Mental health burden amongst inhabitants of an arsenic-affected area in Inner Mongolia, China.
ABSTRACT Inner Mongolia, China, is an area with high levels of arsenic. The adverse health effects resulting from chronic arsenic exposure include skin keratosis, vascular diseases and cancers. However, the effects of arsenic exposure on mental health have not received much attention. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of arsenic poisoning on the mental health of the inhabitants of an arsenic-affected area. We performed a cross-sectional study at two villages in Hetao Plain, Inner Mongolia. The populations of both villages were similar in age, sex, lifestyle, socioeconomic conditions, and geographic location. One hundred and thirty four (93.7%) of the 143 inhabitants in the arsenic-affected village and 36 (76.6%) of the 47 inhabitants in the arsenic-free village participated in the study. Subjects with a 30-item version of General Health Questionnaire score of 9 or more were defined as having symptoms of distress. The multiple logistic analyses showed that the mental health of the subjects in the arsenic-affected village was worse than in those in the arsenic-free village (OR=2.5, 95% CI=1.1-6.0). The effect of arsenic on mental health in arsenic-affected areas deserves further investigation. The mental health burden in arsenic-affected areas should be considered in the wider context of public and community health.
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ABSTRACT: Arsenic toxicity is a worldwide health concern as several millions of people are exposed to this toxicant via drinking water, and exposure affects almost every organ system in the body including the brain. Recent studies have shown that even low concentrations of arsenic impair neurological function, particularly in children. This review will focus on the current epidemiological evidence of arsenic neurotoxicity in children and adults, with emphasis on cognitive dysfunction, including learning and memory deficits and mood disorders. We provide a cohesive synthesis of the animal studies that have focused on neural mechanisms of dysfunction after arsenic exposure including altered epigenetics; hippocampal function; glucocorticoid and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) pathway signaling; glutamatergic, cholinergic and monoaminergic signaling; adult neurogenesis; and increased Alzheimer’s-associated pathologies. Finally, we briefly discuss new studies focusing on therapeutic strategies to combat arsenic toxicity including the use of selenium and zinc.Current Environmental Health Reports. 06/2014; 1(2).
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ABSTRACT: In the Hetao area of Inner Mongolia, Quaternary alluvial aquifers used for the water supply are contaminated by naturally occurring arsenic, which heavily affects the health of 200,000 local residents. This study on the isotopes of strontium and relevant elements contained in the groundwater as well as the arsenic in the groundwater and residents’ hair indicates that the arsenic originally derives from the upper reaches of this area where arsenic levels are high in groundwater, rock, and soil. Over, respectively, 44 km (work-line AA′) and 36 km (work-line BB′) away from there, the levels of arsenic in the water, corresponding to the trend of the residents’ arseniasis, decrease along the direction of the flow from 0.251 to 0.05 mg/L and 0.232 to 0.036 mg/L. The result of this research suggests that long-term strategies to deal with this arseniasis should involve finding hydrous terrains uncontaminated by water from the upper reaches and developing routes to prevent water from taking arsenic.Environmental earth sciences 69(5). · 1.45 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Several epidemiological studies have reported an association between arsenic exposure and increased rates of psychiatric disorders, including depression, in exposed populations. We have previously demonstrated that developmental exposure to low amounts of arsenic induces depression in adulthood along with several morphological and molecular aberrations, particularly associated with the hippocampus and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The extent and potential reversibility of this toxin-induced damage has not been characterized to date. In this study, we assessed the effects of fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant, on adult animals exposed to arsenic during development. Perinatal arsenic exposure (PAE) induced depressive-like symptoms in a mild learned helplessness task and in the forced swim task after acute exposure to a predator odor (2,4,5-trimethylthiazoline, TMT). Chronic fluoxetine treatment prevented these behaviors in both tasks in arsenic-exposed animals and ameliorated arsenic-induced blunted stress responses, as measured by corticosterone (CORT) levels before and after TMT exposure. Morphologically, chronic fluoxetine treatment reversed deficits in adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) after PAE, specifically differentiation and survival of neural progenitor cells. Protein expression of BDNF, CREB, the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), and HDAC2 was significantly increased in the dentate gyrus of arsenic animals after fluoxetine treatment. This study demonstrates that damage induced by perinatal arsenic exposure is reversible with chronic fluoxetine treatment resulting in restored resiliency to depression via a neurogenic mechanism.NeuroToxicology 06/2014; · 2.65 Impact Factor