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Neurotoxicology. 1996 Spring;17(1):291-5.

The enigma of parkinsonism in chronic borderline mercury intoxication, resolved by challenge with penicillamine.

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Department of Neurology, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.


A 47 year old female dentist suffered from hemiparkinsonism which had started eighteen months earlier and was manifested mainly by resting tremor and cogwheel rigidity. A baseline quantitative urinary mercury excretion was 46 micrograms/day. The patient was treated with chelating agent d-penicillamine for a week. Chelation therapy resulted in clinical improvement of parkinsonism and in dynamic changes in daily urinary mercury excretion with a prompt increase to 79 micrograms/day, a subsequent decline followed by increase in the mercury urinary excretion. After a week chelation therapy was stopped. During a follow-up period of five years, the neurological status remained unchanged after the initial penicillamine-induced improvement. This case may be evidence, therefore, of a rare clinical variant of elemental mercury intoxication associated with parkinsonism, in the absence of most classical neuropsychiatric signs of chronic mercurialism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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