Many parents of autistic children believe that their children's autism was caused by mercury present in one or more of the vaccines given to their children. It has been suggested that the growing incidence of autism may, or may also, be related to the processed free glutamic acid (MSG) found in vaccines.
Most, if not all, live virus vaccines contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG). The Rotavirus vaccine, a live virus vaccine that has been withdrawn from the market, actually included a caution that the product should not be used on infants who were hypersensitive to monosodium glutamate. Sterile (dead virus) vaccines, including the current (2003) flu vaccine, may also contain some processed free glutamic acid (MSG). Like so many other live virus vaccines, the new (2003) nasal spray flu vaccine called FluMist contains MSG in the form of monosodium glutamate.
It would seem that not only are both mercury and MSG suspects as causative factors in autism, they may be interactive. Most vaccines include thimerosal, a preservative that contains ethylmercury. Aschner et al. (Methylmercury alters glutamate transport in astrocytes. Neurochem Int. Aug-Sep, 2000; 37(2-3):199-206.) found that:
"In the absence of glutamate, neurons are unaffected by acute exposure to mercury, suggesting that neuronal dysfunction is secondary to disturbances in astrocytes (Brookes, 1992). Co-application of nontoxic concentrations of MeHg [methyl mercury] and glutamate leads to the typical appearance of neuronal lesions associated with excitotoxic stimulation (Matyja and Albrecht, 1993)."
thimerosal contains ethyl mercury, and Aschner et al. worked with methyl mercury. However,
we have been led to believe that the effects of mercury would be the same for
both ethylmercury and methylmercury.
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