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Manganese Levels In Young Children Associated With Healthy Brain Development

July 1, 2010: 11:32 PM EST
Both low and high manganese levels in the blood of young children, especially those around 12 months of age, seems to adversely impact brain development, according to U.S. research that studied 448 children born in Mexico between 1997 and 2000. Manganese is found in rocks and soil, and in air, water, grains, fruits and vegetables. Used in steel production, it can be toxic when people are exposed to large amounts. In young children, however, small amounts are necessary for healthy development of the central nervous system, while large amounts can cause a cognitive decline. Timing is critical, the researchers found, noting that 12 months “may be a sensitive time point," when children with either the least or the most manganese in their blood scored lower on mental development tests than those in between.
Claus Henn, Birgit; Ettinger, Adrienne S.; Schwartz, Joel; Téllez-Rojo, Martha María; Lamadrid-Figueroa, Héctor; Hernández-Avila, Mauricio; Schnaas, Lourdes; Amarasiriwardena, Chitra; Bellinger, David C.; Hu, Howard; Wright, Robert O., "Early Postnatal Blood Manganese Levels and Children’s Neurodevelopment", Epidemiology, July 01, 2010, © Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
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