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Assessment of Urinary Lead (Pb) and Essential Trace Elements in Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Case-Control Study Among Preschool Children in Malaysia.

Authors
  • Abd Wahil, Mohd Shahrol1
  • Ja'afar, Mohd Hasni2
  • Md Isa, Zaleha1
  • 1 Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, National University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. , (Malaysia)
  • 2 Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, National University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. [email protected] , (Malaysia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Biological Trace Element Research
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2022
Volume
200
Issue
1
Pages
97–121
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s12011-021-02654-w
PMID: 33661472
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Lead (Pb) is a heavy metal which is abundant in the environment and known to cause neurotoxicity in children even at minute concentration. However, the trace elements calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), zinc (Zn) and iron (Fe) are essential to children due to its protective effect on neurodevelopment. The primary objective of this study was to assess the role of Pb and trace elements in the development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among preschool children. A total of 81 ASD children and 74 typically developed (TD) children aged between 3 and 6 years participated in the study. Self-administered online questionnaires were completed by the parents. A first-morning urine sample was collected in a sterile polyethene urine container and assayed for Pb, Ca, Mg, Zn and Fe using an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Comparisons between groups revealed that the urinary Pb, Mg, Zn and Fe levels in ASD children were significantly lower than TD children. The odds of ASD reduced significantly by 5.0% and 23.0% with an increment of every 1.0 μg/dL urinary Zn and Fe, respectively. Post interaction analysis showed that the odds of ASD reduced significantly by 11.0% and 0.1% with an increment of every 1.0 μg/dL urinary Zn and Pb, respectively. A significantly lower urinary Pb level in ASD children than TD children may be due to their poor detoxifying mechanism. Also, the significantly lower urinary Zn and Fe levels in ASD children may augment the neurotoxic effect of Pb. © 2021. The Author(s).

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