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Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars). 2010;70(2):196-208.

Age-dependent lower or higher levels of hair mercury in autistic children than in healthy controls.

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Department of Pharmacology and Physiology of the Nervous System, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Warsaw, Poland.


An association between autism and early life exposure to mercury is a hotly debated issue. In this study, 91 autistic Polish children, male and female, 3-4 and 7-9 years old, were compared to 75 age- and sex-matched healthy children with respect to: demographic, perinatal, clinical and developmental measures, parental age, birth order, morphometric measures, vaccination history, and hair mercury content. In demographic and perinatal measures there were no consistent differences between the autistic and control groups. Autistic children had a significantly greater prevalence of adverse reactions after vaccinations and abnormal development than controls. Between 45 and 80% of autistic children experienced developmental regress. Autistic children significantly differed from healthy peers in the concentrations of mercury in hair: younger autistics had lower levels, while older - higher levels than their respective controls. The results suggest that autistic children differ from healthy children in metabolism of mercury, which seems to change with age.

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