DPT vaccine and causes of autism
DPT vaccine risks of vaccinating children at an early age
combined diphtheria pertussis whooping cough vaccine (DPT)

Vaccines: the DPT Vaccine, the DPT Vaccine and Brain Damage, the DPT Vaccine and Autism

For ease of navigation and reference in this very comprehensive and extensive section on vaccines we are posting the "Quick Index on Vaccines" for the entire contents at the beginning of each page.

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Quick Index of Vaccine Information

risks of childhood immunization practices

autism linked to vaccines

The DPT Vaccine and Brain Damage

In 1948, Randolph Byers and Frederick Moll , of Harvard Medical School and the Federal Drug Administration, carried out tests on DPT vaccines at Children's Hospital in Boston and concluded that severe neurological problems could follow the administration of DPT vaccines. The results of the tests were published in Pediatrics.

In 1976, Dr. Charles Manclark, an FDA scientist, remarked that "the DPT vaccine had one of the worst failure rates of any product submitted to the Division of Biologics for testing."

According to the testimony of the Assistant Secretary of Health, Edward Grant, Jr., before a U.S. Senate Committee on May 3rd, 1985, every year, 35,000 children suffer neurological damage related to the DTP vaccine. An even more recent figure on the reaction to the DTP vaccine indicates that 1 in every 100 children react with convulsions or collapse or high-pitched screaming and that one out of every 3 of these, that is 1 out of every 300 will remain permanently damaged. For more information, See Alex Logia's Treatise on "Vaccinations"

Like the material used to produce experimental allergic encephalitis, vaccines contain substances which qualify as "adjuvants." These substances initiate reactionary antibody formation. Common adjuvants used in vaccines are aluminum hydroxide and aluminum potassium sulfate. In the body, formalin coating around the injected material dissolves, releasing all bacterial and viral particles from animal culture sources. Substances such as thimerosal and these other adjuvant chemicals irritate body tissues and increase the action of accompanying bacteria and viruses, as well as the reaction of the immune system to the foreign protein antigens, potentially damaging neurological membranes where the myelin sheath has only partially protected the nervous system. This can result in mild to severe neurological damage, leading to learning disabilities and other nervous system disorders, or death, especially upon subsequent injections, since body has already been sensitized, promoting allergic reactions of increasingly severe nature.

Dr. Charles M. Poser has drawn the link between the vaccines and demyelination: "Almost any... vaccine can lead to a non infectious inflammatory reaction involving the nervous system".1 Jonas Salk, the developer of the vaccine, wrote in 1975, "Live virus vaccines against influenza or poliomyelitis may in each instance produce the disease it intended to prevent . . . . the live virus against measles and mumps may produce such side effects as encephalitis."2

Post-vaccinal pathology of the central nervous system (CNS) is a topic deserving further investigation. Observation of 30 patients of Italian nationality, between April, 1994, and October, 1995, showed that clinical signs of CNS pathology, along with associated dermatitis, food allergies, constipation, and leaking from the anus, emerged concomitantly or immediately after vaccination with the Salk or Sabin polio vaccine, DT, measles, DPT, anti-tuberculosis, or Hepatitis-B vaccines.

These 30 patients from various regions of Italy, all presented with a clinical history of convulsions concomitant with, or immediately after, vaccinations. Patients whose clinical history was not referable to a vaccination were excluded from the study. Accepted patients received tissue typing for HLA (A, B, C) and HLA DR-DQ. Various immune functions: were also studied, including lymphocyte sub-populations, serum immunoglobulin content, and presence of antibodies to specific viruses (CMV, EBV, HSV-1 and HSV-2, VZV).

Patients had earlier been diagnosed with epilepsy, myoclonic epilepsy, evolving epilepsy, epileptigenic encephalopathy, autism, West Syndrome, and Angelman's Syndrome. All the patients had presented with the first symptoms shortly after receiving a vaccination.

The first symptoms were convulsions, high fever, or diarrhea immediately following vaccination. The parents had told their physicians about this; then, after taking EEGs and visiting neuropsychiatric specialists or pediatricians without conclusion, the physicians had administered the recall shots of the vaccines leading to stabilization of the condition with progressive clinical deterioration.

Children were 3 to 9 months old. All patients were studied for the presence of metabolic diseases with negative results; then chromosomal mapping was done, also with negative results; encephalic TAC and RMN were performed at first appearance of the symptomatology, also with negative results.

The EEG performed at first appearance of the symptomatology gave a negative result in 92%of the patients. Serologic investigations for herpetic virus (IgG and IgM) were positive in all for IgG and negative for all for IgM, leading to an estimate of seropositivity (IgG) for Epstein-Barr virus of 73.8%; for cytomegalovirus, of 71.4%; for Herpes Simplex virus, of 47.6%; and for Varicella-Zoster Virus of 21.4%. In all the patients they observed diminished sideremia and a deficit of IgA and IgG with a slight increase of SGOT and SGPT. None of the patients had maternally transmitted viral encephalopathy, and in all the patients the vegetative and relational life was quite normal prior to administration of the first dose of vaccine.

