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Journal of Toxicology
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 532640, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2009/532640
Research Article

The Severity of Autism Is Associated with Toxic Metal Body Burden and Red Blood Cell Glutathione Levels

1Division of Basic Medical Sciences, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, Tempe, AZ 85282, USA
2Department of Pediatric Medicine, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, Tempe, AZ 85282, USA
3Autism Research Institute, San Diego, CA 92116-2599, USA
4Center for Integrative Pediatric Medicine, Tucson, AZ 85711, USA
5Department of Mathematics, Whittier College, Whittier, CA 90601-4413, USA
6International Child Development Resource Center, Phoenix, AZ, USA
7Department of Pediatrics, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA

Received 10 April 2009; Revised 30 June 2009; Accepted 12 July 2009

Academic Editor: Wei Zheng

Copyright © 2009 J. B. Adams et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship of children's autism symptoms with their toxic metal body burden and red blood cell (RBC) glutathione levels. In children ages 3–8 years, the severity of autism was assessed using four tools: ADOS, PDD-BI, ATEC, and SAS. Toxic metal body burden was assessed by measuring urinary excretion of toxic metals, both before and after oral dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA). Multiple positive correlations were found between the severity of autism and the urinary excretion of toxic metals. Variations in the severity of autism measurements could be explained, in part, by regression analyses of urinary excretion of toxic metals before and after DMSA and the level of RBC glutathione (adjusted 𝑅 2 of 0.22–0.45, 𝑃 < . 0 0 5 in all cases). This study demonstrates a significant positive association between the severity of autism and the relative body burden of toxic metals.