New Insights into the Underlying Biochemistry of Autism: The Mercury-Vaccine Connection

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New Insights into the Underlying Biochemistry of Autism: The Mercury-Vaccine Connection
Mark R. Geier, MD, PhD, FABMG, FACE
Founder & Medical Director ASD Centers, LLC website: Phone: (301)989-0548 Email:
David A. Geier
Executive Director ASD Centers, LLC
Copyright 2009
1 out of 6 children are diagnosed with a developmental disorder and/or behavioral disorder 1 in 166 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder
Mercury Exposure Background Information
Thimerosal & Vaccines:

Thimerosal is an organic mercury compound (50% mercury be weight) that is metabolized to ethylmercury and thiosalicylate and has been present since the 1930s as a preservative in some vaccines and pharmaceutical products to prevent bacterial and fungal contamination. The FDA in 1999, under the recommended childhood immunization schedule, determined infants might be exposed to cumulative doses of ethylmercury that exceed some federal safety guidelines established for exposure to methylmercury, another form of organic mercury.

National Toxicology Program (NTP) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Statement on Thimerosal * They state that among the synonyms of thimerosal is merthiolate. * They report in their toxicity evaluation of thimerosal, “Poison by ingestion, subcutaneous, intravenous and possibly other routes. An experimental neoplastigen and teratogen. Experimental reproductive effects.” * They report that among the symptoms of thimerosal exposure include mental retardation in children, loss of coordination in speech, writing, and gait, stupor, and irritability and bad temper progressing to mania.
Study Supported by NIH, US Public Health Service, and FDA 1977
The Dose, Makes the Poison:
Late 1980s to Early 2000s:
• Rh-negative mothers were routinely administered Thimerosal containing Rho(D)-immune globulins at 28 weeks gestation (10.5 to in some instances more than 40 µg mercury per dose). Infants may have been exposed a total of 237.5 µg mercury during the first 18-24 months of life, if all Thimerosal-containing vaccines were administered.

Early 2000s – Present:
• • • All pregnant women to receive flu vaccine anytime during pregnancy (25 µg mercury / dose). Infants to receive 3 flu vaccines during first 18-24 months of life (12.5 µg mercury / dose) = 37.5 µg mercury. Children from 3 years-old through 18 years-old are to receive yearly flu vaccines (25 µg mercury / dose) = 375 µg mercury.
Thimerosal (Mercury) Doses** Infants Received:
Source: Bigham M, Copes R. “Thiomersal in vaccines: balancing the risk of adverse effects with the risk of vaccine-preventable disease,” Drug Saf, 2005;28:89-101.
** Assuming an infant receiving 187.5 μg of mercury from Thimerosalcontaining vaccines during the first 6 months of life from the routine childhood vaccination schedule, in combination with environmental exposure from mercury in breast milk (164 μg of mercury).
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The Journal of Laboratory & Clinical Medicine 1932
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Heyworth MF, Truelove SC. Problems associated with the use of merthiolate as a preservative in antilymphocytic globulin. Toxicology 1979;12:325-333.
“For many years, merthiolate has been known to have antimicrobial activity. When it was first introduced as an anti-microbial preservative, little information about the fundamental biological effects of organic mercury compounds was available. We would like to suggest that merthiolate should now be regarded as an inappropriate preservative for anti-lymphocytic globulin preparations and other materials which are indented for administration to human subjects.”
Kravchenko AT, Dzagurov SG, Chervonskaia GP. Evaluation of the toxic action of prophylactic and therapeutic preparations on cells cultures. Communication III. Revealing the toxic properties of medical biological preparations from the degree of cell damage in continuous cell line L132. Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol 1983;3:87-92. “Thus thimerosal, commonly used as a preservative, has been found not only to render its primary toxic effect, but also capable of changing the properties of cells. This fact suggests that the use of thimerosal for the preservation of medical biological preparations, especially those intended for children, is inadmissible.”
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Seal D, Ficker L, Wright P, et al. The case against thimerosal. Lancet 1991;338:315-316.
“Thimerosal is a weak antibacterial agent that is rapidly broken down to products, including ethylmercury residues, which are neurotoxic. Its role as a preservative in vaccines has been questioned, and the pharmaceutical industry itself considers its use as historical.”

