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Dental amalgam and multiple sclerosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Journal: Journal of Public Health Dentistry. 2007 Winter; 67(1):64-6.

Authors and Affiliations: Aminzadeh KK, Etminan M. Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation, Vancouver Hospital, Vancouver, Canada.

PMID: 17436982

Objectives: Amalgam restorations have long been controversial due to their mercury content. Allegations that the mercury may be linked to nervous disorders such as Alzheimer's, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and multiple sclerosis (MS) have fueled the calls for the removal of amalgam restorations from dentists' armamentarium.

To explore and quantify the association between amalgam restorations and MS we have conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature.

Methods: A systematic search in Medline (from 1966 to April 2006), EMBASE (2006, Week 16), and the Cochrane library (Issue 2, 2006) for English-language articles meeting specific definitions of MS and amalgam exposure was conducted. Studies were also identified using the references of retrieved articles. Studies were independently reviewed by two authors and disagreements were resolved by consensus. Studies were selected based on an a priori of defined criteria.

Odds ratios (ORs) or relative risks were pooled using the random effects model. Heterogeneity was assessed using Q statistics.

Results: The pooled OR for the risk of MS among amalgam users was consistent, with a slight, nonstatistically significant increase between amalgam use and risk of MS.

Conclusion: Future studies that take into consideration the amalgam restoration size and surface area along with the duration of exposure are needed in order to definitively rule out any link between amalgam and MS.

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