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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 1998 Jul-Aug;20(4):429-39.

Behavioral effects of low-level exposure to Hg0 among dental professionals: a cross-study evaluation of psychomotor effects.

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Battelle Seattle Research Center, WA 98105-5428, USA.


A Across-study design was used to evaluate the sensitivities of five psychomotor tasks previously used to assess preclinical effects of low-level Hg0 (urinary < or =55 microg/l). Pooling dental professional subject populations from six studies conducted over the last 6 years, a larger study population was obtained with a high degree of uniformity (N = 230). The five psychomotor tests were: Intentional Hand Steadiness Test (IHST); Finger Tapping: The One-Hole Test: NES Simple Reaction Time (SRT); and Hand Tremor. Multivariate analyses were conducted following the hierarchical analysis of multiple responses (HAMR) approach. First, multiple scores of each test were combined into a single-factor (or related summary) variable and its reliability was estimated. Second. multiple regression analyses were conducted including log-transformed [Hg0]U levels, age, gender, and alcohol consumption in each model. Computed were both B and bu, the magnitudes of the log-Hg0 standardized coefficient. respectively uncorrected and corrected for dependent variable attenuation due to unreliability. Results indicated remarkable differences in the effects of relative level of Hg0 on psychomotor performance. Significant associations were found for the IHST factor (B = 0.415, p < 10(-6)), followed by finger tapping, which was relatively meager and insignificant (B 0.141, p = 0.17). The IHST results hold the greatest occupational relevance for dental professionals who rely on manual dexterity in restorative dentistry. Further, this statistical approach is recommended in future studies for condensation of multiple scores into summary scores with enhanced reliabilities useful in correcting for attenuation relationships (B(u)s) with exposure levels.

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