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J Neurol Sci. 1993 Aug;118(1):38-42.

Mercury and selenium contents in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan.

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Department of Neurology, Hokkaido University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.


We evaluated the pathogenicity of mercury (Hg) and selenium (Se) which are supposed to be one of the risk factors in the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Hg and Se contents were measured in plasma, blood cells, scalp hair samples of 21 sporadic ALS patients and 36 controls, who included 19 patients with other neurological diseases, in Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. Hg and Se levels in plasma and blood cells of ALS patients were significantly lower in advanced staged ALS patients than controls. Low Hg and Se contents in ALS, being correlated with their disabilities and nutritional conditions, would rather reflect the disease contracted states than the pathogenic roles in ALS.

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