by Christina England
A recently published study in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity titled Low-Grade Inflammation Decreases Emotion Recognition – Evidence from the Vaccination Model of Inflammation links low-grade inflammation to a decrease in mental health and human social interaction.
The study, authored by a team of researchers from the University of Birmingham in the UK and headed by Leonie J.T. Balter, outlined their research into the effects that mild inflammation can have on cognitive recognition and the Theory of Mind (ToM).
Balter stated that:
The concept of ToM, sometimes called mentalizing (Frith & Frith, 2006), was developed in the context of research on autism-spectrum disorders and refers to the ability to interpret someone else’s desires, beliefs, and intentions, all of which are essential to human social interaction (Premack & Woodruff, 1978).
However, impairments of ToM more broadly characterize a number of mental health disorders, most notably depression (Bora & Berk, 2016).
To test their theory and prove their hypothesis, the team decided to use the typhoid vaccine because, according to their research, this particular vaccination induces inflammation, without causing their participants to suffer from sickness, fever, or mood change.
The ability to adequately interpret the mental state of another person is key to complex human social interaction.
Recent evidence suggests that this ability, considered a hallmark of ‘theory of mind’ (ToM), becomes impaired by inflammation.
However, extant supportive empirical evidence is based on experiments that induce not only inflammation but also induce discomfort and sickness, factors that could also account for temporary social impairment.
Hence, an experimental inflammation manipulation was applied that avoided this confound, isolating effects of inflammation and social interaction.
She explained that the team had decided to use the following participants:
Forty healthy male participants (mean age = 25, SD = 5 years) participated in this double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial.
Inflammation was induced using Salmonella Typhi vaccination (Typhoid vaccine) (0.025 mg; Typhim Vi, Sanofi Pasteur, UK); saline-injection was used as a control.
About 6h30m after injection in each condition, participants completed the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET), a validated test for assessing how well the mental states of others can be inferred through observation of the eyes region of the face.
According to Balter, when deciding on the health of their participants, she and her team had decided to exclude any individual who had had a previous history of a suspected vaccine-related allergy, a food allergy or intolerance, an inflammatory, cardiovascular, neurological, mental health or immune related disorder, smokers, a visual impairment (unless corrected to normal), or anyone on medication seven days prior to the test.
Importantly, compared to placebo, vaccination significantly reduced RMET accuracy (p < .05). RMET stimuli selected on valence (positive, negative, neutral) provided no evidence of a selective impact of treatment.
By utilizing an inflammation-induction procedure that avoided concurrent sicknesses or symptoms in a double-blinded design, the present study provides further support for the hypothesis that immune activation impairs ToM.
Such impairment may provide a mechanistic link explaining social-cognitive deficits in psychopathologies that exhibit low-grade inflammation, such as major depression.
The team concluded that:
In summary, typhoid vaccination elicited a transient low-grade inflammatory response in healthy young men and decreased performance on the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test, tested in a double-blinded placebo-controlled crossover design.
Hereby the current study provided direct empirical evidence for a link between heightened inflammation and lower ability to infer mental states of others.
This finding, together with related recent reports, warrants a more comprehensive program of research linking inflammation and social cognition.
The researchers only used healthy males for their study, and it would have been interesting to see data on what reactions less healthy males and females may have suffered, if they, too, had received the vaccines.
This is because, in general, vaccinations are given to a wide range of people, many of whom are extremely unhealthy.
It was interesting that the team decided to use the typhoid vaccination as their vaccine of choice because, according to the website Drugs.com, the following adverse reactions can occur following this vaccine:
The most common adverse events were injection site reactions.
Local reactions usually resolved within 48 hours of vaccination.
Very common (10% or more): Malaise (37%), fatigue (38%), feverish (subjective) (11.1%)
Common (1% to 10%): Fever of 100F or greater, decreased activity, elevated oral temperature, general aches
Postmarketing reports: Asthenia, flu-like episode
Very common (10% or more): Headache (27%)
Postmarketing reports: Syncope without convulsions, loss of consciousness, tremor, vasovagal syncope in response to injection
Common (1% to 10%): Itching
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Urticaria, rash
Common (1% to 10%): Myalgia
Postmarketing reports: Arthralgia, cervical pain, polyarthritis
Postmarketing reports: Bilateral retinitis
Postmarketing reports: Glomerulonephritis
Postmarketing reports: Asthma
In other words, this vaccine potentially could have caused the participants in this study to have suffered a severe adverse reaction, which we found to be worrying.
However, overall, Health Impact News found the study to be of great significance, because the researchers have not only proven that there is a link between vaccinations and social impairment, but that there could also be a link between vaccinations and depression, which may explain why U.S. News recently reported that between 2013 and 2016, the diagnosis of depression had risen by 33 percent in the U.S. alone.
Furthermore, the results of Balter’s study made us question whether or not the vaccinations could be behind the increase in mass violence, particularly school shootings, where the shooter is often profiled as being socially deviant and on psychiatric drugs.
What Came First, the Vaccination or the Psychiatric Drug?
In the past, researchers have believed that mind-altering drugs, such as Ritalin, Strattera, Adderall, Prozac, and Paxil, have been behind the increase in school shootings and mass violence that are being reported in the news.
In fact, according to CCHR International, many psychiatric drugs now contain warnings in their informational leaflets outlining that they have the potential to cause the patient to suffer from violent outbursts, homicidal thoughts, and mania.
For further information, please read: Psychiatric Drugs & Violence—The Facts.
While this is extremely worrying, we need to ask ourselves what came first, the vaccination or the psychiatric drug? Could the increase in vaccines in the CDC childhood vaccination schedule be linked to declining mental health and the increase in psychiatric drug prescriptions?
Autism by Any Other Name
For many years, researchers, medical professionals and scientists from around the world have been trying to prove whether or not there is a link between vaccinations and autism.
Could this study be one of the missing links that they have been searching for? After all, if the typhoid vaccination can cause a lowered ability in facial recognition, a recognized symptom of autism, then perhaps other vaccinations can cause similar problems.
In 2013, Health Impact News published an article titled 30 Scientific Studies Showing the Link between Vaccines and Autism, demonstrating that researchers have linked vaccines to autism for many years. In our article, we listed each and every study in detail.
However, the Balter study was not purely about autism; their study was mainly about depression. Therefore, we found it interesting that the researchers had decided not to include women in their study because, in general, depression affects a higher number of women than men.
This fact was made abundantly clear by author Nancy Schimelpfening, in her article which was published earlier this year, titled, Why Is Depression More Common in Women Than in Men?
It has been widely documented that there are gender differences in depression prevalence, with women experiencing major depression about twice as often as men. This risk exists independent of race or ethnicity. Several risk factors have been studied which might account for gender differences in depression prevalence.
She also explained:
Given that the peak onset of depressive disorders in women coincides with their reproductive years (between the ages of 25 to 44 years of age), hormonal risk factors may play a role.
Estrogen and progesterone have been shown to affect neurotransmitter, neuroendocrine and circadian systems that have been implicated in mood disorders.
The fact that women often undergo mood disorders associated with their menstrual cycle, such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (though this is a fairly new disorder that has not been embraced by everyone in the health care field), also points to a relationship between female sex hormones and mood.
If this is correct, then it is difficult to understand why Balter and her team only chose male participants for their study.
Vaccinations and Depression
Balter and her team were not the only researchers to have examined the link between the typhoid vaccination and depression.
In 2009, Neil A. Harrison et. al., wrote a paper titled Neural Origins of Human Sickness in Interoceptive Responses to Inflammation, which was published in Biological Psychiatry.
Harrison’s team also used the typhoid vaccination as their vaccination of choice. They wrote:
Inflammation is associated with psychological, emotional, and behavioral disturbance, known as sickness behavior.
Inflammatory cytokines are implicated in coordinating this central motivational reorientation accompanying peripheral immunologic responses to pathogens.
Studies in rodents suggest an afferent interoceptive neural mechanism, although comparable data in humans are lacking.
For their study, Harrison and his team also chose to vaccinate male participants, however, unlike Balter and her team, Harrison’s team asked their participants to complete a Profile of Mood State questionnaire, at the two and three-hour baseline. Their results were as follows:
Typhoid but not placebo injection produced a robust inflammatory response indexed by increased circulating interleukin-6 accompanied by a significant increase in fatigue, confusion, and impaired concentration at 3 hours.
Performance of the Stroop task under inflammation activated brain regions encoding representations of internal bodily state.
Spatial and temporal characteristics of this response are consistent with interoceptive information flow via afferent autonomic fibers.
During performance of this task, activity within interoceptive brain regions also predicted individual differences in inflammation-associated but not placebo-associated fatigue and confusion. Maintenance of cognitive performance, despite inflammation-associated fatigue, led to recruitment of additional prefrontal cortical regions. (emphasis added)
These findings suggest that peripheral infection selectively influences central nervous system function to generate core symptoms of sickness and reorient basic motivational states.
