Send to

Choose Destination
Neurotoxicol Teratol. 1998 Jan-Feb;20(1):19-27.

Relations of bone and blood lead to cognitive function: the VA Normative Aging Study.

Author information

Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Channing Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The relationship between performance on cognitive tasks and circulating levels of lead in blood and accumulated levels of lead in bone was examined in 141 middle-aged and elderly men from a longitudinal study of aging. The mean (SD) blood lead level was low [5.5 (3.5) micrograms/dl], and mean patella and tibia lead levels were 31.7 (19.2) and 22.5 (12.2) micrograms/g bone mineral, respectively. Cognitive tests measured attention, perceptual speed, memory, language, and spatial copying. Regression models, adjusted for age and education, demonstrated that men with higher levels of blood lead recalled and defined fewer words, identified fewer line-drawn objects, and required more time to attain the same level of accuracy on a perceptual comparison test as men with the lowest level of blood lead. Men with higher levels of blood and bone (tibia) lead copied spatial figures less accurately; men with higher levels of bone (tibia) lead had slower responses for pattern memory. These findings suggest that low levels of lead contribute to impairments in cognitive function among elderly men.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center