eczema among the vaccinated group.

Over the last 20 years the percent of diabetes cases below 20 years old has increased from 2% to over 30%, and there was a 70% in cases under 40 years of age between 1990 and 1998(50,52,59). Studies in the U.S. and Sweden have confirmed vaccinations to be a major factor in the increased diabetes cases(52). Currently approx. 16 million have diabetes. DPT vaccinations have also been linked to sudden enfant death syndrome(SIDS)(61). DPT vaccines are mostly given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age and 85% of SIDS cases occur during this age span. One study found babies die at a rate 8 times the normal rate within 3 days of DPT shots(60a), while another found that among SIDS victims 61% had DPT within the 2 previous weeks and 13% within 24 hours of DPT vaccination(60c).

A monitoring study of infant breathing patterns after DPT vaccinations showed large increases in breathing difficulties including episodes of ceased breathing, which continued for months after DPT in some cases(61b). Some cases of seizures after DPT were also observed. Another study found significantly higher rates of heart arrest in those getting DpaT vaccines with mercury thimerosal compared to those without(81). Prenatal exposure to mercury has also been found to predispose animals and infants to seizures and epilepsy(85).

Mercury has been found to cause an increase in inflammatory Th2 cytokines(58). In the pancreas, the cells responsible for insulin production can be damaged or destroyed by the chronic high levels of cytokines, with the potential of inducing type II diabetes - even in otherwise healthy individuals with no other risk factors for diabetes(52).

Mercury inhibits production of insulin and is a factor in diabetes and hypoglycemia, with significant reductions in insulin need after replacement of amalgam filings and normalizing of blood sugar(52,22). In addition to this mechanism, other links between vaccines and diabetes have also been found and there is evidence vaccines are the number one cause of Type I diabetes in young children(52).

The largest increase in neurological and immune conditions has been in infants (1,2,5-7,23,4,50,81), with an increase in autism cases to over 500,000 (1,2,23,22,86), an over 900% increase to a level of approx. 1 per 500 infants in the last decade(2ab), making it the 3rd most common chronic childhood condition. For 1999 through 2002, the number of professionally diagnosed in California with full syndrome autism has doubled(2e,86).

There have been similar increases in ADD and dyslexia to over 10 million, similar large numbers(over 10%) with childhood depression or anxiety, and over 10 % of infants- approximately 15 million in the U.S. with systemic eczema(1,2,82).

Studies researching the reason for these rapid increases in infant reactive conditions seem to implicate earlier and higher usage of vaccines containing mercury(thimerisol) as a likely connection (2cd,23,30,40,80,81). A recent study comparing pre- and post-vaccination mercury levels, found a significant increase in both preterm and term infants after vaccination(42), with post-vaccination mercury levels approximately 3 times higher in the preterm infants as compared with term infants.

The study found mercury blood levels up to 23.6 ug/L and received an average dose of 16.7 ug/kg. Just this one vaccination gave an exposure to mercury that is many times the U.S. ATSDR adult minimum risk level(MRL) for mercury of .3/ug/kg body weight per day(41,81).
It has been estimated that if all of the vaccines recommended by the American Assoc. of Pediatrics are given and contain thimerisol, then by age 6 months an infant would have received 187 micrograms of ethyl mercury which is more than the EPA/ATSDR health standard for organic mercury(33,41,81) and by age 3 the typical child has received over 235 micrograms of mercury thimerisol from vaccinations which is considerably more than Federal mercury safety guidelines(41,81), in addition to significant levels from other sources for many(23).

Infants during this period have undeveloped blood brain barriers and much of the mercury goes to the brain, resulting in significant adverse neurological effects in those that are most susceptible (43,3). The bioaccumulation in the brain and toxic effects of ethyl mercury are comparable to that of methyl, with mercury accumulation in the brain and physical effects actually being more extensive(79).

Because of the evidence the FDA has completed a study and written a letter to vaccine manufacturers asking that mercury be removed from vaccines. The updated letter stated, "The Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) has completed its evaluation of the use of thimerisol in vaccines.. Our review concluded that reducing or eliminating thimerisol from
vaccines is merited(44). The letter pointed to a joint statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the United States Public Health Service in 1999, which "called for the
removal of thimerisol from vaccines as soon as possible."

A Congressional Committee after holding a hearing has also called for elimination of mercury in vaccines as soon as possible.

Many thousands of parents have reported that their child got such conditions after vaccination, and tests have confirmed high levels of mercury in Many of those tested, along with other toxic exposures. An additional source of thimerisol to the fetus of women who are RH negative is the 30 micrograms in the RhoGAM shot they receive, which has been found to be a significant factor in autism incidence(86). Underweight infants that get the same dose of thimerisol as other infants have also been found to be at special risk. Many of those diagnosed with high mercury levels have also been found to have significant improvement after mercury detoxification(23,30,40,11,35,51).

