Project 2

Nutritional Influences on Blood Arsenic, Arsenic Methylation and Cognitive Function in Children

PI: Mary Gamble, PhD

Chronic exposure to arsenic contaminated drinking water and deficiencies of vitamins B12 and folate are highly prevalent in many parts of the world.  Arsenic exposure leads to decrements in cognitive abilities among children.  While deficiencies of B12 and folate are known to have adverse effects on cognitive function in adults, less information is available on the impact of these nutritional deficiencies among children. Folate supplementation has been shown to increase As methylation and lower blood As and concentrations in adults, but little information is available re: the impact of folate supplementation on As metabolism among children.  Should folate+B12 supplementation prove to: a) increase As methylation; b) lower blood As; and c) improve tests of cognitive abilities among children, the implications for the health and productivity are quite profound.