(New York, NY – August 14, 2019) — Early-life exposure to the mineral manganese disrupts the way different areas of the brain involved in cognitive ability and motor control connect in teenagers, Mount Sinai researchers report in a study published in
This study is the first to link evidence of metal exposure found in baby teeth to measures of brain connectivity. Researchers found links between early-life manganese exposure and altered functional connectivity of brain areas that support cognitive and motor control, potentially leading to low IQ, attention disorders, and hyperactivity.
“These findings could inform prevention and intervention efforts to reduce these poor outcomes in adolescents exposed to high levels of manganese,” said Erik de Water, the first author and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
People can be exposed to manganese via air pollution, diet, drinking water, pesticides, and secondhand smoke. Researchers measured manganese concentrations in baby teeth to determine exposure during pregnancy, the first year of life, and early childhood.
They used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to measure intrinsic functional connectivity of the brain in adolescents. Higher manganese concentrations in the first year of life were associated with increased intrinsic functional connectivity within cognitive control brain areas, but decreased connectivity between motor areas in adolescents.
About The Institute for Exposomic Research
The Institute for Exposomic Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is the world’s first research institute devoted to the intensive study of the exposome, or the totality of environmental influences on human health. The mission of the Institute is to understand how the complex mix of nutritional, chemical, and social environments affect health, disease, and development later in life and to translate those findings into new strategies for prevention and treatment. For more information, visit
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The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City’s largest integrated delivery system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai’s vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,480 primary and specialty care physicians; 11 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 410 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Medical Schools”, aligned with a U.S. News & World Report’s “Honor Roll” Hospital, No. 12 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report’s “Honor Roll” of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation’s top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Orthopedics in the 2019-2020 “Best Hospitals” issue. Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital also is ranked nationally in five out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 12th nationally for Ophthalmology. Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s, Mount Sinai West, and South Nassau Communities Hospital are ranked regionally.
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