(MMR) Vaccine as a Potential Cause of Encephalitis (Brain Inflammation) in
MARCH 9, 1998
ISSUE #39B by Harold E. Buttram, MD Townsend Letters Dec. 1997
is the result of encephalitis affecting primarily the limbic system of the
brain, located below the cerebral cortex. A relatively few number of cases are
due to genetic causes, but officially the great majority are of unknown causes.
PhD, founding director of the Autism Research Institute, estimates that there
are now a minimum of 250,000 autistic children in America, a 10 to 15-fold
increase in the past 50 or so years. Dr. Rimland, internationally recognized as
a leading expert in the field of autism, has publically stated that he believes
current childhood vaccine programs are one of the major causes for the current
epidemic of autism.1
The US Committee
on Children, Youth, and Families has estimated there are now 7.5 million
American children with developmental delay compared with 4.8 million in 1991.
Of these, 30% are thought to be autistic or have autistic tendencies .2 It is
true that statistics are subject to question, but the real scope of the problem
can be gained by talking with veteran elementary school teachers, and I have
talked with many of them. Without exception in my experience, they emphatically
confirm that there has been a dramatic and widespread increase among school
children in learning and behavioral disorders attention deficit and
hyperactivity, and children requiring special education. These changes appear
most notable since the 1970's. Dawbarns Law Firm of England has published a
paper in which they report on over 600 instances of side effects following the
MMR and MR vaccines, which were introduced in England in 1988.3 These include
202 cases of autism, 97 of epilepsy, 40 with hearing and vision problems, and
41 with 100 behavioral and learning problems, the latter in older children.
Although British health officials deny a relationship of these conditions with
the vaccines, Dawbarns has accounts of over 200 parents who believe that their
children were normal before they were vaccinated, and who can point to nothing
(other than the vaccine) which could account for the deterioration in their
Desk Reference, in its section on the MMR vaccine, states that complications
from MMR, such as encephalitis and optic neuritis, occur "very
rarely." This is the conventional view, sincerely held by a majority of
doctors, but where does the truth lie? Could it be that adverse consequences to
MMR vaccine are occurring on a larger scale than officially recognized?
model for MMR vaccine as a cause of encephalitis Nerve cells of the brain
function by conducting nerve impulses, Much like electrical wiring, these cells
require insulation to function normally. This insulation is provided by myelin
sheaths, made up largely of fatty material. For the most part myelination of
nerve cells of the brain does not commence until after birth. Most is laid down
during the first 5 years of normal development. It is now generally thought
that the process of encephalitis, whether from wild viruses of live-virus
vaccines, is associated with an interference with the myelination process
brought about by the development of antibodies against myelin basic protein, a
constituent of the myelin sheaths .4
In theory there
are several mechanisms whereby the MMR vaccine could have increased potency to
induce harmful autoantibodies (antibodies which attack the body's own tissues
and organs, including the myelin sheathes), once injected into the human
system. First and perhaps foremost, MMR is incubated in chick embryo culture
medium, which necessarily includes precursors of all the organ systems of the
chick, including myelin basic protein. Merck Pharmaceuticals, which produces
MMR vaccine, claims that all traces of the chick embryo are removed before the
vaccine is released for use. This may be true, but it is probably irrelevant as
it does not take into account the process of mobile genetic elements, more
commonly referred to as "jumping genes." Viruses being made up entirely
of genetic material, they are highly susceptible to this process. It has been
shown that viruses are genetically changed by accepting genetic material from
imprint of the chick myelin basic protein, which is foreign to the human system
because of its chick origin, may be programmed to induce antibodies against
human myelin basic protein, once injected into the human system. This in turn,
potentially resulting in encephalitis. The second theoretical reason is that
the MMR vaccine is injected by needle directly into the system. This differs,
from the natural infections which are "cushioned" or buffered by the
mucosal immune system (Secretary IgA) of the respiratory tract. By passing this
mucosal immune system, the injection may carry greater potency for harmful
autoantibody formation. Third, measles virus carries protein similar to those
found in myelin sheaths 6 so that antibodies induced by the measles vaccine may
cross-react harmfully with myelin.
line of thought further, in 1993 Vijendra Singh, PhD University of Illinois,
published a study in which they found antibodies to myelin basic protein in 50
to 60% of autistic children tested.4 Recently at a public meeting Dr. Singh
presented information on an unpublished, preliminary study of 27 autistic
children in which he found nearly 50% correlation between MMR antibodies and
antibodies to myelin basic protein in serum drawn from the children.7 Dr. Singh
emphasized that this study was very preliminary and that no conclusions could
be drawn from it. However, it does raise a higher index of suspicion that the
MMR vaccine may result in encephalitis and its various complications on a
fairly large scale. Once again, this leads us to question whether or not many
vaccine reactions are passing unrecognized and therefore unreported by the US
under-reporting of adverse vaccine reactions in the USA As reported in the
Journal of the American Medical Association in 1990, there is a general malaise
among American physicians in reporting adverse drug (and vaccine) reactions;.8
,9 Based on this report, the present voluntary reporting system appears to have
resulted in very low levels of adverse reaction reports.
