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J Occup Med. 1990 May;32(5):444-50.

Alterations in cognitive and psychological functioning after organic solvent exposure.

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  • 1Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA 15213.


Exposure to organic solvents has been linked repeatedly to alterations in both personality and cognitive functioning. To assess the nature and extent of these changes more thoroughly, 32 workers with a history of exposure to mixtures of organic solvents and 32 age- and education-matched blue-collar workers with no history of exposure were assessed with a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests. Although both groups were comparable on measures of general intelligence, significant differences were found in virtually all other cognitive domains tested (Learning and Memory, Visuospatial, Attention and Mental Flexibility, Psychomotor Speed). In addition, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventories of exposed workers indicated clinically significant levels of depression, anxiety, somatic concerns and disturbances in thinking. The reported psychological distress was unrelated to degree of cognitive deficit. Finally, several exposure-related variables were associated with poorer performance on tests of memory and visuospatial ability.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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