Jean Sloane-Reeves

University of Ulster, Belfast, NIR, United Kingdom

Are you Jean Sloane-Reeves?

Claim your profile

Publications (26)165.29 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Evidence from the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study suggests that maternal nutritional status can modulate the relationship between prenatal methylmercury (MeHg) exposure and developmental outcomes in children. The aim of this study was to investigate whether maternal PUFA status was a confounding factor in any possible associations between prenatal MeHg exposure and developmental outcomes at 5 y of age in the Republic of Seychelles. Maternal status of (n-3) and (n-6) PUFA were measured in serum collected at 28 wk gestation and delivery. Prenatal MeHg exposure was determined in maternal hair collected at delivery. At 5 y of age, the children completed a comprehensive range of sensitive developmental assessments. Complete data from 225 mothers and their children were available for analysis. Multiple linear regression analyses revealed Preschool Language Scale scores of the children improved with increasing maternal serum DHA [22:6(n-3)] concentrations and decreased with increasing arachidonic acid [20:4(n-6)] concentrations, albeit verbal intelligence improved with increasing (n-6) PUFA concentrations in maternal serum. There were no adverse associations between MeHg exposure and developmental outcomes. These findings suggest that higher fish consumption, resulting in higher maternal (n-3) PUFA status, during pregnancy is associated with beneficial developmental effects rather than detrimental effects resulting from the higher concomitant exposures of the fetus to MeHg. The association of maternal (n-3) PUFA status with improved child language development may partially explain the authors' previous finding of improving language scores, as prenatal MeHg exposure increased in an earlier mother-child cohort in the Seychelles where maternal PUFA status was not measured.
    Journal of Nutrition 09/2012; 142(11):1943-9. · 4.20 Impact Factor
  • Source
    NeuroToxicology 12/2011; 32(6):991. · 2.65 Impact Factor
  • NeuroToxicology 01/2011; 32(6):990-990. · 2.65 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    NeuroToxicology 09/2010; 31(5):439-47. · 2.65 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Fish contain nutrients that promote optimal brain growth and development but also contain methylmercury (MeHg) that can have toxic effects. The present study tested the hypothesis that the intake of selected nutrients in fish or measures of maternal nutritional status may represent important confounders when estimating the effects of prenatal methylmercury exposure on child development. The study took place in the Republic of Seychelles, an Indian Ocean archipelago where fish consumption is high. A longitudinal cohort study design was used. A total of 300 mothers were enrolled early in pregnancy. Nutrients considered to be important for brain development were measured during pregnancy along with prenatal MeHg exposure. The children were evaluated periodically to age 30 months. There were 229 children with complete outcome and covariate data for analysis. The primary endpoint was the Bayley Scales of Infant Development-II (BSID-II), administered at 9 and 30 months of age. Combinations of four secondary measures of infant cognition and memory were also given at 5, 9 and 25 months. Cohort mothers consumed an average of 537 g of fish (nine meals containing fish) per week. The average prenatal MeHg exposure was 5.9 ppm in maternal hair. The primary analysis examined the associations between MeHg, maternal nutritional measures and children's scores on the BSID-II and showed an adverse association between MeHg and the mean Psychomotor Developmental Index (PDI) score at 30 months. Secondary analyses of the association between the PDI and only MeHg alone or nutritional factors alone showed only a borderline significant association between MeHg and the PDI at 30 months and no associations with nutritional factors. One experimental measure at 5 months of age was positively associated with iodine status, but not prenatal MeHg exposure. These findings suggest a possible confounding role of maternal nutrition in studies examining associations between prenatal MeHg exposures and developmental outcomes in children.
