Vaccines Cause Autism – Part 1: Immune Activation and Autism

September 6, 2016

Last week, we promised to take you through the science that proves that vaccines can and do cause autism. This is the first installment of that promise: the scientific evidence that immune activation is the root cause of autism. The article is reprinted by permission of the author from the website Vaccine Papers. The end of the article lists several possible objections to conclusions drawn here and the responses to those objections with article links backed by solid science. If you have any questions or there is a part of the article you don’t understand, please post them here as comments and they will be addressed.

And what does a vaccination do? It activates the immune system. That’s the point of vaccination. (emphasis in original)
-Dr. Paul Patterson of CalTech: Leading autism and immune activation researcher, 2006

Autism is not an immune-mediated disease. Unlike autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, there is no evidence of immune activation or inflammatory lesions in the central nervous system of people with autism.
-Dr. Paul Offit: Vaccine promoter, vaccine profiteer, and self-appointed autism pundit, 2009

For decades it has been accepted that the children of women who have an infectious illness (any illness) during pregnancy are much more likely to become autistic or schizophrenic. For many years, this was a well-proven, but mysterious association. Nobody knew why it happened. But it was very clear that something about the infection, or the immune response to it, had a profound, long-term effect on the child’s brain. Infection during pregnancy could cause schizophrenia 20 years later, even though the child appeared perfectly normal.

Before proceeding, it is necessary to provide definitions:

Cytokine: Protein substances that are used in cell signaling, especially by the immune system. Interleukins and interferons are two specific categories of cytokines (there are several others). During infections, the levels of (most) cytokines in the blood and other tissues increase as the immune system is responding. Cytokines control immune function, and also affect the brain. Cytokines can increase or decrease immune activity (“proinflammatory” or “antiinflammatory,” respectively). However, cytokines sometimes can not be categorized as “pro-” or “anti-“, since the effect on inflammation depends on the tissue and cytokine-cytokine interactions. Its complicated.

Neurons: The brain cells that process information by electrical impulses. The ones you are familiar with.

Neuroglia, Glial cells (same thing): Specialized immune cells that live in the brain and spinal cord. Two main types are microglia and astrocytes. In normal, healthy conditions, glial cells are at rest, and simply monitor and help the neurons. Glial cells can become “activated” by infection or toxins. When glial cells are “activated” they look for pathogens like bacteria, release cytokines, and can damage or protect the neurons. Glial cells do not process information. They defend against infection and help repair injury.

Microglial activation: When the immune system cells of the brain (“microglia”) are activated and think there is an infection nearby, or some problem they have to deal with. Microglial/neuroglial activation is immune activation in the brain. Also can be described as “brain inflammation” or “neuroinflammation.”

Purkinje cell: A type of neuron in the cerebellum, a part of the brain. Purkinje cell loss and damage is one of the most consistent observations in autistic autopsied brains. Purkinje cell loss and damage is present in over 90%+ of autism cases.  This has been replicated in several studies. Purkinje cells are damaged by immune activation.

The Big Discovery
In 2005, a groundbreaking paper was published by Dr. Vargas of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The Vargas paper has been cited 295 times (on PubMed). It’s a very important paper.
Paper (Vargas): “Neuroglial Activation and Neuroinflammation in the Brain of Patients with Autism

The study was simple. Brains and spinal fluid from deceased autistic people (ages 5-44) and age-matched controls were analyzed for cytokines and other indicators of chronic inflammation/microglial activation. The findings were dramatic: every autistic brain at every age had very high levels of brain inflammation (elevated cytokines), compared to controls. Vargas et al. stated:

We demonstrate an active neuroinflammatory process in the cerebral cortex, white matter, and notably the cerebellum of autistic patients.


. . . neuroglial reactions . . . are important in the mechanisms associated with neural dysfunction in autism . . . .


. . . the presence of neuroinflammatory changes among the cases we examined suggests that this may be a common pathogenic mechanism in some patients with autism.
(Vargas et al., 2005)

Vargas also observed damage to Purkinje cells in all but one autistic brain, a confirmation of prior reports. This is why the cerebellum is mentioned specifically. The Purkinje cells of the cerebellum were heavily damaged.

Today, the evidence for a chronic inflammation in the autistic brain is overwhelming. For example, in the following excellent study, brains of autistic and matched normal subjects were scanned for markers of microglial activation by positron emission tomography (PET). The autistic brains had widespread microglial activation throughout the brain.
Paper (Suzuki et al.): “Microglial Activation in Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism brain scan
Above: Positron emission tomography (PET) images of autistic subject and normal control. Colored areas indicate regions of microglial (immune) activation. Colored areas are “inflammatory lesions.” Dr. Paul Offit claims the colored areas in the autistic brain do not exist. Dr. Offit tells this lie because he knows the inflammatory lesions implicate vaccines as a cause of autism. From Suzuki et al.
ASD = Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

And for good measure, here is another paper reporting chronic brain inflammation in autism: “Elevated Immune Response in the Brain of Autistic Patients.” There are many papers confirming chronic inflammation in the autistic brain.

These results unequivocally contradict the above statement by Dr. Paul Offit. Dr. Offit was wrong when he wrote the above-quoted statement in 2009, and he is even more wrong today. Autism is an immune-mediated disease. Autistic brains have chronic inflammation and are loaded with inflammatory lesions.

Immune Activation and Brain Development
Dr. Paul Patterson, a biologist at the California Institute of Technology, noticed the Vargas results and other reports of microglial activation in autistics. In view of the studies linking prenatal infections with autism, Dr. Patterson suspected that immune activation during critical stages of brain development causes the chronic neuroinflammation and brain damage of autism.

Dr. Patterson wrote an excellent article in Cal Tech’s technology magazine in 2006, explaining this background, and his initial results. The article is here: “Pregnancy, Immunity, Schizophrenia, and Autism”-Patterson. This article is highly recommended as an introduction to the science.

Dr. Patterson worked with pregnant mice. During pregnancy, the mice were injected with “poly(I:C),” an immune-system stimulant that mimics viruses. When the immune system detects poly(I:C), it becomes activated, because it thinks there is a viral infection happening. But there is no actual infection. Poly(I:C) cannot cause infection. The only effect of poly(I:C) is to activate the immune system.*

Poly(I:C) injection causes increased cytokine levels, fever and sickness behavior. The injected mouse lies in the corner for a few hours, has a fever, sleeps a lot, and generally acts sick (even though they are not actually infected with anything). After several hours, the mouse returns to normal. In the experiments, the pregnant mice received 1-3 injections of poly(I:C). In this way, the developing fetuses are exposed to immune activation and associated high cytokine levels and fever.

The offspring are born, grown to maturity and then tested for behavioral abnormalities and dissected to look for signs of brain damage. These tests were specifically designed to look for autistic traits. The results were dramatic.

The mice exposed to immune activation displayed behavioral abnormalities analogous to human autism. They displayed reduced social interactions, reduced communications with other mice, and repetitive, compulsive behaviors. The Purkinje cells of the cerebellum were damaged, just like in human autism. And male mice were more strongly affected than females, just like human autism.

Also, Dr. Patterson found that immune activation caused permanent changes in brain cytokine levels, into adulthood. The cytokine changes from immune activation were similar to cytokine changes observed in human autism in the Vargas study. The exposed mice had chronic neuroinflammation lasting a lifetime.

Immune Activation Causes Autistic Behavior
Dr. Patterson did many experiments and published several papers. We will now look at one of the most important.

Paper (Malkova et al.): “Maternal Immune Activation Yields Offspring Displaying Mouse Versions of the Three Core Symptoms of Autism

Autism is always diagnosed in humans by its behavioral characteristics. There is no objective or laboratory (e.g. blood) test for autism. The core symptoms of autism are:
1) reduced social interactions;
2) reduced language and communicative ability;
3) repetitive, compulsive behaviors.

These traits can be reliably measured in mice using a variety of behavioral tests which are monitored by computers.

Mice are highly social animals and communicate constantly by ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs). These vocalizations can be measured in number and duration in specific social situations (e.g. isolation, social encounters etc). These are well known and accepted research methods.

Vocalization During Separation
When baby mice are separated from their mother, they vocalize. In this test, mouse pups are separated from mothers, and vocalizations are recorded. Mice exposed to immune activation displayed significantly fewer vocalizations, and spent less time vocalizing. And the vocalizations had abnormal syllables, distinct from normal mice.

MIA Vocalization-separation
Above: Immune activation causes reduced ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs, “mouse speech”) from young mouse pups separated from their mothers. This behavior is analogous to human autism. From Malkova et al. 

Vocalization During Social Encounter
In this test, adult male mice are introduced to unfamiliar adult female mice. Male mice exposed to immune activation displayed significantly fewer vocalizations when meeting the unfamiliar female. And once again, the vocalizations had altered syllables, distinct from normal mice. These results show that the reduction in communicative behavior persists into adulthood.

MIA vocalization male female encounter
Above: Immune activation causes reduced ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) in social encounter of adult male with an unfamiliar female. This behavior is analogous to human autism. From Malkova et al. 

Sociability Test
Mice were tested in the “three chamber social test.” A mouse under test can enter two rooms: one contains an inanimate object (like wood block or rock), and one contains an unfamiliar mouse. Normal mice are social and prefer to spend time with the unfamiliar mouse. Mice exposed to immune activation prefer to spend time with the inanimate object. Once again, this behavior is analogous to human autism. Here are the results:

MIA Three chamber test
Above: Immune activation causes reduced social interactions. Mice become more interested in inanimate objects. This behavior is analogous to human autism. From Malkova et al. 

Repetitive, Compulsive Behavior
Mice were tested for repetitive/compulsive behavior, with the well-known “marble burying test.” In this test, a mouse is placed alone in a cage with dozens of marbles. Mice like to bury things, and all mice will bury at least a few marbles. But some mice are obsessive about burying marbles and will tend to bury them all. This behavior is analogous to the repetitive, compulsive behavior common in human autism.  Here are the results:

MIA marble Burying
Above: Immune activation causes a dramatic increase in repetitive and compulsive behavior. This behavior is analogous to human autism. From Malkova et al. 


Immune Activation: Non-Behavioral Effects
Human autism is defined by its behavioral abnormalities. But autism is strongly associated with several physiological abnormalities, including:
1) Missing and damaged Purkinje cells.
2) Mitochondrial dysfunction — Energy production by mitochondria is impaired in autism;
3) Long term brain inflammation (chronically elevated cytokines in the brain) — This was reported by Vargas and others (above).
4) Microbiome disruption (dysbiosis) — Dysbiosis is an abnormal composition of bacteria in the gut. Abnormal bacteria in the gut cause chronic inflammation in the gut and other tissues, including the nervous system.

Immune activation in animals produces all these features. This is powerful evidence that immune activation is the true cause of autism.

Purkinje Cell Damage
As noted above, Purkinje cells are almost always found to be damaged and/or missing in autism. Dr. Patterson found that immune activation (from poly(I:C)) caused a 20% reduction in Purkinje cells, which is comparable to the reduction seen in human autism. Dr. Patterson states:

Our finding of a localized deficit in Purkinje cells strikingly resembles that seen in autism both in location and magnitude, with a 25% reduction in Purkinje cell linear density reported in autism . . . and 20% [poly(I:C)] reductions reported here. (emphasis added)

Paper (Shi et al.): “Activation of the Maternal Immune System Alters Cerebellar Development in the Offspring

Below are images of mouse cerebellum, showing the reduced number of Purkinje cells in mice exposed to immune activation (from influenza infection, not poly(I:C)). The Purkinje cells are the red dots at the surface of the cerebellum folds. Dr. Patterson reported that only specific “lobules” (numbered I, II, III, IV, V etc) of the cerebellum showed reduced Purkinje cell numbers, which is also just like human autism.

MIA-Purkinje cells
Above: Photographs of cerebellum from normal control mouse (L), and mouse exposed to immune activation (R).
Immune activation caused a significant reduction in the number of Purkinje cells (red dots). From Shi et al. 

A single immune activation event from poly(I:C) causes a significant reduction in number of Purkinje cells. The same is observed in human autism.
MIA Purkinje cell-poly-IC

Above: Immune activation causes reduction in number of Purkinje cells in some lobes of the cerebellum. From Shi et al. 

Mitochondrial Dysfunction
The mitochondria are the energy-producing units inside cells. All cells have them. The mitochondria use a 4-stage process for producing energy. An enzyme “complex” is responsible for each stage (So there are four complexes: I, II, III and IV).

The following study (by a different research group at UC Davis) shows that immune activation (with poly(I:C) during gestation, like the above studies) causes permanent mitochondrial dysfunction. Specifically, immune activation causes reduced oxygen use by mitochondria and reduced complex I activity.
Paper (Giulivi et al.): “Gestational Exposure to a Viral Mimetic Poly(I:C) Results in Long-Lasting Changes in Mitochondrial Function by Leucocytes in the Adult Offspring

Left: Immune activation causes reduction in oxygen use, a sign of mitochondrial dysfunction.
Right: Patterns of mitochondrial activity indicate a reduction in complex I activity due to immune activation. The same is observed in human autism. From Guilivi et al. 

This result is very similar to human autism. Mitochondrial dysfunction (in brain and white blood cells) is well-proven in autism. And in human autism, complex I is damaged (along with complex IV). These papers, for example, describe mitochondrial dysfunction in autism:
“Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Autism,”
Mitochondrial Abnormalities in Temporal Lobe of Autistic Brain.”

Chronic Brain Inflammation
In another paper, published in 2012, Dr. Patterson’s group reported that  maternal immune activation caused long-term inflammatory changes in brain levels of cytokines, compared to unexposed controls. In this experiment, exposed mice and unexposed controls were dissected at different ages (0, 7, 14, 30, and 60 weeks of age), and the cytokine levels in different brain regions were measured. The paper states:

Most important, maternal immune activation induces striking, long-lasting changes in cytokine levels in the brains of offspring . . . .


Remarkably, many of the cytokines altered in the maternal immune activation brains and serum are similar to those found to be altered in autistic spectrum disorder and schizophrenia.

Paper (Garay et al.): “MIA Causes Cytokine Changes throughout Development”  (Note: P0, P7, P14, P30, P60 refer to the age, in weeks, of mice when dissected)

These results explain the original findings of Vargas et al. described at the beginning of this article. Vargas reported elevated inflammatory cytokines in human autistic brains, and this experiment shows that immune activation causes similar increases in inflammatory cytokines. Immune activation during early brain development is likely the cause of life-long brain inflammation observed by Vargas and Suzuki (and others).

Microbiome Disruption (Dysbiosis)
A 2013 paper by the Patterson group (Hsiao et al.) reported that maternal immune activation caused abnormal microbiota (dysbiosis) in mice. Immune activation during early development caused long-term dysbiosis. In the study, the dysbiosis was permanent, lasting into adulthood. However it was treatable with probiotic (beneficial) bacteria delivered orally. The Hsaio paper states:

Subsets of ASD individuals display dysbiosis of the gut microbiota, and some exhibit increased intestinal permeability. Here we demonstrate gut barrier defects and microbiota alterations in a mouse model displaying features of ASD, maternal immune activation (MIA).


 . . . these findings support a gut-microbiome-brain connection in ASD . . .
(ASD = Autism spectrum disorder)

The “microbiota” is the mixture of bacteria living in the gut. The microbiota can be healthy or diseased, depending on what bacteria are present. Immune activation causes an overgrowth of disease-causing (inflammatory) bacteria.

The Hsaio paper also reported that the probiotic bacteria Bacteroides fragilis (a human bacteria with strong anti-inflammatory effects), given orally to the mice, alleviated the damage. For example, B. Fragilis normalized gut permeability, normalized the microbiotia, and (in some measurements), completely normalized behavioral abnormalities. This is powerful evidence that autistic behaviors are caused by inflammation originating in the gut. Many parents of autistic children report that diets, probiotics and supplements targeting the microbiota can improve autism.

Full Paper (Hsaio 2013): “The Microbiota Modulates Gut Physiology and Behavioral Abnormalities Associated with Autism
Above: Immune activation adversely affected the microbiota (dysbiosis). Dysbiosis is common in human autism. From Hsaio et al., 2013. 


Above: Oral treatment with the beneficial gut bacteria Bacteroides fragilis reduced or eliminated autistic behavior. B. fragilis also normalized the microbiota and improved gut permeability (see paper for these results). From Hsaio et al., 2013. 


Above: The Hsaio paper provides a pretty illustration explaining how immune-activation-induced dysbiosis damages the gut barrier and negatively affects the brain and behavior. This mechanism is similar to the hypothesis proposed by Dr. Andrew Wakefield in 1998. From Hsaio et al., 2013. 

