Study shows link between mercury and autism

I don't jump on every study or finding that pops up about autism, mostly because I find the waves of hope and dispair too stressful. But, I found this recent study interesting, mostly because it gets to the heart of the million dollar question -- can mercury cause the problems our kids are struggling to overcome? Sure, all the medical groups and the feds tell us "no." Then, they chastise us for even considering the possibility. Why don't they instead say, "Gee, we're not really sure. So, instead of guessing, we'll study the possibility in an open, nonpolitical environment and let the world know our findings." Yeah, I know, I'm dreaming. Anyway, here's a link to the Rutgers and UMDNJ study and a few lines from the summary.


"We have shown that mice exposed to either methylmercury (MeHg) or valproic acid (VPA) in early postnatal life display aberrant social, cognitive and motor behavior. Interestingly, early exposure to both compounds has been clinically implicated in the development of autism. We recently found that Trolox, a water-soluble vitamin E derivative, is capable of attenuating a number of neurobehavioral alterations observed in mice postnatally exposed to MeHg."
Oh, and to put this into perspective, here's a little tidbit from a USAToday series on pollutants.

"Mercury is 13.5 times as dense as water. If all the mercury released into the air by U.S. coal-burning power plants in 2005 48.3 tons could be captured and stored in one place, it would fit into the back of a large SUV such as a Chevy Suburban or Ford Excursion. By contrast, depositing just 1/25th of a teaspoon of mercury into a 60-acre lake could contaminate the lake to the point that fish caught there would be unsafe to eat."

Sources: University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center; North Carolina Divsion of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance


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