Autistic and Normal Children Have Similar Mercury Levels


Researchers said this week that Children who are autistic have mercury levels similar to those of other kids which suggest that the mysterious disorder is caused by a range of factors and not just one prime reason.

The University of California researchers found earlier that kids aged 2-5 with autism had mercury levels lower than other children because the autistic kids consumed less fish which is the biggest source of mercury showing in the blood.

Later, when the data were adjusted for lower fish consumption, the blood-mercury concentrations among the autistic children were roughly similar to those developing typically. The Children with autism had mercury levels in line with national norms.

These findings have been released at a time when advocates including parents argue that mercury found in fish, dental filings, vaccines and industrial emissions are the reason for autism.

Irva Hertz-Picciotto, who led the study, said in a statement, "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".

Autism includes a mixture of diseases which range from severe profound inability to communicate and mental retardation to relatively mild symptoms. President Obama's $5 billion plan to boost U. S. medical and scientific research will infuse a large sum of money for research in this area.

Executive director of the advocacy group SafeMinds, Sallie Bernard, said that the results of the study would be limited in terms of ruling in or out a link between mercury exposure and autism causation and severity.

Autism researchers are looking at a wide range of environmental factors including household products, diet, food supplements, medical treatments and infections.