No Neurological Harm from Mercury Fillings in Children

Exposure from dental amalgam has no adverse effects on the brain

FRIDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Children with exposure to mercury from dental amalgam do not experience any adverse neurological effects, according to a report published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Martin Lauterbach, M.D., of the University of Lisbon in Portugal, and colleagues conducted a study of 507 children aged 8 to 12 years who were assigned to received dental treatment using amalgam or resin-based composite fillings, and who were followed-up for seven years during which time the researchers conducted annual clinical neurological examinations.

The mean exposure was 7.7 to 10.7 amalgam surfaces per subject in the amalgam group. There was no difference between the two groups in terms of the presence or absence of neurological hard signs, neurological soft signs or tremor. Neurological soft sign severity scores diminished with age, in line with expectations, due to maturation of the nervous system.

"Because there are concerns that both developmental and psychiatric disorders may result from environmental toxic exposures (such as to mercury), it is important to understand the possible effect of such exposures on neurological soft signs. This study fails to show that exposure to mercury in childhood as a consequence of treatment with amalgam restorations is associated with a higher frequency of neurological soft signs in childhood and adolescence," the authors conclude.

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