Clarification of the pathogenesis and treatment of autism spectrum
disorders is one of the challenges today. In this study, we examine
scalp hair concentrations of 26 trace elements for 1,967 children with
autistic disorders (1,553 males and 414 females). Five-hundred and
eighty-four (29.7%), 347 (17.6%) and 114 (5.8%) subjects was found
deficient in zinc, magnesium and calcium, respectively, and 2.0% or less
in the other essential metals. The incidence rate of mineral deficiency
was highly observed in infants aged 0-3 year-old. In contrast, 339
(17.2%), 168 (8.5%) and 94 (4.8%) individuals was found suffering from
high burden of aluminium, cadmium and lead, and 2.8% or less from
mercury and arsenic burden.
These findings suggest that infantile zinc-
and magnesium-deficiency and/or toxic metal burdens may epigenetically
play principal roles as environmental factors in autistic disorders and
that metallomics approach may lead to early screening and prevention of
the neurodevelopment disorders.