Regional Brain Manganese Accumulation and Functional Consequences in Welders
Inhalation of welding fumes has been known to cause tremor, muscle rigidity and abnormal gait similar to what is seen in Parkinson's disease. Previous studies by the Translational Brain Research Center have used measures such as brain MRIs and tests for movement and function to investigate the effect of these welding fumes on brain health in active welders. The center is currently expanding its efforts to investigate brain health in retired welders. This is an independent study sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, with no affiliation to any private entities such as law firms. In this study participants will be asked to undergo clinical tests (blood draw, motor examination, memory tests), complete lifestyle questionnaires, and undergo an MRI scan during a baseline and 18 month follow-up visit. Participants also will be mailed a welding exposure questionnaire to complete every three months between their baseline and follow-up visit.
Participants will attend a screening call with the study team, an in-person baseline visit and an in-person follow up visit (at 18 months). Participants will complete questionnaires, undergo clinical tests (blood draw, motor evaluations, memory tests), and undergo MRI scan. Participants will also have the option to complete mobile phone assessments and undergo four skin punch biopsies.
Up to $750 per participant
No obvious signs of parkinsonism (e.g., tremor, impaired speech)
Fluent in written and spoken English
No metal eye fragments
Able to tolerate a brain MRI
Claustrophobia or unwillingness to undergo an MRI
Significant medical and neurological deficits (e.g., brain tumor, seizures, stroke, etc.)
Significant recreational drug use or alcohol abuse
History of chronic paint and solvent exposure