The investigations are in response to allegations that the companies failed to fully disclose side effects from an anti-hepatitis B drug used between 1994 and 1998.
During this time, close to two-thirds of the French population, and almost all newborn babies, received a hepatitis B vaccine. The vaccination campaign was halted after concerns rose over the shots side effects.
Thirty plaintiffs, including the families of five people who died after the vaccination, have launched a civil action in the case against the drug companies.
Autism 'Linked to Mercury Vaccine'
By Rosie Waterhouse (UK Times)
Mercury in vaccines for babies and infants could be the cause of a steep rise in cases of autism in children around the world, according to a growing number of scientists.
The increase in reports of autism in Britain, America and some other countries coincides with a growth in the number of inoculations given to young children, say the researchers.
Many of the vaccines contain a preservative called thiomersal, which is 49.6% mercury - a substance known to have neurotoxic effects, especially in infants whose brains are still developing.
Symptoms are similar to those displayed by autistic children.
Autism is a spectrum of disorders that range in severity from bizarre, violent behavior to an inability to communicate or interact socially, along with repetitive patterns of behavior.
Estimates of the prevalence of the syndrome in Britain range from 10 cases per 10,000 of the population with "classic" autism, to 9.1 cases per 1,000 showing some signs of autistic behavior.
The National Autistic Society estimates that there are about 500,000 people with autism in Britain, 120,000 of them children. According to one recent study, there has been a tenfold increase among children between 1984 and 1994.
The new possible explanation of the rise has emerged after a two-month review of all the available information by The Sunday Times. Several groups of academics and researchers in America and Sweden are investigating similar theories that a combination of factors is to blame.
They include a genetic predisposition, the cumulative effects of mercury in vaccines lowering the immune system, with the controversial measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) triple vaccine being a possible trigger.
The US Institute of Medicine is so concerned that officials have organized a two-day meeting in July to discuss the "hypothesis" that thiomersal and mercury in vaccines are linked to autism.
Boyd Haley, chemistry professor at the University of Kentucky, has been asked to submit a paper. "Thiomersal is extremely toxic. The preliminary data is convincing and does indicate that vaccines are the most likely suspect for causing autism," he said.
In general, the researchers argue, the cumulative effects of mercury impair brain development and damage the child's immune system and gastrointestinal tract, resulting in hypersensitivity to toxic environmental substances.
This build-up could lead to autism or a form of mercury poisoning - whose symptoms are similar. In addition, researchers believe, the MMR triple vaccine, usually given at 18 months to two years, could trigger autism because the damaged immune system cannot cope with three live viruses at once.
Only some children exposed to mercury will develop symptoms. Researchers believe this indicates that there may be a genetic predisposition. This theory was reinforced by a study published this month that showed that in 99% of autistic children a family of proteins essential for disposing of mercury and other heavy metals is missing or "disabled".
The proteins, called metallothionein (MT), are the main way in which the body counters heavy metal. The study, by the Chicago-based Pfeiffer Center, a health research institute, found that of 503 autistic patients 499 showed an MT "dysfunction".
The number of vaccinations given to babies and children in Britain and America has increased significantly.
In the United States the number given before the age of two has risen from 8 in 1980 to 22 now.
In Britain in 1970, most children received diphtheria, tetanus, polio, whooping cough and BCG for tuberculosis; about half were also immunized against measles. In 1972 rubella was added; MMR in 1988, Hib (Haemophilus Influenza type b), against a form of meningitis in 1992, MMR as a second dose in 1996, and meningitis C in 1999.
The MMR first dose is given between 12 and 15 months, with diphtheria and tetanus and the second dose of MMR at three to five years.
MMR does not contain thiomersal, though other child vaccines do. Thiomersal was introduced in the 1930s as a preservative and went into common use without review by America's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because it was assumed to be safe.
In America, researchers found some infants who are being vaccinated using multidose vials with thiomersal can receive 62.5 micrograms of mercury per visit.
This is 100 times more than the intake considered safe for the average six-month-old by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
In June 1999 the FDA discovered that: "Infants who receive thiomersal-containing vaccine at several visits may have been exposed to more mercury than recommended by Federal guidelines." The following month the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA) issued a statement saying: "Cumulative exposure to ethylmercury [found in thiomersal] . . . could lead to a potential cause for concern."
In May last year, a scientist from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave a presentation, based on a study of the Vaccine Safety Datalink Project - a database of 400,000 children - with evidence of harm. Dr Thomas Verstraeten of the CDC found the screening analysis suggests "statistically significant associations" between certain neurologic developmental disorders - such as attention deficit disorder, and speech and language disorders - and exposure to mercury from thiomersal-containing vaccines before the age of six months.
