I am a neuropharmacologist and Full Professor at Northeastern University in
Boston who has been investigating the molecular origins of
neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. For the past few years
much of my lab’s work has focused on autism, including an evaluation of the
possible contribution of thimerosal, the ethylmercury-containing vaccine
preservative. Based upon my expertise in this area I have testified to
Congress on several occasions, appeared on NBC Nightly News and in several
documentaries and presented our findings at numerous scientific
I understand that you are currently evaluating legislation to removal
thimerosal from vaccines used in Hawaii. Let me state unequivocally that
there is strong scientific evidence linking thimerosal to autism, so taking
steps to remove it from vaccines is a true “no-brainer”. Moreover, it is
vital that states indicate their expectation of thimerosal-free vaccines in
order to shift the pharmaceutical industry to this safer form. Public
confidence in the vaccination program will be greatly increased when
mercury is removed, allowing the full public health benefits without the
unnecessary mercury burden.
Our research has shown that very low concentrations of thimerosal, typical
of those found in the blood following vaccination, cause strong inhibition
of metabolic processes that are crucial to neuronal cell well-being and
survival. The most sensitive of these processes involves sulfur metabolism,
including the anti-oxidant defense mechanism that is critical to all cells.
The effect of thimerosal is to significantly lower levels of glutathione,
the primary cellular antioxidant. Studies of autistic children clearly show
that they are suffering from oxidative stress and their glutathione levels
are reduced by 40-50%. Thus the toxic metabolic actions of thimerosal are
paralleled in clinical studies of autistic children.
In further studies we showed that thimerosal inhibits a key cellular
process called “methylation”, in which various activities, including gene
expression, are controlled by the transfer of a single carbon atom.
Methylation is closely linked to oxidative stress, and when thimerosal
induces oxidative stress, it also causes impaired methylation. Again, blood
tests in autistic children show that they have impaired methylation.
Furthermore, metabolic therapies that help restore methylation have been
able to improve the clinical symptoms of many autistic children, strongly
indicating that this metabolic dysfunction plays a central role. Genetic
studies have also revealed a higher frequency of risk-inducing
polymorphisms and mutations affecting methylation and sulfur metabolism.
Our most recent research indicates that the brain has a particularly higher
vulnerability to oxidative stress, which helps explain why neurological
problems occur with low doses of thimerosal.
The point of all this scientific background is to reinforce the common
sense logic of reducing mercury exposure by all possible routes, including
vaccine-related. It is illogical to inject mercury into anyone, at any age,
and you will be doing a service to all Hawaiians by helping to restrict
their exposure by signing SB2133 part II.
If I can help provide any further background, please feel to contact me. I
am eager to assist.
”’Richard C. Deth, Ph.D, is a Professor of Pharmacology for Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.”’
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