A Vaccine for Autism?

By Dr. David Berger – Pediatrician and TACA Physician Advisor

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Well, here is a concept I bet many parents of children with autism never contemplated….a vaccine specifically designed to inhibit the growth of the gut bugs that so many of us believe are playing a role in these children’s symptoms.

This week, researchers from a university in Canada announced the development of a vaccine that targets Clostridia to reduce the symptoms of autism.

(Full article can be read  here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424112309.htm)

Now, if I were to take out certain paragraphs from this article, one could see this as part of a presentation at a DAN!/ARI, NAA or Autism One Conference. “More than 90 percent of children with autism spectrum disorders suffer from chronic, severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Of those, about 75 percent suffer from diarrhea, according to current literature…… Autism cases have increased almost six-fold over the past 20 years, and scientists don’t know why. Although many experts point to environmental factors, others have focused on the human gut. Some researchers believe toxins and/or metabolites produced by gut bacteria, including Clostridia bolteae, may be associated with symptoms and severity of autism, especially regressive autism.”

This made me think a little deeper. What if there was actually a vaccine that could prevent Candida as well? Considering how many children with Autism are “yeast monsters”, and it seems like a never ending battle to keep yeast suppressed or a child regresses, how many families who have ridden the Candida roller coaster would opt for a Candida vaccine if it was proven effective and safe?

To be clear, I am not advocating for us to be actively seeking to vaccinate our kids against clostridia (or Candida). Many times, it just takes good doses of Lactobacillus and/or Saccharomyces to treat and suppress clostridia. And more importantly, by strengthening the immune system from birth (or ideally from preconception and through the pregnancy), by breastfeeding and then moving on to a high quality diet, maintaining good flora, vitamin D and zinc levels, and avoiding antibiotics, most kids would never develop clostridia or Candida in the first place. It is this strategy, along with minimizing toxic exposures, that I attribute to never having seen a child that came to my medical practice as a neonate go on to develop autism.

But I am happy to see the gut/brain connection being taken more seriously at the university level. Hopefully more research will be done to show that the clostridia can be prevented and treated without needing to vaccinate a child.

More on Dr. David Berger: https://www.tacanow.org/about-taca/physician-advisory-board/david-berger/

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Candida is a fungus and so is Clostridia and the way they do not have the same life cycles as bacteria and viruses which makes them so hard to treat and they replicate through spores. In the hospital care settings and nursing home resistant Clostridium deficile is running rapid so I am not too sure about the vaccines effectiveness and how would they test it?

  2. Also if a child with autism is not born with the gut problems and Autism is diagnosed most of the day as early as age 18 months. Would that mean the vaccine would be imposed on every child. At what age would they give the vaccine for it to be effective.

  3. David Berger, MD says:

    Sylvia, this is all hypothetical. It has not been even tried in humans at this point. But clostridia is not a fungus, it is a bacteria.

  4. I see this as a great step forward – not the potential for yet another vaccine. The great step forward is the recognition that gastrointestinal issues exist in autism. It would be nice to ask the questions: 1) why do kids with autism have these issues more than their typical peers and 2) Get docs to TREAT IT. Once you treat it behaviors and life greatly improves.

  5. Anne Dachel says:

    FINALLY!

    Look how many years it took for researcher to admit that GI problems are a part of autism.
    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/03/autism-and-gut-issues-but-dr-nancy-said-theres-no-connection.html

    The famous Mayo Clinic four years ago produced a study that said just the opposite.

    Why does it take so long to have answers about something affecting one in every 50 chlidren?

    Anne Dachel

  6. Autism Mom Praying In The Storm says:

    I wrote a post recently about the possiblitiy of an autism vaccine, just to throw the idea out there, but this sounds great. Clean up the gut, the absorption process and of course the brain functioning would improve. I just wish scientists would get on the ball and quit wasting alot of money and letting lives continued to be affected. Thanks for the post!!

  7. Alexander MacInnis says:

    I wonder – would a vaccine even work on gut bugs?

    I would think that such a vaccine would stimulate antibodies in the blood stream, while the Clostridia is presumably colonizing the lumen where they are largely isolated from serum antibodies. Right? Wrong? Would the antibodies be in sIgA? What if the sIgA path is impaired?

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