Article Text

PRENATAL EXPOSURE TO METHYL-MERCURY AND POSTNATAL NEURODEVELOPMENT
  1. I Prpic1,
  2. R Krajina2,
  3. I Bilic2,
  4. I Karavida2,
  5. V Mahulja-Stamenkovic2,
  6. B Peter2,
  7. O Petrovic1
  1. 1Medical Faculty, University Of Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia
  2. 2Department Of Gynecology And Obstetrics, University Hospital Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia

Abstract

Objective The aim of this project is to assess the effects of long-term environmental low-level exposure to methyl-mercury on child neurodevelopment, and develop optimal diet recommendations for fertile women.

Patients and Methods Pregnant women with high levels of methyl-mercury in their hair (⩾2 ?g/g) were enrolled in the experimental group, while those with low levels (<2 ?g/g) joined the control group. All pregnant women filled the questionnaire to determine their food intake habits, and assess their socio-economical status and work history. At birth we conducted the neurosonographic examination of all the children.

Results and Conclusion In the first few months of this project we screened 43 pregnant women for body levels of methyl-mercury, and found that four of them had high levels (⩾2 ?g/g). Neurosographic examination of a child from one of these mothers revealed morphological brain changes, consisting of basal ganglia low echo density. The same changes were detected in one other child whose mother had low levels of methyl-mercury. The project will continue with inclusion of additional subjects, until we reach the desired size of sample (N = 200). Prospective neurophysiological, neuropsychological and neuroimaging examination of all included children will be conducted. Obtained results will enable scientifically based decisions on preventive actions regarding exposure to low levels of methyl-mercury in fertile woman.

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