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Nutr Metab Insights. 2012 Feb 28;5:41-7. doi: 10.4137/NMI.S8761. Print 2012.

Plasma copper and zinc concentration in individuals with autism correlate with selected symptom severity.

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1
Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY 13820.

Abstract

AIM:

To assess plasma zinc and copper concentration in individuals with autism and correlate these levels with symptom severity.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

Plasma from 102 autistic individuals, and 18 neurotypical controls, were tested for plasma zinc and copper using inductively-coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Copper and zinc levels and Cu/Zn were analyzed for possible correlation with severity of 19 symptoms.

RESULTS:

Autistic individuals had elevated plasma levels of copper and Cu/Zn and lower, but not significantly lower, plasma Zn compared to neurotypical controls. There was a correlation between Cu/Zn and expressive language, receptive language, focus attention, hyperactivity, fine motor skills, gross motor skills and Tip Toeing. There was a negative correlation between plasma zinc concentration and hyperactivity, and fine motor skills severity.

DISCUSSION:

These results suggest an association between plasma Cu/Zn and severity of symptoms associated with autism.

KEYWORDS:

autism; copper; zinc

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