One hundred and ninety-five participants in the Cincinnati Lead Study
were neuropsychologically evaluated in mid-adolescence. The
neuropsychological measures yielded five factors labeled Memory,
Learning/IQ, Attention, Visuoconstruction, and Fine-Motor.
Prenatal, Average Childhood, and 78 month blood lead (PbB) levels were
used in a series of multiple regression analyses. Following rigorous
covariate pretesting and adjustment, a significant main effect of 78
month PbB on the Fine-Motor factor was found (p < .004).
Significant interactions were also found between gender and lead
exposure parameters for both Attention and Visuoconstruction indicating
heightened risk in males. Finally, a trend toward significance was
found for the PbB × SES interaction for Learning/IQ,
consistent with previous evidence of increased educational and
cognitive vulnerability for youth from more disadvantaged backgrounds.
These results provide new evidence from the longest continuing
prospective study of the remote effects of early lead exposure. They
indicate the presence of selective neuropsychological effects in this
population, and also that males and females are not uniformly affected.
These results also underscore the complexity of models of
neurobehavioral development, and the modest predictive power of any
single determinant. (JINS, 2004, 10,