The Gut/Brain connection that Andrew Wakefield first outlined in his 1998 paper published in the Lancet (which was retracted due to political reasons) has now been proven once again.
Wakefield’s original paper, called Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children raised the possibility of a link between a novel form of bowel disease (which he called called autistic enterocolitis), autism, and the MMR vaccine. He observed that autistic children had inflammation in their bowels. He did endoscopy exams on all the autistic children he saw and he noticed that they all had a new kind of inflammatory bowel disease with evidence of the presence of the vaccine form of the measles virus.
As you can imagine, the $–t hit the fan because parents in the UK became terrified of giving their children a vaccine that could case both brain and gut injury. Dr. Wakefield was not anti-vax, however, he was not afraid to speak out about the potential risks of giving 3 different pathogens together in the MMR vaccine.
Dr. Wakefield has been subjected to relentless personal and professional attacks in the media, and from governments, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Wakefield has suffered highly damaging allegations of scientific fraud by British journalist Brian Deer and the British Medical Journal.
Most of the articles are attacks against him, but if you read Dr. Wakefield’s long list of research, he is a highly regarded scientist that simply choose the hard road against the current medical standard.
Dr. Wakefield has since moved to the United States where he is busy helping autistic children recover.
A New Form Of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Autistic Children
In 2013 researchers and physicians from Wake Forest University (published in Plos One), reported findings that confirm the presence of intestinal disease in children with autism and intestinal symptoms. They also found that the characteristics of the disease may be a new type of enterocolitis, as Wakefield indicated in his original research.
Using sophisticated laboratory methods Dr. Steve Walker and his colleagues confirmed Wakefield’s original findings by showing molecular changes in the children’s intestinal tissues that were highly distinctive and clearly abnormal.
These molecular changes in the intestinal tissue were also found by Dr. Krigsman, an American gastroenterologist who treats autistic children. Krigsman used very sophisticated assays that indicated differences between autistic children with intestinal inflammation and children with intestinal inflammation who have Crohn’s and/or ulcerative colitis who are not autistic. Krigsman’s analysis clearly indicates that these autistic children have a new form of intestinal inflammation – again validating Wakefield’s original research.
Additionally, in October, 2015 another study called, Prevalence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Among Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorders, was published in the journal, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (Official Journal of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of American). This study confirms yet again that the incidence of inflammatory bowel disease in autism spectrum disorders is higher.
While this study did not investigate whether or not it was a new form of IBD, it still indicates that inflammation in the gut is associated with brain disorders.
Furthermore, last year senior CDC scientist William Thompson issued a public statement admitting that he and his colleagues at the CDC falsified at least one study to cover-up a powerful association between the measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism in African American males.There needs to be a complete investigation by Congress into how the CDC has manipulated this and other studies (such as the studies they cite that show no relationship between autism and vaccines) to omit critical data that shows serious safety issues. In a statement published on August 27, 2014 Thompson said the following:
My name is William Thompson. I am a Senior Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where I have worked since 1998.
I regret my co-authors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data was collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.
This begs the question – what other vaccines have they published safety studies for that are, in fact, not safe?
Voices Now Heard
It took years for doctors to listen to parents coming in with their autistic children with complaints of diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain (many of the children could not even express that fact that they had pain because they could not talk). Most were dismissed as autistic diarrhea. But it turns out that it is far more serious and when the children are treated for intestinal inflammation their entire condition improves, including their brain function.
Dr. Wakefield was the first gastroenterologist to actually listen to parents and correlate the clinical signs and symptoms with what he saw on colonoscopy.
There are many parents out there who are extremely grateful to Dr. Wakefield for bringing this out into the open in the face of severe repercussions from his medical colleagues in the UK.
In point of fact, the highly regarded doctor that did the original research with him in 1998 has since been totally exonerated by the British medical community.
The Gut/Brain Connection
There is a strong relationship between mental states, mood disorders and brain functioning (Alzheimer’s, dementia and autism) – with intestinal inflammation – also known as leaky gut.
Some studies show that inflammation is an active player in the autistic brain before birth – especially if the mother has an autoimmune disease – and long after birth. This study, published in the Annals of Neurology showed that people on the autism spectrum frequently show widespread inflammation in the brain tissue.
This study published in the Journal of Neuroimmunology showed that Patterns of elevated brain cytokines have been observed to be similar to those in autoimmune disease. The researchers concluded that,
ASD patients displayed an increased innate and adaptive immune response through the Th1 pathway, suggesting that localized brain inflammation and autoimmune disorder may be involved in the pathogenesis of ASD.
Researchers have also found that inflammatory cytokines in spinal fluid and blood are higher in people with ASD as well.
Where is the Inflammation Coming From?
There are many reasons for inflammation but the most obvious place is from the gut because 70 – 80% of the immune system resides in the gut.
There has been much written about the relationship between the gut and mood disorders.
When the cells in the brain don’t have enough nutrients (blood supply) and energy supply (mitochondria) – when that system gets inefficient, there is not enough energy for the brain to produce wide spread coordination across its networks.
In autism, the brain is not as well regulated because the physiology is worn down due to toxins.
It starts in the gut with digestive issues, asthma, eczema, allergies, etc. which are thought to be directly linked to leaky gut syndrome. When the intestinal lining has been compromised and allows large molecules to reach the bloodstream where they do not belong, toxicity is created. Other toxic exposures from the air, water and personal care products add to the toxic burden. A vicious cycle is created where pathogenic bacteria overrule the good bacteria and even more toxins are released, causing more inflammation.
The GAPS Diet was developed to heal the many disorders created – through healing the gut. GAPS is a diet based on restricting certain foods to allow the digestive system to repair and reinoculate. It has been used in treating autism with great success.
For more information about this see Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.
The Microbiome Found to Influence the Brain
In 2011, Mazmanian et al reported that changes to the intestinal microbiome influence the brain. His research suggests that gut bacteria could affect neurological inflammation and trigger disease. It was not clear how that happened, however, Marmanian postulated that,
the microorganisms that colonize the human gut don’t leave the intestine, but the immune cells that contact them do… although 70% of the immune cells in the body at any one time can be found in the intestine, they circulate throughout the body, and the microbiota of the gut environment help determine how immune cells will behave elsewhere… If T-cells, while in the gut, are programmed by the microbiota to have anti-inflammatory properties, then they may suppress inflammation even after they leave the gut.
It is now known that the proteins, carbohydrates, and other molecules shed by microbes also leave the gut and may play a role in signaling disease. It has been shown that these bacterial metabolites are in areas of the body that were previously thought to be free of bacteria; lungs, amniotic fluid and breast milk.
Studies suggest that there is a link between the gut/brain axis and neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism, depression, and eating disorders.
With all this research that now confirms Dr. Wakefield’s original research, we should be applauding and honoring him. What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know!
- Autism and Your Toxic Body
- New Study: The Gut/Brain Axis and Autism
- Is Autism an Autoimmune Disorder?