    NeuroToxicology 07/2008; 29(5):767-75. · 2.65 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Fish consumption during gestation can provide the fetus with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) and other nutrients essential for growth and development of the brain. However, fish consumption also exposes the fetus to the neurotoxicant, methyl mercury (MeHg). We studied the association between these fetal exposures and early child development in the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study (SCDNS). Specifically, we examined a priori models of Omega-3 and Omega-6 LCPUFA measures in maternal serum to test the hypothesis that these LCPUFA families before or after adjusting for prenatal MeHg exposure would reveal associations with child development assessed by the BSID-II at ages 9 and 30 months. There were 229 children with complete outcome and covariate data available for analysis. At 9 months, the PDI was positively associated with total Omega-3 LCPUFA and negatively associated with the ratio of Omega-6/Omega-3 LCPUFA. These associations were stronger in models adjusted for prenatal MeHg exposure. Secondary models suggested that the MeHg effect at 9 months varied by the ratio of Omega-6/Omega-3 LCPUFA. There were no significant associations between LCPUFA measures and the PDI at 30 months. There were significant adverse associations, however, between prenatal MeHg and the 30-month PDI when the LCPUFA measures were included in the regression analysis. The BSID-II mental developmental index (MDI) was not associated with any exposure variable. These data support the potential importance to child development of prenatal availability of Omega-3 LCPUFA present in fish and of LCPUFA in the overall diet. Furthermore, they indicate that the beneficial effects of LCPUFA can obscure the determination of adverse effects of prenatal MeHg exposure in longitudinal observational studies.
    NeuroToxicology 07/2008; 29(5):776-82. · 2.65 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Studies of the association between prenatal methylmercury exposure from maternal fish consumption during pregnancy and neurodevelopmental test scores in the Seychelles Child Development Study have found no consistent pattern of associations through age 9 years. The analyses for the most recent 9-year data examined the population effects of prenatal exposure, but did not address the possibility of non-homogeneous susceptibility. This paper presents a regression tree approach: covariate effects are treated non-linearly and non-additively and non-homogeneous effects of prenatal methylmercury exposure are permitted among the covariate clusters identified by the regression tree. The approach allows us to address whether children in the lower or higher ends of the developmental spectrum differ in susceptibility to subtle exposure effects. Of 21 endpoints available at age 9 years, we chose the Weschler Full Scale IQ and its associated covariates to construct the regression tree. The prenatal mercury effect in each of the nine resulting clusters was assessed linearly and non-homogeneously. In addition we reanalyzed five other 9-year endpoints that in the linear analysis had a two-tailed p-value <0.2 for the effect of prenatal exposure. In this analysis, motor proficiency and activity level improved significantly with increasing MeHg for 53% of the children who had an average home environment. Motor proficiency significantly decreased with increasing prenatal MeHg exposure in 7% of the children whose home environment was below average. The regression tree results support previous analyses of outcomes in this cohort. However, this analysis raises the intriguing possibility that an effect may be non-homogeneous among children with different backgrounds and IQ levels.
    NeuroToxicology 12/2007; 28(6):1237-44. · 2.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There is increasing concern over the impact of low-dose exposures to environmental chemicals on children's neurobehavioral function. To determine subtle alterations in children's function, it is necessary to move beyond global measures such as IQ and employ tests that can detect small, subtle neurodevelopmental effects across a broad array of behavioral domains. We investigated the sensitivity and specificity of a battery of 63 neurodevelopmental tests or tasks designed to detect outcomes representing the type of subtle neurodevelopmental deficits caused by exposure to neurotoxicants in school-aged children. We studied Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) graduates, a population known to be at risk for both major and mild anomalies in perception, motor functioning, learning, memory and cognition. This population served as a surrogate to evaluate the capacity of these tests and tasks to predict such deficits. The subjects' histories of previous exposures to any environmental neurotoxicants was not ascertainable, but exposures to elevated levels was not suspected. Over one-third of the 63 measures proved capable of detecting pre-diagnosed lower IQ, the presence of a learning disability (LD) or a neonatal risk profile with at least 70% sensitivity and specificity. Some tests were differentially sensitive and specific, depending upon the presence or absence of one or more of several covariates such as gender, age, hearing status, or familiarity with computers. Tests were also eliminated from the battery if they were affected by too many covariates. We propose calling the final battery of tests that are specific and sensitive to subtle neurodevelopmental changes the Rochester test battery (RTB). Further studies are needed to confirm the capability of the RTB to detect subtle changes associated with neurotoxic exposures.
