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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 1999 Jul-Aug;21(4):471-2.

Evoked potentials in Faroese children prenatally exposed to methylmercury.

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Department of Public Health and Occupational Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan.


A study of 7-year-old children from a fishing village on Madeira has suggested that latencies of evoked potentials may be delayed because of increased exposures to methylmercury during development. Data from a previously published prospective study in the Faroe Islands have therefore been reexamined. Because of changes in instrumentation, results obtained during the second year of examination were excluded. After this restriction, the results show significant mercury-associated delays of the peak III latency and the I-III interpeak latency of the auditory brainstem evoked potentials. Mercury concentrations in both maternal hair at parturition and in cord blood indicated this association, whereas no such relationship was apparent with the child's current hair-mercury concentration. Thus, in agreement with the findings from Madeira, a delay of the peak III latency of the brainstem auditory evoked potentials appears to serve as a marker of prenatal methylmercury toxicity from contaminated seafood.

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