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A Key Role for an Impaired Detoxification Mechanism in the Etiology and Severity of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Science post image A Key Role for an Impaired Detoxification Mechanism in the Etiology and Severity of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Behavioral and Brain Functions 2014, 10:14 doi:10.1186/1744-9081-10-14

Altaf Alabdali (aalabdali93@hotmail.com)
Laila Al-Ayadhi (ayadh2@gmail.com)
Afaf El-Ansary (elansary@ksu.edu.sa)

Abstract
Background
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a syndrome with a number of etiologies and different
mechanisms that lead to abnormal development. The identification of autism biomarkers in
patients with different degrees of clinical presentation (i.e., mild, moderate and severe) will
give greater insight into the pathogenesis of this disease and will enable effective early
diagnostic strategies and treatments for this disorder.

Methods
In this study, the concentration of two toxic heavy metals, lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg), were
measured in red blood cells, while glutathione-s-transferase (GST) and vitamin E, as
enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants, respectively, were measured in the plasma of
subgroups of autistic patients with different Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) and
Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) scores. The results were compared to age- and
gender-matched healthy controls.



Results
The obtained data showed that the patients with autism spectrum disorder had significantly
higher Pb and Hg levels and lower GST activity and vitamin E concentrations compared with
the controls. The levels of heavy metals (Hg and Pb), GST and vitamin E were correlated
with the severity of the social and cognitive impairment measures (SRS and CARS). Receiver
Operating Characteristics (ROC) analysis and predictiveness curves indicated that the four
parameters show satisfactory sensitivity, very high specificity and excellent predictiveness.
Multiple regression analyses confirmed that higher levels of Hg and Pb, together with lower
levels of GST and vitamin E, can be used to predict social and cognitive impairment in
patients with autism spectrum disorders.

Conclusion
This study confirms earlier studies that implicate toxic metal accumulation as a consequence
of impaired detoxification in autism and provides insight into the etiological mechanism of
autism.

Comments

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John Fryer

The study is clear in proving the role of lead and its cousin mercury in the autism rise and re-echoes concerns dating back 15 years, 150 years and even 1 500 years of the ability of heavy metals to take away our minds.

The problem is with the omnipresence of mercury in medical preparations, industrial and domestic use it appears we are incapable of recognising danger both theoretical orwhen practically proved to us over and over again.

No doubt like previous research of this nature we can be assured it will be found to be wanting as there is clear road paved to hell with gold if not mercury and lead.

Not just a smoking gun but with plenty of lead ammunition et al for continuing the war on autism.

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