James B. Adams (professor)

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James Brewster Adams
ResidencePhoenix, Arizona
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
Known forAutism-related research
Spouse(s)Marie Adams
Scientific career
FieldsEngineering, child psychiatry
InstitutionsArizona State University
ThesisNucleation and growth of thin films (1987)

James B. Adams is a President's Professor at Arizona State University, where he directs the autism/Asperger's research program, though he originally taught chemical and materials engineering there. Adams also holds a post at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. He is also the president of the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix, the co-chair of the Autism Research Institute's scientific advisory committee, and has received the Autism Service Award from the Greater Phoenix chapter of the Autism Society of America.[1][2] He has been featured on Dateline NBC,[3] and received a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award from President George Bush in 1996.[4]


Adams has a bachelor's degree from Duke University in physics (1984), as well an MS (1986) and a PhD (1987) in materials engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.[5]


Adams was formerly an assistant, and later associate, professor of engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1989 to 1996, whereupon he became an associate professor at ASU. He became a full professor in 1998.[6]



Adams' team at ASU works in the field of computational and materials science, studying semiconductor processing and the ideal coatings for tools used for aluminum processing using computer simulations, as well as silicon thin-film cells.[citation needed] In 2012, he was elected a Fellow of ASM International – The Materials Information Society.[7]


Adams has hypothesized that heavy metals, particularly cadmium and mercury,[8][9] may play a role in the pathogenesis of autism, and has advocated treatment with chelation therapy[10][11] and pioglitazone,[12] though some scientists expressed doubts about those conclusions.[13][better source needed] Adams further contends that elevated testosterone levels are linked to the depletion of glutathione, which in turn results in increased susceptibility to toxic metals, citing a study published by Simon Baron-Cohen, which contains "major logical and factual flaws" according to some autism experts.[14] Adams was on the scientific advisory board of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, a group that publicizes the purported dangers of dental amalgam[15] despite some evidence to the contrary.[16] Adams also states that children with autism have an increased need for certain vitamins and minerals.[17]

In 2019, Adams and a group of researchers published a study which stated that microbiota transfer therapy (MTT) has a major success with people who have autism.[18][19]

Controversial opinions[edit]

In a 2006 NBC News interview, Adams noted that acrodynia, a condition that afflicted children roughly a hundred years ago, was found to be caused by mercury-containing teething powders, and that "symptoms of acrodynia were pretty similar to symptoms of autism".[3] However, multiple sources, including a paper published in the medical journal Pediatrics, have noted major differences between the symptoms of mercury poisoning and those of autism.[20]

In 2016, Adams came under fire for posting an advertisement for the widely criticized anti-vaccine film Vaxxed on one of ASU's official Facebook pages.[21] Adams subsequently edited the post to include a disclaimer that the movie "represents only one side of the MMR-vaccine controversy", and admitted that he had not actually seen it. He later deleted the post altogether at ASU's request, but continued to promote the film in his capacity as president of the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix. While declining to describe himself as “anti-vaccine", Adams told a reporter that he does believe vaccines, in “rare cases”, may cause autism—despite a 20-year accumulation of scientific evidence to the contrary.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Adams and his wife, Marie, have three children.[2][22] He became interested in autism when his daughter, Kim, was diagnosed with the disorder in 1994; he has stated he suspects this occurred because of her vaccinations and stopped vaccinating her after her autism diagnosis.[23]

Selected publications[edit]


  • Yang SH, Drabold DA, Adams JB, Ordejón P, Glassford K (1997). "Density functional studies of small platinum clusters". Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter. 9 (5): L39–L45. doi:10.1088/0953-8984/9/5/002.
  • Siegel D, Hector L, Adams J (2002). "Adhesion, atomic structure, and bonding at the Al(111)/α-Al2O3(0001) interface: A first principles study". Physical Review B. 65 (8): 085415. Bibcode:2002PhRvB..65h5415S. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.65.085415.