    NeuroToxicology 01/2007; 27(6):951-69. · 2.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Seychelles Child Development Study (SCDS) has been longitudinally following a cohort of over 700 children enrolled in 1989. Their mothers consumed a diet high in fish during pregnancy. Repeated examination of the SCDS cohort at six different ages through age 11 years has shown no pattern of adverse effects. Some early appearing beneficial associations between both prenatal and postnatal hair MeHg and several child development endpoints were noted. We hypothesized these might be related to micronutrients in the fish, but they were not found when the children reached middle school age. These findings suggest that the associations observed between MeHg and developmental outcomes may vary with developmental stage. We examined the main cohort of the SCDS to determine if this might be true using a longitudinal multiple regression analysis design that focused on those endpoints that were repeatedly measured at different ages. The primary endpoint analyzed was global cognition, involving a measure of developmental quotient or IQ. Secondary analyses included other domains such as Reading and Mathematics scholastic achievement, social behavior, and memory. Analyses involved two different approaches, one including incorporation of a passage of time variable, the other including a difference of scores across time points. No significant associations were found between prenatal MeHg exposure and any of the repeatedly measured endpoints. These results suggest that even when individual subject variance is controlled there was no consistent pattern of associations between child development outcomes and prenatal exposures to MeHg from maternal consumption of a diet high in fish. The Seychellois diet contains about 10 times more ocean fish than is typically consumed by US citizens. Our primary focus on IQ should further inform growing scientific interest in the analysis of the risks and benefits of fish consumption on overall cognitive ability.
    Neurotoxicology and Teratology 09/2006; 28(5):529-35. · 3.18 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Studies of the association between prenatal methylmercury exposure from maternal fish consumption and neurodevelopmental test scores in the Seychelles Child Development Study have not found adverse effects through age 9 years. The analysis for the most recent 9-year data (Lancet 361 (2003) 1686) employed conventional linear regression models. In this study we reanalyzed the same Seychelles 9-year data using semiparametric additive models with different degrees of smoothing to explore whether nonlinear effects of prenatal exposure were present. Of 21 endpoints in the linear analysis, we chose only those with a two-tailed P value less than 0.2 for the effect of prenatal exposure. Six endpoints met the criterion. A nonlinear effect was identified with the more smooth model for only one endpoint. The test for an overall effect of prenatal exposure was also significant, with a P value of 0.04, while the corresponding P value in the linear regression analysis was 0.08. The nonlinear curve appeared to be nearly flat when the level was below approximately 12 ppm in maternal hair, with a linear trend above that level, suggesting a possible adverse effect in the uppermost range of prenatal exposure included in this cohort. Because of the descriptive nature of semiparametric additive models, the P values are not precise, and certainly there are fewer data above 12 ppm. We conclude that this reanalysis supports the primary linear analysis, showing little evidence for a prenatal adverse effect.
