A quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Review International is quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

Spring, 2020 | Number 2, Volume 34

Study indicates aluminum levels abnormal in ASD

A new postmortem study of brain tissue adds support to previous research suggesting that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have excessive levels of aluminum in their brains. 

Christopher Exley and Elizabeth Clarkson measured the aluminum content of 191 tissue samples taken from 20 brains of donors without known neurodegenerative diseases. The researchers say that the aluminum content of these tissues was “invariably low.” 

The researchers then compared this data to information collected on aluminum levels in the brains of individuals with ASD, multiple sclerosis, familial Alzheimer’s disease, or sporadic Alzheimer’s disease, measured using identical procedures. They say, “Detailed statistic analyses showed that aluminum was significantly increased in each of these disease groups compared to control tissues.” 

The findings relating to autism are consistent with a 2018 study of brain tissue from donors with ASD (see ARRI 32/1, 2018), in which Exley and colleagues reported detecting “some of the highest values for aluminum in human brain tissue yet recorded.”


“Aluminium in human brain tissue from donors without neurodegenerative disease: A comparison with Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and autism,” Christopher Exley and Elizabeth Clarkson, Scientific Reports, Vol. 10, No. 1, May 8, 2020. Address: Christopher Exley, The Birchall Centre, Lennard-Jones Laboratories, Keele University, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG, UK, [email protected].