screening studies for measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine were limited to short
periods of time such as 6 weeks observation for adverse affects. This limited
time did not take into account the possibility of delayed reactions, which may
outnumber those occurring within the 6 or so week period. In the case of
cancer, we know there may be periods of years between the original body insult
and onset of cancer. In the case of the vaccines, it is possible that slow and
subclinical process of encephalitis may be initiated which may not manifest
until much later an therefore remain unrecognized as having been caused by the
It is possible
that MMR vaccine reactions are now occurring on a much larger scale than they
did in the original screening studies, because many children today are second
generation vaccinees; that is, they are born mothers previously vaccinated with
MMR. The mothers having been vaccinated with genetically contaminated MMR, as
previous described, the children may have heightened susceptibility to adverse
reactions when rechallenged with the vaccine.10 Further confirmation of this
concept is found in a recent report from Japan where it was demonstrated that
live virus from measles vaccine do persist in mononuclear cells of the body in
children with autoimmune hepatitis.16 Doctors, having been conditioned by the
rarity of adverse reactions in the original screening studies, are generally
inclined to dismiss these reactions as due to other causes.
The decline of
childhood diseases before vaccination There is a generally held concept that
mass vaccine programs were largely responsible for control of former epidemic
diseases, but with the probable exception of the polio vaccine, in most
instances this was not the case. From 1911 to 1935 the 4 leading causes of
death among those aged 1 to 14 years, covered by Metropolitan Life Insurance
policies, were diphtheria, measles, scarlet fever and whooping cough.11
However, by 1945
the combined rates from these 4 diseases had declined by 95%, before mass
vaccine program began in the United States .12 By far the greatest factors in
the decline were better housing with less crowded conditions, better nutrition,
and other public health, hygienic, and medical measures.
conventional view is that adverse vaccine reactions are relatively uncommon. At
variance with this are internationally recognized authorities such as Dr.
Bernard Rimland. Also at variance are many parents whose children have
developed medical complications following vaccines where no other cause was evident.
Time may prove that one of the basic flaws in American childhood vaccine
programs is that it is increasingly compulsory and mandatory. Once considered
the fountainhead of freedom, in the enforcement of vaccine programs, America
has become one of the most stringent and arbitrary of all nations. Parents
refusing to have their children vaccinated, often for religious reasons, are
subject to charges of child abuse.
officials contend that such compulsory measures are necessary for control of infectious
diseases which, they maintain, would increase along with childhood death rates
if the vaccine mandates were lifted. In my opinion, this argument does not bear
up to scrutiny for the following reasons:
**In 1979 Sweden
banned the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine, considering it both ineffective
and dangerous. In spite of the banning, or perhaps because of it, Sweden
maintains one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. In 1975 Japan
raised the age of pertussis vaccine to 2 years of age, considering it dangerous
in infancy. Since that time, sudden infant death syndrome (cot deaths) have
largely disappeared in Japan.13
with either voluntary vaccine programs, such as England, or less stringently
enforced programs have lower infant mortality rates than the US. With few
exceptions, they have not had a return of deadly epidemics (with high
mortality). One researcher has estimated that, in the case of autism, it may
take 15 years to reach the standards of scientific proof that MMR vaccine is
causing autism in a large portion of children with the condition. Can we afford
to wait 15 years?
For sake of
argument, let us assume that scientific proof is eventually gained that MMR is
causatively related to a significant portion of children with autism and
developmental delay. If we continue to enforce vaccine programs as at present,
one shudders to think what the future generations will think and write about
us. Mistakes might be forgiven, but not the enforcement of these mistakes. If
such does prove to be the case, we can rest assured that they will be neither
kind nor charitable in their judgments of us.
