[back] Late onset autism

What Is Late onset/Acquired Autism/Autistic Enterocolitis?

by David Thrower

 ?         Autism is not an illness in itself, so much as a manifestation of a dysfunction in certain parts of the central nervous system, particularly affecting language, cognitive and intellectual development and the ability to relate to others. It is an effect, and a consequence, not a cause in itself. Everything has a cause. Autism is not some mysterious illness that comes out of the sky, to strike children at random. It is a global term, all too loose, to describe a set of characteristics.

 ?         The “classic” form of autism was first described by Dr. Leo Kanner. These children were different from normally-developing children from birth.

 ?         However, a very different form of autism, formerly a minority variant, has now begun to predominate. In this, children develop normally, passing all their developmental milestones, and then later acquire an autistic-like condition. They lose their previously-demonstrated speech, learned behaviour and social skills. In effect, they dissolve into a state of mental impairment, of varying severity. Often the damage is severe or very severe, and usually the damage appears to be permanent, although some remedial treatments are claimed to be able to reverse some aspects of damage to a modest degree.

 ?         This late onset of autism typically follows the receipt of MMR vaccination, but also appears to sometimes follow measles-containing vaccines such as monovalent (so-called “single”) vaccine, or measles-rubella (MR) vaccine, and sometimes other vaccines such as DPT (diptheria-pertussis-tetanus).

  ?         It does not necessarily occur immediately after MMR  -  onset of autism is not in any case an “acute” reaction  -  and there are now grounds for believing that onset following vaccination may be very gradual indeed, spread over at least many weeks, more probably several or many months, or even in some cases several years. The rate of deterioration seems to vary considerably. It has been a consistent error of the medical authorities to view autism as an alleged acute, immediate, reaction, although many parents have certainly reported than some form of immediate or near-immediate (within 24 hours) adverse reactions, such as high-pitched screaming and high temperatures, have occurred. Some parents have reported a rapid change in their child’s behaviour, whereas others have seen a slower decline. Typically, the child’s mood has changed, they have become quiet and withdrawn, speech has been lost and skills have vanished. Sleep patterns have often disintegrated.

 ?         Crucially, the onset of this acquired form of regressive autism is accompanied by other visible and associated physical manifestations of problems. These include bright red ears and dark rings under the eyes after certain foods, acute gluten and casein intolerances, prolonged hyperactivity, night sweating and loss of temperature control, and chronically poor sleep patterns.

 ?         The arrival of these problems and the degeneration of the child into autism as a “package” strongly suggests that they are interconnected

 ?         The timing of onset following vaccination  -  not just MMR  -  is described by the UK Department of Health as a coincidence. Their argument is that autism is “noticed” around this time, because this is a time when child development is most rapid, and therefore any failure most noticeable. The thinking behind this stance appears to be that either autism was always there, all along, or that it is akin to some sort of delayed-action genetic “bomb”, primed in certain individuals to detonate just after receipt of MMR or thimerosal-containing vaccines, or around that time.

  ?         The gross implausibility of this argument, that it is highly unlikely in the extreme that previous problems would have been missed, and at a time where children receive constant devoted attention and close scrutiny regarding their development, is ignored. The concept that genetics alone could be responsible for sudden devastating decline in a developing infant is equally implausible.

  ?         Photographic and video evidence, together with child health and developmental records and the accounts of relatives, friends and visitors, that contradicts the authorities’ arguments, is also routinely ignored, without even a superficial investigation to verify their accuracy.

 ?         However, very significantly, much older children have also degenerated into autism after MMR or other vaccination. If degeneration in affected children always follows immunisation with MMR or measles-containing vaccine, regardless of the age of the child, then it implies that the link is not coincidental.

 ?         Also, no cases are known, at least to campaigning parents, of any children who have rapidly become autistic just before MMR or thimerosal-containing vaccines. This clearly implies that such cases are much fewer in number.

 ?         Also, it is not simply a failure to develop. The children have developed normally, then inexplicably acquired their autistic state. This protracted event has been directly observed by parents and relatives, and in many cases recorded on photographs and video footage.

