May 28, 2009
By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.
It’s long been the belief among Defeat Autism Now (DAN) practitioners and parents that some combination of toxins and infections are responsible for autism.
While many in the traditional medical community have attacked the plausibility of such a scenario, some early signs from the swine flu investigation are suggesting that this toxin/infection interaction might explain other conditions as well.
Scientists from Dartmouth Medical School and the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) have found that “the ability to mount an immune response to influenza A (H1N1) infection is significantly compromised by a low level of arsenic exposure that commonly occurs through drinking contaminated well water.” (“Swine Flu: Influenza A (H1N1) Susceptibility Linked to Common Levels of Arsenic Exposure”, Science Daily, May 21, 2009 (HERE.) The research was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives (HERE.)
According to Joshua Hamilton, Chief Academic and Science Officer from the MBL as well as study co-author, “When a normal person or mouse is infected with the flu, they immediately develop an immune response.” The article went on to note, “However, in mice that had ingested 100 ppb (parts per billion) arsenic in their drinking water for five weeks, the immune response to H1N1 infection was initially feeble, and when a response finally did kick in days later, it was “too robust and too late” . . . There was a massive infiltration of immune cells to the lungs and a massive inflammatory response, which led to bleeding and damage to the lungs . . . Morbidity over the course of the infection was significantly higher for the arsenic-exposed animals than the normal animals.”
The swine flu has killed 83 people in Mexico and 12 in the United States. Hamilton saw some intriguing parallels to his own research in the pattern of deaths. “One of the things that did strike us, when we heard about the recent H1N1 outbreak, is Mexico has large areas of very high arsenic in their well water, including areas where the flu cropped up. We don’t know that the Mexicans who got the flu were drinking high levels of arsenic, but it’s an intriguing notion that it may have contributed.”
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, concentrations of arsenic at the levels of 100 ppb and higher are common in well water, especially in those areas where arsenic is geologically abundant. A level of 10 ppb is considered “safe.”
Hamilton’s laboratory discovered and first reported in 1998 the broad ways in which arsenic disrupts the working of the body. “Most chemicals that disrupt hormone pathways target just one, such as the estrogen pathway . . . But arsenic disrupts the pathways of all five steroid hormone receptors (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, glucocorticoids, and mineralocorticoids), as well as several other hormone pathways. You can imagine that just this one effect could play a role in cancer, diabetes, heart disease, reproductive and developmental disorders-all the diseases that have a strong hormonal component.”