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Neurotoxicology. 1993 Summer-Fall;14(2-3):179-89.

Functional implications of postural disequilibrium due to lead exposure.

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Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Ohio 45267-0056.


Measurement of postural equilibrium has been employed as an indirect indicator of functional status of the nervous systems of 109 children (mean age: 5.8 +/- 0.78 years) from the Cincinnati Lead Program Project. The geometric mean blood lead for the first five years of life (PbB05) was 11.9 +/- 1.5 micrograms/dL. Postural sway associated with upright balance was noninvasively quantitated with a microprocessor-based force platform and four tasks performed for 30 sec each by the subjects. A covariate-adjusted multiple regression analysis showed statistically significant associations between PbB05 and the postural sway for the task requiring primarily vestibular and/or proprioceptive systems input, implying potential functional impairment. These findings raised several new issues which are addressed here: (1) A dynamic task has been developed to further test the effect of perturbing those afferents' functional capabilities. (2) A method has been developed to quantitate the stability boundary of each subject to better characterize the limits of functionally-safe postural sway. (3) There is a need to perform the postural sway in a shorter duration than 30 sec so that children younger than five years of age can be tested for early identification of Pb-induced functional impairment of postural equilibrium.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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