Researchers will meet at the Society of Toxicology's Annual Meeting and ToxExpo March 10-16 to discuss a number of health concerns that have received growing public attention over the past several months. In one of the presentations, scientists will explore how the development of an epidemiological database that focuses on recent arsenic related exposures might affect the risk assessment of arsenic in food. While epidemiological studies have established the disease risk to low level exposures, basic research has lagged behind in demonstrating a mechanism for the disease. Presenters will also talk about the occurrence of various forms of arsenic found in foods and their potential exposures. Another presenter will talk about research findings that suggest that exposures at younger ages have a disproportionately great affect than exposures at older ages.
In another session, scientists will talk about recent findings that suggest that salt reduction tends to increase the levels of hormones, cholesterol and triglycerides, which are all thought to be risk factors for heart disease. Some have asserted that while the risks of consuming too much salt are real, the risks have been exaggerated for the general population or that the studies done on the consumption of salt can be interpreted in many different ways.
In still another presentation, scientists will explore the links that have been found recently between developmental lead exposure and the onset of Alzheimer's disease in older people. Recent evidence suggests that the heavy metal lead may contribute to the causes of Alzheimer's disease. Lead is known to induce a wide-range of adverse health effects that are dependent on dose and duration of exposure. During development, the central nervous system is the most sensitive to lead neurotoxicity. Developmental lead exposure can initiate profound effects later in life on the nervous system related to Alzheimer's disease. These data suggest a developmental origin and an environmental trigger for Alzheimer's disease. Interestingly, the current cohorts of Alzheimer's disease patients, largely the "baby boomers," are those who lived through the period with extensive environmental lead exposure such as lead-containing gasoline, lead paint, household lead water pipes, and lead tools and batteries.
Finally, in another session presenters discuss the scientific challenges associated with climate change on atmospheric systems and health and the growing relationship between obesity, diabetes and urban air pollution, the potential impacts of new fuel standards and alternative energy sources.
The Annual Meeting and ToxExpo are being held March 10-16 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.