Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Autism and Radiation

Majia here: I believe autism is a heterogeneous condition and that there are probably multiple causal pathways that produce the symptoms that give rise to a diagnosis of autism.

That said, I believe environmental mutagens play a significant role in autism. Radiation is far more mutagenic than most chemicals. The role of radiation in contributing to autism has not been thoroughly examined in the scientific literature. That is why the study at the very bottom of this post needs to be extended and replicated.

What follows:
1.      A look at the relationship between fathers’ age and autism and a brief look at how radiation may explain this relationship.

2.      A look at very radiosensitive cells found to be non-normal in many children with autism.

3.      A brief preliminary study conducted by Bobby1 at his blog site on autism and radiation exposure


Father’s Age Is Linked to Risk of Autism and Schizophrenia
The New York Times
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 -- 1:01 PM EDT

[Excerpted] Older men are more likely than young ones to father a child who develops autism or schizophrenia, because of random mutations that become more numerous with advancing paternal age, scientists reported on Wednesday, in the first study to quantify the effect as it builds each year. The age of mothers had no bearing on the risk for these disorders, the study found.

Experts said that the finding was hardly reason to forgo fatherhood later in life, though it may have some influence on reproductive decisions. The overall risk to a man in his 40s or older is in the range of 2 percent, at most, and there are other contributing biological factors that are entirely unknown.

Majia here: One of my previous posts examined how radiation damage to germ cells increases in mice with age. Germ cell defects are inherited by children.

Ionizing radiation-induced mutant frequencies increase transiently in male germ cells of older mice  Guogang Xua, C. Alex McMahanb, Kim Hildretha, Rebecca A. Garciaa, Damon C. Herberta, Christi A. Walter Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis Available online 31 January 2012

Spontaneous mutant frequency in the male germline increases with age, thereby increasing the risk of siring offspring with genetic disorders. In the present study we investigated the effect of age on ionizing radiation-induced male germline mutagenesis. lacI transgenic mice were treated with ionizing radiation at 4-, 15- and 26-month-old, and mutant frequencies were determined for pachytene spermatocytes and round spermatids at 15 days or 49 days after ionizing radiation treatment. 

Cells collected 15 days after treatment were derivatives of irradiated differentiating spermatogenic cells while cells collected 49 days later were derivatives of spermatogonial stem cells. The results showed that (1) spontaneous mutant frequency increased in spermatogenic cells recovered from nonirradiated old mice (26-months-old), particularly in the round spermatids; (2) mutant frequencies were significantly increased in round spermatids obtained from middle-aged mice (15-months-old) and old age mice (26-months-old) at 15 and 49 days after irradiation compared to the sham-treated old mice; and (3) pachytene spermatocytes obtained from 15- or 26-month-old mice displayed a significantly increased mutant frequency at 15 days post irradiation. 

This study indicates that age modulates the mutagenic response to ionizing radiation in the male germline.

[excerpt from article] "Advanced paternal age (about 40 years or older at the time of conception) is associated with an increased incidence of a wide range of genetic and epigenetic diseases in offspring [2]. For example de novo mutations (C to G in fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2) gene) in 57 Apert cases were all of paternal origin…In addition to several diseases with clear Mendelian inheritance, advanced paternal age is also linked to an increased risk for diabetes with a genetic component such as childhood cancers [5-7], diabetes mellitus type [8], multiple sclerosis [9], autism [10] and congenital malformations [11], and others. The association between paternal age and increased risk for diseases in offspring may be at least partially ascribed to mutagenesis in male gametes [12-16]."
Majia Here: Classical autism in children has been linked to father's age in a positive relationship (older father higher risk of autism in offspring)

This article on the effects of ionizing radiation suggests one mechanism. The body's susceptibility and/or capabilities to repair DNA damage from ionizing radiation wane with age, increasing the likelihood that the offspring will inherit damaged DNA.


Another previous post examined NK CD 56 cells, which are particularly vulnerable to radiation damage and have been found to be abnormal in children with autism.

NK CD 56 cells are very radiosensitive and they have also been implicated as dysfunctional in children with autism. Maybe there is a connection here?

Below are the steps I used in making this link and the relevant citations.