As a result, the EMEA issued another statement last June, saying: "For vaccination in infants and toddlers, as a precautionary measure it would be prudent to promote the general use of vaccines without thiomersal. Moreover, the use of thiomersal-free vaccines should be recommended for newborns."
Neither of these EMEA statements received national newspaper publicity in Britain, and at least 10 thiomersal-containing vaccines for children are still in use as drug manufacturers are permitted to finish stocks.
Jane Maroney El-Dahr, an immunologist at Tulane University medical center in New Orleans, said: "It is important for me to emphasize that the message is not to not vaccinate children, but to make sure that vaccines are thiomersal-free."
The health department said: "Thiomersal has played an important role as a preservative in vaccines.
Because thiomersal contains mercury, both European and American regulators have recently recommended that vaccine manufacturers phase out its use wherever possible as a precaution. They have not recommended the withdrawal of any vaccines.
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
Imagine that, giving a newborn baby a substance that is highly toxic to the central nervous system.
I have seen hundreds and hundreds of autistic children and have reached the conclusion that many, certainly not all, had the root cause of their illness the hepatitis B vaccine they were given on their first day of breathing air.
The central nervous system of a newborn infant is particularly susceptible to toxic influences. This is one of the reasons why the hepatitis B vaccine is such a problem. If it were given later in life, like many other countries do, it would not be as much of a problem.
This is especially tragic as there is virtually no legitimate indication to give this vaccine at birth. The only infants that may benefit are those born to women infected with hepatitis B.
Most people are unaware of the dangers of childhood vaccinations. In 1998, strong evidence for a link between MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccination and autism and bowel disease in children was announced by UK doctors. In a further study, led by Professor John OLeary, the measles virus was found in the intestines of 24 out of 25 children who developed autistic enterocolitis. This was after an apparently healthy infancy (31). The findings raise urgent new concerns over the safety of [the] MMR vaccine the combined mumps, measles and rubella vaccination given routinely to hundreds of thousands of children every year. Some of the doctors who discovered the link were warned not to talk to the press about the findings and were shunned by experts in the medical research council.
There is no scientific evidence proof that vaccines can be credited with eliminating any childhood disease. Epidemicological research, the study of disease and health in populations, shows that better nutrition, clean water, sanitation and better living conditions are responsible for the drop in disease. Dr.Robert Mendlesohn MD once said There has never been a single vaccine in this country [the USA] that has ever been submitted to a controlled scientific study. They never took a group of 100 people who were candidates for a vaccine, gave 50 of them a vaccine and left the other 50 alone to measure the outcome. And since that hasnt been done, that means if you want to be kind, you will call vaccines an unproven remedy. If you want to be accurate, youll call people who give vaccines quacks(32).
Not only do they possibly not work, there is growing evidence that vaccines possibly cause autism, allergies, epilepsy, learning disorders, ADD, ADHD, asthma, diabetes, dyslexia, hearing problems, vision problems, digestive disorders, stuttering and developmental delays. Many of the conditions associated with the psychic children. Vaccine damage creates inflammation at the base of the brain, which causes the insulation or myelin sheath that protects the nerves to dissolve. The brain then short-circuits which affects many bodily functions. Researchers and doctors have noticed the similarities of autism and brain dysfunction to toxic poisoning. The toxic substances that linger in vaccines are due to a surprising production procedure. After the live virus has been aquired, it must then be attenuated, or weakened for human use. The virus is passed through animal tissue several times to reduce its potency. The polio virus is passed through monkey kidneys; the measles virus is passed through chick embryos; and the rubella virus is passed through the dissected organs of an aborted human foetus! Foreign genetic material that is passed through animal cells can potentially alter our genetic makeup and mutate our DNA.
The weakened virus is then strengthened with antibody boosters and stabilisers. This process uses drugs,antibiotics and toxic disinfectants such as; neomycin, streptomycin, sodium chloride, sodium hydroxide, aluminium hydroxide, aluminium hydrochloride, sorbitol, hydrolysed gelatin, formaldehyde and thimerosal (mercury). Microscopic amounts of aluminium, formaldehyde and mercury can lead to cancer, neurological damage and death. But still our children are injected with them.
