Mercury Intoxication and Autistic Symptoms Lincoln NE

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Mercury Intoxication and Autistic Symptoms

Mercury Intoxication May be Associated with Autistic Symptoms.
Date: Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Source: Journal of Neurological Sciences
Related Monographs:
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Autism is a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restrictive and repetitive behavior. Before a child is 3 years old, these signs will appear. Autism affects many parts of the brain; how this occurs is not understood. Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child's life. Although early behavioral or cognitive intervention can help children gain self-care, social, and communication skills, there is no known cure. Not many children with autism live independently after reaching adulthood, though some become successful.  About a third to a half of individuals with autism do not develop enough natural speech to meet their daily communication needs. The main goals of treatment are to lessen associated deficits and family distress, and to increase quality of life and functional independence. No single treatment is best and treatment is typically tailored to the child's needs.

Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature and its chemical symbol is Hg. Mercury is found in organic and inorganic forms, all of which can produce toxic effects in high enough doses. Toxic effects include damage to the brain, kidneys, and lungs. Symptoms typically include sensory impairment such as vision, hearing, speech, disturbed sensation and a lack of coordination. The fish consumption is the most significant source of ingestion-related mercury exposure in humans. Plants and livestock also contain mercury due to bioaccumulation of mercury from soil, water and atmosphere, and by ingesting other mercury-containing organisms. Exposure to mercury can occur from breathing contaminated air; from eating foods containing mercury residues from processing such as high fructose corn syrup; from exposure to mercury vapor in mercury amalgam dental restorations; and from improper use or disposal of mercury and mercury-containing objects, for example, after spills of elemental mercury or improper disposal of fluorescent light bulbs.

A prospective, blinded study was published in the Journal of Neurological Sciences to investigate mercury toxicity and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The researchers enlisted 28 participants with an ASD diagnosis for Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) and testing was conducted using Vitamin Diagnostics, Inc. and Laboratoire Philippe Auguste. Subjects with severe autism had significantly higher mercury toxicity in comparison to subjects with mild autism. Mercury intoxication-associated urinary porphyrins were significantly correlated with increasing CARS scores and plasma oxidized glutathione (GSSG) levels. The researchers concluded that the urinary porphyrin and CARS score correlations observed among study participants suggest that mercury intoxication is significantly associated with autistic symptoms.1

1 Geier DA, Kern JK, Garver CR, Adams JB, Audhya T, Nataf R, Geier MR. Biomarkers of environmental toxicity and susceptibility in autism. J Neurol Sci. May2009;280(1):101-8.

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