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Mental decline in elderly linked to lead

January 28, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The mental decline that afflicts many older people could be related to how much lead they absorbed decades earlier, according to several recent studies.Researchers in one study estimated each person's lifetime dose by scanning their shinbones for lead. Then they gave each one mental ability tests. The scientists found that the higher the lifetime lead dose, the poorer the performance across a wide variety of mental functions, like verbal and visual memory, and language ability.

Experts say other pollutants like mercury and pesticides may have similar effects over time.

 

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