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ALS and mercury intoxication: A relationship?

We report the case of an 81-year-old woman in whom clinical signs and features of electromyographic activity patterns were consistent with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Increased blood level and massive urinary excretion of mercury proved mercury intoxication. Despite a chelation treatment with Meso 2–3 dimercaptosuccininc acid (DMSA), she died after 17 months.

The pathophysiology of sporadic ALS remains unclear. However, the role of environmental factors has been suggested. Among some environmental factors, exposure to heavy metals has been considered and ALS cases consecutive to occupational intoxication and accidental injection of mercury have been reported. Although no autopsy was performed, we discuss the role of mercury intoxication in the occurrence of ALS in our case, considering the results of experimental studies on the toxicity of mercury for motor neuron.


Published on 08-31-2009
Authors: Julien Pralinea, b, , , Anne-Marie Guennoca, Nadege Limousina, Habib Hallakc, Bertrand de Toffola and Philippe Corciaa, b
Source: Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery Volume 109, Issue 10, December 2007, Pages 880-883