“Therefore, to examine the autism as mercury poisoning hypothesis, this paper reviews the existing scientific literature within the context of established epidemiological criteria and finds that the evidence for a causal relationship is compelling.” “Analogous to epidemiological evidence of the smoking–lung cancer relationship, a mercury–autism relationship is confirmed.” “Therefore, given the severity, devastating lifelong impact and extremely high prevalence of autism, it would be negligent to continue to expose pregnant and nursing mothers and infant children to any amount of avoidable mercury.”
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Increased Mercury Exposure in Autistic Disorders
The Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) Thimerosal Dose-Response Studies
CDC Internal VSD-Thimerosal Studies
Simpsonwood Meeting (7-8 June 2000) in Norcross, GA where the findings of the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) analysis showing a link between Thimerosal-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental outcomes were discussed in a closed meeting by employees from the CDC, FDA, & the vaccine manufacturers.
Dr. Brenier: Page 113: “We have asked you to keep this information confidential…” Dr. Johnston: Page 198: “Forgive this personal comment, but I got called out a eight o’clock emergency call and my daughter-in-law delivered a son by CSection. Our first male in the line of the next generation, and I do not want that grandson to get a thimerosal containing vaccine” Dr. Weil: Page 207: “The number of dose related relationships are linear and statistically significant. You can play with this all you want. They are linear. They are statistically significant. The positive relationships are those that one might expect from the Faeroe Islands studies. They are also related to those data we do have on experimental animal data and similar to the neurodevelopmental tox data on other substances, so that I think you can’t accept that this is out of the ordinary. It isn’t out of the ordinary. ” Dr. Brent: Page 229: “…we are in a bad position from the standpoint of defending lawsuits if they were
want to risk offending everyone in the room by saying that perhaps this study should not have been done at all, because the outcome of it could have to some extent, been predicted, and we have all reached this point now where we are left hanging…” “…But nonetheless, we know from many experiences in history that the pure scientist has done research because of pure science. But that pure science has resulted in splitting the atom or some other process which is completely beyond the power of the scientists who did the research to control it. And what we have here is people who have, for every best reason in the world, pursued a direction of research. But there is now the point at which the research results have to be handled, and even if this committee decides that there is no association and that information gets out, the work that has been done and through the freedom of information that will be taken by others and will be used in ways beyond the control of this group. An I am very concerned about that as I suspect it is already too late to do anything regardless of any professional body and what they say. My mandate as I sit here in this group is to make
“I feel we should use sound scientific argumentation and not let our standards be dictated by our desire to disprove an unpleasant theory.”
Increased Mercury Body-Burden in Autistic Disorders: A Clinical Perspective
** There was a significant increase in the brain concentration of the Hg / Se ratio in autistics vs controls. ** There was a significant increased in brain oxidative stress markers in autistics vs controls. ** There was a significant correlation between brain mercury concentrations and oxidative stress markers in autistics vs controls.
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Examined the urinary porphyrin profiles of Australian children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). A consistent trend in abnormal porphyrin levels was evidenced when data was compared with those previously reported in the literature. Three independent studies from three continents have now demonstrated that significantly increased urinary porphyrins are associated with ASDs, and that mercury may be likely to produce the porphyrin profiles observed.
Low Glutathione in Autistic Disorders
** Mercury Excretion is Directly Related to Glutathione Secretion
Source: Clarkson TW, Nordberg GF, Sager PR. Reproductive and developmental toxicity of metals. Scan J Work Environ Health 1985;11:145-54.
Biochemical Markers in Autistics:
Sourece: James SJ, et al. Metabolic biomarkers of increased oxidative stress and impaired methylation capacity in children with autism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Dec;80(6):1611-7.
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Visual Evidence of Thimerosal Induced Human Neuron Damage
Human Neuroblastoma Cells 24 Hrs Incubation No Thimerosal
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Human Neuroblastoma Cells 24 Hrs Incubation 100 nM Thimerosal [20 ppb Mercury]
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Mercury & Testosterone Toxicity

“Our results demonstrate that a significant difference in the [maximum tolerated dose] MTD of Thimerosal depending upon whether the test animal is male or female is, thus, an important finding.” “Thus, Thimerosal has a 3-fold increased toxicity in males compared to females.“ “As autism occurs much more frequently in males than in females, our findings may relate to a potential selectivity of Thimerosal for toxic effects in some male children...”
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Animal Model of Thimerosal Induced Autism: Hornig M, Chian D, Lipkin WI. Neurotoxic Effects of Postnatal
Thimerosal are Mouse Strain Dependent. Mol Psychiatry 2004;9:833-45.
Jerome L and Dawn Greene Infectious Disease Laboratory, Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
The researchers administered thimerosal to mice mimicking the United States’ routine childhood immunization schedule (i.e. dose and timing, adjusted). The researchers demonstrated a genetically-susceptible mouse strain developed physical, psychological, and pathological symptoms similar to autism, including: growth delay, reduced locomotion, exaggerated response to novelty, increased brain size, decreased numbers of Purkinje cells, significant abnormalities in brain architecture, affecting areas sub-serving emotion and cognition, and densely packed hyperchromic hippocampal neurons with altered glutamate receptors and transporters.
Mercury in Medicine – Taking Unnecessary Risks
A report prepared by the staff of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness, Committee on Government Reform Unites States House of Representatives Chairman Dan Burton May 2003
“However, the Committee upon a thorough review of the scientific literature and internal documents from government and industry did find evidence that thimerosal did pose a risk. Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is likely related to the autism epidemic. This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding the lack of safety data regarding injected thimerosal and the sharp rise of infant exposure to this known neurotoxin. Our public health agencies’ failure to act is indicative of institutional malfeasance for selfprotection and misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry.”