Effect of environmental manganese exposure on verbal learning and memory in Mexican children.Environ Res. 2013 Feb; 121:39-44.ER
Manganese (Mn) is an essential metal, but in excess it becomes neurotoxic. Children's developing nervous system may be especially vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of overexposure to this metal. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of Mn exposure on verbal memory and learning in 7- to 11-year-old children. We tested 79 children living in the Molango Mn-mining district and 95 children from a non-exposed community in the same State of Mexico. The Children's Auditory Verbal Learning Test (CAVLT) was administered. Blood and hair samples were obtained to determine Mn concentrations using atomic absorption spectrophotometry. CAVLT performance was compared between the two groups and multilevel regression models were constructed to estimate the association between biomarkers of Mn exposure and the CAVLT scores. The exposed group presented higher hair and blood Mn (p<0.001) than the non-exposed group (median 12.6 vs. 0.6μg/g, 9.5vs. 8.0μg/L respectively), as well as lower scores (p<0.001) for all the CAVLT subscales. Hair Mn was inversely associated with most CAVLT subscales, mainly those evaluating long-term memory and learning (β=-0.47, 95% CI -0.84, -0.09). Blood Mn levels showed a negative but non-significant association with the CAVLT scores. These results suggest that Mn exposure has a negative effect on children's memory and learning abilities.