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Long-Term Low-Level Arsenic Exposure Is Associated with Poorer Neuropsychological Functioning: A Project FRONTIER Study
F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, 3601 4th St., STOP 6323, Lubbock, TX 79430, USA
Department of Neurology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, 3601 4th St., STOP 8321, Lubbock, TX 79430, USA
Department of Psychology, Texas Tech University, 2500 Broadway, STOP 2051, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA
Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, Institute for Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease, University of North Texas Health Science Center, 3500 Camp Bowie Boulevard, Ft Worth, TX 76107, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 February 2011; in revised form: 2 March 2011 / Accepted: 9 March 2011 / Published: 15 March 2011
Abstract: Exposure to elements in groundwater (toxic or beneficial) is commonplace yet, outside of lead and mercury, little research has examined the impact of many commonly occurring environmental exposures on mental abilities during the aging process. Inorganic arsenic is a known neurotoxin that has both neurodevelopmental and neurocognitive consequences. The aim of this study was to examine the potential association between current and long-term arsenic exposure and detailed neuropsychological functioning in a sample of rural-dwelling adults and elders. Data were analyzed from 434 participants (133 men and 301 women) of Project FRONTIER, a community-based participatory research study of the epidemiology of health issues of rural-dwelling adults and elders. The results of the study showed that GIS-based groundwater arsenic exposure (current and long-term) was significantly related to poorer scores in language, visuospatial skills, and executive functioning. Additionally, long-term low-level exposure to arsenic was significantly correlated to poorer scores in global cognition, processing speed and immediate memory. The finding of a correlation between arsenic and the domains of executive functioning and memory is of critical importance as these are cognitive domains that reflect the earliest manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease. Additional work is warranted given the population health implications associated with long-term low-level arsenic exposure.
Keywords: arsenic; chronic exposure; environmental exposure; cognition; rural health
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O’Bryant, S.E.; Edwards, M.; Menon, C.V.; Gong, G.; Barber, R. Long-Term Low-Level Arsenic Exposure Is Associated with Poorer Neuropsychological Functioning: A Project FRONTIER Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8, 861-874.
O’Bryant SE, Edwards M, Menon CV, Gong G, Barber R. Long-Term Low-Level Arsenic Exposure Is Associated with Poorer Neuropsychological Functioning: A Project FRONTIER Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2011; 8(3):861-874.
O’Bryant, Sid E.; Edwards, Melissa; Menon, Chloe V.; Gong, Gordon; Barber, Robert. 2011. "Long-Term Low-Level Arsenic Exposure Is Associated with Poorer Neuropsychological Functioning: A Project FRONTIER Study." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 8, no. 3: 861-874.