Read the most advanced science of autism causes here. Bypass the commenterati and go direct to the science. Don't waste your time at the sites which pretend "no-one" knows what causes (or what sometimes cures) autism.
This is a website relating to the unchallenged theory of autism, IQ and genius, Personality and Individual Differences 14:459-482 (1993) by Robin P Clarke (the antiinnatia theory). An update review paper is being prepared for publication. Meanwhile you can download the original 1993 publication (presentationally revised) here, and the original 1993 publication (author's reprint) here . (the journal site version is here:, but without added charts of social class and you may have to pay Elsevier $31.)

Why Bernard Rimland made just one mistake

Bernard Rimland's contribution to autism research has been unequalled. To him belongs the credit for debunking Bettleheim's theory of "refrigerator mothers", and replacing it with the modern understanding of autism as genetic/biochemical in nature.

He had much responsibility for the discovery of the benefits of vitamin B6 and magnesium. He was one of the first to discern that autism was increasing. And he recognised that mercury was involved in causing it.

He made just one mistake (as I see it), namely taking the view that vaccines were the cause of the autism increase [note: cause of the increase]. I think part of the reason for that mistake was a situation of having one's nose too close to the grindstone, so-to-speak. This is liable to lead into that other metaphor of the frog not bothering to jump out of the slowly heating water.

Given the assumptions that:
  • autism was increasing;
  • mercury was involved;
  • the increase was in second-year onsets;
  • vaccinations were the only noticeable input of infant mercury;
  • vaccinations had increased at ~sort-of~ the same era as the autism increase;
  • parents were increasingly reporting autism onset "immediately" after vaccinations;
  • the only other notable source of mercury, dental amalgams, had been in use for 150 yrs before the increase, and not in infants anyway;
  • the medical establishment were engaged in their usual conspiracy tricks, publishing misleading studies about vaccines, hiding their Simpsonwood data, and persecuting those who challenged them;
Given these observations, it was not unreasonable to become convinced that vaccinations were the cause of the autism increase.

Myself? As a fatigue-disabled person, struggling to just survive, and with much wider interests than Dr Rimland's focus on autism, it was not within my capabilities to keep up with all the details of the dispute about the increase. And as my "excellent" "fine work" 1993 paper had been totally pretended into non-existence by all but a tiny elite anyway, there seemed little point in taking such an interest in a dispute of no practical importance to myself.

It was only by fluke that I got involved again. I began to wonder if my decades of severe disability (not autism; since age 15) had been caused by dental mercury. I now had, for the first time, increasing billions of webpages that I could search on the subject. I gradually became more informed and more suspicious. Then I read that mercury binds to DNA and thereby inhibits gene-expression at doses far lower than producing other effects. This rang a bell because it was exactly what I had said would cause autism, in my 1993-published paper. I also learnt that the type of amalgam had switched from the 1970s to non-gamma-2 which emit 30-50 times more mercury vapour into the air. Thanks to my autism theory (which everyone else was ignoring) I also knew that the process was like holding the genes hostage rather than like a shattering hammer blow. I also understood that amalgam delivers its poison through the air, and thus can be breathed in by the (post-natal) infant as well as the parent.

Dr Rimland didn't know these facts, so the idea that dental amalgam could have caused the increase would have rightly seemed daft to him. How could a non-increasing source cause an illness increase in people who aren't even having it installed in them? In 2006 I sent to Dr Rimland a draft of my update review but I got a reply from Dr Edelson that Dr Rimland was too ill to read it. I'm sure that if I had not been delayed by the callous harassment conspiracy I would have been able to persuade Dr Rimland that it was dental mercury that was the main cause of the increase.


  1. Isn't it likely that all sources of environmental mercury (including thimerosal)contribute to autism?

  2. Yes indeed, I'd reckon almost certain that they contribute to ~some~ extent. The question is to what extent, and what I consider B.R. was mistaken in reckoning vaccines to be the main (or only) cause of the increase. I would argue that the international epidemiological data, of many thousands of children getting varying amounts of vaccines, makes clear that vaccine mercury was at most only a lesser contributor to the increase. Furthermore, in my update (not yet published) I build on the gene-suppression concept of the 1993 paper, to argue that autism would result more likely from a sustained intake rather than a few sudden overloads.