  ?         There is also the issue of double-regression, where children have been normal, have been vaccinated, have regressed, have made some remedial progress, have been re-vaccinated (as a booster) and have severely regressed again. This principle is known as challenge-rechallenge. The US Institute of Medicine has stated that evidence of challenge-rechallenge would constitute powerful support for a causal link between vaccines and regressive autism. There are many UK children (and presumably US children, too) who offer such evidence, but the IoM has not yet accepted that its self-declared criteria has been fulfilled.

 ?         No credible alternative explanation for why a previously-healthy child should become severely autistic has been put forward. The unheralded acquisition of a state of severe disability, in a substantial number of hitherto-healthy children, has to have a significant causal trigger. A growing number of scientists, as well as parents, believe that the trigger is either MMR, or thimerosal, or both acting in synergy.

 ?         Undoubtedly there are other factors involved, pointing to a predisposition of certain children to be vulnerable to damage, of varying severity. Research should be trying to pinpoint those factors, but patently is not. Research is being held up by the refusal of the medical establishment in the UK and US to recognise the problem, or even to recognise the reality of a steep increase in autism.

 ?         Also coinciding with the late onset of autism in many of the children (or other severe damage  -  autism is not the only manifestation of there being a problem), has come gastrointestinal problems such as alternating bouts of diarrhoea and constipation, chronic abdominal pains and bloating.

 ?         Examination of children, initially but not exclusively at the Royal Free Hospital, London, has identified a novel form of inflammatory bowel disease, ileal-lymphoid nodular hyperplasia. This has emerged after ileocolonoscopy of affected children and analysis of samples. The pioneer research the Royal Free has now been confirmed by researchers at other centres in Ireland and the US.

 ?         The simultaneous onset of these problems after a normal early development suggests that it is highly likely that these other elements are linked into the biological explanatory sequence of autism, notably through the pathway of gut damage and either the penetration of the blood-brain barrier or the triggering of some other process, such as serious myelin damage (in basic terms, the myelin sheath is the “insulation” around the neurons or “wires” of the brain).

  ?         Research reported by Dr. Jeff Bradstreet to the US Institute of Medicine on 9th February 2004 found that, when the cerebrospinal fluid of 28 regressive-autistic children was analysed, measles virus was found in 19 of the 28 cases. When 37 non-autistic control-group children were analysed, only one child was found to have measles virus. All 65 of these children had received MMR, and none had any recorded history of wild measles infection. This more recent research is powerful statistical evidence of a measles virus complicity in the pathogenesis of regressive autism. This research therefore strongly endorses the anecdotal evidence of the parents, that their children became autistic after MMR. For many children, MMR thus remains the prime suspect.

 2:     The New Syndrome

 This is a very brief summary of the new syndrome of autistic enterocolitis:

 ?         In a 200-strong cohort of children examined through ileocolonoscopy at the Royal Free Hospital, London, an almost 100% incidence of ileal-lymphoid nodular hyperplasia has been found. This condition manifests itself as swollen lumps throughout the intestinal tissue of autistic children. The condition is very rare in non-autistic children.

 ?         The condition is believed to have developed in each case in the period following MMR immunisation

 ?         Because of the swollen and hyperplasic condition of the intestinal wall, undigested toxins , having not been stopped by either the intestine or the liver (which can also be damaged) may then be able to attack the central nervous system. The evidence for the complete pathway of damage is uncertain at present, due to lack of research.

 ?         An alternative pathway of damage may be that the virus(es) in the vaccine, or other constituents of the vaccine, may be inflicting the actual damage, or interfering with the brain’s further development by damaging myelinisation. Comprehensive studies to determine this have also yet to be undertaken.

 ?         It is also possible that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative that has been routinely used in a number of vaccines, may have played a role. The resultant damage closely resembles that of mercury poisoning. Again, adequate research has not yet been done.

 ?         Damage may in the event be via a combination of these pathways.