Fish consumption, mercury exposure, and their associations with scholastic achievement in the Seychelles Child Development Study

University of Rochester, School of Medicine and Dentistry, Department of Pediatrics, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.
NeuroToxicology (Impact Factor: 3.05). 09/2010; 31(5):439-47. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuro.2010.05.010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Studies of neurodevelopmental outcomes in offspring exposed to MeHg from maternal consumption of fish have primarily measured cognitive abilities. Reported associations have been subtle and in both adverse and beneficial directions. Changes in functional outcomes such as school achievement and behavior in exposed children and adolescents have not been examined. We undertook an assessment of school success of children in the Seychelles Child Development Study (SCDS) main cohort to determine if there were any associations with either prenatal or recent postnatal MeHg exposure. The primary endpoints were Seychelles nationally standardized end-of-year examinations given when the cohort children were 9 and 17 years of age. A subgroup (n=215) from the main cohort was also examined at 9 years of age using a regional achievement test called SACMEQ. Prenatal MeHg exposure was 6.8 ppm in maternal hair; recent postnatal exposure was 6.09 ppm at 9 years and 8.0 ppm at 17 years, measured in child hair. Multiple linear regression analyses showed no pattern of associations between prenatal or postnatal exposure, and either the 9- or 17-year end-of-year examination scores. For the subgroup of 215 subjects who participated in the SACMEQ test, there were significant adverse associations between examination scores and postnatal exposure, but only for males. The average postnatal exposure level in child hair for this subgroup was significantly higher than for the overall cohort. These results are consistent with our earlier studies and support the interpretation that prenatal MeHg exposure at dosages achieved by mothers consuming a diet high in fish are not associated with adverse educational measures of scholastic achievement. The adverse association of educational measures with postnatal exposure in males is intriguing, but will need to be confirmed by further studies examining factors that influence scholastic achievement.

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    • "Longitudinal exposure to mercury was also evaluated in the Seychelles cohort. Mercury was analysed in hair samples from the prenatal period (maternal hair) to age 9 and 17 years (Davidson et al., 2010). A slight decreasing trend was observed from birth (6.8 ppm) to age 9 (6.09 "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to describe the total hair mercury concentrations and their determinants in preschool Spanish children, as well as to explore the trend in mercury exposure from birth to the age four. This evolution has been scarcely studied in other birth cohort studies. The study population was 580 four year old children participating in the INMA (i.e. Childhood and Environment) birth cohort study in Valencia (2008-2009). Total mercury concentration at age four was measured in hair samples by atomic absorption spectrometry. Fish consumption and other covariates were obtained by questionnaire. Multivariate linear regression models were conducted in order to explore the association between mercury exposure and fish consumption, socio-demographic characteristics and prenatal exposure to mercury. The geometric mean was 1.10µg/g (95%CI: 1.02, 1.19). Nineteen percent of children had mercury concentrations above the equivalent to the Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake proposed by WHO. Mercury concentration was associated with increasing maternal age, fish consumption and cord blood mercury levels, as well as decreasing parity. Children whose mothers worked had higher mercury levels than those with non working mothers. Swordfish, lean fish and canned fish were the fish categories most associated with hair mercury concentrations. We observed a decreasing trend in mercury concentrations between birth and age four. In conclusion, the children participating in this study had high hair mercury concentrations compared to reported studies on children from other European countries and similar to other countries with high fish consumption. The INMA study design allows the evaluation of the exposure to mercury longitudinally and enables this information to be used for biomonitoring purposes and dietary recommendations.
    Environmental Research 04/2014; 132C:83-92. DOI:10.1016/j.envres.2014.03.023 · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    • "MeHg therefore represents a major concern regarding seafood safety. In humans, MeHg is a known neurotoxicant, particularly affecting the developing nervous system, and has been associated with neurological problems (Davidson et al., 2010). The cytotoxicity of MeHg has been assigned to three main mechanisms: (A) effect on intracellular Ca 2+ levels, (B) induction of oxidative stress by either production of excessive free reactive oxygen species (ROS) or by depleted oxidative defense capacity and (C) affecting sulfhydryl groups thus disrupting function of proteins and peptides containing cysteine and methionine (Ceccatelli et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Recent findings have shown that deep-water fish from coastal areas may contain elevated levels of mercury (Hg). Tusk (Brosme brosme) was collected from six locations in Hardangerfjord, a fjord system where the inner parts are contaminated by metals due to historic industrial activity. ICPMS was used to determine the accumulated levels of metals (Hg, MeHg, Cd, Pb, As, and Se) in the fish, whereas oxidative status of the liver was assessed by measuring TBARS, vitamin C, vitamin E and catalase activity. To find out whether accumulated Hg triggers toxicologically relevant transcriptional responses and in order to gain genomic knowledge from a non-model species, the liver transcriptome of the gadoid fish was sequenced and assembled, and RNA-seq and RT-qPCR were used to screen for effects of Hg. The results showed high levels of accumulated Hg in tusk liver, probably reflecting an adaptation to deep-water life history, and only a weak declining outward fjord gradient of Hg concentration in tusk liver. MeHg only accounted for about 17% of total Hg in liver, suggesting hepatotoxicity of both inorganic and organic Hg. Pathway analysis suggested an effect of Hg exposure on lipid metabolism and beta-oxidation in liver. Oxidative stress markers glutathione peroxidase 1 and ferritin mRNA, as well as vitamin C and vitamin E (alpha and gamma tocopherol) showed a significant correlation with accumulated levels of Hg. Many transcripts of genes encoding established markers for Hg exposure were co-regulated in the fish. In conclusion, tusk from Hardangerfjord contains high levels of Hg, with possible hepatic effects on lipid metabolism and oxidative stress.
    Aquatic toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands) 10/2013; 144-145C:172-185. DOI:10.1016/j.aquatox.2013.10.002 · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    • "with poorer psychomotor scores including cognitive, memory , and attention functioning as well as motor and language abilities and visual information processing [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9], whereas no associations have been found in other studies [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]. "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper estimates the effects of exposure to environmental factors, including lead, mercury, environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), on child psychomotor development. The study population consists of mother-child pairs in the Polish Mother and Child Cohort Study. Prenatal and postnatal exposure to environmental factors was determined from biomarker measurements as follows: for lead exposure-cord blood lead level, for mercury-maternal hair mercury level, for ETS-cotinine level in saliva and urine, and for PAH-1-hydroxypyrene (1-HP) in urine. At the age of 12 (406 subjects) and 24 months (198 subjects) children were assessed using Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development. There were no statistically significant effects of prenatal exposure to mercury or 1-HP on child psychomotor development. After adjusting for potential confounders, adverse effects of prenatal exposure to ETS on motor development ( β = -2.6; P = 0.02) and postnatal exposure to ETS on cognitive ( β = -0.2; P = 0.05) and motor functions ( β = -0.5; P = 0.01) were found. The adverse effect of prenatal lead exposure on cognitive score was of borderline significance ( β = -6.2; P = 0.06). The study underscores the importance of policies and public health interventions that aim to reduce prenatal and postnatal exposure to lead and ETS.
    09/2013; 2013:629716. DOI:10.1155/2013/629716
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