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Casas L.,Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology | Casas L.,Municipal Institute of Medical Research IMIM | Casas L.,CIBER ISCIII | Torrent M.,Area de Salud de Menorca | And 16 more authors.
International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health | Year: 2013

Exposure to biocontaminants is associated with behavioural problems and poorer cognitive function. Our study assesses the associations between early life exposure to home dampness, pets and farm animal contact and cognitive function and social competences in 4-year old children, and the associations between these indoor factors and microbial compounds (bacterial endotoxin and fungal extracellular polysaccharides). A Spanish population-based birth-cohort enrolled 482 children, and 424 of them underwent psychometric testing at 4 years of age, including the McCarthy Scales of Child Abilities (MSCA) and the California Preschool Social Competence Scale (CPSCS). Information on pet ownership, farm animal contact and home dampness was periodically reported by the parents through questionnaires. Microbial compounds were measured in living room sofa dust collected at the age of 3 months. Persistent home dampness during early life significantly decreased the general score of MSCA by 4.9 points (95% CI: -8.9; -0.8), and it decreased the CPSCS by 6.5 points (95% CI: -12.2; -0.9) in the child's bedroom. Cat or dog ownership were not associated with the outcomes, but occasional farm animal contact increased the general cognitive score of MSCA by 5.6 points (95% CI: 1.8; 9.3). Cat and dog ownership were associated with higher levels of endotoxins in home dust. None of the measured microbial compounds were related with the psychometric tests scores. In conclusion, damp housing in early life may have adverse effects on neuropsychological development at 4 years old. More research is needed to explore the possible involvement of mycotoxins in the observed results. © 2013 Elsevier GmbH. Source


Forns J.,Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology | Forns J.,Hospital del Mar Research Institute IMIM | Forns J.,CIBER ISCIII | Torrent M.,Area de Salud de Menorca | And 22 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2012

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) are synthetic organochlorine compounds with potential neurotoxic effects. Although negative effects on neuropsychological development have been observed in previous studies on PCB exposure, there are inconsistencies in these effects at current exposure levels of these compounds which are much lower than for previous generations. This study aimed to disentangle the effects of prenatal and postnatal PCB exposure on neuropsychological development at 4. years of age. This study is based on a population-based birth cohort design established in Menorca (Spain) as part of the INMA [Environment and Childhood] Project. We assessed general neuropsychological development using the McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities (MCSA). A total of 422 4-year old children were assessed with the MCSA. Levels of PCBs were measured in cord blood (n = 405) and in blood samples taken at 4. years (n = 285). We found no statistically significant effects of the sum of prenatal PCBs on MCSA scores. Nevertheless, individual congener analyses yielded significant detrimental effects of prenatal PCB153 on the majority of MCSA scores, while no effects were reported for other congeners. The levels of PCBs at 4. years of age were not associated with neuropsychological development. Thus, prenatal exposure to low-level concentrations of PCBs, particularly PCB153, was associated with an overall deleterious effect on neuropsychological development at 4. years of age, including negative effects on executive function, verbal functions and visuospatial abilities, but not on motor development. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. Source


Forns J.,Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology | Forns J.,Hospital del Mar Research Institute IMIM | Forns J.,CIBER ISCIII | Torrent M.,Area de Salud de Menorca | And 22 more authors.
Environmental Research | Year: 2012

Prenatal and early-life exposures can affect the course of children's neuropsychological development well into pre-adolescence, given the vulnerability of the developing brain. However, it is unknown which socio-environmental factors at early childhood can influence specific cognitive processes like attention at a later age. In this study, we aim to determine social and environmental exposures in early childhood that may be associated with attention function of 11-year-olds.We measured attention function using the continuous performance test-II (CPT-II) on 393 11-year old children from the Menorca's birth-cohort within the INMA-project (Spain), and pre-selected a list of socio-environmental observations taken when they were up to 4 years of age. We found that earlier socio-environmental characteristics, such as parental social class, educational level and maternal mental health are associated with later inattentive and impulsive symptomatology through a higher rate of omission and commission errors. In addition, omission errors were higher in children with atopy and lower in those whose mothers took dietary supplementation with folic acid and vitamins during pregnancy. Breastfeeding played a protective role against commission errors, while higher DDE and PCBs levels at age 4 were associated with slow speed response. Our findings suggest that a number of life socio-environmental factors during prenatal life and early childhood, such as socio-demographic characteristics, breastfeeding, maternal nutritional supplementation with folic acid and vitamins and exposure to some organochlorine compounds may influence inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptomatology during pre-adolescence. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. Source


Casas L.,Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology | Casas L.,Municipal Institute of Medical Research IMIM | Casas L.,CIBER ISCIII | Tischer C.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | And 16 more authors.
Indoor Air | Year: 2013

Early-life exposure to microbial agents may play a protective role in asthma and allergies development. Geographical differences in the prevalence of these diseases exist, but the differences in early-life indoor microbial agent levels and their determinants have been hardly studied. We aimed to describe the early-life levels of endotoxin, extracellular polysaccharides (EPS), and β(1-3)-glucans in living room dust of four geographically spread European birth cohorts (LISA in Germany, PIAMA in the Netherlands, INMA in Spain, and LUKAS2 in Finland) and to assess their determinants. A total of 1572 dust samples from living rooms of participants were analyzed for endotoxin, Penicillium/Aspergillus EPS, and β(1-3)-glucans. Information on potential determinants was obtained through questionnaires. Concentrations of endotoxin, EPS, and β(1-3)-glucans were different across cohorts. Concentrations of endotoxin and EPS were respectively lower and higher in INMA than in other cohorts, while glucans were higher in LUKAS2. Season of sampling, dog ownership, dampness, and the number of people living at home were significantly associated with concentrations of at least one microbial agent, with heterogeneity of effect estimates of the determinants across cohorts. In conclusion, both early-life microbial exposure levels and exposure determinants differ across cohorts derived from diverse European countries. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Source


Casas L.,Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology | Casas L.,Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute IMIM | Casas L.,CIBER ISCIII | Tischer C.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | And 22 more authors.
Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source | Year: 2013

Background: Inflammation is a key factor in the pathogenesis of respiratory diseases. Early life exposure to microbial agents may have an effect on the development of the immune system and on respiratory health later in life.In the present work we aimed to evaluate the associations between early life microbial exposures, and fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) at school age. Methods. Endotoxin, extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) and β(1,3)-D-glucan were measured in living room dust collected at 2-3 months of age in homes of participants of three prospective European birth cohorts (LISA, n = 182; PIAMA, n = 244; and INMA, n = 355). Home dampness and pet ownership were periodically reported by the parents through questionnaires. FeNO was measured at age 8 for PIAMA and at age 10/11 for LISA and INMA. Cohort-specific associations between the indoor microbial exposures and FeNO were evaluated using multivariable regression analyses. Estimates were combined using random-effects meta-analyses. Results: FeNO at school age was lower in children exposed to endotoxin at age 2-3 months (β -0.05, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.10;-0.01) and in children with reported dog ownership during the first two years of life (GM ratio 0.82, CI 0.70-0.96). FeNO was not significantly associated with early life exposure to EPS, β(1,3)-D-glucan, indoor dampness and cat ownership. Conclusion: Early life exposure to bacterial endotoxin and early life dog ownership are associated with lower FeNO at school age. Further studies are needed to confirm our results and to unravel the underlying mechanisms and possible clinical relevance of this finding. © 2013 Casas et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

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