Thimerosal in Childhood Vaccines Increases Risk of Autism-Like Damage

A new study indicates that exposure to thimerosal, a mercury preservative commonly used in a number of childhood vaccines, can lead to the development of autism-like damage in autoimmune-disease-susceptible mice. This is the first animal model to show that low-dose mercury can lead to behavioral and neurological changes in the developing brain. It reinforces previous studies that have shown genetic factors and environmental triggers appear to affect autism risk. Researchers say cumulative mercury exposure through other sources, including in utero exposures to mercury in fish or vaccines, may also lead to damage. The researchers found the autoimmune-disease-susceptible mice with thimerosal exposure had many features of autism spectrum disorders, including:

  • Abnormal response to novel environments
  • Behavioral impoverishment (limited range of behaviors and decreased exploration of environment)
  • Significant abnormalities in brain architecture, affecting areas subserving emotion and cognition
  • Increased brain size

I highly recommend you read more on the link between autism and vaccines before deciding whether to vaccinate your infants.

Molecular Psychiatry June 8, 2004

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