Unexpected animal viruses can jump the species barrier as well. This happened in the 1950s and 60s when millions of people got infected with the SV-40 virus from monkeys. SV-40 is an immunorepressor and trigger for HIV. It is said to create the same symptoms as AIDS, and has been found in brain tumors, leukaemia and various cancers. It is considered a cancer-causing virus. According to Dr.Harris Coulter, nearly 20% of children are neurologically damaged by vaccination (33). Vaccinations are pushed on to children in schools and at the doctors surgery. There is no scientific proof they actually do what they are supposed to do, so why bother taking them? According to the medical profesion and the government, vaccines are essential for children to protect them from diseases, but when we look at the evidence, NOT having vaccinations is the more healthy option. I repeat, there is no scientific proof that vaccinations prevent the diseases they say they do. There is also evidence that vaccines do not stay in the body for very long, as they are supposed to do. So lets look at another side to the debate.
In the UK, vaccinating your child is often a requirement for staying on your GPs list. He is paid a bonus of £2,235 if 90% of the children under two years old get jabs. If only 70% are vaccinated, the bonus shrinks to £745; any smaller percentage means he gets a fraction of the amount (34). This is the same bribery that is presented to doctors to get children on Ritalin. We really have to educate ourselves about what our growing children are ordered to take. We cannot blame our GPs, they are just the blind following the blind. Homeopathic remedies are believed to be the safest alternative.
Many parents have been charged with murdering their babies due to shaking them to death, but there is substantial evidence that vaccinations are the cause of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS). Some parents have even been convicted and imprisoned. But it has been discovered that the internal head injuries of SBS can only be sustained from:
a) being violently shaken (child abuse);
b) a combination of medical problems exacerbated by a serious vaccine adverse event;
c) a lone serious vaccine adverse event. (35).
So lets get some clarity on this. If your child has already had vaccinations, getting them on a well-nourished diet is essential. The following section covers the basics. Vitamin A is often deficient in children who get measles. Getting them on carrot juice or other orange vegetables can help. Vitamin A deficiency has also been linked to contracting polio. Breastfeeding your child for as long as possible is also helpful. For those that are considering any vaccination, please do your homework. A good start is searching on the Internet, but feel free to contact the author who can provide all his research for you to browse through.
Fresh non-organic produce has been found to have very high levels of pesticides. Although organic food is slightly more expensive, is it worth paying a little extra for that peace of mind? Food co-ops are popping up all over the place. They only put a 10% mark-up on the wholesale price they bought it for. The more we buy organic, the more likely the prices will start dropping, even in supermarkets. And why not start growing your own food? It could be worth it in the long run. To find out where these co-ops are check out: sustainweb.org, cooperatives-uk.coop and colc.co.uk/Cambridge/ccda.
When organic produce is not available, foods that have less pesticides include: aubergines, peppers, frozen peas, cabbages, garlic, leeks, radishes, marrow, turnips and sweetcorn. Eating seasonal produce also reduces your exposure to anti-fungal and anti-bacterial chemicals mainly used to extend shelf-life. Wash ALL fruit and veg, even if it claims to be ready-washed (36). Remove the outer leaves of lettuces also. Lettuces need more pesticides and chemicals because they lose their structural integrity quickly.
The Government has proposed to spend 300 million pounds on children and adolescents with mental health problems (37). How much of this will go into educating people about basic nutrition remains a mystery. If the government knew about essential fatty acids (EFAs), basic supplementation and the toxic overload we have already discussed, the money could be spent on things such as setting up healthy canteens at schools, or even employing nutritionists to teach children nutrition and healthy food preparation. (since writing this Jamie Oliver has done something towards this. Check out the website www.feedmebetter.com.
Essential fatty acids are vital in childrens growth. They provide a plethora of nutrition and brain support that exceeds all other foods. Alpha-linolenic acid (Omega 3) and linoleic acid (Omega 6) are the two fats that form two of the 50 essential nutrients our body needs. The rarer and most important oil, Omega 3, can mainly be found in oily fish (sardines, mackerel), flax seeds, hemp seed and other seeds and nuts. It is easily absorbd by the young body when in fish oil form. Junior Maximol is one of the better 'childrens supplements' in liquid form. It also contains the natural sweetner Xylitol and Lecithin which encourages proper brain development, amongst other vital nutrients. Omega 6 is found in good quality vegetable oil, nuts and seeds. We usually get more Omega 6 in our diet unless we love fish or flax seeds, but there is one seed (and oil) that holds the perfect balance for humans.
The hemp seed is a unique food. It contains all the essential amino acid proteins in a balanced ratio which are vital to a vegetarian and vegan diet. Soya comes close, but loses some of these nutrients during processing. The hemp seed shell contains high amounts of dietary fibre, which is vital for digestion. The main nutritional advantage is the balance of essential fats omega 3, omega 6, omega 9 and GLA, which are useful in hundreds of conditions. Omega 3 is mainly found in oily fish, omega 6 in vegetable oils, omega 9 in olive oil and GLA in evening primrose oil. But hemp has them all in a ratio that is designed for us humans. Hemp oil is natures most perfectly balanced oil according to author and nutritionist Udo Erasmus. It also contains vitamin E, minerals and life giving chlorophyll.
