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Dementia & Neuropsychologia

Print version ISSN 1980-5764

Abstract

ZACHI, Elaine Cristina; TAUB, Anita; FARIA, Marcília de Araújo Medrado  and  VENTURA, Dora Fix. Neuropsychological alterations in mercury intoxication persist several years after exposure. Dement. neuropsychol. [online]. 2008, vol.2, n.2, pp.91-95. ISSN 1980-5764.  https://doi.org/10.1590/S1980-57642009DN20200003.

Elemental mercury is a liquid toxic metal widely used in industry. Occupational exposure occurs mainly via inhalation. Previously, neuropsychological assessment detected deficits in former workers of a fluorescent lamp plant who had been exposed to elemental mercury vapor and were away from exposure for several years at the time of examination.

Objectives:

The purpose of this work was to reexamine these functions after 18 months in order to evaluate their progression.

Methods:

Thirteen participants completed tests of attention, inhibitory control, verbal/visual memory, psychomotor speed, verbal fluency, visuomotor ability, executive function, semantic knowledge, and depression and anxiety inventories on 2 separate occasions.

Results:

At baseline, the former workers indicated slower psychomotor and information processing speed, verbal spontaneous recall memory impairment, and increased depression and anxiety symptoms compared to controls (P<0.05). Paired comparisons of neuropsychological functioning within the exposed group at baseline and 1.5 years later showed poorer immediate memory performance (P<0.05). There were no differences on other measures.

Conclusions:

Although the literature show signs of recovery of functions, the neuropsychological effects related to mercury exposure are found to persist for many years.

Keywords : mercury; occupational exposure; cognition disorders; neuropsychological tests; mood.

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