    Environmental Research 02/2005; 97(1):100-8. · 3.24 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Studies of the effects of environmental exposures on human health typically require estimation of both exposure and outcome. Standard methods for the assessment of the association between exposure and outcome include multiple linear regression analysis, which assumes that the outcome variable is observed with error, while the levels of exposure and other explanatory variables are measured with complete accuracy, so that there is no deviation of the measured from the actual value. The term measurement error in this discussion refers to the difference between the actual or true level and the value that is actually observed. In the investigations of the effects of prenatal methylmercury (MeHg) exposure from fish consumption on child development, the only way to obtain a true exposure level (producing the toxic effect) is to ascertain the concentration in fetal brain, which is not possible. As is often the case in studies of environmental exposures, the measured exposure level is a biomarker, such as the average maternal hair level during gestation. Measurement of hair mercury is widely used as a biological indicator for exposure to MeHg and is the only indicator that has been calibrated against the target tissue, the developing brain. Variability between the measured and the true values in explanatory variables in a multiple regression analysis can produce bias, leading to either over or underestimation of regression parameters (slopes). Fortunately, statistical methods known as measurement error models (MEM) are available to account for measurement errors in explanatory variables in multiple regression analysis, and these methods can provide an (either "unbiased" or "bias-corrected") estimate of the unknown outcome/exposure relationship. In this paper, we illustrate MEM analysis by reanalyzing data from the 5.5-year test battery in the Seychelles Child Development Study, a longitudinal study of prenatal exposure to MeHg from maternal consumption of a diet high in fish. The use of the MEM approach was made possible by the existence of independent, calibration data on the magnitude of the variability of the measurement error deviations for the biomarker of prenatal exposure used in this study, the maternal hair level. Our reanalysis indicated that adjustment for measurement errors in explanatory variables had no appreciable effect on the original results.
    Environmental Research 11/2003; 93(2):115-22. · 3.24 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Exposure to methylmercury (MeHg) before birth can adversely affect children's neurodevelopment. The most common form of prenatal exposure is maternal fish consumption, but whether such exposure harms the fetus is unknown. We aimed to identify adverse neurodevelopmental effects in a fish-consuming population. We investigated 779 mother-infant pairs residing in the Republic of Seychelles. Mothers reported consuming fish on average 12 meals per week. Fish in Seychelles contain much the same concentrations of MeHg as commercial ocean fish elsewhere. Prenatal MeHg exposure was determined from maternal hair growing during pregnancy. We assessed neurocognitive, language, memory, motor, perceptual-motor, and behavioural functions in children at age 9 years. The association between prenatal MeHg exposure and the primary endpoints was investigated with multiple linear regression with adjustment for covariates that affect child development. Mean prenatal MeHg exposure was 6.9 parts per million (SD 4.5 ppm). Only two endpoints were associated with prenatal MeHg exposure. Increased exposure was associated with decreased performance in the grooved pegboard using the non-dominant hand in males and improved scores in the hyperactivity index of the Conner's teacher rating scale. Covariates affecting child development were appropriately associated with endpoints. These data do not support the hypothesis that there is a neurodevelopmental risk from prenatal MeHg exposure resulting solely from ocean fish consumption.
    The Lancet 06/2003; 361(9370):1686-92. · 39.21 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Methylmercury (MeHg) is a neurotoxicant whose high-dose effects first became known following a number of poisoning outbreaks that occurred worldwide. The primary human exposure is low dosage from fish consumption. Studies of fish-eating populations have not found a consistent pattern of association between exposures and outcomes. Therefore, examining specific areas of cognitive functioning has been suggested as an important approach to determine whether more subtle effects of MeHg exposure are present. In the Seychelles longitudinal study of prenatal and postnatal MeHg exposure from fish consumption and development, the McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities (MSCA) were administered to children at age 66 months. No association between MeHg exposure and performance on the MSCA General Cognitive Index was identified. We analyzed these data further to determine whether associations were present on specific subscales of the MSCA. The standard MSCA subscales were analyzed. Then, more specific subscales of the MSCA were defined and analyzed utilizing a neuropsychological approach. The subscales were recombined to approximate the domains of cognitive functioning evaluated in the Faroes and New Zealand studies. Analyses of both the standard and the recombined MSCA subscales showed no adverse associations with MeHg exposure and neuropsychological endpoints. A positive association between postnatal MeHg exposure and performance on the MSCA Memory subscale was found. These findings are consistent with previous reports from the Seychelles study in that no adverse effects of MeHg exposure from fish consumption can be detected in this cohort.
