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For all those who've declared the autism-vaccine debate over - a new scientific review begs to differ. It considers a host of peer-reviewed, published theories that show possible connections between vaccines and autism.
The article in the Journal of Immunotoxicology is entitled Theoretical aspects of autism: Causes--A review. The author is Helen Ratajczak, surprisingly herself a former senior scientist at a pharmaceutical firm. Ratajczak did what nobody else apparently has bothered to do: she reviewed the body of published science since autism was first described in 1943. Not just one theory suggested by research such as the role of MMR shots, or the mercury preservative thimerosal; but all of them.
Ratajczak's article states, in part, that "Documented causes of autism include genetic mutations and/or deletions, viral infections, and encephalitis [brain damage] following vaccination [emphasis added]. Therefore, autism is the result of genetic defects and/or inflammation of the brain."
Ratajczak also looks at a factor that hasn't been widely discussed: human DNA contained in vaccines. That's right, human DNA. Ratajczak reports that about the same time vaccine makers took most thimerosal out of most vaccines (with the exception of flu shots which still widely contain thimerosal), they began making some vaccines using human tissue. Ratajczak says human tissue is currently used in 23 vaccines. She discusses the increase in autism incidences corresponding with the introduction of human DNA to MMR vaccine, and suggests the two could be linked. Ratajczak also says an additional increased spike in autism occurred in 1995 when chicken pox vaccine was grown in human fetal tissue.
We asked Ratajczak how she came to research the controversial topic. She told us that for years while working in the pharmaceutical industry, she was restricted as to what she was allowed to publish. "I'm retired now," she told CBS News. "I can write what I want."
Ratajczak agrees that nobody has proven DNA causes autism; but argues nobody has shown the opposite, and scientifically, the case is still open.
Integrating the data presented here, a hypothesis is that autism is the result of genetic defects, with the contributory effect of advancing age of the parents, and/or inflammation of the brain. The inflammation could be caused by a defective placenta, an immature blood- brain barrier, the immune response of the mother to a viral or bacterial infection, a premature birth, encephalitis in the child after birth, or a toxic environment. Also, intracellular pathogens could induce an immune response, resulting in neuro-inflammation, autoimmune reactions, brain injury, and autism.
Follow-up for the diagnosis of autistic disorder or another autistic-spectrum disorder began for all children on the day they reached one year of age and continued until the diagnosis of autism or an associated condition (the fragile X syndrome, Angelman's syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, or congenital rubella), emigration, death, or the end of follow-up, on December 31, 1999, whichever occurred first. The incidence-rate ratios for autistic disorder and other autistic-spectrum disorders in the group of vaccinated children, as compared with the unvaccinated group, were examined in a log-linear Poisson regression model with the use of PROC GENMOD (SAS, version 6.12).30 We treated vaccination as a time-dependent covariate. The children were assigned to the nonvaccinated group until they received the MMR vaccine. From that date, they were followed in the vaccinated group. In additional analyses, the MMR-vaccinated children were grouped according to their age at the time of vaccination, the interval since vaccination, and the calendar period when vaccination was performed.