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Case Reports of Methylmercury Poisoning

1. Grand Round presentation: “Medical Masquerade: One Man’s Experience with Methylmercury Poisoning”
This unique one-hour video presentation about the clinical presentation of methylmercury poisoning includes three parts: the perspective of someone who experienced it himself; clinical information from an expert in methylmercury poisoning; and perspectives from a scientist who studies mercury in the marine environment. The video was made at a grand round presentation for the Department of Medicine at Stony Brook University Medical Center in November 2010.

Presenters included:  Richard Gelfond, CEO and Director, IMAX Corporation and Chair, Stony Brook Foundation [ starts from time point 3:56]; Michael Gochfeld, MD, PhD, Professor, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey [ starts from time point 16:00]; and Nicholas Fisher, PhD, Distinguished Professor, SBU School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and Director of the Consortium for Inter-Disciplinary Environmental Research [starts from time point 42:30]; Question and Answer session [ starts from time point 54:30].

2. “The Frustrations of Bettye Russow”

One of the first reports to document methylmercury poisoning from eating a large amount of swordfish.   R.F. Korns, "The Frustrations of Bettye Russow."   Nutrition Today  (1972) 21-23.  

3. “Mercury Levels in High-end consumers of fish”
This article brought to light an at-risk group of Americans, people who regularly eat top predator, high-mercury fish.   J.M. Hightower, D. Moore, "Mercury levels in high-end consumers of fish."   Environ Health Perspect  111 (2003) 604-608 .  

4. “Over the Limit”
A publication by the Mercury Policy Project that covers several case studies of methylmercury poisoning in the U.S. This publication provides a sense of the types of symptoms seen in heavy fish consumers.   "Over the Limit: Eating too much high-mercury fish," in   Mercury Policy Project, Montpelier, 2008.  

5. "Toxicant Exposure and Mental Health--Individual, Social, and Public Health Considerations"
This article describes a case study of a young man who experienced "fatigue, depression and disturbed thinking" after consuming 1-2 cans of tuna per day for a couple of years. The symptoms resolved within 8 months with avoidance of tuna and chelation with dimercaptosuccinic acid.             S. J. Genius, "Toxicant Exposure and Mental Health--Individual, Social, and Public Health Considerations." J. Forensic Sci., 54, 2,(2009), 474-477.

6. "Diet-related mercury poisoning resulting in visual loss"
This article describes a case of a 36-year-old man with progressive peripheral neurpathies and failing visual acuity with a high intake of fish and blood mercury level of 13.9 mcg/L.   M. Saldana, et al., 'Diet-related mercury poisoning resulting in visual loss", Br J Ophthalmol. (2006) November; 90(11): 1432–1434. doi:  10.1136/bjo.2006.094821;  PMCID: PMC1857490

7.  “Case of Paresthesias in Micronesian Fish Eater”
A student presentation that describes the story of a Hawaiian 47-year-old male whose main source of protein was the fish he speared.   Case Of Paresthesias In Micronesian Fish Eater, Michael Jones and Alan D. Tice, MD, FACP  

8.   Diagnosis: Mercury, Money Politics and Poison  (2008)
A noteworthy book written by a internal medicine physician from San Francisco, Jane M. Hightower, M.D., who became an expert in methylmercury poisoning after recognizing a pattern in her patient population who ate fish. Her book covers her journey of discovery with regards to diagnosing her patients with methylmercury poisoning all while telling the history of mercury use in our society. The focus of the book is the lack of information available and resulting low public awareness of the issue and the intriguing history and politics that surround this contaminant.   See  

9. “Mercury and Tuna: A Schoolboy’s Sudden Setback” (2005)
A 10-year-old boy who ate 3-6 ounces of albacore tuna daily experienced attention issues at school and his fingers were starting to curl.   "Mercury and Tuna: U.S. Advice Leaves Lots of Questions Balancing Interests, Agencies Issue Guidance at Odds With  EPA Risk Assessment: A Schoolboy's Sudden Setback,"   Wall Street Journal, Aug. 1, 2005.

10. “Methylmercury exposure in Wisconsin: A case study series” (2005)
This articles describes exposure of 14 people who at fish two times a week or more and one person who ate no fish. "Three of the individuals reported vague subclinical symptoms such as mental confusion, sleep difficulty, balance problems, or visusual disturbances, which improved after their mercury levels returned to normal."

11. “Unsuspected Mercury Toxicity Linked to Neurologic Symptoms: A Case Series” (2004)
This abstract describes 10 patients who presented with paresthesias at a medical center in NYC and were found to have elevated serum mercury levels ranging from 27-96 mcg/L. 6 patients reported fish consumption at least twice weekly, with two patients eating fish daily for several years; one patient had possible occupational exposure to mercury.   D. Saint-Phard, MD, P.G.Gonzalex, MD, P. Sherman, MD, "Unsuspected Mercury Toxicity Linked to Neurologic Symptoms: A Case Series", Arch. Phys. Med. Rehabil., Vol. 85, Issue 9, (2004) page e25.  

12. “Too Much of a Good Thing (Fish): Methylmercury Case Study” (2004)
This case study describes a 53-year old female MeHg toxicity from daily fish consumption of 1-2 fish meals per day for 10 years. She ate both marine and freshwater fish. Blood mercury level was 125 mcg/L and symptoms included erythema, stomatits, tremors, and ringing in the head and ears.   J.F. Risher, PhD, "Too Much of a Good Thing (Fish): Methylmercury Case Study", Journal of Environmental Medicine, July/August 2004.

13. “Actress Describes Mercury Poisoning Ordeal” (2005)
ABC News published this story of Daphne Zuniga's experience with mercury toxicity from eating "your average Hollywood stay-in-shape diet, a ton of fish and low carbs".

14. “Jeremy Piven's High Mercury Count" (2008)
WebMD carried this interview with Mr. Piven's medical doctor about his experience with mercury toxicity.

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