Pediatrics & Therapeutics

Pediatrics & Therapeutics
Open Access

ISSN: 2161-0665

+44 1478 350008


Autism and Lead: Is There a Possible Connection?

Farida El Baz, Maged A. El-Setouhy, Wessam Ahmed Mouharam, Ahmed M. Abdel Raouf and Azza M. Youssef

Background: Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, also by restricted and stereotyped behavior. Lead poisoning has been suggested as a possible risk factor for autism.

Aim: Investigate the relation between blood lead levels and autism in a sample of Egyptian autistic children, and to correlate these levels with severity of the disease.

Patients and methods: This case-control study was conducted on 51 participants, 31 autistic patients diagnosed based on DSM-IV criteria recruited from child and adolescent Psychiatry Clinic, Children Hospital, Ain Shams University and 20 controls. Blood Lead level was measured by for the whole studied population.

Results: Mean blood lead levels in autistic children were higher than in controls but with no statistical significant difference. A negative correlation between patient's age, IQ and blood lead levels were found, although there were no statistical significance as regarding patients' sex, mother use of dental filling, anti-partum Anti-D injection, maternal heavy fish consumption, mode of delivery, postpartum complications between patients and controls.

Conclusion: Although autistic children had normal blood lead level but they may be susceptible to its effect as children with autism may be poor detoxifiers. Also, blood lead level does not represent the total burden as lead can be stored in bones.