Metals and Metal Mixtures: Cognitive Aging, Remediation, and Exposure Sources (MEMCARE)
(NIH/NIEHS Grant Numer P42ES030990)
Health concerns of aging—especially cognitive decline and memory loss in older age—have huge public health implications as the United States and world populations are shifting in distribution toward older ages. While a variety of toxicants contribute to cognitive aging, we are focused on heavy metals (Pb, As, Mn, Cd, Cr, and Se) and metal mixtures because, despite years of regulation, clean-up, and remediation efforts, metal contamination in many Superfund sites persists and continues to threaten public health.
The Superfund MEMCARE Center is aimed at assessing and evaluating how metals and metal mixtures contribute to cognitive decline and memory loss in older age; studying the biological mechanisms underlying these effects; and developing new ways to detect and remove metal contaminants in drinking water sources.
The Center leads a multidisciplinary team of roughly 18 investigators from nine institutions. The research is supported by a grant from the Superfund Research Program (SRP) of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The goal of the SRP is to learn more about ways to protect the public from exposure to hazardous substances, such as industrial solvents and heavy metals including arsenic, lead, and mercury, which are found in contaminated water, soil, and air at hazardous waste sites throughout the U.S.
The mission of our Superfund center is to understand and mitigate the effects of exposure, particularly early life exposure, to metals and metal mixtures on late life cognitive health.