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Mercury Induced Alzheimer's Disease:
Accelerating Incidence


J. T. A. Ely Ph.D.

Radiation Studies 351650

University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195 USA

Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (2001). Vol. 67, pages 800-806

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11692193&dopt=Abstract

pdf version

http://link.springer.de/link/service/journals/00128/papers/1067006/10670800.pdf

Abstact

Micromercurialism (MM) is a term coined by the German chemist Professor A. Stock in the 1920's and widely used to denote chronic intoxication from long term exposure to low levels of Hg vapor.  He also demonstrated (in himself) that MM can be caused by dental amalgams.  Stock stimulated a wave of scientific interest in MM in Germany and Russia.  These two countries adopted the lowest tolerable work place Hg vapor levels in the world, 1 and 10 µg/m3, respectively (Patterson et al., 1985; Gerstner and Huff 1977).  MM differs in many respects from generally recognized acute form of Hg intoxication.  These differences which were recently elucidated in the Bulletin (Ely et al., 1999) are responsible for almost universal failure of physicians to diagnose MM.  As explained there, in order to make this diagnosis, urine Hg must be measured in µg/day instead of µg/L because of a highly variable polyuria common in MM.  More importantly, "retention toxicity" must be understood.  This latter effect, first reported by Public Health Service investigators (Neal and Jones 1938) is an inverse relationship in MM between degree of intoxication and urine Hg content; i.e., the most intoxicated subjects excrete the least Hg.  This, of course, is the reason their intoxication continues to worsen until the exposure is terminated.  Because of Hg's extreme toxicity as an enzyme activator (Web 1963), it appears plausible that in subjects with long-term chronic exposure, Hg has diabled the enzymes involved in Hg excretion.  This not only results in undetectable or extremely low (<5 µg/day) urine Hg, but also causes blood levels to rise resulting in diffusion of Hg to bone storage.

It has long been known from x-ray fluorescence studies that persons with chronic exposure such as dentists, have elevated skeletal Hg stores (Bloch and Shapiro 1981), and low urine Hg (Neal and Jones 1938).  This is mistakenly interpreted today almost universally as evidence of low intoxication attributed to adequacy of dental clinic precautionary measures.  Also, in old age, osteoporosis may accelerate Hg release to a rate much above that corresponding to the 20 year excretion half-time estimated by Sugita (1978).  As a result of these complexities, there is almost no awareness of the degree of Hg intoxication in the US today or its possible impact on the incidence of Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Two different types of radiation techniques, neutron activation analysis and photolabelling, were used by two different groups of investigators to compare Hg in brains of AD and control cadavers (Thompson et al. 1988; Pendergrass and Haley 1997).  Oliveri et al. (2000) used an in vitro model system (neuroblastoma cells) to investigate the effects of inorganic mercury (HgCl2) on several central nervous system variables including tubulin polymerization.

This paper seeks to focus attention on widely ignored features of micromercurialism from amalgam.  These features already make Hg one of the two leading causes of Alzheimer's disease incidence and threaten to greatly increase this tragic toll.


Others Published Research Papers from the Laboratory of Dr. J. T. A. Ely


Method for measuring mercury release from dental amalgam.

Krone CA, Ely JT, Thoreson J.

Applied Research Institute, Post Office Box 1925, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 2002 Feb;68(2):180-6

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11815786&dopt=Abstract

http://link.springer.de/link/service/journals/00128/papers/2068002/20680180.pdf

pdf version


Risk factors for parenteral intoxication by mercury from dental amalgam.

Ely JT.

Radiation Studies 351650, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.

Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 2001 Sep;67(3):309-16

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11479658&dopt=Abstract

http://link.springer-ny.com/link/service/journals/00128/bibs/1067003/10670309.html

http://link.springer.de/link/service/journals/00128/papers/1067003/10670309.pdf

pdf version


Urine mercury in micromercurialism: bimodal distribution and diagnostic implications.

Ely JT, Fudenberg HH, Muirhead RJ, LaMarche MG, Krone CA, Buscher D, Stern EA.

Radiation Studies, Box 351650, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.

Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 1999 Nov;63(5):553-9

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10541672&dopt=Abstract

http://link.springer-ny.com/link/service/journals/00128/bibs/63n5p553.html

http://link.springer.de/link/service/journals/00128/papers/63n5p553.pdf

pdf version

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