    Environmental Research 11/2000; 84(2):81-8. · 3.24 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Studies to date of the developmental effects of pre- and postnatal methylmercury exposure from fish consumption in the Seychelles Islands, using linear regression models for analysis, have not shown adverse effects on neurodevelopmental test scores. In this study we evaluated whether nonlinear effects of methylmercury exposure were present, using scores on six tests administered to cohort children in the Seychelles Child Development Study at 66 months of age. Prenatal exposure was determined by measuring mercury in a segment of maternal scalp hair representing growth during pregnancy. Postnatal exposure was measured in a segment of the child's hair taken at 66-months of age. Generalized additive models (GAMs), which make no assumptions about the functional form of the relationship between exposure and test score, were used in the analysis. GAMs similar to the original linear regression models were used to reanalyze the six primary developmental endpoints from the 66-month test battery. Small nonlinearities were identified in the relationships between prenatal exposure and the Preschool Language Scale (PLS) Total score and Child Behavior Check List (CBCL) and between postnatal exposure and the McCarthy General Cognitive Index (GCI) test scores. The effects are best described graphically but can be summarized by computing the change in the predicted test score from 0 to either 10 or 15 ppm and then above this point. For the PLS the trend involved a decline of 0.8 points between 0 and 10 ppm followed by an increase (representing improvement) of 1.3 points above 10 ppm. For the CBCL there was an increase of 1 point from 0 to 15 ppm, and then a decline (improvement) of 4 points above 15 ppm. The GCI increased by 1.8 points through 10 ppm and then declined 3.2 points (representing worse performance) above 10 ppm. These results are not entirely consistent. Two of the trends involve what appear to be beneficial effects of prenatal exposure. The one possibly adverse trend involves postnatal exposure. In every case the trend changes direction, so that an effect in one direction is followed by an effect in the opposite direction. Because of the descriptive nature of GAMs it is difficult to provide a precise level of statistical significance for the estimated trends. Certainly above 10 ppm there is less data and trends above this level are estimated less precisely. Overall there was no clear evidence for consistent (across the entire range of exposure levels) adverse effects of exposure on the six developmental outcomes. Further nonlinear modeling of these data may be appropriate, but there is also the risk of fitting complex models without a clear biological rationale.
    Environmental Research 11/2000; 84(2):71-80. · 3.24 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Seychelles Child Development Study has been unable to confirm any relationship between maternal exposure to MeHg during pregnancy and adverse developmental outcomes. In this report, 87 children from a pilot cohort were evaluated at 9 years of age. Each child was given a battery testing specific cognitive, visual motor, and motor skills using standardized psychometric and neuro-psychological tests. The results indicated no adverse association between maternal MeHg exposure and any developmental outcome measure. For three endpoints (Boston Naming Test and two tests of visual motor coordination), enhanced performance in males was associated with increasing prenatal MeHg exposure. A secondary analysis including both prenatal MeHg and postnatal MeHg exposure was done even though we lacked postnatal hair for about 35% of the cohort. The results of the secondary analysis mirrored the outcomes of the primary analysis regarding prenatal exposure but were less robust. The results of this study are consistent with earlier findings from the 66-month evaluations of the SCDS Main cohort. Since MeHg is neurotoxic, this effect is likely due to other factors associated with consumption of fish.
