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Logo of jroyalcgpracBJGP at RCGPBJGP at PubMed CentralJ R Coll Gen Pract at PubMed CentralRCGP homepage
J R Coll Gen Pract. 1976 August; 26(169): 622–626.
PMCID: PMC2158341

Lead and multiple sclerosis

The Birmingham Research Unit of the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Department of Social Medicine, University of Birmingham


It has been suggested that lead may be a cause of multiple sclerosis, but confirmation of this hypothesis is difficult to obtain as lead is so widely present both in the environment and in many human tissues.

In this study 22 patients with multiple sclerosis were compared with 22 controls. Lead levels in the blood of the patients were not higher and urinary lead levels in the patients before and after a single dose of penicillamine did not provide evidence to support the hypothesis that lead may cause the disease.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Beattie AD. Diagnostic and therapeutic uses of D-penicillamine in lead poisoning. Postgrad Med J. 1974 Aug;50 (Suppl 2):17–20. [PubMed]
  • BUTLER EJ. Chronic neurological disease as a possible form of lead poisoning. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1952 May;15(2):119–128. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • CAMPBELL AMG, HERDAN G, TATLOW WFT, WHITTLE EG. Lead in relation to disseminated sclerosis. Brain. 1950;73(1):52–71. [PubMed]
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  • Sauer RM, Zook BC, Garner FM. Demyelinating encephalomyelopathy associated with lead poisoning in nonhuman primates. Science. 1970 Sep 11;169(3950):1091–1093. [PubMed]
  • Warren HV. Proceedings: Environmental lead: a survey of its possible physiological significance. J Biosoc Sci. 1974 Apr;6(2):223–238. [PubMed]
  • Westerman MP, Bruetman M, Pfitzer E. Lead poisoning and multiple sclerosis. Arch Environ Health. 1974 Dec;29(6):355–356. [PubMed]
  • Mather HG, Morgan DC, Pearson NG, Read KL, Shaw DB, Steed GR, Thorne MG, Lawrence CJ, Riley IS. Myocardial infarction: a comparison between home and hospital care for patients. Br Med J. 1976 Apr 17;1(6015):925–929. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Klingberg MA, Chen R, Chemke J, Levin S. Letter: Rising rates of congenital dislocation of the hip. Lancet. 1976 Feb 7;1(7954):298–298. [PubMed]

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