The project led by Drs. Schell and Carpenter, entitled "Environmental contaminants and reproductive health of Akwesasne Mohawk women" builds on a collaborative relationship between the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation and the University at Albany reaching back some 20 years, while also representing an expansion of the Center's focus to the region beyond Albany and Amsterdam. The study's objective is to determine the effect of exposure to PCBs, other persistent organic pollutants and lead on characteristics of the menstrual cycle among Mohawk women who are between 20 and 35 years of age and living in Akwesasne, which is adjacent to a federal and two state Superfund sites. The study will enroll 180 women who will be followed through one menstrual cycle with collection of blood, urine and daily saliva samples to investigate the relationship of PCB congeners and other toxicants to gonadal function, pituitary function and other characteristics of the menstrual cycle measured through diaries and questionnaires. This study has several innovative methodological features: the simultaneous consideration of multiple toxicants with endocrine disrupting properties, the congener specific analysis of PCBs for testing structure-function relationships with regard to reproductive effects, the consideration of these effects within the context of other common influences on reproductive parameters, and the application of statistical techniques and growth curve analyses that take full advantage of the density of data obtained throughout the cycle. The project is equally notable for its meaning and salience to the community. Activities that express and reaffirm Mohawk identity and culture may increase exposure to local contaminants such as PCBs, particularly through diet. The findings of this study will have great significance not only for the promotion of good reproductive health (critical to the survival of the nation as a culture and a people) but also for understanding the risk possibly related to activities that have been traditionally associated with Mohawk ways of life. Considerable concern exists over possible effects of endocrine disrupting compounds such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and lead (Pb) on human reproductive health. Effects on mammalian reproduction are known, but evidence regarding non-occupational exposure to environmental toxicants on parameters related to human fertility is lacking. Reproductive health is of great concern to the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation which is located on the St. Lawrence River. Like many minority communities, Akwesasne is located near a site of major environmental contamination: it is adjacent to a federal and two state Superfund sites. Important local food sources are contaminated, and exposure is perceived as a threat to the community already under pressure of assimilation and dispersal. Good reproductive health is seen as essential to the survival of the nation as a culture and a people. The project builds on a 12 year collaborative relationship between the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation and the University at Albany. This study aims to determine the effects of PCBs, other persistent organic pollutants, and lead (understudied for its endocrine disrupting properties) on characteristics of the menstrual cycle among Mohawk women between the ages of 20 and 35. It will follow 180 women through one menstrual cycle collecting blood, urine and daily saliva samples to investigate the relationship of PCB congeners and other toxicants to: 1) gonadal function as indexed by steroid estradiol and progesterone levels throught the cycle measured in saliva, 2) pituitary function indexed by gonadotropin levels, and 3) other characteristics of the menstrual cycle reported through diary and questionnaire. The project is innovative in its'simultaneous consideration of multiple toxicants with endocrine disrupting properties, the congener specific analysis of PCBs that allows testing structure-function relationships with regard to reproductive effects and the consideration of these effects within the context of other common influences on reproductive parameters (measures of thyroid function, autoimmune disease, overweight, and of physical activity) using standard statsitical methods and growth curve analyses to take full advantage of the density of data obtained throughout the cycle and which have not been applied before in studies of this matter.

Public Health Relevance

This study will determine the effects of specific toxicants on menstrual cycle characteristics which impacts fertility, and thereby, address public health concerns regarding effects of toxicants on reproduction and diesases of the reproductive system.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Type
Exploratory Grants (P20)
Project #
5P20MD003373-05
Application #
8411942
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-EMNR-L)
Project Start
2013-01-01
Project End
2014-12-31
Budget Start
2013-01-01
Budget End
2013-12-31
Support Year
5
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$207,536
Indirect Cost
$65,776
Name
State University of New York at Albany
Department
Type
DUNS #
152652822
City
Albany
State
NY
Country
United States
Zip Code
12222
Ravenscroft, Julia; Schell, Lawrence M; Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment (2014) Dietary patterns of Akwesasne Mohawk adolescents. Ann Hum Biol 41:403-14
Newman, Joan; Behforooz, Bita; Khuzwayo, Amy G et al. (2014) PCBs and ADHD in Mohawk adolescents. Neurotoxicol Teratol 42:25-34
Golden, Annis G (2014) Permeability of public and private spaces in reproductive healthcare seeking: barriers to uptake of services among low income African American women in a smaller urban setting. Soc Sci Med 108:137-46
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Schell, Lawrence M; Gallo, Mia V; Deane, Glenn D et al. (2014) Relationships of polychlorinated biphenyls and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE) with testosterone levels in adolescent males. Environ Health Perspect 122:304-9
Banerjee, Souvik; Chatterji, Pinka; Lahiri, Kajal (2014) Identifying the mechanisms for workplace burden of psychiatric illness. Med Care 52:112-20
Insaf, Tabassum Z; Shaw, Benjamin A; Yucel, Recai M et al. (2014) Lifecourse Socioeconomic Position and Racial Disparities in BMI Trajectories among Black and White Women: Exploring Cohort Effects in the Americans Changing Lives' Study. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities 1:309-318
Chatterji, Pinka; Lahiri, Kajal; Song, Jingya (2013) The dynamics of income-related health inequality among American children. Health Econ 22:623-9
Davison, Kirsten K; Jurkowski, Janine M; Lawson, Hal A (2013) Reframing family-centred obesity prevention using the Family Ecological Model. Public Health Nutr 16:1861-9

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