Once again, we can see that post-vaccination these participants became increasingly confused and lacked concentration.
Further Study On Vaccination and Depression
In 2015, psychiatrist Kelly Brogan, M.D., published a paper tilted Psychobiology of Vaccination Effects: Bidirectional Relevance of Depression.
Once again, Brogan’s paper explored whether or not depression could be a possible side effect of vaccinations. In her abstract, she stated that:
Emerging research on inflammation-mediated processes that underpin depressive syndromes reveals a possible link warranting greater exploration.
Because of its often insidious onset and varied presentation, depression as a sequelae of pharmaceutical interventions can be difficult to assess.
This review explores the available literature considering the relevance of pre-existing depression to vaccination response as well as the association of vaccination with adverse psychiatric events/depression and the mechanistic plausibility of that association.
In her paper, she wrote:
Referred to as sickness syndrome, models of inflammatory depression are characterized by symptoms that are designed to reallocate energy resources for recovery.
Those symptoms include loss of appetite, lack of social interest, irritability, slowed thinking, low libido, increased sleep, anhedonia, and lethargy.
Depression was likely an adaptive response in human history of acute infectious stressors but has been rendered disabling in a landscape of a chronic, unrelenting assault on response systems.
She explained that many of the vaccinations that our children receive contain trace amounts of heavy metals, such as thimerosal (mercury) and aluminum.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has stated that these are added to the vaccinations as either adjuvants or preservatives. Adjuvants are added to the vaccine to help the vaccine be more effective, and preservatives are added to the vaccine to help the vaccine remain unchanged.
However, in some recipients, these adjuvants and preservatives can cause serious adverse reactions. Dr. Brogan explained:
To increase the intensity and duration of the immune response, powerful xenobiotic and biological adjuvants are employed in the manufacture of vaccines, many of which hyperstimulate the Th2 response.
In that way, vaccine adjuvants, as well as preservatives and live tissue ingredients, may provoke a cell-danger response that may persist in a significant subset of the population, leading to possible unremitting, and potentially unresolvable, inflammation and autoimmunity.
Brogan believed that the cumulative effect these heavy metals are having on the brain is the problem, and she stated:
The cumulative burden of mercury exposure through the multiple recommended flu shots and tetanus and meningococcal vaccines, in addition to amalgams, fish, and air pollution, makes it difficult to generalize with regard to safety parameters.
Encountered as elemental, inorganic, and organic substances, mercury can affect the immune system in different ways. Mercury, even at subtoxic levels, can induce an immune response, potentially through the formation of metal-protein complexes.
Data from the present study support the prediction that, although little accumulation of Hg in the blood occurs over time with repeated vaccinations, accumulation of Hg in the brain of infants will occur. …Absolute inorganic Hg concentrations in the brains of the thimerosal-exposed monkeys were approximately twice that of the MeHg monkeys.
Evidence exists that shows that ethylmercury can act as a mitochondrial toxin in brain astrocytes Thimerosal has also been found to promote overflow of the excitotoxic chemical, glutamate, in the prefrontal cortex causing “behavioral, neurochemical, and neuropathological abnormalities”and “lasting neurobehavioral impairments and neurochemical alterations in the brain”in animal studies.
Longitudinal human studies have demonstrated developmental impairment from ethylmercury exposure.
Notably, the toxicological assessment of injected quantities has never been examined, but due to the absence of liver-based detoxification mechanisms and the gut barrier, direct injection of heavy metals can be presumed to have a significantly greater potential toxicity compared with oral delivery.
As mercury was phased out of most vaccines 10 years ago as a precautionary step, aluminum replaced it as a primary vaccine adjuvant, and it is now present in 18 vaccines in the current pediatric schedule—hepatitis B (HepB); diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP); hepatitis A (HepA); haemophilus influenza type B (Hib); and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV).
A recent study stated, “Aluminum in adjuvant form carries a risk for autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation, and associated neurological complications, and thus, may have profound and widespread, adverse health consequences.”
Brogan categorically believes that the reason the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil, is causing so many adverse reactions is due to the vaccination’s aluminum content.
In particular, she is concerned about the latest Gardasil vaccine to hit the market, Gardasil 9, which, according to her, contains 500 μg per 3 recommended doses.
See The FDA Approves a New HPV Vaccine Containing Over Twice as Much Aluminum As its Predecessor for further information.