Thimerisol had been previously removed from similar preservative uses in eye drops and eye medications after evidence of a connection to chronic degenerative eye conditions. After over 15,000 law suits were filed in France over adverse effects of the Hepatitis B vaccine, the French Minister of Health ended the mandatory hepatitis B vaccination program for all school children.

Adverse effects included neurological disorders and autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and lupus. Some hospitals in the U.S. also quit recommending certain vaccinations.
Although vaccinations appear to be the largest source of mercury in infants, mercury has been found to be transmitted from the mother to the fetus through the placenta and accumulate in the fetus to higher levels than in the mother's blood(22). Infants of mothers who had dental work involving amalgam during pregnancy had significantly higher levels of mercury in hair tests(78,86). Breast milk of women who have amalgam fillings is the 2nd largest source of mercury in infants and young children(22,69), but eating a lot of fish has also been found to be a significant source(45).

Milk increases the bioavailability and retention of mercury by as much as double(22,68,69) and mercury is often stored in breast milk and the fetus at much higher levels than that in the mother's tissues (22,69). Mercury is transferred mainly by binding to cassein(68,24). The level of mercury in breast milk was found to be significantly correlated with the number of amalgam fillings(69), with milk from mothers with 7 or more fillings having levels in milk approx. 10 times that of amalgam-free mothers.

The mercury in milk sampled ranged from 0.2 to 6.9 ug/L. Prenatal mercury exposure can also developmentally damage the metals detox system of the liver which can lead to accumulation and toxicity of later metals exposure(22).
A recent study found that prenatal mercury exposures and susceptability factors such as ability to excrete mercury appear to be a major factors in those with chronic neurological conditions like autism(86). Infants whose mothers received prenatal Rho D immunoglbulin injections containing mercury thimerosal or whose mother's had high levels of amalgam fillings had a much higher incidence of autism.

While the hair test levels of mercury of infants without chronic health conditions like autism were positively correlated with the number of the mother's amalgam fillings, vaccination thimerosal exposure, and mercury from fish, the hair test levels of those with chronic neurological conditions such as autism were much lower than the levels of controls and those with the most severe effects had the lowest hair test levels, even though they had high body mercury levels. This is consistent with past experience of those treating children with autism and other chronic neurological conditions(23).

Very low levels of exposure have been found to seriously affect relatively large groups of individuals who are immune sensitive to toxic metals(11,35), or have an inability to detoxify metals due to such as deficient sulfoxidation or metallothionein function(18,36,51) or other inhibited enzymatic processes related to detoxification(15-24,30) or excretion of metals(87). Those with the genetic allele ApoE4 protein in the blood have been found to detox metals poorly and to be much more susceptable to chronic neurological conditions than those with types ApoE2 or E3(87).

A direct mechanism involving mercury's inhibition of cellular enzymatic processes by binding with the hydroxyl radical(SH) in amino acids appears to be a major part of the connection to these allergic/immune reactive conditions(15-23,36,47,51). For example mercury has been found to strongly inhibit the activity of xanthine oxidase and dipeptyl peptidase (DPP IV) which are required in the digestion of the milk protein casein(15,16,17,19,20,22), and the same protein that is cluster differentiation antigen 26 (CD26) which helps T lymphocyte activation. CD26 or DPPIV is a cell surface glycoprotein that is very susceptible to inactivation by mercury binding to its cysteinyl domain.

Mercury and other toxic metals also inhibit binding of opioid receptor agonists to opioid receptors, while magnesium stimulates binding to opioid receptors(15). Studies involving a large sample of patients with autism, schizophrenia, or mania found that over 90 % of those tested had high levels of the milk protein beta-casomorphine-7 in their blood and urine and defective enzymatic processes for digesting milk protein(24,25,27), and similarly for the corresponding enzyme needed to digest wheat gluten(24,26).

The studies found high levels of Ig A antigen specific antibodies for casein, lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulin and IgG and IgM for casein. Beta-casomorphine-7 is a morphine like compound that results in neural disfunction (24,25), as well as being a direct histamine releaser in humans and inducing skin reactions (14,21,25c). Similarly many also had a corresponding form of gluten protein(26).

Elimination of milk and wheat products and sulfur foods from the diet has been found to improve the condition. A double blind study using a potent opiate antagonist, naltrexone(NAL), produced significant reduction in autistic symptomology among the 56% most responsive to opioid effects(28). The behavioral improvements was accompanied by alterations in the distribution of the major lymphocyte subsets, with a significant increase in the T-helper-inducers and a significant reduction of the T-cytotoxic-suppressors and a normalization of the CD4/CD8 ratio.

Studies have found mercury causes increased levels of the CD8 T-cytotoxic-suppressors(29). As noted previously, such populations of patients have also been found to have high levels of mercury and to recover after mercury detox(23,11,22,30,40).

