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The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 10, No.3 & 4, 1995


Mercury and Acrodynia

Geir Bjørklund

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Acrodynia is principally a syndrome of chronic mercury poisoning. The almost forgotten disease, mostly affecting infants and young children, is probably the best studied effect of human mercury poisoning.

Acrodynia is characterized by a) profound changes in temperament, b) skin alterations, c) neurologic symptoms, d) tachycardia, and e) stomatitis (Gorlin et al, 1976).

Acrodynia was first recognized in France in 1828 (Hanson 1987), and the term was introduced in 1830 by Chardon (Chardon, 1830). The term is derived from Greek, denotes painful extremities (Gorlin et al, 1976).

The condition was recognized in Aus-tralia in 1890 (Akabane 1983). Selter re-ported in 1903 eight cases of the syndrome among children between one and three years of age (Selter, 1903). Selter used the term "trophodermatoneurose", and exhibiting the characteristic picture of the syndrome. The neurologic aspects of acrodynia were emphasized by Swift in Australia in 1914 (Swift, 1914), and by Feer in Switzerland in 1923 (Feer, 1923). The condition was established as a clinical entity in the British and American literature by Byfield and Bilderback in 1920 (Bilderback, 1920).

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