Autism Symptoms In Mice Linked To Vaccine Ingredient: Study
June 09, 2004
Source: Health Talk
A new study links a mercury-based preservative in some vaccines to autism symptoms in lab mice. It's fueling the debate over the possible connection between childhood exposure to vaccine ingredients and autism.
Researchers at Columbia University in the US found mice exposed to thimerosal displayed damage to their brains similar to autism.
Lead researcher, Dr. Mady Hornig said, "Identifying the connection is extremely exciting because it enables us to intervene and limit that exposure in a specific population".
Researchers found lab mice exposed to the mercury-based preservative thimerosal, displayed brain abnormalities, growth delay; reduced locomotion; exaggerated response to novelty; and densely packed, hyperchromic hippocampal neurons with altered glutamate receptors and transporters.
The authors of the study wrote "These findings implicate genetic influences and provide a model for investigating thimerosal-related neurotoxicity".
The study is published in the Journal, Molecular Psychology.
Autism, the most common of the pervasive developmental disorders (with a prevalence of 10 to 12 children per 10,000), is characterized by severely compromised ability to engage in, and by a lack of interest in, social interactions. It has roots in both structural brain abnormalities and genetic predispositions, according to family studies and studies of brain anatomy. The search for genes that predispose to autism is considered an extremely high research priority for the National Institute of Mental Health. Although the reported association between autism and obstetrical hazard may be due to genetic factors, there is evidence that several different causes of toxic or infectious damage to the central nervous system during early development also may contribute to autism. Autism has been reported in children with fetal alcohol syndrome, in children who were infected with rubella during pregnancy , and in children whose mothers took a variety of medications that are known to damage the fetus.