The Sixteenth Conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE): Abstracts
The independent and interactive effects of perinatal PCBs and methylmercury (MeHg) exposures on neurodevelopmental outcomes continue to be an issue of concern. The FRIENDS Children's Environmental Health Center is focusing on specific aspects of cognitive, motor and sensory function that are affected by PCBs and/or MeHg in animal models, but have not been adequately assessed in human infants or children. FRIENDS follows a cohort of Hmong and Laotian residents in the Green Bay-Appleton, Wisconsin area, who consume contaminated fish from the Fox River. A menstrual cycle tracking/early pregnancy surveillance system monitors women of reproductive age to identify pregnancy at <10 weeks gestation. Blood samples are obtained once per trimester to measure PCBs, MeHg, and thyroid hormone levels and fish consumption and relevant covariates are updated prospectively throughout pregnancy. Infants are assessed at birth, and at 6, 9 and 12 months of age. Auditory function is assessed by distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) to measure cochlear function. In addition to tests used in previous studies (e.g., the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale, the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, and the Fagan Test of Visual Recognition Memory) a new battery of tests has been compiled to examine frontal lobe functions such as working memory, planning and response inhibition. These tests measure the infants' physical knowledge about spatial relationships involving supported and partially occluded objects, as well as tendency to perseverate. Concurrent animal studies to identify additional relevant tests for children are another advantage in this study.