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J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2016 Sep;37:8-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2016.06.002. Epub 2016 Jun 2.

The relationship between mercury and autism: A comprehensive review and discussion.

Author information

1
Institute of Chronic Illnesses, Inc., 14 Redgate Court, Silver Spring, MD, 20905 USA; Council for Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, Mo i Rana, Norway; CoMeD, Inc., 14 Redgate Court, Silver Spring, MD, 20905 USA. Electronic address: jkern@dfwair.net.
2
Institute of Chronic Illnesses, Inc., 14 Redgate Court, Silver Spring, MD, 20905 USA; CoMeD, Inc., 14 Redgate Court, Silver Spring, MD, 20905 USA.
3
CoMeD, Inc., 14 Redgate Court, Silver Spring, MD, 20905 USA.
4
University of Kentucky, 410 Administration Drive, Lexington, KY, 40506 USA.

Abstract

The brain pathology in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) indicates marked and ongoing inflammatory reactivity with concomitant neuronal damage. These findings are suggestive of neuronal insult as a result of external factors, rather than some type of developmental mishap. Various xenobiotics have been suggested as possible causes of this pathology. In a recent review, the top ten environmental compounds suspected of causing autism and learning disabilities were listed and they included: lead, methyl-mercury, polychorinated biphenyls, organophosphate pesticides, organochlorine pesticides, endocrine disruptors, automotive exhaust, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and perfluorinated compounds. This current review, however, will focus specifically on mercury exposure and ASD by conducting a comprehensive literature search of original studies in humans that examine the potential relationship between mercury and ASD, categorizing, summarizing, and discussing the published research that addresses this topic. This review found 91 studies that examine the potential relationship between mercury and ASD from 1999 to February 2016. Of these studies, the vast majority (74%) suggest that mercury is a risk factor for ASD, revealing both direct and indirect effects. The preponderance of the evidence indicates that mercury exposure is causal and/or contributory in ASD.

KEYWORDS:

Autism; Autism spectrum disorders (ASD); Human studies; Mercury; Relationship

PMID:
27473827
DOI:
10.1016/j.jtemb.2016.06.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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