B Investigation of the Cause of Minamata disease
3. Medical Treatment of Minamata Disease

▪Treatments at the early stages

1. Detection of the route of methylmercury exposure and its exclusion

2. Promotion of methylmercury excretion

Administration of chelating agents: Chemical trapping of methylmercury and excretion via urine

Administration of SH-compounds having high affinity for methylmercury: oral administration of thiol resin in order to inhibit re-absorption of methylmercury from intestines

Hemodialysis with a SH-compounds L-cysteine

Blood exchange

3. Administration of antioxidants

It has been clarified one of the causes of methylmercury-induced cellular damage is the increase in reactive oxygen species in tissue cells.
Researches are conducted on the use of antioxidants, e.g., vitamin E, which eliminate reactive oxygen species, in addition to excretion treatment.

4. Treatment of symptoms

Drug therapy to control severe symptoms, e.g., convulsion

▪Treatments at the chronic stages

1. Rehabilitation

Physical therapy and occupational therapy are conducted in order to improve or maintain physical functions.

2. Treatment of symptoms

drug therapy to reduce symptoms, e.g., muscle cramps, involuntary movement, abnormal muscle tonus