The diagram in the infographic above comes from:
Here are the sources for each point in the above infographic.
Genetic / Environmental Etiology
The Claim: Autism is partly but not wholly genetic; it
can be triggered in genetically susceptible individuals by environmental
factors that alter neurodevelopment
Infections in Pregnancy
The Claim: A wide range of bacterial and viral infections
during pregnancy are associated with autism, so one trigger is a serious immune
activation event during a critical stage of neurodevelopment
- Atladottir, 2010: admission to hospital due to maternal viral infection in the first trimester and maternal bacterial infection in the second trimester were found to be associated with diagnosis of ASDs in the offspring https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20414802
- Zerbo, 2015: women with infections diagnosed during a hospital admission, particularly bacterial infections, were at increased risk of delivering a child with ASD https://europepmc.org/articles/pmc4108569
Immune Activations in Animals
The Claim: Immune activations in pregnant or newborn
animals alter neurodevelopment and increase autistic-like behaviors in the pups
and infants; multiple immune challenges multiply the effect.
- Smith, 2007: Maternal immune activation (MIA)
in mice alters fetal brain development through interleukin-6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17913903
- Malkova, 2012: MIA in mice results
in offspring that show more autism-like behaviours https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3322300/
- Bauman, 2014: MIA in rhesus monkeys
yields offspring with abnormal repetitive behaviors, communication, and
social interactions. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24011823
- Li, 2015: Neonatal vaccination of rats
with bacillus Calmette-Guérin and hepatitis B vaccines modulates hippocampal
synaptic plasticity https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26531688
- Yang, 2016: Neonatal HBV vaccination of mice
results in neurobehavioral impairments in early adulthood by inducing a proinflammatory
and low neurotrophic milieu in the hippocampus, which follows the
HBV-induced systemic Th2 bias https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27501128
- Choi, 2016: Either MIA or direct
administration to the fetal brain of mice of inflammatory cytokine
IL-17a promotes abnormal cortical development and ASD-like behaviors in
- Missig, 2018: Early-life immune
activation in mice can lead to long-lasting physiologic perturbations
that resemble medical comorbidities often seen in ASD and other
neuropsychiatric conditions https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5770773/
Inflammation and Autism
The Claim: Inflammation is an immune system response to a
challenge. Inflammation is associated
- Vargas, 2005: The brains of people with
ASD show a marked activation of microglia and astroglia, and cytokine
profiling indicated that MCP-1 and TGF- β1, derived from neuroglia, were the
most prevalent cytokines. Cerebrospinal fluid showed a unique
proinflammatory profile of cytokines, including a marked increase in MCP-1.
- Li, 2009: The brains of people with ASD
have significantly increased proinflammatory cytokines https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2770268/
- Wei, 2011: The cerebellum of the brains of
people with ASD has increased IL-6, which alters neural cell adhesion,
migration and synaptic formation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3114764/
- Abdallah, 2013: The amniotic fluid of
mothers of children with ASD showed elevated levels of inflammatory
- Suzuki, 2013: In multiple brain regions
in people with ASD there is excessive microglial activation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23404112
- Jones, 2017: The serum of mothers of children
with ASD with ID showed increased levels of maternal cytokines and chemokines
during gestation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5122473/
- Tsilioni, 2019: The brains of children
with ASD have increase inflammatory cytokines https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6027314/
Vaccines and Immune Activation
The Quote: “Immune activation is the objective of vaccines”
… is from Matheson vs. Schmitt, Plotkin Deposition, 16:27:56, 11 Jan 2018 https://www.cafepeyote.com/files/Plotkin_Deposition_-_Summary.pdf or https://youtu.be/DFTsd042M3o?t=24959
Here is the context of the quote:
- QUESTION: Are you familiar with the study called “Maternal Immune Activation Alters Fetal Brain Development through Interleukin-6” [Smith, 2007]?
- PLOTKIN: Vaguely, yes. Yeah.
- QUESTION: Published in the Journal of Neuroscience?
- PLOTKIN: Yeah, well, I don’t remember the journal.
- QUESTION: Is that one of the journals you consider respectable?
- PLOTKIN: Yes.
- QUESTION: And this was out of the University of California Medical Center. This is from California Institute, CalTech. That institution did a number of studies regarding — that group did a number of studies relating to immune activation and neurological disorder, correct?
- PLOTKIN: Yes.
- QUESTION: And they found a connection between immune activation and neurological historical disorders, correct?
- PLOTKIN: Yes.
- QUESTION: Okay. And one of the study’s findings they had was that immune activation alters fetal brain development through interleukin-6, correct?
- PLOTKIN: As I said before, IL-6 is an important cytokine. I would point out in relation to immune activation, that immune activation occurs as a result of disease and exposure to a variety of stimuli, not just vaccines.
- QUESTION: But it can be caused by vaccines, correct?
- PLOTKIN: Immune activation is the objective of vaccines.
The Claim: Challenges to the immune system can come from
wild pathogens or from vaccines
This is confirmed by the quote above from Plotkin, as well
as any immunology textbook.
The Claim: Vaccines must activate the immune system
strongly in order to work
The Claim: Aluminum adjuvants are used in many vaccines
specifically to increase the challenge to the immune system and boost the
These two claims are basic to how vaccines work, as
explained on the websites of the CDC and the CHOP:
“An adjuvant is an ingredient used in some vaccines that helps create a stronger immune response in people receiving the vaccine. In other words, adjuvants help vaccines work better. Some vaccines that are made from weakened or killed germs contain naturally occurring adjuvants and help the body produce a strong protective immune response. However, most vaccines developed today include just small components of germs, such as their proteins, rather than the entire virus or bacteria. Adjuvants help the body to produce an immune response strong enough to protect the person from the disease he or she is being vaccinated against. Adjuvanted vaccines can cause more local reactions (such as redness, swelling, and pain at the injection site) and more systemic reactions (such as fever, chills and body aches) than non-adjuvanted vaccines.” CDC https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/adjuvants.html
“Aluminum is used in vaccines as an adjuvant. An adjuvant is a vaccine component that boosts the immune response to the vaccine. Adjuvants allow for lesser quantities of the vaccine and fewer doses. The adjuvant effects of aluminum were discovered in 1926. Aluminum adjuvants are used in vaccines such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, diphtheria-tetanus-containing vaccines, Haemophilus influenzae type b, and pneumococcal vaccines, but they are not used in the live, viral vaccines, such as measles, mumps, rubella, varicella and rotavirus.” CHOP https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-ingredients/aluminum