Book Review – The Age of Autism

age of autism

Whilst on holiday, I read The Age of Autism, which was a gripping read  (see also here).  Whilst not related to homeopathy, it is a wonderful piece of investigative journalism, and is excellently written.

I think that the link between mercury and autism is so obvious as to be like the most giant elephant in the tiniest of rooms.  Luckily for the drug companies, mercury is a slippery devil, and really won’t be pinned down in any easy way.  When you read this book, you are left with an overriding certainty that heavy metals, and in particular mercury, is implicated in the huge rise in ASD in the past 50 years.  What is slightly more baffling is the utter reluctance of the medical and research profession in joining these dots.  They seem to have immense difficulty with cumulative cause and effect.  It is as if they are being blinded by their own reductionism.  It’s not just ‘vaccines cause autism’.  Nothing like that simple.  There are so many causative factors, and we are probably talking about cumulative toxic loads combined with inherited liver weakness, or livers compromised from inutero exposure.  For my money, some interesting variables to investigate are as follows:

  • toxicity of the mother (and general health of mother during pregnancy: any dental work, number of amalgams, vaccines, other medications etc.)
  • use of antibiotics and other drugs in the infant in combination with vaccines
  • overloaded vaccination schedule at time of critical brain development
  • age of mother (older mothers I believe are generally more toxic, so could be more likely to have autistic children)
  • undermethylation in the liver (inherited factors or at least compromised liver function due to in-utero toxicity)

If you were to start to do some statistical analysis on these kinds of variables, I believe you would start to see clear patterns. Unfortunately so great is the paranoia of the drug companies that they will be ‘found out’, no one is really interested in funding this kind of investigate research.

To once again state the obvious – mercury is a neurotoxin.  It has no place in medicine, in food, or anything that comes into contact with a human being.  In my mind, there is no ‘safe’ amount.  There are some people who cope better than others with exposure, but it is still no good for anyone.

I also just wanted to mention Andrew Wakefield.  All I can say is, bravo to this man for the bravery of actually practising medicine in an observational and rational way.  If there were more doctors like him in the world, there would probably be more progress in the otherwise stagnant study of autism.  It makes me cringe to think of the waste of money and time that has gone into trying to find ‘genetic causes’ of autism.  I found myself shaking my head in disbelief repeatedly whilst reading The Age of Autism.  How could they be so incapable of seeing what was right under their noses?  You’ll forgive me if I find ‘scientific theory’ wanting.

One last thing. All the way through reading this book, I noticed my internal resistance to current classification of diseases, as if they are ‘things’ just because someone named them.  I know it’s somewhat helpful to classify things by symptom sets, but unless it denotes cause, it’s really not all that useful.  They are just names.  If you said ‘that child has mercury poisoning’, rather than ‘that child has austism’, you might get further in understanding how to help and treat them.

I am not yet sure that mercury is implicated in every case of autism – time, and more clinical practice will answer that question for me.  It does seem compelling though that autism only started to appear in medical literature in a few cases where the parents were exposed to mercury in a very atypical way.  In addition, the evidence from the population of unvaccinated amish where there were no cases of autism until one child was vaccinated against the parent’s wishes is another very strong piece of evidence.  The appearance of autism in children who are not vaccinated is used as golden evidence against vaccination as a cause, but without considering the possible transference of mercury from mother to child in utero.

I feel that all knowledge is useful when trying to understand and unravel the autistic picture.  This book is just another piece of a very complex jigsaw.



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