As mercury levels are reduced the protein binding is reduced and improvement in the enzymatic process occurs(22,11).

Studies have also found heavy metals to deplete glutathione and bind to protein-bound sulfhydryl SH groups, resulting in inhibiting SH-containing enzymes and production of reactive oxygen species such as superoxide ion, hydrogen peroxide, and hydroxyl radical(39,43,45-47, 63-65,22). In addition to forming strong bonds with SH and other groups like OH,NH2, and Cl in amino acids which interfere with basic enzymatic processes, toxic metals exert part of their toxic effects by replacing essential metals such as zinc at their sites in enzymes.

An example of this is mercury's disabling of the metallothionein protein, which is necessary for the transport and detoxification of metals. Mercury inhibits sulfur ligands in MT and in the case of intestinal cell membranes inactivates MT that normally bind cuprous ions(66), thus allowing buildup of copper to toxic levels in many and malfunction of the Zn/Cu SOD function.

Another large study(51) found a high percentage of autistic and PDD children are especially susceptible to metals due to the improper functioning of their metallothionein detoxification process, and that with proper treatment most recover. Mercury has also been found to play a part in neuronal problems through blockage of the P-450 enzymatic process(67).

Mercury induced reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxidation has been found to be a major factor in mercury's neurotoxicity, along with leading to decreased levels of glutathione peroxidation and superoxide dismustase(SOD) (63). This has been found to be a major factor in neurological and immune damage caused by the heavy metals, including damage to mitochondria and DNA(63,22) , as well as chronic autoimmune conditions and diseases(35)

Additional cellular level enzymatic effects of mercury's binding with proteins include blockage of sulfur oxidation processes such as cysteine dioxygenase, gamma- glutamyltranspeptidase(GGT), and sulfite oxydase, along with neurotransmitter amino acids which have been found to be significant factors in many autistics(18,36,47,17), plus enzymatic processes involving vitamins B6 and B12, with effects on the cytochrome-C energy processes as well. For example, the Vitamin B6 activating enzyme, B6-kenase, is totally inhibited in the intestine at extremely low(nanamolar) concentrations(56).

Epson salts (magnesium sulfate) baths, supplementation with the p5p form of Vit B6 and vit B12 shots are methods of dealing with these enzymatic blockages that have been found effective by those treating such conditions.

Mercury has also been found to have adverse effects on cellular mineral levels of calcium, magnesium, zinc, and lithium(39,22,47,50). Supplementing with these minerals has also been found to be effective in the majority of cases(39,50), and lithium has even been found to cause regeneration of neurons in damaged areas of the brain such as the hippocampus.

Another of the results of these toxic exposures and enzymatic blockages is the effect on the liver and disfunction of the liver detoxification processes which autistic children have been found to have(30,36,51,22). All of the autistic cases tested were found to have high toxic exposures/effects and liver detoxification profiles outside of normal(30a).

Another aspect of gastrointestinal dysfunction that is found in the majority of autism cases are intestinal inflammation, enterocolalitis, lymphondular hyperplsia, abnormal intestinal permeability, or malabsorption(17,53). Such damage to the intestines and gastrointestinal processes are known from animal studies to be caused by mercury(54).

Inorganic mercury is the predominant excretionary form in the intestines,whatever the source form. All forms are absorbed by the intestines and inorganic mercury accumulates in intestinal tissues, especially in young animals or infants(55), which are known to have poor biliary excretion of mercury.

As noted previously children in the U.S. are exposed to high levels of mercury thimerisol, a highly toxic organic form of mercury. Organic mercury in primate studies is found to cause paneth cells in the intestines to be enlarged and packed with secretionary granules(57). This is also common in autistic children(17c).

Along with these blockages of cellular enzymatic processes, mercury has been found to cause additional neurological and immune system effects in many through immune/autoimmune reactions(11,12,35). Mercury(22) as well as thimerisol(31,32) and other toxic metals(50) also have direct neurotoxic effects on brain nucleoid binding proteins through their effect on Ca2+ATPase and Na+/K+ATPase activity. But the effects on the neurological and immune systems of exposure to various toxic substances such as toxic metals and environmental pollutants has also been found to have additive or synergistic effects and to be a factor in increasing eczema, allergies, asthma, delayed food allergies, and sensitivity to other lesser allergens(14-22,35,50).

Most of the children tested for toxic exposures have found high or reactive levels of other toxic metals, and organochlorine compounds (30,40,11,12,35,48). Other than the organochlorines or toxic metals which are discussed later, three common pollutants that have been documented to have effects on such conditions are traffic and industrial pollutants nitrogen oxide, power plant residual oil fly ash, and organochlorine pollutants(48).