  3. When will your paper be published? I think Rimland wrote that he did not consider vaccine mercury to be a cause of autism initially because he naively believed that the health authorities would be vigilant enough to prevent significant amounts of mercury in vaccines. After the revelations about the dangerous amounts of thimerosal in vaccines, he reversed this opinion. My view of this matter is that all sources of mercury are dangerous to human beings and that fetuses and infants are particularly vulnerable. Environmental mercury exposures have increased substantially over the years with dental amalgams being supplemented by polluted seafood and pollution from coal-fired power plants (China is a particular offender). Different people have different genetically-determined abilities to detoxify mercury - the higher the environmental burden, the greater the number of victims of mercury poisoning (their capabilities to detoxify exceeded). I look forward to reading your paper about the contribution of dental amalgams to this disaster.

  4. "Environmental mercury exposures have increased substantially over the years with dental amalgams being supplemented by polluted seafood and pollution from coal-fired power plants"

    Actually that's only partly true. Due to people becoming aware of the toxicity of mercury its release has greatly declined in many fields. Atmospheric mercury has been greatly declining in recent decades, in some areas at least, though I've not managed to find much data. In the update paper I explain the reversal of the Flynn effect as due to the reversal of atmospheric mercury vapor increase.
    Beware of stereotyping things as bad/good. Salt, water, iron, zinc, selenium, etc, are essential for life even though in excess they are harmful. Mercury is a natural component of our environment, not some artificial invention such as pesticides are. Seafood has always contained it.
    The update paper: I have just had back a reviewer's report, which is the second one from this journal and in both cases they present no sound objection to publishing, just shallow false objections. This is a familiar story for anyone publishing anything non-canonical. I've replied to that editor demonstrating the lack of sound objections, and in a week or so either they will accept it or I'll move on to trying another journal (thought this can entail much fiddling about to adjust formats and other parameters).

  5. I have not delved into the figures but it is my understanding that mercury pollution from power plants has increased because of the vast Chinese expansion of coal-fired plants and their lack of scrubbing capability. This is especially important in my home state of California since we get a lot of Chinese pollution via the trans-Pacific air currents.
    As for stereotyping mercury as bad, I plead guilty. Selenium, zinc, salt, etc., while toxic at excessive doses, are essential to life. Mercury has no known beneficial function in the body and is cytotoxic at infinitesimally low levels (see the material published online by Safe Minds for details). Perhaps your paper could be published on-line if the journals won't touch it. Safe Minds might be interested.

  6. There has indeed been an increase in mercury output from Chinese power plants, but I have not encountered any information of what effect this has had on the actual levels of mercury vapor at any location. Likewise Palmer et al 2004 measured reported outputs of mercury per county in Texas but did not measure actual mercury vapor at any location. Mercury meanwhile also comes in massive amounts naturally from volcanoes and from the ground generally.
    "Mercury has no known beneficial function"
    Indeed, but it is not known that it has no beneficial function. Not long ago all of these minerals had no known beneficial function -- just as well we didn't dismiss them all for it.
    If it is really so bad at infinitessimally low levels, then we'd all better despair because for the past zillion years the atmospheric vapor levels have been approx 30%-50% of the present. It is impossible to carry out an experiment as to whether people can grow up healthy in a mercury-free environment so your thesis of being always bad and never good is impossible to test. Meanwhile the antiinnatia theory explains why unnaturally-lowered mercury could make some people lower in IQ and in other ways unhealthy. Don't you agree it's best to confine your stereotypes to ones which are justified by evidence?
    As for the notion of "if the journals won't touch it", all that has happened so far is one or two journals have declined a version of it, a very commonly-encountered situation which doesn't remotely justify the notion that it can't get published at all in a journal.

  7. I was basing my assertion not on ambient mercury vapor levels but on the demonstrated cytotoxicity of mercury in cell cultures at nanogram levels. Since mercury is a known toxin, the rule should be one of caution in exposing humans to mercury sources that bypass the body's detox mechanisms (e.g., dental amalgams and vaccine additives ). Mercurial emissions into the environment ought to be minimized also on the cautionary principle but you are absolutely correct that zero exposure is not possible and therefore should not be attempted. I did not mean to imply that your paper is unpublishable, only that the usual venues might not be receptive and you may need an alternative (indeed, I am eager to read it).

  8. "the usual venues might not be receptive"
    They never are receptive to anything new! (Unless it's from a most revered Nobellist in which case they'll publish any old rubbish such as the Crick theory of dreams (my own theory of dreams fits the facts infinitely better but due to chronic merc poisoning I've never had the time/energy to publish most of my theories).)
    "(indeed, I am eager to read it)."
    You're welcome to email me for a copy of the current draft. It's just the web I can't put it on as some journals object to pre-webbing.


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