Increase in Head Size May Predict Autism

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Study: Increased brain size may be a predictor of autism

In a recent study, researchers at the University of California, San Diego found that the clinical onset of autism may be preceded by a smaller than normal head size at birth, followed by a sudden and excessive (which the researchers termed explosive) increase in head size between 1 to 2 months and 6 to 14 months. In this study head size (circumference) was measured by a tape measure. They concluded that an abnormally accelerated rate of growth may serve as an early warning signal for autism. 

The head size of Autistic children at birth was found to be in the lower 25% when compared with heads of normal children and that the heads of Autistic children grew explosively large during infancy (to the 84th percentile on average - with mildly autistic subjects in about the 59th percentile and severely autistic children at or above the 97th percentile). Only 6% of the healthy infants showed accelerated growth compared with 59% of infants with autistic disorder. This increase by the end of the first year was strongly correlated with greater cerebral and cerebellar volumes by 2 to 5 years of age. These results suggest that growth dysregulation in 2 major cortices and underlying white matter in the brain underlies the increase in head circumference.

The researchers comment: "The brain volume increases could also reflect either aberrant compensatory responses to adverse prenatal conditions or deviant biological mechanisms that are first expressed in early postnatal life. Events and conditions, such as measles, mumps, and rubella vaccinations, childhood exposure to environmental toxins or pathogens, or unusual gastrointestinal or allergic reactions to food, that occur after the overgrowth are not logically plausible as causes. Although some may argue that such later occurring events might be important as aggravating factors." – JAMA, July 16, 2003


Comments by Dr. Blye

Serious Study Flaw - While this study did have the strength of unbiased examiners (for head circumference) its greatest WEAKNESS is the assumption that increased head size is the result of "overgrowth." The most logical reason for an "explosive" increase in head circumference would be brain swelling, not growth. And brain swelling, not growth, is much more likely to produce the symptoms of the autistic child. 

Comments by Dr. Bamberger

What this study did - measure head size and to rule out certain other possible causes for increased head circumference, such as tumors and hydrocephalus. It called this increase in head size a "growth spurt".

A basic assumption of this study is not validated by scientific proof - Researchers called the increase in brain size "overgrowth" and "growth spurts" and then hinted at genetic causes - but no research was done to determine if it actually was growth or if it was something else. Due to the fact that this so called overgrowth occurs at the time periods when infants receive large numbers of vaccinations, is quite possible that it may not be growth at all. It may be brain swelling (encephalitis) caused by the vaccines. More studies need to be done to determine the nature of the increase in brain size and its cause.

What the study DID NOT investigate

bullet WHY the brain size increased or what may trigger that increase
bulletIf the increase in brain size was, or was NOT, related to vaccines or environmental exposures.
bulletCompare with increase in head circumference with the vaccination records of children studied, even this information is part of the children's medical records, that was reviewed.

Despite a lack of scientific evidence, the authors state -  "Events and conditions, such as measles, mumps, and rubella vaccinations, childhood exposure to environmental toxins or pathogens, or unusual gastrointestinal or allergic reactions to food, that occur AFTER THE OVERGROWTH are not logically plausible as causes. Although some may argue that such later occurring events might be important as aggravating factors."

Misrepresentation of medical facts - Vaccinations are now given at birth, and in the first month of life. Additionally 4 vaccines are given at age 2 months of age, 4 at 4 months of age, 6 at 6 months of age, 4 at 12 months of age, and 2 at 2 years of age. The vaccination records of infants studied need to be compared with measurements of head size, but this was not done. Contrary to statements by the authors vaccinations are given BEFORE THE OVERGROWTH

Question - Do the authors of this study not know when vaccinations are given or could it be that there is there a deliberate intent to misinform or misrepresent facts?

Possibilities not addressed by researchers - The brain swelling may be caused by encephalitis, as was proposed by John Blye, DC in his E/R Model, and the encephalitis maybe caused by vaccines and / or environmental toxins.

Findings in this study that support Dr. Blye’s hypothesis on vaccine induced encephalitis as a probable cause of autism - are substantiated by the study findings that the increase in head size was termed "explosive" by researchers, which could indicate the acute phase of encephalitis that follows vaccination. The explosive increase in head size was found at the ages when children receive vaccinations, implicating vaccines as a possible cause. That children with Autism have a smaller head / brain size at birth may indicate a underdeveloped / immature brain, which may indicate that their brains are less developed and therefore be more vulnerable to vaccines and environmental exposures to neurotoxic substances than normal infant brains.

See vaccine schedule - and compare time of vaccination with rapid increases in brain size found in this study. 

Other Research Studies:

Concussions and Depression
Increase in Head Size May Predict Autism
Hair Mercury Levels in Autism
Head Injuires in Abused Children
Head Injury and Parkinson's Disease


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Copyright © 2003 by Cranial, John Blye, DC, and Lynn Bamberger, DC.  All rights reserved. Duplication without express written permission is strictly forbidden.

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Acknowledgements:  Photography by Paula Kliewer  (Learn more) --  Web Design and Writing by  Lynn Bamberger, DC