Flaxseed (linseed) oil is richer in Omega 3, so a mixture of hemp and flax oil is recommended for children if vegetable oil is already used in the diet. Keep the oil in the fridge after opening. Do not cook with it because it destroys the EFAs. Use it on salads and dressings. One or two teaspoons per day is enough. Higher Nature produce an Omega 3 supplement for children that is sweetened with Xylitol and has a fruit flavour, called SmartFish. In human brain development and function, scientists and nutritionists agree that essential fats play an important role in helping with conditions such as dyslexia, hyperactivity, ADD, dyspraxia (affects movement and memory), autism and other conditions. All of which are related to the phenomenon of the psychic children. EFAs have also been found to help correct criminal behavior and show marked improvement in various mental illnesses. Symptoms of EFA deficiency include excessive thirst, dry skin, brittle hair and nails and blood sugar problems. Look out for these with your children.
In Chinese medicine theory, children with ADHD and related conditions are deficient in Yin. Yin represents the calm and receptive dimension of personality (37). A whole food diet plays a large role in building Yin essence. As we have seen, refined sugar and grains, pesticides, additives, preservatives, colourings and toxins all contribute to these conditions and deplete Yin, and thus need to be eradicated from the diet. Specific nutritional remedies that help, if given on a long term regular basis include sea vegetables (Nori, Arame, Hijiki, Kelp, Dulse, Kombo, Wakame), which supply a wealth of vital minerals essential in calming the body and mind, and can be cooked into stews and soups; also, many ADHD children have benefited from taking kelp tablets on a daily basis (ibid).
Foods such as spirulina, tempeh, almonds and butter help build the Yin essence. Omega 3 oils also can help. ADHD is also frequently made worse by parasitic infections. Colloidial silver and aloe vera gel can help with this; garlic is often used, but can eat up the precious yin essence due to its fiery nature. Children can often grow out of these conditions if proper dietary and emotional support is constantly available. The best book Ive found that describes all these aspects is Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford (ISBN:1-55643-220-8). Colloidial silver is an incredible anti-bacterial and anti-viral substance, and well worth looking in to. It will soon be available on www.newhuman.co.uk.
Micro-algae such as spirulina and chlorella are useful in childhood nutrition. Both are high in Omega 3s and GLA oils. GLA is important in general growth and development. Spiriluna is recommended for those that were not breast-fed, in order to help hormonal and mental development that may have never occurred because of lack of vital nutrition during infancy (39).
Vitamins & Minerals
Certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies are prevelant in children with ADHD and related conditions. These include the minerals zinc and magnesium which have been found to successfully treat ADD and hyperactivity. Vitamins B6, B3 (niacin), folic acid and B1 (thiamine) are also often deficient in children with these conditions. It has been found that manganese (not magnesium) causes irritability and difficulty concentrating. Various research has shown that supplementation of these nutrients decreases delinquent behaviour and leads to a significant improvement in academics and behaviour (40).
Zinc is called the intelligence mineral because it is needed for optimal development and functioning of the brain and nervous system. It plays a role in protein synthesis and collagen formation; it is involved in the blood-sugar control mechanism and thus protects against diabetes; it is also needed for a healthy reproductive system. Zinc is a key component in numerous vital enzymes and plays a role in immune system maintenance. Phytates found in soy products, seeds and nuts interfere with zinc absorption more completely than with other minerals (if soaked or slightly roasted nuts and seeds lose the phytates).(41) The therapeutic range for children is 5-10mg. Zinc amino acid chelate, zinc citrate and picolinate are better than zinc sulphate or oxide (42). Foods rich in zinc include ginger root, pecan nuts, haddock, shrimps, turnips, brazil nuts, egg yolk, rye, oats, peanuts and almonds (ibid).
Magnesium strengthens bones and teeth, promotes healthy muscles to relax and is involved in harmonizing the nervous system and energy production (ibid P.311). In some studies of children age 7 to 12, those who took magnesium supplements showed a significant decrease in hyperactivity, compared to control groups who took a placebo (43). Carbonated drinks such as cola and other processed foods contain phosphoric acid, which leaches magnesium from the body. It is best if avoided, so check the labels. The therapeutic range for magnesium is 400-800mg. Good food sources include most nuts and seeds, cooked beans, sprouted grains and beans, garlic, raisins, green peas, wheatgerm, potato skins and crabmeat.