    Environmental Research 10/2000; 84(1):1-11. · 3.24 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Seychelles Child Development Study (SCDS) is testing the hypothesis that prenatal exposure to low doses of MeHg from maternal consumption of fish is associated with the child's developmental outcomes. No deleterious relationships between exposure to MeHg and cognitive functions have been identified in the primary analysis of the main cohort through 66 months of age. We performed secondary analyses to determine if effect modification (EM) from social and environmental factors was affecting associations between MeHg and outcomes. MeHg exposure was determined by analysis of maternal hair growing during pregnancy. Children in our Main Study cohort were evaluated at 6.5 months (N = 740) for visual recognition memory and visual attention using the Fagan Infantest, at 19 months (N = 738) and 29 months (N = 736) with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID). Interactions between MeHg and Caregiver Intelligence, Family Income and Home Environment were examined by multiple regression analysis. The median prenatal MeHg exposure was 5.9 ppm (Range 0.5-26.7 ppm). No EM occurred for preferential looking or visual attention at 6.5 months, for the BSID Psychomotor Scale at either 19 or 29 months, or for activity level at 29 months as measured by the BSID Infant Behavior Record. Interactions between MeHg level and both caregiver intelligence and family income were statistically significant for the BSID Mental Scale at 19 months but not at 29 months. These showed enhancement of MDI scores with increasing maternal MeHg in higher caregiver IQ groups at several levels of family income. In Seychellois children, consistent major EM by social or environmental factors were not identified. The small EM by caregiver intelligence and social factors at 19 months is consistent with the enhanced performance we reported when this cohort was examined at 66 months.
    NeuroToxicology 11/1999; 20(5):833-41. · 2.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to identify the age correlates of behavioural crises in adults with intellectual disability (ID) living in the community. The cohort consisted of 185 clients (IQ < 70), ranging in age from 20 to > 70 years, who were referred to a crisis intervention programme specializing in services to individuals with dual diagnosis over a 7-year period. A retrospective cross-sectional analysis of historical and contemporaneous variables was completed. Referrals for crisis intervention were not related to the age of the client Aggression and non-compliant behaviour occurred with similar frequency in all age groups. Other behaviours, including withdrawal, self-injury, stereotypy and symptoms of psychiatric disorders, occurred less often in older clients. Severity of ID affected the pattern of behavioural crises that resulted in referral. The results suggest that people with ID residing in community settings still experience behavioural crises as they grow older. Confirmation of the trends reported in the present study might signal a need for accelerating the development of comprehensive age-span community mental health and behavioural supports.
    Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 02/1999; 43 ( Pt 1):38-46. · 1.88 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Controversy exists concerning the fetal risk associated with exposure to low-dose methylmercury from maternal fish consumption. Previous studies of the effects of acute prenatal mercury exposure identified delays in achieving developmental milestones among exposed children. This led to public health concern that prenatal low-dose exposure from fish consumption could adversely affect the fetus. We evaluated the effects of prenatal methylmercury exposure (through maternal fish consumption) on the age that children walked and first said words in the main study cohort of the Seychelles Child Development Study. We used semiparametric generalized additive models to identify nonlinearities in the relationships between prenatal exposure and developmental outcomes, after adjusting for covariates, and to evaluate their importance. Very slight delays (<1 day) in walking were seen as mercury levels increased from 0 to 7 ppm, but this effect did not persist at the higher exposure levels represented by the cohort, making it difficult to conclude that a cause and effect relationship existed at the exposure levels seen in this cohort. There was no evidence for any association between prenatal exposure and age at talking.
    Environmental Health Perspectives 09/1998; 106(9):559-64. · 7.26 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Human neurodevelopmental consequences of exposure to methyl-mercury (MeHg) from eating fish remain a question of public health concern. To study the association between MeHg exposure and the developmental outcomes of children in the Republic of Seychelles at 66 months of age. A prospective longitudinal cohort study. A total of 711 of 779 cohort mother-child pairs initially enrolled in the Seychelles Child Development Study in 1989. The Republic of Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean where 85% of the population consumes ocean fish daily. Prenatal and postnatal MeHg exposure and 6 age-appropriate neurodevelopmental tests: the McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities, the Preschool Language Scale, the Woodcock-Johnson Applied Problems and Letter and Word Recognition Tests of Achievement, the Bender Gestalt test, and the Child Behavior Checklist. The mean maternal hair total mercury level was 6.8 ppm and the mean child hair total mercury level at age 66 months was 6.5 ppm. No adverse outcomes at 66 months were associated with either prenatal or postnatal MeHg exposure. In the population studied, consumption of a diet high in ocean fish appears to pose no threat to developmental outcomes through 66 months of age.
    JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 09/1998; 280(8):701-7. · 29.98 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Context.— Human neurodevelopmental consequences of exposure to methylmercury (MeHg) from eating fish remain a question of public health concern.Objective.— To study the association between MeHg exposure and the developmental outcomes of children in the Republic of Seychelles at 66 months of age.Design.— A prospective longitudinal cohort study.Participants.— A total of 711 of 779 cohort mother-child pairs initially enrolled in the Seychelles Child Development Study in 1989.Setting.— The Republic of Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean where 85% of the population consumes ocean fish daily.Main Outcome Measures.— Prenatal and postnatal MeHg exposure and 6 age-appropriate neurodevelopmental tests: the McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities, the Preschool Language Scale, the Woodcock-Johnson Applied Problems and Letter and Word Recognition Tests of Achievement, the Bender Gestalt test, and the Child Behavior Checklist.Results.— The mean maternal hair total mercury level was 6.8 ppm and the mean child hair total mercury level at age 66 months was 6.5 ppm. No adverse outcomes at 66 months were associated with either prenatal or postnatal MeHg exposure.Conclusion.— In the population studied, consumption of a diet high in ocean fish appears to pose no threat to developmental outcomes through 66 months of age. Figures in this Article INORGANIC MERCURY (Hg) discharged into lakes, rivers, and oceans is converted to methylmercury (MeHg) by microorganisms and bioaccumulated up the aquatic food chain.1 Concern about the potential public health threat from MeHg arose in the United States in the early 1970s when elevated concentrations were found in fish in the Great Lakes. Today, recreational fishing is restricted in many states and Food and Drug Administration guidelines regulate interstate commerce of fish because of their MeHg content. Mass health disasters in Minamata and Niigata, Japan, caused by consumption of fish highly contaminated with MeHg from an industrial source,2- 3 and in Iraq following consumption of bread containing MeHg fungicide,4- 6 confirmed that MeHg was neurotoxic and that the prenatal period was the most sensitive stage of the life cycle. For example, severe exposures in Iraq (up to 674 ppm of mercury in hair) were associated with microcephaly, seizures, mental retardation, and cerebral palsy. The Iraq outbreak also resulted in less severe outcomes typified by developmental delays and abnormal results of neurological examinations. A dose-response analysis suggested that effects may occur at maternal hair concentrations of mercury as low as 10 ppm,5- 6 although there was considerable uncertainty in this estimate. This compares with an average in the US population of 1 ppm or less.7 All fish contain MeHg. Frequent consumption of ocean fish can lead to MeHg levels in excess of 10 ppm and as high as 50 ppm in hair.1 Epidemiological studies8- 10 on populations consuming fish where Hg was biologically methylated failed to find clinical cases of MeHg poisoning. The possibility that prenatal MeHg exposure from maternal consumption of a fish diet may be associated with subtle changes in children's cognitive and neurological development has been examined in these studies with inconclusive results.1,11 We have followed longitudinally12- 13 a large inception cohort of mother-child pairs in the Republic of Seychelles, a westernized archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean where 85% of the population consumes marine fish daily.14 This article presents the results of the neurodevelopmental examination of the Seychelles Child Development Study (SCDS) cohort at 66 months, an age at which neuropsychological tests may be given that are sensitive enough to assess potential associations between developmental outcomes and MeHg dietary exposure. Our results also include examination of the role of postnatal exposure from fish consumption.
    JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 01/1998; 280(8):701-707. · 29.98 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
165.29 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008–2012
    • University of Ulster
      • • Northern Ireland Centre for Food & Health (NICHE)
      • • Centre for Molecular Biosciences
      Belfast, NIR, United Kingdom
  • 1997–2010
    • University of Rochester
      • • Department of Pediatrics
      • • Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology
      • • School of Medicine and Dentistry
      Rochester, NY, United States
  • 2003
    • National Institutes of Health
      • Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research (DESPR)
      Bethesda, MD, United States