Boyd Haley

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Boyd Eugene Haley
Born (1940-09-22) September 22, 1940 (age 76)
Greensburg, Indiana
Institutions University of Wyoming, University of Kentucky
Alma mater Franklin College, University of Idaho, Washington State University
Thesis Gamma-fluoro-adenosinetriphosphate: I. Synthesis and properties; II. Interaction with myosin, heavy meromyosin, and fumarase. (1971)
Known for Photoaffinity labeling
Notable awards Sigma Xi[1]
Spouse Sandy Haley[2]

Boyd E. Haley (born September 22, 1940, Greensburg, Indiana) is a retired professor of chemistry at the University of Kentucky. The basic research interest of his laboratory centered 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. His views about mercury amalgams are contrary to the traditional dental stance.

Education and career[edit]

Haley received his bachelor's degree from Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana in 1963. He then served as a US Army medic for a few years, before obtaining his M.S. from the University of Idaho in 1967 and his PhD in chemistry-biochemistry from Washington State University in 1971, after which he served as a postdoctoral scholar at Yale University for three years. Haley has described the research he conducted at WSU thusly: "The guy I worked for at Washington State was a muscle biochemist. We worked together to make chemical modifications on ATP to try to identify how and exactly where ATP binds to cause muscle movement."[3] From 1974 to 1985 he was a professor at the University of Wyoming, before being appointed first a professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Kentucky, and later the chairman of the Chemistry department there in 1997.[1]


One of Haley's best-known papers was one in which he showed that levels of glutamine synthetase were considerably higher in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Alzheimer's disease than those without.[4][5]

Mercury research[edit]

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.[6]

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,[7][8] relating to thiomersal's controversial and unproven role in the etiology of autism.

Controversial views about mercury and dental amalgams[edit]

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.[9][10] 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.[11] Critics of the anti-amalgam view have pointed to a study[12] suggesting the amount of mercury released by fillings during normal use is minuscule and does not represent a threat to health.[13] These opposing positions are part of the wider debate on the dental amalgam controversy.

Mercury and gold salts[edit]

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.[14] 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[edit]

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

Haley is a member of the Autism Think Tank of the Autism Association, is 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.

Haley is the founder of CTI Science, a Lexington, Kentucky-based biotechnology firm. CTI marketed a product, OSR#1, for human consumption; it was described as an "antioxidant" dietary supplement that is known to be a powerful chelator from a family of chelators originally developed to remove heavy metals from soil and acid mine drainage.[15] In June 2008, an FDA toxicologist questioned[16] "on what basis the product could be expected to be safe and could be considered a dietary ingredient", but CTI Science and Haley had not responded as of January 2010.[15] The question was, however, in response to a 75-day premarket notification for a supplement, which precluded testing on humans until after its submission. The testing was described by Ellen Silbergeld of the Bloomberg School of Public Health as incomplete and indicative of toxicity.[17] On June 17, 2010, the FDA sent a warning letter noting five potential violations, expressing concern over the testing, and requiring a response in 15 days.[18][19] Although Haley wrote an op-ed for the Lexington Herald-Leader,[20][21] the FDA did not receive a formal response and OSR#1 was withdrawn from the market.[22]


  1. ^ a b "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "James "Jim" Haley". Muskogee Phoenix. 4 September 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Worley, Jeff (25 September 2003). "Boyd Haley: Tagging Toxins for Better Health". University of Kentucky. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Gunnersen D, Haley B (December 1992). "Detection of glutamine synthetase in the cerebrospinal fluid of Alzheimer diseased patients: a potential diagnostic biochemical marker". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 89 (24): 11949–53. doi:10.1073/pnas.89.24.11949. PMC 50675free to read. PMID 1361232. 
  5. ^ "A Possible Alzheimer Marker Is Found". The New York Times. 15 December 1992. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Pendergrass JC, Haley BE, Vimy MJ, Winfield SA, Lorscheider FL (1997). "Mercury vapor inhalation inhibits binding of GTP to tubulin in rat brain: similarity to a molecular lesion in Alzheimer diseased brain". Neurotoxicology. 18 (2): 315–24. PMID 9291481. 
  7. ^ Holmes AS, Blaxill MF, Haley BE (2003). "Reduced levels of mercury in first baby haircuts of autistic children". Int J Toxicol. 22 (4): 277–285. doi:10.1080/10915810305120. PMID 12933322. 
  8. ^ Hileman, Bette (23 February 2004). "Vaccines and Autism". Chemical and Engineering News. American Chemical Society. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  9. ^ "Questions and Answers on Dental Amalgam". Food and Drug Administration. 2006-10-30. Archived from the original on 2007-10-19. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  10. ^ "ADA Statement on Dental Amalgam". American Dental Association. 2007-04-06. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  11. ^ Haley, Boyd (2001-05-23). "Dr. Boyd Haley's Rebuttal to the ADA" (cfm). Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  12. ^ Berdouses E, Vaidyanathan TK, Dastane A, Weisel C, Houpt M, Shey Z (1995). "Mercury release from dental amalgams: an in vitro study under controlled chewing and brushing in an artificial mouth". J. Dent. Res. 74 (5): 1185–1193. doi:10.1177/00220345950740050701. PMID 7790596. 
  13. ^ Wahl, MJ (2002-11-01). "Amalgam – Resurrection and Redemption Part 2: The Medical Mythology of Anti-Amalgam". Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  14. ^ Olmsted, Dan (2005-12-30). "The Age of Autism: Gold standards". United Press International. Archived from the original on 20 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  15. ^ a b "OSR#1: Industrial chemical or autism treatment?", Chicago Tribune, January 17, 2010
  16. ^ FDA letters and documents
  17. ^ "FDA warns maker of autism supplement". UPI. June 24, 2010. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  18. ^ Warning letter CIN-10-107927-14 from US FDA, June 17, 2010
  19. ^ Tsouderos, Trine (June 23, 2010). "FDA warns maker of product used as alternative autism treatment". Chicago Tribune. ISSN 1085-6706. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  20. ^ Haley, Boyd (June 26, 2010). "Dietary supplement safe for right use". Lexington Herald-Leader. ISSN 0745-4260. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  21. ^ Tsouderos, Trine (July 12, 2010). "Supplement seller says FDA may be 'confused'". Chicago Tribune. ISSN 1085-6706. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  22. ^ Tsouderos, Trine (July 26, 2010). "Controversial supplement to come off shelves". Chicago Tribune. ISSN 1085-6706. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 

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