Immune activation in mice during early stages of brain development causes autistic behavior and causes many physiological characteristics observed in human autism. This obviously implicates immune activation as the fundamental cause of human autism. This is further reinforced by the studies showing an association between maternal infection and autism in the child. The evidence that immune activation causes autism in humans is diverse, consistent, and compelling.

Part 2 in this article series explains the specific immune signal that causes autism:

Vaccine advocates make several objections to linking vaccines with immune activation experiments. The objections are addressed in the following articles:

Objection 1: “The mechanism for what is happening is not clear, and so cannot be linked to vaccines.”
Answer: The damage is caused by the cytokine interleukin-6 (and interleukin-17a). See Part 2:

Objection 2: “These are mouse experiments. Since autism is defined by behavior, a mouse model of autism is dubious.”
Answer: Immune activation experiments have been replicated in monkeys, with the same results: See part 3:

Objection 3: “The studies are of maternal immune activation. Vaccines are given postnatally, without any maternal involvement.”
Answer: Both mouse and human brains can be damaged postnatally. No maternal involvement is necessary, since the brain-damaging cytokines can be produced by the infant brain: See part 4:

Objection 4: “Vaccines do not cause strong enough immune activation to damage the brain. A vaccine cannot cause a surge of cytokines in the brain.”
Answer: Vaccine adverse reactions can cause very large cytokine expression in the brain, including expression of IL-6, a proven cause of autism. Aluminum (present in most vaccines) also stimulates IL-6 expression in the brain: See Part 5:

Also, aluminum adjuvant from vaccines travels into the brain:

Click here for a list of papers mentioned in this article.

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50 Responses to Vaccines Cause Autism – Part 1: Immune Activation and Autism

  1. Kevin says:

    Apparently you hope that nobody actually reads the studies you cite to support your claims. You make the claim that “Today, the evidence for a chronic inflammation in the autistic brain is overwhelming.” and cite one study as supporting that claim. However, the study says exactly the opposite. Let me quote directly from that study:

    “We measured the markers of inflammation in the blood in the ASD subjects, including the serum C-reactive protein and white blood cell count. Both levels in all the ASD subjects were within normal range. None of the ASD subjects had any history of inflammatory or allergic diseases, except 2 subjects who had had atopic dermatitis in their childhood.”

    Hardly overwhelming evidence of chronic inflammation.

    So either you’re deliberately trying to mislead us, or you don’t understand the science you’re basing your claims on. Which is it?

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      The study he linked is about microglial activation in the brain. That IS a marker of chronic brain inflammation. “When activated, microglia produce neurotoxic substances including pro-inflammatory cytokines (i.e. tumor necrosis factor and IL-1beta).” The sentence you quoted is about a search for markers of inflammation in BLOOD, and is in the paragraph about how the researchers used only subjects with an apparently low history of inflammation for this study so as to not unnecessarily skew the results. That sentence is very interesting from the standpoint that “history of inflammatory or allergic diseases” is rampant in the autism community and their immediate families. It makes it apparent that the researchers bent over backwards to make it clear that even in autistic subjects with overall low levels of inflammation (which is in itself unusual for autism), there is still overwhelming evidence of chronic brain inflammation: “The results strongly support the contention that immune abnormalities contribute to the etiology of ASD.”

      So are you deliberately trying to mislead us, or don’t you understand the science you’re reading? 😉

      The evidence for chronic neuroinflammation IS overwhelming. For your further reading:

      • Kevin says:

        I started with the first link you provided. The author of this study immediately concedes “There is still no definitive pathogenesis or reliable biomarkers for ASD, thus significantly curtailing the development of effective therapies.” Nonetheless, they go on to claim that “Many such children regress at about age 3 years, often after a specific event such as reaction to vaccination, infection.”

        First, notice that the authors are only positing a temporal correlation, not a causal relationship between vaccines and the onset of ASD. I don’t think anybody disputes the age at which ASD symptoms become apparent, nor that children receive vaccines at that age.

        However, the authors provide two studies to apparently support an implied claim that vaccine reactions were the cause of the onset of ASD. Both of these are animal studies where the researchers were able to induce ASD-like symptoms in rats by deliberately infecting them with a virus.

        It’s a VERY large leap to conclude that ASD-like symptoms in virus-infected rats directly prove that human autism is caused by vaccines. However, this is a leap that anti-vaxxers seem happy to make.

        At best, animal studies provide indications of direction for further study–and there has been extensive studies in that direction: over 100 studies with millions of HUMAN subjects have shown there to be no causal link between vaccines and autism.

        Because this was the first study in the list, I assume you thought it was the strongest argument to support vaccine-induced ASD. Consequently, I don’t need to waste my time with the rest of the list.

        If you have a study with a stronger argument, then please share it with me, tell me what you think it proves, and why it’s a stronger argument that the 100+ studies that show now causal link.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        So you encountered ONE statement you had issue with–the FACT that many children regress, often after vaccines–in a paper where that isn’t even the topic and you reject the entire paper along with a whole string of others? I can’t count the number of articles I’m supposed to take as “proof” that vaccines don’t cause autism with straight up lies in the abstracts, yet I still read them and assess the quality of the research involved.

        You’ve created a straw man argument, claiming that these authors made a causal argument (that they didn’t) as an excuse to ignore their research as well as the research of many others, all while ignoring the fact that it wasn’t even the topic of discussion. The topic of discussion was BRAIN INFLAMMATION. And those articles, taken as a whole, make a HELL of an argument for brain inflammation. But it is apparent that you don’t care in the least about the actual science. You just want to be able to point and shout “anti-vaxxers” and “pseudo science!” That’s illogical, anti-science, and intellectually dishonest, and we’re not going to waste our time on you. Good day to you sir.

