Research Articles Advance Publication
Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/EHP274
Aerobic Fitness and Neurocognitive Function Scores in Young Faroese Adults and Potential Modification by Prenatal Methylmercury Exposure
PDF Version (370 KB)
Background: Exposure to methylmercury was shown to decrease neural stem cell populations, whereas aerobic fitness has beneficial effects on the adult brain that relies on improved neurogenesis in the hippocampus.
Objectives: To examine the association between aerobic fitness and neurocognitive outcomes at young adult age, along with the potential moderating effect of prenatal exposure to methylmercury.
Methods: At age 22 years, 262 members of a Faroese birth cohort, established in 1986-1987, underwent a graded exercise test of aerobic fitness to measure maximal oxygen uptake (VO2Max). Their prenatal methylmercury exposure had been assessed from the mercury concentration in cord blood. We estimated cross-sectional associations between VO2Max and multiple measures of neurocognitive function. In addition, we compared groups with low and high prenatal methylmercury exposure.
Results: A one standard deviation (SD) increase in VO2Max was associated with better scores on short-term memory and cognitive processing speed by 0.21 SD (95% CI: -0.04, 0.46) and 0.28 SD (95% CI: 0.02, 0.54), respectively. In the group with lower prenatal methylmercury exposure, a one SD increase in VO2Max was associated with increased scores on cognitive processing speed by 0.45 SD (95% CI: 0.08, 0.81) and with a slightly lesser benefit in short-term memory. No such association was observed in the group with high prenatal methylmercury exposure.
Conclusions: Higher aerobic capacity was associated with better performance in short-term memory and processing speed. However, prenatal methylmercury exposure seemed to attenuate these positive associations.
This EHP Advance Publication article has been peer-reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication. EHP Advance Publication articles are completely citable using the DOI number assigned to the article. This document will be replaced with the copyedited and formatted version as soon as it is available. Through the DOI number used in the citation, you will be able to access this document at each stage of the publication process.
Citation: Oulhote Y, Debes F, Vestergaard S, Weihe P, Grandjean P. Aerobic Fitness and Neurocognitive Function Scores in Young Faroese Adults and Potential Modification by Prenatal Methylmercury Exposure. Environ Health Perspect; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/EHP274
Received: 25 January 2016
Revised: 2 August 2016
Accepted: 19 August 2016
Published: 9 September 2016
Note to readers with disabilities: EHP strives to ensure that all journal content is accessible to all readers. However, some figures and Supplemental Material published in EHP articles may not conform to 508 standards due to the complexity of the information being presented. If you need assistance accessing journal content, please contact email@example.com. Our staff will work with you to assess and meet your accessibility needs within 3 working days.
Supplemental Material PDF (259 KB)
Note to readers with disabilities: EHP has provided a 508-conformant table of contents summarizing the Supplemental Material for this article (see below) so readers with disabilities may determine whether they wish to access the full, nonconformant Supplemental Material. If you need assistance accessing journal content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Our staff will work with you to assess and meet your accessibility needs within 3 working days.
Supplemental Table of Contents PDF (118 KB)
This month EHP’s Children’s Health section highlights recent laboratory research about health effects of early-life exposures. By showing causative linkage between specific exposures and various health outcomes in animal models, toxicologists help to confirm associations found in observational human studies. Together, toxicologists and epidemiologists build the scientific evidence base used by risk assessors and regulators to protect children’s health.
Learn more about rigor and transparency in scientific publishing at the 2017 SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo, as EHP Editor-in-Chief Sally Perreault Darney chairs and speaks at an Informational Session titled “Addressing Rigor and Transparency in Research and Journal Publication.” At the session, scheduled for Wednesday, March 15, at 5:00 PM in Room CC 314, Sally will talk about interdisciplinary challenges for rigor and reproducibility in environmental health research. More details are available in the SOT 2017 Conference Program.
EHP is pleased to announce that “Reducing Phthalate, Paraben, and Phenol Exposure from Personal Care Products in Adolescent Girls: Findings from the HERMOSA Intervention Study,” published in EHP on 7 March 2016, has been selected by the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) as its March 2017 Article of the Month. CEHN Article of the Month summaries discuss the potential policy implications of current children’s environmental health research. The CEHN summary can be viewed here.