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Autism, behavioural issues and metal toxicity


A significant amount of scientific research has indicated that the pathogenesis of Autism may begin in foetal life. Further research suggests that mercury and other toxins play a role in the pathogenesis of Autism and other neurological disorders.

Extensive research has established that scalp hair element levels are related to human systemic levels. The strength of this relationship varies for specific elements, and many researchers consider hair as the tissue of choice for toxic and several nutrient elements. Unlike blood, hair element levels are not regulated by homeostatic mechanisms. Thus, deviations in hair element levels often appear prior to overt symptoms and can thereby be a valuable preliminary tool for predicting the development of physiological abnormalities. 

Hair analysis can be an accurate and useful tool to determine exposure to potentially toxic metals in children and their mothers (prior to conception,
prenatal or postnatal).  

A growing number of peer-reviewed publications support the considerable value of elemental analysis of hair specimens, especially for the toxic metals, in clinical practice.  For example:                                         

  • Elevated levels of Arsenic in both hair and urine confirmed arsenic toxicity from pesticide exposure in an individual with peripheral neuropathy and macrocytosis.(2)
  • There is correlative evidence linking hair levels of Lead, Manganese, Cadmium, and other toxic metals with psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression and even violent behaviours.(3,4) 
  • Lead, cadmium and mercury levels in children’s’ hair has even been correlated with childhood intelligence. In a cognitive performance study of children in the Faroe Islands, there were detectable effects on brain function in the children whose mothers had hair mercury concentrations of 10-20 mg/g.(5)
  • School children with relatively high levels of lead in their hair had slower reaction-times and less flexibility in changing their focus of attention than children with relatively low concentrations of Lead in hair.(6-8)
  • History of fish consumption and mercury in hair samples are considered the best indicators of human exposure to methylmercury.(9)  Fish consumption among Scandinavian men was positively correlated with hair and blood mercury levels, and acute myocardial infarction.(10,11) 
  • By using a leading hair analysis laboratory for the detection of 14 different elements, one team of investigators could distinguish between children with and without learning disabilities with a 98% accuracy rate.(12)

* Hair Element Analysis does NOT provide a quantitative ‘inventory’ of the body’s mineral levels, but instead a qualitative ‘screening tool’ for assessing mineral relationships and ratios as well as strong correlations between hair toxic metals and body tissue levels.

* When conducted and interpreted appropriately (according to current evidence) it is one of the most affordable, non-invasive and yet powerful biochemical assessments that can be made in clinic.

References available on request.