Effects of Prenatal Exposure to Air Pollutants (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) on the Development of Brain White Matter, Cognition, and Behavior in Later Childhood 

Bradley S. Peterson, MD1,2; Virginia A. Rauh, ScD3,4; Ravi Bansal, PhD1,2; Xuejun Hao, PhD5,6; Zachary Toth, BA5,6; Giancarlo Nati, BA1,2; Kirwan Walsh, BA5,6; Rachel L. Miller, MD4,7; David Semanek, BA5,6; Frederica Perera, DrPH, PhD4
JAMA Psychiatry. Published online March 25, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.57

Importance  Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous and neurotoxic environmental contaminants. Prenatal PAH exposure is associated with subsequent cognitive and behavioral disturbances in childhood.

Objectives  To identify the effects of prenatal PAH exposure on brain structure and to assess the cognitive and behavioral correlates of those abnormalities in school-age children.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Cross-sectional imaging study in a representative community-based cohort followed up prospectively from the fetal period to ages 7 to 9 years. The setting was urban community residences and an academic imaging center. Participants included a sample of 40 minority urban youth born to Latina (Dominican) or African American women. They were recruited between February 2, 1998, and March 17, 2006.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Morphological measures that index local volumes of the surface of the brain and of the white matter surface after cortical gray matter was removed.

Results  We detected a dose-response relationship between increased prenatal PAH exposure (measured in the third trimester but thought to index exposure for all of gestation) and reductions of the white matter surface in later childhood that were confined almost exclusively to the left hemisphere of the brain and that involved almost its entire surface. Reduced left hemisphere white matter was associated with slower information processing speed during intelligence testing and with more severe externalizing behavioral problems, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms and conduct disorder problems. The magnitude of left hemisphere white matter disturbances mediated the significant association of PAH exposure with slower processing speed. In addition, measures of postnatal PAH exposure correlated with white matter surface measures in dorsal prefrontal regions bilaterally when controlling for prenatal PAH.

Conclusions and Relevance  Our findings suggest that prenatal exposure to PAH air pollutants contributes to slower processing speed, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, and externalizing problems in urban youth by disrupting the development of left hemisphere white matter, whereas postnatal PAH exposure contributes to additional disturbances in the development of white matter in dorsal prefrontal regions.


About steve@bayintegratedmarketing.com

Steve Ulrich is a principal at Bay Integrated Marketing: www.bayintegratedmarketing.com. I have been working with people to maximize their use of social media and internet publishing, optimize their websites to turn prospects into customers, and establish their personal brand on the internet. We are also working with Eco Distribution, Inc. to find and implement practical solutions to help clean up our air and the environment. Eco Distribution, Inc. is a California based Distributor and Representative Firm dealing in environmentally friendly and Green solutions. We have leveraged 30 years experience in responsible construction management to provide solutions for some of the most impactful challenges facing our air, water, and land. We have an oil/hydrocarbon remediation system that is effective on everything from simple oil stains on a driveway, to complex oil disasters in the ocean. My approach to social media and internet marketing is simple. Instead of spending a fortune “buying” keywords and ads that don’t return anything we concentrate on three areas: I CAN GET YOU FOUND ON LINKEDIN - NUMBER ONE, PAGE ONE.
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