Polychlorinated Biphenyl Exposure and Neuropsychological Status Among Older Residents of Upper Hudson River Communities

Edward F. Fitzgerald; Erin E. Belanger; Marta I. Gomez; Michael Cayo; Robert J. McCaffrey; Richard F. Seegal; Robert L. Jansing; Syni-an Hwang; Heraline E. Hicks


Environ Health Perspect. 2008;116(2):209-215. 

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The results suggest that higher serum PCB concentrations are associated with decreased verbal learning as measured by the CVLT trial 1 score and with increased symptoms of depression as measured by the BDI among adults 55–75 years of age. The WMS test of visual immediate recall unexpectedly showed the opposite pattern, with performance increasing as serum total PCB concentrations increased. A similar finding has been reported in a German study of indoor air PCB exposure, and its meaning is unclear. Other cognitive domains, motor function, and olfaction were not associated with PCB exposure. Caution must be exercised in the interpretation of these results. Nevertheless, the study complements the work of Schantz et al. (2001) and suggests that exposures to PCBs may be associated with some measures of memory, learning and depression among adults 55–74 years of age whose current body burdens are similar to those of the general population. Although the results are useful in delineating the neuropsychological effects of low-level exposure to PCBs, further studies of whether older men and women are a sensitive subpopulation are needed.


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