Why Wakefield and the MMR story is only partially true at best
Thanks to a number of ‘modern world’ factors, the gut microbiome of children is damaged like no generation before. Damaged from before birth, damaged during birth, damaged after birth. And by the time the MMR vaccine comes along, it is little more than the ‘coup de grace’ for these children.
Autism and the gut
A lot is now understood about autism.
Kids with autism often have severe gut problems – for example, they are twice as likely as children with other types of disorders to have frequent diarrhoea or colitis, an inflammation of the large intestine. GI problems are frequent anyway in children with autism; pain and constipation are more common.
A study(1) by Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and Jin Gyoon of Arizona State’s Biodesign Unit researchers showed that kids with autism had a greatly reduced spectrum of gut bacteria. One in particular, Prevotella, was missing completely.
Research studies (and there are many) have clearly indicated that poor levels of gut bacteria can trigger inflammation which reaches the brain.
Many children nowadays have a damaged gut microbiome
So how does damage (typically a lowered volume and lowered diversity of commensal or ‘good’ bacteria) occur in the infant gut?
A healthy baby picks up bacteria largely in three ways
1. By passing through the birth canal
2. By being breast fed
3. By bacteria from mother’s illness: Surprisingly, the womb is not inert and bacteria have also been shown to be picked up from, for example, type-2 diabetic mothers.
So, it is likely that there is a matrix of factors causing lowered commensal bacteria and heightened pathogens – for example,
i. Babies born to mothers with abnormal vaginal bacteria (due to drugs, prescribed or otherwise, or even stress). One study showed that expectant mothers who had taken antibiotics in the year before conceiving had babies with less commensal bacteria.
ii. Babies born by Caesarian clearly have less ‘good’ guys.
iii. Children having antibiotics early in life have damage.
iv. Babies not breast fed.
v. Babies born to mothers who are ‘ill’.
So these factors and more can leave young children with less good guys and more pathogens, especially since the prime bacteria gained from a healthy mother who is breast feeding are strains of Bifidobacterium and these are very strong in their control of pathogens in the first 6 to 12 months of life.
Gut bacteria ‘control’ your immune system
Your gut bacteria control 85 per cent of your immune system and immune memory. This happens through an ‘action and reaction’ system. A child touches the dog and then sucks her fingers immediately introducing new bacteria into the body. There’s a reaction, and new ‘tailored’ white cells are made, providing protection for life, if the invaders stick around.
Gut bacteria control your mental state
And we also know that changes in the gut affect the brain. In Cell, Dec 19th, 2013, University of Colorado Boulder Professor Rob Knight commented on the first study from a group of American researchers in the newly formed Autism Microbiome Consortium, saying, “This study strengthens the scientific understanding that what goes on in your gut affects what goes on in your brain”.
They induced autism symptoms in mice, which were greatly reduced when the mice were fed the bacterium Bacteriodes fragilis. Researchers found that levels of 4-ethylphenylsulfate were 46 fold heightened in mice with autism-like symptoms but Bacteriodes fragilis reduced these levels to normal.
The clash between gut bacteria and vaccines
Your protective white cells largely form in response to invasive gut bacteria. The obvious question then is, ‘so what is the relationship with vaccines which are also basically designed to prompt an immune reaction?’
The skeptics point to the dangers of introducing foreign DNA and RNA contained in vaccines into your body, especially now we understand what it can do in the microbiome. We already know, for example, that certain Japanese island fishermen have taken DNA into their own DNA over the years from the sea kelp they have consumed.
We are also clear on the potential damage of carriers such as Thimerosal, (mercury), and other sometime ingredients like formaldehyde, aluminium, MSG, methanol, antibiotics and even nagalase. No one can possibly say these have no effect. Even the American Government does not claim vaccines are 100 per cent safe, as we told you in the Previous article ‘The Truth about Vaccines’.
