, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 25-34

Minerals in the hair and nutrient intake of autistic children

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The concentrations of calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, lead, and cadmium were determined in scalp hair samples from a group of 12 autistic children and a group of 12 nonautistic control children. The only statistically significant difference between median concentrations of minerals in the hair from the two groups was a 62% decrease in the concentration of cadmium in the hair of autistic children. This decrease was probably not physiologically significant. The nutrient intake of autistic children as a group was found to be adequate and typical of well-fed American children. It was concluded that the children in neither the autistic nor the nonautistic control group showed evidence of toxicity or deficiency of the minerals or nutrients studied, but because of food idiosyncracies nutrient intake should be monitored.