    • “So either you’re deliberately trying to mislead us, or you don’t understand the science you’re basing your claims on. Which is it?”

      When you get up to speed on this topic (you are clearly new to it), please come back with your questions and we will be happy to answer them.

      • Kevin says:

        I’m pretty well up to speed on the topic–at least as much as a non-immunologist can be. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize when a picture is taken directly from a study, then relabeled to falsely imply something other that what the study actually said. All it takes is a willingness to read beyond the headlines.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Apparently, it does take someone with more intelligence or intellectual honesty than you possess, however, to read a study and understand what it is saying as you have clearly indicated that you did not.

    • The quote you cite refers to inflammation in the BLOOD, not the brain. Autistics have chronic inflammation in the brain, not the blood.

      It is very well established that autistics have chronic brain inflammation. The inflammation has been measured by different research groups using a variety of methods, on both live patients and cadavers. Its not debatable whether autistics have brain inflammation.

  2. Xi Wangmu says:

    Inflammation would count as a chemical insult and oxidative stress I imagine, ties in with the information I have already

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Right there in #5:
      “The body’s natural protectors against
      oxidative stress (e.g., glutathione,
      metallothionein, selenium, super oxide
      dismutase, ceruloplasmin, and cysteine)
      are gradually weakened until a threshold
      is reached in which their effectiveness
      collapses. This event results in a sudden
      increase in oxidative stress and inflammation
      within the brain.”

  3. Miranda says:

    I was just criticized for sharing this, by a woman with “multiple science degrees, including med school graduate work in toxicology, epidemiology, public health statistics, and forensic medicine.” I asked her to post her issues here publicly, but she refused, saying: “Because, like most ill-informed anti-vaxxers, you post nonsense. Give me ONE article from JAMA, one from Neuroscience, or one from any other highly regarded peer-reviewed journal. Everything you post is in books (because the authors cannot get past peer review because their work is poor), online blogs, or pay-to-publish journals. Not a single reputable source in the worlds of science and medicine.” Please help me to respond to her. For everything I cited, shad a website bashing its credibility.

    • My recommendation: move to someone who will listen. There is a group of people who simply will not look at the evidence or if they look they will *always* find a way to discount it. They aren’t authentically engaged in exploration with you. They are waiting for your next statement so they can shoot it down.

      But if you *really* want to stay in the conversation with her, you could say that the mercury levels exceeded safety limits and when someone finally summed the amounts and discovered this, they removed mercury from the vaccines. The same thing has happened here — children are receiving aluminum exceeding allowable limits and in amounts that have been shown to cause long term mental impairment in peer-reviewed studies.

      • Miranda says:

        Thank you, Andre. Most helpful. She was arrogant, boorish, mean, blind and deaf in her comments; a zealot more than a scientist.

    • She is wrong. All the citations we use are from reputable journals, and conducted at well known academic institutions. We don’t cite anything from pay to play journals or from books or web content. All our citations are from the peer reviewed literature.

      If she rejects peer reviewed science because it’s assembled on a website, then she is a science denier. I guess she doesn’t have a degree in common sense.

  4. Jami Lobdell says:

    So, to bring in another idea, is it possible that Vitamin C can help with cell rebuilding as well as pro biotic and B vitamins as well as D?
    Also, it is possible that if autism due to brain dysfunction can be caused by immune system response that if there is a concussion then brain inflammation and subsequent autistic brain dysfunction can also occur?

    • Maybe. Depends on the TYPE of inflammation. Inflammation comes in many different flavors and colors.

      Vitamin D is known to reduce the type of inflammation that causes autism (associated with the cytokines IL-6 and IL-17a).

  5. Natalie says:

    I am a pharmacist and a proud vaccine advocate. I am thinking this logic may be a little skewed. Though the newborn’s immune system is not fully developed at the time of birth, it progresses rapidly during the first several months of life. Though vaccines cause an immune response, other bacteria and viruses that children are commonly exposed to do as well. How can you say that the immune response due to the vaccine caused a child to develop autism when it could have been a nasty virus or bacteria they were exposed to? I think that real hard evidence is needed to show causation, not just relation. You can say that the child begins to develop autism once they get their shots, but how can you say that’s what in fact caused it when children don’t begin to develop their personalities until around that time anyway?

    I do believe that people with legitimate medical exemptions should stray away from vaccines. However, like you stated in a more recent post, you don’t believe that people who choose not to vaccinate their children choose not to do so out of fear. However, it is blogs like this who instill fear in parents and sway their opinions about vaccinations. I fear for the future generations, that they will see horrible and once unheard of diseases that could have been prevented with a simple vaccine. I do not wish to spread hate, but only hope to stop the spread of fear.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Natalie, stay tuned. We will be posting further blogs that make it explicitly clear how immune activation caused by aluminum-containing vaccines can cause a rise in the specific cytokine (IL-6) that is a necessary and sufficient condition for autism. Can immune activation that is caused by some “nasty bacteria or virus” in the first few months of life do the same? Yes. A friend of mine has a son whose autism was triggered by a “nasty” case of the flu. But the question is does that happen often? We have only to look at the incidence of autism BEFORE our vaccine schedule went off the rails (shortly after the 1986 law removing all liability from vaccine manufacturers for the harm they do) and realize that it simply doesn’t happen often, especially in breastfed babies who get maternal antibodies through their milk. Children’s immune systems are being stimulated more often and more intensely in the early months of life than they ever have before, and we are seeing the results in the huge rises in neurological conditions associated with brain inflammation (autism, ADHD, ODD, PANS), gut dysbiosis, life-threatening allergies, and autoimmune conditions.

