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Special Issue "Environmental and Social Influences on Cognitive Development and Function"

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Assoc. Prof. David Harley

Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mater Research Institute-UQ, The University of Queensland, Brisbane 4101, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: infectious diseases epidemiology; environmental epidemiology; developmental disability medicine; lifecourse epidemiology; climate change and health; health disparities
Guest Editor
Dr. Shamshad Karatela

School of Public Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane 4006, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental epidemiology; exposure science; biomarkers; maternal and child health; microbiome and infectious diseases; health disparities and neurodevelopmental disorders

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue on the impact of the environment on cognitive development and function throughout the lifecourse in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The venue is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes articles and communications in the interdisciplinary area of environmental health sciences and public health. For detailed information on the journal, we refer you to https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph. 

The environment plays a critical role on cognitive development and function and consequently upon lifecourse trajectory. Toxins including arsenic, mercury, and lead impact the cognitive development and function of children. In utero exposure to alcohol and consequent fetal alcohol spectrum disorder impair cognitive function. Exposure to sodium valproate in utero may increase the likelihood of autism. Deficiencies in iodine and iron can impair cognition. Traumatic brain injury at any stage in the lifecourse may have major adverse impacts. In utero infection with cytomegalovirus and rubella virus can impair special senses and cognition. Cerebral infections including pneumococcal meningitis can adversely impact cognitive development. Cognitive function is significantly influenced by the social environment, and the social environment modifies the effects of other exposures outlined above.

This Special Issue is open to any subject area related to the impacts of the environment on cognitive development and function. In this context environment is interpreted broadly to include toxins, nutrients, radiation, education and other parts of the social environment, infections, and other exposures that may impact cognitive function at any stage in the lifecourse from in utero to advanced age. The listed keywords suggest just a few of the many possibilities.

Assoc. Prof. David Harley
Dr. Shamshad Karatela
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • Cognitive development
  • Infection
  • Environment
  • Diet
  • Food
  • Nutrition
  • Toxins
  • Poisons
  • Education
  • Social determinants of health

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Effects of Participation in Social Activities on Cognitive Function Among Middle-Aged and Older Adults in Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2315; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102315
Received: 21 July 2018 / Revised: 10 October 2018 / Accepted: 18 October 2018 / Published: 21 October 2018
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Abstract
Cognitive function is a critical health issue in later life, the decline of which disrupts well-being and daily life function. Cognitive decline in older ages can also be understood in the context of the social environment such as social connectedness and engagement in
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Cognitive function is a critical health issue in later life, the decline of which disrupts well-being and daily life function. Cognitive decline in older ages can also be understood in the context of the social environment such as social connectedness and engagement in personal life. This study aimed to examine: (1) whether participation in social activities contributes to preventing cognitive decline, and (2) what type of social activities are beneficial to maintaining cognitive function. Data from the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLOSA) 2006–2014, a longitudinal survey of the household-dwelling population aged 45 and older in Korea were used. The results revealed that Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores decreased with increasing age, at a rate of approximately 0.18 units across all age-gender groups, and the decrease was steeper for adults aged 65 and over. Participation in social gatherings was likely to delay the decline in cognitive function after the age of 65. In a gender-stratified model, social activity may not have an impact on the decline of cognitive function for men, whereas participation in social gatherings was negatively related to the decline of MMSE scores in women. This study suggests the need for a gender-stratified policy for preventing the decline of cognitive function while promoting engagement in social activities in Korean older adults. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Perspectives on Inclusive Education of Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Developmental Disabilities in Iran
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2307; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102307
Received: 10 September 2018 / Revised: 3 October 2018 / Accepted: 18 October 2018 / Published: 20 October 2018
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Abstract
Background: Iranian children with disabilities invariably attend special schools and many may be excluded from education entirely. Information on preschool education is limited but probably mirrors the situation in schools. There is a lack of information in terms of parental preferences for
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Background: Iranian children with disabilities invariably attend special schools and many may be excluded from education entirely. Information on preschool education is limited but probably mirrors the situation in schools. There is a lack of information in terms of parental preferences for schooling and teachers’ experiences of inclusion in Iran. Method: Two feasibility studies were undertaken; one with 89 parents of children with autism or intellectual disabilities, and another with the head teachers of two private kindergartens. Results: Two-thirds of parents favored inclusive schools; most parents whose children had autism or were verbally proficient were in favor of their child attending ordinary schools, even if their child had been placed in a specialist preschool facility. The head teachers justified inclusion in terms of children’s rights but identified three main challenges: coping with the diverse level of functioning, the need for special devices and training of teachers, and challenging the negative reactions of parents of non-disabled children. Conclusions: Further exploration of the views of those who have experienced inclusion would further challenge existing practices. Moreover, the training and preparation of teachers is key to reforming schools. However, wider social values and beliefs towards disabilities also need to change. Full article
Open AccessArticle Disability and Its Influencing Factors among the Elderly in a County, Guangxi Province, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1967; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15091967
Received: 4 August 2018 / Revised: 4 September 2018 / Accepted: 5 September 2018 / Published: 9 September 2018
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Abstract
Objectives: This study aims to understand the disability status of the elderly residents of a County (Guangxi Province, China) and explore its influencing factors. Methods: Respondents consisted of 2300 elderly people aged 60 and above from three townships in the county
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Objectives: This study aims to understand the disability status of the elderly residents of a County (Guangxi Province, China) and explore its influencing factors. Methods: Respondents consisted of 2300 elderly people aged 60 and above from three townships in the county we studied. The Activities of Daily Living (ADL) Scale was used to assess the disability of the elderly sample. Chi-square test was applied to compare the disability rate among the elderly with different demographic characteristics. The graph showed the disability rates of ADL, six items of Physical Activities of Daily Living (PADL) and eight items of Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) at different ages. Binary logistic regression was used to analyze the influencing factors of disability rate among the elderly. Results: The disability rates of ADL, PADL, and IADL in the elderly were 43.4%, 11.6%, and 42.4%, respectively. As with the increase in age, the disability rates of ADL, IADL, PADL, and their 14 items gradually increased (p < 0.05), with walking, using the telephone, and using public vehicles having higher disability rates than other items. The influencing factors of ADL disability were gender (OR = 0.579, 95%CI = 0.441–0.759), age (OR = 2.270, 95%CI = 1.867–2.759; OR = 4.719, 95%CI = 2.998–7.429; OR = 6.249, 95%CI = 3.667–10.648), educational level (OR = 2.844, 95%CI = 2.076–3.897; OR = 1.677, 95%CI = 1.246–2.230), and having metabolic syndrome (MetS) (OR = 1.298, 95%CI = 1.044–1.613). Compared with ADL, the influencing factor of PADL disability was gender, whereas that of IADL disability was whether someone had MetS. Conclusions: With age, the possibility of ADL, PADL, and IADL damage in the elderly is higher. Gender, age, educational level, the number of chronic diseases, and whether someone has MetS might be the influencing factors of disability. Interventions should be taken from a variety of sources specific to the content of each entry. Full article
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