TUESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- There are no significant differences in neuropsychological and neurobehavioral function in children whose dental cavities are treated with mercury amalgam fillings or mercury-free resin composite materials, according to two studies published in the April 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
David C. Bellinger, Ph.D., of Children's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues studied 534 children aged 6 to 10 years who were randomly assigned to receive either amalgam or resin composite materials. They found that the amalgam group had higher average urinary mercury levels than the composite group, but there were no significant group differences in the five-year change in full-scale IQ score, four-year change in general memory index, visual motor composite score or urinary albumin levels.
Timothy A. DeRouen, Ph.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues studied 507 children, aged 8 to 10. They found that the amalgam group had higher urinary mercury levels over seven years of follow-up, but observed no significant group differences between scores on neurobehavioral assessments of memory, attention, visual motor function or on measures of nerve conduction velocity.
"The studies by Bellinger et al and DeRouen et al represent thoughtful and important contributions to understanding the question of dental amalgam risks in children, but the question of more subtle effects remains open," states the author of an accompanying editorial.