      You say you wish to stop the “spread of fear.” To NOT act out of fear, you need to accurately assess the situation you are dealing with. In the United States today, your child is MUCH more likely to suffer from anaphylactic food allergies, nasty autoimmune conditions, crippling gut dysbiosis, and/or lifelong neurological conditions that make functioning in our society very, very difficult than your child is to die or even suffer long-term sequelae from a “vaccine-preventable disease.” Those are incontrovertible facts. If you know that the treatment you are using to ward off the vanishingly small possibility of death from one of those diseases (and each has its own nuances of vaccine efficacy/failure, need for “boosters,” etc.) has a good chance of causing permanent disability and you choose to act accordingly that’s not acting out of fear, that’s acting out of prudence, logic, and good sense.

      In fact, the only reason for choosing to give a child those preventative treatments is fear of the diseases, many of which we’re now finding have protective effects against far more deadly diseases like ovarian cancer. We get many people who come here convinced that a case of measles is a death sentence, when according to the CDC in the pre-vaccine era there were 3-4,000,000 cases of measles a year with approximately 450 deaths (and adults were hit harder by measles than children). That’s approximately 1 in 8,000, though the “official” number you usually see quoted is 1 in 1,000, and the death rate had been dropping rapidly for many years. There is no reason to assume that it would not have continued to do so even without a vaccine. If you really want to “stop the spread of fear,” encourage people to learn ALL the facts, not just the ones that get people to fear the things you want them to fear.

      (And I have to say that I find it ironic as can be that even this dry, scientific blog stating NOTHING but scientific facts and conclusions is accused of “fear mongering.”)

    • Natalie, you have identified the crux of the matter: how do we reduce fear, since that seems to be the driving force behind the entire vaccination program?

      My assessment of the current situation is that parents are vaccinating their children out of the fear of the children getting an infectious disease and dying. And it’s no wonder because that’s the message that they are told by the medical profession and government, “Vaccinate or your child will die. Vaccinate or you will be responsible for another parent’s child dying.” Ridicule and opprobrium reinforce these messages.

      At the same time, they are told that the serious side effects of vaccines are “one in a million” and some swelling around the injection site. The side effects are minor, we are repeatedly told.

      But what if these two commonly held notions aren’t true? What if the threat of death from these diseases is not as high as most people think and that the side effects of vaccines is much, much greater than almost anyone imagines now?

      In the developed countries, mortality for all the diseases for which we have vaccines was down 90% to 99% (depending on the disease) by the time the vaccines were brought to market because the countries had mostly completed their their health transition. The health transition is when the country improves its sanitation, access to clean water, access to fresh, nutritious food and so forth.

      This fact is unknown to most people unless one studies the topic. But it’s out there if one looks.

      “It is a widely held fallacy that mortality from infectious disease only commenced to fall with the advent of modern [pharmaceutical] agents.”

      Ramsey and Emond, Infectious Diseases

      In the textbook Epidemiology of Infectious Disease (Nelson, 2005) the author wrote:
      “Clearly, the decline in mortality from infectious diseases during the twentieth century stands as a tribute to the advances in public health and safer lifestyles, compared with that in previous centuries.”

      Notice that the author does not say “vaccines” or “antibiotics.” He specifically said public health and safer lifestyles and keeps on in that vein.

      There is much more like that if one looks, including graphs that back up my statement about death rates.

      Well, what about the remaining percent who were dying when the vaccines were introduced?

      The trend lines were still going down when the vaccines were introduced and given that several diseases disappeared entirely without vaccination or widespread vaccination (scarlet fever, typhus, typhoid fever, cholera, etc.) the so-called vaccine-preventable diseases would have continued down, too. Plus, we know how to treat these diseases much better than before.

      At the same time, it is not common knowledge that the deadly food allergies, the painful and killing autoimmune diseases like MS and Crohn’s and asthma and all the others — plus the autism — are coming from the vaccines. The United States children are some of the sickest in the world, with at least 1 in 6 suffering from a chronic (life-long) developmental disorder as of 2008 (!!).

      Key Findings: Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in U. S. Children, 1997–2008

      What in the world is damaging the immune systems and brains of our kids so badly? The official answer is, “We don’t know” — but that is no longer true.

      We have biological mechanisms worked out for how vaccines are behind each of those, just as Vaccine Papers is showing in their brilliant series on vaccines and immune activation.

    • This article is one of a series of 5 articles on the topic. Another establishes the fact that vaccines can produce very intense immune activation in the brain specifically (a result of febrile seizure), and high enough cytokine production to damage the brain.

      Most vaccines include an injected dose of aluminum adjuvant nanoparticles, which travel to the brain and induce interleukin-6 production, the cytokine that causes autism. Natural infections do not come with a dose of aluminum adjuvant nanoparticles.

    • There are cases of autism induced by natural infections, even at older ages like 5-11.

      Your objection is address here:

      Objection 4: “Vaccines do not cause strong enough immune activation to damage the brain. A vaccine cannot cause a surge of cytokines in the brain.”
      Answer: Vaccine adverse reactions can cause very large cytokine expression in the brain, including expression of IL-6, a proven cause of autism. Aluminum (present in most vaccines) also stimulates IL-6 expression in the brain: See Part 5:

  6. Kathryn P. says:

    Thank you for this article and for listing possible objections and responses.
    It does not matter what objections there might be. There is clearly enough cause here for “them” to take another look at the vaccine/autism connection. And any objections they pose are just a smokescreen.

  7. josh mazer says:

    Thank you TMR and Vaccine Papers.

  8. Sandhya says:

    Very well written. I wish I knew a lot of these things when I was pregnant the first time. Now when taking care of a special needs kid and doing all the research, it is hard not to think of things that could be done differently. When you try to educate others who are currently pregnant or have a new born, they do not listen or bother to read. It falls on deaf ears.

