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Environ Health Perspect. 2012 Jun;120(6):904-9. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1104372. Epub 2012 Feb 22.

Neuropsychological measures of attention and impulse control among 8-year-old children exposed prenatally to organochlorines.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA. sagiv@bu.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We previously reported associations between organochlorines and behaviors related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder among boys and girls at 8 years of age using a teacher's rating scale for a birth cohort in New Bedford, Massachusetts (USA).

OBJECTIVES:

Our goal was to corroborate these findings using neuropsychological measures of inattentive and impulsive behaviors.

METHODS:

We investigated the association between cord serum polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and p,p'-dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE) and attention and impulse control using a Continuous Performance Test (CPT) and components of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 3rd edition (WISC-III). Participants came from a prospective cohort of children born during 1993-1998 to mothers residing near a PCB-contaminated harbor in New Bedford. Median (range) cord serum levels for the sum of four prevalent PCBs [congeners 118, 138, 153, and 180 (ΣPCB4)] and p,p'-DDE were 0.19 (0.01-2.59) and 0.31 (0-14.93) ng/g serum, respectively.

RESULTS:

We detected associations between PCBs and neuropsychological deficits for 578 and 584 children with CPT and WISC-III measures, respectively, but only among boys. For example, boys with higher exposure to ΣPCB4 had a higher rate of CPT errors of omission [rate ratio for the exposure interquartile range (IQR) = 1.12; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.98, 1.27] and slower WISC-III Processing Speed (change in score for the IQR = -2.0; 95% CI: -3.5, -0.4). Weaker associations were found for p,p'-DDE. For girls, associations were in the opposite direction for the CPT and null for the WISC-III.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results support an association between organochlorines (mainly PCBs) and neuropsychological measures of attention among boys only. Sex-specific effects should be considered in studies of organochlorines and neurodevelopment.

PMID:
22357172
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3385436
Free PMC Article
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