So yesterday I received yet another packet in the mail for the SEED study. I am telling you, these people are thorough. So thorough that even I think they are thorough, which is really saying something. We scheduled our clinic visit yesterday, which will take place on October 30th and is expected to last 8 hours for John, Nate, and I. I also dropped my 30 pages of questions in the mail this morning- phew. Seriously I learned things about myself filling that sucker out. Anyway, in the new packet was a discreet manilla folder that contained information on an ancillary study to the SEED study. This is pretty common, smaller studies are often "tacked on" to larger ones in order to reach a larger population. Usually it involves something like an extra vial of blood, or an extra assessment, something like that. This one was labeled "Information Packet for SEED II ancillary study: Genetic susceptibility for mercury-induced Immune Dysfunction". Hmmmm......I say hmmmmm. Wasn't it just a few years ago that Mark Geier was being ridiculed for his "false" study about thimersol (a component of mercury) in vaccines causing autism?
So I jumped on my friend Google to see what the latest word on mercury in vaccines is. Here is one article I found.
Following this entry, of course there were about a thousand links saying that vaccines are perfectly safe. I am not here to give my opinion at this moment- I cannot say for certain whether vaccines are a culprit. My personal research study was conducted unwillingly and only had 2 subjects. One of them received a hepatitis B vaccine on day 2 of life and cried for nearly 48 hours straight afterwards. He has Asperger's. The other was developing perfectly normally until 15 months of age, at which point he received a round of vaccines and regressed, then another round at 18 months of age, and regressed even further. He has autism. This is just my observation of my children as a mother. And this could have nothing to do with it (do I believe that? nope). There are so many different factors at play. I have come to believe that it is a combination of genetics and environment. Which is basically what this study is testing right? Genetic susceptibility. I am on board for that! Why else would vaccines and other toxins effect some children so greatly and others not at all? Here is a little information on the study:
Genetic Susceptibility to Mercury-Induced Immune Dysfunction in Autism & ASD
Principal Investigator: Ellen K Silbergeld
Affiliation: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by investigator): The overall goal of this research is to test the hypothesis that there are differences in response to the immunotoxic effects of mercury compounds in humans, and that susceptibility determinants are enriched in families with cases of autism/autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This research is relevant to understanding preventable risk factors for autism/ASD, based upon the hypothesis that mercury compounds by themselves do not cause autism/ASD but may contribute to the risks of autism/ASD through their immunotoxic properties, in combination with genetic susceptibility and co-exposures to other risks, such as infections. Based upon extensive findings of genetically determined susceptibility to mercury immunotoxicity in rats and mice, we hypothesize that there is a range of susceptibility for mercury-induced immunotoxicity in human populations. We specifically hypothesize, based upon the experimental literature by us and others, that individuals within families with multiple cases of autism/ASD, will have heightened responsiveness to the immunotoxic effects of mercury compounds. The eventual goal of this research is to identify candidate genes that influence individual responsiveness to the immunotoxic effects of mercury compounds. In order to accomplish this goal there is a primary need to define the phenotype of mercury-induced immunotoxicity, which is the goal of this project. We will test in vitro responsiveness to mercury in PBMCs obtained from volunteers. Responses will be measured by FACS analysis of cell surface markers and by ELISA measurements of released cytokines. A dose-response curve will be carried out, in vitro, in order to determine the slope for each individual. Replicability will be assessed by repeat measures of the same individuals; method validation will be completed by analysis of a new set of individuals. The overall relevance of the in vitro system will first be tested by comparing PBMCs from men and women (cycling, in the luteal phase). In the second phase, we will test the hypothesis that patients with autism are more susceptible to mercury-induced immunotoxicity by comparing in vitro responses of PBMCs among family trios (autism cases plus parents) with unrelated controls. Accomplishing the goals of this project will be the first stage in developing a broader study of gene-environment interactions in autism, as well as a targeted search for candidate genes related to mercury susceptibility in humans.
Funding Period: 2006-08-01 - 2010-07-31
more information: NIH RePORT
So the Hopper wants to tackle this? I say have at it! But I damned well better get the results of that test!