Vaccinations have a greatly reduced effect with strong microbiomes
A big clue to the relationship between vaccines and the strength of the gut microbiome lies with vaccination in the African Continent. There, children can have very strong microbiomes and often vaccination is being shown to fail. The strong microbiome ‘deals’ with the intruder pathogen!
In a 2011 paper(2), researchers from Canada noted that clinical trials showed oral vaccines against polio, rotavirus and cholera had less efficacy and blunted immune response with individuals in developing nations. In these cases, they stated, the individuals have greater gut bacteria diversity than individuals in the developed world and those ‘defences’ don’t just deal with illnesses, they deal with the vaccine components too.
In 2013, studies(3,4) resulting from a collaborative effort between the University of Maryland School of Medicine Institute for Genome Sciences and the Center for Vaccine Development backed this up.
The first study examined the impact of an oral typhoid vaccination on the gut bacteria; the second looked at the impact of vaccines against Shigella, but this time in monkeys. And a third study looked into what happens when the gut bacteria are exposed to wild-type Shigella, which as with S. Typhi, gain access to the body orally (PLOS ONE).
The first conclusion was that the magnitude of the natural immune response depended on the existing diversity of gut bacteria. The more diverse the existing gut bacteria, the greater the resistance to infection by wild type Shigella. No surprises there really.
But the greater the diversity of gut bacteria, the more the characteristics and magnitude of the immune responses to the vaccines were too.
“Our research raises the intriguing possibility that the gut microbiota may play an important role in response to vaccines and susceptibility to enteric pathogens, or bacteria that affect the intestinal tract,” stated Claire M. Fraser, PhD, professor of the Departments of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology and director of the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The other study analysed what happened to the human gut microbiota when an oral typhoid vaccination using Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi) was given. Sure enough, the gut bacteria were affected; and it seems that the more diverse the microbiome members, the stronger the immune responses against the vaccine.
So does MMR cause autism?
There is far, far more in my book, ‘Heal your gut, heal your body’, but it is clear that a weakened microbiome and a loss of commensal bacteria is the major factor in autism.
Sure, vaccines don’t help. To put this in context, a child in America, if the Government CDC recommendations are followed to the letter, will receive 49 doses of vaccines in 14 shots by the age of six. By the age of 18 this reaches 69 doses in 16 shots.
And this is the problem. It is a huge load on an already imperfect microbiome.
Clearly there are factors in MMR vaccines which are toxic to a child’s gut bacteria anyway. And the genetic material in MMR is classified as live/attenuated. So it’s not a truly ‘safe’ vaccine.
But if the gut microbiome of the child was perfect and 100 per cent strong would the MMR vaccination have any negative effect at all? I doubt it very much, as the studies from Africa suggest. I’d be far more worried about the over-use of antibiotics on the very young.
Ref 1: Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, Jin Gyoon; PLOS ONE, July 3rd, 2013
Ref 2: Rosana B. R. Ferreira, L. Caetano M. Antunes, and B. Brett Finlay, Glenn F. Rall, Editor; PLoS Pathog. 2010 November; 6(11): e1001190. Published online 2010 November
Ref 3: Anna M. Seekatz, Aruna Panda, David A. Rasko, Franklin R. Toapanta, Emiley A. Eloe-Fadrosh, Abdul Q. Khan, Zhenqiu Liu, Steven T. Shipley, 2. Louis J. DeTolla, Marcelo B. Sztein, Claire M. Fraser. Differential Response of the Cynomolgus Macaque Gut Microbiota to Shigella Infection. (PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (6): e64212 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064212)
Ref 4: Emiley A. Eloe-Fadrosh, Monica A. McArthur, Anna M. Seekatz, Elliott F. Drabek, David A. Rasko, Marcelo B. Sztein, Claire M. Fraser. Impact of Oral Typhoid Vaccination on the Human Gut Microbiota and Correlations with S. Typhi-Specific Immunological Responses. (PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (4): e62026 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062026)