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BrainWaves #27 Heavy metal poisoning

MedLink Neurology Podcast is delighted to feature selected episodes from BrainWaves, courtesy of James E Siegler MD, its originator and host. BrainWaves is an academic audio podcast whose mission is to educate medical providers through clinical cases and topical reviews in neurology, medicine, and the humanities, and episodes originally aired from 2016 to 2021.

Originally released: July 18, 2017

Heavy metal poisoning is increasingly rare in the US, but in patients with multi-organ dysfunction and unclear exposure history, you should be suspicious. In this episode of BrainWaves, we discuss the most common metals associated with central and peripheral nerve dysfunction, the symptoms they produce, imaging features, and treatment. BrainWaves podcasts and online content are intended for medical education only and should not be used to guide medical decision-making in routine clinical practice. Any cases discussed in this episode are fictional and do not contain any patient health-identifying information. This episode was vetted and approved by Francis DeRoos.


Cao Y, Skaug MA, Andersen O, Aaseth J. Chelation therapy in intoxications with mercury, lead and copper. J Trace Elem Med Biol 2015;31:188-92. PMID 24894443

Staff NP, Windebank AJ. Peripheral neuropathy due to vitamin deficiency, toxins, and medications. Continuum (Minneap Minn) 2014;20(5 Peripheral Nervous System Disorders):1293-306. PMID 25299283

Sun TW, Xu QY, Zhang XJ, et al. Management of thallium poisoning in patients with delayed hospital admission. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2012;50(1):65-9. Erratum in: Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2012;50(2):160. PMID 22175787

We believe that the principles expressed or implied in the podcast remain valid, but certain details may be superseded by evolving knowledge since the episode’s original release date.

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