By Fredrica Syren
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD, is on the rise in the U.S. Today, one of every 10 children is diagnosed with ADHD, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is one of the most common childhood brain disorders. The question is what causes this disorder? A new study shows that mercury exposure may be to blame.
Mercury is a heavy metal that can enter the body through inhalation, ingestion and skin absorption. This metal, which affects the nervous system, can be found in electrical products such as dry-cell batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, switches, and other control equipment. Mercury also can be found in some drinking water, and in fish and seafood because of leakage from factories and landfills, as well as mercury filled products being thrown into the environment.
Mercury can be severely damaging to your health. It is something that the body has no use for, at all. Most of the mercury that enters the body is stored in the kidneys. The rest is dispersed throughout the body; blood, spleen, brain, liver, bones and fatty tissues also hold mercury. It poses a threat to growing fetuses and it can get into breast milk.
A new study conducted in Canada is the first to find a high rate of attention-deficit symptoms in children highly exposed to mercury already in the womb. In the study, the moms’ hair was tested for mercury levels about 10 days after they gave birth. After eight years, these children were tested. The result showed a 60% increase in risk for ADHD-related behaviors in the children whose moms had been exposed to mercury.
ADHD is a disorder that is usually diagnosed in childhood. People with ADHD have differences in the parts of their brains that control attention and activity. This means that they may have a hard time focusing, and they may seem “wired,” act impulsively and get into trouble a lot. It affects how well someone can sit still, focus, and pay attention. There is currently no cure for ADHD so treatments usually include medication, various types of psychotherapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments.