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Background: Anemia and lead exposure remain significant public health issues in many parts of the world, often occurring together. Animal studies suggest that the dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) mediates the effects of both lead and iron on cognition and behavior.
Objective: We tested the hypothesis that the DRD2 Taq IA polymorphism modifies the effects of lead and hemoglobin on intelligence quotient (IQ) among children.
Methods: Blood lead and hemoglobin were assessed in 717 children 3–7 years of age attending 12 schools in Chennai, India. IQ was determined using the Binet-Kamat scales of intelligence. Genotyping for the DRD2 polymorphism was carried out using a MassARRAY iPLEX platform. Stratified analyses and interaction models, using generalized estimating equations (GEEs), were used to explore interactions between lead and hemoglobin, and DRD2 Taq IA categories [homozygous variant (A1) vs. presence of wild-type allele (A2)].
Results: After we controlled for potential confounders, a one-unit increase in log blood lead was associated with a decrease of 9 IQ points [95% confidence interval (CI), −18.08 to −0.16] in the homozygous-variant children (n = 73) compared with a decrease of 4 IQ points (95% CI, −7.21 to −0.69) among those with the wild-type allele (n = 644). Higher hemoglobin levels were associated with higher IQ in the children who carried the wild-type allele DRD2, but in children homozygous for the variant allele, an increase of 1 g/dL hemoglobin was associated with a decrease in 1.82 points of IQ (95% CI, −5.28 to 1.64; interaction term p-value = 0.02).
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that the DRD2 Taq IA polymorphism disrupts the protective effect of hemoglobin on cognition and may increase the susceptibility to the deficits in IQ due to lead exposure.
Context: Organophosphate (OP) pesticides are neurotoxic at high doses. Few studies have examined whether chronic exposure at lower levels could adversely affect children’s cognitive development.
Objective: We examined associations between prenatal and postnatal exposure to OP pesticides and cognitive abilities in school-age children.
Methods: We conducted a birth cohort study (Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas study) among predominantly Latino farmworker families from an agricultural community in California. We assessed exposure to OP pesticides by measuring dialkyl phosphate (DAP) metabolites in urine collected during pregnancy and from children at 6 months and 1, 2, 3.5, and 5 years of age. We administered the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 4th edition, to 329 children 7 years of age. Analyses were adjusted for maternal education and intelligence, Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment score, and language of cognitive assessment.
Results: Urinary DAP concentrations measured during the first and second half of pregnancy had similar relations to cognitive scores, so we used the average of concentrations measured during pregnancy in further analyses. Averaged maternal DAP concentrations were associated with poorer scores for Working Memory, Processing Speed, Verbal Comprehension, Perceptual Reasoning, and Full-Scale intelligence quotient (IQ). Children in the highest quintile of maternal DAP concentrations had an average deficit of 7.0 IQ points compared with those in the lowest quintile. However, children’s urinary DAP concentrations were not consistently associated with cognitive scores.
Conclusions: Prenatal but not postnatal urinary DAP concentrations were associated with poorer intellectual development in 7-year-old children. Maternal urinary DAP concentrations in the present study were higher but nonetheless within the range of levels measured in the general U.S. population.
background: California children’s exposures to polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants (PBDEs) are among the highest worldwide. PBDEs are known endocrine disruptors and neurotoxicants in animals.
Objective: Here we investigate the relation of in utero and child PBDE exposure to neurobehavioral development among participants in CHAMACOS (Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas), a California birth cohort.
Methods: We measured PBDEs in maternal prenatal and child serum samples and examined the association of PBDE concentrations with children’s attention, motor functioning, and cognition at 5 (n = 310) and 7 years of age (n = 323).
Results: Maternal prenatal PBDE concentrations were associated with impaired attention as measured by a continuous performance task at 5 years and maternal report at 5 and 7 years of age, with poorer fine motor coordination—particularly in the nondominant—at both age points, and with decrements in Verbal and Full-Scale IQ at 7 years. PBDE concentrations in children 7 years of age were significantly or marginally associated with concurrent teacher reports of attention problems and decrements in Processing Speed, Perceptual Reasoning, Verbal Comprehension, and Full-Scale IQ. These associations were not altered by adjustment for birth weight, gestational age, or maternal thyroid hormone levels.
Conclusions: Both prenatal and childhood PBDE exposures were associated with poorer attention, fine motor coordination, and cognition in the CHAMACOS cohort of school-age children. This study, the largest to date, contributes to growing evidence suggesting that PBDEs have adverse impacts on child neurobehavioral development.