As previously mentioned, time may prove that vaccine programs went awry when
they deviated from the most basic of traditional medical ethics: the right of a
patient to choose or reject medical therapy, or the right of parents to accept
or reject medical procedures such as vaccines for their children. The right of
free choice provides a system for checks and balances now lacking. As a result,
present vaccine programs are going to extremes and are possibly causing more
disease than they are preventing. The remedy? Parents should be allowed the
right of free choice to accept or reject vaccines for their children.
related interest to the subject of MMR vaccine as a potential cause of
encephalitis is the report of Dr. Sudhir Gupta and coworkers in which they
found marked abnormalities of the immune systems of autistic children.10 Could
the MMR vaccine have been a contributing factor for these abnormalities? In
1991 there was a report of significantly higher child mortality following
high-tittered measles vaccines compared with standard measles vaccines among
children in Senegal.14 Subsequently a study was undertaken to assess immune
responses to the high tittered vaccines.15 The results showed suppression in
lymphoproliferation; that is, suppression in lymphocyte production (lymphocytes
are a class of white blood cells which play a major role in governing the immune
In the above
study report it was stated, "the effect of measles immunization on immune
responses in infants has not been systematically studied." The study was
valuable but it tested only two strains of high red measles vaccines, not the
standard vaccine. As a result we do know that the high-tittered vaccine does
cause immune disturbances, but we do not know the effects of the standard
measles vaccine, studies not having been done. If such studies are not already
in progress, let us hope that they soon will be.
Harold E. Buttram, MD 5724 Clymer Road Quakertown, Pennsylvania 18951 USA
1. Statements by Bernard Rimland, PhD, were given at a conference on autism,
sponsored by the Autism Research Institute in Chicago, June, 1996.
from the Developmental Delay Registry, 6701 Fairfax Road, Chevy Chase, Maryland
20815, Tel. 301652-2263.
3. From a paper
distributed by Dawbarns Law Firm, Bank House, Kingrs Staithe Square, Lingrs
Lynn, Norfolk PE30 IRD, Great Britain, Tel. 01553. 764373, Fax 01553-765226.
4. Singh VJ et
al., Antibodies to myelin basic protein in children with autistic behavior,
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Vol. 7, 97-1203, 1993.
5. Kumar S &
Miller LK, Effects of serial passage of Autographs Californica nuclear
polyhidrosis virus in cell culture. Virus Research, Vol. 7, 335-349, 1987.
6. Jahnke U et
al., Sequence homology between certain viral proteins and proteins related to
encephalomyelitis and neuritis, Science, Vol. 29, 282-284, July 19, 1985,
by Dr. Vijendra Singh, 8/16/97, Allegro School, Cedar Knolls, NJ.
8. Scott HD et
al., MD reporting of adverse reactions: results of the Rhode Island adverse
drug reaction reporting project, JAMA, Vol. 263, No. 13, 1785-1788, 4/4/90.
9. Reporting side
effects: signals or noise? (Editorial), ibid, page 1823.
10. Gupta S et
al., Dysregulated immune system in children with autism; beneficial effects of
intravenous globulin on autistic characteristics, J ofAutism and Develop
Disorders, Vol. 26, No. 4, 439-452, 1996. (In this article on page 450, it is
stated, "We theorized that the high titers of rubella antibody ... present
in mothers of children with autism would be transplacentally transferred and
may persist for a prolonged period in the child. When such a child gets MMR
immunization, rubella antigen may complex with preexisting antibodies and such
complexes might play a role in pathogenesis of autistic features.")
11. Dublin L
& Lotka A, Twenty-five Years ofHealth Progress, New York: Metropolitan Life
Insurance Company, 1937, page 48.
12. Dublin L,
Health Progress 1936-1945, New York: Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 1948,
100 Years of Orthodox Research Shows that Vaccines Represent a Medical Assault
on the Immune System, Viera Scheibner, PhD., 1993 (from pages 33 to 49 the
author extensively reviews the Swedish and Japanese experiences with the
pertussis vaccine, book available from New Atlantean Press, P.O. Box 9638-925,
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504).
14. Garenne M et
al., Child mortality after high-titre measles vaccines; a prospective study in
Senegal, Lancet, Vol. 338, 903-907, October 12, 1991.
15. Hussey GD et
al., The effect of Edmonston-Zagreb and Schwarz measles vaccines on immune
responses in infants, J ofInfect Diseases, Vol. 173, 1320-1326, 1996.
INFORMATION, DATA, AND MATERIAL CONTAINED, PRESENTED, OR PROVIDED HERE IS FOR
GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS REFLECTING THE
KNOWLEDGE OR OPINIONS OF THE PUBLISHER, AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED OR INTENDED
AS PROVIDING MEDICAL OR LEGAL ADVICE. THE DECISION WHETHER OR NOT TO
VACCINATE IS AN IMPORTANT AND COMPLEX ISSUE AND SHOULD BE MADE BY YOU, AND YOU
ALONE, IN CONSULTATION WITH YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.
"A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth."
-- Albert Einstein, letter to a friend, 1901
"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to William C. Jarvis, September 28, 1820
“A sacred cow will not protect the herd.”
-- Sandy Gottstein
"What's the point of vaccination if it doesn't protect you from the unvaccinated?"
-- Sandy Gottstein
"Who gets to decide what the greater good is and how many will be sacrificed to it?"