My answer to Neuroscience: Why does prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides reduce IQ?
Answer by Connie b. Dellobuono:
During the first trimester, the brain is growing first and consuming most of the nutrients. Exposure to many toxins during this stage can greatly affect the brain of the fetus.
Scientists have found that low-level exposure to organophosphates (OPs) produces lasting decrements in neurological and cognitive function. Memory and information processing speed are affected to a greater degree than other cognitive functions such as language.
The systematic review of the literature was carried out by researchers at UCL and the Open University. It is the first to attempt a quantitative evaluation of the data assimilated from 14 studies and more than 1,600 participants. The researchers used meta-analysis to obtain an overview of the literature and their findings are published in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology.
"Meta-analysis combines the results of several studies and moves the discussion away from individual pieces of research, towards an overview of a body of literature," says lead author Dr Sarah Mackenzie Ross (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology)