M. Catherine DeSoto, PhD. Robert T. Hitlan, PhD. Department of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa. Blood Levels of mercury Are Related to Diagnosis of Autism: A Reanalysis of an Important Data Set
. Journal of Child Neurology, Vol. 22, No. 11, 1308-1311 (2007)
The question of what is leading to the apparent increase in autism is of great importance. Like the link between aspirin and heart attack, even a small effect can have major health implications. If there is any link between autism and mercury, it is absolutely crucial that the first reports of the question are not falsely stating that no link occurs. We have reanalyzed the data set originally reported by Ip et al. in 2004 and have found that the original p value was in error and that a significant relation does exist between the blood levels of mercury and diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. Moreover, the hair sample analysis results offer some support for the idea that persons with autism may be less efficient and more variable at eliminating mercury from the blood.