Study finds thimerosal may increase the risk of autism and ADHD
Exposure to certain neurodevelopmental toxins, including the vaccine additive thimerosal, may increase the risk of autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, says a study published in the April issue of Molecular Psychiatry.
The study titled, “Activation of methionine synthase by insulin-like growth factor 1 and dopamine: a target for neurodevelopmental toxins and thimerosal” by M. Waly, H. Olteanu, R. Banerjee, et al was published in an advance online edition of the journal on January 27.
This research is the first to offer a possible explanation for causes of these two increasingly common childhood disorders.
The researchers found that exposure to toxins such as ethanol and heavy metals (including lead, aluminum, and the ethylmercury-containing preservative thimerosal) interrupt growth factor signaling. This adversely impacts methylation reactions such as the transfer of carbon atoms. Methylation is critical to proper neurological development in infants and children.
“Scientists certainly acknowledge that exposure to neurotoxins like ethanol and heavy metals can cause developmental disorders but, until now, the precise mechanisms underlying their toxicity have not been known,” said one of the researchers and pharmacy professor Richard Deth of Northeastern University. “The most recent increase in the incidence of autism lets us to speculate that environmental exposures, including vaccine additives, might contribute to the triggering of this disorder,” he said.
Though most vaccines in the United States and Europe contain only trace amounts of thimerosal, multi-dose flu vaccines still contain this additive as do multi-dose vials of vaccines shipped and used in developing countries.