Monday, October 01, 2007

Peer Reviewed Study Claiming to Confirm Mercury-Autism Connection Published

David A. Geir and Dr. Mark R. Geir have published a new study, “A Prospective Study of Mercury Toxicity Biomarkers in Autistic Spectrum Disorders” in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A (volume 70, issue 20, pgs 1723-1730). The Press Release issued by Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs (CoMeD) claims that the study "confirms that many children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) suffer from mercury poisoning."

The Press Release also goes on to claim that:

This study utilized urinary porphyrin profile analysis (UPPA) to assess body-burden and physiological effects of mercury in children diagnosed with ASDs.

Using UPPA, Geier and Geier (2007) examined 71 children diagnosed with ASDs, 9 neurotypical siblings, and 5 general population controls. The researchers studied urinary porphyrin patterns using results reported both by the US Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) and the French Laboratoire Philippe Auguste.

Their findings demonstrated that:

• Only the non-chelated patients diagnosed with ASDs had porphyrin patterns indicative of clinical mercury toxicity.

• Treating ASD diagnosed patients with chelating agents resulted in lower mercury-specific urinary porphyrins.

• The UPPA patterns reported were consistent between the two labs used.

The results of the present study confirm and extend previous observations by Nataf et al. (2006) and Geier and Geier (2006) on the use of UPPA profiling to establish the causal role for mercury in ASDs. Additionally, the current findings are consistent with those observed by many other physicians who treat patients diagnosed with both ASDs and mercury toxicity.

Given the ferocity of the debate over a possible mercury autism connection this latest study will give rise to still more heated debate. Hopefully professionals on all sides of this issue will look as this study calmly and objectively and provide the critical analysis that any such study should receive.

6 comments:

Maya M said...

The Geiers are quite off point! Autism is caused by MMR which contains no mercury! Jenny McCarthy proved it and we all heard about it!
This was a joke :). Seriously, I am tired of writing against the mercury charlatanism. Would you write a post every time when a peer reviewed study disproving the mercury-autism connections is published? You would have little time to blog about anything else!
As a not too elite biomedical researchers who has had some manuscripts rejected by reviewers, I'd wish to know how the Geiers sneak their papers through peer review. These guys seem able to publish anything! They could offer some useful tips for people like me.

Autism Reality NB said...

Well, this one was not rejected on peer review. That is why I felt it significant to post the Press Release.

I have never accepted the evidence to date of a mercury-Autism connection. I am not sure though that the mercury-autism theory is "disproven" for all time. I am sure there will be much scrutiny of this latest paper. It will either withstand such scrutiny or it will not.

I have no knowledge, or information , of the paper being "snuck through" peer review.

Maya M said...

"I am sure there will be much scrutiny of this latest paper. It will either withstand such scrutiny or it will not."
I don't think there will be any scrutiny, exactly as I don't expect a paper claiming that Earth is flat to be put under scrutiny. From what I've read in PubMed, for all serious scientists the mercury-autism link is disproven. Nobody will write a grant application for a new study on this link just because two infamous scientists have managed to publish their umpteenth revival of a dead hypothesis. Who would, and who should, give (waste) money to such "research" instead of giving it to sensible autism research, or e.g. to leukemia research? Who would give (waste) money to new research on the basics of Darwinism just because some people unable to understand it stick to creationist views? Science just doesn't progress this way. It doesn't waste time and resources to disprove irrelevant voices, it just ignores them.
And please pay attention that the Geiers are measuring porphyrins, not actual mercury. This is of course because the mercury is not there.

Autism Reality NB said...

Maya

I am not advocating the Geirs position here. But in your last response you skipped over the point that this is a peer reviewed paper. Someone in the scientific community does not share your absolutist approach to the Geirs or their mercury theories.

Joseph said...

No, you might have noticed this study hasn't even registered in the Autism Hub. First time I hear of it. The Geiers are in a sort of permanent killfile of autism research for obvious reasons.

Autism Reality NB said...

The study is peer reviewed Joseph. The fact that it is the first time you heard of it is not germane to the discussion. But I am glad I was able to bring it to your attention.

Although I am not convinced of the Geir's perspective I try to keep an open mind.