Bone lead levels and delinquent behavior - Reply

Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh (Pa) School of Medicine, USA.
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor: 30.39). 02/1996; 275(5):363-9.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To evaluate the association between body lead burden and social adjustment.
Retrospective cohort study.
Public school community.
From a population of 850 boys in the first grade at public schools, 503 were selected on the basis of a risk scale for antisocial behavior. All of the 850 boys who scored in the upper 30th percentile of the distribution on a self-reported antisocial behavior scale were matched with an equal number drawn by lot from the lower 70% of the distribution. From this sample, 301 students accepted the invitation to participate. EXPOSURE MEASURE: K x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy of tibia at subjects' age of 12 years.
Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), teachers' and parents' reports, and subjects' self-report of antisocial behavior and delinquency at 7 and 11 years of age.
Subjects, teachers, and parents were blind to the bone lead measurements. At 7 years of age, borderline associations between teachers' aggression, delinquency, and externalizing scores and lead levels were observed after adjustment for covariates. At 11 years of age, parents reported a significant lead-related association with the following CBCL cluster scores: somatic complaints and delinquent, aggressive, internalizing, and externalizing behavior. Teachers reported significant associations of lead with somatic complaints, anxious/depressed behavior, social problems, attention problems, and delinquent, aggressive, internalizing, and externalizing behavior. High-lead subjects reported higher scores in subjects' self-reports of delinquency at 11 years. High-lead subjects were more likely to obtain worse scores on all items of the CBCL during the 4-year period of observation. High bone lead levels were associated with an increased risk of exceeding the clinical score (T > 70) for attention, aggression, and delinquency.
Lead exposure is associated with increased risk for antisocial and delinquent behavior, and the effect follows a developmental course.

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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the impact of blood lead level on intellectual (IQ) and academic performance, four years after blood contamination through lead poisoning, as well as on behavior problems and social skills, eight years after the poisoning. Fifty – four adolescents participated, with an average 14 years of age. They composed two groups: low blood lead level (less than 5 μ g/dl) and high blood lead level (greater than 10 Μ g/dl). Four years ago, participants had been assessed for social skills and behavior problems (IHSA – Del - Prette, SSRS - BR), through the WISC - III and TDE. As a result, the group with high blood lead levels presented greater IQ impairment and more behavior problems. No differences in academic performance and social skills (as evaluated by the teacher) were evidenced, but the high blood lead group assessed themselves as having a better social skills repertoire. Possible explanations and implications for these results are discussed and new questions for research are presented. Resumo: Este estudo investigou o impacto da plumbemia, quatro anos após a intoxicação, sobre o desempenho intelectual (QI) e acadêmico e, oito anos após sobre problemas de comportamento e habilidades sociais. Participaram 54 adolescentes, com idade média de 14 anos, divididos em dois grupos: com baixa plumbe mia (inferior a 5μg/dl) e com alta plumbemia (superior a 10μg/dl). Os participantes avaliados em medidas de habilidades sociais e problemas de comportamento (IHSA - Del - Prette, SSRS - BR), haviam sido avaliados, há quatro anos, com o WISC - III e o TDE. Os resultados apontaram prejuízos para o grupo com alta plumbemia no QI de Execução e em indicadores de problemas de comportamento. Não foram observadas diferenças entre os grupos quanto ao desempenho escolar e às habilidades sociais avaliadas pelo professor, porém o grupo com alta plumbemia se autoavaliou com melhor repertório de habilidades sociais. São discutidas possíveis explicações e implicações para esses resultados e novas questões de pesquisa são apresentadas.
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