Neuropsychological Measures of Attention and Impulse Control among 8-Year-Old Children Exposed Prenatally to Organochlorines
Sagiv, Sharon K.
Thurston, Sally W.
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CitationSagiv, Sharon K., Sally W. Thurston, David C. Bellinger, Larisa M. Altshul, and Susan A. Korrick. 2012. Neuropsychological measures of attention and impulse control among 8-year-old children exposed prenatally to organochlorines. Environmental Health Perspectives 120(6): 904-909.
AbstractBackground: We previously reported associations between organochlorines and behaviors related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder among boys and girls at 8 years of age using a teacher’s rating scale for a birth cohort in New Bedford, Massachusetts (USA). Objectives: Our goal was to corroborate these findings using neuropsychological measures of inattentive and impulsive behaviors. Methods: We investigated the association between cord serum polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and p,p´-dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethylene (p,p´-DDE) and attention and impulse control using a Continuous Performance Test (CPT) and components of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 3rd edition (WISC-III). Participants came from a prospective cohort of children born during 1993–1998 to mothers residing near a PCB-contaminated harbor in New Bedford. Median (range) cord serum levels for the sum of four prevalent PCBs [congeners 118, 138, 153, and 180 (\(\Sigma PCB_4\))] and p,p´-DDE were 0.19 (0.01–2.59) and 0.31 (0–14.93) ng/g serum, respectively. Results: We detected associations between PCBs and neuropsychological deficits for 578 and 584 children with CPT and WISC-III measures, respectively, but only among boys. For example, boys with higher exposure to \(\Sigma PCB_4\) had a higher rate of CPT errors of omission [rate ratio for the exposure interquartile range (IQR) = 1.12; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.98, 1.27] and slower WISC-III Processing Speed (change in score for the IQR = –2.0; 95% CI: –3.5, –0.4). Weaker associations were found for p,p´-DDE. For girls, associations were in the opposite direction for the CPT and null for the WISC-III. Conclusions: These results support an association between organochlorines (mainly PCBs) and neuropsychological measures of attention among boys only. Sex-specific effects should be considered in studies of organochlorines and neurodevelopment.
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