• Press Release

Prenatal and Early Postnatal Exposure to Manganese Could Affect Cognitive Ability and Motor Control in Teens

  • 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 PLOS ONE in August.

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 http://icahn.mssm.edu/exposomics.


About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest academic medical system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai advances medicine and health through unrivaled education and translational research and discovery to deliver care that is the safest, highest-quality, most accessible and equitable, and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 415 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of the top 20 U.S. hospitals and is top in the nation by specialty: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital is ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” among the country’s best in four out of 10 pediatric specialties. 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 "Honor Roll" Hospital, and No. 14 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding. Newsweek’s “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals” ranks The Mount Sinai Hospital as No. 1 in New York and in the top five globally, and Mount Sinai Morningside in the top 20 globally.

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