"Recently, it has been suggested that poisoning or idiosyncrasy to mercury may be the fundamental cause. (Warkany and Hubbard, 1948; Bivings and Lewis, 1948; Bivings,
1949.) The idea is not new, since it was apparently considered a possibility by Zahorsky in 1922. The resemblance to classical mercurial poisoning is slight; many infants are still given mercury by doctors,nurses and mothers, either as 'grey powder ' or' teething powder,' yet acrodynia is an uncommon disease. In cross-examination, mothers of some
recent personal cases have denied any such treatment, and there seems no reason to doubt their word....Bivings and Lewis (1948) found 100 y of mercury per litre in the urine of a girl of 6 months with acrodynia,and none two weeks later, after she had been treated with BAL (British anti-Lewisite). The disappearance of the mercury coincided with clinical improvement, but the duration of her illness is not stated;....Much work will be necessary before the significance of these results can be estimated. They have called attention to the extraordinary prevalence of the use of mercury in infancy and surveys will be required both of the use of teething powders and of the normal incidence of mercury in the urine."
And like Autism, not all children were affected by mercury, which brings us to the current study by Kerrie Shandley & David W. Austin: Ancestry of Pink Disease (Infantile Acrodynia) identified as a risk factor for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health
"Pink disease (infantile acrodynia) was especially prevalent in the first half of the 20th century. Primarily attributed to exposure to mercury (Hg) commonly found in teething powders, the condition was developed by approximately 1 in 500 exposed children. The differential risk factor was identified as an idiosyncratic sensitivity to Hg. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have also been postulated to be produced by Hg. Analogous to the pink disease experience, Hg exposure is widespread yet only a fraction of exposed children develop an ASD, suggesting sensitivity to Hg may also be present in children with an ASD. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that individuals with a known hypersensitivity to Hg (pink disease survivors) may be more likely to have descendants with an ASD. Five hundred and twenty-two participants who had previously been diagnosed with pink disease completed a survey on the health outcomes of their descendants. The prevalence rates of ASD and a variety of other clinical conditions diagnosed in childhood (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, epilepsy, Fragile X syndrome, and Down syndrome) were compared to well-established general population prevalence rates. The results showed the prevalence rate of ASD among the grandchildren of pink disease survivors (1 in 22) to be significantly higher than the comparable general population prevalence rate (1 in 160). The results support the hypothesis that Hg sensitivity may be a heritable/genetic risk factor for ASD."
So it appears that the descendants of Pink Disease survivors have higher rates of ASD than the general population - a significant 7 times higher than the general population.
A simple yet brilliant study to demonstrate a susceptibility in families. We here at Age of Autism, have been sounding the alarm on mercury and especially thimerosal, due to the fact that there is so much evidence to its connection to autism. As Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill have said -- "facts cluster around a good hypothesis," -- and this is one that has not gone away due to that reason. In their book, The Age Of Autism: Mercury, Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic, Dan and Mark tell the story of mercury's insidious effect on generations of unsuspecting victims, including Pink Disease and its connection to mercury, and similarities to autism. From an interview they did when their book was released last year: Olmsted Blaxill Mercury Medicine and a Man Made Epidemic
Here, now is that piece of evidence, strong and convincing that some families, including different generations, as well as the type and mode of mercury exposure, can have profound effects . I know this personally as both my father and grandfather were victims of medicinal mercury. The physical, mental and emotional illnesses that mercury is capable of detonating are devastating and often hidden. Take for example that many have used ointments and salves that contained forms of mercury, for skin disorders or as a medicine. Unknown to them, the "cure" they were using often became the "disease" as the mercury worsened or cascaded into other symptoms that often seemed unrelated
The Use of Ammoniated Mercury Ointment
BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL
A. W. ABRAMSON.
Teresa Conrick is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism