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Journal Title Abbrev.
J. Elem.
ISSN – 1644-2296
DOI: 10.5601

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Analysis of trace element content in hair of autistic children

Issue: 4/2017

Recevied: Nov 15, 2016

Accepted: Jun 13, 2017

Published: 2017-07-14


Fiłon J., Karczewski J., Ustymowicz-Farbiszewska J., Żendzian-Piotrowska M.

Categories: Medicine and veterinary, Pollution and environment

DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2016.21.4.1355


Determination of the pathogenesis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders is one of the major challenges for modern scientists. The main pathogenic factors implicated in these disorders are epigenetic changes caused by environmental factors, which include toxic metals (Cd, Pb, Hg, Mn, Al and As). Also, the nervous system may be affected by the deficiency of micro- and macroelements (e.g. Zn and Mg). The aim of the work was to analyze the content of particular trace elements in the hair of autistic children. The study material comprised samples of hair collected from both autistic children (study group) and children chosen randomly from general population (control group). The concentrations of Mg, Zn, Cd and Mn were measured by electron scanning microscopy on a Hitachi TM-3000 apparatus, and by X-ray EDS microanalysis. The content of trace elements in hair, mutual interactions between them and their impact on the development of autism in children were evaluated. The results were statistically analyzed with the use of Statistica PL 12.5 software, including the Mann-Whitney U test, Wilcoxon matched-pair test and R-Spearman correlation. According to the study, children diagnosed with autism suffer from both Zn deficiency and toxic metal burden (Cd and Mn). The changes observed in Mg level were statistically insignificant. These abnormalities, as an environmental factor, may play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of this disease.


Fiłon J., Ustymowicz- Farbiszewska J., Karczewski J., Żendzian-Piotrowska M. 2017. Analysis of trace element content in hair of autistic children. J. Elem., 22(4): 1285 - 1293. DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2016.21.4.1355


cadmium, zinc, manganese, magnesium, children, autism, hair

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