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Case Study 1-the Children with Lead Poisoning


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Case Study 1-The Children with Lead Poisoning

1) What is the etiology of the mental and physiological signs shown by these patients?

-The cause of the mental and physiological signs shown by these patients is lead poisoning. The toxins within the lead are effecting the brain and nerves of the patients.

2) What risk factors for lead poisoning can you identify in this case study?

-In this particular case study the risk factors include: Occupation-children collecting scrap metal with in a lead infested old factory for money Age- children from ages 6 to 15 were the ones salvaging the scrap metal Diet- the elderly woman’s habit of compulsively chewing on nonnutritive substances 3) Is lead a toxin?

-According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), “No amount of lead is safe. Eliminating all lead exposure in our environment is our best course of action. New findings from NIEHS-supported grantees, as well as the National Toxicology Program (NTP) have found many adverse health effects in both children and adults at blood levels below 10 micrograms per deciliter (ug/dL) and for some below 5 ug/dL.” (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences 2014.) 4) Do any of the people in this story exhibit idiopathic lead poisoning? Why or Why not?

-No, the term idiopathic is defined as a disease in which no cause can be identified. Due to the fact that the reason for all the signs and symptoms have been diagnosed as lead poisoning, this particular case study is not labeled as idiopathic.

5) Would you consider lead poisoning a syndrome? Why or Why not?

-Absolutely, a syndrome is defined as ‘a collection of signs, symptoms, and degenerative processes that occur together in a particular disease.’ The children in this case study all showed symptoms and signs such as, joint pain, excessive salivation, numbness and tingling in their limbs, etc. All of their signs and symptoms seemed to occur around the same time and all seemed to be caused by lead poisoning.

6) At what point in this case does histopathology become relevant?

-Histopathology comes into effect once the physician as well as the epidemiologist perform blood and urine tests on all the patients involved in this case study. 7) Based on the information presented, does the lead poisoning in this community show a high morbidity? A high mortality? A high prevalence? A high incidence? For each term, answer yes or no, or state that there is insufficient information on which to base an opinion. Explain your answer.

A high morbidity? -Yes and No. Among the children under the age of 16yrs within this community there is a fairly high morbidity rate. Seeing how out of 112 children examined 70 showed signs and symptoms of lead poisoning. However, among the adults there was a very low morbidity rate with only one adult showing signs and symptoms of lead poisoning. 8) Would you consider the lead poisoning in this case an epidemic? Would you consider it an infectious disease? Explain each answer.

Epidemic? -Yes, due to the large number of children that showed signs and symptoms, I would call the outbreak of lead poisoning among this community to be an epidemic. Infectious Disease? -No, lead poisoning is not an infectious disease because it isn’t contagious. One person infected with lead poisoning cannot pass it on to another person.

9) Identify each of the following as either a sign or a symptom of lead poisoning:

a) Joint pain- symptom b) Difficulty walking- symptom c) Excessive salivation- symptom d) Personality change- sign e) Low RBC count- sign f) Subnormal intelligence- sign g) Dimness of vision- sign h) Lead in urine- sign

10) The elderly woman with pica lives with her daughter’s family. Her daughter says she can’t get her mother to stop chewing the foil from the wine bottles, and the mother says she likes the metallic feel on her teeth. If you were the physician, what might you suggest to control her lead poisoning?

-Since Pica is often associated with a dietary iron-deficiency, I would suggest adding more iron into the mother’s diet. Whether that be an iron supplement such as a multivitamin, eating more natural foods that are high in iron, or both.

Work Cite

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. (2014, August 14). Lead. Retrieved from

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