Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information

Effects of metals on the nervous system of humans and animals.

Author information

  • School of Public Health University at Albany Rensselaer, NY 12144, USA.

Abstract

Several metals have toxic actions on nerve cells and neurobehavorial functioning. These toxic actions can be expressed either as developmental effects or as an increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases in old age. The major metals causing neurobehavioral effects after developmental exposure are lead and methylmercury. Lead exposure in young children results in a permanent loss of IQ of approximately 5 to 7 IQ points, and also results in a shortened attention span and expression of anti-social behaviors. There is a critical time period (<2 years of age) for development of these effects, after which the effects do not appear to be reversible even if blood lead levels are lowered with chelation. Methylmercury has also been found to have effects on cognition at low doses, and prenatal exposure at higher levels can disrupt brain development. Metals have also been implicated in neurodegenerative diseases, although it is unlikely that they are the sole cause for any of them. Elevated aluminum levels in blood, usually resulting from kidney dialysis at home with well water containing high aluminum, result in dementia that is similar to but probably different from that of Alzheimer's disease. However, there is some epidemiological evidence for elevated risk of Alzheimer's in areas where there is high concentration of aluminum in drinking water. Other metals, especially lead, mercury, manganese and copper, have been implicated in amvotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

PMID:
11764847
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk