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J Occup Environ Med. 2002 Jun;44(6):574-8.

The interaction of education and cumulative lead exposure on the Mini-Mental State Examination.

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Center for Occupational and Environmental Neurology, 3901 Greenspring Avenue, Suite 101, Baltimore, MD 21211, USA.


The effect of lead exposure on neurobehavioral performance is modified by age. Whether educational achievement can serve as an effect modifier on the lead-cognitive performance relationship is examined. The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the reading section of the Wide Range Achievement Test-Revised (WRAT-R), a measure of educational achievement, were administered to 256 lead smelter workers. The workers had a mean (standard deviation) age of 41 (7.9) years, education of 10 (2.8) years, employment duration of 17 (8.1) years, current blood lead of 28 (8.8) micrograms/dL, and working lifetime integrated blood lead index (IBL) of 725 (434) micrograms-yr/dL. The median (range) MMSE score was 29 (19 to 30). Multiple linear regression assessed the contribution of age, WRAT-R, education, alcohol intake, cigarette use, IBL, and IBL x WRAT-R on MMSE performance. A significant IBL x WRAT-R interaction examined by stratification found a significant dose-effect relationship between IBL and MMSE, but only in the 78 workers with a WRAT-R reading grade level below 6 years. Workers with higher educational achievement compensated for the effect of lead on cognitive performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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