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Neurotoxicology. 1988 Fall;9(3):327-40.

Postural disequilibrium quantification in children with chronic lead exposure: a pilot study.

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Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, Medical School, Ohio 45267.


Previous studies reported that some children who survive acute lead encephalopathy suffer from ataxia and have difficulties maintaining postural equilibrium. More recent studies have failed to quantify postural imbalance in association with lower levels of lead exposures, perhaps due to the insensitivity of the clinical measure. In our study, we noninvasively measured postural disequilibrium with a microprocessor-based force platform. The test provides a real time quantification of the body's center of gravity movement pattern. Measurements were made in a cohort of 33 inner city children (mean age: six years +/- 0.4 SD) with well documented blood lead histories. The average maximum blood lead of these children during their first six years of life was 23.5 micrograms/dl (range = 8.5 to 49.4). The children performed four postural tests [i.e., standing eyes open (EO) and closed (EC), on firm surface and standing on a compliant foam surface with eyes open (FO) and closed (FC)]. The results indicated that the maximum blood lead incurred during the second year of life was significantly positively related to postural sway, and the body balance was most affected in the EC test where visual cues were eliminated and proprioceptive feedback was not modified. Fetal Pb exposure levels as well as Pb exposures during the first year of life were not correlated with postural sway of six year olds. However, the maximum blood lead concentration beyond two years of life was significantly associated with the postural sway at six years of age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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