It’s one of those stories that you hear relatively often in the world of Autism. For as many studies as there are supporting the idea that Mercury, a metal found in medication, dental fillings and water, has an affect on those with Autism, there is another study that disproves the theory. Though it’s known that one of the symptoms of Mercury Poisoning is impairment of speech, hearing, walking and other developmental elements, it’s not completely proven that it in fact causes Autism, despite its ability to cause developmental impairments in children.
A recent study done at the University of California-Davis aimed at comparing the mercury levels in children.
“We looked at blood-mercury levels in children who had autism and children who did not have autism,” said lead author Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a professor of environmental and occupational health.
“The bottom line is that blood-mercury levels in both populations were essentially the same. However, this analysis did not address a causal role, because we measured mercury after the diagnosis was made.”
The study itself focused on children ages 2-5 years old, and investigated their mercury intake in things such as fish consumption, nasal sprays, and vaccinations.
Children who had dental fillings made of mercury and were known to chew gum had higher mercury-blood levels. Also, children who consumed fresh water fish, such as tuna.
The study was carried out on 452 children: 249 were diagnosed as autistic, 143 were deemed to be developing normally and 60 showed retarded development such as Down Syndrome.
“Just as autism is complex, with great variation in severity and presentation, it is highly likely that its causes will be found to be equally complex. It’s time to abandon the idea that a single ‘smoking gun’ will emerge to explain why so many children are developing autism,” said Hertz-Picciotto.