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The autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of related neurodevelopmental disorders that have been increasing in incidence since the 1980s. Despite a considerable amount of data being collected from cases, a central mechanism has not been offered. A careful review of ASD cases discloses a number of events that adhere to an immunoexcitotoxic mechanism. This mechanism explains the link between excessive vaccination, use of aluminum and ethylmercury as vaccine adjuvants, food allergies, gut dysbiosis, and abnormal formation of the developing brain. It has now been shown that chronic microglial activation is present in autistic brains from age 5 years to age 44 years. A considerable amount of evidence, both experimental and clinical, indicates that repeated microglial activation can initiate priming of the microglia and that subsequent stimulation can produce an exaggerated microglial response that can be prolonged. It is also known that one phenotypic form of microglia activation can result in an outpouring of neurotoxic levels of the excitotoxins, glutamate and quinolinic acid. Studies have shown that careful control of brain glutamate levels is essential to brain pathway development and that excesses can result in arrest of neural migration, as well as dendritic and synaptic loss. It has also been shown that certain cytokines, such as TNF-alpha, can, via its receptor, interact with glutamate receptors to enhance the neurotoxic reaction. To describe this interaction I have coined the term immunoexcitotoxicity, which is described in this article.
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