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Cumulative Lead Dose and Cognitive Function in Older Adults *

Background: The current population of older Americans has accumulated substantial lifetime lead doses, which raises concern about the possibility of adverse cognitive outcomes. We evaluated whether cumulative lead dose from environmental exposures is associated with cognitive function and decline, and whether such effects are persistent, reversible, or progressive.

Methods: We used longitudinal linear modeling to evaluate associations of tibia lead concentration with cognitive function and decline in sociodemographically diverse, community-dwelling adults aged 50–70 years who were randomly selected from neighborhoods in Baltimore. Six summary measures of cognitive function were created from standard tests in the following domains: language, processing speed, eye-hand coordination, executive functioning, verbal memory and learning, and visual memory.

Results: The mean (SD) tibia lead level was 18.8 (11.6) μg/g. In models adjusted for demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status (SES), and race/ethnicity, higher tibia lead was associated with a progressive decline in eye-hand coordination. Tibia lead was associated with persistently impaired cognitive function in all 6 domains, although these associations weakened after increasing covariate control. In fully adjusted stratified analysis among white persons, persistent effects were apparent in eye-hand coordination, executive functioning, and verbal memory and learning.

Conclusions: The study presents the strongest evidence to date of the effects of cumulative lead dose on adult cognitive function independent of SES. The study population was relatively young and the average total duration of follow-up short (<30 months); these findings may represent the lower bound of the impact of cumulative lead dose on cognitive function of older adults.

* Legal Disclaimer: Chelation and Hyperbaric Therapy, Stem Cell Therapy, and other treatments and modalities mentioned or referred to in this web site are medical techniques that may or may not be considered “mainstream”. As with any medical treatment, results will vary among individuals, and there is no implication or guarantee that you will heal or achieve the same outcome as patients herein.

As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 10-10-2012