Lack of Correlation Between Metallic Elements Analyzed in Hair by ICP-MS and Autism

21 Apr

One of the theories behind the mecury-causes-autism hypothesis was that autistics are “poor excreters”. In other words, they can’t rid their bodies of mercury in the same way as other people. The idea has never had much scientific backing. One idea has been to measure hair for metals. I have read arguments that if there is more mercury in the hair than for an average person, that means that the individual is a poor excreter. I have also read that if their is less mercury in the hair, that means that the individual is a poor excreter. I have read that if the individual has the same amount of mercury, but that other metals meet some “counting rules” that means the individual is a poor excreter. In other words, no matter what data you get, someone will tell you that your kid has a problem excreting mercury.

The question has been studied. Hair has been analyzed. Fingernails have been analyzed. Toenails have been analyzed. In the recent study, hair has been analyzed, and the researchers did a meta-analysis of past studies. Result: there is no correlation between metal content in the hair and autism.

Lack of Correlation Between Metallic Elements Analyzed in Hair by ICP-MS and Autism.
De Palma G, Catalani S, Franco A, Brighenti M, Apostoli P.

Department of Experimental and Applied Medicine, Section of Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene, University of Brescia, Piazzale Spedali Civili 1, 25123, Brescia, Italy,

A cross-sectional case-control study was carried out to evaluate the concentrations of metallic elements in the hair of 44 children with diagnosis of autism and 61 age-balanced controls. Unadjusted comparisons showed higher concentrations of molybdenum, lithium and selenium in autistic children. Logistic regression analysis confirmed the role of risk factor for male gender and showed a slight association with molybdenum concentrations. Unconventional chelation and vitamin-mineral supplementation were ineffective on elemental hair concentrations. A meta-analysis including the present and previous similar studies excluded any association of autism with hair concentrations of mercury, cadmium, selenium, lithium and copper. A slight association was found for lead only, but it was very weak, as strictly dependent on the worst data from one study.

Autism is not mercury poisoning. It just isn’t. And here we have more money and more researcher time spent on a project that tells us what we already know. I’m glad to have researchers look at autism and I thank this team. But we’ve spent enough on that question, it is really time to move on.

8 Responses to “Lack of Correlation Between Metallic Elements Analyzed in Hair by ICP-MS and Autism”

  1. sharon April 21, 2011 at 07:21 #

    “ is really time to move on”. Please?! FFS can we now move on?

  2. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. April 21, 2011 at 09:34 #

    Yes. It is time to move on.

    It’s been time to move on since this myth got started. We now how plenty of science stating unequivocally that:

    1- MMR vaccines do not cause autism;
    2- Autism and mercury poisoning are not the same thing;

    It’s now time to let these issues rest.

  3. Rose April 21, 2011 at 15:29 #

    Most of us have moved beyond the battle to prove we are right.

    Does FFS mean what I think it does? Egad, I have found my soul-mate!!!!

  4. MikeMa April 21, 2011 at 16:57 #

    I hear goalposts shifting…

  5. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. April 21, 2011 at 17:24 #

    Rose: “Does FFS mean what I think it does?”

    I would say so, yes.

  6. McD April 27, 2011 at 03:40 #

    They have been working on those goal-posts for a while now – haven’t they moved them down to the ‘Aluminum and/or fetal DNA and/or some mysterious combination of elements’ end of the park. Well, the prime movers will, the followers will quietly drop off.

    Like ‘recovered memories’ in the 80/90s, the vaccine causation hypothesis is a modern hysteria.

  7. Rose April 27, 2011 at 15:52 #

    recovered memories…aw, fudge, don’t even go there…right up there with Bruno.

    Frankly, I could let the vaccine thing go, were it not for Acrodynia.It’s just too elegant to dismiss.

  8. Rose April 27, 2011 at 16:01 #

    Besides…what has “kosher” science come up with? The mercury theory gives them something to fight against to keep their jobs. They can go “Na-na-na-na-na” to the woo, but they are working on their own woo. I mean, don’t you figure they are literally pulling shit out of their ass?? Making science is like making sausage. You don’t want to see it. It’s messy…but occasionally by luck or intuition, some truth comes out and is built upon and stands the test of time.

    Ah, hell, I’m sorry. I’ve got an attitude lately.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: