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Environ Int. 2019 Feb 26;126:260-267. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2019.02.038. [Epub ahead of print]

Type 2 diabetes occurrence and mercury exposure - From the National Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan.

Author information

1
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli, Taiwan; Department of Public Health, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.
2
Kidney Institute and Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan; Big Data Center, China Medical Univeresity Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan.
3
Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
4
Department of Healthcare Administration, Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan.
5
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli, Taiwan.
6
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli, Taiwan; Department of Public Health, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan; Department of Public Health, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan; Department of Safety, Health, and Environmental Engineering, National United University, Miaoli, Taiwan. Electronic address: slwang@nhri.org.tw.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The global prevalence of type 2 diabetes continues to increase in both developed and developing countries. Environmental exposure to mercury may be an important and modifiable risk factor for type 2 diabetes. However, the epidemiological results are controversial.

OBJECTIVES:

This study aimed to examine the association between blood mercury levels and prevalence of type 2 diabetes.

METHODS:

A total of 646 adult participants were selected from the National Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan (NAHSIT) 2005-2008. The participants were interviewed using structured questionnaires to record data on basic demographics, socioeconomic status, lifestyle, medical history, and 24-h dietary recall. Specimens of blood and urine were collected at the health examination. Type 2 diabetes was defined as a fasting blood glucose level ≥ 126 mg/dL or intake of hypoglycemic medications. The mercury concentration in red blood cells (RBC-Hg) was quantified by cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry.

RESULTS:

Participants with type 2 diabetes had a significantly higher RBC-Hg than those without type 2 diabetes. A significant association between the RBC-Hg and prevalence of type 2 diabetes was observed [odds ratio (OR): 1.64; 95% confidence intervals: 1.14-2.35] after potential confounders were well considered, including age, sex, body mass index (BMI), hypertension, total cholesterol, saltwater fish consumption, geographical strata, seasonality and hemoglobin (Hb) level.

CONCLUSION:

Our findings showed that elevated RBC-Hg is significantly associated with type 2 diabetes prevalence. Future research, particularly for longitudinal cohort studies with suitable specimens, needs to be performed to verify our findings.

KEYWORDS:

Mercury exposure; Methylmercury; National Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan; Type 2 diabetes

PMID:
30825744
DOI:
10.1016/j.envint.2019.02.038
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