The international journal Science of the Total Environment has just published a compelling study  from the Republic of Korea, where autism prevalence  is high. The study identifies a strong relationship between prenatal and early childhood exposure to mercury and autistic behaviors in five-year-olds.
Lead author Jia Ryu and coauthors acknowledge mercury’s potential for neurotoxicity straight away but choose to characterize previous findings on the mercury-autism relationship as “inconsistent.” They attribute the seeming lack of consistency, in part, to methodological issues, especially flagging problematic cross-sectional study designs that measure autistic behaviors and mercury levels (in either blood or hair) at a single point in time. To rectify these methodological weaknesses, Ryu and coauthors report on data from a multi-region longitudinal study in the Republic of Korea called the Mothers and Children’s Environmental Health (MOCEH) study.
The ongoing MOCEH study  examines environmental exposures during pregnancy and childhood and their effects on children’s growth and development. A unique feature is that it includes five different blood samples: maternal blood from early and late pregnancy; cord blood; and samples from children at two and three years of age. In addition, the study asks mothers to complete three follow-up surveys and—when their child reaches age five—the 65-item Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), which assesses autistic behaviors.
Ryu and colleagues present available data for 458 (26%) of the 1,751 mother-child pairs originally recruited into the MOCEH study. What are their key findings?
- First, the researchers report a significant linear relationship between mercury exposure and autistic behaviors (as indicated by a scaled score called an SRS T-score). Strikingly, they find that with a doubling of blood mercury levels at four time points (late pregnancy, cord blood, and at two and three years of age), SRS T-scores are significantly higher.
- Ryu et al. also look specifically at SRS T-scores greater than or equal to 60. Sixty and above is the accepted threshold for detecting “mild to moderate” deficits of social behavior related to autism; scores of 76 or more are in the “severe” range. In these analyses, the same linear relationship holds for late pregnancy and birth (i.e., cord blood). With a doubling of blood mercury levels at these two time points, there is a 31% and 28% increase, respectively, in the risk of an SRS T-score of 60 or more.
- Finally, the researchers identify a stronger association between late-pregnancy mercury exposure and autistic behaviors in five-year-old boys versus five-year-old girls, perhaps due to mercury’s endocrine-disrupting properties.
Although the Korean study has many methodological strengths, it displays some curious omissions and contradictions. For example, the authors note, almost in passing, that they measured total mercury “instead of methylmercury,” but they discount any potential relevance of ethylmercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines. In support of this dismissive stance, they cite a 2014 meta-analysis  that failed to find any “material associations” between thimerosal exposure and ASD or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They do not mention that the authors of the meta-analysis actually urged readers to interpret their results with caution “since the number of epidemiological studies on this issue [is] limited and still at an early stage.”
Ryu and coauthors also repeat the canard that methylmercury is the only form of organic mercury capable of inducing neurotoxic effects because of ethylmercury’s shorter blood half-life  compared to methylmercury. This statement is disingenuous in light of the well-documented fact that methylmercury and ethylmercury share numerous mechanisms of toxicity . Moreover, strong evidence  from infant primates shows that injected thimerosal has a much slower half-life in the brain than in the blood, and infants exposed to injected thimerosal accumulate harmful inorganic mercury (an end product of thimerosal) in the brain to a far greater extent than infants exposed to orally ingested methylmercury. Due to these differences, blood mercury levels are not a suitable indicator of injected thimerosal’s potentially adverse effects on the brain. Finally, it is biologically plausible that simultaneous exposure to both forms of mercury (ethyl and methyl) may result in additive and synergistic neurotoxic effects .
The Korean Context
Interestingly, fully a third of Ryu’s study population (32.5%) had an SRS T-score of at least 60 (versus about 18% of U.S. children). In 2011, a South Korean study  of over 23,000 seven-to-twelve-year-old children made headlines by reporting a national ASD prevalence of 2.64%—or 1 in 38 children.
The Republic of Korea’s immunization rates  have been steadily climbing (along with autism rates) since the 1990s, with nearly universal (98%-99%) coverage, for example, for measles and DTP3 in one-year-olds.
Is it simply a coincidence that “neuro-psychiatric conditions”  represent the single largest cause of “years of healthy life lost due to disability” (YLD) in the Republic of Korea? As per the nation’s crowded immunization schedule , Korean infants receive three doses of the thimerosal-containing Hepavax-Gene® hepatitis B vaccine at birth, one month, and six months. Analyses of Korean children’s mercury levels have paid insufficient attention  to developmentally vulnerable infants’ exposure to ethylmercury in the form of thimerosal. Surely, identifying and lowering all sources of mercury exposure is a logical next step to improve children’s health and quality of life.
Read the full article at the WorldMercuryProject.org. 
Comment on this article at VaccineImpact.com. 
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Leaving a lucrative career as a nephrologist (kidney doctor), Dr. Suzanne Humphries is now free to actually help cure people.
In this autobiography she explains why good doctors are constrained within the current corrupt medical system from practicing real, ethical medicine.
One of the sane voices when it comes to examining the science behind modern-day vaccines, no pro-vaccine extremist doctors have ever dared to debate her in public.
Medical Doctors Opposed to Forced Vaccinations – Should Their Views be Silenced?
One of the biggest myths being propagated in the compliant mainstream media today is that doctors are either pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine, and that the anti-vaccine doctors are all “quacks.”
However, nothing could be further from the truth in the vaccine debate. Doctors are not unified at all on their positions regarding “the science” of vaccines, nor are they unified in the position of removing informed consent to a medical procedure like vaccines.
The two most extreme positions are those doctors who are 100% against vaccines and do not administer them at all, and those doctors that believe that ALL vaccines are safe and effective for ALL people, ALL the time, by force if necessary.
Very few doctors fall into either of these two extremist positions, and yet it is the extreme pro-vaccine position that is presented by the U.S. Government and mainstream media as being the dominant position of the medical field.
In between these two extreme views, however, is where the vast majority of doctors practicing today would probably categorize their position. Many doctors who consider themselves “pro-vaccine,” for example, do not believe that every single vaccine is appropriate for every single individual.
Many doctors recommend a “delayed” vaccine schedule for some patients, and not always the recommended one-size-fits-all CDC childhood schedule. Other doctors choose to recommend vaccines based on the actual science and merit of each vaccine, recommending some, while determining that others are not worth the risk for children, such as the suspect seasonal flu shot.
These doctors who do not hold extreme positions would be opposed to government-mandated vaccinations and the removal of all parental exemptions.
In this article, I am going to summarize the many doctors today who do not take the most extremist pro-vaccine position, which is probably not held by very many doctors at all, in spite of what the pharmaceutical industry, the federal government, and the mainstream media would like the public to believe.