Feeds

Poor diet + pollution = brain damage

Too little iron, too much lead, say UK researchers

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Biomedical researchers in the UK are planning new research into the links between poor diet in children and their susceptibility to brain damage caused by pollution, particularly in the developing world.

It is known that blood levels of around 10 micrograms of lead can cause a drop in IQ levels, the researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University explain. They hypothesise that low levels of iron can actually increase the absorption of other metals into the bloodstream.

Dr. Nessar Ahmed, of MMU's Department of Biological Sciences explains that in Pakistan, lead pollution levels are higher than anywhere else in the world: 80 per cent of children will have enough lead in their blood to damage intelligence. In these same regions, 65 per cent of children suffer from iron deficiency.

"If we can prove that such deficits lead to high levels of metal absorption into the bloodstream, that will be highly significant in terms of preventing growing levels of brain damage associated with polluted environments," Dr. Ahmed says.

Dr. Ahmed and the MMU team, will work with the Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research, at the University of Karachi. The researchers will study 200 Pakistani children with differing levels of iron deficiency, testing their blood and hair for lead and manganese. Hair samples will be tested for metal content back in Manchester.

The team expects its first results in 2006. Dr. Ahmed says that if the hypothesis is confirmed, it should help governments develop national health strategies to cut iron deficiencies, as well as underlining the importance of reducing lead pollution. ®

Related stories

Power lines linked to childhood leukaemia
Space launches make kids sick
Toxic PCs destroy life as we know it

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Vote now for LOHAN's stirring mission patch motto
Does the shed actually know no bounds, or what?
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.