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Environ Geochem Health. 2018 Oct;40(5):1767-1784. doi: 10.1007/s10653-017-9928-3. Epub 2017 Mar 9.

Human predisposition to cognitive impairment and its relation with environmental exposure to potentially toxic elements.

Author information

1
Department of Geosciences, Geobiotec Research Centre, University of Aveiro, 3810-193, Aveiro, Portugal. mcp@uc.pt.
2
CNC-Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, 3030-548, Coimbra, Portugal. mcp@uc.pt.
3
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Coimbra, 3030-790, Coimbra, Portugal. mcp@uc.pt.
4
Department of Geosciences, Geobiotec Research Centre, University of Aveiro, 3810-193, Aveiro, Portugal.
5
LAQV/REQUIMTE, Department of Chemical Sciences, Laboratory of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Porto University, 4050-313, Porto, Portugal.
6
University College London Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, 5000, Australia.
7
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Coimbra, 3030-790, Coimbra, Portugal.
8
CEMUC, University of Coimbra, 3030-790, Coimbra, Portugal.
9
CNC-Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, 3030-548, Coimbra, Portugal.
10
Centro de Investigação do Núcleo de Estudos e Intervenção Cognitivo Comportamental (CINEICC), Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.
11
Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação da Universidade de Coimbra (FPCE-UC), Coimbra, Portugal.
12
Laboratory of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, 3000-548, Coimbra, Portugal.
13
MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, University of Coimbra, 3030-790, Coimbra, Portugal.
14
CEris, DECivil, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal.

Abstract

New lines of evidence suggest that less than 10% of neurodegenerative diseases have a strict genetic aetiology and other factors may be prevalent. Environmental exposures to potentially toxic elements appear to be a risk factor for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and sclerosis diseases. This study proposes a multidisciplinary approach combining neurosciences, psychology and environmental sciences while integrating socio-economic, neuropsychological, environmental and health data. We present the preliminary results of a neuropsychological assessment carried out in elderly residents of the industrial city of Estarreja. A battery of cognitive tests and a personal questionnaire were administered to the participants. Multivariate analysis and multiple linear regression analysis were used to identify potential relationships between the cognitive status of the participants and environmental exposure to potentially toxic elements. The results suggest a relationship between urinary PTEs levels and the incidence of cognitive disorders. They also point towards water consumption habits and profession as relevant factors of exposure. Linear regression models show that aluminium (R 2 = 38%), cadmium (R 2 = 11%) and zinc (R 2 = 6%) are good predictors of the scores of the Mini-Mental State Examination cognitive test. Median contents (µg/l) in groundwater are above admissible levels for drinking water for aluminium (371), iron (860), manganese (250), and zinc (305). While the World Health Organization does not provide health-based reference values for aluminium, results obtained from this study suggest that it may have an important role in the cognitive status of the elderly. Urine proved to be a suitable biomarker of exposure both to elements with low and high excretion rates.

KEYWORDS:

Environmental exposure; Groundwater; Neurodegenerative diseases; Potentially toxic elements; Urine

PMID:
28281140
DOI:
10.1007/s10653-017-9928-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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