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J Forensic Sci. 2009 Mar;54(2):474-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2008.00973.x. Epub 2009 Jan 31.

Toxicant exposure and mental health--individual, social, and public health considerations.

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1
Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta, 2935-66 Street, Edmonton, AB, Canada. sgenuis@ualberta.ca

Abstract

Thoughts and moods are the result of biological processes; disordered thoughts and moods may be the result of disordered biological processes. As brain dysfunction can manifest with emotional symptoms or behavioral signs, the etiology of some mental health afflictions and some abnormal conduct is pathophysiological rather than pathopsychological. Various studies confirm that some chemical toxicants which modify brain physiology have the potential to affect mood, cognitive function, and to provoke socially undesirable outcomes. With pervasive concern about myriad chemical agents in the environment and resultant toxicant bioaccumulation, human exposure assessment has become a clinically relevant area of medical investigation. Adverse exposure and toxicant body burden should routinely be explored as an etiological determinant in assorted health afflictions including disordered thinking, moods, and behavior. The impact of toxicant bioaccumulation in a patient with neuropsychiatric symptoms is presented for consideration as an example of the potential benefit of recognizing and implementing exposure assessment.

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