Sex-Specific Differences in Cognitive Abilities Associated with Childhood Cadmium and Manganese Exposures in School-Age Children: a Prospective Cohort Study
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To examine sex-specific associations of neonatal and childhood exposure to eight trace elements with cognitive abilities of school-age children. The association between exposure and effects was assessed among 296 school-age children from a population-based birth cohort study, who had manganese (Mn), cadmium (Cd), and lead (Pb) exposure measured in cord blood and chromium (Cr), manganese, cobalt (Co), copper (Cu), arsenic (As), selenium (Se), cadmium, and lead exposure quantified in spot urine. Cognitive abilities were assessed using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Chinese Revised (WISC-CR). Generalized linear models were performed to analyze associations of intelligence quotient (IQ) with trace element concentrations in cord blood and urinary trace element levels. General linear models were used to evaluate association between exposure fluctuation and children’s IQ. Urinary Cd concentrations were negatively associated with full-scale IQ (β = − 3.469, 95% confidence interval (CI) − 6.291, − 0.647; p = 0.016) and performance IQ (β = − 4.012, 95% CI − 7.088, − 0.936; p = 0.011) in girls; however, neonatal Cd exposure expressed as Cd concentrations in cord blood was in inverse associations with verbal IQ (β = − 2.590, 95% CI − 4.570, − 0.609; p = 0.010) only in boys. Positive association between urinary Mn concentrations and performance IQ (β = 1.305, 95% CI 0.035, 2.575; p = 0.044) of children was observed, especially in girls. In addition, inverse association of urinary Cu concentrations with verbal IQ (β = − 2.200, 95% CI − 4.360, − 0.039; p = 0.046) was only found in boys. Childhood Cd exposure may adversely affect cognitive abilities, while Mn exposure may beneficially modify cognitive abilities of school-age children, particularly in girls.
KeywordsTrace element Neonatal exposure Childhood exposure Cognitive ability Sex-specific difference
We are very grateful to pregnant women and their children in Sheyang Mini Birth Cohort Study and the staffs in Sheyang County People’s Hospital. We also thank doctors worked in Sheyang Maternal and Child Health Care Centre for their support for follow-up.
This study was financially supported by Shanghai “3-Year Action” Project (GWIV- 27.3).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The study had been performed in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee of the School of Public Health, Fudan University. Written informed consent was obtained from pregnant women and children’s caregivers (parents or grandparents).
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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