In the last few years, there have been persistent allegations that vaccinations cause Autism, and 4,800 federal complaints have been filed. One of them contains a jaw-dropping allegation that a link exists between Autism and infant formula. The complaint argues that infant formula ingredients DHASCO and ARASCO may be a contributing cause of Autism.
One parent desperate for an explanation has dedicated the past three years to researching the cause of his son’s autism. Michael Pescatore, a father of four, has a warning for parents feeding their children infant formula. He believes that his research confirms his theory that DHASCO and AHASCO may cause an underlying mitochondrial dysfunction that could trigger Autism. Marketed by formula manufacturers as substances that allegedly benefit brain and vision development in infants, DHA and ARA are ingredients in almost all infant formulas.
Mr. Pescatore submitted to Federal Court an expert’s affidavit from a pediatrician and chemist that states, “Unfortunately, DHASCO and ARASCO, derived from modified algae, are “not” identical to DHA and ARA in human breast milk, and available medical literature demonstrates that they are neither digested nor utilized in the same fashion as DHA and ARA of human origin. As DHA and ARA are incorporated extensively in the rapidly developing brains of infants, it is essential that non-human sources of DHA and ARA be proven to be not just “biosimiliar”, but “bioidentical” to human DHA and ARA. Since SCO-derived DHA and ARA have *not* been shown to be bioidentical, and in fact have been shown to be digested, oxidized, and function differently than human-derived DHA and ARA, they should *not* be allowed in infant formulas unless additional studies can be performed to verify their safety.”
Mr. Pescatore’s theory and The Doctor’s analysis seem to be supported by the Institute of Medicine report on evaluating new ingredients to infant formula by stating that hundreds of parents have submitted complaints of digestive issues from these formulas. In many cases, these digestive issues were resolved after switching to non DHASCO/ARASCO formulas. The IOM has stated that infants would have to be monitored years after formula feeding to ensure an absence of unknown biological triggering effects on cellular pathways possibly associated with brain and eye development. DHASCO/ARASCO formulas have not been unanimously proven to provide any benefit. Mr. Pescatore stated that the triggering effect can be in the form of a fever of unknown origin or inflammatory response such as a reaction to vaccination.
In the first Vaccine-Autism case in which a money damages were awarded, an estimated 20 million dollars over the lifetime of the child, Hannah Poling, seemed at first to confirm the link. But the government stated that the vaccines merely aggravated an unknown mitochondrial disorder that Hannah Poling had, and didn’t actually cause her Autism. Nevertheless, it is unknown how many children have this rare mitochondrial disorder that may cause autism when vaccinated.
It is interesting to note that the father of Hannah Poling is a Neurologist. Dr. Jon Poling has researched and published several publications about DHA. The coincidence is uncanny: the only family to recover an award from Vaccine-Autism court is a research scientist who has researched and studied DHA. Additionally, Dr. Poling has published at least two research articles with former National Institute of Health Researcher, Dr. Norman Salem, Jr. Dr. Salem, a prominent expert on the science of DHA, is currently the Chief Scientific Officer for Martek Biosciences Corporation, the leading distributor of DHA. Perhaps the most curious part of the award to the Poling family is the fact that the case was “sealed”. If it is recognized that Autism is a serious public safety concern, why then would the Government seal the only case that had an actual recovery of damages? Does that case hold answers to the causation questions that parents of Autistic children have wondered and agonized over for years?
One of the facts that Mr. Pescatore emphasized was the dramatic rise in the rate of autism among children: from 1 in 10,000 in the early 1980’s to the current statistic of 1 in 150. He was convinced that this statistic alone was too large to ignore and that an environmental cause had to be the culprit. Without going into the exact science of Pescatore’s theory, it can be simply explained that the DHA and ARA may cause a mitochondrial dysfunction in children when uncontrollable oxidation occurs. This reaction is called oxidative stress. Mr. Pescatore’s son exhibited severe digestive problems, Pescatore believes that the digestive problems were a sign that oxidation was taking place due to his son’s inability to absorb or breakdown the vegetable based fatty acids present in the formula. Pescatore explains that males may be less likely to tolerate oxidative stress because unlike females they lack the natural defenses that protect them from oxidation, which may explain why the rate of Autism among males is four times higher than females.
It would not be the first time that an unintended harm of an initially perceived health benefit was discovered. For example, in the Pediatrician’s affidavit, the Doctor illustrates the complicated chemical structure as applied to human physiology by stating, “The human body is exquisitely sensitive to the structure of chemicals, both in regards to digestion as well as function. A well-know example is the use of modified vegetable oils in margarine to replace butter. When margarine was first introduced, it was heralded to be a “healthy alternative” to butter, since it was higher in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s), while butter had more saturated fat. However, the original PUFA’s used in margarine were rich in “trans-fats”, which are not digested or metabolized as naturally-occurring “cist-fats”, and adversely affect triglyceride and cholesterol levels and ratios. By the time they were determined to be unhealthy, trans fats had been widely used, and became an important factor in the development of atherosclerotic plaque and related vascular diseases. Trans-fats should not have been given GRAS status, but they were. Interestingly, DHASCO and ARASCO have *also* been shown to adversely affect cholesterol levels, producing an undesirable alteration in HDL and LDL ratios”.
Mr. Pescatore has contacted the FDA over a dozen times in reference to his research on DHA and ARA as a cause of Autism, and he has compiled a vast report of research that corroborates his theory that DHASCO and ARASCO is a possible contributing factor of Autism. His research supports his theory that DHASCO and ARAASCO in infant formula may cause excessive oxidation that may result in mitochondrial abnormalities directly implicated with the vaccine-Autism connection. The FDA responded to Pescatore by stating that the “FDA is aware of many theories concerning the possible causes for Autism, but it is our understanding that, to this date, there is no clear evidence as to exactly what causes this condition. Research into which factors may cause Autism is still ongoing. We are not aware of any research indicating that the use of ARASCO and/or DHASCO is a causative factor in this condition”.
The conclusion by Mr. Pescatore’s expert is simply stated, “ …in my professional opinion as a chemist and pediatric intensive physician, the GRAS status of DHASCO and ARASCO should be lifted and not reinstated until independent studies have proven that they do not interfere with normal infant digestion and brain development”. (GRAS stands for “Generally Recognized as Safe”).
Could the DHA/ARA in infant formula be one of the unknown environmental factors causing the increase in Autism cases among our children? This information creates only more questions in the Vaccine–Autism debate. Why was the Poling case sealed? If there is even a single question about the safety of DHA and ARA then why is it still being added to infant formula, especially if it has no health benefits? Shouldn’t the FDA suspend this ingredient until further studies can rule out the Pescatore theory of oxidation and mitochondrial dysfunction?