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J Occup Environ Med. 2016 May;58(5):436-43. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000712.

Brain Anatomy in Latino Farmworkers Exposed to Pesticides and Nicotine.

Author information

1
Department of Radiology (Drs Laurienti, Burdette, and Mr Lyday), Department of Biostatistical Sciences (Ms Talton and Dr Chen), Department of Epidemiology and Prevention (Dr Quandt), Department of Neurology (Dr Walker), Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine Research (Dr Howard), and Department of Family and Community Medicine (Mr Summers and Dr Arcury), Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Department of Physiological Sciences (Dr Pope), Center for Veterinary Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Migrant tobacco farmworkers experience regular occupational exposure to pesticides and nicotine. The present study was designed to determine whether there are differences in brain anatomy between Latino farmworkers and non-farmworkers.

METHODS:

Magnetic resonance brain images were compared between farmworkers and non-farmworkers. In addition, blood cholinesterase activity and urinary cotinine levels were also used to identify associations with pesticide and nicotine exposure.

RESULTS:

Farmworkers had greater gray matter signal in putamen and cerebellum, and lower gray matter signal in frontal and temporal lobes. Urinary cotinine was associated with the observed differences in brain anatomy, but blood cholinesterase activity was not.

CONCLUSIONS:

Nicotine exposure was associated with neuroanatomical differences between Latino farmworkers and non-farmworkers. Future studies are needed to differentiate iron deposition from brain atrophy and to further assess the potential role of nicotine and pesticide exposure.

PMID:
27158949
PMCID:
PMC4866817
DOI:
10.1097/JOM.0000000000000712
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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