CD 56 NK cells are highly sensitive to ionizing radiation

The conclusion "CD56 (bright) subset of NK cells and this subpopulation was considered as the most radiosensitive one." was found in this article: Doris Vokurková a, Ji_rina Vávrová b, Ji_rí _Sinkora c, Alena Stoklasová a, Václav Bláha b, Martina _Rezá_cová a (2010). Radiosensitivity of CD3_CD8þCD56þ NK cells Radiation Measurements 45 (2010) 1020e1023

The connection to autism for CD 56 cells was found in this article:

ABSTRACT: “children with autism found to have abnormalities in function of NK cells, Immune related abnormalities have repeatedly been reported in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), including evidence of immune dysregulation and autoimmune phenomena. NK cells may play an important role in neurodevelopmental disorders such as ASD. Here we performed a gene expression screen and cellular functional analysis on peripheral blood obtained from 52 children with ASD and 27 typically developing control children enrolled in the case-control CHARGE study. RNA expression of NK cell receptors and effector molecules were significantly upregulated in ASD. Flow cytometric analysis of NK cells demonstrated increased production of perforin, granzyme B, and interferon gamma (IFNc) under resting conditions in children with ASD (p < 0.01). Following NK cell stimulation in the presence of K562 target cells, the cytotoxicity of NK cells was significantly reduced in ASD compared with controls (p < 0.02). Furthermore, under similar stimulation conditions the presence of perforin, granzyme B, and IFNc in NK cells from ASD children was significantly lower compared with controls (p < 0.001). These findings suggest possible dysfunction of NK cells in children with ASD. Abnormalities in NK cells may represent a susceptibility factor in ASD and may predispose to the development of autoimmunity and/or adverse neuroimmune interactions during critical periods of development. Altered gene expression and function of peripheral blood natural killer cells in children with autism.
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Volume 23, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 124-133


ABSTRACT: "Measurement of natural killer (NK) cell activity in blood samples of autistic children (n=1027) revealed that 45% of the subjects exhibited low NK cell activity compared to the controls (n=113). The correlation of this finding with low intracellular glutathione, IL-2 and IL-15 levels may indicate the underlying cause for NK cell dysfunction in a subset of autistic children [11]. Gene expression of perforin, granzyme B and interferon-γ (IFNγ) in peripheral blood NK cells of ASD patients (n=52) was decreased compared to the control group (n=27) under similar stimulation conditions, indicating depressed cytotoxicity [12 Mast cell activation and autism

Theoharis C. Theoharides a,b,c,d,e,⁎, Asimenia Angelidou a,e, Konstantinos-Dionysios Alysandratos a,e, Bodi Zhang a,b, Shahrzad Asadi a, Konstantinos Francis f, Elena Toniato g, Dimitrios Kalogeromitros (2011) Biochimica et Biophysica Acta


Bobby 1 provides us with a recent preliminary study that raises interesting questions about “routine” radiation emissions and rising autism rates: 

Rather than excerpting material, I strongly recommend that readers visit his site at the link provided and read his analysis.



  1. This is very interesting, and the first i've heard of this possible connection.

    I do know there is a contingent that claims autism is being caused by some kind of mercury substance in childhood vaccine base stocks.

    Ever since I studied global warming and determined for myself that it is/was a scam

    (OT: I'm fully aware that you do not agree with this Majia - and this statement may actually raise your ire, however I use this example intentionally to show how easily it is to fall into the trap - the same one I had fallen into regarding nuclear power. I believe you are the type of person who wants to know the real truth, and I believe I could point you base data that would allow you to find it )

    Anyway, ever since I came to that conclusion, I have become aware of the sophistication of pseudo-science in the name of corporate greed, disinformation, and public relations.

    And as a result, I've determined that I need to study the base data and be able to duplicate the analysis and conclusions myself from the source itself, rather than trust any scientist's analysis of that data.

    And I especially cannot rely on news articles or "experts" that claim to be unbiased, but in reality are, either intentionally or unintentionally.

    So this appears to be one of those situations. It sounds reasonable for it to be either vaccinations or radiation. The possibility exists that both contribute, but I estimate that to be a low likelihood. More likely one or the other claim is wrong - or even both are wrong, and there is another cause. It will take me some time to research to reach my own conclusion.

    My rambling point is this: i personally cannot know the truth from listening to others anymore. Which is really sad, but true. And that's why I sometimes frustrate people - when they ask me - "who told you that? or "where is the link". And i reply "there isn't one" I came to the conclusion myself" - because that's what I did. And that's what I think everyone must learn to do for themselves.


  2. Ha! - I guess I should have read Bobby's article prior to writing the comment above:

    His theory does link the radiation and the mercury together.

    My mistake... Which I do make my fair share of...


  3. Evidence suggests that children with autism have more harmful intestinal bacteria that produce neurotoxins than control groups.

    There is evidence that children with autism have “a higher incidence of the Clostridium histolyticum group (Clostridium clusters I and II) of bacteria than that of healthy children.”

    Clostridium histolyticum produces a similar neurotoxin to Clostridium tetani, which causes the deadly disease tetanus.

    Is radiation not only destroying DNA, but also creating environments where toxic bacteria proliferate, and then continually release neurotoxins?
    Radiation Resistance of Spores of Clostridium Species In Aqueous Suspension

    Are dyslexia, diabetes, depression, as well as other epidemics like ADHD, also related to the toxins released by these bacteria? So radiation damages our DNA and increases our load of neurotoxins produced by bacteria?



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