Aluminium and Autism
Aluminium is a cause of brain damage leading to autism
Severe, debilitating autism is a consequence of brain damage. Damage to the brain is invariably inflicted during the first months of an infant’s life. In rarer cases the damage may originate in the womb. Susceptibility to brain damage will be significantly influenced by genetic factors. However, as in Alzheimer’s in later life, toxins are responsible for brain damage in infants leading to autism. The leading toxic candidate to date is aluminium. A mechanism of aluminium-induced brain encephalopathy (accelerated cell death) is described in our seminal paper ( https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0946672X17308763?via%3Dihub). The mechanism relies upon brain inflammation leading to recruitment into the brain of aluminium-replete inflammatory cells from the periphery, both blood and lymph. In infants the origin of inflammatory cells loaded with aluminium is the injection site of an aluminium-adjuvanted vaccine. We know that lymphocytes and similar mononuclear cells are capable of loading their cytoplasm with micron-sized bites of aluminium adjuvant and that these cells remain viable for days and probably weeks. Allowing them to transport their cargo of neurotoxic aluminium anywhere in the body. The signal for these harbingers of doom to migrate to the brain crossing both the blood brain barrier and the glymphatic system is an inflammatory event in brain tissue. The cause of such an inflammatory event may be disease, perhaps even mild disease due to vaccination. Is it possible that genetic components of severe, debilitating autism are linked to susceptibility to brain inflammation. These inflammatory events in isolation are tolerated and do not lead to autism. When such an event invites the ingress of inflammatory cells replete with aluminium, inflammation is actually fuelled by aluminium released by dying cells at the inflammatory site. A mild inflammatory event has now the potential to become a significant inflammatory event leading to an encephalopathy. Accelerated loss of neurones in specific brain regions may underlie severe, debilitating autism.
I will write about interpretation of the detailed microscopy in our autism paper and elsewhere in a future post. However, I would like to leave you with one further thought. The MMR vaccine, that does not include an aluminium adjuvant, may not be a cause of autism. However, earlier forms of this vaccine were withdrawn from use in certain countries because they produced inflammation of the meninges of the brain. If later, safer (?), forms of MMR are also inflammatory then its combination with other vaccines that do include aluminium adjuvants, such as DPT, may explain the relationship with the onset of symptoms of severe, debilitating autism.