  9. Ricky Barnes says:

    Thanks for the great info and thanks for checking out my film on the topic:

  10. Vitamin D is probably the single most effective nutrient for reversing autism. We now know why.

    Vitamin D does two things that help with autism:
    1) reduces IL-6 and IL-17a production, which are the cause of autism. Vit D strongly reduces IL-17a.

    2) Vitamin D improves the microbiome.

  11. Lori Langone says:

    If activation of a pregnant woman’s immune system can damage the brain of her unborn child, then we absolutely should not be administering vaccines to pregnant women! It doesn’t get any clearer than this.

    • Exactly. The pro vaccine side uses the threat of natural infection to argue that all pregnant mothers should be vaccinated.

      This is the wrong way to look at it. Looking across all pregnant women, a natural infection is rare. Best to handle that by other means.

      However, if we vaccinate every pregnant mother multiple times then we dramatically increase the immune activation events and we will see more damage from immune activation.

      It’s not a primary concern right now for me to research this but one day I’d like to see if there is a correlation between microcephaly in the US and vaccination of pregnant women. The US currently experiences 25,000 cases of microcephaly every year and at some point that was zero or close to zero. What caused the increase?

      “Microcephaly may result from any insult that disturbs early brain growth…Annually, approximately 25,000 infants in the United States will be diagnosed with microcephaly…”

      Practice parameter: Evaluation of the child with microcephaly (an evidence-based review). Neurology, 2009

      • Lori says:

        What’s the source of the 25,000 annually figure? Who’s tracking and reporting rhe prevalence of microcephaly?

      • Don’t know but the paper I link to might say.

      • I am skeptical that vaccines could cause microcephaly. My understanding is that microcephaly is the result of a severe and long term inflammation/infection in the brain, and I think this exceeds what vaccines could do to the developing fetal brain.

      • Here is more from the paper:

        “Microcephaly is an important neurologic sign but there is nonuniformity in its definition and evaluation. Microcephaly may result from any insult that disturbs early brain growth and can be seen in association with hundreds of genetic syndromes. Annually, approximately 25,000 infants in the United States will be diagnosed with microcephaly (head circumference <−2 SD). Few data are available to inform evidence-based recommendations regarding diagnostic testing. The yield of neuroimaging ranges from 43% to 80%. Genetic etiologies have been reported in 15.5% to 53.3%. The prevalence of metabolic disorders is unknown but is estimated to be 1%. Children with severe microcephaly (head circumference <−3 SD) are more likely (∼80%) to have imaging abnormalities and more severe developmental impairments than those with milder microcephaly (−2 to −3 SD; ∼40%). Coexistent conditions include epilepsy (∼40%), cerebral palsy (∼20%), mental retardation (∼50%), and ophthalmologic disorders (∼20% to ∼50%)."

        Given that there is "nonuniformity in its definition and evaluation" (at least in 2009) it seems plausible that either acute or chronic immune activation could play a role. Note esp. the epilepsy.

      • Stumbled across this.

        While reviewing Dr. Ayoub’s aluminum presentation (“Vaccines and Childhood Illnesses: Beyond Thimerosal.”,, he referenced this paper, which dealt with aluminum toxicity in kids with renal insufficiency:

        Progressive encephalopathy in children with chronic renal insufficiency in infancy

        “No patient had been dialyzed, and four had not received aluminum salts prior to the development of neurologic symptoms.” Presumably the others did receive aluminum salts but I haven’t looked at the paper.

        Ayoub reports that 95% of 23 kids experienced developmental delays and 75% of them experienced microcephaly (< 2 SD).

        He further points out that about 20% of autistic kids have microcephaly, almost the same as those with macrocephaly.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Wow. Those are some interesting results.

  12. Jamie M Zeringue says:

    So what to do? Treat the stomach with probiotics, brain inflammation with steroids, and there would be a chance at improvement? Did it help with any sensory issues, would it help with eating issues? These lesions, isn’t that really really really bad. Aren’t those the ones that can rupture and are life threatening if enough rupture at the same time. How do you treat the lesions? Is surgery something considered? What’s the next step? Is anyone going to provide help with medicals. Or they all will just continuing to deny what has happened?

    I know it is a lot of questions, but please answer if you can.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Hi Jamie,

      People find that treatment on a number of different fronts may help. Anti-inflammatory supplements and things that promote gut healing, as well as avoidance of all allergens (which also raise inflammation), reflex integration can also be helpful to reteach the neurological system how it’s supposed to function, and something to support detoxification such as the IonCleanse footbath, as well as therapies to address missed stages of development.

      A lot of this is laid out quite well in a book called Outsmarting Autism by Patricia Lemer. Eating and sensory issues can definitely be affected by all this.

      Most of these lesions are not lethal, but they do disturb brain function. The idea is to reduce the overall level of inflammation in order to help the brain to heal.

  13. Natasha Fourie says:

    Good and well written report.
    But what about children who has never been vaccinated and has autism? Or those that are vaccinated but is not autistic?
    Like my son’s doctor noted: “Never vaccinate a child that is ill or on medication… Recurring infections like Eczema and Allergies present a risk too…Make sure that developmental milestones are within normal limits before vaccinating. One can always postpone vaccinations until a safer time, if there is a doubt about milestones… One can test immunity by doing a blood test…The logical way is to individualize the amount of vaccination a child will be expose to.
    And yes, my son is Autistic and he has had all his vaccinations, but so did I when I was younger and my husband. And neither of us is autistic.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      This post is specifically about how immune activation is involved with autism. That is true for all autism. This immune activation can be caused by vaccination, as will be addressed in the series of posts, but it can also be caused by other things, as explicitly mentioned in the discussion of maternal infection during the prenatal period. As the previous post pointed out, it can also be caused by a more generalized toxicity. When the body cannot rid itself of things it deems to be threats through the usual detoxification channels (e.g. methylation), then the immune system will kick in to try and rid the body of the invaders. This too can result in chronic inflammation.

