Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Autism Vax: Potential to Further Disrupt Autistic Gut Biota

Girl looking up, by Anthony Kelly
Autism Vax: Potential to Further Disrupt Autistic Gut Biota
Apr 30, 2013 | Gaia Health Blog | Heidi Stevenson

Modern medical science is playing with fire in considering implementation of a vaccine to treat the diarrhea of autism by destroying one type of bacteria in the gut. There is simply too little understanding of the gut environment. On top of that is the potential for causing autoimmune disorders. The precautionary principle is being utterly ignored.

Playing with gut biota appears to be the next big thing in modern medicine’s treatment of autistic children. That’s the goal of a new vaccine in the pipeline for treating the diarrhea and constipation suffered by many who carry the autism diagnosis.[1]
  • Never mind that the only plausible cause of most autism is vaccines, so yet another inoculation to treat autism is, at best, problematic.
  • Never mind that it’s pure hubris to believe there’s anywhere near enough understanding of gut bacteria to even consider making permanent changes to it.
  • Never mind that destroying one type of bacteria will most assuredly result in unknown results as the gut organisms find a new and unpredictable balance.
  • Never mind that the harm being done by ignoring the precautionary principle is destroying the lives of countless numbers of people already, and that this is yet another end run around sanity.
Clostridium bolteae are a type of bacteria found to be overabundant in the guts of autistic children with gastrointestinal problems. Therefore, a small group of scientists think it’s a good idea to make a vaccine against C. bolteae.

There is, though, no evidence demonstrating that C. bolteae is the cause of diarrhea and constipation problems. Nonetheless, that lack of knowledge hasn’t slowed down development of a vaccine against the organism.

In fact, the best that the creators of this new vaccine can come up with to support their focus on C. bolteae is:
It is possible that chronic diarrheal episodes associated with some forms of ASD could be attributed to an overabundance of C. bolteae, and/or related to as-yet uncharacterized toxins produced by this and related bacterial species. [Emphasis mine.]
Because “it is possible” that chronic diarrhea might be caused by excessive C.bolteae, they presume to develop a vaccine against it. In fact, as this quote documents, it could very well be a different species of bacteria causing diarrhea. It could even be the absence of another type that’s causes it. They don’t know. All they really know, as stated in the first sentence of the study’s abstract, is:
Constipation and diarrhea are common in autistic patients.
Constipation is not even addressed in their attempt to develop a vaccine against this gut bacterium—and they aren’t even sure that it causes diarrhea! In fact, lead researcher Mario Montero, has stated:
Little is known about the factors that predispose autistic children to C. bolteae.
Thus, even if their vaccine does what it’s supposed to do, cause the immune system to seek and kill C. bolteae, there’s very little behind the suggestion that it will benefit autistic children.

The technology used by this research team involves outer membrane vesicles (OMVs). They are protrusions on the outer membranes of toxin-producing bacteria, such as C. bolteae, which are being used in new vaccines to act as both antigens and adjuvants. OMVs are naturally toxic. That is, in fact, their function, as they exist to protect bacteria from a hostile environment. As a direct result, they are spotted by complex animals’ immune systems as targets for antibody development, which is one reason they’ve become such a popular approach to development of new vaccines.

In this particular instance, the researchers have targeted a particular polysaccharide found in the outer membrane of C. bolteae. Two questions need to be asked:
  • Will there be a tag-along OMV liposome? If so, then there’s reason to be concerned that it could trigger an autoimmune disorder called antiphospholipid syndrome (APS).
  • Does this particular polysaccharide bear any similarity to ones naturally found in the human body? If so, then injection could result in an autoimmune disorder as the body creates antibodies to it—antibodies that would be unable to distinguish between that polysaccharide found on C. bolteae and anywhere it’s found in the human body.
A healthy human gut contains a wide variety of bacteria. Though we tend to define some as “good”—probacteria—and others as “bad”—pathogens—the reality is more complex. What’s important is the right balance, which is far more complex. Any bacteria can become problematic in excess, meaning that even so-called good bacteria can cause problems if they’re in too great abundance. Therefore, even so-called bad bacteria, like C. bolteae’s cousin, C. difficile, which can be life-threatening, has a place in the healthy gut of many people. In fact, C. difficile is not necessarily an invasive pathogen. It’s often found in the gut of perfectly healthy people. It’s only when it’s out of balance that there’s a problem.

Obviously, we have little real understanding of gut biota, but what we do know should give pause before we allow medicine to play around with it, as the researchers attempting to produce a vaccine against autistic diarrhea are trying to do.

There are simply too many unknowns and factors not being considered:
  • It isn’t even known whether the targeted bacteria, C. bolteae, is actually the culprit behind autistic diarrhea.
  • Autistic children’s immune systems are already devastated, and vaccines are the only plausible explanation for most cases of autism. Vaccinating them yet again makes no sense.
  • The human gut is extremely complex and must be kept in balance. No one can predict what will happen if one kind of bacteria is wiped out. Will it leave a space to be filled by an even more pathogenic organism?
  • Vaccines produced from OMVs need to be considered very carefully.
    • They carry significant risks that are not being considered. Are there similarities between the antigens being developed from OMVs and natural parts of the body, which could result in autoimmine disorders?
    • Will OMV liposomes be part of the vaccine? These could cause the autoimmune disorder APS.
Finally, whatever happened to the precautionary principle, the rational concept that no product should be allowed on the market if reasonable question exists about its potential for harm? In the case of this ill-conceived vaccine, there are several methods by which it could produce severe damage to an autistic child.

The onus of proof belongs on the purveyors of new products to demonstrate safety. Sadly, though, that bit of sanity appears to have been completely overlooked by modern medicine’s mad rush to find vaccines for anything and everything that they can imagine.


  1. A vaccine and diagnostic target for Clostridium bolteae, an autism-associated bacterium; Vaccine; Brittany Pequegnat, Martin Sagermann, Moez Valliani, Michael Toh, Herbert Chow, Emma Allen-Vercoe, Mario A. Monteiro;
  2. Guelph Scientists Develop First Vaccine to Help Control Autism-Associated Bacteria

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