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A Comparison of Urinary Mercury between Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Control Children

Posted Feb 15 2012 8:52pm

Researchers are still looking at the question of whether autism is caused by mercury intoxication. One of the measures used in the past is to check the mercury content in the urine of autistic and non autistic children. Claims have been made that autistic children are “poor excretors” of mercury. This is defined as “more mercury in the urine than other children” or “less mercury in the urine of other children”.

A group of researchers from the UK and US have tested a group of autistic children, special needs non autistic children, siblings and regular school children. What did they find? No difference.

Background

Urinary mercury concentrations are used in research exploring mercury exposure. Some theorists have proposed that autism is caused by mercury toxicity. We set out to test whether mercury concentrations in the urine of children with autism were significantly increased or decreased compared to controls or siblings.

Methods

Blinded cohort analyses were carried out on the urine of 56 children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) compared to their siblings (n = 42) and a control sample of children without ASD in mainstream (n = 121) and special schools (n = 34).
Results

There were no statistically significant differences in creatinine levels, in uncorrected urinary mercury levels or in levels of mercury corrected for creatinine, whether or not the analysis is controlled for age, gender and amalgam fillings.

Conclusions

This study lends no support for the hypothesis of differences in urinary mercury excretion in children with autism compared to other groups. Some of the results, however, do suggest further research in the area may be warranted to replicate this in a larger group and with clear measurement of potential confounding factors.

There were outliers of high mercury content in the special needs children (both autistic and non autistic). Expect those promoting the autism/mercury connection to focus on those children and to build connections between the funding agencies and pharmaceutical companies.

  1. Autism Blog – A Comparison of Urinary Mercury between Children … | My Autism Site | All About Autism:
    [...] Here is the original post: Autism Blog – A Comparison of Urinary Mercury between Children … [...]
  2. Harold L Doherty:
    " Expect those promoting the autism/mercury connection to focus on those children and to build connections between the funding agencies and pharmaceutical companies." No study so small or qualified in its conclusions that it can not be used as a pretext to launch yet another attack on those who have questions about vaccine safety?
  3. Chris:
    There is nothing wrong with having questions about vaccine safety, if it is done with actual data. John Salamone questioned the OPV, and now the USA uses the IPV. But, he had real evidence, not just speculations.
  4. lilady:
    And, there is nothing wrong with the monitoring of vaccine safety, post licensing. The CDC and the FDA acted quickly to remove Rotashield vaccine, once instances of bowel intussusception above baseline following administration of the vaccine, were reported. Thirteen months from time of licensing to time of removal from the marketplace, is proof that the FDA and the CDC vaccine safety monitoring systems really do work. No study so small (Wakefield et alia) or (un)qualified in its conclusions that it can not be used as a pretext to launch yet another attack on the public health system.
  5. Sullivan:
    There is nothing wrong with having questions about vaccine safety, if it is done with actual data. John Salamone questioned the OPV, and now the USA uses the IPV. But, he had real evidence, not just speculations.
    Chris, I agree. I'll point out I find it funny how people want to paint those who believe in and accept the existing science as having no questions about vaccine safety.

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