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Principal Investigator: Herbstman, Julie Beth
Institute Receiving Award Columbia University Health Sciences
Location New York, NY
Grant Number R21ES034858
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 15 Sep 2023 to 31 Aug 2025
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Project Summary Mother-infant (M-I) interaction sets the behavioral foundation and trajectory for infant social/cognitive development. Parental social behaviors are vulnerable to endocrine-disrupting chemicals because these behaviors are shaped by hormonal priming and the organization of the social/parental brain. In utero bisphenol A (BPA) exposure disrupts maternal care and offspring social behavior/neurobehavioral development in animals and humans. To date, the effects of BPA on M-I interaction have not been examined, one aim of our ongoing R01 ES027424. Although BPA has been removed from many consumer products, it has been replaced by structural analogs, bisphenol-s (BPS) and bisphenol-f (BPF), which may have similar detrimental effects. This study aims to translate findings from animal models to ask whether increased prenatal BPA, BPS, BPF (BP) exposure in humans predicts less optimal M-I interaction. Understanding the effects of BP on M-I interaction is essential to revealing pathways through which BP may act to disrupt neurodevelopment. We recruit women during pregnancy, assess prenatal BP exposure using multiple urine samples from the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, and assess M-I interaction with measures of sec-by-sec reciprocal M-I influences, providing a nuanced measure of the effects of BP. The COVID-19 pandemic hit NYC in March 2020, exposing new mothers to high levels of additional stress: sudden onset, world-wide impact; high death rates/levels of fear; disproportionate impact on racial/ ethnic minorities; hardships e.g. social isolation, job loss, social distancing/wearing masks, exacerbated postpartum mental health difficulties (pandemic-related stressors). Stress exacerbates the effects of chemical exposures on child health outcomes, highlighting the need to consider the impact of these additional pandemic- related stressors which may lead to pandemic-related stress (symptoms consistent with DSM-5 acute stress disorder diagnosis). In our existing R01 ES027424, data collection was halted by the pandemic and has now resumed, providing a unique opportunity and an imperative to study whether pandemic-related stress(ors) alter the association between bisphenol exposure and M-I interaction. This time-sensitive R21 collects and analyzes information aimed to determine (a) whether the social exposure of living through the pandemic alters M-I interaction, and/or alters the effects of bisphenol on M-I interaction; and (b) within the pandemic-exposed group, whether higher COVID-19 pandemic-related stress(ors) alters bisphenol exposure, and/or alters M-I interaction. Understanding how pandemic-related stress(ors) may impact M-I interaction and/or exacerbate the effects of environmental exposures on M-I interaction is essential to (i) informing clinical intervention: stress is modifiable, a potential target of public health intervention; (ii) revealing one developmental pathway through which the COVID-19 pandemic may disrupt child development, and (iii) informing medical/ public health policies in future pandemics.
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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