The link between the Hepatitis B vaccine and an increase risk of multiple sclerosis has been something of concern for a number of years since a increase in vaccinations in France led to a dramatic rise in cases of multiple sclerosis, also called MS. Now a new study being reported by Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis shows the link between the vaccine and the rise in MS cases -- and explains what the mechanism may be behind this link, as well as other possible vaccine injuries and further supports older studies that found the same link from back in 2004 by a Harvard team.
Back in the 1990s, the WHO (World Health Organization) began pushing European countries to up their vaccine programs, and the Hepatitis B vaccine in particular, which they did in France. Prior to this, France had a steady rate of around 2,500 new cases of multiple sclerosis being diagnosed each year. After stepping up the vaccination program, roughly 20 million adults in France received the Hepatitis B vaccines. Following this vaccination program, the rate of cases of MS saw a sharp and dramatic rise to 4,500 per year.
One possible explanation for the Hepatitis B and multiple sclerosis link could be due to the autoimmune response triggered by the synthetic proteins used in the vaccines. The protein myelin is a type of fatty layer that offers protection as well as insulation for various cells in the brain and nervous system. The protein that is used in the vaccines may be similar to this one, which is found in the human body. What happens is that body's own natural immune system responds to the foreign substance being injected and attacks it in hopes of triggering an immunity response. Since it is so similar to the myelin, the body then mistakenly begins to read those proteins as a foreign danger and attacks them as well. This can then damage the myelin and the theory is that that damage could lead to, or accelerate, multiple sclerosis, which is a demyelinating disorder.
Some believe that this same mechanism could also be what is behind the vaccine-autism link. As David Kirby explains at Age of Autism, "Myelin damage has long been suspected in autism, though the jury is still out on this question. One thing that does seem to be certain is that children with ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder] appear to have unusually high levels of antibodies to myelin basic protein, or MBP. That would suggest they might have myelin damage as well. Some studies have also shown highly elevated levels (up to 90 [percent]) of MBP antibodies in ASD children who received the MMR vaccine. The development of MBP antibodies could possibly be caused by a reaction to the live measles virus in the vaccine, because the virus may mimic the molecular structure of MBP."
Similar findings to this study were also published in a 2004 issue of the journal Neurology by a Harvard research team and Age of Autism is also reporting that the National Vaccine Court, which handles cases of vaccine injuries, has ruled in favor of patient claims that the Hepatitis B vaccine was responsible for the patients developing MS.
While experts say that more research is needed this offers more pieces to the complicated puzzles and links between vaccines and various health conditions, including the Hepatitis B vaccine link to multiple sclerosis and other vaccines possibly linked to autism in children.