      In general, children today are vaccinated far more often, far earlier than they were 50 years ago, or even 30 years ago. So they experience vaccine-induced immune activation far more frequently during the time of rapid brain development, when it is most susceptible to the disruption from immune activation. In addition, toxic insults are more prevalent, overwhelming a child’s body’s ability to detoxify.

    • Autism is becoming more accepted as an immune-system mediated disease. Thus anything that disrupts the immune system (like antibiotics) is a contender.

      You very likely got many fewer vaccines than your son.

      A person can become autistic via:
      1. A single shot (if they are highly susceptible) that causes acute inflammation
      2. Multiple shots where the last few tipped the situation into acute inflammation
      3. Multiple shots that caused chronic inflammation.

      The above explanation does not preclude other mechanisms; it’s just a thorough explanation of the immune activation mechanism (though this is beginning to look like the big theory tying everything together).

      The author of Vaccine Papers pointed out the following paper to me to demonstrate how the immune system is the focal point for autism:

      “Together, these findings indicate that the immune system is a point of convergence for multiple ASD-related genetic and environmental risk factors.”

      What do vaccines do? They manipulate the immune system — that’s their job. Specifically, when they activate the immune system to find the pathogen to program antibodies for it, they cause the brain to inflame. In a subset of infants this inflammation is excessive. The brain produces interleukin-6 in response and this causes mice and monkeys to become autistic.

      How we are creating autistic humans is by repeatedly activating their immune systems. The ones that become autistic are the ones who had excessive inflammation and IL-6 production.

    • Hans Scholl says:

      Natasha , how many vaccinations did you and your husband ever take do you think ? The schedule now is anywhere up to 60 vaccines with 200+ in the pipeline .

      The polio vaccine was given to 120 million americans and the CDC has admitted on its own website the vaccine was contaminated with the carcinogen sv40 , and behold we are in the midst of a cancer epidemic .

      The Stephanie Seneff (MIT) projection is by 2030 , 80% of all boys will be autistic , and 50% of all US children . Are you still unsure ?

      We have hidden undeclared ingredients in vaccines (why ? you will have to ask the man – if you can find him) , XMRV , glyphos-hate , HCG , Estradiol , sv40 . Nevermind the known toxins of aluminium salts , themiserol (toxic at nano grams – parts per billion), polysorbate80 , formaldehyde , both animal and human DNA\RNA , unknown viruses of unknown description .

      I dare you to watch the Brian Hooker presentation from 2015 at Autism One .
      He said at that time that the cdc knows exactly on which day of life a child given the MMR will result in the most autistic outcomes .
      Guess which day the cdc recommends children take the MMR on ?

      Vaccines are a horror show – Run for your lives .

  14. Jeff Craig says:

    “Unauthorized” 🙂 …. re: “For decades it has been accepted that the children of women who have an infectious illness (any illness) during pregnancy are much more likely to become autistic or schizophrenic. For many years, this was a well-proven, but mysterious association. Nobody knew why it happened. But it was very clear that something about the infection, or the immune response to it, had a profound, long-term effect on the child’s brain. Infection during pregnancy could cause schizophrenia 20 years later, even though the child appeared perfectly normal.”
    ‘I believe’ (after over 30 years top of the class in several fields including medical and pharmacy) that the deficiencies caused or resulting from insufficient nutrition addresses all of this – and doctors used to treat, prevent and cure “pellagra” with the b-vitamins, right? (before 1950). After 1950 sometime, or there-abouts, “pellagra” was re-named by the drug manufacturers and they officially ‘taught'(owning the medical schools as they did/do) doctors NOT to use the b-vitamins any more – it is no longer medical protocol to cure b-vitamin deficiency with b-vitamins, nor even to test for them, nor EVER to admit it except under very refined or restricted circumstances.

    BTW- I’ve VERY glad to see all the information brought to LIGHT on this site – All thanks be to God the Creator Who Created all things simply! (is is man who messed up!)

  15. Lu says:

    Impressive and surprisingly readable research. Unfortunately, most people base important decisions–such as whether or not to vaccinate, or whom to vote for–on emotion, not reason.

  16. Hans Scholl says:

    Then there is this from the Brainwashing ,Bribery & Corruption Corporation :

    Uganda to jail parents over missed vaccinations

    Parents who fail to vaccinate their children in Uganda will face six months in jail, according to a new law signed by President Yoweri Museveni.

  17. The inflammation caused by immune activation explains why many parents of autistic children report that their child banged their head when they returned from getting their shots and just before they began losing their speech. It also explains why some babies and infants cry for many hours and days after their shots. It’s not pain at the injection site — their brain is inflamed and it hurts mightily.

    For some portion of children, the vaccines activate their immune system more significantly than in other children. The brain either responds with the (generally) pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6 or it arises at the same time as the inflammation. Either way, predisposition to an adverse “inflammation event” means that IL-6 will get produced and IL-6 unequivocally produces autism in mice and monkey models.

    Further, Miller has done some work indicating that multiple vaccines in one visit is not safe, likely because this will produce a large degree of immune activation from high doses of neuro- and immunotoxic aluminum salts. I haven’t looked at the paper yet but others might be interested in assessing it for themselves:

    Combining Childhood Vaccines at One Visit Is Not Safe

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