With published research suggesting growing numbers of children affected by an array of neurodevelopmental disorders, questions regarding etiology will continue to be raised. The uses of neurodevelopmental tests in studies of environmental chemicals and pediatric neurodevelopmental disorders have been reviewed (Dietrich et al. 2005; Amler et al. 2006; Davidson et al. 2005). However, a comprehensive critical examination of methodologies commonly used in past studies has not been conducted. In fact, limitations of currently used tests and the difficulties with their interpretation have been described (Roegge and Schantz 2006), for example in relation to long-term consistency of test outcomes. In addition, many neurodevelopmental tests are available that have not been used in the environmental chemical study arena. These deserve evaluation, particularly in light of the fact that limitations with some commonly used neurodevelopmental tests have been noted (DiPietro 2008).
The project team brings to the effort the following key areas of expertise: epidemiology, neurology, neurological tests assessment, child psychology, neuropsychology, pediatrics, and exposure evaluation. All of these fields are necessary for a thorough examination of the literature on neurodevelopmental testing in children and associations between exposure to environmental chemicals and adverse outcomes. At the same time, the team has not been conducting the primary research on environmental chemicals and neurodevelopmental outcomes and consequently has no vested interest in the use of specific tests under review. Thus, they bring a fresh perspective to this complex and important problem.
Goodman M, Squibb K, Youngstrom E, Anthony LG, Kenworthy L, Lipkin PH et al 2010. Using Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses to Support Regulatory Decision Making for Neurotoxicants: Lessons Learned from a Case Study of PCBs. Environmental Health Perspect 118:727-734.
Youngstrom E, LaKind JS, Kenworthy L, Lipkin PH, Goodman M et al 2010. Advancing the Selection of Neurodevelopmental Measures in Epidimiological Studies of Environmental Chemical Exposure and Health Effects. Int.J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 7(1), 229-268.
Youngstrom E, Kenworthy L, Lipkin PH, Goodman M, Squibb K, Mattison DR, Gutermuth Antony L, Makris SL, Bale SA, Raffaele KC, LaKind JS, 2011. A proposal to facilitate weight-of-evidence assessments: Harmonization of Neurodevelopmental Environmental Epidimiology Studies (HONEES). Neurotoxicology and Teratology 33, 354-359.
Research project summary:
Advancing Neurodevelopmental Evaluation in Children: An Interdisciplinary Scientific Approach by J.S. LaKind, E. Youngstrom, M. Goodman, K. Squibb, P.H. Lipkin, L. Gutermuth Anthony, L. Kenworthy and D.R. Mattison