  1. ^ Adams JB (2011). "Chelation: removal of toxic metals". In Siri K, Lyons T (eds.). Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism 2011-2012. Skyhorse Publishing Inc. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-61608-252-9.
  2. ^ a b "Autism/Asperger's Research Program: About Us". Arizona State University. 2019. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Larson J (June 4, 2006). "The Unorthodox Practice of Chelation". NBC News. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  4. ^ "Award Abstract #9796047". National Science Foundation. December 6, 1996. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  5. ^ "James Adams". Arizona State University. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  6. ^ "James B. Adams CV". Puterakembara.com. Archived from the original on 5 February 2005. Retrieved 21 October 2013.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  7. ^ Beshears H (June 19, 2012). "Adams elected Fellow of leading materials society". Arizona State University. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  8. ^ "Higher Levels of Several Toxic Metals Found in Children With Autism". ScienceDaily. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  9. ^ Adams JB, Audhya T, McDonough-Means S, Rubin RA, Quig D, Geis E, et al. (February 2013). "Toxicological status of children with autism vs. neurotypical children and the association with autism severity". Biological Trace Element Research. 151 (2): 171–80. doi:10.1007/s12011-012-9551-1. PMID 23192845.
  10. ^ Adams JB, Baral M, Geis E, Mitchell J, Ingram J, Hensley A, et al. (October 2009). "Safety and efficacy of oral DMSA therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders: Part A--medical results". BMC Clinical Pharmacology. 9: 16. doi:10.1186/1472-6904-9-16. PMC 2774660. PMID 19852789.
  11. ^ Adams JB, Baral M, Geis E, Mitchell J, Ingram J, Hensley A, et al. (October 2009). "Safety and efficacy of oral DMSA therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders: part B - behavioral results". BMC Clinical Pharmacology. 9: 17. doi:10.1186/1472-6904-9-17. PMC 2770991. PMID 19852790.
  12. ^ Boris M, Kaiser CC, Goldblatt A, Elice MW, Edelson SM, Adams JB, Feinstein DL (January 2007). "Effect of pioglitazone treatment on behavioral symptoms in autistic children". Journal of Neuroinflammation. 4: 3. doi:10.1186/1742-2094-4-3. PMC 1781426. PMID 17207275.
  13. ^ Barrett S (November 23, 2010). "The Heavy Metal Screen Test:Another Test to Avoid". quackwatch.org. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  14. ^ Harrell E (January 15, 2009). "A Link Between Autism and Testosterone?". Time. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  15. ^ "Newly placed high copper amalgam fillings release 189% more mercury than non-high copper amalgams". mercuryexposure.info. August 24, 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  16. ^ Mackert JR, Berglund A (1997). "Mercury exposure from dental amalgam fillings: absorbed dose and the potential for adverse health effects". Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine. 8 (4): 410–36. doi:10.1177/10454411970080040401. PMID 9391753.
  17. ^ Adams JB (2019). "Vitamin/Mineral Supplements for Children and Adults with Autism". autismparentingmagazine.com. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  18. ^ "Autism symptoms reduced nearly 50 percent two years after fecal transplant". ScienceDaily. April 9, 2019. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  19. ^ "More evidence that autism is linked to gut bacteria". The Economist. May 30, 2019. Retrieved September 27, 2019.(subscription required)
  20. ^ Nelson KB, Bauman ML (March 2003). "Thimerosal and autism?". Pediatrics. 111 (3): 674–9. doi:10.1542/peds.111.3.674. PMID 12612255.
  21. ^ a b Stuart E (April 25, 2016). "ASU Autism Professor Promotes Anti-Vaccine Film Despite Doctors' Protests". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  22. ^ Cornelius K (April 2018). "Raising The Spectrum". Phoenix (April 2018). Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  23. ^ "Decision to vaccinate can be major dilemma for nervous parents". Arizona Daily Star. June 24, 2012. Retrieved September 27, 2019.

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