One study that Doreen Virtue mentions in her book found that 95% of ADHD children were deficient in magnesium. It was also found that they were deficient in iron, copper and calcium. The researchers concluded that It is necessary to supplement trace elements in children with hyperactivity (ibid). Therefore a good quality multi-mineral is recommended on a daily basis. Neways produce an ionic multi-mineral mineral solution called Maximol Solutions. It also contains an amino acid complex, B vitamins, high-potency fruit juices, phytochemicals and fructooligosaccharides. Its fairly sweet tasting, so children can tolerate the taste. Neways have since developed Junior Maximol that includes omage 3 fish oils, lecithin (helps brain development) and the amazing sweetner Xylitol amongst other vital nutrients.
B vitamins are vital for proper brain function and development and have been used for children with ADD and ADHD. A great source of B vitamins are sprouts such as mung beans, aduki, alfalfa and lentil sprouts. They also contain enzymes that aid digestion and amino acid proteins.
B3 (niacin) is essential for energy production, brain function and has been used successfully in controlling schizophrenia. It helps balance blood sugar levels and aids in digestion. Therapeutic range is 25-50mg for children. It is found in mushrooms, tuna, asparagus, cabbage, tomatoes, mackerel, courgettes, squash and cauliflower.
B6 stimulates serotonin release in the brain. Children who are hyperactive have lower serotonin levels than those who are not. Low serotonin can result in lethargy, depression and cravings for food (ibid P.154). B6 increases seretonin levels in children to a balanced level. It has been reported that tests were carried out that compared serotonin levels with children on Ritalin to those taking B6. The children on B6 maintained the levels even after they stopped taking it, whereas the Ritalin children did not show any raised levels at all. The therapeutic dose for children is 25-125mg. Foods include watercress, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, bananas, squash, broccoli, asparagus, kidney beans, lentils, onions, seeds and nuts.
B12 is essential if the child is vegetarian. One fifty microgram tablet per week is sufficient. It can also be found in fortified margarine, soya milks, eggs, cheese and Junior Maximol.
These are basic recommendations for children. For a more detailed and personal supplement/diet program, please contact the author or a nutritional advisor.
Five-in-one jab backed by experts
The vaccination will protect against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, Hib and, for the first time, polio in a single shot.
Some parents' groups have expressed concerns over the vaccine's safety.
But writing in the British Medical Journal, experts from the Institute of Child Health say their fears are "regrettable" and "unfounded".
They say the vaccine combination protects against the same five diseases as the existing vaccine, but in a "slightly different, more acceptable formulation".
The researchers said it was a natural progression because of how vaccine technology had developed.
'Fewer side effects'
Until now, a live polio vaccine had been given orally at the same time.
The researchers say this was necessary, even though there was a tiny risk that children could contract polio paralysis from the vaccine, because of the risks of contracting the disease around the world.
However, now that there is an extremely low risk of contracting polio, it is safe to move to an inactivated form of the virus.
The new combination jab will also use a different form of the whooping cough vaccine.
Dr Bedford and Dr Elliman said an as yet unpublished study had shown that it produced far fewer side effects, such as fever and soreness at the injection site, than the current version.
Campaigners have welcomed the removal of mercury, (thiomersal) used as a preservative, from the new combination.
The researchers said there was no evidence it was linked to a risk of severe neurological damage, but that it was being removed as a precaution - and because the inactivated polio vaccine is not effective if mixed with mercury.
Dr Bedford and Dr Elliman said some parents' groups had expressed concern the combined jab could overload a baby's immune system.
They say: "This is based on two misconceptions. One is that the immune system has a limited and relatively small capacity that is pushed to the limits by multiple vaccines.
"The other is that the increase in the number of diseases being protected against means an increase in the number of antigens."
But the researchers point out that the new vaccine had far fewer antigens - about 3,000 less - than the one it was replacing, even though it protected against five diseases instead of four.
The experts said the new jab represented an important step forward in the UK's vaccination programme.
But they said: "However the benefits of the new vaccine do not outweigh the risks of delaying immunisation until its introduction.
"Such a delay would leave a child unnecessarily at risk of death and disability from whooping cough and Hib disease."
John Fletcher, of the group Jabs (Justice, Awareness and Basic Support) - a support network for parents who believe their children have been damaged by vaccines - said: "It doesn't matter how much doctors and scientists write in medical journals, it's not going to convince parents."
Mr Fletcher said: "What we want is for the Department of Health to take responsibility for vaccine-damaged children.
"We want transparency in how decisions about vaccines are made and for doctors to pass on parents reports of adverse effects suffered by their children after they have been given a vaccine. "