Does Mitochondrial Disease and Autism Always Go Together?
10 years ago when I had my son, there was no talk of autism, or mitochondrial disease and autism. By the time my son was three years old there was a hushed conversation about it in the back pages of journals and magazines. This is not to say it wasn’t out there, but it wasn’t talked about as it is today. As the conversation grew louder at home it was also gaining its breath in the media and medical circles. Families were starting to pay attention and notice when their child began to have problems, and to chart their progress or regressions. People who had everything to lose and nothing to gain were coming forward to speak out about autism, and divulging information they had learned. One such person was Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who spoke out in 2005 and again in 2010. He had come forward to share with the world, information about thimerosal the mercury preservative in vaccines and its effects on the brain.
Although the U.S. federal government and agencies have found no proven link between vaccines and autism, autism has grown leaps and bounds right alongside the increase in the number of vaccines given to children under the age of 2. It rose from 3 vaccinations in 1988 with the rate of autism 1 in 2,500, rising to 22 or more vaccinations that can be administered to children under the age of 6 in 2010, with a new rate of autism reaching 1 in 112.
Scientists are now finding that of autistic children tested, as many as 20% have some type of mitochondrial disease. Mitochondrial disease is currently affecting 1 in 4,000 people. Doctors and medical scientists are beginning to wonder, do these particular kids have autism or just autistic traits accompanying their mitochondrial disease?
What are the Connections Between Vaccines, Mitochondrial Disease and Autism?
Although there is no “official” connection between vaccines and autism, Jon and Terry Poling, on behalf of their daughter, Hannah went to federal vaccine court to plead her case. She had received a total of nine vaccines in a single day at age 19 months, and began to regress in language and motor skills. Hannah also ran a very high fever after getting these vaccines with thimerosal. She soon developed autistic traits. She will have to be cared for, for the rest of her life, because of her new illness.
It was later discovered that Hannah had an underlying mitochondrial disease. She was a healthy normal girl prior to her vaccinations. Her parents and doctor never suspected anything wrong with her.
The federal courts awarded her the money saying it was “compensation for injury possibly caused by a vaccine-mediated aggravation of an underlying metabolic dysfunction”. They did so without even taking it to court. The settlement was not a small amount either, as should be noted. Hannah received $1 million in a lump sum and $500,000.00 a year for her continual care.
One has to ask the question, how did a seemingly normal child become so ill. The courts made the connection between the vaccinations, and this girl Hannah’s regression to a deep state of clinical autistic traits. There is a resounding question of why? Why did she all of a sudden have mitochondrial disease, why all of a sudden did she have autistic traits so bad she requires constant care? Why was the court so eager to settle this case without a trial?
Finding Possible Answers
I began looking for answers. In my search I came across information on a type of mitochondrial disease that is “sporadic”. This is where poorly functioning mitochondria become diseased. This is not inherited; So, what causes this sporadic or “poor” mitochondrial disease? “Exposures to toxins or virus”is one cause, says the Cleveland Clinic, a leading authority on the subject.
Could this be what happened to Hannah Poling?
The government said she had a "single nucleotide change" in the mitochondrial gene T2387C, implying she had mitochondrial disease before her vaccinations.
But all this made me think about how other drugs have been reported to adversely affect the mitochondria.
Research groups have found that drugs like AZT that people with AIDS take, actually delete mitochondrial DNA information.
It begs the question that if it is possible for a drug to directly affect our mitochondria, as is stated by the Cleveland Clinic, what is in vaccines that would do such a thing to a person’s mitochondria?
Research published in the journal Genes and Immunity in 2002 stated that thimerosal induces apoptosis in T cells via a mitochondrial pathway by inducing oxidative stress and depletion of GSH. More research needs to be done in this area, but this was a significant finding.
Although the link between mitochondrial disease and autism has not been conclusively established despite many studies, research is ongoing.
This post is part of the series: Autism-Educate,Prevent, & Cure-Love those with autism.
- Overcoming Autism Spectrum Disorder Challenges
- How to Choose Gifts for a Child with Asperger’s
- Relationships Between Vaccines, Mitochondrial Disease and Autism
- How to Behave Around a Person with Autism-Do’s and Don’ts