The vaccine hypothesis was bolstered recently by a five-year study in monkeys who were given the same vaccinations that American children are routinely given. Last week, Dr Laura Hewitson, a specialist in obstetrics, gynaecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, told the International Meeting for Autism Research in London that in the double-blind placebo-controlled study, 13 vaccinated animals showed increased aggression, impaired cognitive skills and developmental delay. The three unvaccinated animals in the study developed normally.
"There was a significant difference between the two groups," said Hewitson. "The vaccinated group had trouble developing reflexes?… They also became more insular and more aggressive. There was an increase in aggressive behaviour after they had their MMR vaccines, and they stopped exploring their surroundings as much."
Abnormal brain activity was found in the monkeys, and higher sensitivity to a naturally occurring brain chemical linked to sleeplessness, hallucinations, lack of social skills and a high pain threshold - all symptoms found in children on the autistic spectrum. The monkeys also exhibited abnormalities of the amygdala, the part of the brain which regulates emotions.
"We can't conclude that vaccines cause autism from this study," said Hewitson, "What we can conclude is that the vaccinated monkeys showed significant negative behavioural differences before and after the MMR."
Certainly autism appears to have increased dramatically. In the early Nineties prevalence in the UK was put at four or five per 10,000. In 2006, The Lancet put it at one in 86 and, last year, Cambridge University's Autism Research Centre estimated that some 210,000 children - one in 58 - suffer from an autistic spectrum disorder.
HT: Vox Day