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Principal Investigator: Khan, Khalid M.
Institute Receiving Award Sam Houston State University
Location Huntsville, TX
Grant Number R01ES032149
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 14 Sep 2021 to 30 Jun 2026
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): PROJECT SUMMARY The economic and public health burden of neurological diseases are remarkably high in Bangladesh with 5,344 cases per 100,000 people. Yet, the etiology of neurological disorders with respect to environmental pollutants, particularly toxic metals such as arsenic (As), lead (Pb), manganese (Mn), and cadmium (Cd), is poorly understood. These metals co-exist at moderate to high levels posing additional risk to children. Recent Bangladesh studies, including our own, have shown neurobehavioral (NB) effects associated with single metal exposure in children living in the rural areas. These detrimental effects, often subtle, potentially have long-term impact on the educational, social, and economic development of the population. This is, in part, due to the limited research capacity of local Bangladeshi researchers to properly evaluate the impact of mixed metal-induced impairment on brain function. To address this fundamental gap in critical research capacity, we plan to improve the research skills of Bangladeshi scientists by providing them the necessary training to appropriately investigate children’s brain vulnerability induced by metal co-exposure. The proposed study has assembled a group of U.S. investigators from Sam Houston State University, Columbia University, the University of Houston, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Iowa. The U.S. scientists will collaborate with the Bangladeshi researchers and faculty from the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), the largest medical university in Bangladesh, and North South University (NSU). Our goal is to improve the research capacity of scientists and clinicians by (i) organizing in-country and virtual yearly workshops/training and symposia on neuro-epidemiological research methodology and manuscript preparation; (ii) providing within the U.S. (and virtually), training on various neurobehavioral (NB) evaluation tools and data analysis; and (iii) involving the local researchers in two proposed epidemiological studies to be conducted in Bangladesh. In the first study, 600 adolescents from the Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study (HEALS) cohort in Araihazar will be evaluated for NB performance. Concurrently, adolescent blood samples will be analyzed for metals and thyroid hormone (TH) since metals are known to disrupt TH prenatally leading to poor NB performance in childhood. Free thyroxine (fT4), total triiodothyronine (tT3), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb), and thyroglobulin antibody (TgAb) will be analyzed. The Behavioral Assessment and Research System (BARS) battery will be used for NB assessment. The second study will recruit 200 mother-child pairs from the Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) area in Matlab to assess if maternal metal mixture exposure is associated with TH disruption in early pregnancy, and in turn, if prenatal disruption of TH interferes with NB performance in young children. Together, these two studies will test if metal- induced neurotoxicity in early life, in part, mediate the relationships between metal co-exposure and NB.
Science Code(s)/Area of Science(s) Primary: 61 - Neurodevelopmental
Secondary: 03 - Carcinogenesis/Cell Transformation
Publications No publications associated with this grant
Program Officer Kimberly Gray
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