Mercury has also been found to cause reduced acetylycholine levels(77) and to be a factor in autism. When the author succeeded in removing excessive metal deposits using cilantro and upregulation techniques, he found Acetylcholine suddenly increased towards a normal level, short-term memory, the ability to concentrate and think clearly improved significantly; and often those who had abnormal or anti-social and irritable behavior returned to more acceptable behavior.

Another effect of mercury and toxic metals is a reduction in B- lymphocytes (37,38,50,22). One of these studies(37a) dealing with autistic patients and further work with such patients has found this causes a tendency to be more seriously affected by viruses and to develop intestinal disorders including leaky gut, lymphoid modular hyperplasia, and a high incidence of parasites.

Metals by binding to SH radicals in proteins and other such groups can cause autoimmunity by modifying proteins which via T-cells activate B-cells that target the altered proteins inducing autoimmunity as well as causing aberrant MHC II expression on altered target cells(72). Studies have also found mercury and lead cause autoantibodies to neuronal proteins, neurofilaments, and myelin basic protein (73,74). While zinc binding with MBP stabilizes the association with brain myelin, mercury and cadmium have been found to intefere with zinc binding to MBP and thus cause disfunction and autoimmunities(74).

Dr. Stejskal(11) recently began testing children with autism. Her preliminary results on 18 autistic children and 11 controls, found that 5 of 18 autistic children had a positive proliferative ("allergic") response on MELISA to Thimerosal, vs. 1/11 controls. Similar results were recently found for methyl mercury (6/10 autistics vs 0/11 controls) and inorganic mercury (6/18 autistics, vs 0/11 controls). Most importantly, 13/16 autistics tested positive for reactivity to the mercury-MBP vs. only 3/10 controls. The mercury-MBP reactivity is presumed to be caused by the mercury reconfiguring the three-dimensional MBP, to which the body generates the allergic (autoimmune) response.

Immune mechanisms are thus seen to be a major factor in neurotoxicity of metals seen in conditions such as autism and ADD(37b,63,72-74).
Parathyroid Hypertensive Factor (PHF) is produced by the parathyroid gland and is measurable by the University of Alberta. Preliminary PHF determinations on over 100 patients through the Pfieffer Treatment Center have revealed very high levels for autistic patients . Heavy metals are known to block calcium L-channels at the cell membrane, whereas PHF is known to open calcium L-channels [84a] and stimulate phosphodiesterase [84b]. Calcium L-channels perform numerous functions, including initiation of transcriptional events which support learning, memory and endocrine secretion. Mercury inhibits L-channels at micromolar concentration [84c] in an irreversible manner in hippocampal neurons.

Hypothetically, elevated PHF may serve to at least partially compensate Hg-inhibition of L-channels. Mercury is also a potent inhibitor of cAMP [84d], cellular levels of which presumably further decrease with PHF-stimulation of phosphodiesterase. Thus, in the context of mercury toxicity, PHF may play both adaptive and maladaptive roles. The very mechanism of mercury-induced auto-immune disease in mercury-sensitive rats is related to L-channel signaling. This process involves induction of interleukin-4 gene expression, which is mediated by protein kinase C-dependent calcium influx through L-channels [84e]. PHF hypothetically may affect the auto-immune response

In addition to large numbers of cases affecting infants, allergic contact eczema is the most frequent occupational disease(1,22,82); and the most common cause of contact eczema is exposure to toxic metals(1, 6-12,22). The metals most commonly causing allergic immune reactivity are nickel, mercury, chromium, cobalt, and palladium(1,6-14,22). The highest level of sensitization is to Infants, who are most reactive to thimerisol, a form of mercury that has been used as a preservative in vaccines and eye drops(6,7). Many with immune reactive conditions like eczema and psoriasis recover after tests and treatment for the cause of the immune reactivity(11,22 ).

There has been strong suggestive and clinical evidence for a connection between toxic metals and autism spectrum conditions(2bcd,15-40,50) and recent studies using government databases have confirmed the connection(80,91). There also appear to be subgroups of exposure and symptom patterns among the many different types of persuasive developmental disorders (PDD) including autism, Asperger's syndrome, Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD),
dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, childhood depression, etc.

Some of the apparent subgroups of autism include one group of general brain-related encephalies and/or immune effects of toxic exposures(23), the Singh subgroup of autoimmune reactions to brain myelin sheath(37b), the Wakefield/MMR subgroup with intestional leaky gut and involvement of measles virus(37a), and the Megson/DPT visual abnormality related group(49). Since most children have been been found to have high levels of toxic exposure, most of those affected appear to have symptoms related to both the first subgroup plus often one or more of the other exposures/subgroups.

The Megson group are often helped significantly by treatment with Vitamin A from cod liver oil an urocholine. Thousands of autistic children are being treated for metals toxicity using chelation protocols after tests have documented high exposures to mercury and other toxic metals, and the majority have shown significant improvement(23,40,51).

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