Boyd Haley


Boyd Haley

Boyd E. Haley, PhD (b. September 22, 1940, Greensburg, Indiana), is a professor at the University of Kentucky, where he has been the chairman of the chemistry department since 1996. The basic research interest of his laboratory centers on biochemical and biomedical problems involving control at the molecular level, particularly in biological systems regulated by protein-nucleotide interactions where the bioenergetics involved are expressed through site-specific nucleotide binding of high affinity or through protein substrate phosphorylation. He has also investigated the effect of mercury on tissues and published on similarities between these and some biochemical changes reported in nerve cells in Alzheimer's disease and autism.

Research

Haley's University of Kentucky laboratory studies the differences between normal and diseased tissues as observed through changes in nucleotide binding proteins. Haley focuses on biochemical and biomedical problems involving control at the molecular level, particularly biological systems regulated by protein-nucleotide interactions where the bioenergetics involved are expressed through site-specific nucleotide binding of high affinity or through protein substrate phosphorylation.

His lab synthesizes novel nucleotide analogs that are photoactive or fluorescent, or both, which are then used to study protein-nucleotide interactions which regulate enzyme activity. These probes have proven useful in his research into the causes of Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis, which his lab is currently investigating.

His laboratory's approach to the study of the general phenomenon of protein-nucleotide interactions is to synthesize novel nucleotide analogs that are photoactive or fluorescent, or both. The analogs are then used to study various interactions which regulate enzyme activity. Analogs used may be modifications of the commonly known nucleotides such as Adenosine triphosphate, cyclic adenosine monophosphate, Guanosine triphosphate, dUTP diphosphatase and Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide.

Mercury research

Haley has testified to the US Food and Drug Administration regarding mercury vapour from dental amalgams and on thimerosal-containing vaccines. Haley was one of the first researchers to propose that Thimerosal in vaccines was the most likely toxic agent involved in Gulf War syndrome and autism spectrum disorders.

Haley has conducted studies that suggest low levels of mercury are capable of contributing to certain neurological diseases such as autism and Alzheimer's disease, and he has observed that exposure of lab rats to low level mercury vapor causes a great increase in rat brain mercury levels, along with a marked decrease in brain tubulin photolabeling, as has been found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

Using birth-hair analysis, Haley has produced evidence that individuals diagnosed with autism excrete less mercury. His hypothesis is that they form a distinct subset of the population with reduced excretion of mercury, [cite journal | author=Holmes AS, Blaxill MF, Haley BE | title=Reduced levels of mercury in first baby haircuts of autistic children | journal=Int J Toxicol | year=2003 | pages=277–85 | volume=22 | issue=4 | pmid= 12933322 | doi=10.1080/10915810305120 ] relating to the thiomersal's controversial role in the etiology of autism.

Controversial views about mercury and dental amalgams

Haley surmises that mercury released from dental amalgams could be a potential cause of autism and Alzheimer’s disease. His findings have not been reproduced and the United States Public Health Service and the American Dental Association reject these claims. [cite web | url = http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/consumer/amalgams.html | title = Questions and Answers on Dental Amalgam | date = 2006-10-30 | accessdate = 2008-01-04 | publisher = Food and Drug Administration ] [cite web | url = http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/positions/statements/amalgam.asp | title = ADA Statement on Dental Amalgam | date = 2007-04-06 | accessdate = 2008-01-04 | publisher = American Dental Association] Haley's position is that there is a link between people with dental amalgams containing a high level of mercury and the level of mercury in the blood and urine. [cite web | url = http://www.toxicteeth.org/natCamp_ADAresponds_haleyrebuttal.cfm | title = Dr. Boyd Haley's Rebuttal to the ADA | date = 2001-05-23 | accessdate = 2008-01-04 | format = cfm | publisher = Toxicteeth.org | last = Haley | first = Boyd] Critics of the anti-amalgam view have pointed to a study [cite journal |author=Berdouses E, Vaidyanathan TK, Dastane A, Weisel C, Houpt M, Shey Z |title=Mercury release from dental amalgams: an in vitro study under controlled chewing and brushing in an artificial mouth |journal=J. Dent. Res. |volume=74 |issue=5 |pages=1185–93 |year=1995 |pmid=7790596 |doi=] suggesting the amount of mercury released by fillings during normal use is minuscule and does not represent a threat to health. [cite web | url = http://www.dentalwatch.org/hg/myths201.html | title = Amalgam -- Resurrection and Redemption Part 2: The Medical Mythology of Anti-Amalgam | last = Wahl | first = MJ | date = 2002-11-01 | accessdate = 2008-01-04 | publisher = dentalwatch.org] These opposing positions are part of the wider debate on the dental amalgam controversy.

Mercury and gold salts

Haley has speculated that gold salts may induce a wide range of improvements in overall health, in a manner similar to that of chelation therapy. Haley has also speculated that gold salts may be useful in the treatment of autism. [cite news | url = http://www.upi.com/Consumer_Health_Daily/Reports/2005/12/30/the_age_of_autism_gold_standards/2870/ | title = The Age of Autism: Gold standards | publisher = United Press International | date = 2005-12-30 | accessdate = 2008-01-04 | last = Olmsted | first = Dan ] This was based on the observation that one of the first autistics known lost his autism diagnosis when treated for rheumatoid arthritis by taking gold salts containing a thiol linkage. Gold and thiols are known to have high affinity for mercury.

Professional associations

Haley is also co-founder and scientific advisor of Affinity Labeling Technologies, Inc., a biotechnology firm that synthesizes and markets nucleotide photo-affinity analogs for biomedical research.

Dr. Haley is a member of the Autism Think Tank of the Autism Association, and a fellow in the IAOMT and has presented numerous lectures on the subject of mercury toxicity and neurological diseases at a variety of international conferences, and has testified before congressional committees and the Institute of Medicine.

References

External links

* [http://www.chem.uky.edu/research/haley/ University of Kentucky page]


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