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Children

Differential immune responses and microbiota profiles in children with autism spectrum disorders and co-morbid gastrointestinal symptoms
Published: 2018
SYNOPSIS

Autistic children with gastrointestinal symptoms have an imbalance in their immune response that affects behavior and quality of life.

CITATION

Rose DR, Yang H, Serena G, Sturgeon C, Ma B, Careaga M, Hughes HK, Angkustsiri K, Rose M, Hertz-Picciotto I, Van de Water J, Hansen RL, Ravel J, Fasano A, Ashwood P. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 2018;70:354-368.

SUMMARY

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and concurrent gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms have a more imbalanced immune response, a more disturbed gut microbiome and worse behavioral outcomes (such as irritability, agitation, social withdrawal, lethargy, hyperactivity and noncompliance) than ASD children without GI symptoms. The study additionally looked at typically developing children with and without GI symptoms and found that ASD+GI children stood out compared to those two groups as well. Children with ASD plus GI symptoms may have a “propensity” toward leaky gut that contributes to their other symptoms and clinical outcomes.

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Thimerosal changes protein conformation and increase the rate of fibrillation in physiological conditions: Spectroscopic studies using bovine serum albumin (BSA)
Published: 2018
SYNOPSIS

Thimerosal contributes to the formation of abnormal proteins associated with Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

CITATION

Santos JCN, da Silva IM, Braga TC, de Fátima Å, Figueiredo IM, Santos JCC. Thimerosal changes protein conformation and increase the rate of fibrillation in physiological conditions: Spectroscopic studies using bovine serum albumin (BSA). International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 2018;113:1032-1040.

SUMMARY

A series of experiments suggests that the effects of the vaccine preservative thimerosal on the structure of important protein molecules in the blood are one likely cause of thimerosal’s toxicity, contributing to the development of neurodegenerative and other diseases. Using a cow protein as a proxy to assess thimerosal’s impact on human serum albumin (a protein made by the liver), the study found that thimerosal accelerates the build-up of abnormal protein deposits that are associated with at least 25 diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and type 2 diabetes. When bound to albumin, thimerosal also may result in “more efficient distribution” of mercury in the body.

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Rethinking mercury: the role of selenium in the pathophysiology of mercury toxicity
Published: 2017
SYNOPSIS

Mercury in the body produces a selenium deficiency state that increases toxicity.

CITATION

Spiller HA. Rethinking mercury: the role of selenium in the pathophysiology of mercury toxicity. Clinical Toxicology. 2018;56(5):313-326.

SUMMARY

This study makes the case that mercury’s multifaceted interactions with selenium are a central feature of mercury toxicity. The authors argue that “the previously suggested ‘protective effect’ of selenium against mercury toxicity may in fact be backwards”—because of mercury’s affinity for selenium, mercury can actually produce a selenium deficiency state that promotes oxidative stress and inhibits the body’s regenerative mechanisms. Depending on the form of mercury and other factors, selenium supplementation may have some benefits for restoring adequate selenium status and mitigating the toxicity of mercury, but it does not appear to promote increased elimination of mercury.

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Public health and economic consequences of methyl mercury toxicity to the developing brain
Published: 2005
SYNOPSIS

In utero exposure to methylmercury from power plants and seafood is associated with lifelong loss of intelligence and billions of dollars in lost productivity.

CITATION

Trasande L, Landrigan PJ, Schechter C. Public health and economic consequences of methyl mercury toxicity to the developing brain. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2005;113(5):590-596.

SUMMARY

This study shows that the IQ losses associated with methylmercury toxicity cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars in lost productivity each year. Hundreds of thousands of American children in any given year have cord blood levels of methylmercury associated with lowered intelligence, traceable to in utero exposure to power plant emissions or to maternal seafood consumption. The loss of intelligence that results “causes diminished economic productivity that persists over the entire lifetime of these children”—amounting to about $8.7 billion annually.

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