Studies on neurological disorders following vaccination led the authors to remark, "A study of the disease associated with genes of the HLA system has showed that this genetic complex can be responsible for a particular genetic susceptibility, predisposing to various diseases characterized predominantly by immune-system pathogenesis..."3 and initiated by vaccines.

Cavanagh, et al4 reported the clinical and laboratory data for three children with severe neurological sequelae after either infection with Bordetella pertussis or immunization with diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine and oral polio vaccine. Each of these patients had had a recent or concurrent viral illness. The severity of their encephalopathic illness may have been due to an adjuvant role of B. pertussis or a component of the vaccines they received.

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The DPT Vaccine and Autism

Autism spectrum disorders increased from 1 in 10,000 in 1978 to 1 in 300 in some US communities in 1999. As of February 2007, approximately 1 in 150 children—representing various communities in the United States—have an autism spectrum disorder, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention working group. Known as the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, it includes researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and 12 additional institutions. See, CDC Releases New Data on the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders: First and Largest Multi-site Study Provides Baseline for Future Comparisons.

Megson5 proposed that autism is linked to the disruption of the G-alpha protein, affecting retinoid receptors in the brain. A study of sixty autistic children suggested that autism could be caused by inserting a G-alpha protein defect, particularly the pertussis toxin found in the DPT vaccine, into genetically at-risk children. This toxin separates the G-alpha protein from retinoid receptors. Those most at risk report a family history of at least one parent with a pre-existing G-alpha protein defect, including night blindness, pseudohypoparathyroidism, or adenoma of the thyroid and/or pituitary gland.

Megson proposed that natural vitamin A could reconnect the retinoid receptors critical for vision, sensory perception, language processing and attention.

Megson proposed that treating autistic children with natural cis - forms of Vitamin A could have the effect of reconnecting the hippocampal retinoid receptor pathways, critical for vision, sensory perception, language processing and attention.

Megson noted that many autistic children needed natural, unsaturated cis forms of Vitamin A found in sources such as cold water fish (salmon, or cod liver), kidney, and milk fat, foods not commonly available in the modern diet. Instead, children depend on Vitamin A Palmitate, found in commercial infant formula and low fat milk. Unfortunately, absorption of Vitamin A Palmitate requires an intact gut mucosal microvilli surface at the right pH, in the presence of bile for metabolism. Since many autistic children already had damaged mucosal surfaces due to unrecognized wheat allergy or intolerances, their capacity to absorb vitamin A is questionable.

Megson also argued that live viral measles vaccine depleted children of their existing supply of Vitamin A, negatively impacting retinoid receptors. Natural Vitamin A, in the cis form, is important for activation of T and B cells for long-term immune memory. Measles, mumps and rubella titers are either significantly elevated or negative, in spite of one or two doses of the vaccine given to many of these children. Fish oils contain one retinoid metabolite, alpha 14 hydroxyretroretinol that has a role in T-cell activation, vision and growth of lymphoblasts.

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The DPT Vaccine and Vaccine-Induced Neuropathies

Among 16 of 28 children with severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy (57.15%), the first seizure appeared after a DPT vaccination, frequently the second.6 Among these children there were no prenatal or perinatal antecedents thought to contribute to seizures. Familial antecedents existed for epilepsy in nine cases and for febrile convulsions in six cases. The authors suggested the existence of a constitutional factor or genetic predisposition that interacts with an immunological disorder or a multifocal cortical microdysgenesis, possibly triggered by toxic-allergic factors present in the DPT vaccine.

Additional insights into vaccine-induced neuropathies can be found at:

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  1. Bentsi-Enchill A. Adverse events after hepatitis B vaccination. Can Med Assoc J 1992; 147: 1023-6.
  2. Dobson S, Scheifele D, Bell A. Assessment of a universal, school-based hepatitis B vaccination program. J Am Med Assoc 1995; 274: 1209-13.
  3. Montinari M. Role of Immunogenetics in the Diagnosis of Postvaccinal CNS Pathology, Department of Pediatric Surgery, University of Bari, Italy, presented May 9, 1996.
  4. Cavanagh NP, Brett EM, Marshall WC, Wilson J. The possible adjuvant role of bordetella pertussis and pertussis vaccine in causing severe encephalopathic illness: a presentation of three case histories.
  5. Megson MN. Is autism a G-alpha protein defect reversible with natural vitamin A?
  6. Nieto-Barrera M, Lillo MM, Rodriguez-Collado C, Candau R, Correa A. Seizures after DPT Vaccination. Rev Neurol 2000 Apr 1-15;30(7):620-4.

Written and overseen by Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Psychiatry
Department of Family Medicine / University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine


Coordinator for Integrative Psychiatry and System Medicine
Program in Integrative Medicine / University of Arizona College of Medicine

Clinical Program Director, Continuum Center for Health and Healing,
Beth Israel Hospital / Albert Einstein School of Medicine

Medical Director
Center for Complementary Medicine / University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

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