Archived | Autism Speaks: Role of cytokines in developmental neurotoxicity | Circa 2007 #NotAnAutisticAlly


Role of cytokines in developmental neurotoxicity 


Ellen Silbergeld, Ph.D., Univeristy of Maryland School of Medicine 

Grant Abstract:

Methyl mercury (MeHg) is an environmental pollutant that causes profound neurotoxicity and has been associated with autism. (2021 Fact: Vaccines DO NOT CAUSE autism)

A major toxic effect associated MeHg exposure in humans is damage to the developing nervous system, involving inhibition of cell migration. This project will test the hypothesis that methyl mercury disrupts neurodevelopment through perturbing cytokine-directed neural migration, resulting in permanent structural alterations of the CNS and behavioral and cognitive dysfunction. By defining the role of inflammatory cytokines in brain development, the results of this project may also have implications for understanding mechanisms by which maternal infections increase risks of autism and other perinatal brain disorders.

Papers published from the study

Silva IA, Graber J, Nyland JF, Silbergeld EK. In vitro HgCl2 exposure of immune cells at different stages of maturation: effects on phenotype and function. Environ Res. 2005 Jul;98(3):341-8. PMID: 15910788


This study investigated the effects of mercury dichloride (HgCl2) on the immune cells in the lymph nodes, spleen, and thymus of young mice at different ages in development. Dr. Silbergeld and colleagues examined the effects of the exposure to mercury on proliferation, cytokine production, and cell phenotype at age 7 and 10 days and compared it to adult mice. The researchers found that the effects of toxins on the immune cells varied at different ages and for different organs, suggesting immune cell response to toxins, and mercury specifically, may be developmental.

Silva IA, El Nabawi M, Hoover D, Silbergeld EK. Prenatal HgCl2 exposure in BALB/c mice: gender-specific effects on the ontogenyof the immune system. Dev Comp Immunol. 2005;29(2):171-83.PMID: 15450757


This study examined the effects of mercury dichloride (HgCl2) on the immune systems of the off-spring of mice exposed to non-lethal doses during pregnancy. Dr. Silbergeld and colleagues found that mercury exposure had different effects on cell number, proliferation, and cytokine production for different organs. In particular, thymocytes (cells produced in the thymus where immune T-cells originate) exhibited the most effects from mercury exposure. Effects of pre-natal exposure to HgCl2 were observed into adulthood with males and females showing different effects on cytokine production. While males showed a stimulatory effect on cytokine production in the thymus, lymph nodes and spleen, females showed an inhibition of cytokine production. The findings of this study indicate that exposure to mercury pre-natally could have lasting effects into adulthood. Moreover, it tentatively suggests there may be an interaction of the toxin with sex hormones that results in different immune responses in males and females in adulthood. This animal model may provide a useful biological model for examining the effects of environmental toxins and the relationship between environmental toxins and the dysfunctions observed in autism.

Silbergeld EK, Silva IA, Nyland JF. Mercury and autoimmunity: implications for occupational and environmental health.Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2005 Sep 1;207(2 Suppl):282-92. PMID: 16023690


In this article, Dr. Silbergeld and colleagues report the findings of a number of studies supporting their model of mercury involvement in autoimmune diseases, which identifies mercury as a factor that can increase severity and risk of a disorder along with other triggering effects such as genetic vulnerability or exposure to infection. In the first two experiments, the authors tested the interaction of both genetic and acquired predispositions to autoimmune disease using an animal model. The results of the experiments showed that even low doses of mercury could heighten susceptibility to chronic lupus and experimentally induced autoimmune myocarditis. The interaction of mercury exposure and the onset and severity of autoimmune disease was also examined in human populations. Sera from communities in the Amazon who were exposed to mercury through mining techniques showed increased auto-antibodies (biomarkers of autoimmune dysfunction) compared to non-mining communities, confirming in humans the interaction of exposure to mercury and triggering of autoimmune diseases observed in the animal models.


Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism


Note/Warning:

Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.


The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.


Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.


[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]


Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.


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